Daily Archives: December 23, 2016

Artists, officials clash over safety of underground venues around the country after Ghost Ship fire

The list of Oakland victims speaks to the diversity it attracts: a teacher, a computer engineer, a filmmaker, musicians and artists, a lawyer. “When you are charging five, six bucks and 50 people show up, it doesn’t work to have a permit,” said George Chen, who organized underground shows in the San Francisco Bay Area for over a decade. At Purple 33, he remained underground, convinced the outcome would be the same if he tried to go legal. Similarly, the events can range widely: a couple of dozen people in a garment factory, an after-hours gathering in a coffee shop, 150 electronic music fans in a clearing in a forest. This Nov. The businessman-contractor-inventor who once sold skateboard parts claims he spent $70,000 on licensing and other fees to try to get the city to green-light an earlier club he ran nearby. But neighbors who feared wild parties blocked it. About a week after 36 people died in a fire at an underground music party in Oakland, inspectors acting on a complaint discovered a makeshift nightclub and unpermitted living quarters concealed in a warehouse near Los Angeles International Airport. Cassel acknowledges he ran Purple 33 without proper authorization but says it’s not because he didn’t try. “I wanted to do everything legal. 1, 2016 photo provided by David Coons shows a fire dance performance at Purple 33. A maze of rules and the high costs that come with meeting them leave few alternatives for running events on a skimpy budget, they say. Fans note that legal venues have risks, too, pointing to a Rhode Island nightclub fire in 2003 that killed 100. Cassel hopes to reclaim his warehouse space one day, and he’s partnering with underground organizers to change laws to make cities friendlier to what they do. 2 fire during an electronic music party at an illegally converted warehouse nicknamed “Ghost Ship.”
“We do not have the resources to track those types of functions,” she conceded. Finding them is another matter, when clandestine events can be announced with a fleeting Facebook post or text message and, in many cases, vanish after the music stops. “Lesser-known artists are happy to play nearly anywhere that will host them, because there are very few options,” said Amanda Brown, co-owner of the Los Angeles record label 100% Silk, which lost two of its artists in the Oakland fire. Despite Fire Department concerns, Cassel says the site was safe, with multiple exits, fire extinguishers and an emergency plan that could get everyone out in two minutes. The Los Angeles Fire Department dispatched 102 inspectors to check reports of overcrowding or illegal gatherings in 2016, but they do not document how many were in unpermitted locations. They’re just posting fliers 24 hours in advance, and they’re bringing hundreds of people in for different functions,” Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed said at a news conference days after the Dec. The threat of a crackdown is unnerving musicians and artists who live in them and routinely accept risks that can come with performing on unlicensed stages. “These events are way more about community and shared experience than they are making money,” she said in an email. The scene is alternately inclusive, welcoming artists and fans of all demographics, and exclusive, since by definition it’s hard to find if you don’t know where to look. They don’t seem to want to guide you along. The closing of the space dubbed Purple 33 highlights growing friction between underground music venues that can be the only option for experimental or emerging performers and their fans, and authorities who see disasters-in-waiting. “You have a situation where folks are coming together and they are not applying for special permits. ___
This story has been corrected to show that Cassel spent $70,000 on an earlier club, not for the Purple 33 club. At the end of the day, they say no,” he said. Authorities searching the drab, two-story building found an illegally constructed dance floor, paired with a bar and DJ booth. Given the numerous underground shows around LA, there appear to be relatively few reported problems. It takes a lot of money,” said Cassel, 56, who calls his patrons “a family.”
“But the greatest issue isn’t the money. Regulations vary, but generally a gathering of 100 people with live music on a stage would require one or more permits. Haphazard wiring snaked through walls, and an outdoor staircase capped by a bamboo canopy was flagged as a fire threat. A gritty location can be part of the allure, and Cassel and others see it as an escape from mainstream clubs that they see as unwelcoming, even hostile, to free spirits and nonconformists. It’s like a jukebox, encompassing everything from punk to metal to electronic, a branch that itself is divided into dozens of splinters. Depending on its size, a fire marshal could make a spot check to ensure fire extinguishers are available and lighting is adequate, or officials might oversee the event. After the blaze, officials in LA, Baltimore and other cities announced plans to aggressively pursue illegally converted warehouses and other jerry-rigged living spaces. “It’s just going to go deeper underground.”
___
Associated Press writer Paul Elias in San Francisco contributed to this report. The Los Angeles case has similarities to Oakland, where a leased warehouse was converted into living space and an entertainment stage without proper permits or inspections. This story was first published on DenverPost.com “Most artists are very flexible and willing to deal with strange venues as long as there is a sound system and some enthusiasm for the music.”
It’s difficult to generalize about underground music and the places it’s played, which sometimes hide in plain sight. The department said it had no records of injury or damage at underground events. But a big part of it is economics. The unlicensed club was shut down, and operator Donald Cassel, who also lives there, was ordered to clear out. In general, building inspectors in Los Angeles would reject applications for musical events in warehouses, since they are designed to hold goods, not parties. A crackdown will backfire, he predicted, and dangers could get worse. (Provided by David Coons via AP)
LOS ANGELES — The party is over at Purple 33. Purple 33 has a webpage.

New Year’s Eve 2016: The best parties, restaurants and shows to ring in 2017

Comedy Works on Larimer Square; 1226 15th St., Comedy Works South; 5345 Landmark Place, $25-$55. Parties
The White Rose Gala in 2008. Dec. But that won’t stop Denver’s Fox Street, YAMN and others from trying to fool you into thinking otherwise. The New Year’s Eve ball will drop at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus’ “Noon Year’s Eve” event. $25-$40. If hollering along with the best Americana rock band in Denver still isn’t enough action, Wesley Watkins’ funky jazz project The Other Black will join in. 9 p.m. shows — that last one ending just before the big New Year’s countdown/fireworks display. whiterosegala.com. Comedy
Sam Gordon reacts as Jennalee Colby mimes removing his eyebrows with hot wax during the Yes Lab Happy Hour at Voodoo Comedy Playhouse on Oct. But it’s worth getting there early and taking a deep breath to deal with the crowds, because kids will love the holiday lights, face-painting, photo booth, magic show and “princess meet-and-greet.” Adults will love the early (9 p.m.) countdown that ultimately puts the kids in bed before midnight — and parents on track to celebrate in whatever ways they see fit. Hi-Dive; 7 S. Resolution 2017
That’s right: It’s a two-floor hotel takeover of The Curtis in downtown Denver for Resolution 2017. 49th Ave. 9 p.m. Dec. (Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post)

Guilty Pleasures Presents: Y2K 2.0
Forget about putting 2016 behind you. 4, 2013.(Photo by Seth McConnell/The Denver Post)
Comedy Works / The Denver Improv
What better way to say goodbye to this wretched year than laughing in its face? 9 p.m. $20-$35. The Denver New Year’s Eve Black Tie Party inside the Sheraton Downtown’s plaza will span three rooms filled with lights and festive decorations while DJs spin the hits — and you spin the roulette wheel at the casino. 8:30 p.m. A giant confetti blast and champagne toast will greet the new year at midnight. and includes a champagne toast as well as access to the EDGE Bar when the ball drops. Dec. (family), 7 p.m. 30 and LCD Soundsystem on Dec. Comedy Works has three sets at each location including an early (5-6 p.m.) all-ages, family-friendly set, and two 21-and-up sets leading up to midnight. The Oriental Theater; 4335 W. 44th Ave. White Rose Gala
Ring in 2017 like it’s 1920 at Ellie Caulkin’s Opera House’s White Rose Gala. 5 p.m. Dec. Fox Street and friends cover Daft Punk and LCD Soundsystem
If you just want to get as close to Daft Punk playing at your house on New Year’s Eve as possible, the Mile High City has you covered this year. $99-$149, and prices increase closer to the event, which tends to sell out. 31; $85-$160. The Curtis Hotel; 1405 Curtis St. mychildsmuseum.org. lingerdenver.com or 303-993-3120. The band has signed to well-known indie record label Bloodshot Records. 31. denverzoo.org. resolutiondenver.com. $25 gets you general admission to the Dom Perignon- and Belvedere-sponsored masquerade party. 31; $80. comedyworks.com or denver.improv.com. The late sets include party favors, a midnight champagne toast and countdown with the comics. theorientaltheater.com or 720-420-0030. Bovine Metropolis Theater, just off the 16th Street Mall, brings back its “On the Spot” improv show for 4 p.m. You’re just The Yawpers type. Take it all in with cocktails, beer and wine as the ball drops. Broadway. Fancy galas, rowdy concerts, drop-perfect cocktail soirées — Denver has more New Year’s Eve debauchery (not to mention good, clean kid-friendly fun) cooked up this year than a houseboat full of unsupervised teenagers. Photo by Paresh Rana, Denver Post file. Ellie Caulkins Opera House; 1101 13th St. The Denver Improv also welcomes headliner Cocoa Brown for 7:30 p.m. Coohill’s late-night bash kicks off at 9 p.m. EDGE at Four Seasons; 1111 14th St. From denim suits to Aguilera highlights, ’90s-themed costumes are heartily encouraged. $12 for children 3-11 (2 and under free), $17 for adults and $14 for 65 and older. Dec. 31. Show up dressed in your best as cocktail attire is required, and a selfie station will be set up to make memories of the night. Dec. 31. Family Fun
Noon Year’s Eve
While adults are busy hydrating (and sleeping in) for the big night, the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus will once again hold its “Noon Year’s Eve” party. Colfax Ave. The Denver Improv, 8246 E. Catch the funk-centric bands as they cover the modern dance legends — Daft Punk on Dec. Denver NYE Black Tie Party
This open-bar party has a photo booth for you to document all your pre-resolution decisions that you can look back on the next morning. Bonus: There’s a party bus running to and from Illegal Pete’s on South Broadway for another $10. bovinemetropolis.com. 31; $130. The Bluebird Theater; 3317 E. No jeans allowed; flapper dresses, suits and hats are highly encouraged. Dec. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Oh yeah, and it’s for charity. Limited GA tickets $79. As is the case with any of Justin Cucci’s restaurants, they’re happy to accommodate dietary needs, so just call with any questions. 31; $10-30. Dec. Hot off their debut album for Bloodshot Records, the three-piece outfit is playing The Oriental Theater’s NYE Bash. bluebirdtheater.net or 303-377-1666. The Yawpers
Want to go out on New Year’s Eve but refuse to take off your cowboy hat and beer-can bandolier? Hi-Dive’s Guilty Pleasure DJ night invites you to set it in the blissfully distant future with a pre-millennium bacchanal. Cocktails will flow from the bar all night, peaking with a Tattinger Brut la Française toast at midnight. edgerestaurantdenver.com or 303-389-3343. 5:30-9 p.m. 30 and Dec. newyearsevenight.com. Zoo Year’s Eve
The Denver Zoo is never not-crowded these days, and the same will likely go for its family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration. 31. includes three courses where guests choose from dishes including ginger-carrot soup, wagyu short ribs with celery root and roasted carrots and charred Chilean seabass with black truffle broth. coohills.com or 303-623-5700. For those who miss music’s not-too-distant yesteryear, the tiny South Broadway venue’s Y2K 2.0 dance party will stick to songs pulled from the ’70s through the aughts. $109, $99 with group discount minimum six tickets. Sheraton Denver Downtown; 1550 Court Pl. The Roaring ’20s-themed event will feature flappers, dance exhibitions and more than 40 performers to transport you back in time as you ring in the new year (minus the midnight blasts of confetti). with a raw oyster and shrimp bar, cheese fondue station, coq au vin sliders and truffled duck liver mousse on brioche from chef-owner Tom Coohill. Denver Zoo; 2300 Steele St. and midnight), but most will be bouncing between bars, restaurants and clubs. shows, with the later show doubling as a New Year’s Eve celebration with similar goodies. Dec. 30th Ave. Photo courtesy of Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus. Entertainment includes a swing band and multiple DJs. 31; $15. Dress to impress, because everyone else will. and 10 p.m. Dec. Coohills
Ring in 2017 with a masquerade party and tasty bites at the five-year-old staple of Wewatta Street. Look for ball drops on the hour starting at 10 a.m., bubble-wrap “fireworks,” fountains of confetti, crafts, appearances by special characters and more. hi-dive.com or 303-733-0230. The $80 dinner includes your choice of starters such as a steamed bun flight, escarole salad, grilled king oyster mushrooms and more followed up with butter-poached lobster ramen, roasted quail, crespelle two ways or New York strip bibimbap. Dec. Dining out

EDGE at Four Seasons Denver
You know you’re in for more than just dinner when you book reservations for EDGE at Four Seasons. Linger
Rooftop views of downtown Denver and a decadent internationally inspired dinner at Linger is all you need to finish off 2016. Looking to just catch the toast at midnight? No, Daft Punk and LCD Soundsystem aren’t playing Denver themselves. The Sheraton is also at a prime location to catch the night’s fireworks. 31. Coohills; 1400 Wewatta St. $13 for people who are 1 or older than 60 year; $15 for ages 2 to 59; free for children under 1. 31; $10-$30. Why not take a load off between celebrations and catch some improvised comedy? Australian comic Monty Franklin headlines Larimer Square while Justin Willman performs at the south club. Linger; 2030 W. 31. and 10 p.m. 31 — over two nights at the Bluebird Theater. For the best in music, parties, comedy, kid-appropriate events and restaurants, check out our guide to Denver’s NYE below. Concerts
Denver based band The Yawpers record a video at Rockmount Ranch Wear on May 17. The recently expanded museum’s Sparkly Science program will also feature educators in glittery lab coats creating dry ice vapor bubbles and “elephant toothpaste.” Children’s Museum of Denver;2121 Children’s Museum Dr. The open bar event features multiple rooms with DJ dance parties, aerial dancers, balloons, laser light displays and a vantage point on the city’s fireworks displays. Bovine Metropolis; 527 Champa St. On the Spot
Plenty of people will descend upon downtown for the New Year’s Eve fireworks displays (free along the 16th Street Mall at 9 p.m. If you’re looking for a quick meal before heading to the next party, a dinner seating between 5 and 7 p.m. A four-course dinner kicks off at 8 p.m. Dec.