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Another Beyond Baroque brouhaha

July 23, 2008 |  3:22 pm

Beyondbaroque2001_2

Is Beyond Baroque, the beloved and quirky literary center in Venice, really about to lose "part of the lease pertaining to its historic theater"? That's what Friends of Beyond Baroque are claiming in a somewhat frantic press release quoted by journalist TJ Sullivan, who prefaces the news with a bit of skepticism.

Lose the lease? No, says L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, in whose district the venue sits. But Beyond Baroque, based in the same lovely, old city-owned property as L.A. Theatre Works, may soon have to start sharing the performance space in the building with its longtime neighbor.

Some background: Beyond Baroque came perilously close to losing its $1-per-year lease last February. Backers and bloggers rode to the rescue and publicized the lit center's plight. On Feb. 29, the City Council voted to extend the lease and Beyond Baroque was safe for another 24 years.

Now it's L.A. Theatre Works' turn at lease renewal, and as part of the deal, Rosendahl wants the drama company to have a shot at using the building's theater. He's also against letting either group charge money to use the theater and then put that cash into their own budgets.

I put in a call to Fred Dewey, executive director of Beyond Baroque, and haven't heard back yet. As for L.A. Theatre Works, board President Doug Jeffe says his group has no wish to displace or inconvenience its neighbor.

"When Beyond Baroque is not using the performance space, we do have some things we could do," Jeffe said. "Frankly, it wouldn't be every week or even every month."

Rosendahl plans to meet with both groups on Monday -- in private -- to work out the details. We'll post again with an update. Thoughts? Comments?

--Veronique de Turenne

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