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Echo Curio gets a visit from the vice squad, drops its BYOB policy

EchoCurio-Postcard Last week, Echo Park's all-ages concert venue and D.I.Y. mainstay the Echo Curio Curiosity Shop and Art Gallery announced via Twitter that it would no longer permit alcohol consumption on its premises. "Changes they are a-coming -- ECHO CURIO is going to go dry for the time being... no byob in or out of the shop... sorry for inconvenience," the club wrote Aug. 10.

On Monday, it followed up with the following note on its blog: "OK, so it’s time we had the talk. We know you are going into the world, and you’re going to be tempted from time to time by alcohol and drugs. Well, we want you to know that the Echo Curio has straightened up and is here for you. We’re now an alcohol-less venue, neither selling nor allowing byob anymore. It is for the greater good, according to the LAPD, so all we can suggest is get your freak on before or after you visit us. Or maybe sneak out in the middle for a quickie… My word!"

According to co-owner Grant Capes, the limited co-op, which features cutting-edge experimental rock and electronic music, had drawn the attention of the LAPD's vice squad for being a "bottle club," allowing patrons to drink alcohol without a liquor license or regard to liquor control laws. After numerous complaints from neighbors, on Aug. 9, during a set of bass and guitar drone improvisation by Los Angeles-based experimental musician and composers Devin Sarno and Bobb Bruno, the LAPD vice squad visited the space and cited it for being a bottle club. The club remained open that night, but attendees had to pour out their alcohol.

"Funny thing was, we had no one drinking outside, no loud music playing, and maybe five adults drinking inside," said Capes.

Resulting rumors have surfaced suggesting that the venue is being closed down and not allowed to have amplified music, said Capes, "and that's pretty lame, but also sadly dangerously close to coming true if the LAPD decides to push this ... I would prefer us to continue under the radar as much as possible."

Echo Curio will be looking at various solutions, such as single-day liquor licenses. In the meantime, it will remain open and "happily" alcohol free, much like downtown club the Smell, noted Capes, which has undergone similar troubles with the LAPD in past years. "[This]  will make it harder to get a crowd, I think, but we'll see," he said. No benefit events are in the works. "We'll be fine, I think. We'll see what happens. Benefits seem more like hurricane or starvation material."

The space opened in 2006 as a simple venue for $5 art and rock shows and has grown to host events nearly every night. It has always been all ages, with an ethos of encouragement for local culture in a communal-like setting, hosting talent that ranges from hobbyists to more serious artists.

-- Colin Stutz

Photo credit: Echo Curio


Comments () | Archives (3)

Well, now I know how to get free publicity from LA Times -- do a gig, and call the cops to raid it while I play...

Lame, lame, lame. There has never been any problems with fights, disorderly conduct, etc. at Echo Curio. It's a great little gallery/show venue that adds a lot to the culture and vibe of Echo Park and does nothing to bring it down. What causes more problems in Echo Park is drunk frat kids and wanna be gangsters pouring out of Barrigan's on Wednesday's and all of the drunk a**hole Doyer fans that roam the streets after games.

Resident's need to get a clue. You live a block off Sunset where there are bars, restaurants and galleries. Most of them were there when you moved in. Why must you complain about a handful of creative, expressive people serving the community with an arts venue?

Why in a "free" country we even have the ABC is beyond reason. When did the nation get taken over? Who was asleep at wheel of state. I'd can the whole ABC and then I'd go after restaurant inspectors and reassign them where they'd do good; at the large food processors. Restaurants would be self policing; dirty? bad food? They'd be out of business. And the idea of a vice squad operating in one of the most states in the nation is very ironic. Calpers anyone?


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