Former Bootleg Theater to Become Performing Arts Center and Arts Co-operative
Former independent music venue Bootleg Theater, which announced its closure last week after more than 20 years in business, will reopen this fall as a new community performing arts center and arts cooperative, according to the new owners. of the building.
The multi-room space at 2220 Beverly Blvd. in Historic Filipinotown was acquired by a team of several independent curators and Los Angeles-based nonprofits, including Andrew Maxwell of the Poetic research office, who will assume the role of general manager of the space whose name has not yet been named.
“We want it to be a performing arts center and to carry on the legacy of the space,” says Maxwell, explaining that the purchase was made at the last minute after a failed first offer. of an entertainment company. “We are trying to bring together a group of curators and independent artists who have been programming in the city for quite some time. A few of us pooled our money and thought that maybe we could put all these nomadic series and avant-garde showcases together in one big space.
The new venture will focus on cross-pollinating Los Angeles’ music, film, literary and performing arts communities to create a hub for one-off organizations and events that otherwise lack a home. centralized. In addition to the Poetic Research Bureau, other groups are preparing to move into space, including THE Filmforum, curators of experimental music, label and series of events Black editions/Non-wrinkled ear, and the jazz and poetry archive project of the artist and independent curator Harmony Holiday Mythscience Archives. Maxwell says the collective will include other collaborations, pop-up series, and one-off lineup as the space expands.
The center is slated to open to the public in September with two to three events per week, including film screenings, performances, readings and forums. The space will also house the vast libraries and archives of its organizations, which will be made available to the public during events, with the possibility of possibly hosting opening hours.
“The hope is to evolve the creative commons and develop the public domain,” says Maxwell.
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The new owners have also purchased the Bootleg’s existing sound and performance equipment and plan to upgrade its projection capabilities for 16mm movies and a DCP system for cinema-level projection. Maxwell says the group is also chatting with a few former Bootleg employees to maintain some continuity in the event staff while developing the lineup.
Above all, Maxwell hopes the new space will provide a source of post-pandemic stability for LA’s fragile independent art communities and help preserve the city’s cultural heritage.
“Many of the organizations that will be living there have been operating for a long time and we are vulnerable to the pandemic. Hopefully this is just a collective act of rescue, ”he said. “When I look at sites that have closed, I really worry about places like [shuttered jazz club] the blue whale. It will be much easier to rebuild an indie rock scene in LA than a vulnerable jazz club. So I really hope we can open up the space to a diversity of genres and identities in the future that looks like LA. “
Andrea Domanick is the digital, music and culture producer for KCRW. Follow her on Twitter.