After the Ghost Ship Fire, Underground Venues in L.A. Are Getting Shut Down
Writer Andy Hermann investigates the impact of the horrific Ghost Ship warehouse fire that claimed 36 lives during a rave earlier this month. Since the tragic event, underground venues around LA are being forced out.This article originally appeared on LA Weekly
Donald Cassel in the main room of his live/work/event space, Purple 33
Donald Cassel, 56, sits on the couch in his living room, looking around at the space he has lived in for the past two and a half years, which he will have to vacate next month. The walls around him are covered with artwork and musical instruments, mostly guitars; a sturdy-looking set of stairs made of untreated two-by-fours leads to a sleeping loft overhead.
"They’re basically saying you can do your business here, but it can’t be that business," he says, summarizing the gist of the notices he received last week from the L.A. Fire Department and the Department of Building and Safety, saying that he can no longer use his live/work space to host parties and other events. "And you can’t live here. So it’s basically shutting me down entirely."
Cassel's two-story warehouse, which he calls Purple 33, is on a nondescript, industrial stretch of Jefferson Boulevard in Del Rey, at the western edge of Culver City. It's one of hundreds of underground artists spaces throughout Los Angeles that lack the necessary permits to serve either as housing or music venues but perform both functions anyway. And less than two weeks after a deadly fire at one such space, the Ghost Ship in Oakland, which killed 36 people, it appears that the city of Los Angeles has begun methodically shutting them down here...