Just wanted to send you some of the year end news coverage that SAVE the BOOM!!! (www.savetheboom.com) has been receiving. The Boom’s temporary closure has been compared to the Hollywood Writer’s Strike. The movie and TV business is closed for now, but when the strike is settled, everyone will be back to work. Well, when the Boom is sold to a buyer who will remodel it and create the New Boom, then life can get back to normal in Laguna Beach . And the gay residents and our friends in Laguna and throughout Orange County will get their Community Center back, and all of the travelers from all over the US and the world will return to Laguna to enjoy our magnificent city with all it has to offer. There have been reports that business is down in Laguna Beach over the last 4 months compared to the same period in 2006. Plus the sales tax revenue that the Boom and Coast Inn generated for the city is certainly missed. There are a lot of options within an hour or two drive that are now capturing more of the gay travel dollar. Palm Springs , San Diego , Long Beach and Los Angeles are profiting at Laguna’s expense.
So as 2008 gets underway, all of us at SAVE the BOOM!!! will continue to work overtime to find a buyer of Mr. Udvar-Hazy’s property and at 1401 S. Coast Highway . He has asked that all inquiries on the Coast Inn and the Boom be directed to his real estate agent Mr. Joe Smith with Monarch Bay Realty 949-489-1100. Please refer any interested buyers to Joe and you can help Save the oldest gay bar in the Western United States , the Landmark Boom Boom Room.
Below are the stories as well as the links to the latest coverage on the Boom and our efforts. Thanks to Suzie Harrison at the Laguna Beach Independent, the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot and Marcus Andrews at the Blade.
And stay tuned for our next grassroots project coming soon to a laptop, blackberry or iPhone near you!
Thank you one and all for your interest and support as we work to SAVE the BOOM – Forever!!!
Laguna Beach Independent December 28, 2007
Top 11 News Stories of 2007
By SUZIE HARRISON
The most significant news stories in 2007 read like plot developments in a well-paced novel, including mayhem, mystery, intrigue, loss and defeat, as well as victory, heroes, unity, leadership and action. And while part of the community becomes disbanded another reunites.
Gay Culture in Decline
The gay and lesbian community was hit hard with the loss of two popular Coast Highway hangouts a block away from each other. Woody’s at the Beach played its last gay anthem on Feb. 3 while the iconic Boom Boom Room’s “Last Dance” went on to the wee hours of Sept. 4.
Thousands gathered for the Boom’s final party weekend, marking the end of a six-decade era. Loyal patrons danced, shared stories and memories and even cried.
The hangouts held down two corners of a stretch of Coast Highway known as the gay triangle, for its history of gay-owned and operated businesses and bars that were a safe haven for the gay community.
The rainbow flag still waves in the area, though its intensity is markedly diminished.
Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot December 28, 2007
Closure of Boom Boom Room and Woody’s
Laguna Beach lost two of its landmark gay establishments in Woody’s and the Boom Boom Room, located within two blocks of each other on South Coast Highway .
Woody’s at the Beach was at the corner of Cress Street and South Coast Highway for 10 years and the location had been gay-oriented for about 50 years.
Owner Joel Herzer sold the restaurant, and the last day was Feb. 3. An Avila ’s El Ranchito restaurant now occupies the space.
The Boom Boom Room, housed in the historic Coast Inn for more than 60 years, saw its last day after a Labor Day weekend of parties.
Airline mogul Steven Udvar-Hazy bought the hotel, bar and adjacent gay liquor store in 2006 with plans to redevelop the ocean view site and gave the bar a one-year lease extension.
In the intervening year, a grass roots effort was organized by local gay activist Fred Karger. The group — Save the Boom — organized fundraising events and actively sought buyers to preserve the watering hole.
A “for sale” sign now hangs in the window as Udvar-Hazy has put the property back on the market. Karger and Save the Boom activists are still optimistic they will find a buyer who will keep the bar as it was.
The Blade January 2008
One Night Stands & Standards in O.C.
Written by Marcus Andrews
Compared to West Hollywood, the LGBT Orange County nightlife seems to offer few options for its residents. What some people don’t realize is that the Boom’s closure doesn’t mean an end to going out in Orange County .
In 2006, the closing of Ozz Supper Club presented the end of an era for gay clubs. With the loss of Hamburger Mary’s in early 2007 and the Boom Boom Room — the oldest and arguably most iconic gay bar in the Western United States — which closed on Labor Day, there’s a feeling that the club scene here has all but evaporated.
Have all the promoters disappeared and taken their clubs to Los Angeles? Perhaps they have decided it’s not worth throwing clubs in Orange County anymore because it’s not worth the financial risk.
From Laguna Beach to Buena Park , gay clubs flourished for many years but it seems that these clubs have had their day. It also came to the attention of most owners that they were sitting on gold mines and decided to take the money and run. A variety of community figures came out of the woodwork and decided to jump-start the gay Orange County club scene. The only problem is they are not promoters, they are not DJs and they may not know how to keep the scene alive for longer than a few years — if that.
However, people are talking about a few places. Some promoters have picked up the slack to create valuable clubs and bars in Orange County .
There are many reasons to go to gay clubs – to meet up with friends, celebrate a birthday or other special occasion – but in the past, one primary reason to visit clubs was that they offered the only real venue for meeting other LGBT people.
Today the men of Orange County go online every day to create relationships with people they have never met and then wonder where all the men are when they go out to clubs. As the gays coming out in Orange County continue to get younger every year, complaints can be heard about the “kids” at all the clubs.
Many promoters like DJ Zach from Boy U have been trying to give the young gay crowd a place to party in Orange County . After working with Tigerheat in Los Angeles , he came to Orange County to present the young gay population a chance to party with the best in Top 40 music and beats that make young and old alike want to move at Club Thrust.
“The city vibe came to Orange County ,” DJ Zach says. However, while creating Thrust he ran into problems when the owners of Quan’s Rockin’ Sushi lost their liquor license and patrons kept getting harassed at the Tuesday night event.
He decided after years of building a dedicated clientele and improving themes to go on hiatus and come back with Club Stiff. Once again the young gay crowd had nowhere to go on Tuesday nights.
What most promoters think about now are the money and how much they can make. “I prefer more specific events rather than a location,” DJ Zach says. “It’s hard to get people out in Orange County , since L.A. has all these bars.”
People think that it’s easy to be a club promoter and that it’s a glamorous lifestyle. This simply isn’t true; it also has a very dark side. Promoters must pay dancers, DJs, bartenders and security. Everyone wants a piece of the action and it’s unclear if they are friendly only because they want to get in for free or maybe get free drinks, which promoters can’t spare because they still have to make money. One problem for Orange County clubs is that there are no promoters presenting these clubs — just people expecting and hoping to make something for the gay community. That’s a nice sentiment, but it’s not good for the club business.
Archer Altstaetter, the front man of Boinkevents.com, has come onto the scene like a whirlwind and taken the Orange County gay scene from dull to exciting in one year. An accomplished dancer and great entertainer all around, he nonetheless experiences a lull from time to time at his club Friction. He’s one of the few who have sustained a night with entertaining shows and resident DJs in Orange County .
Another man trying to save the gay club scene in Orange County is Fred Karger, who created the Save the Boom organization. Karger thought the gay club scene in Orange County was fading and decided to call upon the community to save a beloved venue. Save the Boom is currently seeking someone to buy the property, which was placed on the market again.
“I’m funding the campaign myself,” Karger says. He says the opportunity for the young gay community to buy one of the mainstays of Orange County ’s gay club scene is out there. The possibilities are limitless for this venue, but it seems like a fleeting dream for many in the community. Karger says the previous owners of the Boom were not really bar people, and they sold the bar to the highest bidder.
One of only two exclusively gay dance clubs left in Orange County is Bounce in Laguna Beach . The venue is small but striking enough to bring a crowd that crams into the two-story club/bar. James Nelson, owner and resident DJ on Saturday nights, makes a determined effort to keep the gays coming for a good time every weekend. Given the scarcity of clubs that are gay every night of the week, Nelson not only appreciates his new patrons but also values the ones who have been there from day one. This makes his establishment something of an anomaly because not many people get someone who truly loves the art in creating a fun night for gays. An artist by trade, Nelson is not a promoter — and makes no claim to be. All he wants is for people to have a good time, which is the service that he provides.
DJs have always been a topic of scrutiny in clubs. Patrons can be demanding about what kind of music they want to dance to, with nary a thought about the rest of the crowd. When they don’t get what they want, they’ll complain or go to a different venue. DJ Fernando, who spun for Club Asia in Orange County , is no stranger to this situation. He knows the crowd and watches what they want. He never gets a request unless it is for One Night Only from the Dreamgirls soundtrack. “Lesbians, gays and drag queens don’t always mix,” DJ Fernando says. “The way to go is with video clubs. People are visual, and it’s a good conversation starter.” Spinning for Club Asia wasn’t always a breeze, but he found that the House movement wasn’t dead and played everything from the ’90s to the present. He could tell how pleased his crowds were just by how they were moving.
As with other weekly or monthly clubs, Club Asia closed due to constant changes in dates. Being monthly reduced Club Asia’s impact. DJ Fernando says it’s because the crowd and promoters did not work together to know what clubgoers want. “Promoters come and go,” DJ Fernando says. “But the ones that last are very few, like Anthony Lopez. A lot of promoters don’t even want the twinks, because they don’t buy liquor — so what’s the point? A lot of promoters aren’t even real promoters and they fail.”
By the time most people discover a club in Orange County it has already had a stroke of bad luck and not brought in the numbers. This is not what the gay community in Orange County needs. We need venues that we own that have reputable promoters and great DJs, so that the masses can look our way and want to come into town to party for the night. It is up to us as the patrons of these clubs and bars to make sure they survive and continue to bring us the entertainment that we so deserve. We are the ones that need to make Orange County the club Mecca that we want it to be. The Internet is a great tool to make new friends but next time you want to meet real people go to a club and see who is out there.
IN Los Angeles Magazine December 26 to January 9, 2008
And here is the link to the amazing coverage that IN Magazine gave to our Men of Laguna Beach Calendar and SAVE the BOOM!!! The link was not up when I sent the story around last week, but it’s up now. In case you didn’t pick up a copy, check it out on line and please foreword it around. We are down to our last 150 calendars, but there is one with your name on it. Just go to www.menoflagunabeach.com and order away. We are doing 2 for 1 for the month of January. So if you order 1 for $14.95 + shipping and handling we will ship you two – one for home and one for work! That’s less than a penny a day! Link to IN Magazine: http://www.inlamagazine.com/1023/