It only took three easy minutes to finish off thirteen long months of soundproofing, neighbor-appeasing and bureaucracy-wrangling for Long Beach's sometimes-struggling Koo's Art Center: on Tuesday, May 3, the Long Beach City Council instantly and unanimously approved Koo's for an entertainment permit, a wave of the wand of civic legitimacy that allows the downtown Long Beach venue to resume booking live music after a silent six-week hiatus. And even better: after almost two sometimes shaky years since relocating from its storied Santa Ana location, Koo's will be able to present shows that are truly and completely legal. No more provisional permits: “We're in the clear,” said Koo's coordinator Dennis Lluy.
“I didn't expect any opposition,” said City Councilman Dan Baker. “A year ago, the police department recommended we not approve them, but I overrode that decision. My goal is to give everyone a chance. [Koo's] is doing a great job, and they're a tremendous addition to the community.”
Despite reports by Long Beach Vice that they witnessed illegal dancing at Koo's in October 2003—legal dancing demands another set of permits—and early concerns by the city that Lluy was going to run a nightclub disguised as an art gallery, Baker says that he hasn't heard any complaints about Koo's for “ten or eleven months.”
That's certainly due in some part to Koo's furious commitment to soundproofing, with its latest fund-raising campaign currently approaching the build-a-giant-fake-thermometer stage, says Lluy. But shows will start underneath the current soundproofing immediately, says live entertainment organizer Chris Dziobecki, eventually settling into four or five events each month. It's the happy ending Koo's staff have been hoping for since receiving their short-term provisional permit last January.
“I almost wish there had been more static,” said Lluy after the meeting, probably crossing his fingers. “You know—just so you'd have something more to write about.”