City curfew closes Palladium

The historic Hollywood Palladium will close within three months, according to a management spokesman, because of a city-imposed curfew that the venue’s owners claim is unworkable.

First casualty of the new curfew was a concert by rapper Marky Mark, which was scheduled for last Sunday night. The new curfew mandates the Palladium close at 11 p.m. on Sunday, and the Marky Mark concert was scheduled to run far past that. Curfew is 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and midnight the rest of the week.

The 53-year-old, 3,835-capacity theater, located on Sunset Boulevard near Ivar, has hosted five U.S. presidents and countless concerts, ranging from Tommy Dorsey to the Rolling Stones.

However, neighbors in the area have complained about increasing incidents of rowdy behavior and violence at the site, which led to investigations by the City Council and the state alcoholic beverage regulatory board (Daily Variety, Jan. 11) that resulted in the imposition of the curfew.

If the venue goes dark, many acts would likely shift to the nearby 1,200-seat Palace or the 2,705-seat Pantages Theatre. Still, the loss of the Palladium is likely to put a crimp in the immediate tour plans of mid-size acts expecting L.A. dates.

“I’m going out of business,” said manager Mark Midgley. “The promoters are taking their shows to Orange County or Pasadena, and we’re going to have to cancel most of the (scheduled events) we have left.”

Midgley did not say what the reported 32 owners of the venue plan to do with the facility. Originally, the venue threatened to defy the City Council and go ahead with the Marky Mark show. The council in turn threatened to immediately shut the venue down, and likely would have sought revocation of the facility’s liquor license, making it much tougher to sell the property as an entertainment facility.

Last week’s City Council curfew decision came in response to a rash of recent violence at the ballroom, including a Christmas Day melee in which two teens were wounded by gunfire and another was stabbed.

The violence upset area residents, who called for new safety rules.

But Joe Shea of the Ivar Hills Community Assn., a group whose protests led to the City Council investigation, said he was saddened by Midgley’s announcement.

“For all the Palladium has meant to this battered world, I sorely wish there could be another conclusion,” he said. “I hope that the owners and the management will try to arrive at a more creative solution than a shutdown.”

Midgley said 33 of the 40 shows scheduled at the Palladium during the next three months fail to meet the new city rules. Most of the events will be canceled, he said.

“The city has made its law, and I’m not going to break the law.”

Promoters for the Marky Mark show, however, took a different view of their cancellation, claiming the artist was willing to adjust his showtime to accommodate the new rules. However, venue management said advance publicity on the event, which advertised an 11:30 p.m. show, made such a last-minute adjustment impossible.

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