DIY Venue Non Plus Ultra Is Definitively Shut Down By The City
Non Plus Ultra, I hardly knew you! Last Thursday, I went to the DIY venue for the first time, just to learn that the show was canceled. The first band played a set, then, before Prettiest Eyes’ performance, we were told to leave! The place got shut down, and I was reading disappointment on everyone’s face, as people had bought a ticket to see the headliner Thee Oh Sees. Just before the show, I had a talk with one of the musicians, as I was a bit curious about the number of people who could fit there. ‘400? 500?’ He had answered, and I was surprised they would allow that many people in this small warehouse.
Before leaving the place, which is run by artists, one of the organizers told us we really had to leave otherwise the place would probably get shut down definitively. Well, sadly, this is what is happening anyway.
The place has been in operation for a few years, but it was so underground, I didn’t hear about it before last year. In a true underground manner, it was somewhat hard to find what was happening at Non Plus Ultra, they didn’t really had an internet presence (probably to keep their underground nature), but this new page (with a donate button) appeared on line this week, with the following message:
On Thursday our Thee Oh Sees show was cut short after a city inspector notified us that continuing to operate will result in criminal charges. This extended to all future events.
Unfortunately, this means Non Plus Ultra will no longer be hosting live music shows.
Though this sudden ending is regrettable we look forward to the future of NPU. The scope of our operation has outgrown our current building and as such, we have already begun the search for new locations that can better accommodate the live music experience we strive to provide.
Non Plus Ultra is, and always has been, a non-profit organization made up of working artists who built the space to facilitate creative endeavors. Providing a home for live music is an important part of our mission, but for now we will focus our energies toward the many other services we can offer.
We’re professional musicians, filmmakers, fine artists, engineers, and fabricators. Our services, knowledge and tools are at your disposal. Non Plus Ultra is still available as a filming location and workspace. The stage and our separate multitrack recording room will remain set up for multitrack live session recording.
DIY venues exist to provide safe, community-minded places to share art and experiences with each other. Our success has only been possible through all of the artists who ventured through and helped us grow—every single one of you inspiring, sweating, crying, bleeding, and constantly killing. And to all our donating, cheering, peace-keeping, speaker saving, mosh barrier, parking-patient, hold-your-pee partiers who we’ve had as guests here: we are eternally grateful for all the support. Without you it’s just an empty warehouse.
To rent our space for recording, filming, and rehearsing inquire within: firstname.lastname@example.org’
Last week, since I was one of the last persons leaving the venue, one of the organizers noticed my camera, asked me if I was shooting for a website, and I told him I intended to write a review of the show. He seemed interested and asked me how I had heard about the gig. ‘Facebook, I answered. Not that NPU had an active Facebook page (it didn’t at the time, but there is one since March 5th) but the show was advertised by a few bands. Shows at NPU were essentially advertised on social media, and Thee Oh Sees were definitely big enough to bring a crowd way too large for the space, many people were waiting outside and this is what may have alarmed the authorities. As if social media were not enough, the LA Weekly is reporting that the show had also been announced on KCRW’s Jason Bentley radio show, Morning Becomes Eclectic.
The bad news is that NPU is closed for now, but the good news is that they are searching for another location, which hopefully will be bigger and safer.
I must admit I got a bit scared when I was told 400-500 people would enter the venue. And after a tragic accident in Oakland that killed 36 people, the city of Los Angeles is getting more aggressive regarding security inside these DIY venues. Let’s hope Non Plus Ultra’s next reincarnation will be city-approved for a crowd of this size.