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LA underground venues forced to close in the aftermath of Oakland fire




The Oakland warehouse fire that claimed 36 lives has resulted in a crackdown on illegal spaces around the country, including Los Angeles.
The Oakland warehouse fire that claimed 36 lives has resulted in a crackdown on illegal spaces around the country, including Los Angeles.
Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

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Amid the fallout from the tragic fire in Oakland that killed 36 people earlier this month, officials have been cracking down on illegal venues operating without a permit in cities across the country, including Los Angeles.

Purple 33, a D-I-Y club near Culver City, is one of many that have been forced to shut down. The building that houses Purple 33 is zoned for commercial and industrial use, but the space has been everything from a concert venue to a comedy club. Host John Horn spoke with the venue manager and tenant, Donald Cassel, who has been running events in the space for more than two years. 

"They cited us for certain things, and they were correct. We didn't meet some codes," said Cassel, whose space was inspected by the Los Angeles Fire Department. "They were just doing their job."

Prior to running Purple 33, Cassel had attempted but failed to obtain permits for another creative space. He said he ran into a lot of bureaucratic hurdles with the city during the application process. "I spent [$60 thousand], and a large portion of that was kept by the city. I was devastated." 

Going forward, Cassel hopes the city will not take a blanket approach to closing such venues, saying it could be "a win-win situation. There's a win for creative types that want to have these events and a living space. There's a win for the city in terms of more revenue, and knowing that these spaces are safe." 

Click on the media player above for the full interview. 



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