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Laguna Beach Hub



04/19/2007


Laguna Beach's Boom Boom Room to Shutter After Labor Day

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The Orange County Register is reporting that Laguna Beach's historic bastion of gay nightlife, the Boom Boom Room and Coast Inn, will close its doors for good after Labor Day weekend after its co-owners were unable to reach an agreement with landlord Steven Udvar-Hazy.

MolbDespite valiant efforts by local resident Fred Karger who spearheaded a Save the Boom campaign that went so far as to plead with Brad Pitt and George Clooney (who were once rumored to be interested in the property) to rescue the landmark, the Boom will shutter on September 3rd. A Men of Laguna Beach calendar was also produced to help publicize the cause and raise money for it. Karger said he still has hope that someone will still arrive to save the day.

Said former Laguna councilman and mayor Robert Gentry: "It's not as much the actual place, but a symbol of the gay community's role in the city of Laguna Beach – its development, shape and sense of character. There is a certain sense of history there that is really important. I don't want the gay community to return to second-class citizens in that wonderful seaside community that it helped develop."

Landmark gay bar to close [oc register]
Boom Boom Room's Last Swish [curbed la]

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Saving Laguna Beach's Boom Boom Room: PR and Prayers

Laguna Beach resident Fred Karger talks to the L.A. Times' Dana Parsons about his battle to save the coastal resort town's bastion of gay nightlife, the historic Boom Boom Room bar and Coast Hotel.

Boomclooneypitt_2If you remember, Karger recently took an ad out in Variety pleading with George Clooney and Brad Pitt, once rumored to be interested in the property, to help 'Save the Boom'.

As a former public relations man, Karger knew what kind of publicity that might get his cause.

Said Karger: "It worked beyond my wildest dreams about getting attention. And that was without any reaction from them. It got a lot of attention. That was my hope, by invoking their names. There are still a lot of people who think they bought it, and this was to kind of further that rumor a little bit and have fun with it. These guys, they kind of kid each other...Brad Pitt is the one who has said he won't get married until everyone can...It was all done humorously. And the ad, which I wrote, was tongue-in-cheek, meant to get their attention and, bottom line, to find a new buyer [for the Boom Boom property]."

Karger's plan just may be working. On Save the Boom's blog, Karger writes "The ad has triggered an outpouring of support and interest in our efforts to find a buyer who will keep the historic Coast Inn and the landmark Boom Boom Room as gay businesses...we have received many calls and emails from potential buyers and press from the UK, Asia, Italy, Canada and throughout the U.S. We have meetings coming up, and have put some of the serious buyers in direct contact with the property owner."

It can be a blast trying to save a Boom [la times]
Save the Boom [official site]

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Laguna's "Boom Boom" Boys Go Straight To Pitt and Clooney [tr]
Brad Pitt and George Clooney Asked to Help Save Laguna Gay Bar [tr]


Laguna's "Boom Boom" Boys Go Straight To Pitt and Clooney

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As Ocean's 13 stars Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Matt Damon left their hand and footprints in cement at Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood yesterday, a group of Laguna Beach activists hoping to get their attention stood by with signs pleading with Pitt and Clooney to help save Laguna's historic Boom Boom Room property.

Boom2The action was a follow-up to the recent Daily Variety ad taken out by Laguna Beach resident Fred Karger and Mayor Bob Gentry asking the actors, once thought to be interested in buying the property, to reconsider.

Said the ad: "Now we are appealing to both of you to buy our 60-year-old landmark before it is converted into a boutique hotel...Both of you are true leaders in human and civil rights. Over 100 years of gay history that the Boom represents is a stake in Laguna Beach."

Efforts to save the Boom Boom Room have been underway since June 2006 when it was purchased by Steven F. Udvar-Hazy. After collecting approximately 6,000 signatures from area residents and supporters, the property was saved last August when Udvar-Hazy offered a one-year lease. That lease comes up in September.

Karger reports that at the Mann's demonstration, "Brad and George both gave us the old’ 'thumbs up' when they walked by the demonstration. We got lots of media coverage and did several radio and television interviews."

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Brad Pitt and George Clooney Asked to Help Save Laguna Gay Bar

Boomclooneypitt

Efforts to save the cornerstone of Laguna Beach's gay nightlife, the historic Boom Boom Room and Coast Inn hotel, have officially gone Hollywood.

Activist Fred Karger, who has spearheaded the efforts to keep the property preserved for the coastal town's gay community, has taken out an ad in Daily Variety with Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Gentry.

VarietyadThe ad appeals to Brad Pitt and George Clooney, once thought to be interested in buying the property, to help save it.

Said the ad: "Now we are appealing to both of you to buy our 60-year-old landmark before it is converted into a boutique hotel...Both of you are true leaders in human and civil rights. Over 100 years of gay history that the Boom represents is a stake in Laguna Beach."

According to CBS, "The Boom Boom Room is reportedly the oldest continuously operating gay bar in the United States, and keeping it would be preserving the history of the community, Karger said. Once the haunt of celebrities such as Rock Hudson and Paul Lynde, the Boom Boom Room was slated to close as early as last fall, but activists have fought against it...The origins of the Boom Boom Room date to the late 1920s, when Carolyn Burris, granddaughter of the owner of the Coast Inn, persuaded John "Pappy" Smith to open a tropical-themed bar called the Seven Seas. The Seven Seas became frequented by families and the military. The name Boom Boom Room, according to Burris, came from sailors and Marines who used the term as slang for sex. The Smith family sold the bar to Sidney Bryant in the mid-1970s, and it quickly became a gathering place for gays."

SavetheboomEfforts to save the Boom Boom Room have been underway since June 2006 when it was purchased by Steven F. Udvar-Hazy. After collecting approximately 6,000 signatures from area residents and supporters, the property was saved last August when Udvar-Hazy offered a one-year lease. That lease comes up in September.

Said Karger of the Variety ad: “When we first found out that our landmark bar was about to close, we got organized and decided to fight its closure. The landmark Boom Boom Room was set to close last Labor Day (2006), but Mr. Udvar-Hazy was very helpful and gave us a one year reprieve. With Labor Day 2007 rapidly approaching, we figured we’d see if these great stars would come help the gay community down here in Laguna.”

Added Mayor Gentry: "The Gay Community of Laguna Beach is being thrown out into the Pacific Ocean and we are looking for some help from our friends. We have been talking to lots of potential buyers over the past several months and we thought we would try this bold approach to appeal to these thoughtful and caring stars."

In January, a nearby gay-owned restaurant, Woody's, was sold, further eating away at Laguna Beach's gay nightlife.

Though it may be a longshot in terms of actual success with the Pitt/Clooney team, the ad has certainly already generated enough publicity to draw other potential buyers to the rescue.


Laguna Beach's Jason Wahler in Racist, Anti-gay Arrest Rant

Laguna Beach star Jason Wahler was arrested in Seattle over the weekend for the fourth time in nine months. This time for trespassing and assault.

Jason_wahlerAccording to TMZ, "On March 6, Wahler was sentenced to 60 days in an L.A. County Jail, and must turn himself in sometime before May 4 to begin serving time for roughing-up a tow truck driver. Later this month, he's due in court in North Carolina to answer to charges of resisting a public officer during an underage drinking sweep. He was also busted last August on cocaine possession and other charges in New York City. Busy boy! Wahler's legal troubles now extend to four states including New York, California, North Carolina, and now Washington."

If that (and the recently reported existence of a sex tape with co-star Lauren Conrad) isn't enough, Wahler has also revealed himself to be a racist bigot, TMZ reports: "Officer DePina, who wrote the report, says when Seattle PD arrived they found a 'very intoxicated' Wahler passed out on the floor in a hallway on the third floor. When DePina tried to take Wahler into custody, the former reality star allegedly lashed out, calling the arresting officer 'a nig**r, a fag**t, and a poor f**k.' According to DePina, Wahler also stated, 'that he was rich and would have my ass.' Wahler, who was described as 'belligerent and hostile,' allegedy threated DePina a second time, saying, 'Come down to L.A. county and get your ass kicked!'"

Maybe he'll show his Paris Hilton "no accountability" card and get out of jail free.


News: Oprah on Ellen, Condoms, Ben Affleck, Laguna Beach

road.jpg In the latest attempt to save Laguna Beach's Boom Boom Room, the longtime cornerstone of gay nightlife in that SoCal getaway, community activists hauled 1,200 pages of signatures into a City Council meeting on wheelbarrows. They collected 6,000 signatures from supporters hoping to protect the landmark.

Benaffleck_1road.jpg Ben Affleck on his recent colonic irrigation: "I lost my virginity all over again that day, in so many ways. I don’t think I will be having it done again."

road.jpg Clear Channel rejects billboard for Focus on the Family's "ex-gay" conference Love Won Out in Phoenix. The billboard was to read: "I questioned homosexuality: Change is Possible, Discover How."

road.jpg Man held after threatening youth and program staff at gay center in Berkeley, California: "The man allegedly kicked in the Pacific Center's glass front door in Berkeley and sent four e-mail death threats over the past three weeks, said Berkeley police spokesman Ed Galvan." The man allegedly participated in youth programs at the center 10 years ago.

road.jpg Oprah Winfrey to make guest appearance on Ellen on February 22.

Nyccondomsroad.jpg Make love on a real train: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene launches its own brand of mass transit-themed condoms.

road.jpg Valentine's Hell: Passengers held hostage on Jet blue for 10 hours.

road.jpg Activists at Rhode Island statehouse gay marriage rally unveil series of bills that would give gays and lesbians many of the rights of married couples: "One bill would protect same-sex couples from being forced to testify against each other in court. Other proposals would allow gay spouses to take family leave from their jobs and grant gay men and women the legal authority to make funeral arrangements when their partners die. Gay marriage supporters said the new incremental approach reflects the stated opposition to gay marriage from Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, as well as from Republican Gov. Don Carcieri."


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