The Smell Launches GoFundMe With $1.4 Million Goal To Find New Home
After receiving a demolition notice on Friday afternoon, legendary downtown concert venue The Smell has launched a GoFundMe campaign to find a new home."Right now our building at 247 S. Main St, where The Smell has lived for almost 17 years, is scheduled to be DEMOLISHED," writes Smell founder Jim Smith on the crowdfunding campaign page. "We are working to prevent or delay this for as long as possible, but we must also be proactive, and start raising the necessary capital NOW to find a new, permanent home."
According to the notice, "public comment will have no impact on this project" and its posting means a demolition permit can be issued within 30 days. However, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety says the notice was only for demolition pre-inspection application, so it sounds like there's still a ways to go before we can say goodbye to the building.
The GoFundMe has a goal of $1.4 million, which sounds lofty for a no-frills, volunteer-run venue whose shows cost no more than $5, but Smith writes that the figure is "carefully considered", and after researching locations for a new and suitable building, they "feel that this fundraising goal is pretty close to what it will take to accomplish [their] objectives." Smith tells LAist that he hopes to find a location "more or less central and walking distance from transit."
The album cover for Weirdo Rippers. (FatCat Records)
According to the notice posted last week, the building owned by the L & R Group of Companies (which spans the addresses 245 to 249 S. Main St.) is set for demolition. Aside from The Smell, this includes the gay bar New Jalisco Bar, the Five Star Bar, the Downtown Independent theater, and the Shish Kabob restaurant, reports Curbed. L & R is a parking company that owns WallyPark and Joe's Auto Park.The Smell originally opened in 1998 in North Hollywood, and became the premier venue for experimental/punk/D.I.Y./noise bands in Los Angeles. It later relocated to its current home in downtown, but through its life remained all-ages and volunteer-run.
It came into prominence in the 2000s, with the emergence of local bands like No Age, Best Coast, Mika Miko and Abe Vigoda. No Age featured a photo of the venue on the cover of their debut album Weirdo Rippers.
Ever since news of the notice broke over the weekend, "the response from the community has been incredible and nothing short of inspirational," reads to a note from The Smell's Facebook page. "People from throughout the Los Angeles area, and from all over the country and the world, have responded with messages of solidarity, offers of support and their own personal testimonials." Redlands-based Cyrberus Record has even launched an online petition to #SaveTheSmell.
In the meantime, shows are still scheduled at The Smell through June. You can check out the upcoming concerts on their homepage.
Here's a video of No Age, playing the poignantly-titled "Here Should Be My Home" at The Smell: