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LA Venues Join National Movement To Avoid Closing Forever

OneWorld Comedy Night at Largo on April 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)
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This isn’t the first time Mark Flanagan, owner of the nightclub Largo at the Coronet Theater, has lived through tough political and economic times.

“I grew up in the '70s in Belfast, so this is not strange to me, to be in a lockdown,” he told KPCC’s Take Two. But three months after being one of the first businesses to close during the stay-at-home order, he estimates the Largo has lost about $300,000 in revenue. And his venue is far from the only one.

Flanagan is now one of the leaders behind the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), which is trying to raise funding and build an assistance program for theaters and concert spaces around the country.

“My goal is to represent all venues, whether they’re well-known and famous, or not,” he said, “so if and when we reopen, we’re not hit with unsurmountable bills that would cripple us immediately.”

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He points to the world-famous Troubadour, which announced earlier this month that it’s in danger of closing and set up a GoFundMe page.

John Mulaney, Nasim Pedrad, Seaton Smith and Zack Pearlman at the "Mulaney" Premiere Event at Largo at the Coronet on September 4, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for FOX)

NIVA’s goal is to encourage fans to donate to their local theaters and concert halls, in addition to asking their lawmakers to include venues in upcoming relief packages.

But Flanagan says even with the help, it might not be until after a vaccine is developed, that he’s willing to reopen his own club’s doors. “I don’t want to risk any customer or any performer,” he said, noting the possibility of the virus making a resurgence in the fall.

Largo has been a top spot to see stand-up comedy since the mid-90s; some of the performers who have graced the stage includel John Mulaney, Ali Wong and Zach Galifianakis, among many others.


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