Another beloved LGBTQ venue may be on the brink of closure thanks to the ongoing COVID pandemic.
Redline DTLA in Los Angeles was set up six years ago by entrepreneur Oliver Luke Alpuche. The venue played a major role, alongside Precinct and Bar Mattachine, in helping develop a downtown LA scene, quite separate from the one in neighboring West Hollywood.
Following the success of Redline DTLA, Alpuche then launched the annual, non-profit DTLA Proud festival, to further celebrate and unify the downtown scene.
However, now, following months of closure, Redline is on the brink of collapse. A GoFundMe set up by Alpuche’s twin brother, Dominic, spells out the situation.
“Oliver Alpuche, my dearest twin brother, created a space for the community where everyone was welcomed. Over 7 years ago, he set out to open REDLINE, a bar that would not only be a safe space for the Eastside’s queer community, but would also be more accessible and inclusive. From our own experiences as kids, we would take an hour and a half bus ride from Highland Park (long before it was the highly sought after, popular place it is today) to West Hollywood to be part of our community.”
“We already lost Bar Mattachine in 2018 and now we are in jeopardy of losing Redline,” he continues.
“Hoping that Redline can reopen soon, Oliver has taken out large business loans to cover expenses while the bar has been forced to stay closed since last March. The moratorium on rent is ending this month. Since there has been NO government relief for business leases, he will have to pay all of the back rent and Redline is still unable to open its doors due to the current health mandates. It is not clear when the mandatory shutdown will be lifted, and Redline is on its last breath.
“If you know my brother, he is always willing to do whatever he can for his community. He poured his life and soul into creating Redline & DTLA Proud.
“As first-generation immigrant children, we did not come from much, but my brother is a model of what success looks like–passion and love overcoming the odds–and now we will lose a piece of our community if we don’t act soon.”
On Instagram, Oliver shared the GoFundMe with a personal message.
“When people ask ‘How are you doing?’ I would always say … ‘I’m OK’ but the truth is, we’re not. We have been shut-down for 10 months without any financial support. I have taken out loan after loan to stay afloat but it’s just not enough. At the end of this month, the moratorium ends and we’ll have 90 days to pay back $100,000 in rent on a space we can’t use with no open date in sight. Our landlord refuses to talk to us about any kind of rent forgiveness or abatement.
“For the past 10 months I have been standing in the rubble with my hands tied, unable to rebuild.
“This time is hard for EVERYONE! I just want to make sure when this is over that our community has a safe space to come back to.”
At the time of writing, the fundraiser has raised $25,000 of its $100,000 target.
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Earlier this month, another well-loved Los Angeles venue was forced to close its doors for good after months of closure. Oil Can Harry’s opened in 1968, making it the longest-running gay venue in LA. However, it was unable to renegotiate its lease with its landlord, who wants to turn the venue into a live jazz club.