‘DIY Lives’: LA Arts Community Responds to Warehouse Crackdown

Oakland fire mourning (Elijah Nouvelage / Getty)
Elijah Nouvelage / Getty

On Friday, the arts community in Los Angeles attempted to create its own response to the crackdown on unsafe warehouses throughout the Golden State in the wake of the fire in Oakland’s “Ghost Ship” over two weeks ago in which 36 people died.

According to the Los Angeles Times, some of the most prominent figures in Southern California’s local underground arts and music scene held a panel in East Hollywod– called “DIY Lives” (short for “do it yourself”) — where there was pushback against what they perceived as misconceptions about the culture associated with non-traditional living arrangements in off-the-grid spaces like the Oakland warehouse.

Randy Randall of the punk music group No Age was reportedly a participant on the panel and expressed his view that semi-legal spaces were fundamentally American. According to the Times, Randall suggested the DIY philosophy encourages “being a freethinking person in charge of your own life. We do it because it’s a form of living.”

Randall also encouraged more aggressive pushback from members of the DIY cultural community. He reportedly said, “[T]here’s a lot to be said for us getting loud and getting in people’s faces. I’ve got a sinking feeling it’s only going to get worse, so we just have to go harder and bigger.”

In West Oakland and throughout California, eviction notices have started making their way to other warehouse residents.

Alexander Doré, a former resident of the “Ghost Ship” who was previously a bass player in Sly and the Family Stone, told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview that many residents could barely afford to pay rents, which would sometimes be as low as $300 a month in the warehouse, in a city where rents average $2,700.

Others on Friday’s panel reportedly felt there was a misconception about the DIY culture, and suggested that venues otherwise seen as dangerous simultaneously felt like a safe place because of the presence of other people who had a similar understanding about the struggle the arts community faces.

The deadly Oakland blaze broke out during a dance party — one of many that took place at the illegally-converted warehouse space in order to help pay for the rent.

Photo: file

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz