Dennis Lluy, President and founder of Koos Art Center, has put together an astonishing one-day music festival, soundDowntown, that spans 10 hot venues, and features nearly 50 performances by internationally acclaimed artists such as Shepard Fairey, Nortec Collective, DJ Nobody, Free Moral Agents, and Hat Trix Project.  soundDowntown takes place this Saturday, November 15th, and advance tickets are now on sale for $10 (cheap).  Prices go up to $15 on the day of the event, so step up early. 

One thing worth noting, however, is that this fantastic event is not taking place in Long Beach.  Dennis, who worked tirelessly to make Koos Art Center an important cultural hub for the City, and for the East Village Arts District, has closed the doors and redirected all his creative energies back to Santa Ana, from whence he came.

His arrival to Long Beach was hailed by many as a triumph, and we eagerly awaited the launch of a new all-ages cultural Mecca right in the heart of our Arts District.  Unfortunately, his early efforts were too successful, and the Lafayette Association of Homeowners, his landlord, basically told him that all of his plans were no longer suitable for their building.  Undaunted, he revised his mission, shifting to quieter, less frequent, music performances, and increased the focus on art shows.

Still, after hosting countless critically acclaimed art, theater, and music shows the new model simply wasn’t financially sustainable.  Now, the Lafayette sits with a majority of its retail space empty, once again raising the specter of blight that the Redevelopment Agency was trying to eliminate.

Dennis was aggressively courted back to Santa Ana, and now he’s breathing new life and energy into their burgeoning Downtown, and that energy will be sorely missed here.

Once he’s had time to recover from Saturday’s event, I’ll be interviewing Dennis to find out what he learned from his experiences here.