Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Boom Boom Room Is Back

No on Prop 8 Fund-Raiser Fills the House!!!

LAGUNA BEACH – If you were lucky enough to be at the gay landmark Boom Boom Room last Saturday night for the Halloween Party and Fun(d)-raiser for No on 8, you know all about it. If not, there are lots of pictures below of all you missed. It was just like the good old days, packed, fun and just what the doctor ordered. Thousands of dollars were raised, the speeches were short and the incredible dj spun til closing.

Special thanks go out to Laguna Beach Democratic Club Headquarters Manager and Party Chair Audrey Prosser, who ran the party like a well oiled machine, Event Promoter Glen Kasper who made this the party of the year, and all the volunteers who decorated, bartended, kept running out to buy more supplies – literally the dozens of people who worked so hard to make this event such a huge success. Let’s keep the Boom open for more special events instead of the empty storefront that it has been for over a year. It’s good for the ecconomey and good for Laguna.

Lots of people came in from San Diego, LA, Long Beach and even Palm Springs for the fund-raiser. It was so great to see so many Boom regulars. It definitely reinvigorated me to continue our campaign to SAVE the BOOM – Forever!!!!

Here are lots of photos from last Saturday for your viewing pleasure:

Audrey and Harpo Marx

Volunteer Bartenders Ryan, Steve and Reid

Father Fred with Sarah Palin and John McCain

Even the Boom Dancers Were Back at the Boom!

Andrew and Friends Making Mary!

Joe the Plumber (Glen) On Break with Save the Boom Treasurer & Fighter Pilot Shane

And the Winners Are, Missy and Dede Devine

Jeremy and Phil Back at the Boom!

Incredible Decorations Were Everywhere. Thank you Glen and Company!!!

Steve and Ryan Toasting the Night

Two Cute Cats!

Hmmmm, King Kong Meets Another Monster

Evan and Steve Bringing Home the Soda

It Got Pretty HOT at the Boom as the Night Wore on for the Men and Women Behind the Bar

Patrick Took a Break From Putting Out Fires to Help Keep the Mood Festive

Even Though the Owners Took the Rainbow Flag off the Roof, It’s Proudly Flying Back at the Boom Again!!!

AJ and Chris Came in for the Party. Wait, Where’s Chris??

The Girls Were Out in Force. She’s a Good Witch!

Now That’s Scary!

Josh is Not Wearing a Costume, but Was Very Popular None-the-less…..

And the Boom-Spangled Banner, Was So Gallantly Streaming

Well Be Back! SAVE the BOOM—Forever!!!

-- the end --

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Boom Party Weekend Parties Parties Parties

NEWS UPDATE October 13, 2008 Contact: Fred Karger 949-494-4750

Parties at the Boom Boom Room Friday and Saturday Nights
Club Bounce (the old Main Street) Packed Both Nights

LAGUNA BEACH, CA – Friday’s fund-raiser for No on Prop 8 and another big party at the Boom on Saturday for the Laguna Beach Democratic Club were standing room only and fun, fun, fun. Here are some photos for you to enjoy in case you missed the festivities.

Looks like Glen Kasper and Laguna Muse are hosting a No on Prop 8 Halloween fund-raiser at the old Boom through the Democratic Club on Saturday night, October 25th. If you have never been to a Glen Kasper Halloween party, you are in for a treat!
Dan and Bobby -- Friday Night Out
Set Her Up Joe, I Mean Julie
A New Generation Enjoying the Boom
Saturday’s Band, Back at the Boom
Big Mike and Little Mike Bartending Across the Street at the Always Fun Club Bounce

Max and Patrick Taking a Break

The Dance Flor Was Packed

If you Haven’t Been Yet, Check it Out! 1460 S. Coaast Hwy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Boom Boom Room Reopens

1401 S. Coast Highway is Open for Business

LAGUNA BEACH – If you have been driving down the Coast Hwy. lately you would have seen people, lines, the paper off the windows, and the lots of activity. It is not an illusion; it is the new headquarters for the Laguna Beach Democratic Club. Here are some photos to bring back lots of great memories.

Ahhhhhh, the old place looks good

Bartender, or Rather Super Volunteer Lagunan Audrey Prosser Pouring

Yeah, the Rainbow Flag is Back!!! Looks Like a No on 8 Sign, too!

Wow, Even the Stage is Back Where the Dreamgirls Used to Perform Every Wednesday Night

And I Had to Walk Down to -- What is Now One of the Most Famous Gardens in California – (Font Page Stories in both the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times!), Michel Martenay’s Garden of Peace and Love – It Looks So Beautiful.

Special thanks to all the volunteers who maintain the Garden and especially to Glen Kasper and everyone at Laguna Muse who spearheaded the drive to restore it.

We will keep you posted on what happens next……

Best regards,

Fred Karger

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

dear friends – I am not sure if you saw this incredibly moving story on the front page of Sunday's Los Angeles Times by Susannah Rosenblat, She came to our Saturday cleanup of the garden a few weeks ago that was sponsored by Laguna Muse. The Garden of Peace and Love has been around for two decades, and serves as a memorial to all those who lost their lives to HIV / AIDS. Muse has been organizing many events in Laguna over the summer and has now taken over the responsibility of maintaining the Garden of Peace and Love. Muse also publishes a bi monthly newsletter that you are probably familiar with.

I hope that you will take a few minutes to read this heroic story about Michel Martenay and his stuggle with HIV / AIDS, the very disease that he has memoriazed in the garden that he created just below the old Boom Boom Room.

here's the link and the full story is also below:,0,5206093.story?page=1

Cultivated for AIDS victims, Laguna Beach garden is missing its keeper

Joe Nygaard waters the Garden of Peace and Love for his neighbor Michel Martenay, who has been tending to the plot on a Laguna Beach bluff for more than 20 years. The groundskeeper is now being cared for at a hospice in Anaheim.

The man who tended to a plot that became the resting place of many in the once-thriving gay community is himself fighting the disease.

By Susannah Rosenblatt, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 7, 2008

The small patch of flowers serves as a reminder. It commemorates lives lost and souls remembered. The ashes of 50 or so are scattered or buried there.

But the freshly turned topsoil and budding sweet alyssum in the modest garden on the Laguna Beach bluff are deceiving: The gardener is missing.

Michel Martenay nurtured this little spot for more than 20 years, tugging weeds and planting perennials on his own time with his own money. He installed stone cherubs and lined the dirt with heart-shaped rocks gathered from the beach below.

Now, the man who cultivated this memorial to those struck down by ailments such as AIDS, which ravaged the city's once-vibrant gay community some two decades ago, is himself battling the disease.

"Every time I cry, because I would like to take care of it again, see my garden," Martenay says, his so-blue eyes brimming, his head in his hands. Instead, he spends most days in an Anaheim hospice. The 25 pills he's supposed to swallow every morning make him sick; he sheds pounds from his hollowed-out frame. Unable to work, he worries about money but tries to stay positive about the future.
He spends his days feeding the songbirds and chasing cats and pigeons from a birdbath in the hospice courtyard. The fuchsia bougainvillea climbing the iron fence is no substitute for his Garden of Peace and Love.

Finding his calling

The native Parisian first visited Laguna Beach more than 25 years ago. He'd broken up with a boyfriend. A neighbor had suggested the pretty city hugged by canyons and waves. He was smitten.

Martenay walked everywhere, through town, along the sand. He stumbled upon a forlorn tangle of weeds, rubbish and beer bottles where he was told the ashes of two strangers were buried.

"This garden, nobody take care," says Martenay in his thick French accent, puffing on the Marlboro Lights he loves. "I feel sorry for them." Thirty-nine trash bags later, he'd found his calling.

"People ask me why I do that. I say, because there is two guys buried there," Martenay says. "I do that with my heart."

A landscaper by trade, Martenay would visit the garden in the mornings and evenings, bringing all kinds and colors of donated and purchased flowers.

For several years he led a Christmas Eve candlelight vigil, honoring the memory of the dead. It drew crowds: "The people was coming crying, laughing, smoking joints." A heartbroken man bought a cherub statue to honor his dead lover. The garden became a touchstone for those who had lost loved ones, particularly to AIDS.

Next door to the former home of the storied gay nightclub the Boom Boom Room, the garden blossomed at the center of Laguna's gay culture.

A treasured spot

Former Laguna Beach Mayor Robert Gentry recalls when AIDS first hit the city in the 1980s: "Everybody was scared to death. People were wearing masks." He was ushered into businesses' back rooms when he discussed the disease.

"Laguna Beach is different today because of HIV," said Gentry, who was mayor from 1982 to 1994. During that time, he lost his partner to AIDS. Laguna "lost dozens and dozens of community leaders and activists and upstanding citizens, and that changed the city."

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who also lost a longtime partner to AIDS, considers the garden a "sacred spot." He met his late partner on that very block and used to spend weekends in Laguna's historic gay core.

The Garden of Peace and Love, as Martenay dubbed it, "had great significance to many of us who've been through the AIDS epidemic," Rosendahl said. "I would go there and pray literally in my meditative way, and remember people who have passed on.

"I'll never overcome it," he said of his loss, one that's shared by many others. "It will always be in my heart forever -- the pain and suffering we went through as a people."

The city recognized how meaningful the patch of blooms had become to the community, gay and straight. People would stop there to reflect, leave mementos, or scatter or bury the ashes of those they'd lost. The city's HIV committee provided access to a city water line to sustain the garden after the Boom would no longer allow use of its water supply.

"Michel was doing the city a favor," said Jim Spreine, a former Laguna Beach police chief who chaired the committee. "You know he does this because he loves his fellow man."

Martenay became a fixture, always puttering on that seaside bluff, talking to homeless people wandering by or rich couples meandering down the hill. He was a social maven, a tour guide, a devoted groundskeeper.

Eventually, a plaque went up at the garden honoring those afflicted by AIDS. But the gardener says the spot is for everyone, "poor, rich, whatever." With flowers always blooming and constant visitors, Martenay says, those resting there are never alone.

Community effort

About five months ago, Martenay grew weak. The 48-year-old found out he, too, had AIDS. He was in and out of the hospital. Visits to the garden tapered off. He was no longer strong enough to haul flats of flowers down the steep stairs or water vigilantly. He moved to Anaheim, where he could receive nursing care; with no car, he was separated from the plot of land he loved.

Friends stepped in. Jimmy Graesser's home overlooks the Garden of Peace and Love. He knew how much Martenay would worry about his beloved plants, so Graesser started watering when he could. Another neighbor, Joe Nygaard, pitched in, weeding and watering, clearing out dead stalks.

"I've adopted it, it's adopted me," Nygaard said of the spot. Digging in the dirt is "my way of encouraging him not to give up on his life." He treasures the pair of clippers Martenay gave him on a recent trip back; friends bring Martenay to the garden for occasional visits.

Community members organized a cleanup effort over the summer, planting dazzling maroon and gold day lilies, white iceberg roses and red geraniums, all to the back beat of the Beatles and the roaring surf. In clearing the soil, they unearthed plastic bags and canisters of ashes, plus a dirt-caked angel and stuffed bear; the discoveries were tucked carefully back underground.

"Why let his legacy go down the tubes?" asked John Madison, owner of Madison Square & Garden Cafe in Laguna, sweating with effort, as he helped plant the flowers he'd donated.

The community has rallied "to pick up where he left off," longtime Laguna resident Patrick Stanton, 50, said as he cleared out the undergrowth from around a favorite bench. "There's a lot of pain and a lot of tears, also a lot of love and a lot of smiles" in this patch of earth, he said, adding, "It's fitting that it should be beautiful."

A Labor Day fundraiser pays for weekly visits from a professional gardener. Another fundraiser and cleanup day, and beautification measures such as new signs, are planned for the fall.

And yet, for Martenay, the outpouring of help is bittersweet.

"It's very good. I'm very happy," he says wistfully. "But it's too bad -- because it's not me."

Instead, he shuffles between bed and chair and courtyard at the hospice, sleeping often and missing his garden. Sometimes, if he stands outside at night, he can see the fireworks at Disneyland.

On his nightstand sits a single magenta orchid that just lost its exotic bloom. Lately he's planted mums and begonias in the courtyard outside his room. The two-day effort left him worn out the rest of the week. He hopes to return to Laguna Beach, to the garden, while there's still time.

And after that, he has a particular spot in mind: at the foot of one of the garden's little angels, overlooking the sea.

-- end --

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Garden of Peace and Love Cleanup

On Saturday, August 9th Laguna Muse organized a very successful cleanup of the Garden of Peace and Love located on the bluff on the way down to the beach at the end of Mountain Avenue just below the Boom.

Michele Martinay started this living memorial to those who have passed away from HIV AIDS, and he has taken care of this special garden for the last 18 years. Now Michele's own battle with the disease has made it no longer possible for him to maintain the garden.

So 20 volunteers organized by Laguna Muse founder, Glen Kasper showed up with tools, gloves and a desire to help restore the garden back to the way Michele has kept it for all these years.

Jon Madison, owner of Laguna's magnificent Madison Square donated tons of flowers, plants, bushes and trees and all pitched for hours to do Michele proud.

Now MUSE is raising money to hire a gardener to take care of this sacred
spot so that it will live on forever. Visit their web site to help out:

Glen tells us that he will also be organizing other cleanups in the near future.

Special thanks go out to all the volunteers who gave up a Saturday and to Laguna Beach Mayor Jane Egly who came by to support the effort. It was quite an emotional and fulfilling day!

Jon Madison (right)of Madison Square flanked by other volunteers
Scott Allen, President of the Laguna Beach HIV AIDS Advisory Committee Steve clearing lots of the weeds and grass that had accumulated Laguna Muse Founder, Glen Kasper at the Cleanup It takes some water to make a Garden of Peace and Love Laguna Beach Mayor Jane Egly came by to thank all the volunteers. Here she is with Laguna resident and Muse writer Andrew Reynolds Looking Good!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Saving the Boom Hollywood Premiere + No on 8 Endorsement

NEWS UPDATE Contact: Fred Karger 949-494-4750 July 25, 2008


LAGUNA BEACH – It’s been quite a couple of weeks. Last Tuesday, the Laguna Invasion of LA took place with several dozen Lagunans, who stared in the movie, coming up to Hollywood to see the World Premiere of John Keitel’s Saving the Boom documentary at the Outfest Film Festival. And there were two surprise guests at the Premiere, Brad (Pitt) and George (Clooney) who arrived on the red carpet and posed for photos with Premiere guests. Brad had flown in from Nice, where just days earlier Angelina had given birth to their twins. And George flew in from the set of his new fall comedy for HBO “The Fall of Bob.” He had gained 40 lbs for his new role and looked a little different.

The stars loved John’s movie and who knows; maybe they will buy the Coast Inn and SAVE the BOOM!!! once and for all. Brad, John, Fred and George at the Director’s Guild Theater last week for the World Premier of John Keitel’s Saving the Boom Documentary

Here some more pictures from that amazing night. Lagunans Andrew, Michael (Mr. March) and Eric with the stars Calendar Model Russ (Mr. June) and Chris Meeting Brad and George Calendar Model Mr. February Gustavo Made the trip up from the OC pictured with world renowned bagpiper Lorne Cousin from our AIG Demonstration in Century City on April 1st

Where guests were greeted by four searchlights in front and several hundred people celebrated the success of John Keitel’s Documentary Save the Boom Treasurer Shane, with Gustavo, Russ, Carlos and Calendar Contestant Coordinator Brian Filmmaker Extraordinaire John Keitel and his family at Falcon
It was a very fun and exciting night and special thanks go out to our sponsors, Skyy Vodka, Red Bull and Out Magazine. Film stars Ryan and Ty with Save the Boom Founder Fred Karger

After very emotional testimony and Council comments, the Laguna Beach City Council unamamously voted to oppose the anti gay marriage constitutional amendment -- Proposition 8 on the November ballot. Many residents testified and many more witnessed history being made as Mayor Jane Egly, Mayor Pro Tem Cheryl, Kinsman, and Council Members Elizabeth Pearson, Toni Iseman and Kelly Boyd all listened, discussed and lead the state by being the first city in California to formally oppose Proposition 8.

Here are links to the news coverage by Susannah Rosenblatt for the LA Times and Kelli Hart for the Orange County Register. And an excellent editorial also from the LA Times:,0,4080471.story

For everyone attending Tuesday’s City Council Meeting, it was a night that we will never forget.

A heartfelt thanks goes out to our outstanding City Council. They are leading the way for equality and making lives better through their action and their words.

We will keep you posted on our ongoing efforts to SAVE the BOOM – Forever!!!!

Thanks to one and all!

Friday, July 11, 2008

NEWS UPDATE July 9, 2008 Contact: Fred Karger 949-494-4750

Record Numbers Flock to Laguna Beach

Over the Fourth Weekend (Photos up Soon)

LAGUNA BEACH – There were record numbers of gays and lesbians at West Street Beach and throughout Laguna over the three day holiday weekend. It was the first July 4th without the Boom Boom Room in 61 years, but Laguna was busy with parties, parties and more parties to fill the void. Promoter Extraordinaire Will Gorges put on his annual IndepenDance at two incredible venues. Friday night was Club W, at the Woman’s Club and Saturday night at the amazing event space seven degrees in Laguna Canyon.

Thanks go out to some of the many party hosts: Jack Corwin, Brad Harvey, Peter Montgomery and Michael Scales & Tom Panno and Tony Maquet. And Glen Kasper staged the first fun(d) raiser for his non profit Laguna Muse on Thursday night to kickoff the weekend at his beautiful home – see pics. Muse staged a fashion show and musical review all MC’d By Miss Dede Devine on a specially built stage over Glen’s swimming pool. There was a Scotch Tasting sponsored by Glenfiddich, a vodka bar sponsored by xzo Vodka, great decorations, food and a very fun crowd.

Czech in Here – holding up a copy of the new Laguna Muse

Models at Glen’s Party --- the “Revue”

Art Gallery owner Diana, Mr. March, Michael, his

boyfriend Andrew and Save the Boom treasurer Shane

Here are some other pictures from the weekend of fun in Laguna Beach

Colton (right) and Warren (left) at Brad Harvey's Party

Twin Bartenders Craig (left) and Greg (right) at Peter & Michael’s on the Fourth

Here I am at Marisa and Steve Robbins New House. Wow!

Loving the Ocean View at 5 Camel Point

Super Model and 30 year Laguna resident Scott at Tom and Tony’s

One Sad Note

After 61 years of gay history, the owner and operators of the Boom Boom Room and the Coast Inn removed the rainbow flag from the spot where it has flown for decades. The stars and stripes are flying but the gay rainbow flag is gone.

Several phone calls to management to find out what happened went unreturned. We hope that it will be back soon, but I have heard that because they are renting out the rooms they did not want the flag to remain.

We are hopeful that a buyer will come in and buy the Boom and Coast Inn and make it the most beautiful gay destination hotel and club in the U.S. Then the rainbow flag can fly proudly over our landmark Boom Boom Room again


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

For Immediate Release June 16, 2008 Contact: Fred Karger 949-494-4750
“Saving the Boom” Tickets Go On Sale Today
World Premier Set for Tuesday, July 15th

HOLLYWOOD, CA – John Keitel’s amazing documentary, “Saving the Boom” will be having its World Premier at Outfest, the prestigious Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival on Tuesday, July 15, 2008. The Premier will take place at the Directors Guild Theater (DGA) Two, 7920 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood 90046 The DGA Theatre Complex is recognized throughout the entertainment industry as one of the preeminent screening and film premiere facilities in the United States. There will be plenty of parking directly below the theater.

“Saving the Boom” will begin at 7:15 pm (see flyer below) and runs 32 minutes, and is in the short documentary category. Following “Saving the Boom,” Academy Award winning director, Debra Chasnoff’s North American Premier of “It’s STILL Elementary” (48 minutes) will screen. So it will be quite a night.

THEN at 9:30 pm there will be a “Saving the Boom” Premier After Party at Beige at the trendy Falcon Restaurant and Bar, 7213 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood 90046 (1/2 mile east of the Directors Guild Theater) between Fairfax and LaBrea.

Lots more information on the After Party will be coming out soon.

Tickets for the Premier go on sale today, Monday, June 16th at 11:00 am. Tickets are $12 each. To order: call 213-480-7065 or email or go to:

The ticket order will say it's for "It's STILL Elementary," but your ticket purchase will include "Saving the Boom" as well!

The theater is going to sell out, so order yours today!

Come show your support for the historic Boom Boom Room and Coast Inn, and have a fun, emotional and entertaining evening.

Any questions, call me at 949-494-4750

See you at the movies!

Best regards,

Fred Karger, Founder
World Premiere

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 7:15 pm

Directors Guild, Theater 2

7920 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046


Directed By: John Keitel

The true story of the fight to save the oldest gay bar in the Western United States, the landmark Boom Boom Room in Laguna Beach, CA

For ticketing information, please phone 213-480-7065 or email