Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Billionaire Asked to Save the Boom

Below is the News Release announcing our new program to help SAVE the BOOM – Forever!!!

Today we are officially launching Operation Post Card. This is a winter long effort to ask the property owner of the landmark Coast Inn and Boom Boom Room, Mr. Steven Udvar-Hazy, to either drastically reduce his asking price, or just donate it!

You can help by signing a post card when you see a volunteer around town, or email us at savetheboom@aol.com or just write your own note to Mr. Udvar-Hazy. The post card is at the end of the News Release with the message that we want to convey and his office mailing address in Los Angeles .

Please forward this email and the News Release to everyone in your address book.

Thanks for your help and support!

For Immediate Release Contact: Fred Karger
January 28, 2008 949-494-4750

Billionaire Asked to Save Gay Bar
Operation Post Card Launched

LAGUNA BEACH, CA – SAVE the BOOM!!! http://www.savetheboom.com/ today kicks off its 2008 offensive to save the landmark Coast Inn and Boom Boom Room. A winter long campaign gets underway today to appeal to Mr. Steven Udvar-Hazy to either sell his property to a buyer who will keep it as a gay establishment, donate it to the city of Laguna Beach or donate it to a newly created Trust that will administer the property.

“Thousands of yellow post cards have been printed and we hope to fill his Los Angeles office with them. We will be getting as many people to sign and mail them to Mr. Udvar-Hazy as we can until this historic property returns to the way it has been for over 60 years,” stated Fred Karger, Founder of SAVE the BOOM!!!

The Coast Inn and the Boom Boom Room in which it is located was put up for sale by Mr. Udvar-Hazy in May 2007. There have been scores of interested buyers in discussions with Mr. Udvar-Hazy and his real estate representative, Joe Smith of Monarch Bay Realty, but no sale has taken place. This property could become the finest gay destination resort and club in the world.

Steven Udvar-Hazy is the CEO of International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) in Los Angeles , and he was ranked the 83rd richest American on the 2007 Forbes list with a net worth of $3.1 billion. ILFC is a division of AIG, the world’s largest Insurance and Financial Services Company. AIG is ranked #9 on the Fortune list of biggest companies in the US .

“The Coast Inn has 24 rooms and houses the oldest gay bar in the Western United States ,” added Karger. “Our efforts to save our landmark building have been going on for close to 2 years. Mr. Udvar-Hazy is a very generous man. He donated nearly $70 million dollars to the Smithsonian to create The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of The National Air and Space Museum . This incredible museum is located near Washington Dulles International Airport , and opened in 2003. Now we sincerely hope that he will consider donating the historic building that he owns in Laguna Beach .

“The donation of the Coast Inn located at 1401 S. Coast Highway could be an excellent federal and state tax deduction for him. He would be a hero to millions of gays and lesbians across the country who support our cause," said Karger. “Real Estate values are down in Orange County from what they were 2 years ago when he bought the property, and financing is hard to come by. We hope that he will either drastically lower the asking price or be a true hero and donate the property.”

Developers donate real estate to cities and other governmental entities all the time. Donald Bren and his Irvine Company donated a significant amount of land that he owned in Laguna Canyon to the City of Laguna Beach .

“I have sent him several qualified buyers to no avail. Now the Boom Boom Room has been closed for nearly five months, and lots of gay and lesbian residents and our friends are thinking about moving away. The City has a long history with the gay community going back more than 100 years when the first 40 artists moved to beautiful Laguna Beach between 1903 and 1917. We helped shape this City and we want to stay and be involved with the Laguna where we live and work for the next 100 years. The Boom Boom Room has been our club for over 60 years.

“We don’t have a lot of landmarks in our civil rights movement,” said Karger. “Our clubs and our bars have long been our gathering places. They take on a far greater significance. And nothing is more significant in gay history than the Boom or Laguna Beach .”

“Many gay firsts have taken place in Laguna Beach -- both good and bad. Bob Gentry was the first openly gay mayor in the United States . Under his 12 years on the City Council, so many historic laws were passed ranging from domestic partnership, anti discrimination to HIV / AIDS.

“Over the last 25 years, the gay community has lost so many of our ranks to the scourge of AIDS. Laguna Beach lost more of its citizens to AIDS per capita than any city in America . Now, we do not want to lose the heart and soul of the gay community in Laguna, and we will fight this battle as we have fought them all.

“So, today, we will launch “Operation Post Card,” our post card campaign to Mr. Udvar-Hazy to appeal to his sense of fairness and kindness and generosity to help us SAVE the BOOM – Forever!!!,” concluded Karger.

Anyone interested in helping Operation Post Card, please email savetheboom@aol.com or call 949-494-4750


Monday, January 14, 2008

More Boom Coverage

Well, I wanted to deliver the January issue of the ultra exclusive Riviera Magazine right to your computer, iPhone or blackberry. Writer Arrissia Owen Turner did a wonderful job interviewing Men of Laguna Beach Calendar Cover Model, Caleb King as a feature story for their “The Radar Now” section (page 38). The latest Riviera Magazine just hit newsstands this week.

Caleb did an incredible job telling why a straight guy wants to help save a gay landmark in Laguna Beach . The story and photo are below. The Men of Laguna Beach Calendar has been getting world wide attention, and we just shipped off copies to London -- hand carried by one of our supporters and is now available on a third continent. http://www.menoflagunabeach.com/

And special thanks to a wonderful artist and great friend of SAVE the BOOM!!! Bill Atkins for creating some art work and free advertising for our cause. Bill designed some really clever graphics to cover the boring brown paper that currently adorns the windows of the Boom. Check it out. Great improvement. Someone doing a virtual drive by will hopefully see the signs and call realtor Joe Smith who is representing Mr. Udvar-Hazy who is trying to sell the Coast Inn and Boom Boom Room. If you or anyone else wants to buy the building, remodel it and keep it as a gay establishment, call Joe at Monarch Bay Realty 949-489-1100

Close up of first panel:

Have a wonderful weekend and get ready for “Operation Post Card.” Details to follow soon.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Year End Update

Just wanted to send you some of the year end news coverage that SAVE the BOOM!!! (www.savetheboom.com) has been receiving. The Boom’s temporary closure has been compared to the Hollywood Writer’s Strike. The movie and TV business is closed for now, but when the strike is settled, everyone will be back to work. Well, when the Boom is sold to a buyer who will remodel it and create the New Boom, then life can get back to normal in Laguna Beach . And the gay residents and our friends in Laguna and throughout Orange County will get their Community Center back, and all of the travelers from all over the US and the world will return to Laguna to enjoy our magnificent city with all it has to offer. There have been reports that business is down in Laguna Beach over the last 4 months compared to the same period in 2006. Plus the sales tax revenue that the Boom and Coast Inn generated for the city is certainly missed. There are a lot of options within an hour or two drive that are now capturing more of the gay travel dollar. Palm Springs , San Diego , Long Beach and Los Angeles are profiting at Laguna’s expense.

So as 2008 gets underway, all of us at SAVE the BOOM!!! will continue to work overtime to find a buyer of Mr. Udvar-Hazy’s property and at 1401 S. Coast Highway . He has asked that all inquiries on the Coast Inn and the Boom be directed to his real estate agent Mr. Joe Smith with Monarch Bay Realty 949-489-1100. Please refer any interested buyers to Joe and you can help Save the oldest gay bar in the Western United States , the Landmark Boom Boom Room.

Below are the stories as well as the links to the latest coverage on the Boom and our efforts. Thanks to Suzie Harrison at the Laguna Beach Independent, the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot and Marcus Andrews at the Blade.

And stay tuned for our next grassroots project coming soon to a laptop, blackberry or iPhone near you!

Thank you one and all for your interest and support as we work to SAVE the BOOM – Forever!!!

Laguna Beach Independent December 28, 2007

Top 11 News Stories of 2007


The most significant news stories in 2007 read like plot developments in a well-paced novel, including mayhem, mystery, intrigue, loss and defeat, as well as victory, heroes, unity, leadership and action. And while part of the community becomes disbanded another reunites.

Gay Culture in Decline

The gay and lesbian community was hit hard with the loss of two popular Coast Highway hangouts a block away from each other. Woody’s at the Beach played its last gay anthem on Feb. 3 while the iconic Boom Boom Room’s “Last Dance” went on to the wee hours of Sept. 4.

Thousands gathered for the Boom’s final party weekend, marking the end of a six-decade era. Loyal patrons danced, shared stories and memories and even cried.

The hangouts held down two corners of a stretch of Coast Highway known as the gay triangle, for its history of gay-owned and operated businesses and bars that were a safe haven for the gay community.

The rainbow flag still waves in the area, though its intensity is markedly diminished.

Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot December 28, 2007

Closure of Boom Boom Room and Woody’s

Laguna Beach lost two of its landmark gay establishments in Woody’s and the Boom Boom Room, located within two blocks of each other on South Coast Highway .

Woody’s at the Beach was at the corner of Cress Street and South Coast Highway for 10 years and the location had been gay-oriented for about 50 years.

Owner Joel Herzer sold the restaurant, and the last day was Feb. 3. An Avila ’s El Ranchito restaurant now occupies the space.

The Boom Boom Room, housed in the historic Coast Inn for more than 60 years, saw its last day after a Labor Day weekend of parties.

Airline mogul Steven Udvar-Hazy bought the hotel, bar and adjacent gay liquor store in 2006 with plans to redevelop the ocean view site and gave the bar a one-year lease extension.

In the intervening year, a grass roots effort was organized by local gay activist Fred Karger. The group — Save the Boom — organized fundraising events and actively sought buyers to preserve the watering hole.

A “for sale” sign now hangs in the window as Udvar-Hazy has put the property back on the market. Karger and Save the Boom activists are still optimistic they will find a buyer who will keep the bar as it was.

The Blade January 2008

One Night Stands & Standards in O.C.
Written by Marcus Andrews

Compared to West Hollywood, the LGBT Orange County nightlife seems to offer few options for its residents. What some people don't realize is that the Boom's closure doesn't mean an end to going out in Orange County .

In 2006, the closing of Ozz Supper Club presented the end of an era for gay clubs. With the loss of Hamburger Mary’s in early 2007 and the Boom Boom Room — the oldest and arguably most iconic gay bar in the Western United States — which closed on Labor Day, there’s a feeling that the club scene here has all but evaporated.

Have all the promoters disappeared and taken their clubs to Los Angeles? Perhaps they have decided it’s not worth throwing clubs in Orange County anymore because it’s not worth the financial risk.

From Laguna Beach to Buena Park , gay clubs flourished for many years but it seems that these clubs have had their day. It also came to the attention of most owners that they were sitting on gold mines and decided to take the money and run. A variety of community figures came out of the woodwork and decided to jump-start the gay Orange County club scene. The only problem is they are not promoters, they are not DJs and they may not know how to keep the scene alive for longer than a few years — if that.

However, people are talking about a few places. Some promoters have picked up the slack to create valuable clubs and bars in Orange County .

There are many reasons to go to gay clubs – to meet up with friends, celebrate a birthday or other special occasion – but in the past, one primary reason to visit clubs was that they offered the only real venue for meeting other LGBT people.

Today the men of Orange County go online every day to create relationships with people they have never met and then wonder where all the men are when they go out to clubs. As the gays coming out in Orange County continue to get younger every year, complaints can be heard about the “kids” at all the clubs.

Many promoters like DJ Zach from Boy U have been trying to give the young gay crowd a place to party in Orange County . After working with Tigerheat in Los Angeles , he came to Orange County to present the young gay population a chance to party with the best in Top 40 music and beats that make young and old alike want to move at Club Thrust.

“The city vibe came to Orange County ,” DJ Zach says. However, while creating Thrust he ran into problems when the owners of Quan’s Rockin’ Sushi lost their liquor license and patrons kept getting harassed at the Tuesday night event.

He decided after years of building a dedicated clientele and improving themes to go on hiatus and come back with Club Stiff. Once again the young gay crowd had nowhere to go on Tuesday nights.

What most promoters think about now are the money and how much they can make. “I prefer more specific events rather than a location,” DJ Zach says. “It’s hard to get people out in Orange County , since L.A. has all these bars.”

People think that it’s easy to be a club promoter and that it’s a glamorous lifestyle. This simply isn’t true; it also has a very dark side. Promoters must pay dancers, DJs, bartenders and security. Everyone wants a piece of the action and it’s unclear if they are friendly only because they want to get in for free or maybe get free drinks, which promoters can’t spare because they still have to make money. One problem for Orange County clubs is that there are no promoters presenting these clubs — just people expecting and hoping to make something for the gay community. That’s a nice sentiment, but it’s not good for the club business.

Archer Altstaetter, the front man of Boinkevents.com, has come onto the scene like a whirlwind and taken the Orange County gay scene from dull to exciting in one year. An accomplished dancer and great entertainer all around, he nonetheless experiences a lull from time to time at his club Friction. He’s one of the few who have sustained a night with entertaining shows and resident DJs in Orange County .

Another man trying to save the gay club scene in Orange County is Fred Karger, who created the Save the Boom organization. Karger thought the gay club scene in Orange County was fading and decided to call upon the community to save a beloved venue. Save the Boom is currently seeking someone to buy the property, which was placed on the market again.

“I’m funding the campaign myself,” Karger says. He says the opportunity for the young gay community to buy one of the mainstays of Orange County ’s gay club scene is out there. The possibilities are limitless for this venue, but it seems like a fleeting dream for many in the community. Karger says the previous owners of the Boom were not really bar people, and they sold the bar to the highest bidder.

One of only two exclusively gay dance clubs left in Orange County is Bounce in Laguna Beach . The venue is small but striking enough to bring a crowd that crams into the two-story club/bar. James Nelson, owner and resident DJ on Saturday nights, makes a determined effort to keep the gays coming for a good time every weekend. Given the scarcity of clubs that are gay every night of the week, Nelson not only appreciates his new patrons but also values the ones who have been there from day one. This makes his establishment something of an anomaly because not many people get someone who truly loves the art in creating a fun night for gays. An artist by trade, Nelson is not a promoter — and makes no claim to be. All he wants is for people to have a good time, which is the service that he provides.

DJs have always been a topic of scrutiny in clubs. Patrons can be demanding about what kind of music they want to dance to, with nary a thought about the rest of the crowd. When they don’t get what they want, they’ll complain or go to a different venue. DJ Fernando, who spun for Club Asia in Orange County , is no stranger to this situation. He knows the crowd and watches what they want. He never gets a request unless it is for One Night Only from the Dreamgirls soundtrack. “Lesbians, gays and drag queens don’t always mix,” DJ Fernando says. “The way to go is with video clubs. People are visual, and it’s a good conversation starter.” Spinning for Club Asia wasn’t always a breeze, but he found that the House movement wasn’t dead and played everything from the ’90s to the present. He could tell how pleased his crowds were just by how they were moving.

As with other weekly or monthly clubs, Club Asia closed due to constant changes in dates. Being monthly reduced Club Asia’s impact. DJ Fernando says it’s because the crowd and promoters did not work together to know what clubgoers want. “Promoters come and go,” DJ Fernando says. “But the ones that last are very few, like Anthony Lopez. A lot of promoters don’t even want the twinks, because they don’t buy liquor — so what’s the point? A lot of promoters aren’t even real promoters and they fail.”

By the time most people discover a club in Orange County it has already had a stroke of bad luck and not brought in the numbers. This is not what the gay community in Orange County needs. We need venues that we own that have reputable promoters and great DJs, so that the masses can look our way and want to come into town to party for the night. It is up to us as the patrons of these clubs and bars to make sure they survive and continue to bring us the entertainment that we so deserve. We are the ones that need to make Orange County the club Mecca that we want it to be. The Internet is a great tool to make new friends but next time you want to meet real people go to a club and see who is out there.

IN Los Angeles Magazine December 26 to January 9, 2008

And here is the link to the amazing coverage that IN Magazine gave to our Men of Laguna Beach Calendar and SAVE the BOOM!!! The link was not up when I sent the story around last week, but it’s up now. In case you didn’t pick up a copy, check it out on line and please foreword it around. We are down to our last 150 calendars, but there is one with your name on it. Just go to www.menoflagunabeach.com and order away. We are doing 2 for 1 for the month of January. So if you order 1 for $14.95 + shipping and handling we will ship you two – one for home and one for work! That's less than a penny a day! Link to IN Magazine: http://www.inlamagazine.com/1023/