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Bogart's, a Long Beach Showcase, Closes : Pop music: The alternative-rock club served as a launching pad for Southland bands for six years.

December 02, 1993|MIKE BOEHM | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bogart's concert club has closed, ending its six-year run as the hub of the grass-roots music scene for Long Beach and Orange County.

Since switching from a Top 40 format to original alternative rock in 1987, the 300-capacity venue in Long Beach booked a steady stream of shows, featuring cutting-edge touring attractions and serving as a nurturing ground where young bands on the local scene could gain experience and build a following.

The club's last concert was a show Saturday by Firehose, the San Pedro band that had been a regular Bogart's headliner. Stephen Zepeda, who has booked Bogart's since 1989, said that owner Richard Greco informed him Wednesday that the club's December schedule was canceled and that it would not reopen.

"I'm not surprised. Bogart's has been on the way out for a while," Zepeda said.

Greco, a Fullerton resident whose family has owned the club since the late 1970s, could not be reached Wednesday to explain his reason for closing the club. But earlier this year he said several factors were pointing toward Bogart's possible closing: plans to renovate the Marina Pacifica Mall, where the club is located, as well as his own switch into a new full-time career in the construction business.

Zepeda said that business at Bogart's this year has been "pretty break-even, if that. The economy has hurt the place. People can't afford to pay for a ticket and buy drinks too."

"I think it's going to be a mighty blow" for alternative rock in the area, said David Hayes, president of Doctor Dream Records, the Orange-based label that has signed many bands that used Bogart's as a launching pad and home club.

"It's sad, considering we have such a sparse club scene as it is for national acts. That doesn't leave much for Orange County.

"It was the only club that had national acts and cool alternative bands playing that was consistently in business doing great shows," Hayes said. "I hope somebody sees the opportunity to open a club . . . to fill the gap."

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