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Maybe Los Angeles Should Just Run the Greek Theatre Itself

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Two very rich and powerful teams have been battling for months now in a dramatic fight to take over operations at Los Angeles's Greek Theatre—the Board of the Recreation and Parks Commission voted to give mega-concert-promoter Live Nation the gig last fall, but the City Council turned around and voted in favor of LA Live owner AEG and its partner, current operator Nederlander, last month. But now there's a third, last-minute possibility on the table and it's pretty intriguing: what if the city of Los Angeles ran the 1929 venue? The Los Feliz Ledger says that the Rec and Parks Department now thinks the best course of action is to either start the whole bidding process again OR get LA to run the venue itself.

Neighbors are worried that Live Nation will make the venue a louder and possibly trashier place, but their proposal includes more renovations for the venue. All the back and forth since October has "triggered legal threats" and "set off an avalanche of lobbying at City Hall," which prompted Rec and Parks to commission a report to figure out how to proceed. The report suggested starting anew or having the city run the venue itself.

Advantages of a city-run, "open venue" would theoretically be plentiful. More promoters could work at the venue "on a non-exclusive basis," and they would be the ones putting up the money for the shows. An open venue would also "eliminate the middleman" when it comes to food and drink concessions at the venue, translating to more money in the Rec and Parks coffers (which could use it).

Of course, that's a perfect-world scenario. Does the city really need to be in the business of running the Greek? "I think the city needs to hunker down and get good at its core business before it gets into the concert business. It would be like Live Nation or AEG or Nederlander trying to run Griffith Park for a day," said a Los Feliz resident and member of the Los Feliz Improvement Association who spoke on his own behalf.
· City officials float idea: Could parks department run the Greek Theatre? [LFL]
· LA City Council Wants Total Do-Over in Fight For Control of the Greek Theatre [Curbed LA]
· Greek Theatre archives [Curbed LA]