Tucked away in an area not-quite Echo Park, not-quite Silverlake, and identified as Historic Filipinotown, the Bootleg Theater built a two decade reputation primarily as a music venue, but also as a home for dance under the aegis of Licia Perea and her Latina Dance Project. Among other dance events, for nine years the Bootleg and Perea jointly presented BlakTinx, the critically-praised series showcasing new choreography from Black and LatinX dancemakers.
This past week Bootleg’s co-founders Jason and Alicia Adams made the sad announcement that efforts to buy out the third co-owner had failed, that after a year-long pandemic closure, the venue would not reopen, and the Bootleg had been sold. The new owners reportedly are committed to reopening and continuing the venue’s identity as a music venue, but Perea learned that dance currently is not included in plans for the new venture going forward.
The gobsmacking news came just before Perea was readying for the opening of this year’s BlakTinx concert. Traditionally held onstage at the Bootleg Theater, last year the annual concert shifted online when the venue closed with the Covid-19 shutdown. In something of a bad news, good news situation, the closure and sale of the venue does not affect this year’s concert. Ongoing uncertainty about when the state would reopen performance venues prompted Perea to arrange this year’s concert also as online performances. After opening over the weekend, the concert continues online through Tuesday night.
In a statement after the news broke, Perea told supporters “I’m sure that many of you have heard that our beloved Bootleg Theater has closed its doors with new owners coming in with new ideas and programming. This breaks my heart as it was my artistic home since moving to LA 26 years ago, first with the Latina Dance Project and now with BlakTinx for nine years!”
Perea described the Bootleg Theater as more than just a performing space, crediting the phenomenal community and energy created there to the founders Alicia and Jason Adams.
For this edition, likely the final one jointly presented by Latina Dance Project and the original Bootleg Theater, Perea recruited ten alumni of prior BlakTinx programs. Titled SMASH CUT, the dancemakers created new filmed dance works. Participants include Melesio Anthony Aceves, Rosa Rodriguez Frazier, Michelle Funderburk, Keilah Glover, Nancy Rivera Gomez, Irishia Hubbard, Primera Generación, Joshua Estrada Romero, Stacey Strickland Jr. and Rosanna Tavares.
The online nature of this year’s BlakTinx program insulated it from the venue’s ownership transfer this week, but the new owners decision to exclude dance going forward means this dance series and the Latina Dance Project likely will be looking for a new home base.
BlakTinx 3rd Alumni Concert, thru Tues., June 29, 10 p.m. Suggested donation $10. Registration.
To visit the BlakTinX website, click HERE.
Written by Ann Haskins for LA Dance Chronicle.
Featured image: Bootleg Theater – Photo by Justin Higuchi