Did you know that it is illegal to dance inside certain venues in Venice?   

That’s right, technically the bars and night clubs in the V must have a cabaret license in order for the DJ to crank it up and the crowd to cut the rug!  Sound crazy?  It is!

It was part of prohibition, which, while prohibition was repealed, these laws to curtail dancing and music remained!   New York City just repealed these same cabaret laws.

Venice was a center for dancing in Los Angeles, but the zealot powers wanted to shut down the bohemian vibe.  Now, the #1 tourist destination in Southern California has almost no live music and dancing venues.

View message below from our friends Daniel Samakow and James Evans! 


Venice is the number 1 tourist destination in Southern California. Until prohibition, it was the number one place for dancing in Los Angeles, with numerous dance halls and signs (even a Venice-style sign strung across the street) proclaiming dancing. As you can see from the picture, the forces of intolerance during Prohibition ended dancing along with drinking. Venice was targeted for its Bohemian life-style, much as Harlem’s black night clubs and the West Village’s Gay bars were targeted in New York. Cabaret laws in both cities were created as a way to discriminate and keep joy restricted.  www.grubstreet.com/2017/10/new-york-city-will-finally-repeal-cabaretlaw-banning-dancing-in-bars.html .  The prohibition on alcohol was finally voted away but this law has remained and as a result, Venice now has literally 1 live music / dance license.


This past year, New York City did away with the Prohibition-era law, as unfair, discriminatory and restricting the joy of its citizens. These laws were being enforced unevenly by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and others, as part of a “quality of life”program, a way to support gentrification of certain neighborhoods. The same is happening here.  www.spin.com/2017/10/new -york-city-council-votes-to-repeal-century-old-anti-dancing-law/
When there are no legal places to dance, people seek out illegal venues that may be unsafe and that do not enforce building safety codes, age limits, health safety standards, etc. www.nytimes.com/2017/10/30/ nyregion/new-york-cabaret-law-repeal.html.   The Ghost Ship in Oakland was one of these illegal venues where 36 young people died seeking music and dancing.


Today, numerous visitors and Angelinos stay after the sun sets to explore Venice’s restaurants, nightlife and our history of being a music and art incubator. Not having these options hurts our culture and our economy. Canal Club is one venue that wants to bring back dancing and live music. To do this, Canal Club must first change its CUP (Conditional Use Permit) in order to apply for a Cabaret License. The Canal Club needs your support!


We are James Evans and Daniel Samakow. We opened the Canal Club in 1998, two years after opening James’ Beach across the street. We are two long time Venice residents who have dedicated our lives to be contributing citizens of the artistic community we call Venice. Over the years we have used our time and passion to support Venice movements and institutions including the Venice sign, the Venice Sign holiday lighting events, the Venice Art Crawl, Venice Pride and others; along with numerous causes and groups that help make life better here in Venice every day.
Being allowed to dance is a basic part of a pursuit of happiness as set in our American constitution. We can’t turn back the clock, but we can offer safe and responsible venues run by experienced local professionals; for visitors and locals to dance and enjoy Venice music.  It is good for our community.
Thank you,
James Evans & Daniel Samakow

Dancing should not be illegal. 

For more info, check out Bring back dancing to Venice Beach” on  facebook!


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