The Yost Theater Is Ready for Its Closeup

The renovated, revamped venue is ready for its grand reopening. So why aren't all of its downtown Santa Ana neighbors celebrating?

The Yost Theater Is Ready for Its Closeup

When the 99-year-old Yost Theater in downtown Santa Ana reopens on Aug. 5, it will be both hauntingly familiar and brand-spankin'-new. Anchoring what used to be called Fiesta Marketplace—the Latino shopping plaza on Fourth Street—on the corner of Spurgeon and Third streets, the oldest theater in Orange County was closed to the general public for 25 years, and then open intermittently since 2005.

The Art Deco signage and the façade will look pretty much the same, but once inside, the venue will look nothing like it did as its last tenant, Mount of Olives Ministry, a Latino Pentecostal church: Projection screens will hang from each side of the stage, and lights will dance and bounce off the walls and the handcrafted chandeliers hanging from the antique-tin ceilings. House DJ Colette will spin from a movable DJ booth wrapped in 16-foot-by-20-foot LED walls rising from the stage, looking down on what could be as many as 1,000 revelers on tiered dance floors. Stage dancers will perform on a platform. From the stage, a catwalk will extend. Carved iron railings will separate the VIP section's plush lounge seating from the dance floors.

Upstairs, there will be another room. The balcony will hold reupholstered seats, an extra bar and viewing bays from which to view the scene below. About $750,000 worth of audio/video equipment translates into the same sound board as the one at the Hollywood Bowl and the same speaker system as that at the City National Grove of Anaheim. In 2013, it's scheduled to expand to another 500-person space, opening in what used to be the Ritz Hotel.

Dennis Lluy and partner Dave Leon have invested their life savings into the Yost Theater
Miguel Vasconcellos
Dennis Lluy and partner Dave Leon have invested their life savings into the Yost Theater
Miguel Vasconcellos
Miguel Vasconcellos
Miguel Vasconcellos
Louie Olivos Jr. says the city of Santa Ana bamboozled his family and took the Yost from them
Miguel Vasconcellos
Louie Olivos Jr. says the city of Santa Ana bamboozled his family and took the Yost from them

Location Info

Map

The Yost Theater

307 N. Spurgeon St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Category: Music Venues

Region: Santa Ana

Details

The Yost Theater, www.yosttheater.com. Grand opening with Colette and DJ Heather on Aug. 5, followed by Unwritten Law on Aug. 6, Thrice on Aug. 13, Nekromantix on Aug. 14, Elefante on Aug. 31, and Mexican rap-rock band Molotov on Sept. 4. Call for performance times and ticket prices.

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For the partners who manage the YostDennis Lluy, founder of the late, great punk-rock venue Koo's Cafe, and Level One Promotion head honcho Dave Leon—the reopening is a gigantic feat.

It's also a project that's at the forefront of Santa Ana's great gentrification debate, one fraught with drama and intrigue, as well as claims of racism, trickery and deceit.

The 25-year-old Fiesta Marketplace was recently rebranded the "East End Promenade," and the name isn't the only thing that has changed. In the midst of the wild plumage of the quinceañera shops, the cowboy and boot stores, the peddlers hawking phone cards, and Mexican foodstands, hipster enclaves have been popping up. There's an old-school barbershop that shapes designs onto your head with a straight razor and a coffeehouse that specializes in cold-pressed coffee. A gourmet burger shop is opening up, and so is a gigantic rehearsal studio that will offer bands lockdown spaces. What's gone? A Ritmo Latino store, the old carousel, the kiosk where Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha played with a local son jarocho group not even five years ago.

Lluy doesn't like talking about all that, he says, because "it has nothing to do with me." That's not exactly true; he signed a 15-year lease to operate the Yost in 2008, but it took him three years to get the venue up and running because of what Leon calls "growing pains."

Those growing pains have everything to do with the resistance from the local, majority-Latino community that sees the Yost as the main battlefield for white people running it out of the neighborhood. (Even though Lluy is of Cuban descent.)

There was opposition to the Yost's plans to serve alcohol while allowing minors in the theater (it now has a type 47 license, which allows alcohol to be served with food). Lluy, who founded Koo's on a DIY, punk ethos, has been called a sell-out by audiences who once celebrated his efforts. He's been accused of stealing the Yost management from the nonprofit El Centro Cultural de México. There have been claims from neighboring merchants that used condoms were found in the alley beside it after a recent event. Even as the duo has spent the past few months on site for at least 12 hours per day, overseeing the construction, the changing face of the Yost has been a sore point for many longtime tenants on Fourth Street, who remember its heyday as a Spanish-language theater.

This week, an anonymous group called Artists and Musicians Against Displacement asked for a boycott of the Yost and events hosted by Downtown Inc. In an open letter, it says, "It is impossible to perform at the Yost Theater without legitimizing and furthering the gentrification of our city."

And at a contentious July 18 City Council meeting, Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez called for an inquiry into how the biggest property owners on Fourth Street—led by the Chase family, who own the Yost—have handled the renovations. "I definitely see a pattern," Alvarez told Adam Elmahrek of the Voice of OC after the meeting. "And it begs the question: Is there a deliberate attempt to get rid of Latino businesses?"

*     *     *

That the Yost is at the forefront of a huge change is undeniable; whether it's good or bad is still up for debate, depending on how you feel about downtown Santa Ana—what it is now, what it once was, what it should be. Leon lauds the area as authentic, living proof that Orange County isn't a sterile cultural wasteland. Ten years ago, he says, "if you didn't speak Spanish, you'd never come down here"; these days, downtown is "Latino-based, but a lot of artists and musicians have come down to live here." He points out that there are more historic buildings in the area than anywhere in Orange County. "We're trying to add to the party down here."

And he's right when he says of the revamped Yost that "there's nothing like this in Orange County." For the area's 3 million-plus inhabitants, there is a total of six venues that can host more than 800 people: the House of Blues in Anaheim (1,050 capacity), the Galaxy Concert Theatre in Santa Ana (970), and the City National Grove of Anaheim (1,700), plus the huge Honda Center in Anaheim (17,000), Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa (8,500 to 10,000) and Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine (16,000). The Yost—which will be a 1,650-person space that will host concerts, international DJs, fashion shows and film premieres—is the coolest thing to happen, musically, to the county since, well, Detroit Bar brought in Stereolab. (Or since Exene Cervenka moved to Orange.)

Leon says the Yost's niche will be DJ culture and live music. "We've already got offers in for every big artist you can think of," he says. "We always wanted to have bands, but we never knew what level of artist we could get. Now, we have the best equipment in Orange County, so if we can get and afford them, we can host it."

Leon pauses, then says, "We just want everyone to experience the Yost."

The Yost wasn't always open to everyone. Built in 1912, it was originally called the Auditorium. Ed Yost bought it in 1919 and gave it his name. For a time, it was a vaudeville theater, where the likes of silent-film comedian Ben Turpin and vaudeville star Eva Tanguay performed, and it thrived in the early days of Santa Ana, when only whites were allowed to sit downstairs (Mexicans and other non-whites were relegated to the balcony).

In 1939, Louie Olivos Sr. worked at the State Theater (also in downtown Santa Ana), patrolling the balcony. He got a lease to run the Princess Theater by convincing his bosses that screening Spanish-language films to Latino audiences there would be a financial success. He was right. By 1952, he was able to buy the Yost and turned it into an exclusively Spanish-language theater.

"He always had his eye on the Yost," his son Louie Olivos Jr. says. "It had the stage; it had a huge capacity. It had everything." The Olivoses ran the business as a family affair, hosting movies, stage shows and sometimes music. They brought in such Mexican movie stars as Pedro Infante, Antonio Aguilar and Tin-Tan for meet-and-greets. For years, the Olivoses were shining pillars of the Latino business community, and the Yost and its sister West Coast Theater were the only shows in town. Their theater remained the center of the city's downtown, as it emptied of white-run businesses and gradually became almost exclusively Latino.

But in the 1980s, the Olivoses lost the Yost.

Today, Olivos Jr. says it all began with a plan by Santa Ana College to take over their building. Sometime in the late 1970s, Olivos Jr. offered to host a Cinco de Mayo celebration for what would eventually be his alma mater. A 1985 Los Angeles Times story ("4th St. Shop Plan Gains in Santa Ana") quotes Santa Ana Downtown Development Commission director Roger Kooi as saying the city wanted to use the theater as a cultural center, "possibly in an arrangement with Rancho Santiago College District."

Then, in 1983, the city of Santa Ana required all the businesses east of Fourth Street to bring their buildings up to seismic code. Louie Olivos Sr. took out a high-interest loan to finance the project.

At around the same time, the city of Santa Ana was pushing to "redevelop" downtown Santa Ana. The same Times story says the economic decline of an area that used to be a major hub for business and socializing saw drunks and prostitutes making up most of the after-hours pedestrian traffic. It was a place where "blood banks, beer bars and flophouses flourished," and the city wanted to clean it up.

To do this, it asked various developers for plans to build a family-friendly shopping center on what eventually became the Fiesta Marketplace site. Afraid of getting squeezed out of downtown, local businessmen and property owners banded together to form Fiesta Marketplace Partnership and develop the area themselves. Among these businessmen were Allan Fainbarg, whose money got the project off the ground, and his son-in-law, Irving "Irv" Chase. Chase spearheaded the $12 million project, partially funded by a tax-exempt $7 million bond program. It encompassed a four-square-block area bounded by French Street on the east, Bush Street on the west, and Third and Fifth streets. At the time, it offered an alternative to MainPlace mall's "well-heeled shopper." (Read: cheaper merchandise for immigrants.)

What the city wanted originally, Chase says, was to turn Fourth Street into a replica of LA's Olvera Street. "We said, 'You can't re-create a tourist attraction—it's just not going to happen,'" he recalls.

Instead, Chase brought in improvements that proved family-friendly: a carousel in front of the Yost, a gazebo for entertainment, benches for shoppers. Movie theaters, an ice-cream shop, a bakery and a pizzeria were also made part of the renovation.

Olivos Jr. says the Yost's business was badly affected during the renovation; the construction, which lasted for months, led to his family defaulting on the loan they took out for the seismic retrofit. The city then bought the Yost from Olivos Sr. for $600,000, which was less than the cost of the theater. Olivos Jr. blames Kooi for taking advantage of his family. "I thought he was my friend—instead, he bamboozled us," he says. Kooi died in 1997.

Olivos Jr. claims his family retrofitted all but one wall of the building, but the city wouldn't let them keep the Yost. "Kooi told my dad, 'If you sell to somebody else, the city of Santa Ana [will] condemn the Yost Theater as well as the West Coast Theater' . . . and he could kiss his home on Greenleaf Street away and lose his 80-acre ranch in San Diego."

He says now, "My dad accepted [the city's offer] because he was facing foreclosure on his home, but we were not willing sellers." Going through personal as well as financial losses—he lost two brothers and a son shortly after the family lost the Yost—"We couldn't fight them," Olivos Jr. says. "We didn't have the heart."

A few months after forcing the Olivos family to sell the Yost, the city sold it to the partnership for $50,000 as part of Fiesta Marketplace. In fact, the city of Santa Ana paid $7.5 million for several downtown properties and sold them to the partnership for just less than $1 million, with the understanding that the buildings needed major renovations. Olivos Sr. died in 1999. In his final years, he would mutter to his sons that they needed to go open the Yost.

*     *     *

For the next 25 years, the Fiesta Marketplace Partnership—Chase; Fainbarg; and local business owners Raymond Rangel, Jose Ceballos and Robert D. Escalante—successfully targeted the Latino market, turning Fourth Street into a shopping center designed for a Spanish-speaking customer. "It was one of the first in the country specifically geared toward that demographic," Chase says. "It was very, very successful until about five years ago, when Hispanic retailing changed."

And the Yost?

"When we opened up Fiesta [around 1989], we renovated the Yost," Chase says. "We spent $750,000 renovating it so we could use it for entertainment purposes. But then we couldn't generate enough activity to keep it open and use it on a regular basis, so it operated as a church for many years, and it was allowed to decay."

The Chases' various business entities have holdings in 16 states. The four blocks of land in Santa Ana's downtown, they say, might be the chunk of land that makes them the least profit. "But it's the one we're most passionate about," says Ryan Chase, Irv's son and president of the Santa Ana PBID (Property Business Improvement District) Downtown Inc., a locally based nonprofit corporation made up of Santa Ana property owners that receives assessments collected by the county from those property owners to promote downtown and keep it clean and safe.

Ryan Chase's great-grandfather Nathan Fainbarg opened a shoe store on Fourth Street in 1919. His grandfather Allan (Nathan's son) owned a gas station in Santa Ana. The family has an emotional attachment to the city and has always considered itself part of the Santa Ana community.

In 2006, the Chases say, they started seeing the demand on Fourth Street wane. "Sales started to decline, there were vacancies, people weren't paying rents on time," Ryan Chase says.

"The Hispanic marketplace is the most sought-after demographic due to the large families, disposable income and loyalty," he continues. "So all the big retailers—Wal-Mart, Target, Costco—they all figured it out. They have bilingual help, bilingual graphics. People [stopped shopping at Fourth street and] started shopping at MainPlace."

The younger Chase says that they've dropped rents from 25 to 75 percent on their property since 2007. In 2008, they started meeting with tenants and tried to improve the merchandise on Fourth Street to attract more customers, but nothing worked. "That was when we realized we had to do something."

This change has been the catalyst for what Santa Ana community members are nicely referring to as gentrification and not-so-nicely calling "ethnic cleansing," as declared at one meeting by a member of El Centro Cultural de México, who asked to not to be named.

The Chases' new strategy revolved around the Yost. Seeing the success of the neighboring Artists Village made them realize that "downtown renaissances" were driven by the arts.

"We realized we had to have some anchorability [in the area]," Ryan Chase says. The Chases spent a lot of time driving around various downtowns and concluded that nighttime entertainment was the key: "Restaurants, movie theaters and places where music is done—performance places!" he says "That was when we made the decision to use the Yost."

Ryan Chase continues, "Nowhere in Orange County can you go to shop, grab a bite to eat and hang out afterward. The Yost has that. It has history, it has character, and it attracts different people—locals and outsiders at the same time. Someone's probably not going to drive an hour to eat at a restaurant or shop, but they'll do that for a band. So this will be a regional draw, beyond Orange County. That's really critical."

*     *     *

Sam Romero, owner of St. Theresa's Catholic gift shop and chairperson of the Logan Neighborhood, says that after the Pentecostal church vacated the Yost in 2007, the Fourth Street business owners asked Irv Chase's permission to let El Centro Cultural de México to use the venue.

Established in 1994, El Centro is a not-for-profit, Santa Ana-based organization (a beneficiary of the California Endowment Fund) that creates various programs to help people explore and understand Mexican culture, including workshops in dance, music, art and literacy.

"Instead of paying for a professional band, we told El Centro Cultural that we would pay them, so they could bring bands to Fourth Street," Romero says.

It was, he says, a hit.

El Centro held one of the first events at the Yost after it started being leased out on a per-diem basis, for its annual Dia de los Muertos event. "We came in, and we had all the volunteers help out, and I kid you not, the bathrooms were not working, there was carpet on the stage. . . . The whole place was trashed," says Carolina Sarmiento, a board member of El Centro. "So we cleaned it; we brought our own sound system, brought in an award-winning band."

The event, which brought son jarocho revivalists Los Cojolites onstage at the Yost (see Gabriel San Roman's "Songs Without End," Nov. 2, 2007), was emotional for many in the audience. It triggered fond memories for old-timers who remembered what it was like to have Latino entertainment at the venue. "At the show, people were crying, saying the last time they were in the theater, they were sent upstairs," Sarmiento says. This time, the Yost's lower level was filled with more than 600 attendees. "They loved it."

For Santa Ana's Latino community, it signified that the Yost was back to where it rightfully should be: a place that preserved and showcased the best of their culture.

But . . . it didn't work out. Sarmiento says El Centro had an "understanding" with Irv Chase for the use of the Yost—but nothing on paper. "This is how we found out we no longer had the space," Sarmiento says. "One day, we were fliering outside for one of our events, and we heard people inside the Yost, opening champagne bottles!"

That was the beginning of the end, she says.

"We no longer had use of the space—or we could, but we had to pay like everyone else," she says. "We had put together a yearly calendar. We thought we could use the theater to do stuff, like at the Centro. We were trying to get a contract, but we never really had direct communication with Irv Chase."

"I think what took place was that someone got one of these," Romero says and holds up a calculator and starts fake-computing, "and what happens? El Centro is gone. The kiosk for bands is gone. The seating outside, where the people would sit and eat their pizza, gone. The construction is choking up the businesses, and business is down 60 percent to 70 percent. It was a very purposefully done plan to squeeze out certain people."

Irv Chase scoffs at the idea that they would have given El Centro Cultural de México free rein over Yost. After the Pentecostal church vacated the theater, his family spent "a couple of hundred grand to clean the Yost up and try to get the Spanish-speaking customer back." He adds, "So we did some events with El Centro Cultural de México and some other groups, and we packed the place with people. But it didn't translate to sales. Well, maybe the taco guy or the pizza guy had sales. But no one else."

Chase was still determined that the Yost, as a music venue, would be at the heart of a Fourth Street revival. "If we're going to change this and broaden the customer base, how are we going to do it? If the Artists Village has art, our niche [will be] music.

"And that was when Dennis Lluy fell into our laps."

*     *     *

Lluy made his name in Santa Ana when he founded Koo's Cafe in 1994; in those days, he was everyone's hero. Then 20, Lluy turned a house—located just a few blocks from downtown Santa Ana—into a hub of punk rock, social activism and cutting-edge art.

"It often supported local bands, DJs and renegade groups," recalls musician Alex Xenophon. "It was a very organic approach at a time when venues were either scarce or sterile, and the vibe was always welcoming and comfortable."

Eventually, Lluy left Santa Ana. City officials had often cited Koo's for noise violations and other permit issues; he moved Koo's to a larger space in Long Beach in 2002. That location never quite had the success of the Santa Ana house; Lluy closed it five years later.

Shortly thereafter, Lluy was hired as a consultant to renovate the Festival Hall across the street from the Yost. And the theater was in his peripheral vision; "I'd always had my eye on it," he says, having discovered the venue at an art walk years before. Soon after El Centro started having events at the Yost, the Times published a piece (headlined "An Old Theater Is Case in New Role") lauding all it was and all it could be. Gil Marrero, a downtown property broker, sent the article to Lluy and introduced him to the Chases. (Lluy and Marrero knew each other from the early development of the Artists Village.) By November 2008, Lluy says he was helping the Yost with its audio/visual system; he also booked (International) Noise Conspiracy, the Entrance Band and Nortec Collective at the space.

Lluy insists he never swooped in on the Yost to take over what was already El Centro's. "I even volunteered my time to do sound and lights for so many of their events," he says. "And if they ever return my phone calls, they'll find that I still want them to do events at the Yost."

*     *     *

While Lluy was encountering three years of "growing pains," the Chases say, they did not charge rent. But they're not calling it charity. "We did it because we thought [Lluy] and his partner were perfect for us. It's been a lot more money and time than we expected," Ryan Chase says. "But at the end of the day, the most important thing you could have is the right people. We gave him a pretty good deal because he gets the community, he lives in Santa Ana, and he gets the big picture."

And the big picture isn't about race, Irv Chase says. "A lot of people act like this is some sort of battleground, and the white guys are trying to take it. If you know anything about Fourth Street, it was a white downtown till the '60s! These people act like they have some sort of God-given right [to the property]. . . . They don't have that right! This is retail. The marketplace dictates change."

Nor, he adds, is it about community. "It's not our responsibility to provide a carousel and benches for people!" Irv Chase declares. "Landlords aren't supposed to provide a public place for the community—the city's supposed to provide parks, not me! I owned the merry-go-round, and I lost money on it every month! And I gave it to the city! Not only that, but I never made a dime on Fiesta Marketplace because it didn't work financially!"

The Chases say they feel unfairly maligned in the controversy over the Yost. The big picture, Ryan Chase adds, is not about whether you're brown or white. "At the end of the day, it's all about the green," he says, rubbing his thumb and forefingers together. "We're rolling the dice on the Yost succeeding. If it doesn't succeed, we won't succeed."

Unfortunately, Sarmiento says, "When you look at gentrification and changes in Santa Ana, you can't separate the race from the economic issue. When you have cases of displacement, there's pretext being used—blight or poverty. The excuses that are repeatedly used—a place is not up to code, it's dilapidated—is a pretext to displace a whole community. The idea of rebirth is that what was initially there wasn't good enough. So when you have these words, it's usually associated with people of color." El Centro itself is being evicted from its current home at Fifth Street and Broadway by its landlord, a company in which Allan Fainbarg owns a substantial stake (see Gabriel San Roman's "El Centro Cultural de Someplace Else," July 15).

The Yost and the rest of Fourth Street is under Ward 2 Councilwoman Michele Martinez's jurisdiction, and she doesn't necessarily agree the area is being gentrified. "It's hard to say it's being gentrified when the majority of the city is Latino," she says. Instead, she believes, the changes are more generational. "You have young Latinos like myself who want different amenities that appeal to us. Santa Ana's downtown always had Fourth Street [focusing] on the immigrant community. But there's also a young generation that wants the downtown to be for them as well, not just their parents."

Martinez, who says she doesn't shop on Fourth Street either ("I shop at Nordstrom or Forever 21"), says the city of Santa Ana can't control the market and what property owners want to do with their holdings. "We can't control who Irv Chase wants to rent to or what color he wants his buildings to be. . . . All we can control are zoning and land use."

Sarmiento recalls one meeting with Lluy. "I remember Dennis taking it very lightly, laughing at people calling him 'the gentrifier.' I said, 'That's a very serious thing to be called! That's part of our history that's being raped!'" she says. "I think they see it as [just] a market-driven project."

The Yost's new management team feels it hasn't been given a chance to prove itself to the community—yet. Lluy and Leon's lease stipulates that they host two community events per month at cost. "I just laughed at that clause because we were already doing that," Lluy says. "I feel the businesses have an obligation to the communities they're in." As for selling out, he says, "Just because there's money involved and that I learned my lesson after 20 years doesn't mean it's not DIY. We're here every step of the way; we're not just hiring contractors and going on vacation. I still have that ethic. It's not like I changed; I just got smarter about getting things done."

And it seems Lluy's efforts to connect with his neighbors on Fourth Street are working the closer they get to opening day. They're talking to a neighboring restaurant about putting up a taco cart after concerts. The Yost will be using ice cream from La Nueva Reyna de Michoacán, located on Fourth Street, in its desserts. "We've all invested so much, and we've all got to band together," Lluy says.

Even Teresa Saldivar, who owns Teresa's Jewelry, is excited about the whole thing. From the ages of 12 to 18, she manned the ticket booth at the Yost. (Her aunt married Alfonso Olivos, the brother of Louie Olivos Jr.) "I really enjoyed it; the movie would start, and I'd do my homework, then I'd go backstage with all the movie stars. . . . When the Olivoses left, we missed them tremendously."

Saldivar would've preferred the Yost host more cultural entertainment. "But as long as it's being utilized, I don't have a problem [with it]. Just get some traffic in here," she says. Maybe, when the kids at the Yost grow up, they'll buy jewelry from her, she adds.

"The other day, I was talking to one of my employees about the Yost," Saldivar says. "Her kids are 15 and 18. She said, 'I'll pick them up from the Yost instead of taking them to LA—we need a venue in Orange County.'"

 

This article appeared in print as "Change of Venue: A renovated, revamped Yost Theater is ready for its grand reopening. So why aren't all of its downtown Santa Ana neighbors celebrating?"

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51 comments
Roman Olivos
Roman Olivos

Dear Dennis Lluy & Dave Leon, I agree with Teresa, as long as the Yost is thriving, this Olivos, in particular, is happy for you both, and I believe my grandfather, Lewis Olivos Sr. would agree since “decay” was simply not unacceptable to him in any fashion. It would be a shame for those not to “experience the Yost” through all developments and evolutions. His spirit is right there with my late grandmother Phoebe. My grandmother was told that she was not to sit among the gringos on the first floor in the early 1950’s; later when she owned the theatre, guess who loved to sit up on the balcony? Me!

Fjdl
Fjdl

Good friggin luck making any money with entertainment being a luxury in a depressed economy, in a lower socioeconomic area of an already down trodden city!

It's READY
It's READY

I Think this Was A GREAT Idea! I have been waiting for My City to Kick some S*** Up Like this for a while now.. as a Latino and native to this Wondrous City, this will only open doors for our community.. The way I see it, all that "bad city talk" on SANTA ANA could change with more businesses coming in.. SANTA ANA will never be anything with out "OUR" Culture We Are Part of this City (meaning us Hispanics). We Give it a Different feel for Orange County (in a Good or Bad Way)?.. But Nonetheless, change like this is good, because it's for expansion. It will also Create Versatility in Culture.. You see that now, with a lot of these young-ins on Broadway during the weekend hitting up the New Bars.. Our City Needs to Build up It's Rep and I believe that By doing so it will Help. We ARE the HEART of The COUNTY, so BIGGER, BETTER Should Always Come From US!! It's Been EXPECTED!

Jv Guzman
Jv Guzman

Including Latino Entertainment would be more beneficial for the community, and would absolitely generate more to the theater, since most of the surrounding population is latino...

Crzgrace
Crzgrace

I for one plan to document the Fourth Street I grew up in and have come to see as the Latino mecca of Orange County. It may not be of much value to certain people because it does not make them a quick buck, but it is certainly of historical value to the millions of immigrants it has welcomed for so many decades. I urge anyone who has any ties to the downtown area to video tape and photograph what they can of what is left because when we try to tell our children what 4th street was like, they're gonna be in disbelief because it will ALL be gone. No more quinceañera dresses, or fresh mariscos, no more raspados or fresh fruit carts, no movies in spanish or curanderos, no more folkloriko dresses and mariachis...for what? For the richer to get richer from a new music venue and retail that doesn't cater to Latinos? Let me know how that works out...

Excholo
Excholo

Im a beaougie American of Mexican descent.Im tired of locals criticizing the progressive stuff happening downtown. Ive been spending a lot of money in Old Town Tustin, Orange, Brea, Newport, I'm very happy that I can keeep my dollars in Old Town Santa Ana! I can appreciate all the heritage stuff, but in the long run, Santa Ana has to modernize and appeal to my demographic, cause I personally would rather do it all in my home town. Sorry Olivos, I'm tired of your sob story, you had 30 years to do something and it never happened!

Tongue_twister_for_the_mind
Tongue_twister_for_the_mind

Quote: "English Please; How many times do we have to tell you that we don't speak spanish here". = Captain William Lennox on plane in 1st Transformers movie.

Tongue_twister_for_the_mind
Tongue_twister_for_the_mind

Why would you even want to attend this new/old theatre, especially when it's in wetback central Santa Ana where all the criminals are at. I bet the cops will own the place soon if they don't already.

Jd Opnedi
Jd Opnedi

This is awesome!!! Like I’ve said before “Evolve or Die baby”, no lloren (don’t cry).I will be there, pay a stupid amount of $ for drinks and food… but I will be proud that I gave it to these guys (owners) who decided to grab their huevos (eggs, ;) and make something happen in DTSA. Let Chase make some cash. He had the vision to invest here years ago and finally it’s paying off. My dad’s first job (when he came here illegally) was selling clothes on 4th street and I was born and raised in SA… but times have changed.

Heathernz
Heathernz

This is the USA and 2011 people, not the 1960s! Race has no place in the city council discussion or which vendor is operating in Santa Ana. That is why we all live here - freedom. I am appalled that Alvarez called for an inquiry based on race when the opening of The Yost will bring more business and employment to ALL races in the area.

roslyncasey
roslyncasey

I found a site where you can get coupons for restaurant called "Printapon" they are on all over the news, search online

Jacki
Jacki

bringing in bodies, whether black, white or purple will bring in more money to everyone, period!

Marcel
Marcel

o and not to mention the fact that 3/4 of the construction workers from welders to sweepers are from santa ana and the other part of them are still from the oc (anaheim,fullerton,stanton.........) this build is much more than just a paycheck to them and by the way there whites working along side latinos so that race card thing.... ya doesnt really work.. thay all wanna see this thing work not only for the owner s but for the city it self.

Marcel
Marcel

The city of Santa Ana should be happy that efforts are being made to revamp the downtown area. It doesn't matter who owns the theatre...the pure fact that this will bring in revenue not only for the owners of the Yost but will most certainly bring in more revenue to the shops in the surrounding areas. Why does it have to be a race factor? Just because it happens to be "white" owners does not mean that gentrification is occuring. Would this be such a big deal if Latinos took control. By the way...the two guys working on this project are both of Latino decent...why was this not mention? I personally know someone who is on the construction crew and works at the theatre. They are working 12 hour days to get this theatre running for the sake of the community. And this is the thanks their getting??

Outsider
Outsider

So... the community stopped shopping at/supporting the marketplace, but now they're upset it's changing? If I don't buy a single antique in the Orange Circle, I don't get to whine about antique stores turning into sandwich shops or claim that someone is trying to destroy the historical context of my downtown area. You wanted to shop at Wal-Mart, so don't cry when your abandoned downtown gets revamped by its owner.

Oh gentrification! Greatest evil since the Red Menace! How cruel, tricking wealthy people into improving abandoned slums and generating revenue for your city!

Teacher X
Teacher X

Hey vendidos,1. City destroyed Logan/Lacy community that supported la cuatro for years. they bought up houses and left them vacated and empty. 2. City bought up buildings in 80s on 4th and sold it to Chase for way under market value.(doesn't make him a racist.)3. City gave Chase a substantial amount of federal money (recent) to redevelop that property which they had already sold to him for a cheap price, way under market value. He is actually double dipping and acting like this was a big sacrifice on his part.

Here its...the city has a history of trying to destroy or undermine the Latino community. Gustavo says its class and it is...it plays into it. The poor people who rarely have a voice in city politics are being pushed around. The city has long time been working on policy and using public money to get rid of people they don't want in down town. Some of us don't like being pushed around for "progress." That progress, just translates into somebody came up with an idea to make money from a place where poor people live. Public money is being used for private gain.

4. the city through out the last 3 decades has many times refused to give a Latino a liquor license. It was unable to develop due to city policy and now there are 6 new places w/ liquor permits.

gabriel san roman
gabriel san roman

Yes, it's 2011 and a new pew research study shows that racial wealth gaps in the USA are the biggest/widest ever since government data was first collected. Hey, I have a 'post-racial' redevelopment project for you called 'fantasy land!'

gabriel san roman
gabriel san roman

Yeah right! Long Beach has Pine Ave. and a downtown hotel/tourism industry and still managed to place in the top ten in terms of concentrated poverty (w/ child poverty hovering around 28%)

Say what you'll say, but let's not trot out 'everyone benefits' nonsense.

Uzi Sain
Uzi Sain

The story DOES mention that Lluy is of Cuban descent...duh. AND it also mentions that the new management is working 12 hour days til the opening. Did you read the story?

Tongue_twister_for_the_mind
Tongue_twister_for_the_mind

The wealthy would not attend a theatre like this one because the gang bangers hang out in it. The wealthy go to places like the theatre up at Newport Beach on the traffic circle or out to one of the suburbs.

Lookin in...
Lookin in...

I love this. It is the down right truth. You play the race card and yet the guy is Cuban. Wow so he's made something of himself and no one else has and there complaining.

Truthfully, you can't say people didn't stop shopping there because it wouldn't have shut down if revenue didn't slow.

And this guy that is so horrible has booked like what three bands in the list that attribute to some sort of new age Latino music and he wrote in spanish on the poster for the Yost. If he was that against Latinos, would he have wrote it in Spanish?

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Latinos didn't stop shopping on Fourth Street—that's the greatest OC municipal lie since Anaheim was supposedly founded on land not suitable for a goat.

DTPAL
DTPAL

The Twisted Trolls

Canta y no llores
Canta y no llores

You talk down on Fantasyland, yet look how much that redevelopment did for Anaheim.. ahem - ORANGE COUNTY! How many thousands of people are employed by Disneyland in OC?!I guess this is just some Mickey Mouse hand job in your eyes, so let's just let it blow on down with an empty dilapidated building in downtown. Just to reserve a parking spot for the pipe dreamers. MOVE OVER OC, WE HAVE RESERVED PARKING FOR EVERYONE WITH A HANDICAP PARKING PASS! Or a race card.

Marcel
Marcel

yep i sure did read the story lol im living in the middle of this shit storm because im on one of the crews. so thats why i POINTED these FACTS out. this hole thing is a joke. i dont get why people are so dumb as to try and fight something thats going to help them.. and better yet bring the hole race thing in the middle. because why?????? that has no factor in any of this. is this not america anymore??? you know where anyone can live,work,and enjoy life where ever thay please? it is what it is and i know people will keep talking even after it opens but you will soon come to see that this is not a bad thing.

Teacher X
Teacher X

What this article does not mention is the city's part in gentrification. The Logan/Lacy community has been completely destroyed and is adjacent to down town. The people who would commonly shop and support the area have been pushed out. So the displaced people who had access to low income housing are gone. BTW low income housing is a blessing to people who live there. So there is government policy here, destroying communitties. This behavior ignores to service the people who live there instead choose to move them out. The second part to this is city staff chose to give Chase a big chunk, "90%" of federal redevelopment money. Not calling Chase a racist, but oppurtunist. His actions, though he is not racist, does affect the community adjacent to the Yost. He no longer will attract people that has served the shopping district over many decades. Here are two city policies or actions that have created gentrification of the whole down town. Is the city here to serve the people which live there or the one it wants to see?

All this talk of market and demand is bullshit. Just like there was as demand for african slaves or genocide of the indigenous of the continent, Americans always seem to find a way to legitimize its actions as justifiable.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Oh, and another thing: who said Latinos can't gentrify Latinos? It's not race, silly, it's CLASS. But hey: we're all rich in OC, right? Except the Mexicans? So let whatever may come fall on them! Finally, Lluy only came out as Cuban when this whole fiasco happened, and wields that ethnicity like the lame anti-gentrification shield it is.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

American Apparel closed down not that far away—does that somehow constitute a divestment by hipsters of the downtown area? Of course not.

Santana Resident
Santana Resident

The ones with money did stop shopping there. Look, I love 4th Street as a Latino hub, but on the other hand, does there really need to be six stores within a block of each other selling quincenera dresses? Let's be fair. There are many, MANY latinos in Santa Ana who are dying to see some improvements in Downtown. Like it was stated in the article, if they open a great music venue, some upscale dining, and coffee shops--it will still be latinos enjoying those spots. I think it's about time Santana got some of the attention, love and $$$ that people spend in Downtown Fullerton, Orange Circle, etc...

Adjective
Adjective

It's not a lie. Walk down 4th street. More hawkers than customers. How many bridal shops do you need in a given area? Are there that many brides? Really? Same goes with the travel agencies. Don't most people just go online for their ticketing and hotel reservations now? The answer is a resounding yes. I'm not Latino, but I live in DTSA, too, and I WANT the so called 'gentrification' if it means more businesses catering to things I'm interested in.

The claim that the Yost somehow displaces an entire culture is ludicrous. What it will actually do is bring national acts of all genres to the area. To be sure I won't be interested in every show at the Yost, but I can guarantee that my neighbors and I are much more likely to patronize the venue than we ever would at a poorly maintained cultural center.

To be sure, Gustavo Arellano, your ill-conceived crusade to keep the DTSA a Latino only neighborhood to the exclusion of all other ethnicities and cultures based on the mistaken concept that Santa Ana belongs, by divine right, to your (and only your) culture is misguided and unfair at best, and maybe even a little racist. It seems like you don't really care about the neighborhood at all, just about an exclusionist culture.

Canta y no llores
Canta y no llores

If you want to cry about beatification, would you like to save the last of the orange trees in Orange County? (see http://digitalissue.ocweekly.c... You want to talk about saving history for a good cause, make me some OJ and go hug a tree.

DTPAL
DTPAL

Listen we may disagree on how the betterment of the community is conducted but the fact of the matter is the change is always happening... sometimes change just occurs at a much faster pace. And it becomes even more evident when things have been run down for so long. You still have not acknowledged that both Logan and Lacy neighborhoods have needed attention for a long time.

Santa Ana has never been only hispanic. It isn't now and never will be. We must all understand this so that we can band together and provide for all ethnicities and income levels. The Fiesta Marketplace specifically was a "Marketing" ploy to try and create income by creating a Olvera Street in OC. That does not mean it is only there for the surrounding neighborhoods... or be able to sustain without outside help. Olvera street draws in from all over Southern CA. So after the 30 years Fiesta did not sustain itself and grow as I am sure the City, Business owners and more than likely many local residents that were excited when the project started. So like any marketplace it must re-invent itself again and try to sustain for another 30 years... then guess what... the market will change again and the marketplace will have to adapt.

You are fighting one cause for the lower class that happens to be predominately hispanic (which I commend), for the betterment of the community in general... but that does not mean that the once vibrant city center and COUNTY SEAT... and only Metro Downtown in Orange County can't serve the greater community better. There has to be a balance, and I don't think that you believe anyone except yourself when you fight against the progress that Downtown Santa Ana is undergoing.

My two cents...

Good luck everyone on the change, I do believe that in the long run it will be much better for everyone in Santa Ana AND OC that our Downtown will be home to great music venues, great restaurants and great people.

I'm out!

Teacher X
Teacher X

What the city is doing in Logan/Lacy and downtown is totally against what those people are organizing for. Of course everyone is going to say we need more, parks, green area's ect...but for who. With all this public money being used, who is it going to serve? At the same time, public money is being used to push out the people who have long lived in those neighborhoods. There is a direct relationship between downtown and logan/lacy.1. Logan/lacy has long supported la cuatro. Which had made it a very profitable market.2. The new vision of 4th street will further push up rent prices in Logan/lacy and continue to attack the people in logan/lacy. When people say, we want green areas, better parks, better buildings ect ect...its necessary to ask for who? the people who live here now, or the people you would like to see?

DTPAL
DTPAL

EDIT: "I do hope that your grassroots community efforts" Should read... " I do believe in in your grassroots community efforts."

DTPAL
DTPAL

I apologize if my comment did not include consideration for the poverty stricken residents. I think that both SaCRED and SABHC stand for great things and that the community no matter what income level should have a fair shake and decent living conditions. I think the communities in Santa Ana still have a long way to go, but cleaning up the Logan and Lacy neighborhoods is necessary and inevitabel... you can't expect that it would just continue forever in the state it is in.

I think Downtown needs more parks, more activity centers open to everyone, it needs to embrace bicycles better... there is still a long way to go before it serves all its residents, businesses and visitors better. First Street is a mess... the rundown hotels from the freeway to Grand are despicable and an embarrassment. Santa Ana is a big city and the local government needs to fix a lot of problems. But, cleaning up run down neighborhoods is a good start.... I do hope that your grassroots community efforts

And let's not forget this article is about the YOST theater reopening and I believe that this is an amazing building that will now be able to serve everybody better. It has two very passionate men operating it. It can and will be a wonderful local meeting place and destination for visitors... as it should be.

Teacher X
Teacher X

Its is really sick that you take no consideration into the aspirations and needs of people in poverty. Displacing people is not and will never be the answer. Less affordable housing in Santa Ana means more families will share less space...literally. People living 2-3 families per household. There has been strong organizing to improve communities in Santa Ana and the city refuses to listen to the people who want to improve their community. Both SaCRED of Logan/Lacy and SABHC are having trouble changing policy they feel will improve the city. The city counsel refuse to listen.The Logan/Lacy connection to fourth is obvious. That local community has supported la cuatro for years. Only after the city council destroyed it did business go down on fourth. La cuatro was at one time the 2nd highest revenue making area per sq/ft. This manifest destiny of la cuatro is not new to Santa Ana. Harlem, Cesar Chavez Ravine, Boyle heights have all been attacked by hipsters. People should be able to organize and decide how public money is used to create community. Gentrification never comes from "progress" or the "market" it takes public policy to push people out. Just not right.

LoganResident
LoganResident

Again here is a blind call of Ethnic Cleansing disguised as a comment about gentrification. The changes in the downtown began many years before it included Logan/Lacy, both of which were terribly rundown. Slumlord ran apartments, unwieldily kept properties that are known to be homes to deadly gangs. The people that live in the most adjacent neighborhoods to downtown have been living in squaller and fear for many years. Cleaning up downtown and ridding the areas of dilapidated apartments and homes will help with many of the issues of plight in these places.

Will it displace some of the lowest income residents? Most likely. But again there is plenty of affordable housing in Santa Ana. But to let these neighborhoods continue to get even more run down is stupid.

As for the changing of businesses downtown... I can't imagine anyone with any education not being albe to see that the plethora of "Check Cashing" stores and everything-under-the-sun Travel-Bookstore-Pawnshop-Electronics-Shoe Stores are actually benefitting the community. They are there to pray upon the costumers offering "NO PAYMENT DOWN" high interest BS that inevitably keeps the lower class in debt.

As for the Mom-and-Pop retail and restaurants those are the diamonds in the rough and should be patronized and lauded as proof of the "American Dream". But as in any retail environment if you can't keep making sales then someone else will step in and try... over and over and over again. It is the way it is... and in the 5 years that I have spent everyday in Santa Ana many shops have turned over and over and they were not "Hipster" stores. Even the "Hipster" stores will have to prove themselves to become successful.

Downtown should be an open environment to all... it should be an example of Orange County at it's finest.

Adjective
Adjective

'An actual community resource gets shafted.' I'm calling BS on that. The actual community resource IS the Yost, not some run down poorly maintained "Cultural Center' that wouldn't even cater to the entire community.

Gustavo, you're just a sensationalist muck-racker not afraid to hyperbolize and bend the truth to support a mis-guided crusade to 'keep DTSA brown' at the expense of those who actually live in the neighborhood. You're not afraid to hurl ad hominen attacks at anyone who disagrees with your poorly reasoned arguments.

The Latino community certainly has a right to protest or support things that go on in the neighborhood. Protecting businesses, however, that don't make any money and can't pay their rent in a myopic attempt to preserve a way of life that no longer reflects the totality of DTSA simply ignores reality and seeks to tamp real progress in upgrading the area from a 3rd world barrio into the urban center the county seat has the potential to become.

gabriel san roman
gabriel san roman

Hopefully El Centro will see more support from you then your online comment and well wishes!

Paul Gonzales
Paul Gonzales

Tell what to the folks at El Centro, Gustavo? I don't think I made any statements that would indicate one way or the other how I feel about their plight, but since you brought it up, I'll indulge you: I think you're right, from what I know of the situation (because, yes, I do pay attention) it seems like they did get shafted. But they were on a month-to-month lease in their current location and everyone knows that month-to-month tenants generally occupy space at the whim of the landlord. Hopefully El Centro can find a new home Downtown and is able to negotiate a better deal.

I am far from apathetic; I own a modest little house in Heninger Park, immediately south of Downtown-- I'm part of the community and I'm well aware of the struggles that we face. I don't have any desire to see our culture erased; rather, it should be celebrated. But I don't automatically distrust any business that will bring desperately needed revenue to our city just because its arrival isn't heralded by trumpeting mariachis and doesn't have the stamp of approval of a middling, shit-stirring columnist; and I'm not persuaded by your arguments.

Oh, and when I want a mimosa I can make it my damn self, thanks.

Newportblue65
Newportblue65

Paul you are so right! The rest of the people cheer you on!

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Really? Tell that to the folks at El Centro—of course, you're one of those myopic people who'll rail about not being able to get their mimosas in the morning, but stay silent when an actual community resource gets shafted. God bless you and your apathetic life!

Paul Gonzales
Paul Gonzales

The race vs. class thing is just semantics with you, Gustavo; you use them interchangeably when you're backed into a corner, swapping one for the other so you can continue to cry foul.

The sad thing is, as Downtown Santa Ana struggles to stay relevant (because, sorry, a street lined with pawn shops, bridal shops and salones para fiestas can't stay relevant forever), you are the classist and the racist. You puff up your chest and march around pretending that you are the be-all, end-all with regard to what it means to be Mexican, but what you're actually doing is bullying the people of my community, grabbing hold of their blue collars and trying to force them to be exactly who you think they should be; and you childishly attack anyone who disagrees with you.

I am a Mexican and I am not defined by Gustavo Arellano's myopic view of what that means. I am also proud to call Santa Ana my home and very excited to see the direction it is heading.

ProudCommunityMember
ProudCommunityMember

You're right. It's not about race it's glaringly about revenue... or "Green". And the wealth in this country is the same in this state, county and city... it's controlled by a very small percentage of the population. What "they" do does dictate what the "rest" of the population has to work with. Apartments for living, retail centers, and jobs. The CLASS issue is not isolated in Santa Ana. What is GREAT about downtown Santa Ana, is that it has character... character in the architecture, character in the history (good and bad) character in the people that utilize it. As a lifetime resident of OC with stints in LA, SF and SD and traveling to work in almost every large downtown metropolis in the country, it's safe to say OC's only city center that comes close to the others is DT Santa Ana. AND in every major city there are representatives of all races and all income levels... living and working together in good times and bad. So, we are not alone here with the issues of change! The people with the money, the property owners are looking out for their best interests and revitalizing historic and beautiful theaters. This will be beneficial to those in the surrounding ares. It is good that the community cares and speaks out to keep corruption to a minimum and the government in check. But to vilify new tenets is ridiculous. Change is the only constant in this world... embrace it. And I for one am proud to be a part of the multi-cultural environment, arts and MUSIC of an energetic revitalized city center of Orange County. Bravo Dennis, Bravo Dave!!!! We are looking forward to all your events!

DTPAL
DTPAL

Huh? American Apparel was one of the largest Brands in downtown. Sure they sold some of the ugliest hipster atire around (and comfy tees) but they are not the homegrown mom and pop shops (yes the Yost too) that make this downtown great. AA filed for bankruptcy and has been closing stores all over and has little to do with the hipster economy that you are so worried about.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Actually, it's AnaCRIME. AnaGRIME is an acceptable alternative...

 
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