For anyone who spends time on Pine Avenue in Downtown Long Beach, it’s pretty much impossible not to notice MADE by Millworks. It’s the giant (12,000 square feet) glass-front shop that has a whole bunch of local art, clothing, and other Long Beach-based swag — and any guests you’ve brought through town have almost definitely dragged you inside. But now, Millworks developer Michelle Molina has taken the next step, and added a little watering hole/music venue in the back of the building to add yet another aspect to the huge space.
“The hyperlocal gift shop fills about 3,000, and the curated and community art galleries leave about 3,000 square feet left for a local beer, wine, and cider bar,” Molina says. “Our visitors can come by to grab a drink, check out the art and music, and take home a gift [at the same time]. It’s a total local economy experience, as Elinor stocks only local or women-owned beverages. There’s also lots to do while you sip, like play some games, enjoy free pool, or check out who’s on stage.”
Of course, along with local music, Elinor will also be hosting other relevant events like next week’s Democratic debates and next month’s Pow! Wow! art event. Even though the new location has only been open for a few months, Elinor has managed to evade some of the typical early problems a small venue faces by filling a need for both the individual artists as well as the collective that Molina has formed around Millworks. By fitting the new venture into what was once the loading dock of MADE by Millworks and teaming up with organizations such as the Long Beach Arts Council and Downtown Long Beach Alliance, the influential developer has expanded her already considerable impact on the local scene and says that MADE and Elinor can now help support approximately 200 local artists and musicians on any given day.
“There is a thriving ecosystem for arts of all types [in Long Beach], and they live in all the little nooks and crannies in this city,” Molina says. “Elinor is just one of the little nooks. Long Beach seems to pride itself on being the undiscovered art space, but there are some truly exciting things happening at new spaces — especially unconventional ones like the Ice House and the East Village Arts Park. We just want to have Elinor on people’s radar when they want a cozy little place to hear some jazz, play cards, learn to craft, or meet new people. If we can have good music once a week, we would be pretty happy.”
For the time being, the folks at Elinor will continue to host parties like Summer Camp Sundays, patch-sewing sessions from Bitchin’ Stitchin’, and pretty much any other worthwhile event, or performance that gets pitched to them four nights per week (Thursday – Sunday). Although some days will obviously be more popular than others, Molina sees the small size of Elinor potentially serving as the perfect setting for everything from niche meet-ups to packed day-long concerts. For instance, Elinor’s next big event will be in celebration of the global Make Music Day on June 21 with one of its most noteworthy shows to date, featuring Eastwood Musa, The Somebodies, The Black Noise, Drugs in the Alley, and Devil Season — but that’s not to say that the venue’s goals begin and end with showcasing Long Beach’s finest musicians.
“Long term, the sky is the limit,” Molina says. “Come in and tell us what you want to see in our space, offer to teach a class, rent the venue to release your CD, suggest a new local band, or just hang out and get to know us. We just renewed our lease for five years so we are here for a minute. Who knows what Heather [Kern, Elinor’s manager and creative director] will dream up?”
Don’t miss the Make Music Long Beach showcase at Elinor on Friday June 21 from 6 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Free, 21+. For full details click here.