What is most compelling about this venue is that the proprietors, aka The Curians, esteem artistry of all ilks. While they are primarily a purveyor of visual arts, they are generous of spirit in providing sporadic space and encouragement to performers.
They strive to "develop a regular audience in order to increase cultural liquidity" between Los Angeles area artists, and the denizens of the metropolis.
Half of the space is devoted to revolving monthly exhibitions ranging from outsider/fringe and freak culture to local community-based historical exhibitions. The other half of the Curio is devoted to affordable creations, most of which are unmistakably hand wrought- one-of-a-kind in nature, or items obviously hatched in small batches.
Everything from small paintings and objets d'arte, to silk screened underwear, to handmade musical demos, to filmmakers DVDs, to je ne sais quoi, may be found at one time or another. Merchandise is revolving, so the selection of curiosities is never the same from one visit to the next.
Exhibition openings as well as several small film screenings, musical events, and lectures are monthly occurances.
There is a
suggested donation of $5 when there is live music, so attendees pay what they wish. The
performers receive any proceeds over $50, which is what the house needs
to clear just to pay costs.
If the audience is not especially generous on any particular evening, the entertainers may not make anything. However, in light of the fact that many venues in Smell-A are "Pay 2 Play", as a performer myself, I find it refreshing not to be pressured into do the venue's job of getting bodies in the door.
that's right, boys and girls. It's not "normal" anywhere else, except
maybe the Big Apple, for bands to have to pre-sell tix, like at local
rip-off venues such as the Roxy, the Whiskey, The Viper Room, The Key
Club, et al, ad nauseum...)
So, please support the Curians. Attend their art receptions and support the performers who appear under their roof sporadically. There is a cause no more noble than artistry for artistry's sake.