The Network to Be Soundproofed : Theater Complaints Shut Teen Club

Times Staff Writer

The Network, a teen dance club that recently moved to the basement of the Masonic Temple on Brand Boulevard, has had to temporarily shut its doors because the music was disturbing patrons of a movie theater upstairs.

Operators of the dance club, which closed at another location in Glendale five months ago and opened at its new home on Jan. 26, said it will be closed for at least two weeks until it is soundproofed. The club is below the U.S. Cinema, which is on the first floor of the building at 234 S. Brand Blvd.

Former Location

The club, formerly known as Network 1, originally was at 435 Arden Ave., in a mixed residential and commercial neighborhood. In August, after operating only eight months, it had to close to make way for construction of a medical office complex.

At its previous location, the club had been the target of complaints by neighbors who said that the club was responsible for increased noise and traffic on the street. When the club moved downtown to the largely empty Masonic Temple, its operators said they thought they had heard the last complaints about noise.

But U.S. Cinema patrons apparently did not find the strains of rock songs to be suitable sound-track music for some feature films.

"It was pretty bad, "said theater owner Robert Urso. "For two days we had a problem. I told them it couldn't go on that way."

Urso said the club's operators, owner Linda Sorensen and manager Matt Vierra, were cooperative and agreed to lower the volume of the music so that it would not be heard in the theater. That soothed the ears of moviegoers, but then the music wasn't loud enough for the teen-agers who frequent The Network.

Fairness Sought

"We had to turn our sound down so low it wasn't fair to our patrons," said Sorensen, a Glendale businesswoman. "It wasn't fair to the theater patrons to turn it up any louder, so we decided to soundproof."

Sorensen said tests on sound penetration had been conducted when renovation of the long-unused basement began in October, but the music had not been played at the same level and did not drift into the theater.

"We were unable to take a real test until Network opened because we didn't know how much sound was going to be absorbed by people in the club," she said. The club can hold 550 people.

Help With Cost

Sorensen is leasing the basement of the nine-story Masonic Temple from Frank De Pietro and Sons, the Los Angeles-based development firm that owns the building. A church and a beauty salon soon will move into the 56-year-old building.

Robert De Pietro, a partner in the development firm, said his company will help defray the cost of soundproofing the basement ceiling. "The theater is such a sensitive use," De Pietro said. "If it was an office or something else, the problem would not exist. But you're talking about a theater, and when there's a quiet scene in a movie . . ."

Other than the sound problem, Urso said, the dance club has not caused any trouble for the theater. And police said they received no complaint about the club on the two weekends it was open at the new location.

Urso said he can see no reason why the two businesses can not be mutually supportive. "We're very capable of running the both of them to help each other and not hinder each other. It's very feasible that we can eventually work out a midnight show just for their people and really make it work for us."

Pastor's Comments

That spirit of cooperation is shared by Pastor Gary Ruff of Calvary Chapel, an Eagle Rock-based congregation that in March will begin conducting services on Thursday nights and Sunday mornings and evenings in a 150-seat assembly room on the third floor of the building.

Sharing the building with a movie theater, dance club and beauty salon "doesn't bother us at all," Ruff said. "Actually, the times when we're meeting don't really conflict with anybody else."

The dance club, which is geared to people between the ages of 13 and 21, had been open on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.

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