The end of Boom Boom Room is just over the horizon and its tight-knit community of supporters are gearing up for a weekend of Labor Day parties. For those who frequent the iconic bar, it will also be a weekend of goodbyes.
Patrick O’Laughlin, one of the co-operators of the Boom and attached Coast Inn, said there is a sense of reverence.
“I get calls all day and all night from people asking me if it’s actually closing,” O’Laughlin said.
Four nights of parties featuring DJ’s that have been important to the famous gay bar are planned for tonight through Monday. O’Laughlin said he expects large crowds over the weekend.
“It’s a very special place to a lot of people,” O’Laughlin said.
Some patrons of the Boom who gathered Wednesday night to see the last Dream Girls drag show said the tavern’s closure will change the face of Laguna Beach’s renowned gay scene, especially with the loss of Woody’s just down South Coast Highway from the Boom and Hamburger Mary’s in Newport Beach.
“Laguna’s de-gay-itizing,” said Sean Langston, a frequent customer at the bar. “It’s like, where are we supposed to go?”
Laguna College of Art and Design student Jared Linge said he’ll just have to go a little farther to find a place with as open an atmosphere. He said while he can always go out to regular bars, they just don’t have the same welcome attitude as the Boom.
“[The Boom] was such a staple, such a safe place,” Linge said.
Greg Orson, a customer of the Boom Boom Room for 15 years, said he’s grateful to the Laguna community for providing a safe place to be gay.
“Laguna has always been so supportive of the gay community, this is a great loss,” Orson said. “I hope that something re-opens.”
Some familiar faces to the Boom have already said their goodbyes.
Violet Rose Magenta, a straight waitress who served Boom regulars for more than three years, said she won’t be returning to take part in the festivities.
The cheerful and always purple-clad Boom veteran said she just wouldn’t be able to bear seeing it with the knowledge it will soon be gone.
“I’d walk in and just start crying,” Magenta said.
She said she’s never worked in a place so full of love and acceptance.
“They treated me just like their sister or mother,” Magenta said.
Magenta has recently left Laguna Beach for Laguna Woods.
For Fred Karger’s Save the Boom campaign, the bar’s closure doesn’t mean the end of his quest to maintain the Boom.
Karger is still hoping to persuade Steven Udvar-Hazy, the airline billionaire who acquired the property, to re-open the Boom Boom Room.
“We want to stay right where we have been for the last 60 years,” Karger said.
Tonight’s entertainment will be by DJ Phil B. and Saturday night will see DJ’s Don Bishop and Lewis van der Wyk spinning the music. DJ Kio Kio will keep Sunday’s crowd dancing and the Boom’s Labor Day finale will be by DJ Dawna Montel.
For information on the Boom’s goodbye Labor Day weekend bash, visit www.boomboomroom.com.