Last month we became intimately aware of some anti-gay goings-on in Orange County when Corona del Mar High School’s principal banned students from producing Rent because of its gay plotlines. (At last, the show will go on.) Now, more outrageous news from the region: A gay bowling night was shut down by police, who allegedly targeted the event at Lucky Strike because of the type of people who were going.
The week before last, the gathering at The Block at Orange was shut down after police told Lucky Strike’s management they could be ticketed or arrested for allowing dancing, live entertainment and outside promotions without a permit.
But the event’s organizers tell a different story. They were targeted by police, they say, because it was a gay event.
“Everyone’s feeling like the gay community is not welcome here,” said Zach Moos, 34, one of the event’s promoters and DJs. Gay night at the bowling alley, Moos points out, was shut down while other nights with live entertainment were left alone.
Police say the weekly event at the bowling alley was too well-attended.
Though there had been no complaints about the event, an officer on patrol in late January took notice of the over-capacity crowd of 500 people and a line snaking outside. It was operating as a de facto nightclub with hired promoters and furniture pushed out of the way to make a dance floor, authorities said.
The crackdown had nothing to do with the gay theme, Orange Police Sgt. Fred Lopez said. “When you’re expecting 30 or 40 people to be in an establishment and there’s 500 people that are drinking that you’re not expecting, then you have to pull officers from another area,” he said. “It’s a safety issue.”
Over the last few weeks, police met several times with the bowling alley’s managers and attorneys and sent them a letter warning that they need a permit for live entertainment, Lopez said, but Lucky Strike Lanes has not secured a permit.