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Los Angeles Times+ Your Authors @latimes Bringing L.A. to the world and the world to L.A. Subscribe now: Jul. 13, 2020 1 min read + Your Authors

First gentrification, now a pandemic. Can Highland Park’s fabled music scene survive? 

Highland Park, bordered by the 110 Freeway, the Arroyo Seco, Mount Washington and Eagle Rock, is one of the most influential neighborhoods for music in the United States. 

With over 60,000 people, the neighborhood is home to influential music venues, record stores and arts spaces, as well as bars, restaurants and other establishments that support the scene. 

But the neighborhood has also been ransacked by gentrification and real-estate speculation. More recently, COVID-19 has closed or upended almost everything, gentrified and old-school alike. 

Rappcats co-founder Eothen “Egon” Alapatt has seen the gold rush of real-estate speculation that’s both fed and bled its music scene. “Most of the people I consider friends and neighbors were brown people like myself, not venture capitalists." 

For small-capacity local clubs, the pandemic is an unprecedented nightmare. To get a sense of what they’re up against, we interviewed several of the 75-member staff at Highland Park's Lodge Room, from the owners to the part-time bartenders. 

As the pandemic grows, local dance instructor Arlene Santos is at a loss. “It’s completely shut down my business and there’s very little income right now. Our group comes to classes because they feel safe and comfortable, and that safety has been lost.” 

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