Just after midnight on Friday 24 October, security staff at legendary Soho venue Madame Jojo’s and sister club Escape were involved in a violent incident. As seen on CCTV, bouncers pulled baseball bats hidden in black bin liners to take on assailants throwing glass bottles at them. At one point, Madame Jojo’s security manager held someone against a wall so that the burlesque club’s taxi operator could punch him “numerous times.” Members of the public were caught in the crossfire with several hurt by the flying bottles; one received a one-inch cut to the rear of his head.
Here’s the initial police record of the night’s happenings.
After talking to some of the night’s participants, the police filed another more considered report and Madame Jojo’s licence was suspended pending appeal.
The appeal was heard this morning. Despite the venue having made personnel changes to appease the council, Westminster council upheld the suspension. Madame Jojo’s events manager Walt Utz has broken the news to staff and producers and signalled his own departure on Facebook.
Whether the Soho joint will appeal today’s result is unknown. Such a path would neither be quick nor cheap and could hinder any potential sale or transfer. The fate of long-running shows there like Cabaret Roulette, House of Burlesque, Magic Night, The Folly Mixtures, Finger In The Pie and Tranny Shack is unknown.
Madame Jojo’s is not the only place under threat of financial worries or closure in London’s cabaretland. Questions have been raised over the sale of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern and its upcoming partial conversion into a wine bar. A number of Proud Cabaret companies including Proud Cabaret Brighton Ltd and Proud Cabaret City Ltd were wound up in 2013 subject to an internal re-organisation.
Ladbroke Grove’s Supperclub closed its doors last year, as did east London’s The Brickhouse and Volupté though the latter has returned with a limited number of shows. The Joiner’s Arms are not renewing their lease and will close their doors for good next January. Even the high profile purveyors of theatrical cabaret at The Box who charge thousands of pounds per table have been reported as being millions of pounds in debt.
Watch this space for more as we get it.
Interesting how the Events Manager – a Walt Utz – used and abused a NOT FOR PROFIT spiritual hotel retreat exclusively for men -( June 2016 ) claiming to be broke and was offered a free few days – as offered to those in need – and completely abused and used our facilities and with his dog used both beds in his room covering everything in dog hair and without even so much as a thankyou or anything – he just left early before anyone else was up and didn’t even have the good manners to say goodbye.
Astoundingly rude. Absolutely abusive of a NOT FOR PROFIT VENUE and enough to sicken anyone offering free vacations to those in need when a-holes such as this take advantage and cannot even say a simple thank you. We are absolutely pissed this morning as all the good work we offer, all the thoughtfulness towards those in need and then this kind of abusive attitude is offered and it sickens that the LGBT world has people like this abusing their own community – and especially a venue that offers so many – so much – for free and all – ALL – through the hard work of John Bellamy and not some charity or corporate body, but through the hard worl for no pay offered by John Bellamy.
This man is a complete disgrace if this is how he is going to act.