The Downtown event Altruism, which debuted at the end of last year, is reactivating the century-old Edison Theatre at 213 E Broadway and, in the process, is energizing Downtown as a host for live music and art.
The Altruism event series is the result of a collaboration between Long Beach music producer DJ NiceGuyxVinny, the Oeuvre Creative Group, Intertrend Communications (the company that owns the Edison), and events producer Robert Marquez, who owns and operates the Downtown production company and events space Grey LB.
Altruism is defined as the selfless concern for the well-being of others and a willingness to take actions that promote their welfare. “When applied to music, altruism can manifest in various ways,” said NiceGuyxVinny, who doubles as a top-tier DJ. “Music has the power to go beyond individual enjoyment and entertainment. It can foster empathy, inspire positive change, and uplift communities.”
NiceGuyxVinny went on to describe how Altruism is a place where many musical genres intersect, reflecting the diversity that is Long Beach.
These concepts align well with Grey LB’s mission to reactivate the Downtown Core. “Downtown activity was spiking — but then COVID and civil unrest came along and slowed down the boom the Core was seeing,” Marquez said.
In recent years, Pine Avenue had played host to such venues as the eclectic live music and art club System M and the concert club Vault 360, where headliners included Kanye West, Ice Cube, and Wu Tang Clan.
Last year, Marquez and his collaborators began looking for a host venue to anchor the resurgence of Downtown music and art; The long-dormant Edison Theatre fit the bill. Built in 1917, the building has housed the Nippon Pool Room and Barber Shop, two sporting goods stores, a foot clinic, and a series of beauty shops. In 1989, the Edison became home to the California Repertory Company.
The building went dark in 2006 and remained so for many years, until Intertrend and Long Beach Walls re-activated it. Marquez and his partners packed the place with the first Altruism in November of 2022. “It made perfect sense to activate a space that is intimate yet large enough to host private events and live performances,” said Marquez.
Earlier this month, the Edison hosted the first sold-out Altruism event. The East Side was heavily represented: V.I.P. Records collaborated in the event, which featured legendary producer DJ Battlecat on the turntables. There was a display of photographs by Duke Givens, known for his nonprofit Care Closet LBC and its good work with the unhoused population. Many other local visual artists and DJs contributed to the evening’s big success.
With lineups featuring legendary artists along with local rising talent, Altruism is a night that
people from Long Beach would normally have to drive to LA to enjoy. “We’re giving people from LA and OC a reason to come to Long Beach,” added NiceGuyxVinny. “We have even had attendees drive from the Bay Area and San Diego.”
Marquez is living a dream with Altruism, running an event that promotes “selfless expression for the well-being of others,” he explained. “It’s definitely a dream to see the culture of all walks of life being merged together through music and art. What’s close to my heart is that it’s in my hometown. Seeing the smiles on peoples’ faces encourages us to do more.”