They cut holes into the floor for years, turned the basement into a pseudo Victorian theater, and even demolished and rebuilt the storefront. But the only time the staff of the Los Angeles alternative space Machine Project had trouble with the landlord was when they rented the apartment above to host visiting artists and cut a trap door through the ceiling to connect the two spaces. They paid to repair the damage, which was not too steep a price, “considering the things we did to the building,” marvels Mark Allen, Machine’s founder.

Over the past 15 years, that building—a former skate shop on busy Alvarado Street in Echo Park—has become a laboratory for interdisciplinary experiments by emerging artists, poets, and a host of others in the local art community as well as a model for alternative spaces across the country. But this month, Machine Project is closing its doors for good.

“I wanted to think of it like an arc, as a completed project,” says Allen, who planned for the closure for a year, feeling that Machine had run its course. True to form, however, it is not exiting quietly. Read more