The punk era at the Cuckoo’s Nest was short-lived, an approximately three- year period during which punk flourished above-ground behind the Orange Curtain. The Cuckoo’s Nest drew some of the best bands the national and international punk phenomenon had to offer. In this sense, the Cuckoo’s Nest must have played an important role in inspiring local punk scenes, as these live performances were the raw material for the Orange County punks to emulate, appropriate, and transform into their own version of punk. Perhaps more importantly, the Cuckoo’s Nest offered its stage to the second- wave Southern California punks from Los Angeles’ suburbs—the bands from the South Bay and Orange County that created hardcore and established the domain of punk as the suburban wastelands instead of the bohemian urban enclaves. The Cuckoo’s Nest invited the newly formed suburban Southern Californian bands to perform during a time when it was extremely difficult for punk bands to book shows. At the same time, the Cuckoo’s Nest was a space for Orange County punks to experience punk that was probably more readily accessible than underground shows in backyards, garages, warehouses, and squats. The Cuckoo’s Nest also offered the Orange County punks a place to congregate, to assemble as punks. Considered in this light, the Cuckoo’s Nest played an important role in the emergence of punk in Southern California. Continue reading “Conclusion”
Roach and Williams didn’t go down without a fight, and their persistent efforts even enabled punk rock to briefly resurface for a moment at the Cuckoo’s Nest (time enough to host Henry Rollins’ first performance with Black Flag). They embarked on a lengthy legal appeal of the City of Costa Mesa’s revocation of the Cuckoo’s Nest’s live entertainment permit. The Cuckoo’s Nest’s appeal was a constitutional challenge contending that the City of Costa Mesa violated the Cuckoo’s Nest’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech. The theory was that dancing was a form of protected speech. Continue reading “Through legal maneuvering, the Cuckoo’s Nest delays the revocation of its live entertainment permit, but only for a time”
On the very same day Cpt. Moody wrote his memorandum, Roeder made a written request to the City Council for the revocation of the Cuckoo’s Nest’s live entertainment permit, thus advocating the original demand of the disgruntled business owners from March 1980. The police and high-level City management clearly coordinated this maneuver: there is no way else to explain the rapid escalation of this matter from Det. Bell to Cpt. Moody, from Cpt. Moody to Roeder, and then from Roeder to the City Council. Accompanying Roeder’s request were all of the documents assembled by Cpt. Moody in his memorandum to Roeder, as well as some correspondence between the City Attorney’s office and local businesses and the Cuckoo’s Nest. This demonstrates that the police were the primary agents in assembling a case against the Cuckoo’s Nest. Roeder set a hearing before the City Council for the revocation of the Cuckoo’s Nest’s live entertainment permit for February 17, 1981. Continue reading “The City bureaucracy and government mobilize against the Cuckoo’s Nest”
“Hopefully the City can take the actions necessary to eliminate this eleven year problem on a permanent basis,” were Cpt. Moody’s closing words. He was referring to both the troubles at Finnegan’s Rainbow as well as the Cuckoo’s Nest. The evidence Cpt. Moody assembled would enable the City Bureaucracy to prove that the Cuckoo’s Nest was a “public nuisance.”
Graffiti in the vicinity of the Cuckoo’s Nest, circa January 31, 1981. Note, the last image appears to be shit thrown against a wall, not graffiti. But perhaps art nonetheless?
These were taken by an undercover officer in the parking lot shared by the Cuckoo’s Nest and Zubie’s. They are dated January 31, 1981.
These documents provide an overview of police activity during the five nights of the Special Enforcement.