Since the shutdown of entertainment venues and bans on large gatherings of people, live music outlets have suffered in Los Angeles and beyond. A new Venice venue, the Winston House, had planned on opening in May—the coronavirus put those plans on hold—but they’re staying busy behind the scenes.
“We’re not twiddling our thumbs,” said Corey McGuire, who co-owns the 5,000 square foot space at 23 Windward Avenue with Jake Matthews. He describes Winston House as a community/social club with live performances.
Winston House started the Spotlight series, an audience-free musical performance filmed in house and shown through their Instagram page. With 10 performances so far from artists such as Amy Allen and Skylar Stecker, the series name reflects both spotlighting new artists and literally shining spotlights on them to create a shadow-heavy effect, McGuire said.
McGuire said they’ve been handpicking new artists and plan to keep the series going when they can open to the public.
“As you do it, opportunities come out of the woodwork,” he said. “We’ve definitely started getting hit up a lot by artists and their teams.”
Additionally, Winston House has filmed some musical performances in-house that have been broadcast on television shows such as the Late Late Show with James Corden, among others.
In addition to filming live music, McGuire said the Winston House crew has been active in community service.
“We got creative and found some creative ways to support some nonprofits we’re passionate about,” he said.
Winston House participated in the Creative Community Fund (CCF), which is part of the larger Pandemic of Love, started as a mutual aid effort in response to the pandemic. CCF pairs donors with people in the music industry who need financial help due to COVID hardships.
The club also raised funds for Support + Feed the Kids, a group that has donated over 100,000 plant-based meals for LAUSD students.
Prior to the election, Winston House also hosted a political fundraiser with English musician Yungblud and actor Noah Centineo. Called Defeat by Tweet House, part of the larger Defeat by Tweet fundraiser, the livestreamed event on TikTok featured over 30 artists performing. Defeat by Tweet works by donors pledging a small amount for every tweet by President Trump with the funds going to various voter empowerment groups.
Although the staff at Winston House has stayed active safely, McGuire said he looks forward to finally opening after nearly two years renovating the space, which used to house the St. Mark’s Jazz Club.
“I’m still processing it,” he said of their pandemic-delayed debut, adding he’s optimistic they’ll open by mid- to late summer.
“We’re waiting for the day,” McGuire said of their grand opening. “We have a big vision.”