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Business News (more headlines) 12-14-2004

Obsesssed Porn Star Attacks Los Angeles Community Folk Music Venue

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It's a neighborhood dispute that could only happen in the San Fernando Valley, world capitol of porn. Kulak's Woodshed (www.kulakswoodshed.com) a quaint, unassuming volunteer-run and donation-supported music venue in the heart of North Hollywood has come under relentless attack by its neighbor, Charles Peyton, AKA Jeff Stryker, one of the biggest names in porn. A lively hearing before the LA Zoning Department took place in Van Nuys last Friday, with over 100 supporters attending with Woodshed owner Paul Kulak. A second hearing that promises to be even more passionate has been scheduled for Friday, December 15 at 11724 Addison in Valley Village, beginning at 7pm sharp

Opened in 1999, Kulak's Woodshed is a volunteer-run, donation-supported music venue whose artistic and community-oriented spirit has received a chorus of praise by the local press. It's been called "a homespun nook reserved for serious songwriters" (LOS ANGELES TIMES); "a charming anomaly on Laurel Canyon Boulevard that seems like a throwback to a far gentler era" (LA DAILY NEWS); and "one of the most celebrated singer-songwriter hangouts in L.A." (LA WEEKLY). The Woodshed features brilliant unknown performers sharing the stage alongside Grammy winners, and multi-million #1 hit songwriters, including Jack Tempchin who wrote "Peaceful Easy Feeling" for the Eagles and Wendy Waldman who wrote "Save the Best for Last" for Vanessa Williams.

The dispute began over four years ago when Kulak's Woodshed owner Paul Kulak asked his neighbor, Stryker, whose business office is adjacent to the Woodshed, not to attend performances anymore because he would repeatedly show up drunk and cause a disturbance. Stryker had a unique response to his banishment. Kulak and his fiancé, Helena, witnessed Stryker urinating on their car. As Stryker describes in an email which Kulak has saved, "I pissed on your car cause ya asked me not to come in anymore."

From there, the harassment escalated. "He put a dead rat in my mailbox, feces on my back door, practiced his kick boxing on the sidewalk next to the Woodshed in a very brazen and threatening way just before our shows began, scaring people who have to walk by him. I have video of this," said Kulak. "We called the LAPD many times but they claim they can do nothing unless he physically hurts someone."

Stryker then began regularly blasting the volume of his powerful stereo system against the wall shared by the two businesses during Woodshed performance times (8pm - 10pm). Apparently still not satisfied with his approach, Stryker became more legalistic. He circulated a petition and called city authorities accusing Kulak's Woodshed patrons of an eyebrow-raising string of complaints. Part of Stryker's complaints include, "using our parking lots, littering our neighborhood, causing traffic congestion, making our streets unsafe, drinking liquor in the alley, smoking marijuana, throwing trash around, breaking bottles, leaking car oil everywhere, and even vandalizing." Accusations that are especially surprising, given the genial nature (and at times, all the white hair) of the Woodshed's typical folk music clientele. What other music venue regularly hosts a canine companion night and whose décor includes a menagerie of birds, fish and frogs along with honor-system coffee and bottled water?

But regardless of the baseless complaints, Stryker has entangled Kulak's Woodshed in a mess of red tape, pushing it to the brink of financial collapse from required use/parking variance applications and additional permit fees. Paul Kulak appeared at a hearing before the Zoning Administration last Friday, December 10, with over 100 supporters standing behind him, but no decision was reached. The matter was instead referred to the local Valley Village community, with a new hearing set for this Wednesday, December 15, at 11724 Addison in Valley Village at the corner of Colfax and Addison). The hearing begins at 7pm sharp which promises to be a lively exchange between Stryker and Kulak's formidable crowd of supporters.

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