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In November 2014 the Iconic club Madame Jojo’s closed its doors. This event is interpreted by many as the death knell of Soho. The closure of this historic venue which premiered some of London’s most bizarre, daring and offbeat nightlife for more than half a century is seen by many as an unprecedented cultural catastrophe. In a draconian move by Westminster Madame Jojo’s liquor license had been taken away under the excuse of a “violent incident” which had occurred there. Over 12 gay and straight venues have been closed in recent years. Not the least of which include South London’s celebrated Royal Vauxhall Tavern (which was sold in 2014), and what remains are now at risk. There have also been closures in other cities such as Brighton and Manchester, two major artistic hubs; but it is in London where the issue has become most serious.
The gentrification of Soho affects the LGBT community and its Drag Queen subculture, but the cabaret atmosphere of the entire neighbourhood in enormous ways. This active pursuit to destroy a bubbling and vibrant part of the city’s heart is viewed by many as an atrocity akin to turning the lights off on Broadway. An active movement to bring a halt to this disaster has begun to unfold with one organization after another emerging to fight for Soho. Organizations made up of citizens and celebrities have sprung up to combat this onslaught. Will they win this battle and save Soho?
THE BATTLE OF SOHO seeks to document and explore the history, events, and people that make up the elements of this ongoing cultural catastrophe.