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Hollywood’s Hub for Bicycles Now Open

The new Metro Bike Hub is now open at the Hollywood & Vine Red Line Station. Located at 1630 N. Vine Street, convenient to both the Metro Red Line, the LAX Fly-Away, and numerous bus lines, the 1,000 square foot facility includes parking for 64 bicycles. Closed-circuit TV surveillance, secure access, peak-hour staff availability, same-day repairs, accessory sales and bike-related clinics are all part of the $560,000 facility.

The Metro Bike Hub at Hollywood and Vine. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

Bike hubs provide an attractive option for commuters who drive to Metro park-and-ride lots, especially for those who live within a bikeable distance of transit stations. The hub allows riders to leave their bikes at the station in a safe environment and avoid the hassle that sometimes comes with bringing bikes aboard crowded trains.

Riders may register online for a membership, or visit any of the Metro Bike Hubs during attended hours. The Metro Hollywood Bike Hub is staffed from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Monday through Friday, offering bike repairs with free estimates, on site sign-ups, amd help with any cycling or bike communing questions. In addition to the Hollywood location, the El Monte Bike Hub is now open at 3501 Santa Anita Ave. Metro broke ground last month on a new Bike Hub at Union Station, and a Culver City Expo Line Station Bike Hub is planned for 2018. There are also bike share stations in downtown Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Port of L.A. with a Venice location coming soon.

Secure parking for bicycles available now at the Metro Bike Hub at Hollywood and Vine. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

They also have a public air pump and work stand with tools available for anyone to use during the staffed hours. Members have access 24/7.

Riders may sign up for a free month online at www.metro.net/bikehub by using the code ‘biketometro’ through the end of 2017.

Currently, riders can chose between three membership plans; a 7-day pass for $5; a 30-day pass for $12; and a one year pass for $60. Discounts are given for seniors (62 and over); disabled, Medicare, and students K-12 at a rate of $25 for a year.

The new Metro Bike Hub at Hollywood and Vine is staffed weekdays from 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

“Metro’s Bike Hub is a welcome new addition to Hollywood and Vine,” said L.A. City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who represents the 13th Council District, including Hollywood. “If we want to reduce our reliance on motor vehicles, Los Angeles residents need better, reliable transit options. More people are riding bikes to get to work and for recreational purposes and the Metro Bike Hub is another step to building our bicycle infrastructure. I am excited to have this new world-class amenity in one of our city’s most iconic destinations.”

Just remember to bring your own lock; otherwise you can purchase one from the hub’s retail section during staffed hours!

Metro Bike Hube is operated by Bikehub.com.

Metro Bike Hub – Hollywood and Vine
1630 N. Vine Street
(626) 228-3606

The Metro Bike Hub at Hollywood and Vine offers free clinics and support for bike riders. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

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July 31, 2017

image Community

Old Hollywood Locals Night – Summer Edition

On Tuesday, August 8, 2017, local residents are encouraged to come out and enjoy all that Old Hollywood has to offer!

The second in the Old Hollywood Locals Night series of events, the festivities will take place from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Hollywood Boulevard between Las Palmas Ave. and Cahuenga Blvd.

Cabo Cantina, 6669 Hollywood Blvd., is one of the participating restaurants at Old Hollywood Locals Night. (Photo by Gary Leonard)

The Hollywood Property Owners Alliance and Suaya Properties are coordinating the event. This evening will feature performance art, live music, community booths, and food tasting at participating restaurants.

Hollywood PAL participating in the spring Old Hollywood Locals Night. (Photo by Gary Leonard)

Register today for your Old Hollywood Locals Night passbook which entitles you to free samples at participating restaurants and a chance to win prizes.

Passbooks will be provided to registrants the night of the event starting at 6:00 p.m. at the courtyard of Janes House, 6541 Hollywood Blvd. The community booths and activities will be located on sidewalk “bump-outs” along Hollywood Blvd.

Local band Sunshine and Moon performing at the spring Old Hollywood Locals Night. (Photo by Gary Leonard)

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July 31, 2017

image Entertainment

The Friendly Frolic Room

As bartender Tarek Martin laughs “The bar is a perfect mix of neighborhood regulars, tourists, and all-around professional drinkers.”

The Frolic Room, located next door to the Pantages Theater is also arguably the most historic and quintessential dive bar in Hollywood. Open every day from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., this watering-hole has gone through a variety of permutations over the years. It began serving as a private speakeasy lounge originally called Freddy’s, then opened to the public in 1934, as Bob’s Frolic Room.

Historic photo of the Pantages Theatre, with the Frolic Room at left, from the Richard Wojcik collection. (Courtesy photo)

Cozy, dark, and featured as a set in numerous period films – including The Black Dahlia and L.A. Confidential, the bar is many things to many people. It’s a classic, pre-theater watering hole for Pantages’ patrons, a legitimately kitschy hangout for tourists and Hollywood history buffs, a neighborhood bar with a bevy of regulars and a killer juke box, and a landmark for fans of writer Charles Bukowski. Bukowski, the wayward author as famous for his drinking as his writing, made the Frolic Room a frequent stop. His portrait hangs above the register, and for a time, there were weekly readings of his works held at the bar.

The Frolic Room was also reputedly the last place the real Black Dahlia, Elizabeth Short, was seen alive. Both Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland also imbibed here. Howard Hughes owned both the Pantages and the bar from 1949 to 1954. He added the colorful, artistic neon bar sign above the door that still welcomes patrons today, as well as throwing lavishly wild parties.

“The history of the bar, the fact that it is the oldest bar in Hollywood, people know about that, and want to come in just to soak up the atmosphere. If the walls could talk, the stories they could tell would be pretty cool,” Martin notes. “There are so many legends about the place, whether it’s about Bukowski drinking here, or Elizabeth Short being last seen here. It’s a lot of fun telling the stories, sharing the theories, whether they are true or not. People really enjoy them.”

On the eastern wall, a storied mural by artist Al Hirschfeld features caricatures of celebrities in full color.

The mural inside the Frolic Room by artist Al Hirschfeld. (Courtesy photo)

“The mural is a big attraction. It was installed in 1963, and was restored not that long ago. We have glass over the bottom portion of it now so that people can’t write on it or mark it up. It’s a real landmark,” Martin attests.

Artist Oscar Ropide carefully worked on restoration of the classic piece in 2012.  Albert Einstein, Clark Gable, Laurel & Hardy, Marilyn Monroe, and Tallulah Bankhead are among the iconic 1960s-era celebrities depicted on the full color panels. The Frolic Room, with its convivial vibe, red pleather seats, and dim space-ship style ceiling lights would seem to be the perfect place to find Einstein and Monroe interacting in real life, although alas, they did not.

Hirschfeld called himself a “character-ist,” not a caricaturist, often included the name of his daughter, Nina, in capital letters hidden in his work – and did so in this piece, three times. Hunting for the name is an activity that many bar visitors indulge in – when they’re not ordering classic, reasonably priced drinks.

“We’re an old-school bar,” Martin explains.  “We are not a mixology spot, we serve beer and shots.” He adds that orders differ depending on the time of day and the crowd. “When people are going to the Pantages and they’re dressed up and they stop in for a drink, they tend to order more classic cocktails. But we serve everything you can think of, across the board.”

One of his most frequently ordered cocktails is a martini. “This is such a classic Hollywood dive, that’s really the perfect drink for the place.”

But there are plenty of other choices served up by bartenders who are known for their no-nonsense skills, pouring everything from a Bloody Mary made with Sriracha hot chili sauce to a generous Old Fashioned, a Tiki-like pineapple and rum, raspberry Chambord, and even Pernod, the anise-flavored liqueur that turns milky when water is added. According to Martin, the bar has just about any alcoholic beverage a patron can think to order.

“What I’d most like people to know about the Frolic Room is that our bartenders are great, and we will take care of you whether we know you or not,” Martin says.

And there’s plenty of Hollywood history to enjoy, besides.

Frolic Room
6245 Hollywood Blvd.
(323) 462-5890


Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and journalist, and produced screen and television writer. Passionate about everything-Los Angeles, you can see her work in the arts on her own www.diversionsLA.com.

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July 31, 2017

image Entertainment

Making a Splash: Hollywood Hotel Pools Make Summer Wet and Wild

When it’s hot time, summer in the city, but you just can’t get away to some tropical beach, Hollywood hotel pools make a terrific alternative. With a full range of great views and fun parties, it’s time to dive on in to some of the glamorous, blissfully aqua waters just a splash away from bustling Hollywood Boulevard. Just don’t forget your bikini or swim trunks.

The pool at The Hollywood Roosevelt’s Tropicana bar. (Courtesy photo)

The Hollywood Roosevelt
7000 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

David Hockney designed the multi-million-dollar underwater mural of alluring, water-like squiggles at the bottom of the pool in 1989. The Spanish Colonial hotel itself is a landmark built in 1927 and restored in 2003, both stylish and romantic. Staying for the weekend or overnight, guests can enjoy pool and garden views from balcony rooms, poolside rooms, or cabana suites, as well as the happening scene at the Tropicana poolside café and bar. A Tropicana Seasonal Pass available for purchase at the hotel also allows access to the pool and its lush poolside day beds. The café features a 60s-era chic vibe; and in the evenings, fire pits blaze. Every Saturday night, there’s a pool party, open to partygoers outside the hotel as well as guests. Featuring a range of visiting celebrity DJs as well as the hotel’s resident DJ Chris Homes, there’s plenty of dancing, swimming, celebrity watching, bubbles, and elaborately designed pool toys. In short, it’s all one hot scene with a cool, garden level pool. The pool and café are open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, until midnight weeknights, and until 8 p.m. on Sunday.

W Hollywood Hotel’s “wet deck.” (Courtesy photo)

W Hollywood
6250 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90028

There’s so much to do besides simply swim at the W Hollywood’s pool, whether you’re staying in one of the hotel’s sleek and modern rooms, or visiting for a day. This summer, Sunday pool parties run from 1 to 7 p.m. at the roof top pool with its soaring, killer view of Hollywood. Sunday mornings at 10 a.m., the hotel hosts Get Fit, with exciting free classes from Brit Middleton, Eryt & Hot 8 Yoga. Regular pool hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., with DJs spinning Friday through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. While complimentary lounge chairs are for guests only, daybeds and cabanas can be reserved by the public for a minimum food and beverage price. So stay for the weekend or just get your yoga on, then relax with a creative craft cocktail, and dance the afternoon away.

The pool at Loews Hollywood Hotel. (Courtesy photo)

Loews Hollywood Hotel
1755 N Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

At Loews Hotel, conveniently adjacent to the shops, theaters, and restaurants of the Hollywood and Highland complex, the heated outdoor pool is five stories up. The pool and a serene terrace both offer their own stellar view of the Hollywood scene below. An added perk: comfortable poolside cabanas are free to hotel guests. Weekend Perks specials that include breakfast and free wi-fi as well as suite upgrade packages, make this relaxing pool even more of a destination oasis. Day-trippers can book a luxurious massage or facial at the hotel’s Balance Spa and also receive pool and terrace access.

The rooftop pool at the brand new Dream Hotel Hollywood. (Courtesy photo)

Dream Hotel
6417 Selma Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Newly opened for summer of 2017, Dream Hotel has a dreamy rooftop pool scene that makes a good match for its name. With both a lounge and restaurant, there are  a wide variety of craft cocktails and hip, of-the-moment cuisine such as Hamachi crudo on the menu. Glamorous rooms make checking in – and checking out the latest Hollywood hotel- an exciting prospect. The 11,000-square-foot pool and party space is open for hotel guests only during the day on weekdays, but weekends after 1 p.m., and on weekday evenings after 6 p.m., it’s open to the public. The blissful view stretches from the Hollywood Hills to downtown, and the cabanas feature retractable tops and sides. The floor is raised by a hydraulic lift. For visitors not staying at the hotel, the rooftop oasis can be reached through a separate flagstone-and-ivy lined alley.


Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and journalist, and produced screen and television writer. Passionate about everything-Los Angeles, you can see her work in the arts on her own www.diversionsLA.com.

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July 26, 2017

image Architecture & Planning

Finding Your Way Around Hollywood Will Soon Be Easier

We’ve made some exciting progress on the Hollywood Wayfinding Signage Project! Through a series of steering committee meetings, a community open house, and presentations to external organizations, we are nearing completion of the preliminary design work for this program. In addition, we’ve secured a generous contribution of $15,000 from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to help complete the preliminary planning and design work for this legacy project.

Signage design concepts have been thoroughly vetted and a consensus has been developed for the top choice. The selected concept is representative of the iconic art deco architecture seen in many historic buildings throughout Hollywood.

We have finalized the destinations to be included on the pedestrian wayfinding signage as well as the map kiosks. Working with our community partners at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Hollywood Historic Trust, and Council District 13, we are in the process of identifying locations for signage pole placements.

When this design work wraps up by the end of this summer, the Hollywood Entertainment District and the Sunset & Vine District will set forth on a campaign to secure funding for implementation. We will continue to rely on our city and community partners to see this project through to fruition.

We believe this project will be an asset to the Hollywood business community, helping stimulate economic activity while improving the visitor experience. This seamless and fully integrated wayfinding program will not only streamline the pedestrian experience, it will improve vehicular circulation and make it easier for visitors to find parking.

We can’t wait to share our next update!

Rendering of the favored wayfinding sign project elements. (Courtesy of Hunt Design)

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July 6, 2017

image Entertainment

2nd Annual Make Music LA on Hollywood Boulevard at Egyptian Theatre

Hollywood is rich in music history, with many great bands and artists having gotten their start here, and many famous recordings produced in the many studios located here.
To celebrate this musical heritage, and recognize the vast amount of talent right here in the community, HPOA produced the second annual Make Music LA on Hollywood Boulevard on June 21, 2017, at the historic Egyptian Theatre’s forecourt.
Sponsored by Sunset + Vine Apartments and Robertson Properties Group, and with cooperation from American Cinematheque and Musicians Institute, the event was an all-day, all-ages, free outdoor concert.
Performers included students and alumni of Musicians Institute Honey & Jude, Bruno Romano + Oriana Lucas, Rayssa, and Janvi Anand. Additional local artists included Earth Arrow, Sunshine & Moon, Emily Zuzik, and Arthur*Autumn. Hohner donated harmonicas to attendees, and Urban Masala sponsored lunch for all artists. Makeup artist Marky Make-Up was on hand providing airbrush tattoos.
Make Music Los Angeles on Hollywood Boulevard is part of Make Music LA.  Based on France’s Fête de la Musique, a national musical holiday inaugurated in 1982, the festival has become a phenomenon celebrated on the same day in more than 800 cities in 110 countries. Make Music LA engages all communities of Los Angeles in an annual cross-cultural celebration of the power of music and art through musical performances by amateurs, students and professionals.

Below are photos from the 2nd annual Make Music LA on Hollywood Blvd.

Earth Arrow performing at the 2nd Annual Make Music LA on Hollywood Blvd at the Egyptian Theatre. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

Hollywood locals Sunshine & Moon performing their country and gospel original tunes at the 2nd Annual Make Music LA on Hollywood Blvd. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

Rayssa, one of Music Connection Magazine’s Hot 100 Live Unsigned Artists of 2016, and an alumna of Musicians Institute, at Make Music LA on Hollywood Blvd. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

The duo of Bruno Romano and Oriana Lucas performing at the 2nd Annual Make Music LA on Hollywood Blvd. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

Up and coming pop act Honey & Jude performing at Make Music LA on Hollywood Blvd. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

Local artist and “rocker mom” Emily Zuzik performing at Make Music LA on Hollywood Blvd. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

Janvi Anand, a Los Angeles based Indian guitarist, singer, songwriter, composer, entrepreneur, and teacher, performing at Make Music LA on Hollywood Blvd. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

Arthur*Autumn, aka Brent Arthur Nuffer, is a prolific songwriter/singer from Michigan, now living in Los Angeles, California. He originally brought the idea of Hollywood participating in Make Music Day to the staff of HPOA, and performed at both the inaugural event and this year’s concert. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

Marky Make-Up provided free air-brush tattoos to the attendees of the 2nd annual Make Music Day LA on Hollywood Blvd. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

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June 30, 2017

image Events

Hollywood Carnival rolls through Hollywood on Saturday, June 24

The Los Angeles Culture Festival™ (LACF) and Hollywood Carnival are proud to present the Annual Los Angeles Culture Festival™ — a world culture festival — expressing the colors of culture and freedom of the world as one people. This is a celebration of our cultures and traditions, featuring colorful costumes, dances, food, arts & crafts, and music from around the world.

The celebration will commence with the Grand Marshal beginning the Parade of the Bands, on the world famous Hollywood Blvd. It proceeds for three (3) miles ending on Highland Ave., the main entrance to the Carnival Culture Village. Our parade and culture village will feature several well- known celebrities from various genres, including movie stars and music icons.

On Saturday, June 24, Los Angeles’ Hollywood Blvd. will miraculously transform into a Grand Carnival & Street Extravaganza with parade-goers and masqueraders dressed in vibrant, breath- taking costumes dancing to pulsating rhythms of Calypso, Soca, Samba, Reggae, Zouke, Latin, Punta, Meringue, Mariachi, Reggaeton, Blues, Jazz, Steel-pan, Indian, Asian, African, Middle Eastern and other worldly music.

We highly anticipate that this cultural fusion will attract a significant amount of local attendees from our diverse multi-cultural society, not to mention a variety of tourists — creating a great family-friendly environment.

For more information, visit www.hollywoodcarnival.com.

June 23, 2017

image Entertainment

The Grand Egyptian

Built in 1922, The Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard was the first true movie palace in Los Angeles, and as such, became the first home for Hollywood premieres. Margot Gerber, director of marketing and publicity for the Egyptian Theatre and American Cinematheque, as well as serving as the chair of the Art Deco Society, has been working with the historic theater since 1992.

“I became the historian during the theater’s renovation in 1997 and 1998,” she relates. “I’ve launched a public tour of the theater one Saturday morning a month, as one of the ways to promote and preserve it.”

“The Big Parade” premiere at the Egyptian Theatre in 1925. (Photo courtesy of Bison Archives)

Gerber also uses all forms of social media to share what the theater screens each week, with many cinematheque members and others on the theater’s mailing list.

“Preservation is an on-going challenge. We did a half-million-dollar update to our original renovation in 2016 and 2017. A lot of the plaster was very compromised from water leakage. Our portico roof was in dire need of repair. We were also able to restore some murals on the courtyard walls that were cracking and crumbling.”

She notes that the theater is an historic cultural monument registered with the City of Los Angeles.

With her first year as president of the Art Deco Society, Gerber advocates for historic landmarks throughout the city. “I got involved with the organization in part because I started to work at the Egyptian. I’m exceptionally interested in maintaining the theater and other historic buildings.”

The theater was designed by the architectural firm of Alyer and Holler, and the first film screened was Robin Hood, starring Douglas Fairbanks.

“In the first five years the theater was open, the highest grossing films of the era played there, including Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush. Sid Grauman was the impresario who presided over the Egyptian Theatre until 1927, when he sold his interest to be part of the development of the new Chinese Theatre down the street where he remained until his death in 1950,” Gerber reports.

Today the theater screens a variety of films, with many showings highlighted by in-person guest appearances. Everything from Super 8 to 70mm format films are shown.

“Showing films on film as opposed to a digital format is almost a museum-quality experience,” Gerber explains. “We are coming up on screenings of films all made in 1982 that were blown up to 70mm, including E.T., the original Tron, and Poltergeist, among others.”

The theater was among the first in Los Angeles to host filmmakers and other guests related to films in person outside of film festivals, all year long.  The theater’s 60 foot screen provides an immersive experience for viewers.

As to the theater’s historic architecture, its crafted to look like an ancient Egyptian structure, using Egyptian Revival style.

“It was constructed in a similar way to sets from the big biblical productions of the day using false doors and staircases. The hieroglyphs are real symbols and the depictions of deities on the exterior of the building are actual Egyptian gods,” Gerber points out.  “The theater is one of the last open-air courtyard theaters along with the Alex in Glendale and the TCL Chinese up the street.”

The Egyptian Theatre celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2012. (Photo by Gary Leonard)

The theater recently received a grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, as well as having received a grant on their 90th anniversary in 2012 from the Art Deco Society to keep the theater in pristine condition. Even today, the structure is still grand, both inside and out.

According to Gerber, “Seeing a film at a theater with so much history is a rare treat. There are not a lot of single screen movie palaces left. It is a state-of-the-art theater housed in an historic shell, so the quality of the presentation is very high tech,” she enthuses.

As to the future? “American Cinematheque, the non-profit that owns and operates the theatre, plans to keep the Egyptian running as a movie theater long past its 100th birthday in 2022,” Gerber says.

The Egyptian Theatre
6712 Hollywood Blvd.
(323) 461-2020


Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and journalist, and produced screen and television writer. Passionate about everything-Los Angeles, you can see her work in the arts on her own www.diversionsLA.com.

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June 12, 2017

image Community

Meet the godfather of gay pride, Rev. Troy Perry

If LA is the golden home of America’s queer rights movement, Rev. Troy Perry is its gay godfather. With this year’s LA Pride becoming the Resist March (originating at Hollywood & Highland this Sunday, June 11, 2017), we met with the co-founder of the world’s first gay pride parade, which took place in Hollywood on June 28, 1970, to hear how it all began.

This plaque at the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and McCadden Place marks the origination of the Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade. (Photo by Richard Bence)

What inspired you to start a parade?

Morris Kight called me—he was very leftist and would always call me “Brother Troy”— and said ‘can Bob [Rev. Humphries] and I come over and see you?’ He handed me a letter from New York, which is in the ONE Archives. It said that they were going to do something to honor the show of strength made on Christopher Street at the Stonewall Riot, and would we do our own march here in Los Angeles. I said “Morris, this is Hollywood. Let’s do something a little different, let’s hold a parade.” Saying it and doing it turned out to be something different.

Were the authorities cooperative?

It got so hostile so quick. They asked “who do I represent” and I said “the homosexual community” and then they tried to make fun of us. I always got right back in their face, I’m not going to let you turn me into anything other than what I know: Rev. Troy Perry. And by that time I had a non-profit organization, the Metropolitan Community Church.

Then what?

Chief Davis opposed the parade altogether. They asked us to wait just a minute while they deliberated but they had already made up their minds. The Police Commission voted 4 to 1 to place conditions on the parade permit. And they were 1) you’d have to put up a bond for a million dollars to pay out the businesses when people throw rocks at ya’ll 2) you have to put up a cash bond of $500,000, and 3) you’ve got to have at least 5000 people marching.

What about legal support?

When we returned with a wonderful attorney that the ACLU assigned to us, Herb Selwyn, they weren’t laughing. He presented our side in court in front of a judge here in LA. The District Attorney presented the City’s side. I got a fair-minded Judge who banged on his gavel and ordered the City of LA to “protect these people even if you need to call out the National Guard.” That’s what the courts are for, I’m not afraid to use the courts. Even if they rule against me I’ve had my day in court. Being an American citizen I know what my rights are and my fight has always been just treat me like every other American. I don’t ask for any more but I’ll be damned if I ever settle for any less.

The first Gay Pride Parade, held on Hollywood Boulevard in 1970. (Photo via The Advocate)

Was Hollywood popular with the gay community back then?

On one end of Hollywood Boulevard was Pagola’s restaurant. It was a meeting place for gay men. We would walk from the Hollywood Freeway almost down to Hollywood and Vine to the next gay restaurant, the Gold Cup [a coffee shop on the corner of Wilcox & Hollywood Blvd]. In between of course could be other gay men, sex workers or the hustlers who would hang around in front of those areas. The bar at that time was called the Red Raven. It scared me to death. I didn’t know what cruising was, that’s how dumb I was. I come from a blue-collar family. It was dark inside, with red lights and signs that said “don’t talk to strangers”. I wondered how I would ever meet anyone if I didn’t talk to them? It was the only time I went there because it frightened me.

Rev. Troy Perry leading a demonstration in 1969 on Hollywood Boulevard. (Courtesy photo)

What sparked your activism?

On August 17, 1968, I was down in Wilmington at The Patch. It was the first gay dance bar. I took a date of mine Tony Valdez. We went in and we were having the best time. All at once my date goes over to the bar area and Bill, an older gay man, reached over as Tony was bringing my beer back and slapped him on the butt. They were arrested for lewd and lascivious conduct by the three vice officers who were not wearing uniforms in the bar.

So they had undercover spies hiding out?

The Patch’s owner, Lee Glaze, known as the “Blond Darling”, started shouting “Is there a florist here I want to buy every flower you’ve got.” We walked into LAPD’s Harbor Station, and when Lee approached the desk officer on duty, he announced, “We’re here to get our sisters out!” “What are your sisters’ names?” asked the officer. “Tony Valdez and Bill Hasting” said Lee. It scared this cop to death! Lee showed me you don’t have to be afraid of the police. Once that happened, it encouraged me to become a gay activist.

And was this the catalyst for forming MCC?

I founded the Metropolitan Community Church because of Tony’s arrest. I always tell people God said to me “Troy, I love you and I don’t have step sons and daughters.” And with that I knew I could be gay and Christian. For me the military was finishing school. Once the military tells you over and over again that you could die you get to that point of “well, if death is the 800-pound gorilla in the room” and so it was with MCC at first. Since then, 21 of our churches have been burned down and 8 of our pastors have been murdered in the U.S. since 1968. Our organization has paid its price. We’re a deeply spiritual people. You can’t go through the fire and come out the other side not caring. We believe in Christian salvation. We believe in community. And we believe in Christian social action, meaning we will picket when we need to picket. Even if they kill us we believe in life eternal.

How did that experience inform your activism?

My first demonstration was on March 9, 1969 down at the Dover Hotel on Skid Row. That didn’t frighten me. I went in my full regalia to lay flowers for Howard Efland who had been beaten to death by police. I wasn’t afraid of a fistfight. If push came to shove I could handle myself. I’m a Southerner and seeing what Doctor King was doing with African Americans, he became my mentor. My mother taught me to be good to people. Tony Valdez, who was arrested at the Patch, was a Mexican American. The first [same-sex] couple I married at MCC was a Hispanic couple in December 1968. I wasn’t going to perform marriages for somebody you met last night. But if you were serious, come see me. One of them was dressed in a little female wedding outfit. It didn’t matter. I married them in my home. It was just the three of us. They didn’t even bring witnesses.

What lessons did you learn from growing up among Pentecostals?

By the time of the parade I’m not afraid. I used my real name on the first ad in the Advocate for the MCC. They taught me that if you wanted to start a church you needed three things: you’ve got to tell people who you are, tell them what you believe, tell them where you are. I went back to the Patch and put up a sign.  Lee introduced me to the two owners of the Advocate, the first gay newspaper, who were at the bar that night. They gave me the first ad if I would buy two more. And it just blossomed.

Rev. Troy Perry today. (Courtesy photo)

The church then moved to the Encore Theater in Hollywood—how did that happen?

My roommate, Willie Smith, was the projectionist. Willie persuaded Louie Federici, the owner, to let the church use it before the Sunday matinees. He took a lot of shit for renting to me. He was a closeted gay man but was Catholic and went to Mass. The Religion Editor for the LA Times came down to the Encore Theater. He later told me that he had no idea he was watching the birth of a global organization.

There’s some confusion about whether it was New York or LA that had the first parade. Can you clarify?

I sued. I won. We had a parade with floats and music and marchers. On the same day that we had our parade, New York did something too. Nothing wrong with that. And they had a wonderful rally, but with Morris and Bob, we had the first parade here and they dedicated a plaque to it on Hollywood Boulevard.

The intersection of McCadden Place and Hollywood Blvd. has been designated Morris Kight Square, honoring the co-founder of the world’s first street-closing gay pride parade on Sunday, June 28, 1970. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

What are your views on LA Pride becoming Resist?

Brian Pendleton called me and said we need to reset what we’re doing. We feel like we need to do something different this time. We can go back next year but our community needs to hear again that we are going to resist, like the early demonstrations here in LA. Black lives do matter, Hispanic lives matter, union groups, women, trans lives matter.

Will you be attending?

My partner Philip and I absolutely will. I will speak at the start of the march with the Mayor of LA. This is my home. When I moved here I adopted Los Angeles and I love my city.

The Resist March starts at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue on Sunday June 11, stepping off towards West Hollywood by 10:00 a.m.

www.resistmarch.org

Cover photo by Jonathan David, used by permission.


Los Angeles is both muse and home for British-born culture journalist Richard Bence. His mission is to chronicle and unearth the hidden stories of Hollywood with a special focus on its heritage. He has a passion for preservation, loves all things midcentury and enjoys getting close to nature on a canyon hike or lapping up the architectural riches of the city he calls home. He contributes to Monocle, Monocle 24 and United’s Rhapsody magazine. richard-bence.com

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June 7, 2017

image Dining

Off the Menu, On the Deck

Starting today, you’ll want to get to The Deck at The Hollywood and Highland Center, when there will be certain “secret” menu items at some eateries as well as specials being offered at others. From June 6 – 12, be sure to scope out some special deals and secret items. What better time to browse around and eat outside in the summer sun? Read on to see exactly what’s being offered at each place.

Cold Stone Creamery at Hollywood & Highland. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

Coldstone Creamery

Get into a “Rainbow Frenzy” with cake batter ice cream and rainbow sprinkles mixed in. You’ll find it layered with ganache and topped with rainbow whipped cream.

 

Crispy Tocino Spam Misubi from Fist of Fusion Island Grill at Hollywood & Highland. (Photo by Esther Tseng)

Fist of Fusion

The specialty item to be offered at Fist of Fusion will be a Crispy Tocino Spam Misubi — that is, a crispy bacon mixed in with spam wrapped in rice and seaweed paper. Quite the spin on a classic Hawaiian treat.

 

Ramen salad at Jinya Ramen Express at Hollywood & Highland. This is a special sample size – the regular size is much bigger! (Photo by Devin Strecker)

Jinya Ramen Express

At Jinya, buy one bowl, and get another for 50% off. Choose from a signature bowl or build your own. The discounted bowl must be equal or lesser value.

 

Ceviche Criollo from Mamacita Cantina at Hollywood & Highland. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

Mamacita

At this Peruvian gem by Ricardo Zarate, you’ll have every reason to wash down all the delicious bowls with all the delicious drinks. It’s a buy one drink, get another for free. They’re all delicious, including the Purple Corn Chicha, Cebada Barley, Maracuya Passion Fruit and Strawberry Horchata. Mix and match for ultimate customization.

 

Poke bowl from Pokinometry at Hollywood & Highland. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

PokiNometry

Poke may be all the craze, but during this special week you’ll be able to order a soy paper poke wrap that’s not normally on the menu. What’s better than a bowl than a portable sushi burrito?

Wafflejack at Hollywood & Highland now has both sweet and savory options. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

Wafflejack

Wafflejack has on offer a cheesecake waffle for this week, which sounds so ludicrously delicious, you’ll have to order it just to see for yourself. Creamy, cheesy and delicious.

 

At Whealthy, you can chose from signature bowls, or create your own custom bowl, at Hollywood & Highland. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

Whealthy

The special item here for the week is their signature Whealthy bowl, which comes with vegetables, chicken, beef, rice cakes and soy spicy sauce.

So head on over to the Hollywood and Highland Center to discover some great places to eat that you probably never even knew existed. There’s no better time than this week!


Esther Tseng is a freelance food and drink writer. She has contributed to Eater, Thrillist, LA Tourism, Visit West Hollywood, Serious Drinks, and more. She practices Pilates, spins and snowboards to counter all the calories she consumes and loves to travel, whether for work or leisure.

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June 6, 2017