The West Hollywood City Council discussed yesterday whether to engage a consultant and begin a project to define the future of the Sunset Strip. The discussion was interrupted by an alarm that went off in the City Council Chamber, forcing the Council members to abruptly end their meeting and move the item to their Nov. 7 agenda.
An initiative of council members John D’Amico and John Duran, the project’s goal is to “identify the future vision of the Sunset Strip,” according to a memo presented to the City Council. “The City must take a leadership position in this effort – not to dictate the outcome, but to guide the process and help establish the ‘next big idea’ for the 21st Century Sunset Strip.”
The proposal comes on the heels of the collapse last year of the Sunset Strip Business Improvement District and its annual music festival and at a time when the Strip is becoming known more for its growing number of hotels than for the rock music clubs that used to define it.
The D’Amico/Duran proposal will have the city’s Community Development Department look at the impact of the Sunset Strip Specific Plan and current zoning code on the music scene, entertainment and production businesses, dining and hotel businesses and various cultural icons in the area.
The memo says one goal is to make the Sunset Strip “walkable, approachable, and interesting from the street.” It suggests things such as:
— New and additional benches and street furniture,
— Temporary small parks or temporary vending opportunities,
— New and additional temporary art installations,
— Landscaping and shade structures,
— Public safety efforts,
— Transportation and transit efforts,
— Signs alerting visitors to available parking,
— Paving markings celebrating the Strip and its history.
The City Council will be asked to allocate $300,000 to the project, which it asked city staff to launch within 60 days.
The council also will be asked to allocat $10,000 to support a celebration of the “Golden Anniversary of the 1960s” on the Strip, known for its music, pop culture and adult entertainment.
Events proposed by the city’s Economic Development Department include:
Oct. 28. “There’s Something Happening Here…” Photographer Henry Diltz will present a slideshow and talk in the City Council Chambers from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Afterwards there will be a reception for arelated exhibit in the West Hollywood Library.
Diltz is a founding member of the band Modern Folk Quartet. While playing for the band, he became interested in photography and photographed many of the musicians who played the Sunset Strip and lived in Laurel Canyon in the 1960s. His photography is featured on the album covers of The Lovin’ Spoonfuls, The Doors, and James Taylor including others. He was also an official photographer for the Monterrey Pop Festival and Woodstock. His talk will recall personal anecdotes about the subjects of his photographs.
The event will take place in the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Free admission.
Feb. 8, 2017. “The Rise of Counterculture in West Hollywood: Art, Music, and Poetry.” Domenic Priore, author of “Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Last Stand in Hollywood” (2015 Jawbone Press, London) will discuss that specific moment between 1965 and 1966 when West Hollywood absorbed, then advanced the folk music movement that had previously been harbored in New York’s Greenwich Village. One year after The Beatles broke Pop beyond its previous limitations, Bob Dylan came to Ciro’s on the Sunset Strip to help launch The Byrds, which in turn, opened it up for Frank Zappa, Buffalo Springfield, Love, The Doors and others to break from the local scene. From that moment on, social consciousness would become the modus operandi internationally, an important and previously- overlooked part of how the 1960s truly changed the world. The talk is at 7 p.m. at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica, and is free to the public.
April 6, 2017. “As Far as You Can See … Sunset Strip through the Eyes of Poets.” City poet laureate Kim Dower is organizing a panel of poets for readings of both original work and work by poets who captured the glory days of the Sunset Strip. The event takes place at 7 p.m. at the West Hollywood Library and is open to the public free of charge.
EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story said the City Council had approved the Sunset Strip project. In fact that Council meeting ended abruptly because of an alarm and the item has been moved to the Nov. 7 agenda. The story has been corrected to reflect that.