WeHo Board Endorses Lucas John Junkin’s ‘Vaseline Alley’ Festival Proposal

West Hollywood's 'Vaseline alley'
West Hollywood’s ‘Vaseline alley’

West Hollywood City Council candidate Lucas John Junkin is proposing that the city celebrate the leather and fetish communities with a street fair similar to San Francisco’s famous Folsom Street Fair.

Junkin appeared before the city’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board (LGAB) Thursday night to present his idea for the fair to recognize a notorious gay cruising spot dubbed Vaseline Alley. “Vaseline alley” is the parking area and alleyway just south of Santa Monica Boulevard between Havenhurst Drive and North La Jolla Avenue where gay men once met for anonymous sexual encounters.

“[Vaseline Alley] was a historic cruising ground before the days of Grindr and online cruising spots,” said Junkin, who is owner of the Weho Confidential website. “It’s a core piece of gay history, a part of our culture even though times have changed. This would be a leather themed party celebrating Vaseline alley.”

Junkin envisions a two-day event happening in the alley and parking lots behind the 8200 block of Santa Monica Boulevard. The Gold Coast bar and the Out of the Closet thrift store are in that block.

Junkin said he wants to have demonstrations and playful events such as lube wrestling, a tattoo workshop, whipping and bondage play — activities similar to those that take place in the Erotic City section of the LA Pride festival at West Hollywood Park. All activities would emphasize safer sex. He said the area would be barricaded or fenced off, but would have a grungy feel to it, in keeping with the Vaseline alley theme.

“We want that grungy look but will create a ‘Disneyland’ version of it,” said event producer Kimberly Seeherman, owner of Events by Fabulous. “It would be an out-of-the-box way of celebrating gay history and gay sex.”

LGAB members were enthusiastic about the idea, voting unanimously to endorse the concept. However, the group held off committing any money toward the project until seeing a more detailed budget. Seeherman estimated it would cost about $50,000 to put on. Junkin said he’d already talked to several groups that were interested in funding part of it.

Mike Gerle, a former International Mr. Leather, gave his enthusiastic support. “We need to get past our own fear and phobia about embracing our sexuality. In moving toward acceptance, we’ve been whitewashing sex,” said Gerle during the public comment portion of the presentation. “We can ignore Vaseline alley, we can rewrite it and say it was something that it wasn’t, or we can celebrate it.”

Board member Elizabeth Sandberg also loved the idea.

“We do need to celebrate gay sex,” said Sandberg. “We also need to celebrate sex among women. The more we elevate sex, the happier I am.”


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Tommy
Guest
Tommy

This idea has some merits worth developing, however, I am suspicious of using the term “Disneyland version”. While a fan of Walt’s work, there is an implication of “sanitizing” an expression of sexual energy that was anything but safe or sanitary. “Vaseline Alley” and all such clandestine assignations were risky, dangerous, rarely verbal, often anonymous and fueled with raw sexual energy. Folsom is not an ersatz version of some distant original, it is itself. Same with Dore Alley, Badger Flats or any real BDSM play party. Why use city resources, with the attendant corporate sponsorship necessary to create a fake… Read more »

Big Al
Guest
Big Al

good luck getting LA’s (specifically weHo’s) lesbians to celebrate sex; it would be a nice change from celebrating straight go-go’s that have no interest in lesbian sex, insecurity-driven jealousy and hetero-confirmist middle-class patriarchal family planning.

jimmypalmieri
Guest

CONGRATS LUCAS. Stacey and Riley…..REALLY?

Turk
Guest
Turk

It is now hustler, drug dealer and homeless alley.

Lucas John Junkin
Guest

Your ignorance related to the leather community is heartless & insulting Riley. If you’re not interested in the party you don’t have to attend.

Riley
Guest
Riley

What’s next? Reminding the people about the history of snuff films? They could call it the Dead Serious Carnaval. Or maybe the the straight community would like an event honoring the History of Straight Hookers? We should include everyone, don’t you think?

dana miller
Guest
dana miller

This is a terrific, solid idea. It would be a great idea at a virtually bevy of locales, yet “Vaseline Alley” is especially brilliant. The pre-Internet and indeed pre-AIDS historical imprint that tiny strip plays is important. History is more than a register of follies, crimes, misdeeds and in this case, jollies. It is also a conduit to tradition. There are pockets throughout the hamlet, lost in time, that had a great deal to do with who and what we are today. Many, if not most, have lost their usefulness, yet hopefully not their place in history. We will always… Read more »

Rik
Guest

The alley runs between Sweetzer and Havenhurst. You could have the event go all the away across those blocks without severely impacting traffic.It could grow from a one-block event to a four-block event.

TimF
Guest
TimF

We’ve already had Folsom wanabe festivals in Silver Lake, on Santa Monica between Hoover and Sunset. They haven’t been economically viable.

androphiles
Guest

How can this possibly become a “huge event”? It’s an alleyway and a parking lot, one block wide, with a business street on one side and suburbs on the other.

Wehoan
Guest
Wehoan

This is a horrible idea. Parking is already awful in our part of Weho and this will be just another excuse for the city to lift all restrictions and make life hell for the residents that pay for their permits to park there. Oh, and the vomiting tourists will be fun, too.

Misti
Guest
Misti

Lol Stacy. Whipping circus animals is hardly mutually consensual. No one is asking you to participate. Please don’t hate on something just because you don’t understand.