Gay Go Go Appreciation Day is Gone Gone in WeHo’s Boystown this Year

West Hollywood Go Go Dancer Appreciation Day - 53With the failure of gay-oriented businesses to unite to promote West Hollywood’s Boystown district, the city has decided it won’t stage the annual Go Go Dancer Appreciation Day this year.

This year’s event would have been the fourth. Mayor John D’Amico, who conceived Go Go Dancer Appreciation Day with Councilmember John Duran, said he had hoped to see the businesses in the area that benefitted from it establish a business improvement district (BID). He also noted that some of the bars that were previously involved in the go go event have faced a change in circumstances since last year. Among the changes in the area is the sale of Eleven Bar and Restaurant and of Rage nightclub. “It didn’t seem like it was going to come together very easily,” D’Amico said.

D’Amico said that whether the city should sponsor such events is part of a bigger question about its role in economic development in area. Other areas of the city, such as the Sunset Strip and the Design District, which encompasses business on Robertson and Beverly boulevard and Melrose Avenue, have formed business improvement districts. The city levies an assessment on the businesses in those areas which it then gives to the business improvement districts. The BIDs use the money to promote their respective areas.

West Hollywood has spent $65,000 over the past eight years in an unsuccessful effort to organize a BID in the Boystown area. It engaged Civitas, a Sacramento consulting firm, and for a brief period the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to convince local businesses to support the BID. Under state law, a BID can only be established if businesses whose combined assessments equal at least 51 percent of the proposed BID budget agree to it. The proposed BID would have extended from near the intersection of Holloway Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard on the east to Doheny Drive and Santa Monica on the west. The effort to get support for a BID has been complicated, according to some area business owners, because of the intense competition among local bar owners there and their unwillingness to pay to promote the area.

“Ultimately, that’s what’s missing from that area,” D’Amico said. “We don’t have any kind of organized voice that is leading from that district.” However, he said, there are meetings coming up to look at the likelihood  of whether a  BID or a other business association can be will formed.

Don Zuidema, an owner of LASC, the clothing retailer, was part of a group that tried to launch a BID in the area. Zuidema said there hadn’t been enough support from area businesses to launch a BID –probably because business owners were feeling the effects of the economic downturn–but that he thinks the idea will be revisited. In the meantime, he said, some of the original members of a steering committee working on the project are looking at other options, including forming a more informal business association that will work to promote the area.

“We have decided to continue to meet, and we are doing so with the support of both the city and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce,” he said.

D’Amico counts the go go event itself—which last year partnered with a Tom of Finland art exhibition—as a success.

“I think it was lot of fun, and people had a good time,” he said.

boystown bid
Map of proposed Santa Monica Boulevard Business Improvement District

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Woody McBreairty
Guest

As long as there are people there will be gay people & as long as there are gay people there will be Boy’s Town. This is a neighborhood built & perpetuated by gay men & women through the years & we are fortunate to have had the social pioneers & business entrepreneurs of those days who made it so. The gay population is not a dispensable entity that can be bullied out of town by greedy developers & ambitious politicians. West Hollywood has always been the bellwether community of pushback against discrimination & will not hesitate to hold their ground… Read more »

ambiguousbodywork
Guest

No need to designate the area none as boystown because all younger gay people want to go and be part of all that. That’s where the boys & booze is and when your hormones are raging all you wanna do is have fun. That’s what did with my friends when I moved here in 1981. When you are older it definitely loses it’s appeal and that’s the way it should be. Nothing worse then seeing an older person at a twenty something gay bar nightclub wearing the get ups the young guys are wearing. No matter how good they look… Read more »

joetheplummber
Guest
joetheplummber

Woody, you are sort of correct. I mean, so yes 41% of West Hollywood is Gay, but only about a third ,17% of the 41% are over 50 and can remember Studio One. So, most of the new kids aren’t looking to learn a book or hook up at a Different Light Book Store. I know you want to keep it the same as when you were young, but things change. People age, Buildings become historic. Some uses become obsolete. New uses become welcome. Woody, Wake Up! Take an Uber to Gay StarBucks. Walk to the Library. Take the shuttle… Read more »

Paul
Guest
Paul

Do you know how many different businesses have failed or gone bankrupt between LaCienega & Robertson over the years? Hundreds. The location on Robertson and Santa Monica Blvd,. has been over a dozen different business since 1981. One ONLY has to drive down Santa Monica Blvd., to see the empty and/or out of business store fronts. Many more will also fail. Bring in more restaurants, hotels etc….. is obviously going to drain business from existing business, You are right about gay tourist bringing income to these establishment but obviously not enough otherwise so many would not fail.

Woody McBreairty
Guest

I wonder what makes people think that 41% (or more) of the West Hollywood population is going to disappear into thin air! Where are they going to go, to Westchester or Baldwin Hills or Westlake Village? Probably not. Not to mention the 10s of 1000s of gay men & women from outside the city who come here to patronize the gay establishments. Gay business will survive & revive themselves wherever they fit in & where there is money to be made & there has always been money to be made in gay businesses. West Hollywood’s history speaks for itself. The… Read more »

El Futuro
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El Futuro

At least there’s a greek restaurant going into the old donut place.

luca d
Guest
luca d

hey save…spot on analysis.
i have posted many times that the west hollywood of twenty years ago, is gone. the secret is out, the city is for sale to the highest bidder and within no time, the notion of a ‘gay city’ will be a faded memory. some say it’s progress. ok.
wait for the next shoe to drop on santa monica boulevard; word out that the stretch of block on south side of street, la jolla to havenhurst, is to be razed for another mixed use-apartments complex. bye bye vaseline alley.
it ain’t your gay uncles city anymore.

Paul
Guest
Paul

I see a lot of straight females going to We Ho to party at night. They bring their straight BF’s. It has changed tremendously since the good ole days.

SaveWeho
Guest
SaveWeho

I think the lack of businesses forming a BID is a direct reflection of how disconnected City Council is with the area and with the changing economic and social climate. We have to face the fact that gay businesses are disappearing and the bars are now being bought by the non-lgbt community who aren’t interested in forming a community. They’re interested in profits. We’ve spruced the city up, made it a nightclub destination…but in the process we lost the heart of the city…the gay community. So remaining business struggle and they don’t have the money for these silly non-events like… Read more »