The ‘Gayest Store on Earth’ Lives On (For a While)

The earth will keep its gayest store for at least two more months. Larry Block, whose The Block Party on Santa Monica Boulevard bills itself as “the gayest store on earth” said the March 31 closing, which was postponed until April 30, now has been pushed until after the June 2 City Council election, in which Block is a candidate.

block party, larry block, gayest store on earth“We have taken down the closing April 30th signs and also removed the Lost Our Lease signs,” Block said. “Discussions have re-opened with the landlord and it appears we will be staying at the store through the election June 2nd.”

In an email to friends and employees, Block said: “It is my hope we can also stay through Pride. All have agreed to reopen discussions on combining with Video West but into their space on Larrabee and the landlord has tentatively agreed to pay for the cost of combining the spaces. ”

The closing of The Block Party is the latest in a series of changes in the Boystown area that have led observers to wonder whether it will survive as a gay-centric nightlife and shopping district.

The Block Party opened at 8853 Santa Monica Blvd. near Larrabee five years ago, replacing Different Light, a famous gay bookstore. It has catered to a largely gay clientele with underwear, swimwear, shirts and tank tops and shorts. It also sells jewelry and gay-specific greeting cards.

The Block Party’s lease with Larrabee Ventures ended last October. Block said he had asked for a six-month extension of the lease while he negotiated a plan to merge with Video West, a nearby business on Larrabee Street owned by Claudia Flores, whose lease also was up. Block said the merger, which would have had both businesses share the Block Party space, would have allowed them to survive substantial rent increases and common area charges.

“The answer to the customers to how long we have is ‘I dont know’ and I really don’t know anymore,” Block said. “We will get three weeks advance notice to clear.”

  1. I hope Block Party survives at least through Gay Pride Weekend which begins a scant 10 days after the June election. What surprised me is that Block Party would share the Video West space which is far smaller (I think). If so, a lot of house cleaning and “consolidation” would have to transpire. As regards Block noting that it is The Gayest Store on Earth, well, that’s hype just like I see any business touting themselves as World Famous – really ? I am still amazed in the digital age that Video West survives, although they did close their store in Studio City awhile ago. As far as WeHo being “gay-centric”, well it may attract a lot of people from the LGBT community BUT it is certainly NOT like the days of yore. And what are our lesbian sisters doing to socialize in a bar since The Palms was regrettable closed and then demolished? A tragedy. As time marches on, Boystown may become but just a memory.

  2. Weho fan, you obviously aren’t a fan of weho or you would be walking on the street instead of just driving by! Block Party is a really great store with great prices and I hope they can stay in the neighborhood because we don’t need another restaurant to close its doors after a few months.. The landlords take advantage of tenants when they see their business is successful.

  3. I’m sure the owner means well, but I roll my eyes every time I drive by this store. “The Gayest Store On Earth”? Grow up. Build a business that people want and you won’t have to close.

  4. I’ve always been able to buy me a new this or a new that at Block Party through it’s years in the hood. I hate to see it go. It’s like a neighborhood shrine, unabashedly proud of it’s purpose, a tribute to community pride & diversity, it’s statement clear to all who entered or passed. The last thing I bought at Block Party was a Christmas wreath in March when the nice clerk made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. It will look smashing on my front door come the holidays. But it still wasn’t the best deal I’ve ever gotten there. That was a couple of years or so ago when I wanted a commemorative WeHo Anniversay tile & Larry said “You can have it. Just take it & enjoy it!” So of course I did. Now that was a deal! Larry is a generous man with a heart of gold & a humanitarian who is in love with his community, a colorful man who resorts to whimsical antics to bring attention to his favorite causes because he sincerely wants to help improve the lives of others. Of course I’ll miss Block Party the landmark store, but there’ll always be a block party named Larry, the community pillar, dedicated, hard working & relentless in his efforts to make West Hollywood a better place. Thank you for the tile Larry. And for the memories.

  5. i hope the store endures. i love the idea of the two businesses combining. maybe that is thewave of the future for “stand alone” small businesses. good luck larry!

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