#Boom!, WeHo’s Fun Way to Ring in the New Year Safely

#Boom! (Photo by A.J. Herrera)
#Boom! (Photo by A.J. Herrera)

If you’re looking forward to a happy and healthy new year in 2016, one way to celebrate its arrival might be #Boom!

The alcohol- and drug-free New Year’s Eve party will celebrate its third anniversary and the new year tomorrow night with an event that includes a DJ, dancing, food, games and the #Boom! Royalty Pageant – live entertainment shows headlined by popular local performers.

Past #Boom! events have brought together up to 1,000 people to celebrate the new year under one roof.

“West Hollywood is world-renowned for our spectacular nightlife on the Sunset Strip and the gay section called Boystown,” said City Councilmember John Duran. “But West Hollywood also has an incredible network of people in recovery. It is absolutely possible to have a great evening in West Hollywood without alcohol or drugs. And #Boom! is the place to be on New Year’s Eve.”

#Boom! 2016 is organized by the Institute for Public Strategies (IPS), the West Hollywood Project and community volunteers, in conjunction with the city, the Tweakers Project, West Hollywood Recovery Center and the LA LGBT Center.

#Boom! (Photo by A,H, Herrara)
#Boom! (Photo by A,H, Herrara)

“#Boom! 2015 was an unprecedented hit, and it has been expanded this year,” said Jimmy Palmieri, a human services commissioner and founder of the Tweakers Project. “It’s created for party-goers seeking an alcohol-free celebration as an alternative to the bars and other party scenes in West Hollywood.” The event has received support from the West Hollywood City Council, many of whose members are expected to attend. It will take place from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the West Hollywood Park Auditorium, located next to the library, at 647 N. San Vicente Blvd. in West Hollywood.

#Boom! is free and open to everyone (18 and older), whether straight or LGBT, whether firmly sober or seeking a healthy break from drugs and alcohol. All are encouraged to reserve a free spot at the event by registering online. Limited validated parking will be available. Disabled attendees will be allowed early entry.

“We see the #Boom! New Year’s event as a great alternative for those seeking a safe, healthy way to connect with others and have fun,” said Councilmember John D’Amico. “The City of West Hollywood is also pleased to be providing a free shuttle from the Red Line in Hollywood to the #Boom! event.” Go online here for a schedule.

The free shuttle service will be provided on tomorrow night from 7:30 p.m. until 2 a.m. to connect to Hollywood and Highland. The stop will be located on Highland at the southwest corner, just south of Hollywood Boulevard. The special service will make stops in two West Hollywood locations, including at San Vicente Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard, adjacent to #Boom!

“The LGBT community in West Hollywood and elsewhere originally centered around the bar scene for connection and safety, which led to an entwinement of drugs, alcohol and socializing,” said to Robert Gamboa, IPS’s West Hollywood Project manager. “That has had its problems for the community. It’s now a new era which boasts a richer, more varied culture, with healthier lifestyles that are free from drug and alcohol dependence.”

In addition to hosting and promoting alcohol- and drug-free special events and volunteer opportunities, the West Hollywood Project is forming the Safe WeHo Leadership Council, a collection of stakeholders who will recommend solutions for reducing alcohol problems stemming from bars, clubs and restaurants in West Hollywood. The panel will include hospitality business owners, as well as representatives from the city’s Code Compliance Division, California Alcoholic Beverage Control, Sheriff’s Department, treatment providers and other emergency service organizations. The Institute for Public Strategies will facilitate the Leadership Council.

Alcohol-related problems are especially prevalent in West Hollywood because it has so many alcohol outlets within its 1.9 square miles. West Hollywood has more on-sale alcohol outlets (such as bars, clubs and restaurants) per capita than any other city in Los Angeles County. Research consistently links crime, especially violent crime and other nuisance-related behaviors, to alcohol outlet density and beverage service practices. “There are effective evidence-based strategies to mitigate these problems while protecting business interests,” Gamboa said. “We are working to implement these strategies with the city to ensure that West Hollywood is as safe and healthy as possible.”

To learn more, contact Gamboa at the Institute for Public Strategies at 310.215.9924 ext. 134 or rgamboa@publicstrategies.org.

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Larry Block
Larry Block

The incredible effort year after year by the volunteers who work so hard to put on this event is a tribute to the recovery community and the community at large. There are many volunteers but nobody works as hard or as passionately at Robert Gamboa. Thanks to all at the West Hollywood Project for your effort, and to Micky’s for sponsoring the alcohol-free bar, so see you at BOOM!