Video by Brian Holt for WEHOville
Dozens of people showed up at West Hollywood Park this evening for a service memorializing WeHo Jesus, aka Kevin Short and Kevin Lee Light. Short, who died Dec. 13, is perhaps the best known of a group of characters who help define West Hollywood’s reputation for creativity and eccentricity.
The speakers included Short’s father, Dale Short of Pasadena, who was accompanied to the event by Short’s cousin, Michele Docherty. Short spoke very briefly, thanking the West Hollywood community and those who attended the event for expressing their admiration for and love of his son.
Brian Hamilton, a neighbor and friend of Short, who lived on Laurel Avenue, also spoke. Hamilton described what Short was like before he decided to wear go on walks on Santa Monica, Hollywood and Sunset boulevards wearing the long robe and sandals that, with his beard and long hair, led people to call him “Jesus.”
“He was decent and funny and smart and compassionate and talented,” he said. “I remember the day we were standing on the sidewalk talking, when people starting slowing down to take his picture. That’s when I began to realize Kevin wasn’t just Kevin anymore. He was our Jesus.”
Hamilton’s remarks were both touching and humorous, prompting laughter from the crowd which included several people who knew Short from his work as a comedian at the Comedy Store.
“I keep looking at your door, but I don’t see you anymore,” Hamilton said with a plaintive look on his face, before adding: “I wish I could say you’ll be back in three days, three weeks. Okay, maybe resurrection is out of the question. But can you ask God to fix the last election?
Other speakers were West Hollywood City Council members John D’Amico, John Duran and Lauren Meister. Each of them recounted interactions with WeHo Jesus that are in the video by Brian Holt posted above. Duran called out his memory of Short, who was about six and a half feet tall, standing in his Jesus robe in front of evangelical anti-gay rights protestors at the annual L.A. Pride Parade. Another speaker was Don Barris of the Comedy Club, who recalled how much Short was liked by other performers at the popular Sunset Strip venue.
The service was arranged only a few days after WEHOville reported Short’s death, which had not been disclosed until last Wednesday night. Short, 57, died of an apparent lung-related illness. The organizer was Vini DiMambro of Steven Petrarca Events. DiMambro said he was inspired to create the event by his 20 or so interactions with WeHo Jesus. “He always took the time to say hello and talk,” DiMambro said.
The death of WeHo Jesus was reported by media outlets across the country and the world, with stories published by TMZ, the Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Times and the Daily Mail and the Independent in Britain to name a few. Another indicator of Short’s popularity is the fact that 49,333 people had read the story about his death on WEHOville.com as of this evening.