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Despite legacy, Board hijacks Sunset Junction


I can't keep the festival going--but would you like another sharrow?

Alice Walton reports that the Board of Public Works has hijacked the Sunset Junction festival, slated for this weekend, threatening to cancel the whole enchilada if festival organizers don't pay what's "owed" the City.

If I may quote myself on Sunset Junction's legacy:

The neighborhood's political and literary bona fides are hallowed. The fabled Black Cat protest at Sunset Junction the neighborhood anticipated far more iconic Stonewall riot by over two years. A wikipedia footnote somewhere asserts: "The event is named for the Black Cat Bar, formerly at 3909 Sunset Blvd between Sanborn and Hyperion Avenues, a location that had been a gay bar periodically since the 1940’s."

The Sunset Junction Street Fair, aware of the legacy, commenced thirty-one years ago as a way to feature the local community's performing arts and culture, and itself became the kind of LGBT icon that the Black Cat protest never did.

Later, of course, X played Sunset Junction. Chaka Khan. The not-Diana-Ross Supremes. Ten years ago: Silver Lake icon Elliot Smith, whose memorial graffiti wall still stands nearby.

But the City wants to shut down the festival this year over a piece of change that couldn't keep Eric Garcetti's staff fed for two days. If you do a cost analysis, the money truly "owed" the City in fees is applied to Public Works salaries that may ordinarily be paid to City workers anyway, whether they work setting up the festival or engage in other ordinary weekend activities. There are some extraordinary costs attached to the festival, but Public Works hasn't provided an accounting of these to the public. The real cost of the festival to the City is thought to be under $25,000.

The Times also has an earlier item up.

That's Council President Eric Garcetti, who's bringing a 90-unit insaniplex to Sunset Junction, presumably for a lot more than this piddling fee dispute will garner the City.