Gay history of L.A.

Doing its part to mark the 225th birthday of Los Angeles, IN Los Angeles asked author Stuart Timmons to come up with a whopper of a list: 225 places of historical importance in the gay and lesbian annals of the metropolis. For instance, he writes that Merced House, which still stands at 420 North Spring, was a 19th century theater that hosted masked balls for male and female prostitutes and became a covert gay lodging house. Some others:

(13) Pershing Square, at 5th and Hill, was the meeting ground for gay men for most of the 20th century before city fathers uprooted and paved this homoerotic paradise. Discreet gay cruising was tolerated at the bar of the (14) Biltmore Hotel across the street. During WWII, (15) Westlake (soon MacArthur) Park was also a cruising ground...

(20) In the summer of 1948, L.A.’s Harry Hay dreamed up “Bachelors Anonymous,” a gay brainstorm that by 1950 became the Mattachine Society, America’s first gay organization, which started at 2328 Cove Ave., a house overlooking Silver Lake...

(32) Troy Perry founded Metropolitan Community Church in his home in 1968 then bought a church at 22nd and Union, which was burned by suspected arson in 1972. The world headquarters for the MCC is now at (33) 8714 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood...

(90) Griffith Park was the site of exuberant cruising, according to John Rechy’s Sexual Outlaw. In 1968, the park hosted Gay-Ins (inspired by hippie “Be-Ins”). In 1955, the camera caught Sal Mineo’s crush on Jimmy Dean in Rebel Without a Cause at the romantic Griffith Park Observatory. On Feb. 12, 1976, returning from a play rehearsal (he played a gay burglar), Mineo was stabbed to death outside his (91) West Hollywood apartment at 8563 Holloway (between La Cienega and Alta Loma)...

(141) L.A. Times music critic Robert Hilburn’s rave review of Elton John’s August 1970 debut at the Troubadour launched the legend’s career.

And so on. #225 is the Disney Animation Studios in Burbank: "Created, among other gay animated fantasies, Beauty and the Beast, one of the last scores written by Howard Ashman before he died of AIDS. Jeffrey Katzenberg took his friend’s death so hard, he became one of the biggest and most consistent contributors to APLA and other AIDS organizations."

Also: IN Los Angeles editor Karen Ocamb is still mad about gays not being polled as a separate demographic group in the Los Angeles Times Poll.


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