Historical WeHo – A Walk Down Boystown 1993

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WeHo's Boystown 1993 - Photo by Alan Light

Here’s a candid Throwback Thursday to a buzzing Santa Monica Boulevard in the heart of West Hollywood’s historical Boystown, circa 1993. This was taken on the north end of Santa Monica Blvd, facing west. Judging from the sequence of this photo taken by photographer Alan Light, we believe it was take on June, 1993, probably on a Saturday during pride weekend (there was a poster promoting Jurassic Park somewhere in the photos taken that day).

Here we get a glimpse of a Different Light Book Store, where Block Party now stands, Micky’s in the early 90s, where it still stands, only two stories high with a bigger patio, and the beloved 6 Gallery Cafe, where Chi Chi Larue’s adult store now stands.

The giant stack of free gay rags piled in front of a Different Light Book Store brings back memories of a simple time when the free gay rag market was booming. Frontiers, Edge, and Planet Homo are some of the prominent magazines that come to mind in the early 90s. These gay periodicals were the main form of information for a lot of the community back then. Gays got the latest gossip and their fill of local news on a bi-weekly basis. The cover models were tanned and toned and sometimes you could find their headless torsos for sale in the classified section buried in the back.

A Different Light was about 3 years old (it opened in 1990). The poster at the window promoting The Front Runner, a novel by Patricia Nell Warren (who lost her life to lung cancer in February of last year) reminds me how much I loved this gay book store, with its shelves lined with LGBT authors, nudie magazines and the space was known for book signing events. You could find gay tchotchkes all over the store like rainbow stickers, naughty greeting cards and drag queen teddy bears, not too differently from what Block Party offers today.

It was the beginning of the end for me when a Different Light Book Store closed in West Hollywood in 2009, before the San Francisco location closed in 2011. I was a secret bookworm posing as party boy for most of my younger gay life, so it was devastating to see this gay-owned book store close its doors, while drunken gays formed a line outside of Micky’s next door, which snaked down the Boulevard.

The picture above also shows a tiny glimpse of the 6 Gallery cafe. I remember the gallery featuring local artists. I remember the plush couches scattered about and there was always a line of homos waiting to use the restroom down in a lower section. 6th Gallery became the WeHo Lounge and then the space hung its coffee mugs to dry and the walls were stacked with clothing racks to house some retail store or other, before shelves were replaced with dildos, poppers, and other adult paraphernalia at Chi Chi LaRues.

The phone booth you see here meant no cell phones, which meant gays were forced to interact. In person. Face to face.

It was a simple WeHo time in Boystown.

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Paulo Murillo
Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience in LGBT media and more than two decades as a West Hollywood resident. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. Murillo’s work has appeared in numerous print and online publications. He was a contributor to LGBT magazine IN Los Angeles. He is known for the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, in which he covered breaking news and local events in the City of West Hollywood. His recent work has been published in the Los Angeles Blade and his articles, essays and photographs can also be seen on the pages of THE FIGHT Magazine. He started “The Share” feature for THE FIGHT, which spotlights members of the Los Angeles recovery community who share about their sober journey. He can be reached at editor@wehotimes.com
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Ritchie Ritch
Ritchie Ritch
2 months ago

I had completely forgotten about 6th Gallery. I loved that coffee shop. I recall going there for some caffeine before going dancing and drinking to Micky’s. Unfortunately A Differently Light did not stand a chance once mainstream book stores like Borders starting carrying the same literature at a fraction of the cost. I too enjoyed that gay owned book store. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Bruciepooh
Bruciepooh
2 months ago

This goes way back to a time when WeHo had soul. Rent was affordable so young gays could live and be a part of their own community and gay spaces were not being torn down to build retail at the bottom and condos on top monstrosities we see today.

Roger DeLaCruz
Roger DeLaCruz
2 months ago

The 90’s were both innocent and decadent. Thanks for the article!