Last night I attended the Halloween Street celebration in West Hollywood, the largest in California with over 350,000 on the streets. As my friend Erica and I walked down Santa Monica Boulevard, we saw people dressed in costumes walking along with us west--a skeleton bride in white face paint and a bridal dress walking next to two cops. When I lived in West Hollywood, I always walked from my house a mile to the celebration, but I've not been living in West Hollywood for four year. However, at a birthday party last spring of a West Hollywood senior activitst Ric Rickles I was introduced to West Hollywood's mayor Abby Land, so I decided this year I was going.
We got to La Cienega and Santa Monica Boulevard, crossed the street and left the sidewalk to walk with thousands of others in the middle of the crowd. A very diverse crowd it was: white, black, Asian, Latino; young and old, some parents with toddlers around their necks; gay, bisexual, and straight; people speaking Russian, Spanish, English and French.
As we walked forward west the crowd got thicker until we got to the first bandstand where people in costumes were strutting across the stage: a ninja Bunny who executed some karate moves; a Jack-of-the Box in half popping out of a box around his waist; four beautiful Venetian dancers in red and blue pointy colored hats and long flowing robes colored in danced on stage. As we stood in the crowd watching the people on stage a line of penguins--fifteen men in black with white pointy masks--marched in front of us. That was fantastic to see a March of the Penguins right before our eyes. Ten minutes later the fifteen penguin-men marched on stages and marched in a circle, circling the m.c. who yelled, "I'm pregnant!" I loved those penguins! Finally, the penguins marched right off stage!
A few minutes later two tall figures dressed as elegrant ladies in gowns marched on stage. The M.C. announced, "Lady Katrina and Lady Rita" as the two hurricanes dance around before dancing off. Good that people in West Hollywood help us laugh off disasters. Later as we were weaving in and around through the crowd which was getting thicker and thicker a man in black with two birds perched on his shouder approached me. A foot away he held one of his birds right in front of my face and said, "Bird flu." I ducked out of his way. Right after 9/13 I went to West Hollywood Halloween and a man and a woman were wearing two tall rectangular boxes that looked like skyscrapers: they were the Twin Towers.
We stopped by the fire truck as my friend Erica met an old friend Carol from high school she hadn't seen in twenty years, and they chatted what they had been doing these last twenty years, Then we marched on, seeing a man holding a sign "Jesus Loves Jews" which I liked and then a Jesus Freak holding up a sign condeming the crowd followed by an escort of about five cops. By this time the crowd was really thick and it was slow going. What is great is the peacefullness, the diversity, the creativity, and the imagination. Groups of gigantic men and women were decked out in gowns, towering blonde and red wigs, and high heels were posing for others holding cameras. Big girls! Very big girls! In West Hollwyood everyone can be Star for the Evening. All body sizes welcome! Big guys dressed up as gorillas and Vikings! Fat women looked great as divas and princesses in elegant gowns!
At another stage we saw a group cowboys/cowgirls in blue jeans, cowboy shirts and black hats were dancing to disco rap, doing turns and twirling their black hats. As we marched along we saw a man besides a female figure wearing an U.S flag/burka like the women of Afghanistan--I wished I had my camera! We saw Chinese aristrocrats in beautiful embroidered gowns; lots of drag queens in towering wigs, elegrant gowns, and platform shoes; a young man wearing around his neck a table set with plates and silverwear who was a movable feast. Lots of people dressed up in black-and-white stripped prison outfits as wells adults dressed up as babies.
What's great is this one day a year all of Los Angeles comes together to celebrating everybody's creativity--this city needs more festivities like this.