Off Sunset Festival

OffSunset_BlackCatRiots

Celebrate Silverlake’s diverse community and history: Sunday, July 6, 2014. 

BY MARK ARIEL

While it may seem difficult, at times, to escape a  world of corporate takeovers, mega-malls and neighborhood gentrification—there are still a few good people out there supporting small businesses, cultural diversity and local artists.

In an effort to celebrate and preserve Silverlake’s diverse community, The Eagle LA bar owners Hunter Fox and Charlie Matula, along  with the very talented Kim Sharp, formed “The Off-Sunset Association.” The association produces the Off-Sunset Festival, taking place this year on Sunday, July 6, 2014.

The Off-Sunset Festival, first held in 2013, is an exciting day of music, culture, art, food and fun, with an expected attendance of 8000 people. The event features live music, DJ-driven dancing, gourmet food trucks, beer trailers, ice-cold specialty drinks and dozens of hand-picked merchandise, art and novelty vendors, including items of interest to the leather and fetish communities.

“It is with great affection for this diverse community that we organized the Off-Sunset Festival,” reveals Hunter Fox, in an interview with THE FIGHT. “We own businesses here. We frequent the local restaurants and bars. We spend time in this incredible section of Los Angeles and are committed to enriching the neighborhoods that have given each and every one of us so very much.”

Additionally, says Fox, “with so many gay bars in our neighborhood closing [“Le Barcito,” “The Other Side,” to name a few] we felt that it was important to celebrate Silverlake’s rich LGBT history.”

Part of that history includes “The Black Cat Tavern,” an LGBT bar formerly located at 3909 W. Sunset Blvd. in Silverlake. Two years prior to the Stonewall riots in New York City, on the night of New Year’s 1967, several plain-clothes police officers infiltrated the Black Cat Tavern, arresting and beating several patrons for kissing as they celebrated the occasion, creating a riot in the immediate area. Several days later, this police action incited a civil demonstration to protest the raids.

It was from this event that the publication “The Advocate” began as a newspaper for PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education).

 


For more info on The Off-Sunset Festival visit: offsunsetfestival.com.