If there’s one moment that shows my hip quotient to be less than zero when divided by one while also calling into question my credentials as a native angeleno it occured in the run-up to the long-runningÂ Sunset Junction streetfair in 2001 when a fellow coworker at the time — who was so hip her last name was Urban — asked me if I’d ever been to it.
Been to it? I’d never heard of it.Â Of course, I didn’t say that. I just fibbed about “having always wanted to go” and then went online to find out what I’d been missing.
In my defense I was 17 years into a 19-year stint in the valley and it was all too easy to miss or ignore all the stuff that was going on within the faraway other side of the Santa Monica Mountains. So when in 2003 I escaped to Silver Lake Adjacent and was actually living in an apartment building nestled in the crook of the elbow formed by the actual junction of Sunset and Santa Monica boulevards I made it a priority to finally attend and when it came around I walked up to the entry gate, coughed up the “suggested donation” (can’t remember if it was $7 then or had climbed to double digits), wandered the length and back, met up with my friends Cybele and Manny, wandered some more and wound up a few dozen rows back in the crowd in front of the stage listening first to a band whose name I can’t remember but had scored a hit with their song “California” that year in large part because of its use as the theme for the TV series “The OC,” and then second to the Dandy Warhols, who I don’t remember dick about other than they were a half-hour late for their set.
Then I went home and on that hot August night with the sliding glass doors of my junction-facing balcony open I tried to go to sleep to the Circle Jerks’ lead singer who shouted “Coup d’Etat!” about 500 fucking times along with everyone in the audience there for them. Very cool.
By the next fair I had moved in with Susan east and away from the madness and really had no desire to go so we didn’t. In 2005, having reunited with my daughter I invited her and a friend to go and it was interesting to acquaint Katie with the event. And last year Susan and I went in part because we’d been given access to the special “VIP” area set up at Cliffsedge restaurant and after a couple mojitos we paid the ridiculous entry fee essentially to walk from one end to the other and then go home.
This year access can be had for the low-low of $15 and the only thing suggested about theÂ “donation” is that the fair’s organizers suggest you fuck off if you don’t wanna pay the now-mandatory fee. And sorry, but when Morris Day & The Time is the only act I’m interested in seeing (purely for nostaligia reasons), I’ll pass.
And I’ll regret never having attended back when the event was about inclusion not exclusion.
The good news is that the footprint of the fair has changed. Whereas it previously ran on Sunset between Manzanita all the way to Maltman, this year it only extends east to Hyperion on Sunset, hanging a right down along the headwaters of Santa Monica Boulevard. So if Susan and I get the urge for margaritas at El Conq or a combo at Tacos Delta we can go there without getting fleeced passing through any bullshit checkpoint.