L.A.'s Sunset Junction at a Crossroads
It's just that it's not very, well, Sunset Junction-ey anymore. A lot of the things that made this neighborhood special, like its sunny laissez-faire attitude and motley crew of residents, are fading fast. Case in point: the Sunset Junction Fair.
Happening for the last 30 years, it's traditionally been a free event where neighborhood residents can come together and mingle. A great example of community building, especially in a city famous for its sprawl and isolation. But this past year, admittance cost $20 bucks: Long-time fair attendees (rightly) argued that charging $20 bucks for a street fair in a mixed-income neighborhood violated the inclusive spirit of the event. To add insult to injury, the fair almost didn't happen because the neighborhood's more affluent arriviste residents complained about the fair being too "noisy" and "disruptive." Hmphh, I say. Why move to a place famous for its friendly vibe and popular events if you plan to kill them? I know Christmas just passed but it does seem like something Mr. Potter would do.
Even five years ago, I had to DRAG friends over to this area. Eventually, they stopped resisting, and, like all good things, word spread. Venues like Tantra, El Conquistador (amazing margaritas) and Spaceland (for music) were instrumental in putting this neighborhood on the map as a Williamsburg West for the creative set. But we know how stories like this end, don't we? "They" found out about it. Which meant higher rents, and change.
Not surprisingly, the inimitable feel and vibe in this once working-class, artisan-friendly part of L.A. has been greatly impacted by the recent shifts in this neighborhood's local economy. Fortunately, there are still a few classic haunts tucked away in this hood for those of you looking to experience the magic of the Sunset Junction that captured my heart years ago.
My advice: Go now, before the thrill is completely gone.
3701 W Sunset Blvd.
1087 Manzanita St.
4348 Fountain Avenue
3932 W. Sunset Blvd.
Ricky's Fish Tacos
4006 Santa Monica Blvd.
The Bohemian Vibe of Silver Lake [L.A. Times]