“Love, West Hollywood: Reflections Of Lost Angeles” edited by Chris Freeman and James J. Berg— Thriving After AIDS

Freeman, Chris and Berg, James J. “Love, West Hollywood: Reflections Of Lost Angeles”, Alyson, 2008.

  Thriving After AIDS

 Amos Lassen


Alyson Books began their successful “Love” series with “Love, Bourbon Street” and “Love, Castro  Street.” The latest addition is about Los Angeles and it looks at GLBT life there after the AIDS epidemic took its toll. Shortly after this was published, we sadly lost Alyson which had been a powerhouse for gay publishing. That’s what happens when one company tries to monopolize the market.

       Southern California is a gay fantasy land replete with gorgeous beaches and a sun that seems to shine all over the area. But Los Angeles was hit especially hard by AIDS.  The GLBT community there is as large as it is diverse and  there are tensions within. Here is a book that brings those tensions together and it reflects the multiplicity of the gay people there. The stories like the people differ and they run the gamut in subject and style. Many of the authors are familiar and even those that are new to us give us an inside look at the “City of Angels”. There is something for everyone here. The selections are all very different but they are tied together by the city. Reading them gives us both a sense of the
past and a look at the present.

       Some of the history is amazing like the selection about 8709, one of the most notorious of the bathhouses. One could only get in if he was “hot” and white. There is a selection about the infamous piers and about a women’s football team.

       L.A. was glamorous and glitzy and the gay life there was as well. Hollywood provided the shadow but the city produced the literature and the culture. Los Angeles certainly influenced the way we all live today and this book tells us why.

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