(Comments I added to a story about how Silver Lake got to be so damn straight in the Eastsider, 2012. Amazing what you can find when you google your own name.)
I’ve lived in Silver Lake for close to thirty years. The gay scene in Silver Lake (which was Silverlake back then, incidentally) was devastated by AIDS. It never recovered. Silver Lake’s gay scene was very leather, and that scene was hit particularly hard. The survivors began moving out, selling their homes, leaving town. Too many sad memories. Straights filled the void.
Silver Lake had the most wonderful estate sales back then. You’d pick through the stuff, get great deals, and head back out to your cars feeling vaguely guilty. Weird time.
When AIDS first hit Silver Lake it was scary. The dying were everywhere, the dead not there at all. Lost a lot of friends. Soon it seemed we had no gay friends left. They’d all vanished…moved, died, or just stopped going out.
I miss those days. I miss the gay bars, the ones we could go in, the ones we couldn’t. I miss the gay hamburger joint and gay coffee shops and gay steak houses. I miss the gay newspapers. I miss the leather guys in their chaps buying crisco at the corner markets. Good times. Even for a soooo straight couple.
Btw, in the sixties Silver Lake was a hippie haven. By the punk rock 80′s when we moved in there were a few of them left. They’d go one about the old days and wonder where everybody went.
Now us old punk rockers wonder the same thing.
Cities change. All you can do is watch and remember.
(And you know, I’m still not used to it being Silver Lake. Before it was hip and famous and yuppie breeder heaven it was Silverlake. Then the city put up that damn sign on Sunset….)
Didn’t that damn sign used to read “Silverlake?”
Yeah, it did. Then they changed it and the neighborhood went to hell. It still hasn’ been settled yet though. There’s the Cheese Store of Silverlake, which I love, and Silver Lake Wine, which I do not love, preferring the Liquor Store of Silver Lake, or better yet the CVS Beer Cooler of Silver Lake, or just Mikelino’s house.