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City, Micky's Host Go-Go Dancer Appreciation Festival

Councilman John D'Amico says the city puts no money towards the event, but instead waives certain fees for the bars involved.

The city of West Hollywood played co-host to the 2nd Annual Go-Go Dancer Appreciation Festival Saturday night at Micky's in Weho.

The festival featured a go-go dancer competition in which six finalists performed onstage, with Volodymyr Shmycol taking home the crown of best go-go dancer.

More than 200 men and women were on hand for Saturday's festivities as Weho Mayor Jeffrey Prang, and Councilmen John Duran and John D'Amico, addressed the crowd about the significance of the Go-Go Dancer Appreciation Festival.

"We're a unique city and this is a unique event that you wouldn't see somewhere like the San Gabriel Valley," Prang said. "Go-Go Dancer Appreciation Day is a marketing scheme to help maintain the business scene on Santa Monica Boulevard. This program helps continue to promote the Weho business district."

"It brings out a lot of people and generates a lot of revenue, and tt keeps things current and vibrant," Prang added. 

There have been questions floating within the community in regards to the city's decision to co-host and sponsor the event, including from some Patch readers.

The city often sponsors events such as AIDS Walk and the Toy Box Party, but the Go-Go Dancer Festival represents more of a party than a fundraiser.

D'Amico, credited with creating the festival, said that during his city council campaign, he realized there was a need in Weho for more gay male events, seeing as how Halloween Carnaval has steered away from simply a community celebration.  

“For Halloween Carnaval, 300,000 to 500,000 people come to West Hollywood," D'Amico said. "Well, 25 years ago, it used to be about 500 to 3,000 gay guys who would get dressed up and walk up and down the streets. It’s since turned into what it is now.

“Many of us think that the Carnaval event has moved away from its original sense of community. When I was running, I heard that a lot from gay guys. They wanted to know what the city does for gay men. So when I got elected, I thought we could have Go-Go Dancer Appreciation Day on the Saturday before Halloween.”

The famous Halloween Carnaval will take place Wednesday night on the streets of West Hollywood, but similar to D'Amico, some residents feel the event has lost its local luster.

"I like this party because it's so much more intimate and close-knit than the [Halloween] Carnaval," said Jason Gutierrez, one local on hand for the festival. "The Carnaval is just too crazy. It's huge."

As far as its role in co-sponsoring the go-go festival, D'Amico explained that the city put no money towards entertainment, in the form of dancers or alcohol.

“The event itself is covered by the bars on that part of Santa Monica Boulevard," D'Amico said.

What the city does in support of the festival, according to D'Amico, is waive fees associated with closing down the street near Micky's and for providing public safety. 

Providing public safety and waiving those specific fees saves the bars associated with the festival in the ballpark of $4,500, according to city officials.

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Paul October 28, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Any involvement from city officials regarding a pornographic event is distasteful. Am I the ONLY citizen who can see what hypocrites these council members are? They rationalize there questionable behavior and look at us as stupid for calling them out on how they spend tax papers $$$.
Paul October 28, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Blocking off the street and having the sheriff department oversea any potentials problems cost tax papers $$$. Let the gay bars keep there questionable antics inside there business so innocent passer buyers driving or walking down the street are not subjected to lewd conduct the gay bars conduct.
Ali October 29, 2012 at 10:55 PM
"The need for more gay male events"? It seems all this City does is sponsor gay male events.
Allen F. October 30, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Paul, what is pornagraphic about an art form that was created right here in this city? If your such a prude what's up with your profile pic? Ali, this is actually not an all gay male event, there are also female dancers. What are the other gay male events are there? The Gay Pride parade and festival is all inclusive. Also if the straight community catch's on to the Go-Go event it also will be taken away from the Gay community like the Halloween event was.
Paul October 30, 2012 at 04:51 AM
Obviously the difference is that I do NOT work for the city of West Hollywood. The gay bars can do what they want as long as it does not infringe on the rights and freedoms of other people who do not care for seeing strippers performing pornographic dance moves. A city official attaching the city to something like this is utter nonsense! VERY low class! I think this has more to do with his own fantasies then the better good of the city West Hollywood.
Allen F. October 30, 2012 at 08:16 AM
Paul, funny how fast you changed your profile pic from your naked body pic to your clothed mister fix it pic after I pointed out your hypocrisy. D'Amico's fantasy is for this cities Gay Heritage not be buried and forgotten like some of the other council members are trying to do to please the developers that they are catering too. If you don't like the culture that is deeply imbedded in this city then go live in Claremont.
jose October 30, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Finally Paul put a shirt on!!!!.......something good came out of this stupid event.
Paul October 30, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Yes, it was a foolish event.Glad we all agreed upon that! With the change of seasons, I decided to change my profile picture as I do often. I am most flattered that the pee on's have bothered to take noticed. The gay community wants there cake and to eat it to. They want acceptance and cry fowl at anyone who call then out on there hypocrisy. Life doesn't work that way guys. Gay men are the most selfish people anyone could ever meet. All they care about is there own needs. Like I said the gay bars can do whatever they want but if West Hollywood city hall wants investors to invest in the city in the way they have outlined then sponsoring events with strippers performing pornographic moves in public view then there will be people like myself calling then out on it. NO double standards!!!!

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