Go-go dancers were out in force Saturday night, and hundreds of residents brought out their dollar bills to show appreciation.
Boystown was buzzing about go-go boys as West Hollywood observed its first ever official , a pre-Halloween party designed to give locals an extra reason to party.
Several Santa Monica Boulevard businesses set up special platforms for go-go dancers, while Larrabee Street was blocked off for a , featuring several go-go dancer competitions.
Crowds of people dropped by the Go-Go Fest to observe the goings on and to tip the dancers. Some were there throughout the evening, others only stayed a few minutes before moving on to restaurants and clubs.
“Everyday is go-go dancer appreciation day at my house,” said actor/comedian Bruce Vilanch. “That other people are moved to celebrate it just warms my heart.”
City councilman John D’Amico, who came up with the idea for Go-Go Dancer Appreciation Day, was pleased by the turnout.
“Everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be. There’s hundreds of people here having a great time and that’s what I hoped for,” said D’Amico.
Larry Block, owner of the clothing store, agreed. “This is West Hollywood at its best,” said Block, who set up a platform in front of his store and offered free underwear to anyone willing to dance for 15 minutes.
Some people took Block up on the offer, others were too embarrassed, saying they didn’t have the physique to dance in public. Still others opted to dance on the platforms set up inside the Go-Go Fest area. One man said he had never danced before, but made $100 in 10 minutes.
One the main stage of the Go-Go Fest, some of those dilettantes got up the nerve to compete in the official Amateur competition. Meanwhile professional go-go dancers competed in five categories – Hottest Jock, Best Bootie, Twink, Best Package and Muscle Stud.
Vilanch, Mayor John Duran and actor/TV host Marcellas Reynolds served as the official judges for the competition. But after the first few rounds of competitions, host Scotty B just let the crowds decide the winners.
Those winners then competed for a $1,000 prize and the title of Mr. West Hollywood Go-Go. By the end of the evening, and nightclub dancer Andrew, dressed as a construction worker, took home the title.
The audience was wowed by a choreographed show, “Evolution of Go-Go,” featuring a dozen dancers doing different moves to snippets of dance hits from the 60s to today.
Between each competition, DJ Paulo Ramirez kept the music going to the delight of the crowd.
“This is what a street party should be,” said Alex Johnson. “Great music, hot men and no cover to get in.”
While Go-Go Day was intended to bring more people to town, there was no noticeable increase in standard Saturday night foot traffic in Boystown.
As for increased business in the area, that may not have happened either. While Block said more people were stopping into his store, he “didn’t know if it was translating into extra sales.”
Nonetheless, D’Amico was optimistic about Go-Go Day becoming an annual event.
“This is just the first year. I’m sure as time goes by, next year’s will be even bigger,” said D’Amico. “I’ve already had a couple of people approach me about being sponsors next year.”