The earth will keep its gayest store for at least two more months. Larry Block, whose The Block Party on Santa Monica Boulevard bills itself as “the gayest store on earth” said the March 31 closing, which was postponed until April 30, now has been pushed until after the June 2 City Council election, in which Block is a candidate.
“We have taken down the closing April 30th signs and also removed the Lost Our Lease signs,” Block said. “Discussions have re-opened with the landlord and it appears we will be staying at the store through the election June 2nd.”
In an email to friends and employees, Block said: “It is my hope we can also stay through Pride. All have agreed to reopen discussions on combining with Video West but into their space on Larrabee and the landlord has tentatively agreed to pay for the cost of combining the spaces. ”
The closing of The Block Party is the latest in a series of changes in the Boystown area that have led observers to wonder whether it will survive as a gay-centric nightlife and shopping district.
The Block Party opened at 8853 Santa Monica Blvd. near Larrabee five years ago, replacing Different Light, a famous gay bookstore. It has catered to a largely gay clientele with underwear, swimwear, shirts and tank tops and shorts. It also sells jewelry and gay-specific greeting cards.
The Block Party’s lease with Larrabee Ventures ended last October. Block said he had asked for a six-month extension of the lease while he negotiated a plan to merge with Video West, a nearby business on Larrabee Street owned by Claudia Flores, whose lease also was up. Block said the merger, which would have had both businesses share the Block Party space, would have allowed them to survive substantial rent increases and common area charges.
“The answer to the customers to how long we have is ‘I dont know’ and I really don’t know anymore,” Block said. “We will get three weeks advance notice to clear.”