At 8 o’clock Friday night residents of West Hollywood opened their windows, stepped onto their balconies or walked outside their apartment buildings or houses to vocalize their pent-up energy.
The cheers, laughs, whistles, and applause were organized by the Westview Towers homeowners association. Joyce Corradetti, president of the Westview Towers, which is on La Cienega Boulevard near Fountain, said it was a way for residents to show their support for healthcare workers “that are working daily, on the front lines to save lives here in our community and around the world.”
The cheers, laughter and applause spread even farther with those on Hacienda Place and Alta Loma Road also participating as a way for them to relieve the stress of social isolation mandated by the “Safer at Home” order issued by the L.A. County Health Department on March 19. That order, which was to have ended on April 19, today was extended through May 15. It is intended to keep us so far apart from one another that we don’t spread the COVID-19 virus by laughing, sneezing, coughing, or kissing.
It all lasted just a few minutes, and then everyone stepped back inside, with most of them, like this writer, probably still having smiles on their faces after having been spent the day cooped up all alone (or with that same old spouse, partner or roommate).
If you missed it, take a look at the video below posted on Instagram by Ron Torres (RonTorres9) where you can hear the celebration up and down Alta Loma Road. And there is a video posted by Simone Tai (@SimoneTaiMeditates) that shows Sean Hancock (@sean.hancock.182), who Tai says was beating the drum (or actually a pot) at her home.
The 8 p.m. vocal demonstration happened across the country, with many of its participants joining a new Facebook group called “Go Outside and Howl at 8 pm” that already has more than half a million members. That group’s members include more than a dozen identified as residents of West Hollywood as well as residents of 99 other countries. It is promoting a nightly “howl” at 8 p.m. in its members’ time zones.
The laughter and applause and whistles are similar to what is going on in cities like Milan and Madrid, where the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially brutal. However. in those cities, residents typically stand outside on the balconies and sing or play instruments.
In many communities in the United States, the 8 p.m. “howl” is a way to voice support for healthcare workers who are on the front lines of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, which to date has infected 8,430 L.A. County residents and resulted in the deaths of 241
But it’s also a way to reduce the stress and pain and frustration from being isolated and stuck at home.