If you live in West Hollywood, you’ve probably seen the woman playing bagpipes most evenings on the corner of Crescent Heights and Santa Monica Blvd.
She’s Madeline Hamilton, perhaps WeHo’s most visible street performer.
“Thanks to my corner, I’ve been able to develop a one-woman show about the bagpipes I’m taking to a French festival in August,” Hamilton said, calling in to City Council’s meeting Monday night to protest a slew of new rules targeting performances on West Hollywood’s sidewalks and streets. “I’ve been able to connect with neighbors. I’ve been able to raise money for charities, like Black Lives Matter and the Wounded Warrior Project. I’ve been able to do all of this because of West Hollywood’s support for the arts. I believe that the current proposal’s (restrictions) —10 feet from the bus stops and 15 feet from street corners — essentially terminates any chances that street performers have of performing.”
City Council agreed, largely rejecting the proposal and siding with those who felt it was “a solution in search of problem,” as commenter Rick Watts said.
“It’s really the last true form of artistic expression. You’re not expanding anything, you’re eliminating it,” said commenter Annie Jump Vicente. “To say that they’re not allowed to make money on the street is ridiculous in a city, in a county, based on art. You’re literally legislating poor people out for the bourgeois white asshole liberals.”
“I don’t really see the logic in these restrictions,” Mayor Pro Tem John Erickson said. “I don’t see the necessity for this ordinance. I think it’s big government. I just I don’t think we need it.”
“I agree with the idea that we should bring this back and we should have a clearer understanding of where this kind of street performance would be permitted and where it wouldn’t be permitted, but I do understand why staff brought this,” Councilmember John Heilman said. “And I do think we need to have tools for our code enforcement officers. Because right now they don’t really have the tools to say, ‘Hey, you’re blocking the entrance of this restaurant and it’s creating a crowd control issue and the restaurant is complaining.’ So we need to give our code enforcement officers some tools to address this.”
Council ultimately sent the item back to staff, asking them to craft a more focused, less restrictive set of rules and produce a map visualizing where performances would and wouldn’t be allowed.
“Knowing how deep the implications are for the values that we have as a community who celebrates the arts and creativity and individuals freedoms to speech, I want to make sure that we get this right,” Councilmember Chelsea Byers said.
Who could possibly have an issue with street performers? They create needed entertainment for those stuck in ever growing traffic. Growing traffic because city council loves to create traffic. I guess they think cars sitting and idling will save the environment.
Councilman Erickson was right when he stated this new ordinance was a solution in the search of a problem.In the times I been to West Hollywood.I have hardly seen street performers on the sidewalks.I see them all the time on the Hollywood Walk of Fame,but not West Hollywood.
Commenter Rick Watts said it was “a solution in search of problem,” not Councilmember Erickson. I’m surprised no one seems to have reminded everyone that WeHo is officially known as “The Creative City”
They’ve also decided not to crack down on crime.
This particular item on the agenda last night stood out as a very low point for the city. Rather than becoming a nurturing atmosphere West Hollywood has seemingly become a very mean spirited and divisive city. One might even call it ruthless on many levels leading to a grave condition. Political adventurists have landed here hoping they could capture whatever power existed locally to build their career. Carpetbaggers and those that syphon off the notoriety and accomplishments of others without putting in the hard time and branding the efforts as their own. One recently made a huge leap to Supervisor… Read more »
I’m sure both WeHo street performers breathed a sigh of relief.
I am sure that Erickson was thinking back to his time as a street performer when in the dark of night he took part in painting the intersection of Santa Monica and San Vicente Boulevards using dangerously slick paint. I have every confidence that it violated codes and laws but the stunt was swept under the rug.
Erickson also painted the street crosswalks near the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd.
As for the staff proposals, like this or the drag one, what a waste of money. West Hollywood is not some country or state or county. It’s a residential area bordering the Sunset (Billboard Alley) Strip and a glorified strip mall running down Santa Monica Blvd from La Brea to Doheny.
Wait, they have this ridiculous rainbow nonsense on the streets of Hollywood too? I’m gay and I’m embarrassed by this stuff. Make it stop.
I’m glad that the council didn’t pass this ridiculous staff proposal! Sometimes I wonder about the staffs’ vision of WeHo, and I question their loyalty! Who are they loyal to? (or, “to whom are they loyal?” If you’re a Grammer nut) The staff showed no loyalty to Wehoans, both able-bodied, and disabled, and to the city Council when they also tried to jam through item 4D last night! thank goodness they didn’t get away with it! I think that they think they are smarter than everybody else, and can do whatever they want. Actually I wonder, since they are so… Read more »
Staff has no vision of Weho. They should at least have a consciousness which is also absent. Staff is confined to silos and the four corners of their desks and screens while creating verbose, opaque documents. Many lack integrity and have little more than pure academic training and less world experience.
Madeline Hamilton was expressing her legitimate art form which was pure joy. The city must determine how to separate the wheat from the chaff. Possibly a minimal license for street performers just so they are acquainted with reasonable rules of the road. The city can accomplish both. Let this ancient Scottish art form live on in West Hollywood.
Ms. Hamilton has been a delightful addition to West Hollywood and I really appreciate her playing.
We do need a mechanism for Code Compliance to enforce when someone is making too much noise or blocking a business, etc. Heilman got it right.
As far as noise goes, as far as I know, you merely call the sheriff.
Is that the kind of mechanism you mean?