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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

State Assemblyman to honor Silver Lake gay piano bar as it prepares to close

The office of state Assemblyman Mike Gatto will tonight present a resolution in honor of The Other  Side, one of Silver Lake’s last gay bars and one of the city’s last remaining piano bars, that is scheduled to close later this month. “The resolution is to honor the closing  of The Other Side and commend owner Paul Hargis on the commitment he has displayed in maintaining one of the last pianos bars in Los Angeles,” said Jason Insalaco, district director for Gatto, whose 43rd District includes Silver Lake. “The resolution recognizes  The Other Side for its contributions to the Silver Lake community and history of the neighborhood.”

Hargis announced last month that he would be closing the Hyperion Avenue bar and the adjoining Flying Leap Cafe. The Other Side and Flying Leap will be replaced by a new bar, Hyperion Public , whose owners plan an extensive renovation. The Other Side and its regulars of older gay men were featured in a 2006 documentary – “The Other Side: A Queer History” – made by Jane Cantillon.

5 comments

  1. SL Reservoir Dawg

    Cheers for acknowledging this Silver Lake landmark!

  2. I wonder how many of the commenters who bemoan the de-gayification of Silver Lake will actually show up to this event?

  3. I have loved spending evenings at The Other Side over the last five years or so, smiled at every “Hola, Querida! You look so beautiful tonight! Are you going to sing?” uttered by Roberto and the staff, before embracing me with a hug and Parisian-style kisses.

    A walk up the few stairs took me into the inner sanctum where I was welcomed by the bartenders with open arms and love, even knowing that I wouldn’t be drinking any hard alcohol. Many were the nights that I sat at the piano bar in the presence of some great talent. Lori Donato played Tuesday nights for 15 years, and became such a great accompanist that Carol Channing has claimed her as HER favorite accompanist.

    While thumbing through my charts, I had the pleasure of listening to some of L.A.’s finest recording artists as they worked new music. It is there that I cut my chops on the American Songbook, dug deep into lyrics and found what worked and what didn’t so that when it was my turn in the studio, I knew with certainty what to include on my CD. Thank you so much. Because of you, my CD is getting great air time.

    The clientele was always the best ever. I even invited several over one Christmas day when I discovered they were otherwise going to be alone. These guys were amazing; the way they not only allowed me into their space, but showered me with affection, praise, love and support. They came out to my shows held in other venues, and ALL but of my King Size Papas were male singers I met at The Other Side. I can never thank you enough.

    I’m terribly sad to see this place go. It had the perfect degree of intimacy coupled with great food, mega talent mixed with the not-so-much, artists, film folks and bohemians. And here’s the other thing about being welcomed as a straight woman into a gay bar – I met and cherished couples who were together 35 years! There is a reason I tagged my song, “SACK FULL OF DREAMS” with “…equality, marriage equality…”and it was because of those sacred relationships modeled to me and the very inequality suffered by these partners who are not entitled to full rights under the law. None of us have equality until all of us do. Thank you for making that so clear to me.

    I will be there this Tuesday AND on the 23rd to give my farewell songs to the establishment and my guys, because “For all we know, we may never meet again, before you go, make this moment sweet again. We won’t say goodbye until the last minute. I’ll hold out my hand, and my heart will be in it.”

    Good luck to the new owners, but if your heart is in the right place, you will show us by re-creating an upgraded establishment, keep this remarkable staff, and retain the culture and magic of The Other Side. You have the power to do it and on behalf of all of us “regulars,” we would welcome that and support your business.

    Thank you Paul Hargis, for having kept The Flying Leap Cafe and The Other Side such an integral part of Silver Lake.

    Much love,
    Mary Bogue

  4. “Gay Piano” Bar… isn’t that redundant?

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