Photo Credit: Matt Baume/LA Weekly
Originally published on Public Spectacle, LA Weekly’s arts blog. For original, please refer to: The Pickup Line, West Hollywood’s New Free Trolley Service, Is WeHo Incarnate – Public Spectacle.
Partying in West Hollywood this weekend means opening yourself up to a big, cheesy pickup line headed right towards you. Luckily, this one doesn’t have to be avoided by a quick trip to the bathroom or an S.O.S. signal to your girls. No, in fact, this one is a lifeboat for the drunken looking for a trip across Santa Monica Blvd.
The Pickup Line, which depending on your taste is an either delightful play on words or painful pun, is a free trolley service officially launching this weekend. Running from Robertson Blvd. to just past Fairfax Ave., the Pickup Line might as well be called WeHo on Wheels: it’s loud and gimmicky, but full of the fabulous and beautiful denizens of L.A.’s gayborhood.
“Park on the east side, party on the west side” is the name of the Pickup Line’s game, according to WeHo city councilman John D’Amico. An early supporter of the project, D’Amico told the crowd amassed at the Pickup Line’s preview event that he could “imagine our friends in Los Angeles, maybe in Venice and” other neighborhoods embracing the trend.
For that to happen, however, the six-month pilot program must show results, according to councilman John Heilman, who was much more skeptical about the project when it was first discussed.
“This is a pilot project,” he said, “but what determines if it makes it is if it’s successful.” Motivating this might be the cost — the city invested $71,000 in the pilot program, and in order to keep it free, the city is paying an operating cost of $110 per week. During the pilot project, there are two trolleys, but officials say that there’s potential for four total if it takes off.
WeHo’s denizens can board the trolley from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. at one of 20 stops lining Santa Monica Blvd., each indicated by a bright yellow sign. On the trolley, much like at any West Hollywood club, your ears will be assaulted by house music — the beats compliments of DJ Derek Monteiro. The maximum occupancy is 29, but it’s not hard to imagine getting the usual cramped, sweaty dance floor feeling the hottest clubs also boast.
The trolleys also have “The Pickup Shot,” a photo booth used for uploading photos to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, because what good is a programming initiative without a gimmicky social media tie-in?
One aspect of the venture that can’t be snarked at, however, are the promotional perks. The Abbey is letting riders skip the infamously long line. Fubar patrons who ride get their first drink for a dollar. Micky’s is offering no cover and priority admission. These aren’t small favors in WeHo; arguably, they’re more than worth the (free) ticket to ride.
The Pickup Line had its soft launch this past weekend, but will officially be launching this Friday with parties on the patios of Micky’s, Revolver, and Eleven nightclubs at 6 p.m. The maiden voyage of the trolleys will happen later that night.
Ultimately, the choice to ride the Pickup Line comes down to two factors: are you drunk enough for it, and do you like WeHo enough for it? If either or both of those things are true, the Pickup Line is a fabulous new addition to the nightlife scene. If not, this particular line just isn’t going to work on you — and even the perks might not be enough.