Kevin Short, aka West Hollywood Jesus died December 13, 2017, at age 57. Kevin was a mainstay up and down Hollywood Boulevard, and famously posed for pics with countless tourists over the years. He had a positive effect on anyone who came in contact with him. Rest In Peace Kevin.
Life in the City of Angels: Jesus of Hollywood originally posted October, 2009.
It is the Mecca of their religion with 10 million followers annually making the pilgrimage to this sacred site. This is the biggest religion in America. No spiritual following receives more airtime and print space. It is Celebritism. And the holy of holies even has an address: 6925 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California.There you will find an archeological site full of artifacts – a temple, footprints, hand impressions and a sequence of letters, words and symbols etched in concrete. Beyond the grid of this archeological site is a walk-way that the locals refer to as the “Walk of Fame.” It is a three-and-a-half-mile (5.6 km) round-trip journey much akin to the Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem.
Above the strata is rock art embedded with more than 2,000 stars featuring the names of not only human celebrities but also fictional characters and even animals. Each emblem is a pink terrazzo five-pointed star rimmed with bronze and inlaid into a charcoal square. Inside it you’ll find a revered name inlaid in bronze, below which is a round emblem indicating the category for which the honoree received the star. Even those of blind faith cherish these artifacts. The first sacrament dates back to 1960. Who was that lucky first beneficiary? Paul Newman’s wife, Joanne Woodward. (I don’t care if it rains or blows hard – as long as I’ve seen the star of Joanne Woodward). It was on the Walk of Fame that I found Jesus. He was sitting in Baja Fresh, a popular Mexican fast food chain, deep in conversation with a fellow patron.
Jesus was listening intently while nursing a Starbuck’s Espresso Frapuccino Grande. After finishing his taco – I could only speculate it wasn’t pork – he stepped onto the Walk and I began to follow Him.
Immediately, pilgrims of all nationalities and tongues followed Him with their eyes but none were so bold as to either approach him or engage him, so I decided to take the plunge.“Jesus, are you homeless and forced to work as an historical character here in Hollywood to survive ?” He responded by reaching into his plain linen robe and pulling out a set of keys, “No man” he said, “ I drive a Mercedes and I have an apartment.” Many of the pilgrims would smile at Him and point but it seemed as if only the elderly were captivated by the Son of God and would seek his attention. And, as expected, He would listen patiently.
There were impassioned voices calling from passing cars, “Jesus, Jesus”. But interestingly enough I didn’t hear a peep calling for the attention of the other faux celebrities that congregated at the Temple. As far as historians can tell, Jesus first appeared on celluloid in 1903, just a few years after the birth of moving pictures. French brothers Auguste and Louis Lumiere produced “La Vie et la Passion du Jesus Christ,” a 44-minute silent film which was one of the earliest feature-length movie and every frame was painstakingly hand painted for color. Riding high on respectability for over one hundred years the subject of Jesus came crashing down in 2001 with the release of “Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter” – a second coming musical complete with kung-fu action. Need I say more?
Located east of the main temple is a second, smaller shrine on the Walk of Fame. This location is for the most devout believers where for $12.95 you can dwell for hours in worship, adoration and photo opportunities. Eerie wax figures of living and dead celebrity are dressed up in costumes so that followers can relive their favorite moments of their deity. In April of 2009, Hollywood auction house Profiles in History sold off “retiring figures.” More than 200 figures were sold online, including the Last Supper and the Beatles. Jesus and His 12 Disciples brought in more than $15,000. The Beatles brought in a mere $13,000. Sorry John, but Jesus is more popular than the Beatles.
Costumed impersonators portraying Batman, Superman and others movie characters have worked on Hollywood Boulevard for years. They collect tips along the tourist-filled corridor that includes Grauman’s Chinese Theater by posing for pictures or performing in front of the theatre. In recent years competing for prime location in front of Grauman’s has become very contentious. Recently, Los Angeles paramedics responded to a battery call when a fight between Catwoman and an Ozzy Osbourne impersonators had ended with Ozzy getting pepper sprayed. It was reported that Jack Sparrow of “Pirates of the Caribbean” as being the victim but that report turned out to be false. Even superhero’s have been arrested, Spider-Man was arrested on outstanding criminal warrants after an incident in which he allegedly slugged a man. When LAPD officers arrived, they encountered four different people dressed as Spider-Man. The officers eventually got their man.
For Ritchie Rodgers who captures the spirit of Jimi Hendrix his challenge is to clam a spot away from the mayhem just west of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Ritchie relies on the power of his music to bring the tips in and he has nailed Jimi Hendrix not only with his guitar licks but in Jimi’s vocals.
A trips to Hollywood Blvd is a wonderful opportunity to study American culture – I have never been disappointed for the lack of subjects.
Related story : Jesus of Hollywood, https://davebanks.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/jesus-of-hollywood/