The city of West Hollywood is doing a makeover at the Coast Playhouse in the coming years with the aim of creating a new cultural art space for the community. But to facilitate the plans, the current structure will be heavily altered. As such, the familiar marquee that adorns the building has been taken down.
During the pandemic, members of the community came to appreciate the sign, as it contained often inspirational quotations from poems from then-poet laureate of the city Kim Dower. This practice first started the year prior in 2019.
“Some lines could be read going west, and some could be read going east. So it was very cute that way,” Dower said.
She said she taught a poetry workshop at the West Hollywood City Library, and it was there she learned what a difference the signage had made.
“There was one gentleman in the class who never really said anything. He was very quiet and kind of shy. Turns out, he was a pediatric surgeon at Kaiser … and he just loved poetry and was really intrigued and wanted to try to write. And his fiancé would always say to him, ‘I don’t understand poetry, I’m not into poetry at all.’ Then, one day, [the fiancé] was driving, and he saw the [marquee]. He stopped, and he read the lines. And when he went home that night, he said to his boyfriend, ‘I saw these lines of poetry on this marquee… I understand why you love poetry.’”
A timeline for the new venue has not been established.
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