Los Angeles’ Chinatown looks like a movie set; at least its picturesque Gin Ling Way does. Chinese architecture, festive lanterns and scarlet and gold colors mark the historic pedestrian thoroughfare. Many after-hours parties took place in the darkened restaurants of this area a number of years ago, but for seasonal Los Angeles resident Guy Gerber’s roaming Rumors event, the party is brought outside.
This is the second year Gerber is hosting Rumors in Los Angeles at Gin Ling Way, complete with his own hospitality and decorations that enhance the space’s already colorful environment. Last summer, he and Los Angeles favorite DJ Harvey had this area bouncing for six hours solid. The second go-round, scheduled for April Fools' Day, promises more of the same in what Gerber hopes will become an annual special occasion featuring the two DJs.
Rumors started in 2014 in Ibiza, Gerber’s other place of residence, as a free party on the beach, and continues in that format to this day. Since then, Rumors has hit Gerber’s hometown of Tel Aviv, as well as Miami, London, Amsterdam, Sardinia, Mykonos, Warung and of course, Los Angeles, delivering the carefree spirit and bohemian vibes of its Mediterranean island origins, always taking place outdoors and at least partially during daylight hours.
“Los Angeles is a proud city,” says Gerber, sitting on the patio outside his Hollywood Hills home studio, looking out over the expanse of the metropolis with a 270-degree view. “People shouldn’t be so healthy here, they should have some fun. Real parties are the ones that bring out different people. I didn’t meet Harvey in person until the party last year, but he and I together works great. He is a legend, a master, a nice guy, a beautiful person, and he brings a different flavor. He brings a lot.”
“I was quite unaware of Rumors and didn’t have any perception of [Gerber] until I met him in the DJ booth,” Harvey says of his first experience with the brand and the persona behind it. “Playing a party in Chinatown seemed like a good idea. It turned out to be a lot of fun, well attended, nice people, good vibes.”
With multiple points of access, entry to Rumors is smooth. The area is quickly filled with a mixed crowd, including outrageously dressed individuals — last year, some of Harvey’s drag queen crowd carried through from his all-nighter the evening before. So the party is in full swing from the start but never quite turns into a full-blown rager. The nature of the location and non-nighttime hours allows for a more well-paced DJ set from both Harvey and Gerber, the former keeping a slow and steady build of alterna-disco, the latter going through numerous peaks and valleys of house sounds, for three hours each.
Says Harvey, “You can play some different stuff that isn’t peak time, and not overcook the situation.”
“I want to give Los Angeles people an experience,” Gerber says. “There are a lot of parties here, but people are showing up without knowing what they’re going to get. They may not know the DJ; they just ended up there because they know the club. Or it’s a niche party with a niche crowd, the same one that goes to that particular party every time. It’s hard to get wild in front of people you already know. There’s something more sexual when people that don’t know each other hang out. It’s difficult to bring things together, but the party needs to be set up for more people to lose their minds.”
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But you don’t have to lose your mind if you don’t want to. The early hours allow for a more casual commitment energy-wise. If you do want to keep going, however, this year Rumors expands its reach, spilling into an after-hours at Sound with Harvey spinning. Additionally, some of the businesses on Gin Ling Way will be hosting pop-up shops featuring clothes and music, adding the culture of the area to the proceedings.
“There are a lot of restrictions in Los Angeles,” Gerber says of the city’s well-known aversion to street parties. “But we’re promoting the area and the authorities have been easy on us.
“I love Los Angeles,” he adds. “We put a lot of effort into this event and we just about break even in the end. But, I feel like I’m giving something back to this city, from which I get my inspiration.”
Rumors Chinatown Block Party takes place Saturday, April 1. More info.