|Photos by Wild Don Lewis|
You’re 60 feet above ground, meandering the open-air rooftop of Sunset Gower Studios, with panorama views that, on a clear day, rival the evocative urban vistas in Collateral. To your left: the Capitol Records tower and the Hollywood sign at eye level. To your right: the downtown skyline rising up like a post-apocalyptic sci-fi backdrop. Dead center: a smug early-bird shopper groping those hand-blown glass goblets that caught your attention as soon as you stepped off the elevator. Forget the views — it’s time to shop.
Peddler on the Roof is an ambitious weekly flea market/shopping bazaar created by Phillip Dane, founder of the Melrose Trading Post at Fairfax High (now a Hollywood Sunday-afternoon staple on par with having brunch at the 101 Coffee Shop or taking the dog on a Runyon Canyon hike). While the Melrose market leans toward vintage clothing and collectibles, Dane designed Peddler to be higher-end. He screens vendors personally to conjure an edgier, one-of-a-kind, Eastside vibe.
“It’s like a giant sample sale with L.A.’s hottest boutiques and designers showcasing overstock, leftovers, irregulars, samples from the store. Like $250 bathing suits for $20,” he says. Or maybe a pitch-black Szulika plunge top, Christie Martin enamel hoop earrings, or those coveted, raw and rustic hand-tooled leather purses from Dean.
“But it all depends on the week,” Dane says. “Every Saturday there will be new designers.”
Though only 50-some vendors have signed up so far, Dane is confident that business will swell once word gets around via e-mail campaigns and aggressive street teams handing out fliers. Rain shut down the market after only two weeks, but Dane is starting things up again April 2, and within weeks he expects to fill the 30,000-square-foot rooftop with up to 110 vendors. And celebrity DJs. And food stalls clustered in an outdoor eating area.
“We can accommodate 8,000 to 10,000 people in a day,” he says. Which isn’t entirely unrealistic. When the Melrose market opened 12 years ago, there were a scant 30 booths and only 200 people streamed through on the first day. “Within five weeks, it was sold out. No more vendor space. We had about 2,000 people. But parking was always a problem.”
Not so at the Sunset Gower market, which is somewhat of an Edenic resting spot for compact cars. Situated atop a garage, there are four floors of free indoor parking with an elevator to the roof.
“It’s going to be the place to be on a Saturday afternoon,” says Dane. “Collectibles next to high-fashion designers, next to someone selling handmade candles next to someone spinning the hottest vinyl in town. It’ll be like a big party. The Standard Downtown meets the Melrose Trading Post.”
You might just say Dane is elevating the art of the flea market to new heights.
1423 N. Gordon St., off Sunset Blvd., in Hollywood. Every Saturday, starting
April 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; $5 entrance fee ($4 if pre-purchased online).
(323) 467-3094, www.peddlerontheroof.com.