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1 item from 2003

Sunset Junction

17 November 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

AFI Fest

Back in 1981, hairdresser Michael McKinley took it upon himself to diffuse growing tensions between the gay and rival gang factions in his Southern California Silver Lake neighborhood by organizing a street fair and hiring members from both camps to provide security.

While the LAPD warned that it was a bloodbath waiting to happen, the two-day outdoor bash proved to be a peaceful smash. More than two decades later, the Sunset Junction Street Fair has become the largest such event in California.

The logistics of putting on an event that brings throngs of very diverse people are chronicled in "Sunset Junction", a thoughtful, but pedestrian documentary that fails to do justice to its colorful milieu.

Directed by Peter Jones (whose "Biography" two-hour special on Judy Garland won a 1997 Emmy) and co-directed by editor Mark A. Catalena, the film spends a long time establishing the dynamic between the flamboyant-Diana-Ross-and-the-Supremes-obsessed McKinley and the mainly Latino young men and women from troubled backgrounds who form a part of his year-round youth program and help organize the street fair.

More involving is the event itself, which not only must deal with that potentially troublesome gang element each year but also the tangle of bureaucratic red tape that goes along with the challenge of accommodating as many as a quarter of a million people in the traditionally iffy juncture where Sunset and Santa Monica boulevards meet.

A tighter edit for the 100-minute production would definitely help, but even with Shana Hagan's vivid photography and the participation of Supreme diva Mary Wilson (whose rendition of "Someday We'll Be Together" takes on special meaning), this inspirational story needed a more inspired telling. »

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