Who Threw the First Brick at Hollywood Boulevard?

Just in time for Pride, Entertainment Weekly has debuted a new, illustrated cover chock-full of the LGs, BTs, and Qs that now pepper the Hollywood landscape. Among them: Lil Nas X’s cowboy hat, Dorothy’s red slipper, Ellen DeGeneres’s haircut, a magazine cover with k.d. lang on it, and a brick. Yes—a brick! Because didn’t you know Hollywood and bricks have a long history? In fact, as gay legend has it, the very first time a queer person ever held a brick, it happened in Hollywood. The story goes: Late one night, high in the hills, a brick was thrown at the Hollywood sign, where it came tumbling down, replaced instead with a large pride flag in the shape of Ryan Murphy. The only question was: Who threw it? EW’s latest cover might give us the clues.

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From the outset, it’s clear that DeGeneres, seen at far left, had nothing to do with the brick. As Alanis Morrissette would say, “I’ve got one hand in my pocket, and the other is wrapped around a dead man’s elbow.” RuPaul and Elton John seem similarly engaged by whatever is happening between them. The mysterious aura radiating from Dorothy’s slipper has them firmly under its sway, together belting out what is undoubtedly an ear-splitting showtune.

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To the far right, it seems that Dan Levy’s suit is too tight for him to achieve the necessary throwing motion. He’s out, as is John Waters, who I’m not sure is very aware of what’s happening, or where he is. Are we sure he signed on to appear on the cover? Anyway. Ryan Murphy and George Takei, bless them, are a bit too preoccupied with getting their photos taken. Also, with one hand making the Star Trek sign, and the other clutching that k.d. lang magazine cover, Takei is simply out of arms. Besides, Ryan Murphy wouldn’t dare dust up that couture cape.

While a brick thrown by Cynthia Nixon or Marlene Dietrich would certainly be an exciting prospect, both seem rather into dancing. Wouldn’t it be dangerous, flinging each other around to the sound of Elton John and RuPaul while holding a brick? We can probably cross them out. Kristen Stewart, elsewhere, appears to be holding Lily Tomlin hostage. A brick might come in handy in a hostage crisis, but Stewart is probably still vegan, and doesn’t Tomlin come off as a more of a pacifist? Sorry, but they’re out.

That leaves us with Lil Nas X, Laverne Cox, Freddie Mercury, Kate McKinnon, and Ricky Martin. Already, I can safely bet that the only brick McKinnon would ever throw is one written into a bad topical sketch on an equally bad variety show. Ricky, however? I can’t imagine him having the focus needed to both converse with McKinnon and throw a brick. He’s out. I’d also guess that Freddie Mercury’s outstretched hand is a fake-out, as he’s facing the opposite direction of the brick and that’s simply not how gravity works. Janelle Monaé is also locked in a blow-out performance with Mercury. They’re entertainers! And some of the best who ever lived, to boot. Why throw a brick when you can sing a song?

Based on both empirical data and factual evidence, I feel secure in concluding that this was an inside job by Laverne Cox and Lil Nas X. How could it not be? He absolutely kept the room distracted while Cox, in her tactical bandage dress, chucked the brick as hard as humanly possible. It all makes sense now! This cover absolutely makes sense.

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DISCUSSION

Beer cans were thrown and the police lashed out, dispersing some of the crowd who found a construction site nearby with stacks of bricks. [..] Garbage cans, garbage, bottles, rocks, and bricks were hurled at the building, breaking the windows. Witnesses attest that “flame queens”, hustlers, and gay “street kids”—the most outcast people in the gay community—were responsible for the first volley of projectiles, as well as the uprooting of a parking meter used as a battering ram on the doors of the Stonewall Inn.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots#Violence_breaks_out

Not precisely hollywood, but an important moment in LGBTQ+ history.