I’m not religious, but I found Jesus—on the corner of Robertson Boulevard and Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood in front of Cecconi’s Restaurant.
It was a warm summer evening and we were taking a stroll, talking about the uniqueness of living in West Hollywood. This tiny 1.9 mile hamlet is nothing short of magical on any given night. It’s dynamic, bustling, filled with artists, actors, writers, creators and dreamers from every corner of the world, allowing you to meet interesting people every time you step out.
Oh My God, It’s Jesus!
He stared back at us. Everything went silent except for the humming golden aura that surrounded him as he stood there in all his glory … Well, not really. But he did look like a lot like Jesus, so we asked him for what we thought would be a kitschy photo. We got the photo, but little did we know, we got something more valuable— we made a beautiful friend. He asked, “What are you guys doing? Want to get some coffee and continue the conversation?”
The closest coffee shop was Urth Caffe two blocks east, a casual yet celebrity-filled patio, accented by tourists with selfie sticks, valets parking Lamborghinis and Bentleys, with a backdrop of flashing paparazzi cameras. What better locale for one of the world’s most famous figures?
We shared deserts, and literally broke bread with Jesus, while talking about politics and world affairs and how he became known as “WeHo Jesus” and “Hollywood Jesus”.
The conversation with Kevin Lee Light was riveting, but it was hard to ignore everyone in the cafe staring at us, passerby doing double-takes and snapping photos. The real Kevin was an actor and a politically progressive intellectual. Standing the height of a pro-basketball player and looking like Jesus will make a guy stand out, but his most potent attribute was his vibe, his inner glow—it was palpable.
Kevin spent most of his time walking around West Hollywood and Hollywood, but he seemed fulfilled when he described taking the bus to other neighborhoods like South L.A., East L.A., Downtown and the beach cities, ordering from taco trucks, or sitting in Coffee Beans, where people would excitedly ask for photos, smiling, laughing, and sometimes overcome with emotion. By telling them he loved them and giving them a hug, he gave them a moment they needed and it seemed to give him as much joy.
Sadly, he told us how Aerosmith, namely Steven Tyler, had struck up a loose friendship with him, and used his stories and lifestyle for their song “Street Jesus” and never gave him credit. He claimed that the writers of the Cartoon Network series “Black Jesus” stole his idea for a show and changed it around enough to take the credit and shut him out. If you doubt this is true, you haven’t worked in Hollywood. In the end, Kevin never quite made it as an actor, but he did become famous, after all.
It’s Time To Leave, Guys.
When restaurant workers started to pile up the chairs around us, we realized we were the last people in the cafe. It was 11 p.m., we’d been talking for hours, all the shops on Melrose were closed and the streets were dark in that part of West Hollywood, so Jesus said he would walk us home. During the mile-long walk, we passed all the posh shops on Melrose, and listened to him describe in detail all the idiosyncrasies of the designer clothes in the storefront windows, making me think to myself, “So he’s erudite on politics, global issues, philosophy and high-end fashion designers?”
When we got home, I mentioned my back hurt. He said he could fix it. I said, “No! No!”, but he picked me up anyway, flipping me up and around like I didn’t have any weight…and, low and behold, I was better. We said our goodbyes and thanked him for a great conversation and he waked off into the night.
Into The Light
There’s something to be said about Kevin passing at Christmastime. Just like Kevin, there’s something wonderfully mysterious and meaningful about the timing.
Well, Sweet Jesus, Sweet Kevin Lee Light, Sweet Kevin Short, we will miss you. You embodied the true spirit of Jesus: to be kind to others, to offer friendship, hugs, kindness and love to everyone who crossed your path. Like so many of the people whose hearts you touched, we will light a candle for you and wish you well as you fly off to faraway galaxies and universes, spreading your stardust to others who need you now. You wanted to make your mark in this lifetime. Well, you did it, Kevin. We will remember you. As for this couple, you enlightened and inspired us, and for that, we are eternally grateful.