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WeHo City Council to consider Duran censure resolution

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Former Mayor John Duran says he will not resign his Council seat. (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

UPDATED: TUESDAY April 2 – The West Hollywood City Council Monday evening unanimously passed the resolution censuring City Councilmember John Duran. The resolution had been moved to its consent agenda, along with and 24 or so resolutions/actions allowing the council to vote the entire legislative package without discussing the issue

During the council meeting session, Duran apologised during the council comments portion of the agenda. He characterized having “anger issues,” as a source of some of his bad behaviours, then he apologized for making “derogatory and body shaming” comments which had been previously widely reported on. “I’m sorry for my behaviour, I’ve made mistakes and I ask for forgiveness,” he said and then added he was not opposed to the censure action by his fellow city council members.

Original item: The City Council of West Hollywood is scheduled to vote on a ‘Resolution of Censure’ against Councilmember and former Mayor John Duran April 1.  During the March 4 council meeting after considerable discussion, council-members who were present took action to direct the City’s attorney Michael Jenkins to prepare the resolution.

This action came after weeks of protest and growing calls for removal from his office after what had been labeled as unacceptable and inappropriate sexual/other behaviours by Duran.

In part the resolution states;

Councilmember John Duran has made statements in response to allegations of inappropriate behavior that are contrary to the City’s policies and values. Specifically, Councilmember Duran has made statements:

  1. that suggest that there is a different standard of appropriate workplace behavior for gay men;
  2. that attempt to publicly shame his accusers;
  3. that include derogatory remarks about the ethnicity and physical appearance of his accusers; and
  4. that trivialize alleged misconduct with a former employee

The resolution condemns Duran’s handling of the recent controversy adding that “this particular transgression has caused many in our community to question whether the City will appropriately address allegations of harassment and misconduct.”

The resolution also states that Duran has “engaged in conduct and made statements contrary to City policy and conducted himself in a manner that demeans the office of Councilmember.”

The Los Angeles Blade has reached out to Councilmember Duran for his comments or a statement but as of publication has yet to receive a response.

The City Council will meet in Council Chambers starting at 6:30 tonight at The West Hollywood Library, 625 N San Vicente Blvd.

This story will be updated.

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West Hollywood

Los Angeles Rams celebrate LGBTQ+ community with Pride events

In recognition of Pride Month, the Los Angeles Rams will celebrate the LGBTQ+ community through a series of initiatives

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Graphic courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams NFL Team

WEST HOLLYWOOD – In recognition of Pride Month, the Los Angeles Rams will celebrate the LGBTQ+ community through a series of initiatives. As part of the celebration, the Rams are teaming up with West Hollywood staple, Hamburger Mary’s, for a themed Bingo Night and kicking off a partnership with the Varsity Gay League (VGL).

Rams partner with West Hollywood Staple Hamburger Mary’s for Themed Bingo Night; Announce Partnership with Varsity Gay League

Each June, Pride events are held throughout the country to commemorate and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. The entire month is dedicated to uplifting voices, honoring culture, and supporting LGBTQ+ rights. 

 

Below are events the Rams are supporting in celebration of Pride Month: 

Rams Bingo Night at Hamburger Mary’s 

The Rams are teaming up with West Hollywood staple, Hamburger Mary’s, for a themed Bingo Night. Rams Cheerleaders will join Hamburger Mary’s famous drag queens to host Bingo and a live auction. All attendees will receive a Rams Pride t-shirt and a portion of the proceeds raised during the event will benefit the You Can Play Project, which has partnered with the Sports Equality Foundation to help ensure safety and inclusion for all who participate in sports, including LGBTQ+ athletes, coaches and fans. 

When & Where: 

The Bingo Night will take place at Hamburger Mary’s located at 8288 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046 on Wednesday, June 23 from 7 – 9:30 p.m. PT.  

Rams to Announce Partnership with Varsity Gay League 

On Saturday, the Rams will announce a partnership with the Varsity Gay League (VGL), which is one of the original queer recreational sports organizations in Los Angeles. While VGL offers a variety of sports year-round, the Rams are supporting their expansion by sponsoring their first flag football division this fall. The Rams also will host game day watch parties throughout the season for VGL participants at Gym Sports Bar and Grill, VGL’s official league bar in West Hollywood. 

When & Where: The Rams will host a celebratory kickoff party at Poinsettia Park located at 7341 Willoughby Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046 on Saturday, June 26 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. PT.

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West Hollywood

One City One Pride, LGBTQ Arts Festival Continues through June 30

All festival events are being presented on an online virtual platform to respond to the City’s efforts to prioritize health & public safety

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OUT on Robertson painting honoring Lady Gaga's Born This Way Album 10th anniversary (Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood)

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The 2021 theme for One City One Pride is ‘For the Record LGBTQ Stories’ of the past that have often been hidden or undocumented. One must read between the lines to find stories hidden behind “beard” marriages, coded language, and erased or destroyed evidence. This year, One City One Pride looks at some of these previously hidden stories.

Due to the coronavirus crisis, all festival events are being presented on an online virtual platform to respond to the City of West Hollywood’s efforts to prioritize health and public safety. A select few programs can also be experienced as self-guided solo walking tours or outdoor exhibitions.

More detailed information about the following City of West Hollywood One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival events is available at www.weho.org/pride.

Forthcoming events of the 40-day festival include:

  • Pride Poets Poetry Hotline presented by West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Brian Sonia-Wallace & the Pride Poets from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, June 11, 2021 to Sunday, June 13, 2021. Free. Call in to get a custom poem for you or a loved one based on the topic of your choice, written by one of the team of LGBTQ+ Pride Poets standing by at the remote Poetry Hotline from June 11-13, marathon-style from 10 a.m. to 10 a.m. Poems will be written on-the-spot and callers can choose to have copies of the poems emailed or mailed to them. Poetry hotline: call (202) 998-3510 to speak to a poet.
  • LGBTQ History in Comics — A virtual panel with readings from creators presented by Prism Comics. Launches Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at 6 p.m. Free. View the panel at: http://www.youtube.com/wehoarts and www.prismcomics.org. Join Prism Comics, moderator Justin Hall (No Straight Lines; Associate Professor of Comics, California College of The Arts) and a diverse, talented group of creators as they explore our queer past through comics. The panel and readings will remain online for viewing after the premiere date. More information is available at www.prismcomics.org.
  • Secret Lives, stories, music, and original writings by LGBTQ seniors watch party presented by NewStages, a program of Oasis Theater Company at 7 p.m. on the first four Tuesdays in June. Free. RSVP by calling (323) 860-5830 or by email at [email protected]Secret Lives will explore the stories of remarkable seniors as well as many historical figures who had to keep secrets to maintain their careers, their families, and their place in society. Archived events available at www.weho.org/pride.
  • WeHo Reads: Legacy and Lineage and the Lost Generation at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Free. RSVP to get a reminder: https://wehoreadsrajivjubidare2021.eventbrite.com. As part of the City’s WeHo Reads series and One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, poets read and discuss works by mentors they’ve never met alongside their own work. Streaming at www.weho.org/wehoreads.
  • Shaped By Sylvester: Tiki Spills the Tea podcast organized by Steven Reigns. Free stream at https://www.stevenreigns.com/appearances from Wednesday, June 23, 2021 to Wednesday, June 30, 2021. Listen to tales of growing up black and trans in 1960s LA with a good friend that soon became a disco superstar.
  • West Hollywood Pride Play Reading Festival presented by The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 26, 2021, and Sunday,  June 27, 2021. Free. https://www.facebook.com/groups/laplaywrights. The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights (ALAP) annual West Hollywood ALAP Pride Reading Festival features staged readings of six one-act plays on Saturday, June 26, 2021 and one featured full length play on Sunday, June 27, 2021.
  • QueerWise presents Queer/Women+ Discussion at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 26, 2021. Free. Join the woman-identified people of Queerwise for an exploration of gender where it gets tricky – where gender touches race and class and desire. Livestreamed at https://www.facebook.com/queer.wise.
  • Stuart Timmons West Hollywood LGBTQ History Tour — A collection of short films to be released on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 at 9 a.m. Free. Originally written by acclaimed author/historian Stuart Timmons and produced/directed by Jason Jenn, the tour first dazzled audiences in 2015 as part of the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the City of West Hollywood’s incorporation in November 1984. The project is both a self-guided walking tour and a special in-person performance event. For 2021, the tour is being recorded as a collection of short films hosted indefinitely in the City of West Hollywood’s WeHoArts YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/wehoarts.

Additionally, these programs are available to view through June 30, 2021:

  • Dear Harvey: Stories of Harvey Milk byPatricia Loughrey. Extensively researched and beautifully constructed, this documentary-style ensemble play recounts the life and lasting impact of groundbreaking LGBTQ activist and politician Harvey Milk, as told by the people who knew him best … the real-world figures whose lives were forever altered by Milk’s too-short career. This performance will be available to watch for the duration of One City One Pride through June 30, 2021 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShX27kXqwBg and there is a special welcome from Stuart Milk, the nephew of Harvey Milk.
  • John Elgin Woolf: Master of the Hollywood Regency (Trail and Short Film) presented by Friends of Residential Treasures: LA. Free. Experience online or as a self-guided walking tour. Take this self-guided architectural trail curated by filmmaker and journalist Matt Tyrnauer, or watch a short film exploring the interior of the Seiter House — an important early work that John Elgin Woolf designed for himself and his same-sex partner.
  • Love Note presented by Rogue Artists Ensemble. Free. No RSVP Needed. Experience online or as a self-guided experience at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. Rogue Artists Ensemble’s Love Note is a free, interactive, solo audio expedition of your heart, taking place in West Hollywood’s Plummer Park, where audience members can activate sonic narrative experiences at eight unique stops throughout the park. Using only a cell phone and headphones, participants will discover and listen to stories about romance, compassion, and connection, leading to a secret phone line, where participants are invited to share their own love story that will become part of the project’s archive. The community-contributed stories recorded during the run will be then woven back into the experience to create an ever-evolving tapestry of voices calling out for love and belonging. This experience is free and open to the public during park operating hours. The experience contains some mature themes and is not recommended for children. A travel map is available for download at the Rogue Artists Ensemble website for audience members to use for their story expedition in the park. Can’t make it to Plummer Park? Visit the Rogue Artists Ensemble website at www.rogueartists.org/lovenote to create your own experience from the comfort of your home.
  • Meringue, a public art exhibition. Free. Outdoor exhibition on traffic median at Santa Monica Boulevard and N. Doheny Drive. Meringue is a temporary public art exhibition by LGBTQ artist Kim Kiduck. The translucency of Meringue lets sunlight in to glow naturally during the daytime, and at night transforms Meringue into a mixing chamber of various light combinations. The exhibition will be lit up in rainbow colors for the duration of the City’s One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival.
  • The City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series presents: Breaking Fast. Free.

The City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speaker Series and One City One Pride LBGTQ Arts Festival present Breaking Fast: Exploring the Intersection of Faith and Sexual Identity, an open panel discussion of the feature film, Breaking Fast, and its themes related to navigating the difficult conversations and real-life impacts of faith, sexual identity, and community. Archived event video available to view at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmSvpTBPzkI.

  • Walking Amongst the Rubble: Undocuqueer Pride Queer Poetry Reading Series presented by Influx Collectiv. Free. More information and the online podcast is available at https://www.influxcollectiv.org/podcast.
  • Pride Publics: Words and Actions presented by ONE Archives Foundation. Free. ONE Archives Foundation presents “Pride Publics: Words and Actions,” a multi-site outdoor exhibition that examines the intersection between pride and publicness and examines themes central to queer public life while highlighting trailblazers and their visions. With free and accessible outdoor installations plus a digital guide, this exhibition aims to give visibility to LGBTQ life in the public through the lens of history, community, and activism. More information is available at https://www.onearchives.org/pridepublics. This exhibition is organized by ONE Archives Foundation.
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West Hollywood

Gay circuit party impresario Jeffrey Sanker dies at 65

The 65 year old West Hollywood resident had built his company and reputation on hosting large scale parties in exotic places

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Jeffrey Sanker, owner of the Los Angeles based White Party Entertainment (Photo Credit: Jeffrey Sanker dot com)

LOS ANGELES – Gay circuit party impresario Jeffrey Sanker, owner of the Los Angeles based White Party Entertainment company, died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Hospital with family members in attendance after a long battle with liver cancer.

The 65 year old West Hollywood resident had built his company and reputation on hosting large scale parties in exotic places, including Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco, Mexico, Las Vegas, Nevada and Miami, Florida although his trademark extravaganza, White Party Palm Springs, had evolved into the nation’s largest gay dance music festival, attracting more than 30,000 attendees from every corner of the globe. 

As word of his death spread on social media late Friday, tributes to Sanker flowed in. In a text to the Blade, former West Hollywood City Councilmember John Duran noted, “Jeffrey was a long time friend. He was an iconic figure in gay history with his creation of the White Party. For many gay men, he created a space for them to find their tribe and sexuality. While he had his critics – he loved his gay community and left a lasting mark.  So many of us found a place to belong because of his vision“

LGBTQ political activist James Duke-Mason told the Blade, “I heard [about Sanker]. Horrible news. Some of the best times of my life at White Party. Jeffrey was a great friend to me and to the community. Devastating loss.”

Sanker moved to Los Angeles in 1987.  His innovative technique of using landmark venues for trend-setting themed events was credited for breathing new life into the Los Angeles gay entertainment night scene.

In addition to hosting superstar entertainment events, which included Lady Gaga, and other celebrities over the years, Sanker is credited with launching the careers of many new up and coming performers.

According to his biography, Sanker’s events featured high caliber DJs/producers, including: Dave Aude, the late Peter Rauhofer, Junior Vasquez, Victor Calderone, Freemasons, Manny Lehman, Rosabel and Tony Moran.

Sanker also staged and produced fundraising events on behalf of numerous charities and community organizations, including Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing (GLEH), The Trevor Project, and Desert AIDS Project.

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