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LA Pride Celebration

Dodger Night for LA Pride just the first pitch for a weekend of festivities

It was rainbow-palooza weekend!



LA Pride Board, volunteers and sponsors took the the field at Dodger Stadium to welcome everyone to Pride Night and kick-off LA Pride in style. (Photo by Troy Masters)

What a whirlwind weekend of events with LA Pride! From Dodger Stadium to Universal Studios Hollywood Pride Night and a host of smaller, breakthrough events like TransBrunch and LA Pride first official women’s kick off party, a brunch or three and and the West Hollywood Mayor’s Kick Off party. Proud yet?

Los Angeles Blade’s intrepid reporter, Chrisanne Eastwood tried to keep up.
— Editor

It was a grand night for swinging, both on and off the field, at the 7th annual Los Angeles Dodger Pride Night on Friday, May 31. For the first time ever, Pride flags flew next to American flags atop the stadium at Chavez Ravine, while over 54,000 fans celebrated LGBT Pride and watched the Boys in Blue trounce the Phillies, 6-3.

Per usual, I was late and missed the pre-game hoopla, but caught plenty in club suites decked out for the Pride Month’s opening event. Christopher Street West (CSW) hosted a fab suite filled with homo polloi and the big cheeses of Weho. New CSW executive director Madonna Cacciatore and wife, Robin McWilliams, were the hostesses with the mostesses, working the room and sharing the Pride message that, this year, CSW has “listened to the community”.

Busy CSW board president Estevan Montemayor took time to share his excitement: “There’s gonna be a ferris wheel! We’re recreating The Palms! PAULA ABDUL!” I was breathless. Montemayor also gushed that Verizon donated ONE MILLION DOLLARS, the single biggest contribution ever received by CSW. And this year’s parade will be broadcast live and local on KABC 7 (another “never before”). Both Montemayor and Cacciatore made it clear that community input has influenced this year’s expansion. “I am very proud of this year. We have expanded so much more than in years’ past and we have listened to the community,” said Montemayor.

Munching on Dodger dogs, charcuterie, pizza, and rainbow cake pops, donors, guests, and celebs mingled while jockeying for space at the bar or into one of the coveted stadium seats. The usual stereotypes prevailed, where more dykes than gay boys were actually watching the game, but all heads turned toward the field when a Dodger home run sailed into the bleachers. It could have just been the celebratory flashing lights that grabbed folks’ attention, but I was happy to assume that we were all baseball fans.

Leo Daube looks out on the field. (Photo by Troy Masters)

Lots of celeb sightings on the sportiest of Pride nights. “Glee”’s Dot-Marie Jones pointed me towards the bathroom. “Drag Race” judge Ross Matthews announced the Dodger opening lineup and then raced to the suite for a refresher. “Nurse Jackie” creator Linda Wallem introduced me to the widow of Dodger legend Don Newcombe while apologizing for her family’s mess in the seats. Her family is rock legend Melissa Etheridge and kids. I gave her a pass.

And my card.

It was old home week as I ran into pals who had appeared on HBO’s “Arliss” (a show I used to write for and appear on). Billie Jean King, fresh from tossing the first pitch, gave me a big hug and a selfie. Billy Bean, ex-MLB player and current MLB vice president/ special assistant to the commissioner, tapped me on the shoulder, so I grabbed him for some baseball talk.

Bean said that he cannot go to every MLB Pride Night because of double-booking, but he tries to make most of them. When pressed, Bean did hint that the Dodgers’ Pride Night might be better than the Giants’, a truth I accepted gladly. Bean also told me that much of his work now is centered around anti-bullying education, both within the league and for youth in MLB cities. Bean said that in the next two years, all major and minor leaguers will have participated in anti-bullying programming. I asked if players ever participate in Pride Night pre-game events and he said that MLB does not require participation for any special nights. However, Bean did say that when he has thrown out first pitches, active players have caught him.

Actors Hannah Hart and Bex Taylor-Klaus were glued to the game, as was WeHo mayor pro tem Lindsay Horvath. I heard that some Queer Eye chaps were roaming around, but my queer eye was fixated on the jumbotron. I was waiting for the KISS CAM to see how many queer couples made the cut. And in the 5th inning BOOM! Two dykes  smooching in a gazillion pixels, for all LA to see! I will say there was one more straight than gay couple featured, but it was an even sprinkle of boys and girls for our side.

And in the stands, it was a rainbow-palooza! When the cams roamed the crowds for dance-offs and howdy-do’s, Pride folk were heavily featured, flashing their rainbow shirts, leis, hats, capes, gowns, boas, unicorn heads, and tats. Along the stadium walkways, happy LGBT couples fearlessly strolled hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm, and smiles abounded. I saw gay families with happy kids, queers old and young, smiling, flush with beers, slushies, and Dodger hats full of chili fries.

Following the Dodger victory, it was fireworks time. Queer DJ Bowie-Jane did the music and put just the right button on a fab night. Friday night fireworks is an incredible event at Dodger Stadium. They let you onto the outfield to watch the show! Folks bring blankets, kids run around, do cartwheels, and pretend they’re Cody Bellinger. It’s awesome.

If you didn’t make it to Pride Night at Dodger Stadium this year, put it on your list for next year. It’s a shared Pride… folks who are proud to be queer, proud to be Dodger fans, proud to part of this fantastic city Los Angeles. Baseball is America’s game and it can bring us all together. Fifty thousand faithful, sitting shoulder to shoulder in Chavez Ravine can’t be wrong. Go Dodgers!

This article will be updated through the week.

Here is a gallery of other LA Pride related events:


On June 2 at Flaming Saddles, LA Pride held TransBrunch and honored the first graduation class of #PLATForm or Policy Leadership and Advocacy Training Program. (Photo LA Pride)

Universal Studios Hollywood:

About 1500 people enjoyed a festival open theme park event at Universal Studios theme park. People from around the world attended. (Photo by Troy Masters)

Rick and Dion from Sydney enjoyed their own private Hogwarts graduation for LA Pride.

LA Pride Brunch:


The FEM(ME) Fueling the Female Force Within L.A. Pride Kick-Off Party at PaliHouse was awesome! The Arquette family and LA Pride really turned it out. It was one of our favorite events, especially LA Pride’s first “Women Who Lead” award. #lapride #justunite #womenwholead #palihouse #westhollywood

Bamby Salcedo debuted her new look. (Photo by Troy Masters)

LA Pride Executive Director Madonna Cacciatore celebrated a special birthday. (Photo by Troy Masters)

A very proud LA Pride President Estevan Montemayor and LA Pride Board member Gregory Alexander. (Photo by Troy Masters)

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Pride Special

2021 Palm Springs Pride was much more than a Pride celebration

Everything Pride — literally everything — the pandemic had robbed from us was on full display-the first full-scale in person Pride since 2020



Palm Springs Pride 2021 (Blade photo by Troy Masters)

PALM SPRINGS – Even the Palm Trees were sashaying this weekend as the 35th Greater Palm Springs Pride Festival freed the city from the doldrums of a pandemic that, while not exactly over, certainly felt that way, at least for a weekend.

Everything Pride and everything Palm Springs — literally everything — the pandemic had robbed from us was on full display, yet with an added zest: It was the first full-scale Pride celebration in California since January 2020 and people were ready to celebrate. Last year’s event was held virtually on Facebook.

Thousands upon thousands of mostly maskless people of every stripe swarmed the city over the three days from one end to the other, something that seemed unimaginable even just a few weeks ago.  

87 year old Dan Bertin wiped a tear from his eye when the Los Angeles Blade asked him why he had decided to attend Palm Springs Pride. “I got off the phone this morning with my son in London, he’s gay like me,” he laughed, “and he told me his husband and my newborn grandson will arrive on a flight from Paris on Friday next week. I am so happy, I just had to celebrate.”

Lydia, the mother of 9 year old Stanton says her son insisted they attend the Festival on Sunday. Mom told the Blade, “at this point he says he is gay so I thought he should see this.” Stanton, who was wearing a mask since he is not vaccinated, said he knew he wasn’t alone but he had no idea there were so many people like him. Pointing to other kid passersby he said, “Look, they are just like me.”  His mom corrected him. “Don’t make assumptions about people, Stanton.” He laughed and ran into the bounce house Festival organizers had set up for kids and his mom followed.  “I couldn’t sit this one out so we drove up from the border today. I’m so proud to be his mom.”  Stanton, she said, was born Stacy.

Tammy Green said the event was her first public event since Covid. “I am so damned tired of all this isolating I could scream.  I’m fully vaccinated and ready for some lovin’ so if you know any hot dykes you can hook me up with I also waxed just for Pride baby!”

Joel Stern and his husband Randall flew in from Seattle:  “We love Palm Springs and we love Pride so when we found cheap airfares on Alaska from Seattle to Palm Springs on Pride week, we jumped,” said Joel. “Yes, this bitch forget to book a hotel room,” snapped Randall. “So I made him splurge on $1200 a night AirBnB and we have a mansion with a pool and are headed back now!”

John W, a homeless and differently abled Transman who has one arm, said he lives in Palm Springs. He got misty-eyed petting Cody, the dog owned by Arturo Jimenez and his partner, LA Blade publisher Troy Masters, saying “I can’t have a dog but I love them.  I have too many PTSD’s and can barely take care of myself. But today, at Pride, surrounded by people willing to talk to me, I feel free and even the sudden loud noises aren’t triggering me.”

Scott E. from New York says met a “Daddy” on Grinder who invited him to Palm Spring Pride after a round of x-rated pics. “Honey, I booked that ticket and here I am, but he was a no show.  It’s fine,” he said as he grinned and gestured at a man of a certain age, “I’m sure I’m gonna be fine.”

Evan Caplan, who visited Palm Springs Pride from Washington, D.C., said “Palm Springs Pride was an opportunity to get away from everything in DC and enjoy the weather, the festivities, and the opportunity to meet all sorts of different people. It was a magical escape to party on the streets and feel welcome by everyone in the city. It was also a reaffirmation of the spirit of the gay community coming together after a challenging and difficult year,” he added. 

Tracy S. flew in from Nashville. The 32 year old Public Relations agent said he came out during the Pandemic and was too shy to attend Nashville’s Pride event, so he jumped on a Southwest flight “that cost nearly nothing” for his first trip to the desert or to SoCal.  “I’m not sure I’ll ever be the same,” he said.

Robin Tyler, the LA based 79 year old Lesbian activist and comedian, took to the mainstage of the event on Friday night and brought the house down. Her favorite joke of the evening: “I met a man in Palm Springs who said he was from Texas. Texas, where men ARE men, and women are nothing. There the right wing courts believe that life begins at conception, and ends at birth!”

Robin Tyler performing at PS Pride 2021 (Courtesy of Robin Tyler)

On Sunday, the parade kicked off at Palm Canyon Drive, slowly making its way to the entrance to the Pride Festival at Amado Road where thousands of smiling people, some still waving flags and their signage from the parade, drag queens decked out galore, young and old, Daddy’s and pups, lined the parade route. Dozens of floats, jumping to the blaring music with writhing go-go boys and some more sedate offerings passed by as merchants hawked their wares. 

Mary Rostow and her wife June watched the parade pass by waving at old friends.

“I am seeing people I haven’t seen in years and it makes my heart sing,” Mary said. “We haven’t got that many Prides left and it really means a lot to me that they pulled this together. June, who was wearing a mask that said “Vaxed” said “We really have a lot to celebrate”

Members of the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles (America’s first chorus consisting of Transgender, Non-Binary, Intersex, Gender-Non-Conforming and Gender-Fluid individuals) performed “More Friends Than You Know,” a stirring song about diversity and acceptance and empowerment after marching in the parade.

Alan Uphold, a former board member of the Chorus who recently relocated to Palm Springs from Los Angeles with his husband Jeff Olde, was moved to tears by their performance, saide the song “gets me every time.”

Many other local businesses and organizations also had a presence in the parade; a group with Planned Parenthood received loud cheers as they marched by, while Wang’s in the Desert, a popular Palm Springs Pan Asian Cuisine restaurant, mounted a red-and-yellow dragon’s head on the back of a truck. Men in leather hawked drink specials outside downtown bars, and hundreds watched the event while eating on restaurant patios. 

Milling about the nearly 200 booths, the glow on people’s faces told the real story.

“We have 4 bags of souvenirs, including the Los Angeles Blade,” said Drexel Simpson from Phoenix. “It’s our first trip since Covid and there’s simply no way to tell you how liberating it is to hang out with people, no masks on, hugging old friends, kissing them like old times and just getting back to normal. It’s like the Covid Liberation Pride. And I hope the world follows.”

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Pride Special

Monét X Change joins Kiva to Celebrate Pride

Kiva, the sought-after cannabis brand, is following through once again with their second annual partnership with world famous drag superstar Monét X Change.



Monét X Change via KIVA

LOS ANGELES – ’Tis the season of rainbow sponsorships. Pride partnerships between companies of all sizes and queer celebrities of all caches abound. In the whirl of Pride collabs, it’s important to know which companies are for real.

Kiva, the sought-after cannabis brand, is following through once again with their second annual partnership with world famous drag superstar Monét X Change. Monét went Live on Kiva’s Instagram Thursday evening, hosting a candid conversation with viewers on Pride, cannabis and how the two are intertwined. 

On her Instagram Live, Monét started off the bat by calling out other companies who “slap on a rainbow” and call it a day. Kiva is not one of those companies. This Pride month, Kiva has made donations to GLAAD and has pledged to continue their involvement and support of the LGBT+ community year-round, something with Monét cited on Live as especially noteworthy.

GLAAD is an internationally recognized LGBT+ organization that works ubiquitously in the worlds of entertainment, news, and digital media to accelerate acceptance and celebrate LGBTQ+ stories.

Monét X Change gained fame on the 10th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, where she won Miss Congeniality. She went on to win (in a tie) the fourth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. Working her way to the top of the industry, she is now regarded as one of the most popular and successful queens to come out of the show, frequently partnering with her pal from New York, Season 8 winner Bob the Drag Queen.

You can now find Monét everywhere in almost every facet of the entertainment world. Most recently, Monét released “Love Like This” – a beachy bop with a fresh queer Caribbean sound.

Joining Monét’s Kiva live stream was a colorful bunch of up and coming New York queens, including the in-demand Jacklynn Hyde, her leggy New York sister Tina Twirler and the crown-snatching Sabbyiana. 

Back by popular demand, Kiva is relaunching the much asked for Tropical Punch Camino Gummies. These fruity little edibles are a Pride spin-off of Kiva’s popular line of Camino gummies. A light, refreshing edible with 5mg THC per dose perfect for Pride month.

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LA Pride breaks silence announces ‘Thrive with Pride’



LOS ANGELES – After weeks of ‘stay tuned’ on its website and no real engagement with the media or the LGBTQ community, Christopher Street West Association Inc. the nonprofit organization that produces the annual LA Pride celebration announced its planned June programming for LA Pride 2021 on Thursday.

Pride 2021 activations are themed around the daily reminder to Thrive with Pride.

LA Pride weekend will kick-off on Thursday night, June 10th with a concert exclusively presented by and live streamed on TikTok featuring hyper-pop diva Charli XCX and a showcase of up and coming LGBTQ+ performers across genres. In-person concert opportunities are not available at this time. Fans and followers can follow @tiktokforgood and @lapride on TikTok for updates and advanced promotions. 

Further, a televised special titled “Thrive with Pride Celebration” is set for Saturday, June 12th airing 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT on ABC 7 Los Angeles, the most-watched station in Southern California, will feature special guests, performances and LA Pride honorees. 

“To thrive means to flourish and progress despite the circumstances. Pride this year is a moment for you to stop and breathe,” said Sharon-Franklin Brown, CSW board president. “It’s a moment to remember you’re not just surviving one of the hardest years in recent memory, but growing into your truth. This is why we were so intentional in our planning. We want to bring a moment of celebration, a moment to highlight the community, and an opportunity to give back. If we as a community can come together, even for a moment, to realize we’ve broken down some barriers put on us, it’ll strengthen our resolve to continue tearing more down for those to come after us.” 

“After an unprecedented year of challenge and struggle, I am so pleased that this year’s pride festivities embrace the spirit of the first pride parade and our activist roots,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. “By bringing together LGBTQ+ communities from every corner of our City, we will uplift all voices and elevate the important work of the icons of the LGBTQ movement who sacrificed everything in their young lives at the time so we can all celebrate together in 2021. With a mix of virtual and potential in-person events, this year’s festivities will keep our community safe and connected while providing every Angeleno an opportunity to embrace giving and volunteerism.” 

In recognition of the incredibly difficult work Los Angeles social justice and non-profit organizations have put into achieving equity, actionable change and stability, LA Pride will launch a 30-day give back campaign to support these efforts. Pride Makes a Difference will highlight opportunities for Angelenos to sign up to either volunteer, or donate goods and/or money to local organizations in Los Angeles County. Pride Makes a Difference is a new program in conjunction with Big Sunday. As part of these new efforts, drop off locations will be set up all throughout Los Angeles. A list of selected local organizations and drop off sites will be available soon to choose from, as well as the sign-up details and commitment.

“Our utmost priority in whatever we’re doing to celebrate Pride this year ensures safety and follows CDC-approved pandemic guidelines,” continued Brown. “That’s why we’re announcing this programming first. Any potential in-person celebratory activations will be announced at a later date in the coming weeks. The more we put safety first, the more likely we’re able to plan big physical events in the future, including Pride 2022, where we can celebrate who we are, where we came from, and where we need to go.”

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