Turnout is NOT going to be a problem for this weekend’s LA Pride Festival and Parade in West Hollywood presented by Verizon, not given the forecasted weather perfection, the meticulous planning and the star-studded line up.
Oh, and have you heard the rumor?
With a special 60-minute performance by EMMY and GRAMMY® Award-winning artist Paula Abdul powered by Caesars Entertainment and singer, actor, dancer, recording artist, director, and choreographer Todrick Hall also making an appearance in the lineup for the LA Pride Opening Ceremony (presented by Johnson & Johnson) it is likely to be an unforgettable event. Abdul will be backed up by none other that the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles.
“I am so happy to be a part of this year’s LA Pride Festival and to celebrate this year’s theme, #JUSTUNITE. Throughout the course of my career, the LGBTQ+ community has stood behind me, and I’m honored to now have the opportunity to show my support and gratitude by performing at this year’s Opening Ceremony. I’m hoping the night will be a chance for all generations of the community to come together to celebrate one another and the work that has been done,” said Paula Abdul.
The Opening Ceremony, a free and open to the public event, will include welcoming remarks from a diverse mix of community and spiritual leaders and advocates for the LGBTQ+ community. In addition to the headlining performance from Paula Abdul, entertainment for the night will include a WeHo Vogue Ball & Drag Show, as well as a full night of music and dancing from local DJs.
And then there is that rumor sweeping the internet and burning up the text lines that the Great Stonewall Ambassador, Madonna herself, will make a surprise appearance. Did somebody say Vogue?
But where? And really?
A source close to Madonna (not Cacciatore) tells the Los Angeles Blade that “Madonna is likely to make a few surprise appearances while she’s in LA this weekend to promote Stonewall 50 and to just remind everyone how fabulous they are.”
Will she join Paula? “It’s unlikely Madonna would want to be upstaged by Paula Abdul,” the source says. Will she appear at LA Pride’s opening ceremony. “It’s a rumor and I am not going to confirm or deny it.”
Madonna famously surprised fans at New York’s iconic LGBTQ venue Stonewall Inn with a speech and performance on New Year’s Eve 2018. As Variety reported, the singer at the time had been named the Stonewall ambassador to kick off events marking the 50th anniversary of the riots, which took place there in 1969 and helped launch the modern LGBTQ movement.
There she performed “Like a Prayer” and a rendition of Elvis Presley’s 1961 hit “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and then delivered a speech reflecting on the LGBTQ movement and an “it gets better” look to the future.
NYC Pride, organizers of WorldPride NYC 2019 and Stonewall 50, announced Monday June 3 that Madonna will make an appearance at Stonewall 50, and is expected to perform a few songs, at that event’s “Pride Island” on Sunday, June 30.
Madonna announced the news through a video aired during the June 3 broadcast of NBC’s The Today Show.
“I hear you,” said Madonna in the video, “I will be on Pride Island, where I was born.”
But back to LA Pride.
A well-planted source inside LA Pride tells the Los Angeles Blade that the only thing they are aware of that might correlate with the rumor is that one entertainer scheduled to appear on the Johnson and Johnson stage has said they will be bringing a celebrity guest.
But it’s important to come early with an open mind — just enjoy the show no matter what happens.
Paula Abdul will definitely be there. “I’m bringing it, I can assure you,” Paula texted the Los Angeles Blade when asked about the rumor. “It’s me. I’ll be there. I have no idea what else might happen.”
Madonna Cacciatore will certainly be there, along with Estevan Montemayor and the entire exhilarated but exhausted board of LA Pride.
The Opening Ceremony is an opportunity for the community to #JUSTUNITE and come together before the festival gets underway. #JUSTUNITE makes a simple, yet powerful statement: that the work the LGBTQ+ community does together is ultimately what will make it stronger and more resilient than ever before.
On Saturday when the Festival opens you will need a ticket for entry and this year organizers are prepared to circumvent overcrowding but are vague on the specific process. Hundreds of ticket holders to the LA Pride Festival in 2018 were turned away or not allowed to re-enter when authorities deemed the record crowd to be at maximum capacity; ticket holders were offered refunds.
Ticket sales and proceeds from the LA Pride Festival support and fund the LA Pride Parade and CSW’s philanthropic efforts. This includes community-wide programs like Casa del Sol, a joint project with APLA Health that provides low-income housing to people living with HIV/AIDS, and PLATform, a policy, leadership, and advocacy training program to help amplify the voices of the transgender community. Additionally, proceeds benefit the USC GLASS Endowed Scholarship, a grant program awarded to students to help them conduct research affirming the important role the LGBTQ+ community plays in society today. Funds raised will also help CSW prepare for its 50th anniversary in 2020.
To learn more about LA Pride, purchase tickets, get event updates and be added to the email list, please visit lapride.org. Follow all of LA Pride’s happenings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Share your LA Pride experiences using #JUSTUNITE.