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Emmys behind the scenes market kicks off awards season

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The RuPaul’s Drag Race team accepts their award at the 71st Emmy Awards. (Photo by Invision/AP)

The LGBTQ community and their allies have been riding on a high since the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards took place. Among the many poignant moments during the awards ceremony—Patricia Arquette lamenting the loss of her trans sibling, Alexis; Laverne Cox delivering that powerful speech on Supreme Court cases and the masterful Billy Porter making history as the first openly gay man winning the Best Actor Emmy.

Los Angeles Blade’s Susan Hornik went behind the scenes at numerous award events to discuss the ramifications of these moments.

HBO After Party

As always, events designer Billy Butchkavitz created stunning decor for the Pacific Design Center extravaganza, an event he has worked on for the past 21 years.

His vision for the party: “what would have happened if photographer Helmut Newton and artist Bjorn Wiinnblad had collaborated on a party. My color palette used varying shades of gray, black, taupe and gold.”

A jubilant Ross Mathews, a judge on the series, “Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” was walking on cloud nine after their win. “I grew up when there were no shows like this on the air. It would have been really nice to have had that. I would have skipped the whole part where I wondered if I was good enough.”

Mathews noted that with a series that has been on for 12 seasons like this, kids are watching. “They see us being celebrated. And so, the show just existing is a good thing for lgbtqia+ viewers all over the world. But then to see us invited into an awards event and then up on the winner’s stage, is an extraordinary stamp of approval. It shows kids that they can be honored. That’s what I think, both times now, when we are privileged to be nominated and then win.”

Mathew’s latest book, “Name Drop,” will be out February and is able for pre order.

Drag queen Nina West, who was a contestant on “Drag Race,” acknowledged the importance of Porter winning the Emmy.

“It’s really great to see someone living so fiercely and loudly, living their truth and being so amazing at what they do. This man has lifted up and blazing trails for people like me.”

When asked what it’s going to take to have the world be a more inclusive place, West replied: “it’s going to take people going to the polls and voting. And we have a really good chance with changing who is in the White House. Kindness begets kindness; we have to learn how to get that back to our political process.”

The Gifting Suites: Doris Bergman

John Brotherton, currently starring as Matt Harmon on Netflix’s Fuller House. (Photo by Susan Hornik)

At Weho’s Fig & Olive, Doris Bergman hosted her annual luxury lounge and party, with over 100 of Hollywood’s actors, Emmy® winners, presenters, stylists and industry VIPS. Hosted by Buywine.com the event was presented by Precious Vodka and fashion designer, PRSVR.

‘Designers are back to using hand painting as an embellishment on new denim designs,” noted owner Margaret Williamson.

Gay entrepreneurs Angelo Ortiz of Browlesque and Victor of Influence Effect were thrilled to be a part of the event. “It’s great to be able to gift all the fantastic attendees here,” the duo said. “We feel like this is a great opportunity to meet celebs and press.”

In the spirit of giving back, guests and sponsors gave donations and donated unwrapped gifts for young adults (ages 13-18) for a Pre-Holiday Gift Drive benefiting ‘Wednesday’s Child’ — a weekly segment airing on KTTV FOX 11 News, Los Angeles, with anchor Christine Devine.

‘Wednesday’s Child’ highlights ‘harder to place’ young adults in the LA County foster care system who are in need of adoptive families. “In Los Angeles County, alone, there are over 30,000 children receiving child welfare services,” noted social worker, Dr. William Wong. Bergman loves to invites two foster youth to join in on the gift lounge, so that they experience the VIP treatment.

The nominees were thrilled with the impressive luxury fashion, from Art Lewin Bespoke Tuxedos and Suits and Sue Wong Couture gowns. The awards event presented an array of gifts provided by Green Goddess Collective; Popcornopolis; Spa Girl Cocktails; Zirconmania; Diamond Veneer; Author Kathlyn Heim; Precious Vodka; Twisted Silver; Debbi DiMaggio; Hint; Pia Gladys Perey Designs; O Skin & Med Spa; Browlesque; Buywine.com; Charise Noel Jewelry; My Saint My Hero Blessing Bracelets; Beauty Kitchen; True Gold Honey; LuLaRoe Clothing; Pachamama CBD Products; PRSVR; Beviva Foods; Kam Shield; Lucy Pet Foundation Dog Treats; Harvest Snaps; Sea Snacks; Green Goo Skin Care; Dog TV; Rock Your Hair; The Hollywood Trinity; Emmy’s Hope Dog Accessories; and Cameo Social Media App.

The Gifting Suites: GBK Productions

Indya Moore, star of EMMY nominated Pose on the GBK red carpet receives a personalized gift basket from celebrity stylist Chaz Dean of WEN haircare. (Photo by Kirsten Moore)

GBK Productions’ CEO Gavin Keilly hosted their annual Celebrity Luxury Gifting Lounge at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. At this exclusive event, stars received over $75K in gifts and trips.

Indya Moore, one of the stars of “Pose,” received a personalized gift basket from celebrity hair stylist, Chaz Dean, who owns WEN haircare.

“I love Chaz, his hair products are amazing,” enthused Moore. “One of the few I have used that have made my hair so luscious and beautiful. And it smells so good!”

Quipped Dean: “I met Indya but I feel like I have known them my whole life. They are a force of nature who keeps doing incredible things. Use your voice baby! They are changing the world which is so needed!”

Many celebs attending loved checking out Emeril Lagasse’s latest product, the Power AirFryer 360 and Genie True Lift Comfort Bra. Vendors also gifted items from Burke Williams Spa, Tristar Cookware, KHI Luxury bathroom products and Spryng compression wraps.

The attendees were excited to receive fantastic trips to Jamaica by S Hotel Montego Bay, Turks and Caicos by Sailrock, Fiji by Raiwasa Fiji and Nashville by Fit Farm. Other popular items were Skin Care by Dermafirm, Beauty Pulse and Aztec Secret; Jewelry & Watches by Al Capone Watches, Filienna and B Opulent; Food & Alcohol by Hestan Wines, Hertelendy Wines, Vitani Spirits, Butterfly Superfood, Cocopotamus Truffles, Joe’s Coffee and Blue Farm Pinot Noir; Clothing by True Tailor, Booty Sprout; House and Home items by Athenaromas and Simple Modern; Catrise Austin Dentistry teeth whitening, Huggaroo weighted blankets, Just Food for Dogs, Harborside Cannabis, Austere Wear sunglasses, a stay at La Peer Hotel and dining with Pacifique LA. Covenant House was the official charity on-site. Décor was provided by George Flowers,

The Gifting Suite: Secret Room Event Red Carpet Retreat

Many nominees, celebrities, media and press were invited to attend Secret Room Events Red Carpet Retreat. Benefiting Best Friends Animal Society and Omics LIVE. One of their highlights was a special full service cannabis bar, From The Earth – a vertically integrated cannabis enterprise whuch was named one of Southern California’s top dispensaries, This is the exclusive cannabis partner of the Red Carpet Retreat and the first ever cannabis bar to be offered at a gift lounge.

Dog owners were thrilled to meet two 14 year olds, Hailey Hertzman and Katie Vonder Haar, who started their own business, Ooh La Lemon. “We offer clothing, accessories and gifts that are fun, fruity and trendy and appeal to the young and young at heart,” said Hertzman.

Among the many items gifted were Wolfgang Puck Coffee, wine from Anne Amie Vineyards, and Primo water, which supplies eco-friendly, healthy water choices to help stay hydrated. Toni&Guy Hair offered guests topknot, braid and wave hair services and nail polish changes.

Other amazing vendors included Rafia Jewelry, handmade, customizable jewelry that draws influence from the beautiful landscapes that surround and has been worn by many celebrities; Sleevey Wonders – slip-on sleeves made to wear under your sleeveless clothes to magically transform your outfit into something new; and Zatik Naturals – beauty products made using fresh raw botanicals cultivated along the Pacific coast without any preservatives, parabens, synthetic ingredients, petrochemicals, artificial colors, or fragrances

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Events

Project Angel Food’s 2021 Telethon raises $1.1 million

Project Angel Food is thankful to have received support from friends and the community providing the funding needed to sustain their service

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Eric McCormack led a toast, lifting a glass with all the stars in studio to Chef Randy (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Project Angel Food)

HOLLYWOOD – Los Angeles charity Project Angel Food succeeded in raising $1,126,090 far surpassing their fundraising goal of $800,000 in their 2021 Telethon which aired on KTLA 5 Saturday evening. The Telethon, LEAD WITH LOVE 2021 was presented by City National Bank.

Hosted by by Will & Grace star Eric McCormack and KTLA anchor Jessica Holmes along with Loni Love and Alec Mapa as co-hosts, the evening broadcast opened with a surprise greeting from British Rockstar musician Ringo Starr.

It’s been a difficult year for everyone, and Project Angel Food is thankful to have received so much support from friends and the community and providing the funding needed to sustain the expanded service to those in need, preparing and delivering over one million medically tailored meals to our most vulnerable neighbors.  Project Angel Food Executive Director Richard Ayoub said, “I am overwhelmed with gratitude and inspiration.  The success of this tells me Los Angeles is with us every step of the way.”

A good deal of celebrity star power helped to boost the donations which were taken in by phone, online, and text. Loni Love, author, and host of The Real, presented her $25,000 winnings from her recent appearance on ABC’s Celebrity Family Feud. Her donation joined that of actor Jamie Lee Curtis who called in live via Skype, made a $10,000 gift from her family foundation.

The Herb Ritts Foundation offered a “match challenge” of $75,000, agreeing to match donations coming in over an hour up to $75,000. The match was reached in just 27 minutes.

Other big donors for the night included: $50,000 each from Susanna Blinkoff & Jordan Corngold, Connie Frank, and Mary Fisher; $30,000 National Rongxiang Xu Foundation & Human Heritage Project; $26,000 from Michael J. Libow; $25,000 from Stanley and Joyce Black Family Foundation, Block Party WeHo, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation, WEN Hair and Body Care by Chaz Dean, Whole Foods Market, and Main Street Catering…and our thanks to everyone who donated! 

A special Tribute was paid to Chef Randy Nakamura, who died from COVID this past year, by celebrity chefs Cat Cora and Stuart O’Keeffe, and actor Brad Garrett, who met Chef Randy at Project Angel Food.  Eric McCormack then led a toast, lifting a glass with all the stars in studio to Chef Randy, followed by a special performance by LeAnn Rimes, singing Throw My Arms Around the World, beautifully capturing the spirit of the evening.

Highlights and behind-the-scenes of the night can be seen at Project Angel Food’s website…and it’s still possible to donate by texting LOVE20 to 50155.   

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Events

LA Pride breaks silence announces ‘Thrive with Pride’

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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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Bars & Parties

33 Taps Owner Ryan Floyd has Big Plans

33 Taps will now be a part of the official Silverlake gay bar crawl

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Courtesy of Ryan Floyd

WEST HOLLYWOOD Ryan Floyd signed the contract for his first restaurant after working for 10 years in LA as a  finance guy. He said he hit the decade mark and realized, “I want to do something on my own.” He liked the industry, and knew the business side after working as CFO for a successful restaurant development and management firm. Now, after more than a year in lockdown, he’s got big things planned for his spot 33 Taps, and his next venture, Stache in West Hollywood.

In 2016, Floyd bought a storied beer bar and country diner once known as The Crest on Sunset, making him the third consecutive gay owner of the location. The Crest on Sunset had been running since the late-1980s, with a loyal local clientele – most of the staff was gay, most of the customers were gay. “A friend brought it to me and I thought, this could be a good step for me,” Floyd explained, “I bought the assets and license and rebranded it as 33 Taps.” 

33 Taps formally opened in September 2016, and will celebrate its five-year anniversary in the fall. “The first year was really stressful,” Floyd remembers, “we were under capitalized. I lost money for the first six, seven months. It was scary.” The former investment banker had sunk all his own cash into the business, and it wasn’t until the end of 2017 that 33 Taps began to find its footing, and its niche. 

Floyd credits his team for the longevity of the spot, and for helping keep the business open during its first year and all the years that followed. Many of the employees had even been at that location before the sale – the general manager at 33 Taps, Peaches, has been working at the address for more than 30 years.

Before the pandemic hit, business was good. “Seventy-five percent of our patrons are local,” Floyd said proudly. “We’ve really established ourselves as a place where people love to watch LA sports — the Dodgers, the Lakers, the Rams. And we also have a huge Drag Race following.” The bar finally returned to its weekly Drag Race viewing parties just in time for the grand finale episode last Friday. According to Floyd, more than a third of the clientele is LGBTQ. 

As Los Angeles slowly begins to reopen, and businesses and bars can welcome back customers, 33 Taps is greeting the post-COVID world with some new changes. “During the pandemic I had entered the liquor license lottery.” For businesses hoping for a budget break, the State of California holds a yearly liquor license lottery in which restaurants and bars can try their luck at a discounted license. “The state will issue however many licenses they think the market should absorb. You can buy those licenses for $15,000, which is a full liquor license — a type 47. Whereas on the open market, prices go from $100,000-$120,000.” It was his fourth year entering the lottery, and his first time winning. It took the state months to process the license, but it finally issued 3725 Sunset Blvd. its first-ever liquor license. It’ll be the first time in 40 years that the location will have a full bar.

A numbers man, Floyd explained an added benefit of a liquor license kicking in now. “Beer and spirits go through cycles. Beer had a very long, 10-year run. In 2005, there were 300 breweries in the United States, and now there’s over 5,000.” Floyd recites these statistics with a sportscaster’s excitement, “beer had this huge run, but now spirits have taken the lead again.” With the city’s reopening looking more and more optimistic, and more and more people wanting to celebrate big after a year in their living rooms – the new liquor license could not be better timed. “We want to program our Friday and Saturday nights. We’ve never been open beyond 11 o’clock, now we can stay open until 1 a.m. and actually have a bar crowd.” He’s lining up a slew of parties, bringing some much needed queer nightlife programming to the Silverlake scene. 

33 Taps will now be a part of the official Silverlake gay bar crawl, for all those on their way to dance at Akbar or a party at The Eagle. It rounds out the trio, offering its own flare – a modern neighborhood restaurant and sports bar. 

Each spot brings something different to the table. Akbar is beloved for its brand of queer punk quirk; the also beloved Eagle offers its loyal leather-clad following the gritty gay bar of years past. 33 Taps is the grad-school jock of the group, a lovable charm and an always here for a good time attitude. Floyd offered the elevator pitch: “You can listen to great music, drink from a full bar and also have some great food.” The 33 Taps food menu has always been one of its strongest assets, offering customers a chef-driven menu of craft burgers and fries. A top-notch bite at a gay bar is hard to come by, and the plates at 33 Taps put most bar menus to shame. 

He teased a few details of his highly anticipated new venture: Stache. Coming to West Hollywood this summer, Stache is lucratively situated across the street from Beaches and TomTom, and down the block from Weho heavy-hitters, Rocco’s and The Abbey. “Stache will also be a full restaurant and full bar, with a nightlife component as well,” Floyd shared. While he can’t reveal plans just yet, he promises big monthly parties, disco and drag. The new website, stacheweho.com, describes Stache as, “an all-inclusive social house for every form of self-expression.” The site also attributes the mustache in the name and logo as a symbol of resilience in the gay community, honoring those lost to the AIDS epidemic.

After the closing of so many iconic LA gay bars during the pandemic, Ryan Floyd’s Stache is a welcome addition to the WeHo strip.

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