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WeHo kicks off annual One City One Pride- and honors Lady Gaga

The 2021 theme for One City One Pride is For the Record – LGBTQ stories of the past that have often been hidden or undocumented

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'Born This Way' street art in front of the Abbey on Robertson Blvd. (Photo credit: Hans Beimler)

WEST HOLLYWOOD – Each year the City of West Hollywood celebrates Pride with its One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, which runs from Harvey Milk Day (May 22) through the end of June Pride month.

The City of West Hollywood’s Mayor Lindsey P. Horvath officially declared May 23 as “Born This Way Day” in honor of the album of the same name by Lady Gaga in a small ceremony in front of The Abbey Sunday, also kicking off the City’s One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival.

To commemorate and recognize its cultural impact, the City of West Hollywood is celebrating with a street painting on Robertson Blvd dedicated to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” which celebrates its 10 year anniversary this year. The album shattered records around the world in sales and streaming and has had significant cultural impact as a quasi-anthem for LGBTQ people around the globe.

A crowd had gathered in front of the Abbey to witness Mayor Horvath, other city officials, and the owner of the Abbey, David Cooley greet Lady Gaga as she looked over the street painting. Mayor Horvath also presented a Key to the City to Lady Gaga Sunday with a note of thanks: “Thank you for encouraging us to love ourselves and be proud!

Photograph: Mayor Lindsey P. Horvath hugging Lady Gaga as the Abbey owner David Cooley looks on in the background. (Photo courtesy of Mayor Horvath)

When it was originally released in 2011, Born This Way shattered records around the world. To date, the album has more than 5.8 billion global streams, 5.2 million physical albums sold, and 31 million digital tracks sold. Born This Way was Lady Gaga’s first #1 album and it debuted at #1 in 25 countries. It was named one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and is Certified 4X Platinum in the U.S.

Concurrent with the unveiling of the colorful street painting is the kickoff of Pride season in West Hollywood with the annual One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival. 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.

In order to prioritize health and well-being, One City One Pride 2021 is taking place virtually/in a socially distant manner for 2021.

A partial list of some of the upcoming events and programs for the 2021 One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival includes;

Love Note

Sat, May 22, 20215:30 PM  Wed, Jun 30, 202110:30 PM, presented by Rogue Artists Ensemble.

Free. No RSVP Needed. Experience online or as a self-guided experience at Plummer Park, 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard West Hollywood, CA 90046

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 your cell phone and headphones, you’ll discover and listen to stories about romance, compassion, and connection, leading to a secret phone line, where you are invited to share your 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.

Love Note is a collaborative creation exploring the transcendence of love beyond identity, boundaries, and definitions. Significant contributions and performances are contributed by members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Meringue

Sat, May 22, 2021 6:30 PM  till Thu, Jun 30, 2021 7:30 PM

Outdoor exhibition on traffic median at Santa Monica Blvd. and Doheny Drive

Meringue is a temporary public art exhibition by LGBTQ artist Kim Kiduck. Meringue’s sensual curves invite touch, and the artist intends it to feel like a portal to travel without moving—that you travel when you come in contact with it, not physically, but in the imagination. 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.

Pride Publics: Words and Actions

Fri, Jun 4, 20216:00 AM  till Wed, Jun 30, 202111:59 PM

Presented by ONE Archives Foundation

Outdoor temporary art exhibition on the construction fence at 687 Robertson Boulevard and other sites in the Los Angeles region.

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.

This exhibition is curated by Rubén Esparza, a multidisciplinary artist, activist, and independent curator based in Los Angeles. Installations will be on view for the months of June (West Hollywood) and October (Los Angeles County) in 2021. 

“Pride Publics: Words and Actions” provokes questions central to queer public life: Who have been the LGBTQ movement leaders and trailblazers? What have they said? What have they done to advance the wellbeing of LGBTQ community? What key moments of change that have contributed to the public health, safety, education, rights, identity, and social belonging of queer life.

This exhibition is organized by ONE Archives Foundation. This program is supported by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division as part of the City’s One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival.

You can view all 2021 events as a list here. Follow at www.facebook.com/wehopride or www.instagram.com/wehoarts to stay up to date.

One City One Pride is organized by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division. If you have additional questions about One City One Pride please email Mike Che, One City One Pride coordinator/City of West Hollywood’s Arts Coordinator at [email protected]

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West Hollywood

WeHo is working to shut down scam pop-up COVID testing sites

Free walk-up COVID-19 PCR and rapid testing is available at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station front parking lot

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

WEST HOLLYWOOD – Demand for COVID-19 testing in Los Angeles County has skyrocketed during the past several weeks. Sharply rising COVID-19 case counts and positivity rates coupled with the aftermath of holiday gatherings and travel has led to an unprecedented demand for testing.

Unfortunately, this demand has led to scammers distributing and setting-up fraudulent COVID-19 testing sites, some of which are requiring those seeking tests to pay a fee and/or provide a social security number.

As a reminder, community members should not have any out-of-pocket costs for a COVID-19 test or be providing their social security number. Free testing options are available, and public and private medical insurance companies are required to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and treatment without charging any co-pays.

The City’s Code Compliance Division is working in coordination with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station to shut down scam pop-up testing sites. Community members who are concerned about illegitimate testing sites may reach out to the City by calling the Code Enforcement Hotline at (323) 848-6516.

The City of West Hollywood is getting the word out that COVID-19 testing is available for free to anyone in LA County, regardless of health insurance or immigration status.

If you are experiencing symptoms or if you may have been exposed to COVID-19, visit www.covid19.lacounty.gov/testing.

Learn more about COVID-19 tests at www.ph.lacounty.gov/covidtests.

West Hollywood community members should first call a healthcare provider for a COVID-19 test. For people who cannot get a test through a healthcare provider, free testing options include:

  • COVID-19 Testing at Plummer Park – Los Angeles County coordinates a testing site at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The testing site is open each week from Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. adjacent to the West Hollywood Community Center at Plummer Park in the South Parking Lot. Tests are administered by Fulgent Genetics. Appointments are required. People interested in getting a test should pre-register for an appointment at la.fulgentgenetics.com. People getting tests should bring ID and confirmation number to the appointment.
  • Pick-Up COVID-19 Testing Kit Program – Los Angeles County Health Services has launched a program to increase and facilitate access to COVID-19 tests. The program allows residents to pick up a PCR test kit and return it at designated locations, which includes the COVID-19 West Hollywood testing site at Plummer Park. Results will be available within 24-48 hours. For details, visit: https://covid19.lacounty.gov/la-county-pick-up-testing-kit-program.
  • COVID-19 Testing at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station Front Parking Lot – Free walk-up COVID-19 PCR and rapid testing is available at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station front parking lot, located at 780 N. San Vicente Boulevard, on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Please note, this location is closed on holidays.) The lot has limited parking capacity; metered street parking is available nearby. No appointment is necessary. Testing is available at no cost to anyone four-years-old or older and is available regardless of insurance or citizenship status. Testing is sponsored by The Testing Co. and is hosted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Community Advisory Council.
  • Los Angeles County Testing Sites Across the Region – If you are unable to secure an appointment right away and need a test quickly, there are many testing sites regionally. Visit: https://covid19.lacounty.gov/testing.
  • Free Shipped At-Home Tests – As part of a new federal program, every home in the nation is eligible to order four free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests. The tests are free and orders will usually ship in 7 to 12 days. Visit www.covidtests.gov for details and to order tests.
  • At-Home Tests for Purchase at Stores, Pharmacies, and Websites – Before buying a test kit online, check the website that is selling it and find out if the test is authorized on the FDA EUA test webpage. Learn about at-home COVID-19 testing by visit the CDC self-testing webpage or the FDA’s At-Home Tests webpage area.

Additional information, such as links to West Hollywood-area drug store chains offering vaccinations, is available on the City of West Hollywood’s website at www.weho.org/coronavirus in the Vaccines and Testing Information section.

Officials from the LA County Department of Public Health continue to remind community members about the importance of getting vaccinated, getting boosted, getting tested, and masking-up; these remain critical to stop the spread. For details, visit www.VaccinateLACounty.com.

For people without access to a computer or the Internet, or people with disabilities, an LA County call center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. to help schedule appointments at (833) 540-0473.

The City of West Hollywood remains in a declared local emergency in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. West Hollywood City Hall is open for in-person transactions by appointment.

Visitors to City Hall and City facilities are required to adhere to vaccine verification requirements. Click here for details.

To make an appointment, visit www.weho.org/appointments.

City Hall services remain accessible by phone at (323) 848-6400 and via the City’s website at www.weho.org. City of West Hollywood coronavirus information is available at www.weho.org/coronavirus.

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West Hollywood

West Hollywood will engage community in MLK Jr. Day of Service

Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday, January 17, 2022, is the 27th anniversary of the Day of Service that celebrates his life & legacy

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Los Angeles Blade graphic

WEST HOLLYWOOD – In January 2022, the City of West Hollywood will continue its tradition of joining hundreds of communities across the country in a National Day of Service to commemorate the Martin Luther King Jr. Day federal holiday by providing an opportunity for community members to make an impact locally with a donation drive for people who are experiencing homelessness.

The City of West Hollywood, in partnership with West Hollywood Elementary and Friends of West Hollywood Elementary (FOWHE), will be collecting monetary and gift card donations to support new socks, blankets, and sleeping bags for the City’s Homeless Initiative, which partners closely with nonprofit service providers, the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, and Los Angeles County agencies to provide a wide variety of services aimed at reducing homelessness and supporting community members who are experiencing homelessness.

This year’s City of West Hollywood Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service activity reflects the desires of students from West Hollywood Elementary to help those most in-need in the community.

Due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, this year’s City of West Hollywood Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service will take place as a two-week virtual donation drive instead of an in-person Day of Service event.

It will run from Saturday, January 15, 2022 to Monday, January 31, 2022. Donations can be made online at https://secure.qgiv.com/for/homeless or donations of physical gift cards or of personal checks made out to ‘City of West Hollywood’ may be mailed to:

West Hollywood Homeless Initiative/MLK Day of Service

West Hollywood City Hall

8300 Santa Monica Boulevard

West Hollywood, CA 90069

The City is, additionally, encouraging donations to the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Youth Center, which has posted a “CARE 4 Youth Essentials” wish list on Amazon at lalgbtcenter.org/care4youth.

The City of West Hollywood would have hosted its tenth-annual clothing drive for the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Youth Center on Highland in January 2022, but due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, this year the City is instead encouraging virtual donations of needed supplies that will be distributed to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth who are experiencing homelessness.

For more information about the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Youth Center, please visit www.lalgbtcenter.org/social-service-and-housing/youth.

The City of West Hollywood encourages community members who seek to make a difference to volunteer in response to the urgent call and unprecedented need for volunteers during these uncertain times.

To find out more about local volunteer opportunities with the City of West Hollywood’s community partners, please visit www.weho.org/volunteer.

For addition information about virtual and in-person volunteer opportunities to address critical needs, please visit California Volunteers at www.californiavolunteers.ca.gov/get-involved/covid-19 or call (888) 567-SERV; visit Volunteer Match at www.volunteermatch.org; or visit LA Works at www.laworks.com or call (323) 224-6510.

The City’s West Hollywood Homeless Initiative seeks to address homelessness with a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency, collaborative response. For more information about the West Hollywood Homeless Initiative, including ways to help and resources for those in need, please visit www.weho.org/homeless or call (323) 848-6590.

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday, January 17, 2022, is the 27th anniversary of the Day of Service that celebrates the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy. The Martin Luther King Jr. Day federal holiday was designated as a National Day of Service by Congress in 1994. Each year, the City of West Hollywood participates in this call to action.

For more information about MLK Day of Service activities and recognitions across the nation, please visit www.nationalservice.gov/serve-your-community/mlk-day-service

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s 2022 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service please contact Larissa Fooks, the City of West Hollywood’s Community Events Coordinator, at (323) 848-6413 or at [email protected].

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

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West Hollywood

British tourists robbed at gunpoint in WeHo area caught on video

“I’ve never even seen a gun before, let alone have one at my head,” he added. “I honestly thought I was going to lose my life at one point”

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Screenshot via KTLA

WEST HOLLYWOOD – Two young British men who had been visiting a nightclub in the area of 961 N. La Cienega Blvd. were accosted by robbers as they left the club to catch an Uber.

Cellphone video by a witness caught the robbers struggling with one of the victims KTLA reported.

William Saunders, who identified himself as one of the victims in the robbery, said that he and his friend had just left a nightclub and were hailing an Uber ride when they were approached by the robbers.

“Guys with their hoods pulled tight, could hardly see their faces, jumped out at us, grabbed us,” Saunders said. “One of them had a small handgun on him, pointed it to my head, told me to give him my watch, my bag and my phone.”

Saunders said he threw his watch to the floor, pushed the robber and ran into a restaurant, where he learned that there was video of the assailants wrestling with his friend, ripping his bag off him and taking his watch.

Deputies from the West Hollywood substation patrolling the area responded immediately. In a statement, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said that the victims were accosted by two suspects wearing hoodies and that a firearm was displayed. The suspects were able to get away with what one of the victims described as a bag that contained expensive watches, their passports and an unknown amount of cash, the Sheriff’s Department confirmed.

“We’re visiting from England,” Saunders told KTLA. “Only one night in L.A. and it has ended like this.”

“I’ve never even seen a gun before, let alone have one at my head,” he added. “I honestly thought I was going to lose my life at one point.”

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