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City of Inglewood releases road closures for Sunday near SoFi Stadium

Members of the general public who do not have tickets are highly discouraged from traveling to the area surrounding SoFi Stadium

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Screenshot via KTLA

INGLEWOOD – The City of Inglewood has released a list of street closures that will be in effect the week of the Super Bowl LVI. The Super Bowl LVI will be hosted at SoFi Stadium on Sunday, February 13th, 2022. Street closures will be minimal, and serve to expedite traffic to and from SoFi stadium while minimizing impact to the surrounding neighborhoods.

The City of Inglewood has worked hand in hand with Sofi Stadium and the NFL Super Bowl Host Committee in an effort to maximize the fan experience all while minimizing neighborhood disruption. Inglewood Police Department has led the city’s comprehensive planning efforts for this historic day in coordination with various city, county, and state agencies.

“This is the first time the Super Bowl has ever been held in the City of Inglewood, and we are thrilled for the opportunity to feature our beloved City on a global stage,” Mayor James T. Butts said. “We have been laser focused on making sure this event is a positive experience for residents and stakeholders alike. Hosting a premier event like the Super Bowl is an honor, and one that we are well prepared for. You can be sure that the spirit of Inglewood will be center stage.”

A significant number of Super Bowl ticket holders will travel to the event in high-occupancy shuttles as opposed to individual vehicles. As a result, vehicle volume is anticipated to be lower than it is during regularly-scheduled events at SoFi Stadium.

Transit Service, LAZ Parking, IPark&Go remote parking, and other shuttle services will continue to operate as usual. Additionally, dedicated lanes and drop off points will be available for rideshare services. For more information, please visit www.cityofinglewood.org/superbowl

Members of the general public who do not have tickets to the Super Bowl event(s) are highly discouraged from traveling to the area surrounding SoFi Stadium on event days. Loitering will not be permitted, and enforcement will be in place to ensure that the surrounding areas remain clear. To ensure that the impact to surrounding neighborhoods remains minimal, the City of Inglewood has put into place a series of neighborhood protection efforts. Permit parking restrictions will be strongly enforced.

Minimal street and lane closures will be in place surrounding SoFi Stadium from February 10th through February 14th, 2022. Residents can expect to see traffic conditions similar to regular game days surrounding SoFi Stadium.

Start DateEnd DateRoadwayType
2/10/2022 8:00am2/10/2022 8:00pmYukon Ave. from W Century Blvd to Stadium DriveRoad Restriction:Closed to GeneralPublic (AuthorizedPlacards Only)
2/10/2022 8:00am2/10/2022 10:00pmPrairie Ave. from Victory St. to Touchdown Dr.Lane Closure
02/10/2022 8:00am2/10/2022 at 8:00pmStadium Dr from S Doty Ave to Entrance of Panhandle LotRoad Restriction:Closed to GeneralPublic (AuthorizedPlacards Only)

For a full list of street and lane closures, visit www.cityofinglewood.org/superbowl

The City of Inglewood and the NFL have been working together to ensure that the Super Bowl is a positive experience for nearby residents, business owners, and other stakeholders. The City and the NFL are confident that they have developed a plan that will reasonably mitigate traffic congestion.

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Events

Queerceañera: Celebrating LAtinx Heritage Month

Queerceañera is an inclusive take on the coming-of-age quinceañera tradition throughout Latin America and the United States

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Queerceañera hosted by RuPaul's Drag Race Season 15 alum, Salina EsTitties. (Photo-Graphic Credit: Los Angeles LGBT Center)

LOS ANGELES – Get Ready, LA! This September, the Center will host its inaugural Latinx Heritage Month commemoration with Queerceañera (queer-seh for short), an inclusive take on the coming-of-age quinceañera tradition throughout Latin America and the United States.

Hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15 alum, Salina EsTitties, our Queerce is a cultural summit and community cotillion rooted in accessibility and unbridled celebration; quinceañeras are often regarded as out-of-reach status symbols, and our event breaks the gender norms and structures of said celebrations. Both vibrant and bold, Queerce will spotlight LA’s richly diverse queer, Latinx diasporic experiences.

RuPaul’s Drag Race México host Valentina will be honored at the event, kicking off a year-long ambassadorship with the Center to uplift and support outreach within the Latinx community. She will sit down for a keynote conversation with Mexican-Native American entertainer, Miss Benny. The duo will be honored for their trailblazing work in entertainment as breakout, culture-shifting nonbinary and trans artists, respectively.

PROGRAM

● 5:30PM – Doors + Bars Open

● 6:00—7:15PM – Quince-style cocktail reception and a mixer in our courtyard, and then guests will be escorted into our Renberg Theatre.

● 7:15—8:30PM – Emceed by celebrity host Salina EsTitties, the stage program will consist of show stopping performances, special honoree presentation and keynote conversations with influential figures from the LAtinx community.

● 8:30—10:30PM – Tiempo de Vals — the post-program offers more cocktails and surprise live performance elements in the courtyard for guests to enjoy before dancing into the evening.

ASL provided for the program. Event venue is wheelchair accessible.

Date and time

Friday, September 29 · 5:30 – 10:30pm PDT

Location

The Village at Ed Gould Plaza1125 N McCadden Place Los Angeles, CA 90038

More event + special guest announcements coming soon!

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PFLAG Parent Day is Sunday, July 23, presented on ABC stations

“PFLAG Parent Day is a celebration of families & the parenting- all of us can work together to create a world where everyone is celebrated”

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PFLAG Parent Day graphic courtesy of PFLAG

WASHINGTON – This National Parents’ Day, Sunday July 23rd, PFLAG National will highlight the parenting people who lead with love in support of LGBTQ+ people of all ages with a special presentation of PFLAG Parent Day across ABC Owned Television Stations’ platforms and PFLAG National social channels. 

PFLAG Parent Day, now in its third year, is a special event to celebrate LGBTQ+ affirming parents and all the people who fill a parenting role for LGBTQ+ kids of all ages. Follow the stories of families, advocates, educators, artists and communities across the country who show up each day to fight for love and justice in their own backyards.

“PFLAG Parent Day is a celebration of families and the parenting people fighting for a better world,” said Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National. “Ultimately, it’s a reminder: all of us can work together to create a world where everyone is celebrated, empowered and loved.” 

In 2023, LGBTQ+ people and their families have faced an unprecedented volume of attacks—including threats to their lives, livelihoods, and civil rights—in every state across the country. Inspired by the same unconditional love that urged PFLAG founder Jeanne Manford and other parents to get off the curb and march alongside their LGBTQ+ loved ones 50 years ago, parenting people in 2023 are taking action and fighting back.

The PFLAG Parent Day presentation—which will premiere on PFLAG National and ABC Owned Television Station streaming platforms—is produced by PFLAG National with support from the ABC Owned Television Stations. Philip D’Amour (2023 White House Correspondents DinnerThe Grio Awards) serves as Executive Producer.

 

The special event will air on PFLAG National social channels, and as follows across the eight ABC Owned Television Station platforms:

Website links:

PFLAG Parent Day 2023:

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The Original Farmers Market & The Grove will host Pride Night 

NSYNC’s iconic member Lance Bass will kick off the event announcing a pet parade and adoption event hosted by Wags & Walks

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Photo courtesy of The Grove- Where L.A. Comes Together ®

LOS ANGELES – In celebration of Pride Month, The Original Farmers Market and The Grove will host Pride Night on Friday, June 30, presented by Afterpay, bringing together the LGBTQIA+ community for a night of festive bingo, live entertainment, disco dancing under the stars and more.

Beginning at 5PM on Gilmore Lane where The Original Farmers Market and The Grove meet, the street will transform into a sequin-filled disco oasis with Pride-themed décor, a rainbow dance floor, live music and several festive photo moments. 

NSYNC’s iconic member Lance Bass will kick off the event announcing a pet parade and adoption event hosted by Wags & Walks. Guest will enjoy an array of sips and bites from renowned vendors of The Original Farmers Market and The Grove as well as a lemonade stand from Afterpay.

Pop ups include a beer garden and food stand with El Granjero Cantina, and a variety of other food booths from favorite Market merchants including Kaylin + Kaylin Pickles, Fritzi Coop, Friends and Family Pizza, Michelina Bakery and Roxy and Jo’s Seafood.

The Grove’s beloved annual Pride Bingo will begin at 6:30PM. Tickets are $60 per person and include 10 rounds of bingo hosted by LA legend ‘Bingo Boy’ (Jeffrey Bowman), meal and beverage tickets and chances to win special prizes from some of The Grove’s favorite brands like Alo Yoga, Athletic Propulsion Labs, diptyque, Todd Snyder and more. Ticket proceeds will be donated to LA Pride.

As the sun begins to set, DJ Blake Cross will turn up the music for guests to dance the night away under the stars and sparkling lights.

Pride Night is sponsored by “buy now, pay later” service Afterpay. New and existing Afterpay customers who purchase Pride Bingo tickets will be reimbursed at check-in and enjoy complimentary gifting moments and benefits at the event. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit https://thegrovela.com/events/pride-night/.  

WHAT:                 Pride Night at The Original Farmers Market & The Grove, presented by Afterpay

WHEN:                Friday, June 30, 2023

Pet “Paw”rade  & Adoption: 5:00PM – 5:30PM

Food and Drink Pop-up’s from the Original Farmers Market: 5:00 – 9:00PM

Live Music from 80’s Band “Radio Rebel’s”: 5:30PM – 6:30PM

Bingo & Prizes: 6:30PM – 8:00PM

More Live Music, DJ & Dancing: 8:00PM – 9:30PM

WHERE:               Gilmore Lane in between The Original Farmers Market & The Grove

189 The Grove Drive

Los Angeles, CA 90036

ADMISSION:        Event entrance is complimentary and open to the public; food and beverages available for purchase

(1) Pride Bingo Ticket: $60

*Includes 10 rounds of bingo, meal and beverage tickets, swag bag, multiple photo opportunities and chances to win complimentary prizes from The Grove’s stores and restaurants

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LA Pride Parade Grand Marshals named, LA Pride Village returns

When LA Pride Parade returned home to Hollywood Blvd last year after more than 4 decades, it prompted the start of new traditions

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Graphic via Christopher Street West

LOS ANGELES – Christopher Street West Association (CSW) announced its trio of grand marshals to be celebrated at the LA Pride Parade on Sunday, June 11 taking place at its original historic location in Hollywood.

This year’s LA Pride Parade grand marshals include comedian, actor and activist Margaret Cho as the Icon Grand Marshal, an individual who needs no introduction and achieved major milestones within their career and industry; a posthumous tribute to Emmy-winner Leslie Jordan as the Legacy Grand Marshal, a new title this year in honor of Jordan for his everlasting impact on the community; and the ACLU of Southern California, that helped CSW obtain the permit for the first LA Pride parade, as the Community Grand Marshal, which celebrates a group or individual who has had a powerful influence through their work and dedication to and for the LGBTQ community.

“I’m thrilled and incredibly honored to be the Icon Grand Marshal,” said Cho. “We need this Pride more than ever. I have been attending Pride celebrations since 1978 and this time around the need to celebrate as well as unite is more urgent than it has ever been. Our love is greater than their hate. 

“On behalf of Leslie Jordan, we are overjoyed by Christopher Street West’s heartfelt recognition to name Leslie as LA Pride’s Legacy Grand Marshal,” said Jana “Cricket” Jordan. “This honor further solidifies the positive impact he made in the world, but more importantly for the LGBTQ+ community. His spirit continues to bring love and light.”

“For a century, we’ve been on the front lines fighting for people to be their true, authentic selves,” said Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU SoCal. “We’re honored to be the Community Grand Marshal and proud to love, live among, and protect LGBTQ Californians.” 

“Christopher Street West is honored and humbled by this year’s three grand marshals,” said Gerald Garth, president of CSW. “Each have contributed to the LGBTQ+ community in their own unique ways, furthering our fight for acceptance, equality, and justice.” 

LA Pride Parade and Village Details

Graphic via Christopher Street West

The parade, which will feature a special drag performance presented by the ACLU SoCal and staged by Morgan McMichaels to music by 14-time Oscar nominee Diane Warren, will air LIVE on long-time LA Pride broadcasting partner KABC/ABC7 on Sunday, June 11 beginning at 11:00 a.m. PDT.

It will also air nationally on ABC News Live and Hulu, and wherever viewers stream ABC7 including abc7.com and the ABC7LA mobile app.

Anchor Ellen Leyva and reporter Christiane Cordero from ABC7 Eyewitness News will co-host the ABC7 broadcast. The parade route will begin at Sunset Blvd and Highland Ave heading north, then east onto Hollywood Blvd, then south onto Cahuenga Blvd, ending at Sunset Blvd and Cahuenga Blvd. 

This year’s LA Pride Parade partners include: Corona Extra, Corona Hard Seltzer and SVEDKA Vodka: Hero Sponsors: Toyota Mirai, TikTok and H&M; Activist Sponsors: Delta Air Lines – the Official Airline of LA Pride, The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) – Official Transit Partner of LA Pride, Glamazon, Kim Crawford Wines, L.A. Care Health Plan, Los Angeles Tourism, Nordstrom, Optum, Sony Pictures Entertainment; Advocate Sponsors: AEG, including the LA Kings, LA Galaxy, and AEG Presents, Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions, Coca-Cola, Grindr, Honda, LADWP, LVMH, Rare Beauty, UCLA Health, Warner Bros. Discovery and Kenvue CARE WITH PRIDEⓇ; Ally Sponsors: Activision Blizzard, the Dream Hollywood hotel, FOX Pride, Moxy/AC Marriott, NBCUniversal, Target, Tiffany & Co., as well as returning television and digital broadcast partner ABC7, and official radio partner iHeartMedia Los Angeles and PRIDE RADIO on the iHeartRadio app.  

Additionally, The Hollywood Partnership, the non-profit organization that oversees the public realm in the Hollywood Business Improvement District (BID), has once again partnered with LA Pride to bring the LA Pride Village back to Hollywood Blvd.

LA Pride Village is the official place to be after the LA Pride Parade, with festivities taking place from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., just steps from the official parade route.

When the iconic LA Pride Parade returned home to Hollywood Blvd last year after more than four decades, it prompted the start of new traditions and celebrations in Hollywood, including LA Pride Village, a free and open to the public street festival.

The second annual LA Pride Village celebration promises to be even bigger and better, with a new location on Hollywood Blvd, between Vine St. and Gower St., to make room for more booths featuring local vendors and non-profits, an expanded beer garden, delicious food trucks, two performance stages for twice the entertainment, and more comfortable crowd space for dancing. 

All details can be found here: https://lapridevillage.com/do/la-pride-2023

Sponsors of LA Pride Village include Princess Cruises and Royal-bud.com. 

Public transit and ride share services to LA Pride Parade and Village are strongly encouraged. For the Parade, connect to the L.A. Metro B (Red) Line and exit Hollywood/Highland or Hollywood/Vine Station. Metro has many Park & Ride lots servicing the county – parking is just $3.00 per day, payable onsite.

If self-driving to LA Pride Parade and Village, vehicles can access parking and the event site via Vine Street or Gower Street.

For additional information about parking and transportation, please visit https://lapridevillage.com/about/parking-and-transit

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Drag Isn’t Dangerous Telethon overflows with emotion & cash

Final amount raised from the live broadcast was over $523,000. Recording of it will stay online for 48 hours after its conclusion

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'Drag Isn't Dangerous: Live Telethon' (Screenshot/YouTube)

HOLLYWOOD – Into the third hour of Drag Isn’t Dangerous, a brief film makes the point that there have been article after article about children molested by church clergy and counselors, yet not a single bill has been proposed tackling that real issue. Then there are drag queens. Drag queens have never harmed a child, and there are no articles implying that they have.  Yet… yet….state after state, bill after bill are going after drag queens.

With this telethon event, drag queens and all that they have inspired, have sent the message: They are not going to take this shit anymore. Clips of rightwing pundits and commentators were presented and  the ignorant hatred expressed in each clip is both at once chilling, and pathetic.

The message of hate is juxtaposed with segments like one featuring RuPaul Drag Race alumn Nina West. West told the story about her adventures doing storybook hours at Columbus Ohio libraries for children.  It should be pointed out that the Nina West brand is one of classiness and kindness. She moved her popular book readings onto Instagram. The first hour where she did so was wonderful. 

The second hour was not. 

The audience turned “dark, terrifying and threatening.” Then it all got very personal. People showed up at his house where he was broadcasting and  blew eardrum breaking airhorns outside his windows. They then started a campaign of harassment and doxing, targeting him, his parents and his sister. Signs appeared in his yard accusing him of being a groomer. 

Last December he embarked on a Drag Christmas tour. The tour encountered protesters, bomb threats and required police escorts.

Drag Isn’t Dangerous: Live Telethon (Screenshot)

Hosted by Justin Martindale and Peppermint with a co-location hosted by Alaska and Adam Shankman, the telethon team declared a goal target of $250,000 for the evening.  The evening was filled with performances from some of the Drag community’s best. Kicking off the evening were songs by Trixie Mattel and Alaska. The online crowd was gobsmacked with exclamations like “legends!” , “fierce!” “That voice!”. 

The telethon was a recreation of the traditional telethon style with a phonebank of drag celebrities womaning the phones. Instead of the phone banks of years gone by the receptionists were not the first point of entry to make donations. In this modern version, donors first register their donation on the gofundme application and then are connected to the celebrity to receive thanks and conversation. Phone bank stars included Candis Cayne, Jinx Monsson, Ginger Minge, Laganja Estranja Trinity the Tuck, Monet Exchange and Queer Eye OG Jai Rodriguez.

As of 4:30 pm, $55,000 had been raised.

Celebrity cameos and interviews were generously sprinkled through the broadcast. Many of them expressed gratitude and awe for the talents and artistic contributions of drag. Still others were downright angry. “I will f*ck anyone who messes with you,” Charlize Theron declared.

“Drag isn’t dangerous, but Leslie Jones IS!” Leslie Jones fumed.

Sarah Silverman also did not mince words. “It is an invented ‘problem’. It creates a REAL problem for  the marginalized. I would trust RuPaul before any of you (Republican) hate mongers.” To the drag community, she declared, “If they come for you, they will have to come through me first.”

“Lawmakers are terrified of how bright we are shining,” Adam Lambert stated affirmingly.

As of 4:50 pm $100,000 had been raised.

Donors were interviewed through the phonebank. Jai Rodriguez had an impromptu conversation with a young woman who had come out as queer that day. Even though her experience has been “tough”, she wanted to celebrate her landmark day by donating.

Michele Visage gave RuPaul visibility and spoke from her heart. “I wish I could say that I am glad to be here,” she started. “I am appalled I have to be at something called ‘Drag Isn’t Dangerous’. Imagine a world where dancers are told they can’t dance; imagine a world where artists are told they cannot take paint to canvas…because it is ‘bad for children.’ That is what is happening to drag right now.”

As of 5:40 pm, $205,000 had been raised.  Jinx Monsson whipped out her own checkbook and wrote a check for $10,000.

Other celebrities added perspective to the issue. Ocean Kelly stated, “They want us to stay quiet. Watching a drag queen won’t make a child queer. If a child is queer, it is because they are….queer.”

Billy Eichner discussed the historical use of scapegoats as distractions. “It is not new, but it is urgent and dangerous,” he warned. “We need to be relentless and loud,” he instructed.

Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden demonstrated her queer chops by publicly outing her entire family. “All my children are queer,” she declared. “One is non binary, one is gay. My first boyfriend was gay and my conservative Naval Officer dad loved him. “  Of the drag controversy she said, “Why are we having to advocate for creativity and imagination? It is so fear-based. We know what love is.”

As of 7:38 PM, Half a Million Dollars had been raised.

The movement has started and this first outing is not yet over.  Recording of it will stay online for 48 hours after it concludes. 

Go here for tickets and then receive you email with the telethon link: https://www.moment.co/dangerous/dragisntdangerous-drag-isnt-dangerous-live

Donate here.

As for the end of the Telethon, Ginger Minge show stopped with the classic I Am What I Am from La Cage.

 
I don’t want praise I don’t want pity
I bang my own drum
Some think it’s noise I think it’s pretty
And so what if I love each sparkle and each bangle
Why not try to see things from a different angle
Your life is a sham til you can shout out
I am what I amI am what I am
And what I am needs no excuses
I deal my own deck
Sometimes the ace sometimes the deuces
It’s my life that I want to have a little pride in
My life and it’s not a place I have to hide in
Life’s not worth a danm til you can shout out
I am what I am

********************************************************************

Rob Watson is the host of the popular Hollywood-based radio/podcast show RATED LGBT RADIO.

He is an established LGBTQ columnist and blogger having written for many top online publications including The Los Angeles Blade, The Washington Blade, Parents Magazine, the Huffington Post, LGBTQ Nation, Gay Star News, the New Civil Rights Movement, and more.

He served as Executive Editor for The Good Man Project, has appeared on MSNBC and been quoted in Business Week and Forbes Magazine.

He is CEO of Watson Writes, a marketing communications agency, and can be reached at [email protected] .

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The Los Angeles LGBT Center hosts gala raising over $1M

Pamela Anderson, Keke Palmer, and Leslie Jordan Honored at The Center Gala on April 22, 2023 in Los Angeles, California

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Grammy-nominated artist Adam Lambert. (Photo Credit: Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images for the Los Angeles LGBT Center)

CENTURY CITY – The Los Angeles LGBT Center held The Center Gala April 22, an occasion to recognize trailblazing members of the LGBTQ community, organizations, and allies for their work and commitment to achieve equality for all.

Commemorating the organization’s 54th anniversary, The Center Gala has transformed into one of the largest gatherings of LGBTQ leaders and allies in Los Angeles, raising funds to support The Center’s life-saving and life-enhancing programs.

The event raised $1 Million to support the Center’s programs and services for the LGBTQ+ community.

The Center Gala at the Fairmont Century Plaza. Over 800 supporters came together as the Center honored the author and activist Pamela Anderson, Emmy-winning actress Keke Palmer, and the beloved entertainer Leslie Jordan (posthumously) for their contributions to the LGBTQ community. The gala was hosted by social media and television sensation TS Madison, and featured a special performance by R&B-soul artist Durand Bernarr.

While I have only been the Center’s CEO since July, I know from my 25-year career that the Center is like no other organization in our movement. Not only are we fighting for our community’s rights through our global advocacy work, we are on the frontlines caring for the most vulnerable in our community when they need us most,” said Joe Hollendoner, the CEO of the Center. “The Center’s masterful weaving of direct services, public education, and policy work creates a safety net to ensure that no one falls through the cracks.”

Pamela Anderson speaks onstage as the Los Angeles LGBT Center hosts The Center Gala at Fairmont Century Plaza on April 22, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
(Photo by Araya Doheny/Getty Images for Los Angeles LGBT Center)

Actress, author, and humanitarian Pamela Anderson accepted the Vanguard Award for her long history of activism and allyship. “We are painting the picture of our lives every day. And every time we walk out the door, it’s performance art. Might as well have a blast. Thank you for giving me the chance to share that with you,” said Anderson. “Thank you for rooting for me.”

Emmy Award-winning television host (and former employee of the Center) Karamo Brown(Queer EyeKaramo) presented Keke Palmer with the Vanguard Award for her achievements in the entertainment industry, as well as her commitment to creating new opportunities for young people from marginalized communities. In her acceptance speech, Keke Palmer said, “I have faith that the more we share our unique experiences, the louder we are with using our voices, the more we don’t have to explain and explain and explain again what it is to be a person. Living in this world, defying all definitions just to be an original. There is no greater masterpiece than a person living in their truth.”

Hollywood vets Mayim Bialik and Del Shores gave a touching tribute introducing the inaugural Leslie Jordan Award for Excellence in the Arts.

Mayim Bialik and Del Shores speak onstage as the Los Angeles LGBT Center hosts The Center Gala at Fairmont Century Plaza on April 22, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
(Photo by Araya Doheny/Getty Images for Los Angeles LGBT Center)

Jordan, an American actor and comedian, as well as a longtime supporter of the Center, passed away late last year. Mayim Bialik said of her late Call Me Kat co-star, “The world formed a love and connection with Leslie during the pandemic—he was who you saw on Instagram…and that’s why he is remembered and mourned so deeply. I’m grateful to The Center for creating the Leslie Jordan Award that will now be given annually to someone who shines a light on the LGBTQ+ community through their work and art.”

The Gala’s live programming included an auction and special musical performance by Durand Bernarr. Durand was also presented with the Center’s “Rising Star” award by Grammy-nominated artist Adam Lambert.

Other highlights of the evening include a guest video appearance by Mariah Carey, who decried the 400+ pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation currently on the books in the United States, and a video of Nicole Richie “volunteering” at the Center, directed by 73 Questions creator Joe Sabia of Studio Sabia. 

Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Joe Hollendoner speaks onstage as the Los Angeles LGBT Center hosts The Center Gala at Fairmont Century Plaza on April 22, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
(Photo by Araya Doheny/Getty Images for Los Angeles LGBT Center)

This year’s Gala was sponsored by Foster City, Calif. based Gilead Sciences, Inc. “Gilead is proud to honor and celebrate the remarkable achievements of LGBTQ+ leaders and advocates at this year’s Center Gala. Alongside the Los Angeles LGBT Center, we can better serve the LGBTQ+ community to create a healthier world where everyone can thrive,” said Alex Kalomparis, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Gilead. 

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National Cannabis Festival features Out vendors like Sean Kim

The Washington Blade is a sponsor. Tickets are still available for the Festival, which will feature an all-day concert & exhibitors

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Sean Kim standing by his business Pride Smoke Shop in NW DC (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

WASHINGTON – Ahead of the April 22 National Cannabis Festival, the Washington Blade caught up with Sean Kim on Friday at his store, Pride Smoke Shop, a smoke, gift, vape shop, and glass gallery located near Dupont Circle at 21st and P Streets NW.

“I want to show the community that I’m here for everybody,” he said, “And I’m not afraid anymore.”

This year will be Kim’s first National Cannabis Festival, and he is looking forward to setting up shop with two connected booths, “It’s amazing, actually, they put us near an LGBTQ pavilion that they have,” he said.

“It’s gonna be amazing,” Kim said. “I’m so excited. We have a lot of stuff planned.”

The event’s organizers are debuting the designated LGBTQ space this year. A spokesperson told the Blade by phone it is designed to be a “chill spot for the community,” a place where “you can take a load off,” they said, noting there will also be a seniors’ lounge.

Kim said Pride Smoke Shop represents his entrée into a new phase of his life, where he is free to live authentically as himself, his full self – out of the closet as LGBTQ, the sole proprietor of a smoke shop who had abandoned a successful career in auto sales to chase his dream of starting the business.

The endeavor has been successful. In fact, for this interview Kim had traveled back to D.C. from Atlantic City, N.J., where he is planning to open a second location of his store.

“As I got older and realized time is short on this earth, I became the true me – the person that I had suppressed for years and years, almost decades,” Kim said. “And I just became free.”

The decision to start his business came like an epiphany, he told the Blade. “I just woke up one morning and I was just like, I don’t want to be an old man looking back and thinking ‘I’ve lived this lie my whole life,’” Kim said.

Working in a corporate job had brought Kim considerable success, but while he was earning a comfortable living in accordance with his family’s wishes and expectations, he said, “I wasn’t happy.”

“It was my awakening, you know, no more being afraid of whatever stigmas, other people — I just don’t care anymore,” Kim said. “I want to be me and do what I love.”

The nature of Kim’s business also meant he would be coming out again and again. “For years and decades, even, I hid it from a lot of people – family, even a lot of friends,” he said. “I grew up in a Korean American household where it’s not even a question — you just don’t smoke.”

For this reason, Kim said, he felt like even more of “an odd one.”

When it comes to the location of his shop, Kim is cognizant that he was hardly the first LGBTQ person to venture into a certain Washington, D.C. neighborhood in search of refuge and the company of others who are different.

When I was younger, I always heard of Dupont [Circle] as like a safe place for our community,” Kim said, so his decision to situate his business there was an easy one — a homecoming of sorts to “the place where I felt safest, always.”

When it comes to the name of his business, “I couldn’t think of any word” other than Pride that would exemplify the idea that “this is me now, no questions asked, this is what I represent,” Kim said, adding “it’s pride of everything,” of his whole identity and everything that entails.

The name also touches on the idea that “a smoke shop can thrive,” he said, “that it’s not a terrible thing.”

For his parents, Kim said, “It was like the biggest shock, but now they’re my biggest supporters.”

The change of heart did not come easily, though. “It was very hard,” Kim said. “For my dad, it was the toughest thing. And now he’s the first person to fight for me, you know? If someone tries to say something, and he’s in construction, so he’s the first guy pulling up in his truck with all his tools come in to fix whatever.”

Sean Kim inside his store, Pride Smoke Shop (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

“My dad is bringing his workers,” Kim continued, “but then I see him, like, he has no questions, you know, he brings them right in, like, you can even see his workers’ faces looking around, like, you know, they see all the [LGBTQ pride] flags, so they get it.”

Customers “get it” too. Pride Smoke Shop is a window into its owner’s life, personality, and tastes.

“You’ll see my vision of my store” just by walking in, Kim said. “It’s just my favorite things,” like the “Wu Tang symbol on the ground” to celebrate “one of my favorite artists,” to “Lucy Ricardo’s picture [hanging] because ‘I Love Lucy’ is my favorite show,” he said. “Richie Rich was my favorite comic and you’ll see that influence. It’s just everything I love, and I’m here to just showcase that this is me.”

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The Washington Blade is a sponsor of the event. Tickets are still available for the Festival, which will feature an all-day concert along with “exhibitors, education pavilions, munchies zone, sponsored lounges and more.”

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DRAG UP! STRIKE BACK!

Join us 4/8 in San Francisco to speak out against the dangerous scapegoating & disinformation that extremists are spreading

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Graphic by Equality California

SAN FRANCISCO – DRAG UP! STRIKE BACK! is bringing together drag queens, trans, non-binary, gender-nonconforming people & allies to protest these flagrant attacks on our civil rights. Join us 4/8 to speak out against the dangerous scapegoating & disinformation that extremists are spreading.

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Easter drag gathering & protest march in WeHo this weekend

The Easter drag protest event will begin with a rally and kickoff performance at 11 a.m. at West Hollywood Park

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Los Angeles Blade graphic

LOS ANGELES – On Easter Sunday, April 9, 2023, more than 1,000 Angelenos will gather in their Sunday Best for a strut down Santa Monica Blvd. The event will begin with a rally and kickoff performance at 11 a.m. at West Hollywood Park.

Speakers include Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne, Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Joe Hollendoner, and more, alongside performances by RuPaul’s Drag Race alums Kerri Colby and Honey Davenport. A resource fair will be on-site to connect attendees with local service providers and tips to activate legislative advocacy. 

In the first three months of 2023 alone, more than 400 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation were introduced or passed across the United States, most of them targeting transgender and gender nonconforming people.

Organizers noted in a press release that in response to growing rhetoric supported by the Christian Nationalist movement calling LGBTQ+ people ‘unsafe’ for families, “Drag March will be held on Easter Sunday, and we will be accompanied by faith groups in solidarity and celebration.”

Partner organizations for Drag March LA include: ACLU of Southern California, All Saints Los Angeles, API Equality-LA, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California, BAMN, Being Alive, Bienestar Human Services, CA LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network, CenterLink: The Community of LGBTQ Centers, Equality California, Found Family LA, Founders Metropolitan Community Church, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Gender Justice LA, Haven Hills, Hugo’s Restaurants, Lambda Legal, Latino Equality Alliance, LGBTQ Center Orange County, LGBTQ+ Community Center of the Desert, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Nightshade, NMAC, ONE Archives Foundation, Pacific Oaks College, Peace Over Violence, ProjectQ, Queer Nation, REMHDCO, Radiant Health Centers, Rainbow Services, Ltd., Sacramento LGBT Community Center, SAGE, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, San Gabriel Valley Pride, Inc, SATRANG, Somos Familia Valle, The Abbey Food & Bar, The National LGBTQ Institute on Intimate Partner Violence, The Outwords Archive, The Source LGBT+ Center, The TransLatin@ Coalition, TransCanWork, among others. 

Attendees are encouraged to RSVP at lalgbtcenter.org/dragmarch 

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Elton John’s annual Oscars WeHo viewing party raises $9 million

“We mustn’t forget that HIV is still causing needless suffering around the world and we must protect those most vulnerable to this disease”

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GETTY Images montage courtesy of the Elton John AIDS Foundation

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – Elton John and husband David Furnish’s annual Academy Awards Viewing Party, featuring special guests Eric McCormack and Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, raised over $9 million for the global fight against AIDS via the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

The event, which took place at West Hollywood Park Sunday evening, attributed its success to the Foundation’s donors, sponsors, and supporters. The star-studded fundraiser included a performance by singer-songwriter and actress Rina Sawayama.

The guest list included Donatella Versace, Maren Morris, Fan Bingbing, Emma Watson, Wiz Khalifa, Heidi Klum, Dove Cameron, Hilary Duff, Brooke Shields, Lucien Laviscount, Noah Schnapp, Kesha, Rege Jean-Page, Saweetie, Stella Maxwell, Tyga, Sharon Osbourne, Sophia Bush, Maggie Rogers, Jenna Dewan, Julianne Hough, Smokey Robinson, Karen Pittman, Simona Tabasco, Michael Imperioli, and more. Dinner guests were gifted an exclusive Spotlight sunglass frame from the Elton John Eyewear collection.

“We mustn’t forget that HIV is still causing needless suffering around the world and we must protect those most vulnerable to this disease with testing and compassionate care,” said Elton John via a statement. “We can see an end to AIDS in our lifetimes, but first we must break down stigma and discrimination and provide equal access to healthcare to finally end the epidemic for everyone, everywhere.”

“Elton and I are so touched and elated by the generosity we’ve seen throughout this glittering and massively successful evening,” says David Furnish, Chairman of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. “This funding will help us continue HIV and AIDS prevention and care programs across the world, save millions of lives and help countless people to have a brighter future.”

Rina Sawayama sang “Minor Feelings,” “Hold The Girl,” and “This Hell.” Elton John joined her on stage to perform a duet to the song “Chosen Family.”

“What a spectacular and memorable evening for our 31st Academy Awards Viewing Party,” says Anne Aslett, CEO of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. “We are blown away by the incredible support we’ve received tonight and want to thank every donor, sponsor and attendee who made the evening possible. We’re energised by the funding we raised together, which will significantly boost our life-saving work to ensure that all vulnerable people around the globe can access HIV testing, treatment and care.”

This year’s event, which took place on the 31st anniversary of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, has been instrumental in advancing global health equity for vulnerable groups. The Foundation has been able to raise millions for their life-saving work since the party’s inception in 1992.

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Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist.

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The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.

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