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Brian Michael Smith addresses anti-Trans legislation at HRC LA dinner

“Right now in Texas and Florida and Alabama and North Dakota, and unfortunately many other places, the house is on fire for our community”

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Brian Michael Smith speaks onstage as Human Rights Campaign hosts the 2022 Los Angeles Dinner at JW Marriott on March 12, 2022 (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES – This past Saturday night, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), hosted its Los Angeles dinner at the J.W. Marriott Hotel. Among the featured speakers was Ann Arbor, Michigan native, actor Brian Michael Smith, known for his ground-breaking performances on television and advocacy for Trans representation in media.

Smith, the evening’s featured speaker, became the first out black trans man in a series regular role on network television when he was cast as firefighter Paul Strickland in the Fox network’s ‘9-1-1: Lone Star,’  addressed the battles his fellow Trans community members are waging.

“I play a character named Paul Strickland who is a firefighter who navigates his own vulnerability while saving lives,” said Smith. “Now, while we film a lot of the show here in L.A. — most of it — the show is based in Austin, Texas, arguably one of the safest places in Texas for a trans person to live. But the reality is, Texas has no safe places for transgender people.”

“In case you missed the news, Governor Greg Abbott recently directed his social services agency to investigate the families that give medically necessary, age-appropriate, gender-affirming care for their kids — and call it child abuse. The governor’s directive also calls on teachers and medical professionals to report the family to the state, and threatens the removal of their professional licenses if they fail to do so. … Ot breaks my heart, for the children and for the people that love them, that this is what they’re up against.

Actor Brian Michael Smith speaks at 2022 HRC LA Dinner

Brian Michael Smith is best known for his recurring role on OWN’s “Queen Sugar” as well as his appearances on NBC’s “Chicago P.D.,” HBO’s “Girls” and Showtime’s “Homeland.” Smith, originally hailing from Michigan, is an LGBTQ+ advocate, coming out as transgender in 2017 after successfully working in the industry for five years.

“Now, my character Paul runs into burning buildings. He put himself into harm’s way and fights to save lives. Those of you who know a thing or two about firefighting know you don’t run into a dangerous situation without making sure that your colleagues on your force have your back. So it’s an apt metaphor for the position that we’re in right now, because right now in Texas and Florida and Alabama and North Dakota, and unfortunately many other places, the house is on fire for our community. … There are close to 300 bills just like this right now under consideration in statehouses, all across the country — 300 bills, at least. Now HRC and other amazing organizations, including state and LGBT groups, are like the firefighters. They are rushing into battle to fight this. It’s exhausting, but it’s vital. And the tyranny of this is that people like me and the trans kids around the nation be to know the same allies who had our backs when it came to marriage equality are stepping in to have our backs right now.”

HRC’s interim president Joni Madison, in her speech told the audience:

“You may have seen news earlier this week that HRC is not going to take any funding from Disney until we see them take real action to defeat hateful legislation in Florida. You may have also seen that — 36 hours later — Disney CEO Bob Chapek apologized to his employees and committed to suspending all political giving in Florida.

I was glad to speak to Bob yesterday afternoon, and we had a very productive conversation about the need for Disney to put real muscle into stopping what’s happening to their employees and to their fans. We need Disney’s partnership in getting the bills heading to Desantis’s desk vetoed. And if that doesn’t happen, to get these bills repealed. But this is not just about Bob Chapek and Disney. This is about every CEO and company in America

It’s gut check time for every CEO and company in America. The tech companies and entertainment companies here who have an influential presence across the country and around the world have an important role to play in fighting state-sanctioned discrimination wherever it exists.

We need more than inclusive employment policies and a clever Pride campaign.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 12: Brandi Carlile speaks onstage as Human Rights Campaign hosts the 2022 Los Angeles Dinner at JW Marriott on March 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images)

Brandi Carlile, Grammy-Award winning American singer-songwriter and producer, accepted her HRC Visibility Award on behalf of her Looking Out Foundation, which she founded in 2008 with the primary goal of assisting displaced peoples around the world, told the audience:

“The worst part is that political predators addicted to power are carrying out their long-standing tradition of targeting children (especially trans kids) as they relate to the LGBTQIA + narrative.

This hurts all families, queer and cis heteronormative, because these misguided leaders chip away at our natural ability to understand one another.

They weaponize sexuality and sequester us off into categories of deviance making us inherently “age-inappropriate” when many of us have children ourselves. This isn’t light reading.

And yet… we celebrate…We honor one another in this way because we come from a long line of people who know how to find joy right smack in the middle of a fight… and that’s where we are.”

 

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Los Angeles

Historic LA gay bathhouse for sale- looks to be end of an era

Midtowne Spa owned three properties in Southern California- The Los Angeles location is the last Midtowne Spa standing

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Midtowne Spa Los Angeles (Photo Credit: Paulo Murillo for the WeHo Times)

By Paulo Murillo | LOS ANGELES – The Midtowne Spa Los Angeles property, home to the historic sex bathhouse catering to gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men (MSM) went up for sale earlier this month.

Insiders say this is the end of the last Midtowne Spa standing in Southern California and across the nation. Located at 615 Kohler Street in Los Angeles, the bathhouse was founded in 1972, marking a good 50 years of providing a safe space for men to meet men.

According to sources, Midtowne Spa Los Angeles could be closing as early as some time in October. Vendors who provide towel and linen services allege they have been told their services will not be needed past October. The cleaning crew was told the same according to rumors.

An employee who wishes to remain nameless, said that they are very aware of the sale of the property and that workers sense the end is near although management isn’t saying much about what the sale means to their employment. Workers are being told that the owners hope to save the mens spa and transfer the business to a party that is interested in continuing the business name and hopefully save their jobs, but the listing suggests the property will most likely be redeveloped and they may soon be out of a job.

Midtowne Spa Los Angeles – WEHO TIMES
Midtowne Spa Los Angeles – WEHO TIMES

Attempts to reach management have been unsuccessful.

Midtowne Spa owned three properties in Southern California, The Melrose Spa, at 7269 Melrose Ave in Los Angeles, which closed in May 2017, and the 1350 Club at 510 W Anaheim St, in Wilmington, which closed some time in May, 2022 shortly after being shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Los Angeles location is the last Midtowne Spa standing. The Austin, Texas Location closed in July, 2016. Dallas closed the following year. Midtowne Denver also closed earlier this year. Most of these locations closed with little to no fanfare, upsetting some of their most loyal customers.

Midtowne Spa Los Angeles currently offers private rooms as well a lockers. The facility has an indoor swimming pool, whirlpool, Sauna, Steam room, Sundeck and a TV Lounge. They have adult movie channels, two gay and one Straight/Bisexual and  24 hour secured parking garage right next door to the club. We offer free HIV & STD testing, please check our website for days and times.

Midtowne Spa Los Angeles – WEHO TIMES
Midtowne Spa Los Angeles – WEHO TIMES
Midtowne Spa Los Angeles – WEHO TIMES
Midtowne Spa Los Angeles – WEHO TIMES

A recent guest tells WEHO TIMES that the spa was busy this past Saturday. “The rooms were completely sold out by 7pm, but I went early in the afternoon,” he said. “They have raised prices significantly, but they do sell out of rooms, and and they still have plenty of customers.”

The customer also credits Midtowne for promoting a clean (as possible) environment and also providing std testing and free counseling, “It’s not just about STD/AIDS, but the counselors also will talk to people, like gay people just coming out, which is so important for some people who may be reluctant to go to other places,” he said. “This is a safe place for queer expression that will be a loss to the community and also has historic value. The original owner, Marty, really wanted Midtowne to stay open long after his demise as an outlet for the queer community.”

The property is listed as a prime Downtown Los Angeles Development site by Major Properties. Built in 1914, the land area is listed at 30,160 sq ft with a property size of 22,419 sq ft. The asking price is a reduced $6,500,000. The portfolio would be delivered empty, which is another sign of Midtowne Spa will not survive the sale of the property.

Midtowne Spa Los Angeles – WEHO TIMES

Major Properties describes the development site as:

• Major price reduction!
• Prime DTLA purchase opportunity
• Mixed-use/residential development site
• 13,380± SF 3-story building is occupied by Midtown Spa; 9,039± SF 1-story building is used for interior parking; additional 3 parcels are parking lots (one is noncontiguous).
• Located at the southwest corner of East 6th St and Kohler St
• Situated 2 blocks west of the DTLA Arts District, and adjacent to the Flower and Fashion Districts
• There is a potential alley vacation that would add 2,340± SF of land to the portfolio. If Seller obtains the alley, the sale price would be increased by $571,000.
• TOC: Tier 3
• Located in State Enterprise Zone; Greater Downtown Housing Incentive Area; and Los Angeles Redevelopment Project Area • Located in Designated Qualified Opportunity Zone (tax benefits)
• Proposed DTLA 2040 Community Plan: Markets
906-910-920 E 6th St, 615 Kohler St and the noncontiguous parking lot will benefit from the proposed DTLA 2040 Community Plan, which will will allow for long-term upside due to a significant emphasis on community growth and development. The proposed DTLA 2040 Plan will increase jobs, housing, transportation, open space, and amenities, adding 125,000 new residents, 70,000 new housing units, and 55,000 new jobs.
• Portfolio will be delivered vacant.

midtowne spa la

To read the full listing visit: https://www.majorproperties.com/property/prime-dtla-development-site/.

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

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

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Los Angeles

LAT: Arrests made in gun theft burglary at Karen Bass’s home

The case has yet to be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for the filing of charges

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Karen Bass speaking at an event in San Pedro, Calif. Sept. 2022 (Photo Credit: Bass mayoral campaign/Facebook)

LOS ANGELES – Two men have been arrested in the burglary and theft of guns from the home of U.S. Rep. Karen Bass according to the Los Angeles Times. Bass told the Times that she met with the Los Angeles Police Department Wednesday and officials confirmed the arrests.

Bass, a mayoral candidate running against local businessman and real estate developer Rick Caruso, returned home last Friday after an event to find that her home in LA’s Baldwin Vista neighborhood had been burglarized.

“Last night, I came home and discovered that my house had been broken into and burglarized. LAPD was called, and I appreciate their assistance. At this time, it appears that only two firearms, despite being safely and securely stored, were stolen. Cash, electronics and other valuables were not. It’s unnerving and, unfortunately, it’s something that far too many Angelenos have faced,” the Congresswoman wrote in a statement issued Saturday morning.

Later Wednesday, in a release whose details align with the burglary at Bass’s home, the LAPD said the two men were arrested Tuesday evening after officers matched their vehicle to one that was at the scene of the theft Friday the Times reported.

Police identified the burglars as 42-year-old Patricio Munoz, who is being held in lieu of $600,000 bail, and 24-year-old Juan Espinoza, who is being held without bail. Both face a residential burglary charge.

The Times also reported that Munoz provided police an alias of Matias Milito, and Espinoza identified himself as Baltazar Rodriguez, police said.

They were booked into jail under those names, and they are being held at the LAPD’s Valley Jail in Van Nuys.

No information was released as to whether the guns were returned to Bass or if they remain outstanding.

The case has yet to be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for the filing of charges.

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Los Angeles

Home of mayoral candidate Karen Bass burglarized; firearms stolen

“It appears that only two firearms were stolen. It’s unnerving and, unfortunately, it’s something that far too many Angelenos have faced”

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Rep. Karen Bass speaking to LGBTQ+ supporters during a campaign event earlier this year (Photo Credit: Bass mayoral campaign)

LOS ANGELES – U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif. a candidate running in the race to become the next mayor of Los Angeles released a statement Saturday indicating that her home had been burglarized and that two firearms were taken.

“Last night, I came home and discovered that my house had been broken into and burglarized. LAPD was called, and I appreciate their assistance. At this time, it appears that only two firearms, despite being safely and securely stored, were stolen. Cash, electronics and other valuables were not. It’s unnerving and, unfortunately, it’s something that far too many Angelenos have faced,” the Congresswoman wrote.

Bass said she has been in contact with the Los Angeles Police Department. A LAPD spokesperson said that the police were unable to release any specific details about the investigation.

Bass, a Democratic congresswoman who represents an area west and southwest of downtown Los Angeles, is facing developer Rick Caruso in the upcoming November General Election for the city’s mayoral seat.

UPDATED Sunday Sept. 11, 2022:

The LAPD released this photo of the suspect in a Sept. 9, 2022, burglary of two guns in Baldwin Vista.

Police described the suspect as a man who is about 5 feet, 9 inches tall, weighs about 200 pounds, and was wearing dark clothing, a surgical mask, a blue baseball cap with a white logo, and black Asics sneakers.

Anyone with information about the LAPD press release is asked to call Detective Colleen Stout-Ryder at 213-485-7522.

During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247).

To report information anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or go directly to lacrimestoppers.org

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