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West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

Melrose Gathering Place Community Conversation; ‘Moving Image Media Art’ Exhibition Series; 2023 Arts Grant Program Grant Recipients + more

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Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series Presents a Free Panel Discussion and Screening of ‘Queers Across Years’ on National Coming Out Day

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series, in conjunction with QueerWise, will host a panel discussion and screening of the film Queers Across Years.

The event will take place on National Coming Out Day, Tuesday, October 11, 2022, at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and opening remarks will take place at 7 p.m. followed by the film screening and a panel discussion that will begin at 8 p.m. The event is free, but seating is limited. RSVP is requested at https://HRSS-2022Oct11.eventbrite.com. Parking validation for the adjacent five-story West Hollywood Park structure, will be available at the event (parking is limited to availability).

Queers Across Years was developed through workshops over the course of a few weeks and features a group of younger (ages 18-25) and older (50+) LGBTQ community members sharing personal thoughts, ideas, and writings. The workshops were composed of pairs of younger and older participants with members of QueerWise, an LGBTQIA+ multigenerational writing collective and performance group based in Los Angeles. Members of QueerWise include published poets, fiction and non-fiction writers, and playwrights, singers, musicians, social activists, dancers, and actors, artists, and teachers. The stories written in those workshops have been developed into the material that’s woven into this inter-generational and inter-GENDER-ational video tapestry.

Featured panelists will include QueerWise Artistic Director/Founder Michael Kearns and Queers Across Years participants Gabrielle Néla and Gordon Blitz. The discussion will be moderated by Lucia Chappelle, Co-Producer of This Way Out international LGBTQ radio and Minister of Social Justice, FMCC.

The City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series brings together diverse communities to learn about and discuss global, national, and local human rights issues in a supportive environment. The series reflects the City’s commitment to human rights and core value of Respect and Support for People.

For additional information about the Human Rights Speakers Series, please visit www.weho.org/hrss.

For more information, please contact Joy Tribble, the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Specialist, at (323) 848-6360 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood Celebrates Disabilities Awareness Month in October

The City of West Hollywood and its Disabilities Advisory Board will recognize October as Disabilities Awareness Month. This year marks the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is landmark civil rights legislation that works to increase access and opportunity for people with disabilities across society, including in the workplace.

Throughout the month of October, the City of West Hollywood will commemorate Disabilities Awareness Month with the installation of 43 street pole banners along Santa Monica Boulevard, which recognize past recipients of the City’s Disability Service Awards in the individual and nonprofit organization categories.

The City will host two events to raise awareness and shine recognition on people and organizations that positively impact the lives of people with disabilities in the community.

On Thursday, October 20, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the City of West Hollywood, in partnership with Cedars-Sinai, will host a free Outdoor Flu and COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in the Great Hall Courtyard at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. COVID-19 transmission is still a concern in Los Angeles County. People who are unvaccinated are at higher risk for serious illness and death. Additionally, the flu season presents a challenge to public health because symptoms of influenza can be very serious. Services offered at this event are: flu vaccines for ages 6 months and older (children 6 months to 8 years of age receiving their first flu vaccine may be registered for their required second dose at https://myturn.ca.gov/); COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines: first, second, and Bivalent Booster doses for ages 12 years and older; Pfizer third dose for immunocompromised individuals 12 years and older. This event will also feature free blood pressure checks and a voter registration booth. 

Walk-ins for both the flu and COVID- 19 vaccines will be accepted, however pre-registration is recommended for the COVID-19 vaccines. Go to: https://myturn.ca.gov/ and use zip code “90046” to locate Cedars-Sinai Pop-up – West Hollywood Plummer Park (10/20/22 Only). A mask must be worn to attend the event. Children under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Participants should bring a form of identification and existing COVID-19 vaccination card. Please stay home if you are not feeling well. For more information or if you have questions about the Outdoor Flu and COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic, please call Cedars-Sinai at (310) 423-4625.

On Wednesday, October 26, 2022 at 6 p.m. the City of West Hollywood will host the 24th Annual Disability Service Awards at a special televised meeting of the Disabilities Advisory Board. The virtual meeting will take place on the Zoom platform at https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81840112413. The Disability Service Awards will also be broadcast live on WeHoTV on Spectrum Cable Channel 10 in West Hollywood; will be livestreamed on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/wehotv and on the City’s website at www.weho.org/wehotv; and will be livestreamed via the AppleTV, Amazon FireTV, AndroidTV, and Roku platforms by searching for “WeHoTV.”

This year’s Disability Service Awards honorees are:

  • Lovedy Brydon Differently Abled Individual Award: Dena Saur Bowman – (posthumously);
  • Business Award:  Pavilions West Hollywood;
  • Media Award: Paulo Murillo; and
  • Nonprofit Award: West Hollywood Comprehensive Service Center/Jewish Family Service LA. 

The City of West Hollywood’s Disabilities Advisory Board was created in 1995 and is comprised of nine members. The Disabilities Advisory Board addresses issues affecting people with disabilities, including ADA compliance, transportation, housing, access to City government and services for people with disabilities, and makes recommendations to the West Hollywood City Council relative to the adoption of programs, policies, or ordinances of benefit to the constituency.

For more information, please call the City of West Hollywood’s Social Services Division at (323) 848-6510.

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing please contact [email protected] for more information and to request accommodation. Individuals may also use TTY (323) 848-6496.

City of West Hollywood to Host Community Conversation for Melrose Gathering Place on Thursday, September 29 at 6 p.m.

The City of West Hollywood invites community members to attend a Melrose Gathering Place Community Conversation on Thursday, September 29, 2022, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the Respite Deck of the West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center (Floor 5 at the top of the grand staircase), located at 8750 El Tovar Place, next to the West Hollywood Library.

The space at the corner of Melrose Avenue and Norwich Drive is currently sidewalk and diagonal parking. It will be transformed into approximately 7,200 square feet of park-like space with landscaping, trees, seating, public art, and other amenities. The previously proposed design for this space is now being reimagined, and the City is excited to restart the effort with a new design team, artist, and with renewed input from the local community. The Community Conversation will be an in-person opportunity for neighbors, local business owners, and residents’ associations to meet the newly commissioned design team early in the process and participate in reimagining the space.

The Melrose Gathering Place project was established as part of the Design District Streetscape Master Plan, which was unanimously approved by City Council in 2014. The Design District Streetscape & Undergrounding Project is now in its second phase of construction. The Master Plan was designed to improve the overall aesthetics and mobility of the commercial district known as West Hollywood Design District, with the goal of strengthening the economic vitality of the district. Key features of the project include pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements; new pavement and sidewalks; distinctive trees and landscaping; upgraded street furniture and streetlights; smart city infrastructure installation; utility undergrounding work; and the creation of new public gathering spaces, such as the Melrose Gathering Place, with integrated public art.

For additional information, please contact Michael Barker, the City of West Hollywood Project Architect in the City’s Urban Design and Architecture Studio, at (323) 848-6483 or at [email protected].

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

City Council Adopts Positions of Support for Four State Ballot Initiatives that will Appear on the Ballot for the Nov. 8 General Election

The City Council of the City of West Hollywood, at its regular meeting on Monday, September 19, 2022, adopted positions of support for four of the seven state ballot initiatives that will appear on the ballot for the November 8, 2022 General Election. The City Council is adopting Resolutions in support of: Proposition 1; Proposition 28; Proposition 30; and Proposition 31. These four Propositions are of particular concern and interest to the City of West Hollywood. 

A summary of City Council positions on state ballot initiatives is as follows:

SUPPORT. Proposition 1, if approved by voters, would amend the California Constitution to prohibit the state from enacting legislation or regulations that would deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives. The City of West Hollywood is a self-declared pro-choice city and has been a strong supporter of individuals’ right to choose. Proposition 1 is consistent with the City’s core values, the 2021-2022 legislative priorities, and previously adopted policies.

SUPPORT. Proposition 28 is intended to supplement current school funding that is governed by Proposition 98 of 1988, which requires the state to set aside funds for K-12 education from the state’s General Fund and property taxes. This proposition will commit an additional 1% of GF funds for arts and music education in public and charter schools. The City of West Hollywood has been a longstanding supporter of arts and culture in our community and is dedicated to providing accessible arts programs for residents and visitors. Providing additional funding to arts and music education in public and charter schools is important to ensuring equity and accessibility for all, including economically disadvantaged schools and students.

SUPPORT. Proposition 30 would increase the tax on personal incomes above $2 million by 1.75% and dedicate the revenue to zero-emission vehicle subsidies; zero-emission vehicle infrastructure, such as electric vehicle charging stations; and wildfire suppression and prevention programs. The City of West Hollywood has adopted sustainability policies consistent with the City’s commitment to protecting the environment and reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Proposition 30 will increase revenues and allocate funding for the expansion of programs to facilitate a reduction of GHGs in California and West Hollywood. This not only will assist the state’s efforts to combat climate change, it will also result in the reduction of air contaminants, which for many people living with respiratory diseases could mean the ability to breathe easier and have a better quality of life.

SUPPORT. Proposition 31, The proponents of this ballot initiative, manufacturers of tobacco products, including tobacco flavored products, are seeking to repeal the 2020 state law (SB 793, Chapter 34, Statutes of 2020) that banned the retail sales of flavored tobacco products in California. SB 793 was introduced by Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo and was approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. As the opponents were able to qualify the referendum challenging SB 793, the law did not go into effect. Thus, the voters will decide whether or not the ban on the sales of flavored tobacco products should stay or be repealed. A Yes vote on Proposition 31 is a vote to uphold the law and keep the ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products. In 2021, the City of West Hollywood adopted an ordinance to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, and electronic smoking devices. Support for Proposition 31 is in line with the City’s adopted policies.

California voters, in the upcoming November 8, 2022 General Election, will be asked to vote upon seven statewide initiatives. Voters in the City of West Hollywood will vote, as well, to fill three (3) West Hollywood City Council seats for four-year terms. Details about the General Municipal Election are available on the City’s website at www.weho.org/elections. The City encourages community members to check voter registration status at www.lavote.gov/vrstatus.

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s legislative affairs efforts, please visit www.weho.org/legislative or contact Hernán Molina, the City of West Hollywood’s Governmental Affairs Liaison, at (323) 848-6364 or [email protected]

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

City of West Hollywood is Implementing Block by Block Program Expansion with 30 Additional Security Ambassadors

The City of West Hollywood is pleased to announce that it is in the process of expanding its Block by Block program with 30 additional Security Ambassadors. The Block by Block program has hired and trained 20 new Security Ambassadors, one Team Lead, and one Operations Supervisor, as reported at the West Hollywood City Council meeting on Monday, September 19, 2022. The Block by Block program is on-track to be fully staffed by October 1, 2022, with a total of approximately 85 Security Ambassadors.

The City Council of the City of West Hollywood unanimously approved a Block by Block Security Ambassadors program update at its meeting on Monday, September 19, 2022. This follows City Council approval on Monday, June 27, 2022, of the City’s FY 2022-23 & 2023-24 two-year operating budget and capital work plan, which directed an increase to the number of Block by Block Security Ambassadors by 30 positions. Additional direction regarding the expansion was provided by the City Council on Monday, August 1, 2022 when it approved the related amendment to the Block by Block agreement for services.

“The City’s Block by Block Security Ambassadors program will continue to provide bicycle and foot patrols throughout the City’s commercial districts,” said City of West Hollywood City Manager David Wilson. “The program is adding dedicated foot patrols in residential neighborhoods citywide and is staffing new kiosks in selected locations. Block by Block Security Ambassadors work in close alignment with Deputies from our Sheriff’s Station, as well as our City’s Code Enforcement and Homeless Initiative teams, among others. The collaboration positively impacts quality of life in West Hollywood.”

Block by Block Security Ambassadors work in collaboration with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station to provide supplemental safety services and they get to know West Hollywood’s neighborhoods to assist in providing an extra level of hospitality to businesses, residents, and visitors. Expansion of the program aims to provide an additional public presence to proactively reduce crime.

Block by Block Security Ambassadors are highly focused on safety and hospitality in West Hollywood with specific emphasis on:

  • Maintaining uniformed foot and bicycle patrols throughout the City’s business districts and residential neighborhoods;
  • Providing in-person responses 24/7 to non-violent calls for service;
  • Conducting safety escorts for residents, businesses, and visitors; and
  • Offering helpful guidance to community members and visitors about City information, directions, parking, and more.

In consultation with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, the City of West Hollywood will implement four new Block by Block Security Ambassador kiosks by October 1, 2022, at or near the following intersections: (1) Santa Monica Boulevard at N. Robertson Boulevard; (2) Santa Monica Boulevard at Westmount Drive; (3) Sunset Boulevard and Sunset Plaza Drive; and (4) Melrose Avenue and Westmount Drive.

During the next several weeks, the City will be sharing additional information about the Block by Block Security Ambassadors program with outreach to residents and businesses.

About | Block by Block Security Ambassadors Program – The City of West Hollywood partners with Block by Block on its Security Ambassadors program, which has a direct positive impact on safety and neighborhood livability.

First established as a City program in 2013, West Hollywood Block by Block Security Ambassadors provide a highly visible uniformed presence at the street level and leverage the effectiveness of local law enforcement by working in collaboration with personnel from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.

In addition to supplemental safety services, Block by Block Security Ambassadors get to know West Hollywood’s neighborhoods and assist in providing an extra level of hospitality to businesses, residents, and visitors and help to address and respond to quality of life concerns in the community.

Security Ambassadors receive trainings on topics such as active shooters, cultural diversity and sensitivity, administration of Narcan to treat narcotic overdose, mental health first aid, sexual harassment, emergency/disaster preparedness, and more.

The Block by Block Security Ambassador Hotline provides access to free, 24/7 support by phone or text at (323) 821-8604; a new toll-free number will be introduced in the coming weeks. For additional information, please visit www.weho.org/bbb

About | Sheriff’s, Fire, Code, and Emergencies – The City of West Hollywood contracts with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement and the Los Angeles County Fire Department for fire protection. The City’s Neighborhood & Business Safety Division oversees code enforcement.

For additional information, please visit www.weho.org/publicsafety. For anyone with public safety concerns, please reach out to the Sheriff’s Station 24/7 at (310) 855-8850. In an emergency, always call 911.  

For more information, please contact City of West Hollywood Director of Community Safety Danny Rivas at (323) 848-6424 or [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood Announces 2023 Arts Grant Program Grant Recipients

The City of West Hollywood 

has announced the recipients for the 2023-2024 Arts Grant Program, totaling $211,000 for twenty new grantees and sixteen multi-year grantees who are all Los Angeles County based non-profit arts organizations and artists. 

The City of West Hollywood, through its Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, has maintained an Arts Grant Program since 1997. The Program provides funding support, through the Arts Grant Program, to eligible artists and nonprofit arts organizations for the production, performance or presentation of arts projects that take place in the City of West Hollywood and that serve the West Hollywood community.

The City received a total of 49 applications, and $315,604 in funding requests, from artists and non-profit arts organizations proposing art projects to take place in the City of West Hollywood in 2023. These applications represent a variety of arts disciplines and a wide array of excellent project proposals. Following peer panel review, Performing Arts and Cultural Affairs Subcommittee, and Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission funding recommendations, the West Hollywood City Council approved the below recommendations on September 19, 2022.

The Arts Project Grant category supports the production, performance or presentation of art projects that take place in the City of West Hollywood and that serve the West Hollywood community. It is a two-year grant. The following non-profit arts organizations are grant recipients for 2023-2024: Brockus Project Dance Company, Grand Performances, International Eye Los Angeles, Mashup Contemporary Dance Company, Oasis Players, Pieter, Pride Poets, and Saturday Night Bath Concert Fund.

The Transgender Arts Initiative Grant category supports and enhances the presentation of artworks in West Hollywood by transgender artists, artist collectives or groups, and non-profit organizations with a history of supporting transgender artists. First initiated in 2013, this grant category is the first to support artwork by, for, and about the Transgender community. Last year, the City received 4 eligible applications; this year 16 applications were received. The 2023 grant recipients in this category are: Celebration Theatre, Cleveland Wright Lopez, Drian Juarez, Lauren Woods, and Marval A Rechsteiner.

The Community Arts Grant intends to support non-profit arts organizations with a history of supporting BIPOC and/or female artists and audiences. The grant recipients in this category include: Age Inclusion in Media, The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, Chicana Directors Initiative, and East West Players, Inc.

The WeHo Artist Grant aims to nurture and support the long-term development of an artist’s ideas by providing funds that increase the capacity for artists to realize work, advance the conditions of creation, and navigate the complexities of both making art and making a career. The West Hollywood resident artist grant recipients for 2023 are: Ignacio Darnaude, Sharmin Rahman, and Steven Reigns. 

In addition to these new grant awardees, the City continues to support its multi-year grantees in their second or third year of programming. The multi-year grantees are: Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Greenway Arts Alliance, Helix Collective, Kontrapunktus Neo-Baroque Chamber Orchestra, LAXART, Look What She Did, MAK Center for Art and Architecture, ONE Archives, Rogue Artists Ensemble, Suarez Dance Theater, The New Arts Foundation, War Toys, Prism Comics, No Easy Props, Arts Bridging the Gap, and Wordsville.

The Arts Grant Program is considered a central component to arts and cultural programs and services provided by the City of West Hollywood. Arts grants offer subsidized funding to artists and organizations so that ticket prices are free or more affordable for the public. In other cases, art grants provide opportunities for artistic development, allowing space for stimulating creativity and deepening cross-cultural understanding, while contributing to the quality-of-life residents and visitors can enjoy in West Hollywood. The funding provided through the vehicle of a grant ensures a fair and equitable review process and results in the reflection of the diversity contained among our residents.

Join the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division staff for the WeHo Artists Roundtable, on Thursday, September 22, 2022 at the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room. RSVP at https://bit.ly/WeHoArtistsRoundtable. The WeHo Artists Roundtable is a gathering of arts organizations, individual artists, arts and creative businesses, and community members committed to West Hollywood’s artistic and cultural vitality. This Roundtable will offer a presentation by Greg Victoroff, Esq. centering the topic of copyright issues for art makers. 

The City of West Hollywood is committed to providing accessible arts programming for residents and visitors. The City delivers a broad array of arts programs through its Arts Division including: Art on the Outside (temporary public art), Arts Grants for Artists and Nonprofit Arts Organizations, City Poet Laureate Program, Free Theatre in the Parks, Human Rights Speakers Series, Library Exhibits and Programming, Summer Sounds / Winter Sounds, Urban Art Program (permanent public art), WeHo Reads, and the WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival.

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Grant Program, please visit www.weho.org/arts or contact Eva Angeloff, Grants Coordinator in the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division, at (323) 848-6354 or at [email protected].

City of West Hollywood Presents 59, a Film from Artist Leslie Foster as Part of the ‘Moving Image Media Art’ Exhibition Series

The City of West Hollywood announces the next exhibition in the Moving Image Media Art program (MIMA) and the debut of 59, a film from artist Leslie Foster. 59 will air at the top of every hour on the digital billboard at 8743 Sunset Boulevard (Invisible Frame) on the Sunset Strip from Saturday, October 1, 2022, through Tuesday, January 31, 2023. 

MIMA is an ongoing exhibition series of moving image media artworks on multiple digital billboards at various locations along Sunset Boulevard. The goals of the MIMA Program are to foster cultural equity, expand accessibility, inspire communication, create public space, and enhance the human experience of the Sunset Strip. Among the most resonant and applicable themes MIMA seeks to represent is the concept of invisibility in relation to communities rendered unseen by inequity.

H. Leslie Foster II is an experimental filmmaker whose work shines a bright light on the historically silenced. 59 is comprised of 11 films, that were shot in 11 months in May 2017, with 11 different collaborators. 59 represents the completion of a yearlong art residency with the nonprofit art collective Level Ground, where he now serves as the Director of Art Residency. The work recognizes struggle as a universally shared experience, which provocatively describes our differences and similarities all at once. 

Foster is an artist based in Los Angeles whose work explores Black and queer futurism through a lens of dream logic. His love for storytelling is inspired by a childhood spent in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Berrien Springs, Michigan. Since 2006 he has shot films and music videos in Serbia, gone undercover in Jamaica to shoot a documentary about violent homophobia, attended Burning Man 8 times, and has been exhibited internationally. He is also a founding member of the collective Museum Adjacent, which was formed by members of the 2019 Torrance Art Museum FORUM residency cohort.

The Moving Image Media Art program (MIMA) is a City of West Hollywood exhibition series administered by the City’s Arts Division, as part of its Art on the Outside Program, and is presented within the Sunset Arts and Advertising Program. MIMA offers artists the opportunity, and the funding, to create immediate, remarkable, and ambitious works of art that engage with the unique visual landscape of the world-famous Sunset Strip, and experiment with the state-of-the-art technology of high-definition digital signage.  

MIMA enables artists to occupy, contest, and play with the boundaries and uses of public space and manifest moments of connection and awe. Leslie Foster was selected for exhibition from the MIMA Prequalified List, a rolling, open-call for moving image media artists, curators, and nonprofit arts organizations, with applications reviewed bi-annually by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, in November and May. The MIMA Prequalified List includes a diverse list of artists of all career levels; from emerging to internationally recognized. https://www.weho.org/community/arts-and-culture/visual-arts/mima  

The City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division delivers a broad array of arts programs including Art on the Outside (temporary public art), Arts Grants, City Poet Laureate, Free Theatre in the Parks, Human Rights Speaker Series, Library Exhibits, WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, Summer Sounds + Winter Sounds, Urban Art (permanent public art), and WeHo Reads. For more information about City of West Hollywood arts programming, please visit www.weho.org/arts.  

For more information about MIMA please contact Rebecca Ehemann, City of West Hollywood Arts Manager, at (323) 848-6846 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood Presents THREE OVERLOOKED WOMEN FILMMAKERS from Artist Sabrina Gshwandtner As Part of the ‘Moving Image Media Art’ Exhibition Series

The City of West Hollywood announces the debut of the next exhibition in the Moving Image Media Art program (MIMA) program and the worldwide debut of THREE OVERLOOKED WOMEN FILMMAKERS, a collection of three short films, from artist Sabrina Gshwandtner. The THREE OVERLOOKED WOMEN FILMMAKERS Film I will air at the top of every hour, followed by Film II and Film III at 20 and 40 minutes past each hour on the Streamlined Arbor billboard, located at 9157 Sunset Boulevard on the Sunset Strip from Saturday, October 1, 2022, through Tuesday, January 31, 2023. 

MIMA is an ongoing exhibition series of moving image media artworks on multiple digital billboards at various locations along Sunset Boulevard. The goals of the MIMA Program are to foster cultural equity, expand accessibility, inspire communication, create public space, and enhance the human experience of the Sunset Strip. Among the most resonant and applicable themes MIMA seeks to represent is the concept of restoration in relation to communities rendered unseen by inequity.

Sabrina Gschwandtner has examined the historical erasure of work done by women in film throughout her career. By creating kaleidoscopic moving image “quilts” of meticulously manipulated historic footage, Gshwandtner’s work performs an act of historical remediation, recovering the names and works of under-recognized women filmmakers of the silent era, where intricate sewing skills translated their handcraft perfectly to the rigorous demands of weaving together an engaging movie. Gshwandtner’s expressive films mend unconscionable gaps in Hollywood’s past, but they also exist as beautiful, mesmerizing moments on their own, flickering at the western edge of the city, confidently guiding us home.   

Sabrina Gschwandtner’s artwork, comprised of film, video, photography, and textiles, was recently featured at The Sum of the Parts, Craft Contemporary, Los Angeles, and at a solo exhibition at Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Los Angeles. Gschwandtner’s artwork has been exhibited internationally at museums including the Smithsonian American Art Museum; the Victoria and Albert Museum; the Museum of Arts and Design, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, among many others. Her work is held in the permanent collections of LACMA, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the RISD Museum, the Mint Museum, the Philbrook Museum, the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins Collect, and the Carl and Marilyn Thoma Art Foundation, among other public and private collections worldwide. Gschwandtner was born in Washington D.C., received her MFA from Bard College, and received a 2019 City of Los Angeles (COLA) Individual Artist Fellowship. 

The Moving Image Media Art program (MIMA) is a City of West Hollywood exhibition series administered by the City’s Arts Division, as part of its Art on the Outside Program, and is presented within the Sunset Arts and Advertising Program. MIMA offers artists the opportunity, and the funding, to create immediate, remarkable, and ambitious works of art that engage with the unique visual landscape of the world-famous Sunset Strip, and experiment with the state-of-the-art technology of high-definition digital signage.  

MIMA enables artists to occupy, contest, and play with the boundaries and uses of public space and manifest moments of connection and awe. Sabrina Gshwandtner was selected for exhibition from the MIMA Prequalified List, a rolling, open-call for moving image media artists, curators, and nonprofit arts organizations, with applications reviewed bi-annually by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, in November and May. The MIMA Prequalified List includes a diverse list of artists of all career levels; from emerging to internationally recognized. https://www.weho.org/community/arts-and-culture/visual-arts/mima  

The City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division delivers a broad array of arts programs including Art on the Outside (temporary public art), Arts Grants, City Poet Laureate, Free Theatre in the Parks, Human Rights Speaker Series, Library Exhibits, WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, Summer Sounds + Winter Sounds, Urban Art (permanent public art), and WeHo Reads. For more information about City of West Hollywood arts programming, please visit www.weho.org/arts. 

For more information about MIMA please contact Rebecca Ehemann, City of West Hollywood Arts Manager, at (323) 848-6846 or at [email protected].

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

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WeHo City kicks off WeHo Pride with José Sarria Drag Pageant

The City kicked off WeHo Pride festivities with the annual Harvey Milk Day events celebrating the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community

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City of West Hollywood kicks off WeHo Pride with José Sarria Drag Pageant for Harvey Milk Day. (Photo: Mike Pingel/WEHO TIMES)

By Mike Pingel | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood kicked off WeHo Pride festivities with the annual Harvey Milk Day events celebrating the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community.

Organized by the City of West Hollywood and West Hollywood Drag Laureate Pickle and is co-sponsored by the Imperial Court and by Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath, Third District, the second annual José Sarria Drag Pageant took place on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center Respite Deck.

West Hollywood Harvey Milk Day 2024 – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES
West Hollywood Harvey Milk Day 2024 – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

José Sarria was the first openly gay person to run for office in the United States, helped pave the way for Harvey Milk’s successful run for office, was a well-known drag performer under the name the Window Norton, and founded the International Imperial Court System, which is one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ organizations in the world. The Drag Pageant competition will be hosted by West Hollywood Drag Laureate Pickle, and several drag icons will be honored. Judges will include Queen Mother Karina Samala and Emperor Eugene Maysky of the Imperial Court, Landon Cider, Anil Patel, Nyx, and Kyra Jete.

West Hollywood Harvey Milk Day 2024 – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Pageant contestants included Queen Angelina, Bilella Fierce, Cruella Brazil, Bych Nastee, and Linda Recessionista. They were judged on presentation, talent and personality.

Pickle announced the winner at the end of the pageantry. And that winner is… Queen Angelina!

West Hollywood Harvey Milk Day 2024 – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

In addition to the Drag Pageant, the event will include a voter registration table, a Harvey Milk photo opportunity, and typewriter poetry provided by Pride Poets. Pride Poets is a cohort of LGBTQ poets who create custom poetry for the public on typewriters. Pride Poets was founded by former West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Brian Sonia-Wallace for the City’s LGBTQ Arts Festival in 2019. The participation of Pride Poets in this event is funded by a City of West Hollywood Arts Grant.

West Hollywood Harvey Milk Day 2024 – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

WeHo Pride Weekend will take place from Friday, May 31, 2024 to Sunday, June 2, 2024 and, in addition to the WeHo Pride Parade, will include the free WeHo Pride Street Fair; WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD; the OUTLOUD Music Festival; the Women’s Freedom Festival; the Dyke March; and more.

The WeHo Pride Arts Festival will take place from Friday, June 14, 2024 to Sunday, June 16, 2024. WeHo Pride celebrations will include a diverse array of LGBTQ community group programming from May 22 to June 30 as part of visibility, expression, and celebration.

The WeHo Pride Arts Festival is organized by the City’s Arts Division. The City of West Hollywood is committed to providing accessible arts programming for residents and visitors and the City’s Arts Division delivers a broad array of arts programs including Art on the Outside (temporary public art), Urban Art Program (permanent public art), Summer Sounds, Winter Sounds, the WeHo Reads literary series, Free Theatre in the Parks, Arts Grants for Nonprofit Arts Organizations, Library Exhibits and Programming, the City Poet Laureate Program, Drag Laureate, Drag Story Hour, Human Rights Speakers Series and the WeHo Pride Arts Festival Weekend. For additional information, please visit www.weho.org/arts.

For nearly four decades, the City of West Hollywood has been home to one of the largest Pride celebrations in the nation. Hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people and allies from around the world traditionally make West Hollywood their regular destination during Pride season.

OUTLOUD Music Festival information is posted at www.weareoutloud.com.

Additional information about WeHo Pride 2024 is posted at www.wehopride.com.

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Mike Pingel

Mike Pingel has written six books, Channel Surfing: Charlie’s Angels & Angelic Heaven: A Fan’s Guide to Charlie’s Angels, Channel Surfing: Wonder Woman, The Brady Bunch: Super Groovy after all these years; Works of Pingel and most recently, Betty White: Rules the World. Pingel owns and runs CharliesAngels.com website and was Farrah Fawcett personal assistant. He also works as an actor and as a freelance publicist.

His official website is www.mikepingel.com

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

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

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West Hollywood

West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

Older Adults Health Fair, May is Mental Health Awareness Month, Foster Care Panel Discussion, Kings Street Design Concept Plan plus more

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Photo by Paulo Murillo

Older Adults Health Fair on Tuesday, May 21 at Plummer Park

WEST HOLLYWOOD – To celebrate Older Adults Month, the City of West Hollywood will host its 19th Annual West Hollywood Older Adults Health Fair on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Plummer Park’s Community Center, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. Admission is free; no RSVP is required.

The Older Adults Health Fair is a no-cost event co-sponsored by Cedars-Sinai and Jewish Family Service LA. The event will feature health screenings, information from more than 25 health and social services community partners, vaccinations, a Human Library activity, complimentary lunch while supplies last, giveaways, and more. Local organizations will provide health and social services information, Cedars-Sinai will conduct health screenings, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will administer COVID-19 and flu vaccinations.

Limited free parking is available at the Plummer Park parking lots, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard and Fountain Avenue/ N. Vista Street at the north end of the park. There are also paid parking meters in the surrounding area.

The City of West Hollywood provides free transportation to Plummer Park through its Cityline service. Cityline is a friendly and accessible alternative to the larger bus system and all shuttles are ADA-accessible. Cityline operates Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and shuttles arrive approximately every 30 minutes. For additional information and a detailed route map, visit www.weho.org/cityline — route maps are also available on Cityline shuttles and at West Hollywood City Hall, located at 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard.

For more information about the Older Adults Health Fair, please contact Becca Lubin, City of West Hollywood Strategic Initiatives Program Administrator, at (323) 848-6518 or at [email protected]

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

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

The City of West Hollywood joins organizations and mental health advocates across the nation in recognizing the month of May as Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to work together to fight stigma, provide support, educate the public, and advocate for policies that support the millions of people living with mental illness and their families.

In commemoration of the month, from Wednesday May 15, 2024 through Wednesday, May 29, 2024, West Hollywood City Hall will be lit green, the color of recognition for mental health awareness month.

Mental Health Awareness Month began in the United States in 1949 and was started by Mental Health America (MHA). Mental illness affects more than 50 million people in the United States. According to the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five U.S. adults experiences a mental health condition each year. Annually, mental illness affects; 16% of Asian adults; 21% of Black/African American adults; 18% of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander adults; 21% of Hispanic adults; 27% of American Indian/Alaska Native adults; 24% of White adults; 35% of multiracial adults and 50% of LGBTQ adults.

The impacts of mental health challenges are significant among youth. One in six U.S. youth experiences a mental health condition each year, and only half of them receive treatment. Data also shows that mental health treatment, i.e. therapy, medication and selfcare has made recovery a reality for most people from mental illness.  People receiving treatment in a given year are 47% of adults with mental illness, 65% of adults with severe mental illness and 51% of youth (6-17) with a mental health condition. Last year 56% of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults with a mental health diagnosis received treatment or counseling.

Mental Health Action Day was founded to shift mental health culture from awareness to action. Now in its fourth year, this global movement is powered by a growing coalition of more than 2,300 nonprofits, leading brands, government agencies, and cultural leaders that spread the message that, just like our physical health, we can take actions to improve our mental health.  This year’s call to action is to dedicate one hour to social connection. For more information about how to participate in Mental Health Action Day go to www.mentalhealthaction.network

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, connect to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 24/7 by calling or texting 988 or connect to emergency community services by calling 211. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States. 

 Those in need of mental health support or connections should reach out to the following resources for assistance:

  • APLA Health – West Hollywood provides individual and group therapy sessions to assist with a variety of concerns including depression, anxiety, grief, and trauma. Contact (213) 201-1369 or visit https://aplahealth.org/
  • Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services provides counseling, psychiatric services, medication support and substance abuse programs at various sites. Contact the 24/7 Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255 or (888) 807-7259 or visit www.didihirsch.org.
  • Jewish Family Services Comprehensive Service Center provides social services programming for seniors and people with disabilities that includes counseling, psychiatry, and case management. Contact (323) 851-8202
    or visit www.jfsla.org.
  • Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (DMH) directly operates more than 80 programs and contracts with more than 700 providers who provide a spectrum of mental health services to people of all ages.  Contact the 24/7 Help Line at (800) 854-7771, or text “LA” to 741741 to be connected to a crisis counselor via text message, or visit https://dmh.lacounty.gov/.
  • Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Mental Health Services team provides counseling, group support, addiction recovery, and psychiatry services for LGBT and non-LGBT individuals for issues including depression, anxiety, domestic violence/intimate partner violence, and substance use. Contact (323) 993-7669 or visit www.lalgbtcenter.org
  • Maple Counseling provides free and low-cost comprehensive mental health services to individuals of all ages, couples, and families. Contact (310) 271-9999 or visit www.maple4counseling.org
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)  provides free education, support, and advocacy. The NAMI Westside Los Angeles Chapter can be reached by contacting (310) 889-7200 or visiting www.namila.org
  • The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) website at www.ncadv.org offers comprehensive and inclusive information for all about warning signs of domestic and intimate partner violence and abuse, including psychological abuse, and how to get help. NCADV runs the National Domestic Violence Hotline website at www.thehotline.org, which offers immediate help to everyone  24/7/365 via the “chat now” button on the website or by calling (800) 799-SAFE (7233) or texting LOVEIS to 22522, and for people who are Deaf/hard of hearing: (855) 812-1011 (VP) or (800) 787-3224 (TTY).
  • Saban Community Clinic provides individual therapy and support groups for stress, anxiety, and more to help develop practical coping skills. Contact (323) 653-1990 or visit www.sabancommunityclinic.org.
  • The Trevor Project provides confidential and free crisis counseling, information & support to LGBTQ young people 24/7, all year round. Contact (866) 488-7386, or text 678-678, or via online chat at www.thetrevorproject.org.

The City of West Hollywood’s Human Services Division website area provides information about available local mental health services and resources at https://www.weho.org/services/human-services/mental-health or contact staff at (323) 848-6510. 

The City of West Hollywood’s Recreation Services Division provides information about quality leisure service experiences that promote health and wellness at https://www.weho.org/community/recreation-services including the City’s Be Well WeHo program designed to support physical and mental health at any age.

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, please contact Larissa Fooks, the City of West Hollywood’s Community Programs Coordinator, at (323) 848-6413 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood will Host a Foster Care Panel Discussion

The City of West Hollywood will host a free panel discussion that will focus on the effective practices and challenges within the foster care system and the transformative power and compassion of fostering.

The panel discussion will take place on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at 6:30 p.m. at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. It aims to bring further awareness to issues impacting foster youth during May, which is National Foster Care Awareness Month. The panel will bring together diverse perspectives including professionals who work to support the foster youth population in various capacities.  

The discussion will be moderated by Dawn McCoy, a children’s advocate and founder of the Loving Way Foundation. The Loving Way Foundation’s mission is focused on ending child abuse through advocacy, awareness, and visibility while bettering the lives of impacted children.

Panelists will include:

  • Bonnie Sharpe, Director of Programs at Extraordinary Families, whose mission is to help children and youth in foster care to have the childhoods and futures they rightfully deserve.
  • Mario Gonzalez, Academic Services Manager at Foster Love whose mission is to improve the lives of children in foster care by providing essential resources and educational opportunities.
  • Jody Giles, Director of Philanthropy at Catalyst Family Office, an organization that supports philanthropic endeavors to help drive meaningful change. 
  • Nova Bright-Williams, Head of Internal Training, Learning & Development, at The Trevor Project whose mission is to provide lifesaving and life-affirming services to LGBTQ young people.
  • Shiré Wortham, Social Worker at Alliance for Children’s Rights whose mission is to protect the rights of children in poverty and those overcoming abuse and neglect by delivering free legal services, supportive programs, and systemic solutions.

May marks National Foster Care Month, a pivotal time to raise awareness regarding the needs of more than 391,000 children and young individuals within foster care. The month is a time to raise awareness of issues related to foster care and acknowledge the parents, family members, foster parents, child welfare, and related professionals, mentors, policymakers, and other community members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections.

National Foster Care Month is also an opportunity to raise awareness about the overrepresentation of LGBTQ youth in child welfare, 30% of whom identify as LGBTQ. LGBTQ youth who face family rejection and maltreatment are often forced out of their homes, or will run away, become homeless, or enter the foster care system.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Del Toro, the City of West Hollywood’s Community and Legislative Affairs Supervisor, at (323) 848-6549 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood will Kick Off WeHo Pride Season Beginning on May 22, Harvey Milk Day

Each year, the City of West Hollywood celebrates the artistic contributions of the LGBTQ community by kicking off WeHo Pride season with an annual Harvey Milk Day event.

On Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 6 p.m. Pride Starts Here with the second annual José Sarria Drag Pageant. The event is organized by the City of West Hollywood and West Hollywood Drag Laureate Pickle and is co-sponsored by the Imperial Court and by Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath, Third District. It will take place at the West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center Respite Deck, located at 8750 El Tovar Place, adjacent to West Hollywood Library. The event is free to attend; advance RSVPs are requested at https://HarveyMilk2024.eventbrite.com.

José Sarria was the first openly gay person to run for office in the United States, helped pave the way for Harvey Milk’s successful run for office, was a well-known drag performer under the name the Window Norton, and founded the International Imperial Court System, which is one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ organizations in the world. The Drag Pageant competition will be hosted by West Hollywood Drag Laureate Pickle, and several drag icons will be honored. Judges will include Queen Mother Karina Samala and Emperor Eugene Maysky of the Imperial Court, Landon Cider, Anil Patel, Nyx, and Kyra Jete. 

In addition to the Drag Pageant, the event will include a voter registration table, a Harvey Milk photo opportunity, and typewriter poetry provided by Pride Poets. Pride Poets is a cohort of LGBTQ poets who create custom poetry for the public on typewriters. Pride Poets was founded by former West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Brian Sonia-Wallace for the City’s LGBTQ Arts Festival in 2019. The participation of Pride Poets in this event is funded by a City of West Hollywood Arts Grant.

For nearly four decades, the City of West Hollywood has been home to one of the largest Pride celebrations in the nation. Hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people and allies from around the world traditionally make West Hollywood their regular destination during Pride season.

WeHo Pride Weekend will take place from Friday, May 31, 2024 to Sunday, June 2, 2024 and, in addition to the WeHo Pride Parade, will include the free WeHo Pride Street Fair; WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD; the OUTLOUD Music Festival; the Women’s Freedom Festival; the Dyke March; and more. The WeHo Pride Arts Festival will take place from Friday, June 14, 2024 to Sunday, June 16, 2024. WeHo Pride celebrations will include a diverse array of LGBTQ community group programming from May 22 to June 30 as part of visibility, expression, and celebration.

The WeHo Pride Arts Festival is organized by the City’s Arts Division. The City of West Hollywood is committed to providing accessible arts programming for residents and visitors and the City’s Arts Division delivers a broad array of arts programs including Art on the Outside (temporary public art), Urban Art Program (permanent public art), Summer Sounds, Winter Sounds, the WeHo Reads literary series, Free Theatre in the Parks, Arts Grants for Nonprofit Arts Organizations, Library Exhibits and Programming, the City Poet Laureate Program, Drag Laureate, Drag Story Hour, Human Rights Speakers Series and the WeHo Pride Arts Festival Weekend. For additional information, please visit www.weho.org/arts

Additional information about WeHo Pride 2024 is posted at www.wehopride.com. OUTLOUD Music Festival information is posted at www.weareoutloud.com. Follow @wehopride on  Instagram and Facebook and follow @officiallyoutloud on Instagram and Facebook. Sign up for WeHo Pride text updates by texting “Pride” to (323) 848-5000.

Since its incorporation in 1984, the City of West Hollywood has become one of the most influential cities in the nation for its outspoken advocacy on LGBTQ issues. No other city of its size has had a greater impact on the national public policy discourse on fairness and inclusiveness for LGBTQ people. Home to the “Rainbow District” along Santa Monica Boulevard, which features a concentration of historic LGBTQ clubs, restaurants, and retail shops, the City consistently tops lists of “most LGBTQ friendly cities” in the nation.

More than 40 percent of residents in West Hollywood identify as LGBTQ and four of the five members of the West Hollywood City Council are openly gay. The City has advocated for nearly 40 years for measures that support LGBTQ individuals and the City is in the vanguard of efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level. #WeHoPride @WeHoCity

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s José Sarria Drag Pageant on Harvey Milk Day or about the WeHo Pride Arts Festival, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Coordinator, Mike Che, at (323) 848-6377 or at [email protected] or visit www.wehopride.com/artsfestival.

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

‘Willoughby, Vista/Gardner, and Kings Street Design Concept Plan’ Informational Open House at Plummer Park on May 21

The City of West Hollywood invites community members to attend an upcoming Informational Open House to learn more about the Willoughby, Vista/Gardner, and Kings Street Design Concept Plan. The purpose of this in-person open house is to provide community members with detailed information regarding the Street Design Concept Plan and share an overview of the project’s steps taken to-date and next steps, moving forward.

The Informational Open House will take place on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, at 6 p.m. at the Plummer Park Community Center in Rooms 1 and 2, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. Drop-in; no advance RSVP is needed. Light refreshments will be served. 

The City of West Hollywood’s mobility projects are guided by the adopted Pedestrian and Bicycle Mobility Plan, which advocates for comfortable, safe, healthy, and convenient places to walk and bicycle in the context of a balanced, multimodal transportation network serving pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and motorists of all ages and abilities. 

The Street Design Concept Plan was identified as a priority project in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Mobility Plan, and it launched in 2019. The project’s primary objective is to enhance the neighborhood and protect the safety of both pedestrians and cyclists through strategic street improvements across the corridor. This comprehensive streetscape initiative aims to create safer, more accessible routes for walking and biking while effectively reducing cut-through traffic. By transforming Kings Road and Vista/Gardner Streets into key connecting corridors, the Street Design Concept Plan facilitates a seamless link between residential and commercial areas and east-west routes like Santa Monica Boulevard and Fountain Avenue. This connectivity not only supports a healthier, more active community but also promotes environmental sustainability and enriches local quality of life.

The Street Design Concept Plan is the first project stage in the development of the Willoughby, Vista/Gardner, and Kings Street Design Capital Improvement Project. With the recent approval of the Street Design Concept Plan by the West Hollywood City Council, the Plan now moves forward to the Design & Engineering Phase, where concepts will be developed in much more detail. This includes the development and incorporation of detailed engineering plans, specifications, and cost estimates that will serve as the blueprint for project construction. The next stage of the project will determine the feasibility of the conceptual project elements from the Street Design Concept Plan and allow for additional insight into any refinements that may need to be incorporated into the project’s final design. 

The Community Engagement and Plan Development Process to date has included: 

  • The Willoughby, Vista/Gardner, and Kings project was identified in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Mobility Plan adopted in 2017, and outreach on the Concept Plan for these streets began with a visioning workshop in Summer 2019. 
  • The project was delayed due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, but in August 2022 the City hosted two community virtual workshops. Feedback and survey responses guided recommendations.
  • In 2022, demonstration projects were installed along Willoughby as an alternative way to share ideas and provide community input.
  • In addition to the community workshops, staff also met with residents to share information about the project. City staff attended multiple update meetings with the City of Los Angeles, including Council District 5 and the Mid-City West Neighborhood Council. 
  • As part of the demonstration project and community workshops in 2022, Here LA and the City’s WeHoTV collaborated to put together an engagement video to help community members envision potential street changes and improvements.
  • In April 2023, based on feedback from the community, City staff finalized the report and recommendations to include protected bike lanes along Vista/Gardner, except for the two blocks between Fountain and Lexington, which were excluded due to the potential loss of parking along this segment.
  • Staff presented these recommendations to the Transportation & Mobility Commission in June 2023, and the Commission expressed its support.
  • In November 2023, the West Hollywood City Council directed staff to develop a policy to include protected bike lanes on all roadway projects. Following this directive, staff developed a protected bike lane option for Gardner between Fountain and Lexington.
  • In March 2024, staff presented the Street Design Concept Plan to the West Hollywood City Council with two options for Gardner between Fountain and Lexington, including one with the addition of protected bike lanes.

The City of West Hollywood will be providing additional community outreach opportunities, moving forward, to refine concepts as part of the upcoming Design & Engineering Phase. In particular, the City will be looking for ways to address issues of concern, including minimizing impacts to on-street parking.

For additional information about the Street Design Concept Plan, please visit the Engage WeHo information and feedback page, which is located at https://engage.weho.org/willoughby

For more information, please contact Bob Cheung, City of West Hollywood Senior Transportation Planner, at (323) 848-6346 or at [email protected].

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

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For up-to-date information about City of West Hollywood news and events, follow @wehocity on social media, sign-up for news updates at www.weho.org/email, and visit the City’s calendar of meetings and events at www.weho.org/calendar.  West Hollywood City Hall is open for walk-in services at public counters or by appointment by visiting www.weho.org/appointments.  City Hall services are accessible by phone at (323) 848-6400 and via website at www.weho.org.  Receive text updates by texting “WeHo” to (323) 848-5000.

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WeHo will kick off 2024 Pride Season on May 22, Harvey Milk Day

For nearly four decades, the City of West Hollywood has been home to one of the largest Pride celebrations in the nation

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Los Angeles Blade/City of West Hollywood graphic

WEST HOLLYWOOD – Each year, the City of West Hollywood celebrates the artistic contributions of the LGBTQ community by kicking off WeHo Pride season with an annual Harvey Milk Day event.

On Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 6 p.m. Pride Starts Here with the second annual José Sarria Drag Pageant. The event is organized by the City of West Hollywood and West Hollywood Drag Laureate Pickle and is co-sponsored by the Imperial Court and by Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath, Third District.

It will take place at the West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center Respite Deck, located at 8750 El Tovar Place, adjacent to West Hollywood Library. The event is free to attend; advance RSVPs are requested at https://HarveyMilk2024.eventbrite.com.

José Sarria was the first openly gay person to run for office in the United States, helped pave the way for Harvey Milk’s successful run for office, was a well-known drag performer under the name the Window Norton, and founded the International Imperial Court System, which is one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ organizations in the world.

The Drag Pageant competition will be hosted by West Hollywood Drag Laureate Pickle, and several drag icons will be honored. Judges will include Queen Mother Karina Samala and Emperor Eugene Maysky of the Imperial Court, Landon Cider, Anil Patel, Nyx, and Kyra Jete. 

In addition to the Drag Pageant, the event will include a voter registration table, a Harvey Milk photo opportunity, and typewriter poetry provided by Pride Poets. Pride Poets is a cohort of LGBTQ poets who create custom poetry for the public on typewriters. Pride Poets was founded by former West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Brian Sonia-Wallace for the City’s LGBTQ Arts Festival in 2019. The participation of Pride Poets in this event is funded by a City of West Hollywood Arts Grant.

For nearly four decades, the City of West Hollywood has been home to one of the largest Pride celebrations in the nation. Hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people and allies from around the world traditionally make West Hollywood their regular destination during Pride season.

WeHo Pride Weekend will take place from Friday, May 31, 2024 to Sunday, June 2, 2024 and, in addition to the WeHo Pride Parade, will include the free WeHo Pride Street Fair; WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD; the OUTLOUD Music Festival; the Women’s Freedom Festival; the Dyke March; and more.

The WeHo Pride Arts Festival will take place from Friday, June 14, 2024 to Sunday, June 16, 2024. WeHo Pride celebrations will include a diverse array of LGBTQ community group programming from May 22 to June 30 as part of visibility, expression, and celebration.

The WeHo Pride Arts Festival is organized by the City’s Arts Division. The City of West Hollywood is committed to providing accessible arts programming for residents and visitors and the City’s Arts Division delivers a broad array of arts programs including Art on the Outside (temporary public art), Urban Art Program (permanent public art), Summer Sounds, Winter Sounds, the WeHo Reads literary series, Free Theatre in the Parks, Arts Grants for Nonprofit Arts Organizations, Library Exhibits and Programming, the City Poet Laureate Program, Drag Laureate, Drag Story Hour, Human Rights Speakers Series and the WeHo Pride Arts Festival Weekend.

For additional information, please visit www.weho.org/arts

Additional information about WeHo Pride 2024 is posted at www.wehopride.com.

OUTLOUD Music Festival information is posted at www.weareoutloud.com. Follow @wehopride on  Instagram and Facebook and follow @officiallyoutloud on Instagram and Facebook.

Sign up for WeHo Pride text updates by texting “Pride” to (323) 848-5000.

Since its incorporation in 1984, the City of West Hollywood has become one of the most influential cities in the nation for its outspoken advocacy on LGBTQ issues. No other city of its size has had a greater impact on the national public policy discourse on fairness and inclusiveness for LGBTQ people. Home to the “Rainbow District” along Santa Monica Boulevard, which features a concentration of historic LGBTQ clubs, restaurants, and retail shops, the City consistently tops lists of “most LGBTQ friendly cities” in the nation.

More than 40 percent of residents in West Hollywood identify as LGBTQ and four of the five members of the West Hollywood City Council are openly gay. The City has advocated for nearly 40 years for measures that support LGBTQ individuals and the City is in the vanguard of efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level. #WeHoPride @WeHoCity

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s José Sarria Drag Pageant on Harvey Milk Day or about the WeHo Pride Arts Festival, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Coordinator, Mike Che, at (323) 848-6377 or at [email protected] or visit www.wehopride.com/artsfestival.

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

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WeHo’s Rainbow Neon Dog gets public art dedication

Community members gathered at Williams S Hart Park for a public art dedication of the public artwork Rainbow Neon Dog on Friday, May 10, 2024

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Dedication of the Rainbow Neon Dog Art Installation. (Photo by Paulo Murillo/WEHO TIMES)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – Community members gathered at Williams S Hart Park at 8341 De Longpre Avenue for a public art dedication event for the installation of the public artwork Rainbow Neon Dog on Friday, May 10, 2024.

The event offered some words by Rebecca Ehemann, WeHo Arts Manager of the City of West Hollywood, who introduced Mayor John Erickson to the podium with Pet Mayor Winnie. “This is the best part about being in the City of West Hollywood,” said Mayor Erickson. “We have our amazing Arts Department. Thank you so much for all of the amazing work that you do. We are just so excited to welcome the Rainbow Neon Dog as part of our city’s urban art collection.”

Dedication of the Rainbow Neon Dog Art Installation – WEHO TIMES
Dedication of the Rainbow Neon Dog Art Installation – WEHO TIMES

The mayor made a joke about his motor being slow every now and then in reference to the neon art that stopped rotating shortly after being installed. “We’re excited to see it start spinning again and have it at this entrance right here at our beautiful historic William S. Hart park at 10 feet high 10 feet wide. And three feet deep as radium barking neon dog is the perfect way to announce a presence here at this park.

Also in attendance were council member Chelsea Byers and council member Lauren Meister.

The Rainbow Neon Dog may not spin, but it still lights up. There was a countdown to its lighting as part of the ceremony. Community members had an opportunity to enjoy the art installation and walk away with a custom pin in the shape of the neon art as a memento.

Dedication of the Rainbow Neon Dog Art Installation – WEHO TIMES

There were rumors that some local residents were going to use the dedication to protest improvements coming to Hart Park; however, the rumors turned out to be false. The ceremony happened in perfect harmony.

@wehotimes A City of West Hollywood CLASSIC is BACK!!! The Neon Dog is fully restored and installed at its new home on The Sunset Strip. On Wednesday, September 14, 2022, the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission unanimously approved the proposed Neon Dog project for installation at William S. Hart Park & Off Leash Dog Park, a property leased by the City of West Hollywood, but owned by the City of Los Angeles. The neon dog was connected to Collar & Leash. On January 21, 2020, the City Council accepted a gift of the neon dog sign from Joseph Chan and Charles Chan Massey. The neon sign was restored and conserved very much like the Rocky & Bullwinkle sculpture that is also on display on Sunset Boulevard. #wehotimes #wehonews #wehocity #weho #westhollywood #neon #neonart #wehoarts #art #streetart #thesunsetstrip @weholove @Paulo Murillo @City of West Hollywood @CityofLosAngeles ♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

The Rainbow Neon Dog is the most recent addition to the City’s growing Urban Art Program and consists of a reconditioned, electrically rotating neon sign in the shape of a barking dog set atop a supporting pole that raises it above street level to be enjoyed by pedestrians and vehicles alike traveling along Sunset Boulevard in either direction.

Dedication of the Rainbow Neon Dog Art Installation – WEHO TIMES

The sign measures 10-feet-high by 10-feet-wide by 3-feet-deep. It was designed in 1990 by Wilson Ong for the Collar & Leash pet store formerly located at 8555 Santa Monica Boulevard. In 2020, after the closure of the store, the owners gifted the sign to the City of West Hollywood for inclusion in the Urban Art Program collection.

At its new location along the iconic Sunset Strip, the sign is guaranteed to become a novel cultural attraction and will serve as a wayfinding device for the entrance to Hart Park while continuing the City’s efforts to activate Sunset Boulevard with pedestrian-friendly experiences.

The Urban Art Program provides a mechanism to integrate free and accessible art into the urban fabric of the City. In particular, the Urban Art Program is motivated by a desire to ameliorate some of the effects new development has on the community. New development often results in intensified use of land where larger structures seem imposing and inaccessible to the public. Urban art can help soften this effect and provide interaction and connection between the public and private domains.

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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. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at [email protected]

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

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West Hollywood

OUTLOUD Presents Pride @ Bev Center with Drag Talents 

Join the legendary drag artists of RuPaul’s Drag Race on Saturday, May 18 from 1pm to 4pm in Grand Court at the Beverly Center

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Los Angeles Blade/WeHo Times graphic

By Mike Pingel | WEST HOLLYWOOD – Drag icon Alyssa Edwards joins OUTLOUD Presents PRIDE @ BEV for a panel discussion and performance alongside other iconic drag artists from RuPaul’s Drag Race including Plane JanePlastique Tiara, and Laganja Estranja. The panel discussion will focus on ‘living out and proud’ and will be moderated by OUTLOUD host Ryan Mitchell.

This year, OUTLOUD Presents PRIDE @ BEV is a proud supporter of OUTWORDS, a local Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that captures, preserves, and shares the stories of LGBTQ+ elders, to build community and catalyze social change. One hundred percent of ticket proceeds will be donated to OUTWORDS. All guests must be 18+ and purchase a general admission ticket to enter the event. 

Attendees can also win big at Beverly Center’s Spin Wheel, enjoy beats by DJ Asha, and get snatched at the Glam Station by Sephora. Guests 21 years of age and older can RSVP to secure their spot for Drag Bingo and a Beauty Demo hosted by Make Up Forever. 

100% of proceeds from OUTLOUD Presents Pride @ Bev will be donated to OUTWORDS, a LA local nonprofit organization that captures, preserves, and shares the stories of LGBTQIA2S+ elders, to build community and catalyze social change.

WHEN:   Saturday, May 18 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. PT

WHERE:  Grand Court of Beverly Center on Level 6

8500 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

To purchase tickets please CLICK HERE.

Experiences included with your General Admission ticket:

  • Live drag performances by Alyssa Edwards, Plastique Tiara, Plane Jane and Laganja Estranja
  • Drag Bingo hosted by Athena Kills (21+) *RSVP required
  • Beauty Demo hosted by Make Up Forever (Attendees will receive a deluxe setting spray!) *RSVP required
  • Beverly Center Spin Wheel
  • Glam Station by Sephora
  • Photo Moments
  • VIP Lounge with bar and bites
  • Beats by DJ Asha
  • OUTLOUD Music Festival At WeHo Pride VIP wristband pick up

Event Rules

  • All guests must be 18+ to enter the event space.
  • If consuming alcoholic beverages, all guests must be 21+ and present a valid government ID.
  • Food and beverages are available while supplies last.
  • Children and pets are not allowed in the event area.
  • Parking validations are not available. Parking is $1 per hour up to 4 hours, and $2 per hour thereafter.
  • OUTLOUD Music Festival, created by Jeff Consoletti, launched in 2020 as a ten-episode series on Facebook in lieu of Pride Celebrations happening in cities across the country due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, quickly becoming one of the first major virtual LGBTQ+ showcases.
  • Since its debut, OUTLOUD garnered over nearly two billion media impressions and won several industry-topping awards including multiple SHORTY Awards for Best Use of Facebook and Best Use of Twitch, a MARCOM Award & a Cynopsis Digital Award for BEST LGBTQ Series.
  • Follow @OfficiallyOUTLOUD #WeAreOUTLOUD. http://weareoutloud.com.

About Beverly Center:
Located at the edge of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, Beverly Center features the best in luxury and contemporary retail, along with delectable street level restaurants with everything from modern fresh favorites to fast-casual eateries. Home to over 90 stores, all beneath an impressive skyline, Beverly Center is anchored by Bloomingdale’s & Macy’s and is home to L.A.’s largest collection of luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Saint Laurent, Ferragamo, and trending fashion brands including Mango, Zara and H&M.

For more information, visit beverlycenter.com.

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Mike Pingel

Mike Pingel has written six books, Channel Surfing: Charlie’s Angels & Angelic Heaven: A Fan’s Guide to Charlie’s Angels, Channel Surfing: Wonder Woman, The Brady Bunch: Super Groovy after all these years; Works of Pingel and most recently, Betty White: Rules the World. Pingel owns and runs CharliesAngels.com website and was Farrah Fawcett personal assistant. He also works as an actor and as a freelance publicist.

His official website is www.mikepingel.com

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

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West Hollywood

Kesha headlines as WeHo Pride presents Friday Night OUTLOUD

Performances also by Adam Lambert, Monét X Change, Laganja Estranja v. Morphine Love Dion, Niña Dioz, Jessica Betts, Owenn, & Venessa Michaels

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Los Angeles Blade/WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD graphic


WEST HOLLYWOOD – Kesha will headline WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD,a free outdoor concert, courtesy of the City of West Hollywood, taking place May 31, 2024 at West Hollywood Park.

Friday night’s full lineup will feature an electrifying music mix with additional performances by Adam Lambert, Monét X Change, Laganja Estranja vs. Morphine Love Dion, Niña Dioz, Jessica Betts, Owenn,and Venessa Michaels.Friday evening’s experience adds to a stellar weekend lineup with Saturday and Sunday headliners Kylie Minogue, Janelle Monáe,and Diplo + Friends.

WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD is free to the public and requires an RSVP to secure complimentary tickets, as event capacity is limited. Sign up for registration details at  www.weareoutloud.com. Registration will officially open on Friday, May 3, at 10 a.m. PDT. Each person registering will be limited to one registration per email address. 

“As we approach the 2024 WeHo Pride season, the City of West Hollywood remains a steadfast beacon of progressive values and unwavering advocacy for LGBTQ rights. Hosting the WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD reaffirms our City’s legacy of championing inclusivity and equality,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John M. Erickson. “As we gather to celebrate the kaleidoscope of queer talent, let’s also reflect on the profound impact of our ongoing fight for LGBTQ rights, both locally and on the global stage.”

WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD activities begin at 6 p.m. PDT. The evening launches WeHo Pride Weekend programming, all of which is free to attend and guests of all ages are welcome.

The WeHo Pride Street Fair takes place on Saturday, June 1, 2024 and Sunday, June 2, 2024 starting at 12 p.m. PDT and features live entertainment and activities along with sponsor and community organization booths. Saturday’s events include the annual Dyke March and the Women’s Freedom Festival, which takes place at the WeHo Pride Community Stage.

The celebration continues with the WeHo Pride Parade on Sunday, June 2, featuring the Parade’s Lifetime Ally Icon Cyndi Lauper, with more details to come. For information about WeHo Pride events and programming, visit: www.wehopride.com.

The OUTLOUD Music Festival continues on Saturday, June 1, and Sunday, June 2, with a two-day concert experience featuring iconic headliners Kylie Minogue, Janelle Monáe, and Diplo + Friends.

Attendees will need to purchase a ticket to attend, and the full weekend lineup of performances includes: Doechii, Ashnikko, Noah Cyrus, Trixie Mattel, Keke Palmer, Channel Tres, Yaeji, Big Freedia, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, VINCINT, and many more.

“Our festival’s growth has been fueled by the invaluable partnership and support from the City of West Hollywood. WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD is a testament to JJLA and OUTLOUD’s commitment to celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and community,” shared OUTLOUD CEO/Producer Jeff Consoletti of JJLA. “We’re ready to set the stage on fire once again, welcoming everyone to join us for a weekend of electrifying music, fierce performances, and unabashed pride!”

To RSVP and to purchase single-day general admission tickets for the OUTLOUD Music Festival, visit: https://www.weareoutloud.com/.

Join the VIP waitlist to be notified when additional VIP Passes become available at arep.co/w/outloudvipwaitlist/finished.

Created and produced by JJLA, OUTLOUD Music Festival first launched in 2020 as a virtual concert series, highlighting and elevating queer artists at a time when many Pride celebrations were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, OUTLOUD Music Festival partnered with Pride Live’s Stonewall Day and Adam Lambert to deliver a three-day, in-person concert series in Los Angeles, marking the return of live events to the city after the pandemic shutdown. Performers included Adam Lambert, Kim Petras, SOFI TUKKER, VINCINT, LP Giobbi, Brooke Eden, Daya, Hayley Kiyoko, and more, plus an in-person appearance from Los Angeles’ then-Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The event, which won a 2021 BizBash Event Experience Award for Best Cultural/Multicultural Event (Live Events & Experiences), was simultaneously streamed on Twitch, garnering 4.8 million views and providing the participating artists and queer charities a unique and critical global platform.

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West Hollywood

LGBTQ commission selects finalists for 2024 Rainbow Key Awards

West Hollywood’s Rainbow Key Awards, now in its 31st year, began in 1993 with awards to actress Carole Cook & writer-actor Bruce Vilanch

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Photo Credit: Paulo Murillo/WeHo Times

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The LGBTQ+ Commission is recommending five recipients for the 2024 Rainbow Key Awards, which will be up for approval by the West Hollywood City Council at the upcoming Regular Council Meeting on Monday, May 6, 2024.

The finalists are:

  1. Jackie Beat, nominated by Chris Isaacson – Drag superstar Jackie Beat has been entertaining audiences across the U.S. and in Europe for over thirty-five years with her razor-sharp comedy and hysterical song parodies. Jackie not only warps hits by Britney Spears, Madonna, Mary J. Blige, Christina Aguilera, Cher, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Mariah Carey, and many others, but she flawlessly sings her twisted new versions LIVE, hitting every last note.
  2. Vivian “Dapper Dyke” Escalante, nominated by Mj Godges – In 1994, Dapper Dyke Vivian was the driving force of the Dyke March in West Hollywood, establishing Dykes on Bikes when lesbian/dyke visibility was scarce. With Vivian leading the way, they were determined to take over the streets of WeHo and promote Lesbian visibility and return Dykes on Bikes to leading the March. As they marched, they chanted, played drums, and held up signs while the Dykes on Bikes would clear the path for marchers. Despite the sheriff’s attempts to stop the march from moving forward, the Dykes on Bikes revved their engines, bringing traffic to a complete halt and drawing cheers from the spectators who joined their mission to be seen.
  3. Rebecca Gitlin, nominated by James Coomes – Dr. Rebecca Gitlin is a force of nature and fierce advocate for the LGBTQIA2S+ community across Los Angeles County. She has led the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health efforts to ensure that both identity and gender-affirming services are included across all clinical assessments within the Department of Mental Health, both directly operated and contract providers, and ensure that the Department of Mental Health has a presence in the LGBTQIA2S+ community across the county.
  4. LZ Love, nominated by Jazzmun Nichcala Cravton – LZ Love is an elder African American transwoman and a native of Chicago. She’s an acclaimed songwriter, singer, performer, and recording artist of gutbucket soul-stirring blues and blues-saturated gospel and dance music. She’s performed on stages worldwide for four decades, from Tokyo, Japan, London, England, Germany, Paris, France, Switzerland, and Croatia. LZ recently performed live in Austin, Texas, and acted in a web series, Glass Cock Park. She’s also an author and creative nonfiction writer. Her art, entertainment, and message of love and acceptance are for everyone, especially the LGBTQ community and those mistreated, abused, shunned, and abandoned. She uses her music and songwriting to make a positive change globally.
  5. Brian Sonia-Wallace, nominated by Gen Cheng – Brian founded the band of LGBTQ+ typewriter poets in 2019, “Pride Poets,” and this has served WeHo Pride and various other WeHo-based activities ever since. By creating Pride Poets, Brian has served thousands of WeHo Pride attendees and WeHo Arts audiences a souvenir that helps give them a fond memory at a West Hollywood event.

The City of West Hollywood’s Rainbow Key Awards, now in its 31st year, began in 1993 with awards to actress Carole Cook and writer-actor Bruce Vilanch. Since the award’s inception, the City has honored 174 individuals and/or groups who have made significant contributions to the LGBTQ+ Community.

These contributions, by an individual or a group, may be in many forms, including the arts, community action, humanitarian action, sports, medicine, armed services, leadership potential, benefit to the global LGBTQ+ community, or other kinds of contribution. Under policies adopted by the City Council in 2022, the LGBTQ+ Commission seeks nominations from the community for Rainbow Key Awardees and reviews applications before making recommendations to the City Council for awardees.

The nomination form asks about each nominee’s impact on the West Hollywood LGBTQ+ community specifically, as well as, if applicable, the global LGBTQ+ community.

Every year, five individuals and/or organizations are recognized with a Rainbow Key Award. Attendance at the Rainbow Key event is not required for a recipient to receive this honor.

The LGBTQ+ Commission, at its April 11, 2024, meeting, selected five recipients for the Rainbow Key Awards. The date for the 2024 Rainbow Key Awards ceremony has not yet been determined, but it is anticipated to take place during fall 2024.

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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. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at [email protected]

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

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And the Winner of the 7th Annual Drag Queen World Series is…

The Drag Queen World Series raises awareness of the ongoing impact of AIDS and aims to erase stigma while raising funds for The Life Group LA

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7th Annual Drag Queen Series - Photo by Mike Pingel


By Mike Pingel | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The Annual Drag Queen World Series returned to the field with the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence battling it out with the West Hollywood Cheerleaders on Saturday, April 17, 2024, for a giant trophy, bragging rights, and a chance to raise money for The Life Group LA.

And the winner is…

The 7th Annual Drag Queen World Series ended in a tie between the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and the West Hollywood Cheerleaders. The fun, wacky, playful, rule-bending softball game took place at Fairfax High School. The event was hosted by the Life Group LA in collaboration with the Fairfax High School Alumni Association’s Centennial Celebration and the High School’s GSA Youth Club.

7th Annual Drag Queen Series – Photo by Mike Pingel
7th Annual Drag Queen Series – Photo by Mike Pingel

The Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence brought their best softball tactics to distract the West Hollywood Cheerleaders, who were lead in the game. The Sisters held a tea party between third and fourth base, conducted a yoga class next to the pitcher’s mound, attempted to bribe the umpire with fake $100 bills, and even halted an inning to bless the bases while the Cheerleaders were up to bat.

7th Annual Drag Queen Series – Photo by Mike Pingel

This was not your ordinary softball game; it was a DRAG QUEEN softball game, where the rules changed constantly. For instance, although the real game score was 6 to 14 in favor of the West Hollywood Cheerleaders, the LA Sisters petitioned for a tiebreaker. The two teams engaged in a ribbon dance-off, and the umpire allowed the crowd to vote. The dance-off was worth 8 points, resulting in a tied game, 14 to 14! Both teams were able to go home and enjoy dinner, thanks to one of the many wacky rules that brought laughter and spectator participation to the game.

Throughout the day, West Hollywood Mayor John M. Erickson umpired; Jai Rodriguez (from Queer Eye) sang the National Anthem; Karl Schmid (from KABC-TV) threw the ceremonial First Pitch, and music was spun by Celebrity DJ Eur-O-Steve. This year’s announcers were TV/Podcast personalities Alexander Rodriguez and Norma Lee High. The 3rd inning stretch featured a performance by RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Eureka O’Hara.

7th Annual Drag Queen Series – Photo by Mike Pingel
7th Annual Drag Queen Series – Photo by Mike Pingel
7th Annual Drag Queen Series – Photo by Mike Pingel

The Drag Queen World Series raises awareness of the ongoing impact of AIDS and aims to erase stigma. It also serves as an opportunity to raise financial support for The Life Group LA, whose main goal is to provide education and emotional support to individuals infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

The Life Group LA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 2005, offers much-needed information and emotional support through medical forums, emotional support groups, and the POZ Life Weekend Seminar, all free of charge. All services are provided in a non-judgmental and safe environment with compassion and understanding.

Safety, respect, and confidentiality are the cornerstones of Life Group LA’s philosophy, achieved through trained support group facilitators who practice active listening and conduct themselves with empathy and compassion.

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Mike Pingel has written six books, Channel Surfing: Charlie’s Angels & Angelic Heaven: A Fan’s Guide to Charlie’s Angels, Channel Surfing: Wonder Woman, The Brady Bunch: Super Groovy after all these years; Works of Pingel and most recently, Betty White: Rules the World. Pingel owns and runs CharliesAngels.com website and was Farrah Fawcett personal assistant. He also works as an actor and as a freelance publicist. His official website is www.mikepingel.com

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

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West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

Interested in WeHo Pride text updates? Policy Changes to the Sunset Arts & Advertising Program, ‘Public Safety Meet & Greet’ plus more

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Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

Interested in WeHo Pride text updates- Opt-in by texting ‘Pride’ to (323) 848-5000

WEST HOLLYWOODThe City of West Hollywood is reminding community members who want to be in the know about all things WeHo Pride to opt-in to the City’s text message program by texting “Pride” or the rainbow emoji (🌈) to (323) 848-5000.

Users may unsubscribe at any time by texting STOP to the number. Details about the text message program are provided at www.weho.org/text. Regularly updated information about WeHo Pride, including a calendar of events, can be found at www.wehopride.com

The City’s text platform does not function as a voice number and is not monitored for questions; West Hollywood City Hall may be reached for voice calls at (323) 848-6400. Service requests may be submitted via the City of West Hollywood Official App or using the City’s website by visiting www.weho.org/servicerequest.

Community members are advised that the text message program is not a tool for emergency alerts/notifications. The City of West Hollywood and the West Hollywood Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department provide community safety and emergency alerts/notifications via Nixle, which is used by more than 8,000 public safety agencies. Nixle alerts may include severe weather or traffic information, criminal activity details, missing person alerts, and more.

To opt-in, text a West Hollywood ZIP code to 888777. More information is available at www.nixle.com. Los Angeles County, additionally, provides emergency notification text messages via Alert LA County; more information is available at ready.lacounty.gov/alerts.

The City’s text message program is built on the Community platform, which is currently used by corporations, public figures, sports teams, celebrities, and government entities such as President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, Former First Lady Michelle Obama, The White House, and more.

The platform helps users to choose subjects about which they prefer to receive text messages and will not distribute unrelated advertising or spam messages. As the first municipal government using Community, the City of West Hollywood has enjoyed a unique opportunity to help shape a new standard of local government text communications.

The City’s text message program is part of an array of ways that the City works to engage with community members including:

City website news – www.weho.org/news 

City events and meetings calendar – www.weho.org/calendar

Engage WeHo – engage.weho.org

Opt-in email subscriptions – www.weho.org/email

WeHoTV YouTube channel – www.youtube.com/wehotv

WeHo TV broadcast and streaming – www.weho.org/wehotv

The City maintains social media pages across all major platforms and urges community members to follow the City (@wehocity) and turn on notifications to get the latest news, updates, and information. Visit www.weho.org/socialmedia for details.

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s text message program, please contact Jayce Simpson, City of West Hollywood Digital Media Officer, at (323) 848-6402 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood Recognizes May as Building Safety Month

The City of West Hollywood recognizes May as Building Safety Month. The City will host a Building and Safety Division Open House event on Tuesday, May 7, 2024 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the West Hollywood City Hall Courtyard, located at 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard at Sweetzer Avenue. The community is invited to meet City staff, learn about the work of the Building and Safety Division, and enjoy light refreshments.

Building Safety Month is an international campaign that takes place in May to raise awareness about building safety. This campaign reinforces the need for the adoption of modern, regularly-updated building codes, and helps individuals, families and businesses understand what it takes to create safe and sustainable structures.

The City of West Hollywood’s Building and Safety Division is responsible for the enforcement of the building, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical codes as adopted by the City Council. The Division is also responsible for enforcement of the California State accessibility regulations and energy conservation regulations. The Division reviews and processes building permit applications, performs plan check reviews of construction documents and performs building inspections for construction projects in the City. These services are provided directly to the community using a variety of methods including a public counter, website, phones, mail, e-mail, and extensive field site visits.

Each May, the International Code Council, its members, and a diverse partnership of professionals from the building construction, design, and safety communities come together with corporations, government agencies, professional associations and nonprofits to promote building safety through proclamations, informational events, legislative briefings, and more. The City understands the need for safe and sustainable structures where we live, work, and play.

All communities need building codes to protect their citizens from disasters like fires, earthquakes, weather-related events, and structural collapse. Building codes are society’s best way of protecting homes, offices, schools, manufacturing facilities, stores, and entertainment venues. Code officials work day in and day out to keep the public safe.

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s building and safety division, please visit the Building and Safety area on the City’s website or contact Cynthia Zabala, the City of West Hollywood’s Senior Plan Check Engineer, at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6892.

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

‘Public Safety Meet and Greet’ on May 1 at Plummer Park

The City of West Hollywood invites community members to a Public Safety Meet and Greet event on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 at 6 p.m. at Plummer Park’s Community Center, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. Drop in; no RSVP is needed.

Attendees will have an opportunity to meet City staff members from its Community Safety Department, as well as members of the City’s Public Safety Commission and representatives from the West Hollywood Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department Station 7 and Station 8, and Block by Block Security Ambassador program. 

This informal event will provide interactions with the City’s public safety partners and a place to learn about available resources and discover ways to actively contribute to keeping West Hollywood a safe place – all while enjoying pizza, salad, vegan options, and other refreshments.

The City of West Hollywood’s Community Safety Department works to ensure public safety and to strengthen the quality of life for residents, businesses, and visitors in West Hollywood. The Community Safety Department fosters a community policing approach and works with a variety of organizations, agencies, and partners to provide targeted community programs to reduce crime and increase neighborhood livability; to facilitate emergency management and disaster preparedness; and to coordinate law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services personnel for all major special events utilizing a unified command approach. Community Safety programs and services are provided though the Public Safety Administration Division and Neighborhood and Business Safety Division in collaboration with the West Hollywood Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, and the Block by Block Security Ambassadors program. The Community Safety Department serves as the direct liaison to the City’s Public Safety Commission and Business License Commission.

For the latest updates and information, please download the City’s Community Safety in the City of West Hollywood publication.

For more information please contact Anita Shandi, the City of West Hollywood’s Public Safety Manager, at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6446.

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

Hepatitis C Community Educational Forum

The City of West Hollywood will host a free Hepatitis C Community Educational Forum in Los Angeles County. The forum will take place on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at 6:30 p.m. at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The forum will be preceded by a reception with a light dinner, courtesy of Gilead. Pre-registration is requested via Eventbrite. Limited parking will be available in the adjacent 5-story West Hollywood Park parking structure and event attendees will receive a two-hour validation.

The Forum will also be available for viewing on WeHoTV. Broadcast will be provided in West Hollywood on Spectrum Channel 10; the Forum will be streamed on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube channel www.youtube.com/wehotv and on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Roku streaming platforms by searching for “WeHoTV” using search functions.

“Hepatitis C is on the rise nationally and here in Los Angeles County we are seeing the highest numbers of newly infected people in California,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John M. Erickson. “It’s important that our community is aware of ways to avoid becoming infected, but also to provide a forum to educate those who are at elevated risk of contracting the virus about the importance of getting tested and seeking treatment.”

The Hepatitis C Community Educational Forum will feature a moderated panel discussion with physicians and public health policy experts, including:

  • Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, MD, MPH, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Population and Public Health Sciences and former CDC medical epidemiologist, and San Francisco City and County Deputy Health Officer;
  • Prabhu Gounder, MD, medical epidemiologist with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health overseeing surveillance and outbreak investigations for viral hepatitis, healthcare-associated infections, and respiratory diseases including influenza; and
  • Brian Risley, MFA, Manager of the HIV/Hep C Health, HIV & Older Adults and Women Together Programs at APLA Health, and Co-Chair of the Hepatitis C Task Force for Los Angeles County.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Hernán Molina, MPA, Governmental Affairs Liaison for the City of West Hollywood. 

Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). If left untreated, HCV can lead to serious health complications, including liver cancer, cirrhosis, and death. The virus usually spreads when someone comes into contact with blood from an infected person. A great majority of people become infected with HCV by sharing needles, syringes, or any other equipment used to prepare and inject drugs. While uncommon, hepatitis C can spread during sex, though men who have sex with men (MSM) with HIV have the highest risk of acquiring HCV sexually, and MSM on PrEP are at elevated risk. Approximately 10% of new HCV cases reported are among MSM.  

Hepatitis C can spread when getting tattoos or body piercings in unlicensed facilities, informal settings, or with non-sterile equipment. Many people who are newly infected with HCV do not have symptoms and do not know they are infected. Approximately 20% of people newly infected with HCV can clear the virus in the first six months; however, a majority of people develop chronic hepatitis C, which is a lifelong infection that stays in the body. 

Testing for HCV, which is the only way to know if the virus is present, is very important for those groups most at risk of infection. An antibody test will reveal if a person has been infected with the hepatitis C virus — either recently or in the past. If there is a positive antibody test result, another blood test is needed to tell if the infection remains active or if it was a past infection and cleared on its own.

New cases of HCV have been on the rise nationally, including in the state of California. From 1994 to 2018, there were 714,737 new chronic cases of HCV reported to the California Department of Public Health. In 2018, Los Angeles County had the highest number of newly reported chronic HCV cases among non-incarcerated people in the state of California. There are currently 2.4 million people in the United States living with HCV. In recent years, HCV has been related to more deaths than HIV. As there is no vaccine to prevent HCV, the only effective way to prevent getting infected is to avoid contact with infected blood, especially through sharing needles or syringes. There are new and highly effective direct-acting drugs available that have a nearly 100 % cure rate. 

A high percentage of individuals who are aware of their HCV+ status do not seek treatment. According to a September 21, 2022 report by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), only one in three HCV+ patients who have insurance seek timely treatment, and patients who are covered by MediCal are 46% less likely to receive treatment, even though HCV medications are fully covered.

 A recent survey of 533 cases in Los Angeles County’s Service Planning Area 4, which includes West Hollywood, shows that 84% of patients were aware of their HCV+ status but approximately 70% had not accessed treatment. This City of West Hollywood-hosted panel will seek answers as to why people are not accessing treatment when highly effective medicine is available; explore outreach conducted by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the State’s public health agency, and examine best practices for cities to increase awareness of the presence of HCV, to educate about the effective treatments available, and to connect HCV+ individuals to treatment.

For more information about the Hepatitis C Community Educational Forum, please contact Hernán Molina, City of West Hollywood Governmental Affairs Liaison, at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6364.

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

West Hollywood Encourages Community to Weigh-In on Policy Changes to the Sunset Arts & Advertising Program

West Hollywood is encouraging community members to provide feedback on proposed policy changes to the Sunset Arts & Advertising Program.  The Sunset Strip is where entertainment, nightlife, and iconic billboards set the scene for West Hollywood’s dynamic culture. Known for its innovative signage, the Sunset Strip has been a premier outdoor advertising venue since the 1960s and ’70s, when recording artists debuted albums on custom-painted billboards. Today, technology propels advertising into new realms, transitioning from painted murals and vinyl to dynamic and creative billboard displays.

The Sunset Arts & Advertising Program was adopted in 2019 with the intent to allow a limited number of new billboards on Sunset Boulevard. The program includes a rigorous design excellence competition where only a select number of applicants are awarded the opportunity to proceed with applications for new billboards. The proposed amendments will provide additional clarity for defined terms, clarify intent and vision principles, and strengthen the standards, including those around brightness and orientation of the new billboards. 

The proposed amendments focus on making guidelines, vision, and standards clearer for the public and applicants; clarifying the language of standards and guidelines to make them easier to understand and follow; bolstering the lighting standards with specific and measurable standards; and incorporating best practices into the policy. 

The City invites residents, businesses, and frequent visitors to share their feedback and suggestions on Engage WeHo. PDF documents of proposed amendments to the program, a map of billboard locations, the original Sunset Boulevard off-site signage policy, and the Sunset Boulevard lighting study are available by logging in or creating an account at  https://engage.weho.org/SAAP.  The feedback portal is open now and will remain open through Sunday, May 19, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. (You must be logged in to provide feedback). The City’s Community Development Department will gather feedback submitted during the review period and present proposed program updates at a future date.

Goals for the Sunset Arts & Advertising Program are:

  • Revitalization: The principal benefit of the program is to help revitalize the Sunset Strip. Through this program, new development and façade remodels were encouraged and this has led to several projects completely redeveloping underutilized, and sometimes deteriorating sites;
  • Historic Preservation: The program encourages the designation, restoration, and preservation of historic buildings. Once designated, the income from a billboard helps the property owner maintain the historic building;
  • Streetscape and Public Realm: An important aspect of the program is the improved streetscape that is part of many of the projects. The goal is to create meaningful public realm enhancements that actively engage and enrich the pedestrian experience along Sunset Boulevard, providing interesting places to sit, to view, and to engage with streetscape elements, some of which will be interactive. Program projects also contribute to capital improvement projects, such as the Sunset & La Cienega Boulevard Intersection Improvement Plan, which will improve this intersection for both the pedestrian and the motorist;
  • Economic Vitality: This program helps individual property owners and business owners with additional revenue to improve and maintain their buildings and businesses, thereby encouraging economic stability and growth. Iconic businesses such as the Rainbow Bar & Grill, the Roxy Theatre, the Whisky a Go-Go nightclub, and the Comedy Store will be ensured a stable and steady income, helping to maintain these important businesses on the Strip; and
  • City Content & Arts Programming: Each billboard must provide a contribution of time (17.5% per hour, 10.5 minutes per hour) to city content (public City announcements and/or public art). At the top of every hour, full motion animated billboards will display ten and a half minutes of City content and/or arts programming curated by the City of West Hollywood in consultation with the City’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission. This is an important aspect of the program, helping the City achieve the goal of bringing art to everyone using Sunset Boulevard and adding to the vibrancy and aesthetics of the Sunset Strip, ensuring its importance and relevance as a world-famous destination.

For more information about the Sunset Arts & Advertising Program, please visit the City’s website. Feedback collection on proposed policy updates via https://engage.weho.org/SAAP will close on Sunday, May 19, 2024 at 11:59 p.m.

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

West Hollywood Celebrates All Things Canine on World Dog Day 2024

The City of West Hollywood is pawsitively pumped to co-sponsor The Vanderpump Dog Foundation’s 7th annual World Dog Day event in West Hollywood, which brings together hundreds of people and their furry friends to celebrate dogs for a day of fun and entertainment.

The 2024 World Dog Day event will take place on Saturday, May 11, 2024, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Admission is free and open to the public; canine companions must attend on a leash.  

This year’s World Dog Day will be the ultimate dog lover event! Enjoy vendors, live music, raffles, and many other activities for you and your furry friend. West Hollywood Park and the dog parks will continue to be open to the public during this year’s event. The event organizers will provide waste bags and waste stations as needed to accommodate demand.

World Dog Day is a day that focuses on the celebration of dogs. The day aims to draw attention to the amazing, empathetic creatures that dogs are, while raising awareness about global dog abuse, and very specifically the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. The Dog Meat Festival in Yulin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, begins on June 21 each year. More than 10,000 dogs are reported to be captured, transported in cages, and killed for human consumption every year for this annual event. In addition, more than 10 million dogs are killed annually in China for the dog meat trade. This festival epitomizes the cruelty of the dog trade industry. Many of the dogs are stolen from their owners. Many die during transport to the slaughterhouse after days or weeks without food or water, and others suffer illness and injury during transport, such as broken bones. 

In 2016, the City of West Hollywood passed a Resolution condemning the Dog Meat Festival in Yulin. The City of West Hollywood has a long history of supporting measures that promote the protection of animal rights and the City is a recognized leader in legislation that ensures the welfare of animals. In April 2003, the City became the first municipality in the nation to prohibit cat declawing. In February 2010, the City passed an Ordinance to address the inhumane conditions endured by “puppy mill” animals by prohibiting the sale of dogs and cats in companion animal stores. In September 2013, the City’s fur Ordinance went into effect, which prohibits retail establishments from selling, trading, distributing, importing, or exporting any fur product.

The Vanderpump Dog Foundation was formed to aid in ending this international atrocity and to also better the lives of dogs domestically. The Foundation is built on a platform of education, legislation, and activism. Through the organization’s legislative campaigns, domestic and international awareness, and rescue and rehabilitation efforts, it hopes to end the barbaric torture once and for all.

The City of West Hollywood invites canine members of the community and their humans to sniff out a spot and romp around at the City’s two dog parks at West Hollywood Park. A small dog park and large dog park are located on each side of the park’s basketball courts and each area features expanses of open space with shade trees, small mounds and turf terraces, and water stations. In addition, the City operates the William S. Hart Park and Off-Leash Dog Park located at 8341 De Longpre Avenue.

For more information about upcoming dog events in the City of West Hollywood, please call (323) 848-6460. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

West Hollywood Celebrates WeHo Russian-Speaking Community Cultural Heritage Month

The City of West Hollywood annually celebrates the rich traditions brought to the United States by Russian-speaking immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Each year, the City recognizes Russian-Speaking Community Cultural Heritage Month to embrace the diverse identities and cultural history of Russian-speaking community members whose origins span wide-ranging territories with varied religious and social traditions.

Russian-speaking Community Cultural Heritage Month 2024 events include:

  • Maysky Classical Night and the 18th Annual Russian-Speaking Community Awards presentation will begin at 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, 2024, at West Hollywood City Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. 
  • WWII Veterans Memorial Day/Victory in Europe Day commemoration on Sunday, May 5, 2024, at 11 a.m. at Plummer Park’s Fiesta Hall, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. Vocalist Alison Lewis joins Helix Collective to delight the crowd with favorite songs of the World War II era, including songs that motivated the Allies to victory. The program will include WWII song selections from France, the U.K., the Soviet Union, and the United States, including Le Chant de Partisans, the song of the French Resistance, Accentuate the Positive from the United States, Katyusha, Blue Kerchief, Dark is the Night from the Soviet Union, and We’ll Meet Again and Run, Rabbit, Run from the UK.
  • The Grand Show on Saturday, May 18, 2024 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Plummer Park’s Fiesta Hall, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The event, hosted by the City and Unity In Diversity Arts Foundation, will offer a unique opportunity for dance lovers as children and youth showcase their talent in various dancing genres. The event includes general dancing for the audience.
  • The 23rd Annual WeHo Mishka Festival on Sunday, May 19, 2024, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The City and its Russian-Speaking Advisory Board will embrace the opportunity to explore and share the deep historical elements of the culture brought to this country by immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Laima Vaikule, Thea Austin, and Rustam Shtar will perform as part of a gala concert from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The day will also feature the closing reception for the Harmony Within Art exhibition currently showing in Plummer Park’s Long Hall. 

Additional details about Russian-Speaking Community Cultural Heritage Month programs and event descriptions are available at www.weho.org/RSCweho.

The City of West Hollywood is home to a large community of people from regions of the former Soviet Union. Approximately 11% of City residents identify a former region of the Soviet Union as their primary ancestry. The former Soviet Union encompassed 15 republics — Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Belorussia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Russian culture has withstood centuries and the Russian language unites people and serves to connect and deepen a common culture.

Many Russian-speaking community members established roots in West Hollywood after fleeing from discrimination and antisemitism. In the early 1970s, the then-USSR experienced a wave of emigration due to the politics of the government. Many people chose to come to Los Angeles to embrace the future opportunities of a free world for themselves and their children. They came here by way of support provided by local programs and nonprofits to assist Jewish immigrants in what would become incorporated as the City of West Hollywood. The City remains a thriving hub for the Russian-speaking community in the region.

Since 2001, the City has recognized the Russian-Speaking Community Cultural Heritage Month to bring to life the cultural and creative traditions of Russian-speaking community members with programming highlighting rich visual arts, performing arts, language, and history.

For more information, please contact Tatyana Rodzinek, City of West Hollywood Russian-Speaking Community Programs Coordinator, at (323) 848-6826 or at [email protected].

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

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For up-to-date information about City of West Hollywood news and events, follow @wehocity on social media, sign-up for news updates at www.weho.org/email, and visit the City’s calendar of meetings and events at www.weho.org/calendar

West Hollywood City Hall is open for walk-in services at public counters or by appointment by visiting www.weho.org/appointments.  City Hall services are accessible by phone at (323) 848-6400 and via website at www.weho.org

Receive text updates by texting “WeHo” to (323) 848-5000.

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Updated: WeHo’s The Abbey Nightclub was sold for $45 Million

The 14,200-square-foot properties at 686 and 692 North Robertson Boulevard in WeHo traded hands for $27 million

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The Abbey WeHo and The Chapel at The Abbey - WEHO TIMES

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – When news broke that the Abbey Food & Bar and its sister location the Chapel at The Abbey sold to hotel entrepreneur Tristan Schukraft this past November, the big question on everyone’s mind was, for how much? According to a report by Commercial Observer, the 14,200-square-foot properties at 686 and 692 North Robertson Boulevard traded hands for $27 million.

UPDATED:

Commercial Real Estate Title Insurance VP, Jacki Ueng at Ticor Title (FNF) revealed the real estate sale and business acquisition of The Abbey WeHo in West Hollywood which closed this week on April 22, 2024. The final price hotel entrepreneur Tristan Schukraft paid The Abbey founder David Cooley to acquire The Abbey enterprise is a whopping $45,000,000.00.

The breakdown of the sale is as follows:

  • Real estate sale price: $27,000,000.00
  • Business sale price: $18,000,000.00 (for the Abbey WeHo and The Chapel at The Abbey)
  • Asking Price: $50,000,000.00
  • The total purchase: $45,000,000.00

The listing of both spaces was described as “a generational purchase opportunity to acquire one of the world’s most iconic nightclubs and restaurants, The Abbey and The Chapel at the Abbey, including its tangible and intangible assets with all branding and branding rights to the businesses, and trophy West Hollywood real estate. ‘The Abbey’ business, a fee simple interest of 686 N Robertson Blvd, and ‘The Chapel at The Abbey’ business with its interest in the lease at 694 N Robertson Blvd.”

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David Cooley sold a majority of his stake of The Abbey to hospitality and entertainment company SBE Group in 2006. According to reports SBE paid close to $10 million for a 75 percent stake. Cooley stayed on as President. SBE Group planned to open additional Abbey bars in popular gay destinations across the country, but those plans never panned out. Cooley bought the Abbey back in 2015, a year shy of the Abbey’s 25-year-anniversary. The Abbey recently celebrated 33 years.

Cooley also listed his home for sale in L.A.’s historic Hancock Park neighborhood back in March. Cooley purchased the brick structure designed by architect Henry F Withey for $1.9 million in 2001. The home sold for $6,786,400. His asking price was $7,695,000. The home is widely known for hosting several fundraisers throughout the past four decades.

Cooley made a tearful exit on his last day as owner of two of West Hollywood’s most iconic nightclubs on Thursday, April 11. He officially turned over the reins to new owner Schukraft.

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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. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at [email protected]

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

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