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Free Screening and Discussion of Documentary ‘Motherland’, Women’s History Month in March, 38th Annual Los Angeles Marathon plus more

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West Hollywood City Hall (Photo credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott)

City of West Hollywood Hosts Free Screening and Discussion of Documentary ‘Motherland’  About the Invasion of the Republic of Artsakh

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood will host a free screening and discussion of the feature-length documentary film Motherland, which focuses on the invasion of the Republic of Artsakh by Azerbaijan and Turkey and the massacre of more than 5,000 indigenous Armenians.

The screening of Motherland will take place on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at 6 p.m. at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Viewer discretion is advised, as the film contains graphic images of violent warfare. A discussion will follow, which will be moderated by City of West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne featuring filmmaker/director Vic Gerami; producer Henrick Vartanian; and editor Chris Damadyan. Parking validation will be available for the adjacent five-story West Hollywood Park structure (parking is limited to availability). RSVP is requested in advance via Eventbrite.  

Through an activist and journalistic lens, Motherland chronicles the Armenian people’s fight for peace, liberation, and humanity. The documentary is aimed toward a worldwide audience so international viewers can not only witness the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against Artsakh and Armenia, but can also experience the extraordinary beauty of the people and cultures in both countries.  

Motherland is an investigative documentary written, directed, and produced by journalist and LGBTQ activist Vic Gerami. In creating the film, Gerami traveled to Armenia twice to document and capture the present struggle of Armenians in Artsakh and share their stories with the global community. The documentary features seven members of Congress, including Congressmember Adam Schiff (D–CA), Senator Bob Mendez (D–NJ), Congressmember Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Congressmember Jackie Speier (D-CA), Congressmember Katie Porter (D-CA), Congressmember Brad Sherman (D-CA), and Congressmember Barbara Lee (D-CA), as well as Baroness Caroline Cox, Life Peer Member of the British House of Lords.

The film premiered in Los Angeles in 2020 and was well received by local and international critics. Motherland has garnered worldwide attention and has been invited to screen at numerous film festivals. It was shortlisted for Film Independent’s ‘Spirit Awards’ and was Oscar-qualified and available in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Screening Room. It was chosen as an ‘Official Selection’ at the Cannes World Film Festival, International Activism Film Festival, and the Docs Without Borders International Film Festival. 

For additional information, please contact Jasmine Duckworth, City of West Hollywood Community Programs Coordinator, at (323) 848-6559 or at  [email protected].

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

Neighborhood Conversation to Discuss Laurel House and Park Artist Residency Program

The City of West Hollywood invites community members to attend the third Neighborhood Conversation about a Laurel House and Park Artist Residency Program. The Conversation will be led by consultant team Kimberli Meyer and Sara Daleiden on Friday, March 17, 2023 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Plummer Park Community Center, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The consultants will share updates on the project and seek feedback from the community. 

The City-owned real property at 1343 N. Laurel Avenue, known as Laurel House and Park, consists of a 30,000-square-foot lot, a 7,177-square-foot former single-family dwelling, and an unattached accessory structure that is approximately 2,379 square feet and consists of a chauffer’s cottage and garages. The original portions of the structures were built in 1917. The conversion of the original single-family residence into four apartment units and the southerly four-car garage addition were completed in 1941. The property was designated as a Local Cultural Resource by the City of West Hollywood in 1994.

In 2010, the West Hollywood City Council directed staff to develop a plan to open the grounds at 1343 N. Laurel Avenue as open space on a temporary/interim basis for public use. From 2013-2014, the City conducted an extensive community visioning process for the Laurel property. The community expressed support for several potential uses during the visioning process and prioritized several factors, including: access to more community gathering spaces; activation as an Arts and Cultural Center; maintenance and/or enhancements of the property’s use for peacefulness and beauty; preservation of the house and gardens, but activation through new features and programming; and, continued use for dog walking.

In 2018, the West Hollywood City Council received a report forwarded by the Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission focusing on Artist-in-Residence programs, including consideration of the use of 1343 N. Laurel Avenue as a potential Artist-in-Residence site. This recommendation was forwarded to the Council Subcommittee for further review and consideration. In October 2022, in a feasibility study update, the City Council confirmed that the site should be used for arts and culture programs and it directed staff to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a qualified architectural design firm to continue the programming and design process.

Kimberli Meyer and Sara Daleiden are guiding the development of the Artist Residency Program for the cultural resource, Laurel House and Park, located at 1343 N. Laurel Avenue. Meyer is an independent cultural producer, curator, writer, and designer working across the fields of art and architecture. She served as the Director the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, at the Schindler House, 835 N. Kings Road, from 2002-2016. Daleiden is a consultant who specializes in facilitating civic engagement using arts and cultural exchange strategies. She encourages local cultures to value neighborhoods, public space, civic art, business development, as well as artist residencies, creative placemaking and media culture-making.

For additional information, please contact Rebecca Ehemann, 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.

West Hollywood Celebrates American Red Cross in March

The City of West Hollywood celebrates the American Red Cross during the month of March to honor and celebrate the Red Cross and its commitment to providing humanitarian relief for people around the world.

As part of the City’s recognition of March as Red Cross Month, West Hollywood City Hall, located at 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard, will be lit in red from Monday, March 13, 2023 through Tuesday, March 21, 2023 to raise awareness and to encourage community members to participate by volunteering, giving blood, learning lifesaving skills, or donating to the organization.

In 1863, the International Committee of the Red Cross (I.C.R.C.) was founded by Henry Dunant in Geneva, Switzerland. It called for improved care for wounded soldiers in wartime. Sometime later, in 1881, Clara Barton and several of her acquaintances founded the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. after learning about the Swiss-inspired global Red Cross network. Today, the American Red Cross continues to attract millions of volunteers and supporters dedicated to helping people who have been affected by war and crises. 

Recognizing March as Red Cross Month provides an opportunity for the City to honor and celebrate the employees, volunteers, donors, and partners who have committed their lives to making a difference in their neighborhoods and communities across the world. The Red Cross provides about 40% of the nation’s blood and blood components, all from generous volunteer donors. The Red Cross estimates that one in seven patients entering the hospital will need a blood transfusion — whether they are accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, or those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer, or sickle cell disease. To meet the needs of these patients, the Red Cross must collect approximately 12,500 blood and nearly 3,000 platelet donations every day.

During the past two years, the City of West Hollywood participated in community outreach for the ADVANCE Study (“Assessing Donor Variability And New Concepts in Eligibility”), a pilot study aimed at research and collaboration to make blood donation a more inclusive process while maintaining the safety of the blood supply. Study enrollment concluded on September 30, 2022 and researchers from the participating blood centers – Vitalant, OneBlood, and the American Red Cross – continue to share study data with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). New proposed policy by the FDA would eliminate the time-based restrictions on men who have sex with men (and their female partners) and, instead, screen potential donor eligibility based on a series of questions that assess HIV risk, regardless of gender.

As the world marks one year since the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces and the humanitarian crisis continuing there, The International Committee of the Red Cross — together with its partners in the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement — are active in Ukraine. Red Cross is also active in the response to the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. The City’s WeHo Responds program is helping facilitate contributions from local residents, businesses, and others to organizations to make a difference in Ukraine, Turkey, and Syria. Details about the International Committee of the Red Cross are included in a directory of nonprofit humanitarian organizations listed on the City’s website at www.weho.org/wehoresponds.

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

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

West Hollywood Presents

West Hollywood Artists and Icons Featuring Barbara Bain

West Hollywood’s Artists and Icons series will host a conversation with actress, director, and concerned citizen Barbara Bain, highlighting her decades-long career.

The event will take place on Thursday, March 16, 2023, 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 conversation and a Q&A that will begin at 8 p.m. The event is free, but seating is limited. RSVP is requested via Eventbrite

Parking validation for the adjacent five-story West Hollywood Park structure, will be available at the event (parking is limited to availability).

Best known for her work in the landmark television series Mission: Impossible, Barbara Bain was the first actress in the history of television to receive three consecutive Emmy Awards for Best Dramatic Actress. She began her acting career in New York under the instruction of Lee Strasberg of the Actors Studio. After settling in Los Angeles permanently, she established herself at the Actors Studio West. In 1968, the Actors Studio West moved to William S. Hart House in West Hollywood and Barbara was active in the Studio’s efforts to relocate. She is a Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio where she taught classes and performed scene work for many decades.

The conversation will be moderated by Corey Roskin, a writer and social services professional based in Palm Springs, California. Roskin worked for the City of West Hollywood for 29 years, most notably coordinating special events and projects as part of the City’s Social Services Division. For the past 21 years he has also been programming and producing literary events including the West Hollywood Book Fair, Lambda Lit Fest, and Palm Springs Pride on the Page, among others. He currently serves on the Boards for the Omega Sci-Fi Awards and the Palm Springs Library Foundation.  He has also volunteered for a variety of social services and cultural arts programs for nearly 40 years.

 The West Hollywood Artists & Icons is a periodic series organized by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division that celebrates the lives and work of West Hollywood residents and artists who present their work in the City, and who have made significant contributions to local, national, or global culture. The series has previously focused on many local artists and icons including Bette Davis, Mae West, Michael McMillen, Dan Guerrero, and Frances Taylor Davis.

For additional information about the Artists & Icons Series, please visit: www.weho.org/community/arts-and-culture/about/west-hollywood-artists-iconsFor 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.

Applications for Youth Scholarship Program

The City of West Hollywood will open its application window for the 2023 Youth Scholarship Program on Monday, March 13, 2023. The program awards $2,000 to graduating high school students who are West Hollywood residents and who are pursuing a post-secondary education at an accredited college, university, or trade/vocational school. Students must have completed 150 verified hours of community service to be considered. The Youth Scholarship Program application period is open through Friday, May 12, 2023. The scholarship money can be used for any expense incurred in pursuing post-secondary education at an accredited college, university, or trade/vocational school.

To qualify for a youth scholarship, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Residency – Applicant is a West Hollywood resident at the time the scholarship application is submitted and awarded. Please visit www.weho.org/city-government/contact-us/map-of-weho for a map of West Hollywood.
  • Secondary Education – Applicant is a high school senior ready to graduate or an individual receiving a GED. 
  • Post-Secondary Education – Applicant is planning to attend a college, university or trade/vocational school and has proof of acceptance to a post-secondary institution.
  • Community Service – Applicant has performed and provided verification of 150 hours of community service.

More information, application instructions, and the application link are available by visiting www.weho.org/youthscholarship.    

The Youth Scholarship Program is organized by the City of West Hollywood, but scholarship funds come entirely from individual and community donations. The City has awarded 40 youth scholarships since the program began. To support the program, the City encourages donations from community members, organizations, and area businesses. Community members wishing to donate to the Youth Scholarship Program may do so at https://secure.qgiv.com/for/youthsco.

The City of West Hollywood created the West Hollywood Youth Scholarship Program in 2007 and it is one of the first municipal government sponsored programs of its kind in the country. The Youth Scholarship Program recognizes the importance of education to our community and encourages and supports local students interested in pursuing their education beyond high school.

For additional information please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Social Services Division at [email protected] or by calling (323) 848-6510.

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

City Council Playhouse Design Steering Committee

West Hollywood invites the community to attend upcoming City Council City Playhouse Design Steering Committee discussions for the new West Hollywood City Playhouse that will replace the former Coast Playhouse, located at 8325 Santa Monica Boulevard, across the street from West Hollywood City Hall on Santa Monica Boulevard near N. Sweetzer Avenue.

Proposed as a new 99-seat approximately 5,000-square-foot venue, the Playhouse will serve as an arts and cultural event facility that will support artists and nonprofit arts organizations by providing an accessible venue in the center of West Hollywood. The project will include public programming and an outdoor landscaped civic space.

In February, the City hosted two community design visioning workshops with members of the local community as well as local artists and performers. City staff will collate input from these previous community workshops and the design team will receive guidance from the Steering Committee and community members on crafting the new Playhouse design during these sessions. 

The Steering Committee will include members of the West Hollywood City Council; members of the Arts & Cultural Affairs Commission; Public Facilities, Recreation, and Infrastructure Commission; and Planning Commission Design Review Subcommittee; as well as technical advisors and experts in fields including performance facility design, theatre technology, climate and sustainability, open space goals, and construction. The City will host three in-person City Council Playhouse Design Steering Committee discussions to collect feedback and ideas and finalize the design for the new Playhouse:

The City Council Playhouse Design Steering Committee Meeting #1 will take place on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, at 5 p.m. in the Kings Road Park Community Room, located at 1000 N. Kings Road. The purpose of this in-person meeting is to review the community feedback to date, review the project’s goals and objectives, discuss site and building programming opportunities, and discuss initial design concepts. 

The City Council Playhouse Design Steering Committee Meeting #2 will take place on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at 5 p.m. in the Kings Road Park Community Room, located at 1000 N. Kings Road. The purpose of this in-person meeting is to review updated design concepts and technical refinements based on previous input from the community and Steering Committee. 

The City Council Playhouse Design Steering Committee Meeting #3 will take place on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, at 5 p.m. in the Kings Road Park Community Room, located at 1000 N. Kings Road. The purpose of this in-person meeting is to further review updated design concepts and technical refinements based on previous input from the community and Steering Committee and to determine recommendations to the City Council regarding the programming and design of the playhouse.

For additional information about the City Playhouse project, please visit www.weho.org/city-government/city-manager/capital-projects/city-playhouse-design.

For more information about City Playhouse design and construction, please contact Michael Barker, City of West Hollywood Project Architect, at (323) 848-6483 or at [email protected].

For more information about City Playhouse arts programming and playhouse operations, 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.

38th Annual Los Angeles Marathon will Take Place on Sunday, March 19, 2023

Runners in the 2023 Los Angeles Marathon Presented by ASICS will be making their way through the City of West Hollywood on Sunday, March 19, 2023 as part of a 26.2-mile Stadium to the Stars course. 

Celebrating its 38th running, the Los Angeles Marathon course will begin, once again, at Dodger Stadium and it will conclude at Century Park in Century City, as it did last year. The portion of the route that runs through the City of West Hollywood remains unchanged.

The Los Angeles Marathon route for 2023 will guide runners westbound into the City of West Hollywood along Sunset Boulevard at Marmont Lane, just west of N. Crescent Heights Boulevard. From the Sunset Strip, runners will turn left (south) onto N. San Vicente Boulevard; then right (west) onto Santa Monica Boulevard; then left (south) onto N. Doheny Drive, where they will enter the City of Beverly Hills. The Marathon will run through West Hollywood between miles 14 and 15 of the course.

To ensure the safety of the large numbers of Los Angeles Marathon runners, there will be several street closures in the City of West Hollywood on Sunday, March 19, 2023 from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m.; crews will work to reopen roads to vehicle traffic as quickly as possible as the Marathon moves through the City of West Hollywood:

  • Sunset Boulevard between Marmont Lane and Clark Street/N. San Vicente Boulevard (the route enters the City of West Hollywood from the City of Los Angeles west along Sunset Boulevard from Marmont Lane, just west of N. Crescent Heights Boulevard);
  • N. San Vicente Boulevard between Sunset Boulevard and Melrose Avenue;
  • Santa Monica Boulevard between La Cienega Boulevard and N. Doheny Drive;
  • N. Doheny Drive between Santa Monica Boulevard and Beverly Boulevard (the route exits the City of West Hollywood to the City of Beverly Hills south along N. Doheny Drive).

Parking will be strictly prohibited along the Los Angeles Marathon route. “No Parking” signs will be posted prior to the event. Vehicles in violation will be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense.

Los Angeles Marathon spectators and community members who are searching for alternative parking solutions in West Hollywood during the Los Angeles Marathon are encouraged to visit the City of West Hollywood’s website, where a directory of parking structures and municipal lots with hours of operation and rates is available online. Members of the public are encouraged to carpool and to use public transportation, taxis, or ridesharing options.

For additional information regarding the 2023 Los Angeles Marathon Presented by ASICS, including details about road closures and alternate access routes, community members may email, call (213) 542-3000, or visit the Los Angeles Marathon website. Members of the media interested seeking media credentials for the event should apply directly with McCourt Foundation.

For more information specific to the City of West Hollywood regarding the Los Angeles Marathon or related street closures, please contact the City’s Event Services Division at (323) 848-6502. The City of West Hollywood’s Special Event hotline for general information is (323) 848-6503.

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

City of West Hollywood Celebrates Women’s History Month in March

West Hollywood will celebrate National Women’s History Month in March with a series of virtual events to recognize and honor women and women’s history.

From Sunday, March 5, 2023 through Wednesday, March 22, 2023, the globe lanterns above Santa Monica Boulevard will glow in purple and gold. Throughout the month, a series of streetlamp banners that commemorate famous American women, civil rights leaders, and women’s rights activists will be on display along Santa Monica Boulevard. The City’s featured streetlamp banners will include: Gail Abarbanel; Maya Angelou; Ivy Bottini; Rachel Carson; Hillary Rodham Clinton; Midge Costanza; Marion Wright Edelman; Alicia Garza; Barbara Gittings; Dolores Huerta; Coretta Scott King; Wilma Mankiller; Michaela Mendelsohn; Patsy Mink; Connie Norman; Michelle Obama; Rosa Parks; Sonia Sotomayor; Gloria Steinem; Elizabeth Taylor; and Oprah Winfrey; among others. 

National Women’s History Month will officially kick-off with the unveiling of two new women’s history month streetlamp banners honoring local community leaders: Nadia Sutton, founder of PAWS/LA, and, in memoriam, Ruth Williams, who was a neighborhood advocate who was involved in the City as early as its founding, and who served on the City’s Public Safety Commission for many years; Williams passed away in 2022. The streetlamp banners presentation will take place at the regular meeting of the West Hollywood City Council on Monday, March 6, 2023 at 6 p.m. at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room at the West Hollywood Library, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Attendance is free; no RSVP is required. Limited validated parking will be available at the adjacent five-story structure. The City Council meeting broadcast will be available for viewing on the City’s website by visiting www.weho.org/wehotv or on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/wehotv.  

MashUp Contemporary Dance Company’s annual International Women’s Day Dance Festival will be held on Saturday, March 3, 2023 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Plummer Park’s Fiesta Hall, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The event will kick off with a day full of community, dialogue, master classes, and performances through the LA Women in Dance Summit. Free admission. To find out more about the day of programming, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/la-women-in-dance-summit-tickets-514314196607. This project is supported in part by a grant from the City of West Hollywood. 

The City of West Hollywood and its Russian-Speaking Advisory Board will host a program created by Helix Collective celebrating International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 5, 2023 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Plummer Park’s Fiesta Hall, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard.  The celebration features a concert featuring music by female composers of film, television, and video games. Helix Collective’s nine-piece film music ensemble will perform original works by Dara Taylor (The Tender Bar), Sherri Chung (Riverdale, The Red Line), Anna Drubich (Barbarian), Amritha Vaz (Mira, Royal Detective). There will also be a screening of an International Women’s Day documentary dedicated to women heroes in the local community. Free admission. For additional information call (323) 848-6826 or email [email protected].

Women and Books is a book club that meets on the first Tuesday of each month to discuss books written by women authors. On Tuesday, March 7, 2023 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. the group will discuss In the Shadow of the Mountain: A Memoir of Courage by Silvia Vasquez-Lavado. Women and Books is co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood through its Women’s Advisory Board and by West Hollywood Library. Admission is free, but space is limited so RSVPs are encouraged. This is a hybrid event and will be hosted in-person at the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard, as well as virtually via WebEx Meetings. To RSVP for the in-person event and for more information please visit the LA County Library website: https://lacountylibrary.org/west-hollywood-library/

To participate on WebEx Meetings please visit the following WebEx link: https://lacountylibrary.webex.com/lacountylibrary/j.php?MTID=maa8a00d769f8b023cc81d2d603b7184c

The City of West Hollywood and its Women’s Advisory Board will co-sponsor the Annual Herstory Awards & Reception, which is presented by the Hollywood Chapter of the National Organization for Women (Hollywood NOW) to honor a woman who has made exceptional contributions to the community and embodies the spirit of feminism. This year’s honoree is Jeanette Robinson Flynt, Executive Director of Black Women for Wellness. The event will take place on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at 7 p.m. at the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Admission is free. For more information contact [email protected].

The City of West Hollywood will present A Conversation with Barbara Bain as part of its ongoing West Hollywood Artists and Icons Series on Thursday, March, 16, 2023 at 7 p.m. at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room at the West Hollywood Library, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The conversation will highlight the career of actress Barbara Bain, who is best known for her work in the landmark television series Mission: Impossible and was the first actress in the history of television to receive three consecutive Emmy Awards for Best Dramatic Actress. Admission is free.  RSVP Required: https://artistsandicons-mar2023.eventbrite.com.  

The City of West Hollywood will join centennial celebrations across the country honoring the 100th anniversary of the Equal Rights Amendment by hosting a #ERA100 birthday bash on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 at 11 a.m. with the organization Equal Means Equal at the West Hollywood City Hall Courtyard, located at 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard. The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced on March 22, 1923 by suffragist leader Alice Paul. Free Admission. For more information: #ERA100 | Online-RSVP.com or call (323) 848-6823.

In celebration of women authors, WeHo Reads: Crafting Literary Legacies will be held virtually on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 at 6 p.m. The discussion will focus on creating new truths through storytelling and putting women at the center of literature with Natashia Deón, Toni Ann Johnson, Malia Márquez, and Laura Warrell. Admission is free. To RSVP and for more information, please visit www.weho.org/wehoreads. WeHo Reads is a literary series presented by the City of West Hollywood and produced by BookSwell.

Also on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the 26th Annual West Hollywood Women in Leadership Awards and Reception will take place at the Andaz West Hollywood, located at 8401 Sunset Boulevard. The event is co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood and its Women’s Advisory Board and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Admission is $25 and proceeds will benefit the West Hollywood Youth Scholarship Fund; for tickets, please visit https://wila2023.eventbrite.com  or call (323) 848-6823.

The City and its Women’s Advisory Board will host the Women’s History Month Block Party on Saturday, March 25, 2023 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. This fun and festive outdoor event will include a DJ, giveaways, booths featuring local women-owned businesses and resources, and a costume contest. Admission is free.  For more information call (323) 848-6823.

The City will co-sponsor Ladies of Courage, presented by Eye of the Poet, a free two-day cultural arts celebration and festival celebrating the achievements of women, on Saturday, March 25, 2023 and Sunday, March 26, 2023 from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The festival features art, poetry, music, dance, and projection mapping. Admission is free. For more information, including the event schedule, please visit: www.ladiesofcourage.com.

Artworks by noted women artists will be on display in West Hollywood throughout the month and beyond. Jessica Goehring’s LightWave, a kinetic artwork inspired by the California Light and Space Movement will be installed at the West Hollywood Aquatic and Recreation Center located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard and on display from Monday, March 20, 2023 through March 2024. Digital art is also currently on display now through Wednesday, May 31, 2023 on billboards on the Sunset Strip. Kassaram (Adapted) by Thania Petersen examines how embedded clichés devalue culture and provide the framework for the permission of subjugation. It is on display at the Streamlined Arbor Billboard located at 9157 Sunset Boulevard Billboard. Reverse Women by Sarah Rara illustrates how hope and progress for women’s rights are walked back, as a woman’s personal freedom is reversed to gone. It is on display at the Invisible Frame Billboard located at 8743 Sunset Boulevard. This project is presented as part of the Moving Image Media Art Program (MIMA). The West Hollywood Moving Image Media Art Program (MIMA) is an exhibition series administered by the Arts Division, as part of its Art on the Outside program, and is presented with the Sunset Arts and Advertising Program. 

A full schedule of City of West Hollywood events and meetings is available at www.weho.org/calendar.

For more information about Women’s History Month in the City of West Hollywood, 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.

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For more information, please call the City of West Hollywood’s City Council Offices at (323) 848-6460. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

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.

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Bouncer at Heart WeHo arrested in brutal beating of gay stylist

Anyone with questions or information about this incident is encouraged to contact the LA County Sheriff’s Department’s West Hollywood Station

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Captain William (Bill) Moulder, commander of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station speaks with KTLA about the beating of 54-year-old Albert Jimenez last month outside of Heart WeHo nightclub. (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA 5)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – An arrest has been made in the brutal beating of gay hair stylist Albert Vasquez, 54. According to a statement by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, a security guard at Heart WeHo was identified, arrested, and charged with battery causing great bodily harm.

The statement by LASD reads as follows:

On Friday, April 05, 2024, at approximately 10:40PM, the victim attempted to enter a nightclub in West Hollywood. The suspect, who was working as a security guard, did not allow the victim entry due to the victim not having proper identification. Both the suspect and the victim engaged in a verbal and physical altercation, in which the suspect punched the victim once in the face. The victim fell to the ground and was transported to a nearby hospital.

The suspect was identified and arrested for battery causing great bodily injury.

Vasquez’s sister, Gloria Jimenez, tells WEHO TIMES that a detective at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station reached out to the family earlier today, and she can confirm that the beating happened in front of Heart WeHo. She also said one of their bouncers was arrested.

The family will be allowed to view the surveillance footage to see exactly what happened on Friday night, April 5, 2024, when Vasquez was found in a pool of his blood with two head fractures, bruises to his lungs, a black eye, and scrapes and bruising to his arms and legs.

“They reached out to me and said an arrest has been made,” said Jimenez. “We kept saying it was Heart WeHo and it happened at Heart WeHo and it was one of their bouncers. We want to see the footage, and we’ll be able to see it because we are family, so we can determine exactly where to go from there. We’re glad an arrest was made, and we’re going to take the next step necessary. We don’t know what that step is. He’s still recovering. We don’t know how long his recovery will take. We don’t know.”

Family, friends, and supporters of Albert Vasquez were relentless in getting the story out to the media, and they pressured the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station to step up the investigation. They also demanded that Heart WeHo release video footage from that night.

Heart WeHo complied and released the following statement:

“Heart WeHo remains deeply committed to the safety and well-being of our community. We are aware of the incident that occurred on April 5th and have been actively collaborating with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department to assist in their investigation since the beginning. We have provided the authorities with unrestricted access to our security footage,” reads the statement by Heart WeHo. “We urge anyone with additional information pertaining to this incident to come forward and assist the West Hollywood Department in their efforts to ensure the safety and security of our neighborhood.”

According to authorities, Heart WeHo was asked not to release the footage to family until authorities were able to investigate the footage first.

Jimenez’s sister points out that Heart WeHo turned over surveillance footage to the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station on Monday, ten days after the incident occurred.

Doctors discovered a second skull fracture on the other side of Vasquez’s head ten days after he landed in the hospital, according to his family. They also discovered that his lungs had bruising after the fact, which went unnoticed throughout his stay at the hospital.

Related

However, despite his newly discovered injuries, Albert seems to be on the mend. He was in a coma for one day when he was brought to the hospital but is currently awake and seems to be aware of his surroundings. He starts therapy this week and is expected to be in the hospital for another week and a half. He has not spoken about what happened to him that Friday night, mainly because he’s heavily medicated, and nurses feel it’s too soon to pressure him to relive the trauma.

Jimenez thanks the community for their support and for being relentless in holding investigators accountable and demanding they get answers. She’s also grateful for the public’s generosity to help cover medical expenses.

Anyone with questions or information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s West Hollywood Station Detective Lombera at (310).
358-4028.

The link to GoFundMe campaign is here: (Link)

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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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City of West Hollywood is hosting a Public Safety Open House

The open house is an opportunity to engage as a community to prioritize safety and well-being along with WeHo Public Safety partners

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WeHo Times/Los Angeles Blade graphic

By Paulo Murillo | The City of West Hollywood is partnering with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, Block By Block Security, Los Angeles County Fire Department and Public Safety Commissioners for a Public Safety Open House on May 1, 2014, beginning at 6:00 p.m. at Plummer Park, Room 5 at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The open house is an opportunity to engage as a community to prioritize safety and well-being along with our Public Safety partners.

The event is being billed as an informal meeting to interact with Public Safety partners and Commissioners, learn about available resources, and discover ways to actively contribute to keeping West Hollywood a safe place for everyone. The event will also be serving pizza, salad, and refreshments, with vegan options available.

The Public Safety Commission was created on September 18, 1989 and is comprised of five (5) members, appointed by individual Councilmembers, and two (2) members appointed by the Council as a whole (at-large). Each member of the Commission shall serve a two-year term commencing March 1st following a general municipal election. Members shall be residents of the City and shall not be officers or employees of the City. The Commission shall meet no more than once monthly, and if a member of the Commission is absent for any reason for more than three regular meetings in any twelve-month period, the office of such member shall be vacated.

The Public Safety Commission shall evaluate and recommend mechanisms involving public safety issues, assist the City Manager’s office and City Council in strengthening community response to emergencies, evaluate and make recommendations to City Council regarding neighborhood livability and domestic violence prevention.

The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station is part of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and provides essential law enforcement services for the community. If you need to file a crime report online, you can do so through the SORTS system. Captain William Moulder leads the station, ensuring safety and security for residents and visitors alike.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) provides firefighting and emergency medical services for the unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County, California, as well as 59 cities through contracting, including the city of La Habra, which is located in Orange County and is the first city outside of Los Angeles County to contract with LACoFD

Block by Block Security Ambassadors is a program in the City of West Hollywood that provides a highly visible uniformed presence at the street level. The program was first established in 2013. The ambassadors are deployed on bicycles or on foot along major streets, alleys, City parking lots, and residential neighborhoods. They work in collaboration with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station to provide supplemental safety services. The ambassadors provide safety escorts, conduct foot and bicycle patrols, and offer helpful guidance to community members and visitors.

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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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Family demanding answers in beating of gay hair stylist in WeHo

The family questions why it taking so long for West Hollywood Sheriff’s station to retrieve video footage from local businesses

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54-year-old Albert Vasquez, a celebrity hairdresser, was found brutally beaten in West Hollywood’s Rainbow District. (Family photo)

By Paulo Murillo | LOS ANGELES – Friends, family, and supporters of 54-year-old Albert Vasquez, a celebrity hairdresser found brutally beaten in West Hollywood’s Rainbow District on April 5, 2024, continue to demand answers and call for justice as they try to piece together what happened on that fateful Friday night.

Vasquez was discovered unconscious on the ground with severe head trauma, a black eye, and scrapes and scratches to his arms and legs in a parking lot behind Heart WeHo at 8911 Santa Monica Blvd, in West Hollywood’s Rainbow District.

The family questions why it taking so long for West Hollywood Sheriff’s station to retrieve video footage from local businesses. They also don’t understand why the Sheriff’s Station suggested to media outlets that Albert could have possibly fallen and gotten injured without investigating or knowing any details about his injuries.

Questions have also arisen regarding Heart WeHo, the last nightclub where Albert was allegedly seen on the night of the attack, reportedly after leaving Gym Bar according to witnesses. In efforts to solve the mystery surrounding the attack, supporters have taken to social media to demand that Heart WeHo, partly owned by celebrity entrepreneur Lance Bass of the boyband NSYNC, deliver unedited footage to detectives at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.

The calls for video footage and threats to have a protest outside of Heart WeHo prompted Heart to issue a statement.

“Heart WeHo remains deeply committed to the safety and wellbeing of our community. We are aware of the incident that occurred on April 5th and have been actively collaborating with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department to assist in their investigation since the beginning. We have provided the authorities with unrestricted access to our security footage,” reads the statement by Heart WeHo. “We urge anyone with additional information pertaining to this incident to come forward and assist the West Hollywood Department in their efforts to ensure the safety and security of our neighborhood.”

The victim’s sister, Gloria Jimenez, tells WEHO TIMES that Heart WeHo turned over surveillance footage to the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station on Monday, ten days after the incident occurred.

“I was hoping people would speak up or that somebody has video or something,” she said. “Everybody’s always videotaping, and we haven’t gotten anything at all. We’re really just relying on the police to expose that footage but there are all these rules and regulations where you cannot get it yourself. You have to wait for police to collect it and we were after the police to do something and they just got the footage yesterday [Monday].”

Regarding updates on Albert’s injuries, Ms. Jimenez says that doctors discovered a second skull fracture on the other side of his head. He also has bruised lungs, which went unnoticed throughout his stay at the hospital. These injuries are in addition to a black eye and scratches on his legs and arms, and it appears he was kicked in the neck.

However, despite his newly discovered injuries, Albert seems to be on the mend, she said. He was in a coma for one day when he was brought to the hospital, but is currently awake and seems to be aware of his surroundings. He starts therapy this week and is expected to be in the hospital for another week and a half. He has not spoken about what happened to him that Friday night, mainly because he’s heavily medicated and nurses feel it’s too soon to pressure him to relive the trauma.

Related

Jimenez’s story has garnered national and global attention. His attack was published in the Daily Mail, and there is a campaign of supporters asking for justice for Albert, who is widely known in the West Hollywood community.

Ms. Jimenez alleges that they have received several tips alleging Albert was last seen at Gym Bar when he was there with friends and then he headed to Heart WeHo, which is the last time they saw him. She said in addition to the footage at Heart WeHo, she is also going to seek footage from Gym Bar to determine what time he left and in which direction he headed.

There were also some witnesses stating that he was heavily intoxicated and that he had a confrontation with one of the securities at Heart WeHo, but that has not been confirmed. The surveillance video will answer that question.

Ms. Jimenez thanks the community for their support and for being relentless in holding investigators accountable and demanding they get answers. She’s also grateful for the public’s generosity to help cover medical expenses.

Anyone with information is asked to reach out to West Hollywood Detective Franklin at (310) 855-8850.

The family’s GoFundMe campaign: (Link)

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

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

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WeHo City Council Votes to affirm minimum wage of $19.08

The minimum wage increase is determined by the Consumer Price Index for for the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, areas

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Community members in the audience during the council session Monday evening. (Photo by Mike Pingel/WEHO TIMES)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – At a Regular West Hollywood City Council meeting on Monday, April 15, 2024, the City Council voted to affirm the City’s Minimum Wage rate of $19.08 per hour and current Leave Provisions through December 31, 2024.

Council member John Heilman made a motion to ask City Staff to come back with an ordinance change that will make the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase annual starting in January. the motion was seconded by council member Lauren Meister. The motion passed 4-1 with a no vote from council member Sepi Shyne.

The City of West Hollywood breaks down the City’s minimum wage ordinance as follows:

How is the CPI increase determined?

The minimum wage increase is determined by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) for the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA area.

According to the Resolution establishing an annual minimum wage increase, the minimum wage increase shall be no less than 1.0% and no more than 4.0%.

Compensated and Uncompensated Leave

Full time employees for all businesses are to be provided at least 96 compensated hours and 80 uncompensated hours per year for sick leave, vacation, or personal necessity. Part-time employees are to be provided compensated and uncompensated hours in increments proportional to that accrued by someone who works 40 hours in a week.

Administrative Regulations

To provide West Hollywood Employees and Employers further clarification on implementing the Minimum Wage Ordinance, the City has published Administrative Regulations. The Administrative Regulations outline guidance related to payment of the Citywide Minimum Wage, Compensated and Uncompensated Leave, and application of a waiver for certain Employers.

Every Employer in the City of West Hollywood shall post in a conspicuous place at any workplace or job site where any Employee works, the bulletin published each year by the City informing Employees of the current minimum wage rate and of their rights under the Ordinance. Every Employer shall post notices in English, Spanish, and any other language spoken by at least five percent (5%) of the Employees. Every Employer shall also provide to each Employee at the time of hire, the Employer’s name, address, and telephone number in writing.

July 1, 2023 Minimum Wage Notices

Waiver Application

A one-year waiver may be granted to businesses who are able to demonstrate that compliance with the payment of the Citywide Minimum Wage would force the business to: file bankruptcy or a shutdown, reduce its workforce by more than twenty percent (20%), or curtail its Employees’ total hours by more than thirty percent.

A one-year, one-time waiver may be granted to businesses who are able to demonstrate that compliance with the leave provisions of the Citywide Minimum Wage would force the business to: file bankruptcy or a shutdown, reduce its workforce by more than twenty percent (20%), or curtail its Employees’ total hours by more than thirty percent.

Alternatively, a three-month waiver may be granted to businesses who are able to demonstrate that compliance with the leave provisions of the Citywide Minimum Wage would cause an implementation hardship due to my business’ existing payroll and human resources processes and platforms the business has in place. Businesses may apply for up to two three-month waiver (maximum of six months)

To file your waiver application, please follow these steps:

  1. Notify all your employees, in writing, of the business’ intent to file a Waiver Application
  2. Compile all required documents – incomplete applications will be denied
  3. Submit the Waiver Application and all required documents by selecting the waiver for payment of minimum wage or leave provisions:

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

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

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Out stylist found beaten outside Heart WeHo nightclub recovering

Family is asking for public’s assistance in locating the person or persons responsible for the criminal assault

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54-year-old brother, Albert Jimenez, was discovered last Friday night, on April 5, 2024 in a parking lot next to Heart WeHo nightclub. (Family photos)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The family of 54-year-old Albert Jimenez, an acclaimed hair stylist with some celebrity clientele is asking for the public’s assistance in finding the suspect or suspects responsible for his being badly beaten and hospitalized recovering from traumatic head injuries.

Jimenez was discovered last Friday night, April 5, 2024, in a parking lot behind Heart WeHo at 8911 Santa Monica Blvd, in West Hollywood’s Rainbow District. Gloria Jimenez tells WEHO TIMES that her family is unclear about what happened to brother.

“All the information we have is that it occurred near two local West Hollywood bars, Heart WeHo and another one named Gym Bar. I guess they’re both close together. All we know is that he was struck by something on the head. He was found in the parking lot by a bystander who was walking by and who called the emergency crew to come out and pick him up. They brought him to Cedars.”

According to Ms. Jimenez, the last time someone spoke to Albert was at 7:45 p.m. The family does not know when he sustained his injuries or at what time he was picked up and rushed to the hospital. They were not notified until the following Tuesday, after a friend called Albert’s phone and a nurse answered the call.

Jimenez’s sister also noted: “We do not know if he was randomly attacked by a stranger in what could be a homophobic or racist hate crime, or if he was attacked by someone he interacted with at one of the bars.”

Ms. Jimenez said her brother has a long road to recovery.

“Albert has suffered brain swelling, and they had to remove bone fragments. He’s been in the hospital in critical condition for a week. He is expected to survive, but he will need multiple surgeries and could have possible brain damage.”

“He’s a harmless person and was just enjoying his Friday evening,” She said of her brother. “He would never hurt anyone. We are all shocked that this has happened to him. He’s the baby of the family, and his entire family is just shocked by it all. This is something we never thought would happen. He’s an independent guy, and that’s why we thought he was just out and about, you know, until we got that call on Tuesday.”

The family has filed a report with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. Anyone with information is asked to reach out to West Hollywood Deputy Franklin at (310) 855-8850.

The family’s GoFundMe campaign: (Link)

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

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

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Vinson is leading riders in 2024 WeHo Pride & Dyke march

This year, the call is on to gain more attention, greater participation and a call for women who ride to join the parade

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Photo courtesy of Katrina Vinson

By Catherine Eng | WEST HOLLYWOOD – In anticipation of Weho Pride 2024, WeHo resident Katrina Vinson sat with WEHO TIMES for an interview to discuss being the lead Biker and organizer of Pride Riders in this year’s WeHo Pride Parade on Sunday, June 2, 2024 and the Dyke March on Saturday, June 1, 2024.  

Over the years, the Dyke March took place on Fridays. After much lobbying, the L Project (Producers of Women’s Freedom Festival) were able to get the event moved to Saturday-  greatly increasing participation. This year, the call is on to gain more attention, greater participation and a call for women who ride to join the parade. We spoke to Katrina about this year’s event, how she came to lead the contingency and the outreach to riders.

Photo courtesy of Katrina Vinson


Q:  Hello Katrina! Let’s hear about your journey to the City of Weho;  where are you from, what brought you to the city and how long have you resided in Weho? 

I grew up in San Jose, CA.  About 15 years ago, while I was still living in San Jose, I had a long distance relationship with a woman living in Santa Monica. I would visit for about a week or more at a time and we would always go out to WeHo. I slowly started falling in love with the City. Years later, after we broke, I was offered a job in LA, and I moved to Palms, a short drive from WeHo. I quickly made friends and we enjoyed the WeHo nightlife weekly. After about 4 years in Palms, the opportunity opened up for me to move to WeHo and I never looked back. Once I moved here I began to learn and appreciate so much more about this City. I never loved a City that I’ve lived in as much as I love WeHo. I’ve been here for 8 years now.

Q:  What started your activism in our city?

I would have to say my former partner. I mostly supported her and attended events she was leading or participating in. She was unstoppable and the events and network grew immensely. Over time, she became heavily involved in the City, inspiring me and others along the way. Slowly over-time I got more involved. We all have different strengths in this life. Mine are far different from hers and I never considered myself an organizer or activist. I helped how I could with whatever strengths and resources I had. Over time, our whole network of friends became primarily activists and I showed up in whatever capacity I could. I must have picked up a few things along the way since more and more people are calling me an activist. I’ve always been diplomatic, and stuck up for what’s right, and cannot stand to see any injustice, racism, sexism, inequality, or bigotry. 

Q:    You formerly served on the City’s Planning Commission but you resigned after 1 year. Can you talk about this experience?

I had come to know Sepi Shyne quite well as well as volunteered in both her campaigns for City Council. She knew quite a bit about my education and experience in construction. I believe she trusted my moral compass and desire to do good. Once she was elected to City Council she asked me if I would serve on the Planning Commission as her appointee. I believe she thought I could bring something to the position given my construction experience. Unfortunately, I had some major life changes arise where my bandwidth changed and I knew I couldn’t give the Planning Commission the dedicated time that it deserved and needed. I do hope to serve again someday. 

Photo courtesy of Katrina Vinson

Q:   In your professional capacity – you hold some unique positions; both as a Commercial Construction Superintendent and as a Carpentry instructor @ LA Trade Tech College. Tell us about these roles, how you feel you’ve been able to trailblaze in these positions and what obstacles you’ve felt as a lesbian female in this field.

Oh boy, how much time do you have? Becoming a Commercial Construction Superintendent wasn’t easy. I worked my butt off going to Carpentry school full time while also working full time. I was doing 13 hour days but I absolutely LOVED it. LA Trade Tech College lit me up. I couldn’t get enough, I couldn’t absorb enough.That passion that was ignited in me along with my mechanical aptitude, and my skills at building put me at the top of my class. I won several carpentry competition awards and ended up graduating first in my class with honors and scholarships.

Given my love for the school and especially the Carpentry program, I made it known to the instructors, as well as the head of the department, that I hoped to come back and teach someday. After graduating, I was very saddened to no longer be involved with the program but I would have to work at least two years in the construction industry to even be eligible to be an instructor, not to mention that positions rarely ever opened up.

After being heavily recruited, I ultimately decided to take a job with a General Contractor as an Assistant Superintendent. I was only able to enter the construction workforce at such a high level due to my many years experience as an operations manager coupled with excelling so quickly in the Carpentry and Construction technologies. I was promoted from Assistant Superintendent to Superintendent in just one year and I’ve never looked back. Recently I completed a 10 million, 30,000 sq ft project with high end finishes. 

Luckily, after just over two years in the industry, I got a request from Trade Tech College to apply for an adjunct teaching position that was opening up. I wasn’t sure I could handle the load on top of my insanely demanding Superintendent Position but I knew I could not let the opportunity pass. Those positions almost never open up. I ended up getting the position and I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to make it work. There are plenty of female carpentry instructors at LATTC but I am the only queer carpentry instructor. I’ve had quite a few LGBTQ+ students in my class over the semesters and I think it’s important for them to see that representation.

I haven’t met many obstacles as a lesbian but more obstacles as a female in general in construction. The number of women in construction is growing but more in the office roles. Women make up about 10-14% of the workforce in construction but only 4% working onsite in the field and even less in a position as high as mine. There are very few female Superintendents in all of Southern CA. It’s hard to know how many for sure but my educated guess is that it’s less than 5. For the first 4 years, I was the only woman on my jobsite each and every day.  I’m constantly running into architects, clients, designers, and construction managers that say to me, “I’ve never met a female Superintendent before!” Mostly in an excited tone. That gets me excited and lights me up. I usually think, “and wait until you see what I can do”. It’s important to me to put my best foot forward, produce the highest quality of work that I can, and try everyday to blow people away knowing that I am representing women in the field. I have two goals/hopes. 1) To prove to the industry that women are valuable assets to the industry and bring different sets of skills, creativity, and points of view. 2) To show and inspire other woman to join the construction industry. 

Q:  You are the new lead of Pride Riders, the Motorcycle group which leads the Weho pride parade and the Dyke March. How exciting to see a new generation of riders!  How long have you been riding?  How did you come to lead this group for Pride?

I’ve been riding for 24 years now. I got my motorcycle license as well as my first bike when I was just 18. Organizing the motorcycle group for the March and for WeHo Pride was unexpected. The leader of the motorcycles in previous years has been a mentor of mine. I have spent years at her side helping her lead pride parades and the Dyke March. In 2022, she came down with covid the day before the parade and needed someone to step in to lead and pace the parade. She called me and I gladly accepted. I was honored. The following year in 2023, due to unforeseen circumstances the opportunity to lead a new contingent of bikers for the Dyke March presented itself when the leader of the motorcycle contingent withdrew  from the event.

Riders, who still wanted to ride, participate, and be seen; were left confused and didn’t know what to do or how to enter. They had less than a week’s notice and some riders had family flying to see them ride in the parade but were left stranded. I was torn. I needed to step up for the riders that were left stranded without an organizer. I worked with Jackie Steele to come up with the name Pride Riders so I could register us in the parade and I worked with The  L-Project to help organize riders for the Dyke March. If it wasn’t for The L-Project the Dyke March wouldn’t have happened and wouldn’t have been moved to a Saturday. Jackie helped organize the riders while I registered as the leader of Pride Riders. 

We had a pretty decent turnout of riders given the extreme short notice. The L-Project helped us in procuring parking for all the riders so they could stay for the day and enjoy the Women’s Freedom Fest prior to riding in the Dyke March. They also organized an amazing entrance for the riders to ride in as the Festival was ending and rev up the crowd to transition into marching behind us in the Dyke March. It was quite awesome. Riders were happy, spectators were happy, and the Dyke March got more exposure.

Q:   Do you remember your first Pride?  Where/when was it and how do you think that experience has shaped your development of Pride Riders/what you’re trying to create?

Barely. I was a gaybe back then. My first Pride was in San Francisco since I lived in San Jose. I remember the Dyke March especially. There’s nothing like Dolores Park and the Dyke March in San Francisco. I was in awe. It was a sea of queer women as far as I could see in every direction. We marched for what felt like forever but I didn’t want it to end. The community cheering for us was overwhelming. It was incredible. Then the next day I saw the Dykes on Bikes lead the parade and I knew I wanted to be one of them one year (I already had a motorcycle). It just wasn’t a thing I knew about or how to get into. All those years I lived in San Jose and went to countless SF Pride Parades and Dyke Marches and I never ended up riding my motorcycle in a parade or march until I moved to LA. I would LOVE to see that type of turnout here in WeHo and a big obstacle to the turnout was not having it on the weekend. Now that the Dyke March is moved to Saturday we hope the participation can finally grow and we can bring the Dyke March the visibility it should have. 

Dyke March 2023 – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Q:  What are the goals for Pride Riders and the Dyke March?  What would you like to see from the city and the community,  as we prepare for this year’s Pride?  What are you most looking forward to?

Last year was such a success, we saw more diversity and so many folks joining for the march. The city shared that this was the most heavily attended Dyke March in years. Our goals are an even greater turnout, greater visibility, and greater diversity. It’s so important to be seen and heard and to celebrate with our community and share our herstory. All are welcome to join in and ride. 

I am most looking forward to this year’s Women’s Freedom Fest. Last year’s event was such a good program and line-up and just an overall good time! L-Project has an even better program in store for Pride this year. I’m really looking forward to that event as well as working with the L-Project to breathe new life into the Dyke March and bring it the exposure it deserves. 

Q: What outreach are you doing for more participation, greater awareness?
How can riders, or supporters, get involved? What actions from the community would enhance the Dyke March?

We promote on social media and the City promotes the events under the Overall Pride weekend advertising. We’d love for everyone to help get the word out. I attend motorcycle events to spread the word and I’m hoping this article will also help. Motorcyclists tend to have many friends who also ride so I’m hoping it will spread by word of mouth as well. L-Project is also a huge help in marketing and spreading awareness. It’s been great working with the L-project to link Women’s Freedom Fest with the Dyke March. It just makes sense to link the two and bring with it more participation.
(Note:  more info can be found here:  https://www.instagram.com/pride_riders_la/

Riders can register here: [email protected]

Q:  And finally – what hopes do you have for the future of West Hollywood? How do you see this city evolving?

My hopes for the City are for there to be greater diversity and equity here. I like to see less people priced out from living here and more gender equality and diversity across our residents,  businesses, patrons, boards, commissions, and city council. 

Thank you for engaging with us, congratulations on all your accomplishments and have a safe, successful Pride Ride.

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Catherine Eng

Catherine Eng is a long time resident of the City of West Hollywood. She currently serves as a West Hollywood Business License Commissioner, was a journalism major, and is a supporter of Weho Times @thedamecat

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

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West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

Participant Application Deadline is April 15 for WeHo Pride Street Fair Exhibitors, Parade Entries, and Food Vendors

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Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

City of West Hollywood to Host Symposium: ‘Water Wise | Water Works’

WEST HOLLYWOOD – During Earth Month in April, the City of West Hollywood is working to focus attention on environmental efforts and initiatives and educational opportunities for the community. The City aims to elevate awareness about its programs and policies related to West Hollywood’s natural and built environments, ecology, and sustainability.

As part of this effort, the City of West Hollywood will host a free in-person symposium: Water Wise | Water Works. The event will focus on water as a natural resource, concentrating on its indispensable role in supporting urbanized environments. It will look ahead at issues, opportunities, and challenges in West Hollywood and the Greater Los Angeles region in the future.

The Water Wise | Water Works symposium will take place on Saturday, April 20, 2024 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The event is free and open to the public, RSVP is requested via Eventbrite. Limited validated parking is available in the adjacent five-story parking structure.

All life begins and ends with water. A precious resource, water is vital for a healthy and vibrant planet. Clean fresh water is not only essential for drinking and sanitation and providing for our crops, livestock, and industry, it is also the basis for creating and sustaining the ecosystems on which all humanity depends. Spending time in proximity to nature and water has been shown to have a direct effect on emotional well-being, reducing stress, anxiety, and heart rates as well as extending human life spans.

The Water Wise | Water Works symposium will explore the fundamental role that water plays in supporting urbanized settings and will look at some of the key challenges and opportunities that lie ahead concerning future sustainability, construction mitigation, climate change, ecological systems, and resilience goals.

Presentations scheduled for the symposium include an overview of current City programs and talks on the following topics:

  • Water Policy Happenings at the Regional & Local Scale with Kim Clark, Planning Supervisor, Resource Conservation & Resilient   

Communities, Southern California Association of Governments;

  • Resource Management and Underground Water: Technical Challenges and Opportunities Ahead with Laney Nelson, Water Engineer, ARUP, experts dedicated to sustainable development;
  • History of Water and Ecological Resilience in a Rapidly Changing Context with Dr. Edith Guzman, UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation;
  • Power of Water-Centric Design with Water with Mariam Mojdehi, Architect, Founding Partner, MAAM Architecture & Design Studio; and
  • Water Wise Landscapes/Regenerating Nature with Hadley Arnold, Executive Director, Arid Lands Institute/Woodbury University.

Following the presentations, there will be a moderated panel discussion and a period for questions and answers.

The City of West Hollywood is dedicated to sustainability and preserving the environment, including its:

  • Participation in the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge to mark the City’s commitment to saving the monarch butterfly and other pollinators through public awareness and expansion of pollinator gardens throughout West Hollywood; 
  • Designation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Green Power Community by meeting 65% of its 100% renewable energy use through voluntary green power that goes above-and-beyond the State of California’s standards. The EPA’s Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that helps increase Green Power use among U.S. organizations to advance the American market for renewable energy and development of those sources as a way to reduce air pollution and other environmental impacts associated with electricity use. Learn more about how the West Hollywood community gets its Green Power;
  • Green Building Program, the first-in-the-state green building code, that builds upon state requirements and integrates locally specific requirements for new buildings and remodels to strive towards energy efficiency, improve the health of the environment and community, and help the City shape a sustainable future. The Green Building Program was updated in 2023 to include more aggressive standards for electric vehicle charging stations; and
  • Implementation of an organics collection program in compliance with SB 1383, a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants by reducing organic waste disposal.

The City of West Hollywood continues its work to implement its people-centered Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, WeHo Climate Action, which outlines the City’s intended path to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate while centering equity and quality-of-life outcomes for the community. The City launched a public dashboard that monitors progress under the Plan toward achieving carbon neutrality. To learn more about the City’s ongoing sustainability programs and initiatives as well as information and resources, visit WeHo Climate Action & Sustainability.

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

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

West Hollywood Celebrates Lesbian and Queer Women Visibility Week

The City of West Hollywood recognizes April 22, 2024 through April 28, 2024 as Lesbian and Queer Women Visibility Week. The City will display the Lesbian Pride flag in medians along Santa Monica Boulevard and West Hollywood City Hall and the lanterns over Santa Monica Boulevard will be lit in pink, orange, white, and red to reflect the shades of the Lesbian Pride flag.

Events during the week will feature a variety of gatherings produced with the assistance of the L-Project and Fan Girl Cafe including:

  • NextGen Coffee and Convo, featuring a panel on queer activism, challenges faced by LGBTQ women in business, and advocating for non-binary and gender-nonconforming identities with panelists Marquita Thomas, Chanel Lumiere, and Melanie Vesey. This free event will be held at Fan Girl Cafe, located at 8157 Santa Monica Boulevard, on Wednesday, April 24, 2024 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and will also feature an opportunity for community members to network and meet one another. 
  • Lesbian Speakers Series Film screening of the award-winning documentary Ahead of the Curve and Q&A with Franco Stevens and filmmakers Jen Rainin (Franco’s wife) and Rivkah Beth Medow. Ahead of the Curve captures the story of Franco Stevens, founder of the most successful lesbian magazine in the world and her fight to keep Curve magazine alive. This free event takes place on Saturday, April 27, 2024 at 5:30 p.m. at the City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. This event will begin with a reception with light snacks and refreshments at 5:30 p.m. The screening will begin at 6 p.m. The Q&A will follow the film. 
  • The City invites community members to spend an afternoon at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard, for a Queer Art in the Park gathering on Sunday, April 28, 2024 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature lawn games, music, and queer arts and crafts vendors. Entry is free. Feel free to bring a blanket, yoga mat, lawn chair, sunscreen, and picnic accoutrements and meet new and old friends in the park. For additional information, please visit www.weho.org/lgbtq

Since 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. More than 40 percent of residents in West Hollywood identify as LGBTQ and three of the five members of the West Hollywood City Council are openly LGBTQ. The City has advocated for more than three decades for measures to support LGBTQ individuals and has been in the vanguard on efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level.

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Lesbian and Queer Women Visibility Week, please visit www.weho.org/lgbtq or contact Moya Márquez, the City of West Hollywood’s Community Programs Coordinator, at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6574.

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

WeHo Pride 2024 Participant Application Deadline is April 15 for WeHo Pride Street Fair Exhibitors, Parade Entries, and Food Vendors

The City of West Hollywood will close the Parade Participant, Street Fair Exhibitor, and Food Vendor application portals for its WeHo Pride 2024 celebrations on April 15, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. Application portals can be accessed via the ‘Get Involved’ page on the WeHo Pride website: www.wehopride.com

 WeHo Pride Weekend will take place on Friday, May 31, 2024; Saturday, June 1, 2024; and Sunday, June 2, 2024 in and around West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The weekend will include a free Street Fair, the Women’s Freedom Festival, the Dyke March, the WeHo Pride Parade, and the ticketed OUTLOUD Music Festival @ WeHo Pride, as well as WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD.

The WeHo Pride Street Fair will take place on Saturday, June 1, 2024 and Sunday, June 2, 2024. It will celebrate Pride with the diverse participation of LGBTQ community groups and allied organizations as part of visibility and expression. The Street Fair is free and will feature a vibrant variety of exhibitors along Santa Monica Boulevard. There will be live entertainment and performances on two stages along the boulevard, highlighting the LGBTQ community. The Street Fair is open to everyone. It is a great occasion to take part in WeHo Pride’s LGBTQ community experience. WeHo Pride Street Fair applications are also currently open for vendors, artists, performers, and more. The Street Fair promises to be bigger and better than ever before. With a wide range of activities and options, there is sure to be something for everyone. Organizations interested in applying to participate as an Exhibitor at the WeHo Pride Street Fair can apply here. Food vendors interested in participating in the event can fill out the Google form here.

Get festive as we roll down Santa Monica Boulevard for the WeHo Pride Parade on Sunday, June 2, 2024! The WeHo Pride Parade is an imaginative and colorful annual tradition along Santa Monica Boulevard that embraces LGBTQ representation, inclusion, and progress. Full of music, dancing, colorful floats, festive marching contingents, and creative flair, the Parade celebrates LGBTQ people and our contributions to community and culture. The Parade is a lively, energetic experience with good cheer and great vibes, and a whole lot of rainbows! Whether you participate in the Parade or join in the fun as a spectator, there’s something for everyone at the WeHo Pride Parade! Organizations and individuals interested in submitting an application to participate as an entrant in the annual WeHo Pride Parade can apply here. Get creative and think outside of the box! The WeHo Pride Parade welcomes floats, bands, drill teams, dance teams, entertainment entries, marchers, and more. 

There are a variety of ways for brands to sponsor this brand-new era of Pride in West Hollywood as well. From traditional activation spaces (street fair visibility and parade entries) to inclusion at one of the most diverse music events nationally, as well as creative customized opportunities, there are multiple outlets for brand visibility! Organizations interested in becoming a WeHo Pride sponsor can reach out to [email protected] 

Additional details about WeHo Pride 2024 will be posted as they become available at www.wehopride.com. Follow @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook and follow @officiallyoutloud on Instagram and Facebook.

About WeHo Pride and the City of West Hollywood 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. Home to the “Rainbow District” along Santa Monica Boulevard, which features a concentration of historic LGBTQ clubs, restaurants, and retail shops, West Hollywood 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 LGBTQ.

Pride is deeply rooted part of West Hollywood’s history and culture. In fact, Pride events have taken place in West Hollywood for more than 40 years (since 1979, five years before the City of West Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality). The City’s embrace of Pride is part of its advocacy for nearly four decades for measures that support LGBTQ individuals, and the City is in the vanguard on efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level. The City of West Hollywood is one of the first municipalities to form a Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board (now LGBTQ+ Commission) and a Transgender Advisory Board, which each address matters of advocacy. As part of its support of the transgender community, the City has a Transgender Resource Guide available on the City’s website.

In 2022, the City of West Hollywood inaugurated WeHo Pride with programming that represents a diverse array of LGBTQ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration. West Hollywood is a community of choice for LGBTQ people from throughout the world and WeHo Pride embraces a source of deep connection for its LGBTQ history and culture.

For more information about WeHo Pride and the WeHo Pride Arts Festival, please visit www.wehopride.com.

For more information about Outloud @ WeHo Pride, please visit www.weareoutloud.com.

For inquires to the City of West Hollywood’s Event Services Division, please email [email protected].

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

‘Spring Fest’ at West Hollywood Park

The City of West Hollywood’s Recreation Services Division invites the community to splash into Spring Fest in the park and at the pool on Saturday, April 27, 2024 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Bring your family and friends for a fun day of outdoor activities. Limited parking is available in the adjacent five-story West Hollywood Park structure.

Activities will begin at the West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center and Great Lawn. There will be carnival games, music, performances, giveaways, egg hunts, face painters, and much more! You won’t want to miss this!

Three of the featured activities for the event are:

  • Youth Basketball Shoot Out (Ages 10 to 15) – register here ($7) – In the Shoot Out, the player shoots from five spots around the key: right corner, right wing, top of key, left wing, and left corner. At each spot: take one dribble in for a mid-range shot, dribble for a lay-up, and then end the game with a 1 & 1 free throw.
  • Duck Relays and Cardboard Boat Races – register here (free) – Duck Relays are a swim event using inflatable ducks to race relay-style across the pool in a team of four and Cardboard Boat Race are one- to three-person teams of all ages that will test their ingenuity in racing homemade boats made of cardboard and duct tape across the pool.
  • Themed Recreation Swim and Rubber Duckie Hunt – registration has reached capacity, waiting list is open here (free) – Themed Recreation Swim is full of adorable rafts of rubber ducks, water toys, floaties, and mighty merfolk of the sea and swimmers will be able to participate in a rubber duckie hunt.

Learn more about Spring Fest and recreation programming by visiting www.weho.org/recreation and selecting Rec Reader.

For more information, please call the City of West Hollywood’s Recreation Services Division at (323) 848-6534 or email [email protected] or [email protected].

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

Open Call for Arts Grant Program Applications

The City of West Hollywood has opened application opportunities for its 2025 Arts Grant Program. The City will host a virtual Arts Grant Program information workshop for those who are interested in applying to learn more about the City’s grant-eligibility requirements and application process, as well as to ask questions.

The Arts Grant Program information workshop will be held online via the Zoom platform on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 1 p.m. First-time grant applicants and returning organizations with new development personnel are strongly encouraged to attend the workshop to become familiar with the application process. For more information, please visit www.weho.org/arts

The City of West Hollywood, through its Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, has managed the Arts Grant Program for 26 years. West Hollywood’s Arts Grant Program provides grant funding to individual artists, artist collectives, and nonprofit arts organizations for the production, performance, or presentation of art projects that take place in the City of West Hollywood as well as those that serve the West Hollywood community.

The City of West Hollywood invites and encourages artists and organizations representing diverse populations and diverse artistic disciplines to apply for these grants. As defined in the Cultural Equity Statement, diversity includes all ways in which people differ, including but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, education, age, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, geography, citizenship status, religion, language, physical appearance, and the intersection of these various identities. The City commits to ensuring cultural equity in all arts policies and practices.

The Arts Grant Program categories with open application processes for 2025 are as follows:

Arts Project Grant — 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. The proposed projects should take place in the City of West Hollywood in 2025 and 2026. Proposed presentations may include, but are not limited to: comedy show, dance performance, drag performance, film screening, visual art exhibit, music presentation, poetry reading, and theatre presentation. The Arts Project Grant category is awarded in a two-year cycle [with one application, grantee can be awarded for 2 years]. The maximum grant award is $20,000 per grantee ($10,000 per year). The deadline for this category is Monday, July 1, 2024.

Community Arts Grant — Supports non-profit arts organizations with a history of supporting BIPOC, LGBQ, and/or female artists and audiences. Proposed projects should take place in West Hollywood in 2025. Proposed presentations can include an art centered presentation or performance, and/or an educational and participatory program (workshop) which engages BIPOC, LGBQ, and/or female artists and audiences. The maximum grant award for both artists and non-profits arts organizations for this category is $6,000. The deadline for this category is Monday, July 1, 2024. 

Transgender, Gender Diverse, Intersex, + (TGI+) Arts Grant — Supports and enhances the presentation of artworks in West Hollywood by transgender, non-binary, intersex, and gender nonconforming artists and non-profit organizations with a history of supporting artists in these communities. Proposed projects should take place in West Hollywood in 2025. Proposed presentations should include art presentations which engage transgender, gender diverse, and/or intersex artists and audiences. The maximum grant award is $6,500 for both artists and non-profit arts organizations. The deadline for this category is Monday, July 1, 2024.

WeHo Artist Grant — Supports 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. Eligible artists must reside in the City of West Hollywood. The grant award is $6,000 per year for five artists. The deadline for applications is Monday, July 1, 2024.

Artists and organizations interested in applying may visit www.weho.org/arts for more information.

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

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

West Hollywood Promotes Local Actions that Address Climate Change as it Celebrates Earth Month in April with ‘WeHo Takes Climate Action 2024’

In honor of Earth Month in April, the City of West Hollywood will celebrate WeHo Takes Climate Action 2024 to rally community members to collectively embrace sustainable practices and contribute to the City’s 2035 carbon neutrality goal. Community members are encouraged to share social media posts about taking sustainability action steps using the hashtag #WeHoClimateAction.

Starting in April, residents, businesses, and local organizations are encouraged to take various actions that support the City’s ambitious environmental goals. Through its @wehocity social media pages, the City will promote various steps relating to energy, transportation, zero waste, natural environment, and resilience that community members can take. The City will also share the latest information on its climate action initiatives to raise community awareness about City programs and policies related to its natural and built environments, ecology, and sustainability efforts.

The City of West Hollywood has a strong record of developing and instituting progressive and forward-thinking environmental policies and, as a city committed to reducing its carbon footprint, West Hollywood recognizes the importance of individual actions in making a substantial impact on the health of the planet.

 “One of the City of West Hollywood’s most critical core values is Responsibility for the Environment,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John M. Erickson. “West Hollywood has steadily led the way in developing and applying policies that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy, and promote sustainability. As we take next steps in realizing the goals of our Climate Action Plan, Earth Month in April is a wonderful opportunity for all us of to do what we can to make individual steps that add up to big community impacts and help our city to reducing our carbon footprint, which will better prepare us for the future effects of climate change.”

In the spirit of proactive initiatives, the City of West Hollywood is gearing up for Earth Month with a variety of community events and programs in April:

  • On Saturday, April 20, 2024, the City will host a free in-person symposium, Water Wise | Water Works, which will explore the fundamental role that water plays in supporting urbanized settings. It will examine some of the key challenges and opportunities that lie ahead with respect to future sustainability, climate change, ecology, and resilience goals that are pursued at the local and state levels. The symposium will take place at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. More information is available on the City website calendar
  • On Saturday, April 20, 2024 the City will host an annual Tree Planting at 9 a.m. in the public parkway at 1146/1148 Formosa Avenue. Four paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia) trees, which are widely planted throughout Southern California and are native to Australia, will be planted. The paperbark is a rounded, evergreen tree with a maximum height of 40 feet. It has a low water use rating and features exfoliating bark and oblong leaves with seasonal flower displays in the summer and fall that will attract pollinators and birds. Sun exposure ranges from partial shade to full sun. West Hollywood community members are invited and encouraged to participate in this year’s annual tree planting event. Drop in; no RSVP is needed. Supervision, instruction, tools, and gloves will be provided. The event will start with a short ‘how-to’ planting session, followed by a discussion on the benefits trees provide to the urban environment.

To showcase the City of West Hollywood climate actions in energy, transportation, zero waste, natural environment, and resilience programs, the City will highlight its sustainability programs and share information about how community members can get involved via social media and more, including the following:  

  • The City’s newly launched Green Business Certification program is a recognizes and encourages efficient, profitable, and sustainable business operations. To support businesses, West Hollywood’s Green Business Program and its services are being offered at no cost. Visit go.weho.org/greenbusiness for more information.
  • Electrify WeHo is the City’s new web resource on electrification with resources to help community members transition into an all-electric home which can improve indoor air quality, lower your energy costs, modernize your home, and help WeHo reach its 2035 carbon neutrality goal. Learn about the benefits and incentives to help make the switch at Electrify WeHo.
  • Go Solar West Hollywood is a City-sponsored program encouraging property owners to go solar. The City has partnered with online marketplace EnergySage to help property owners receive and compare quotes. 
  • The City’s new Resilience Efforts webpage provides the public with information on resilience and centralizes the City’s resiliency efforts to serve as a resource for community members. 
  • The City of West Hollywood encourages community members to leave their automobiles at home and take alternate forms of transportation when possible while traversing the City, including by using scooters, bicycles, walking (the City is only 1.9 square miles!), or via the City’s free transit options. Please visit www.wehopickup.com or www.weho.org/cityline for more information.
  • Responding to a statewide effort to reduce emissions associated with organic waste disposal by diverting waste from landfills, the City has worked with Athens Services to establish an organic recycling service throughout West Hollywood. Community members are encouraged to visit the City’s organic recycling webpage to learn how to sort waste and recycle.
  • In January 2024, the West Hollywood City Council adopted the new Tree Canopy ordinance regulating the preservation, removal, relocation, and replacement of existing mature canopy trees. 
  • The City’s Heritage Tree program promotes identifying specimen trees, promotes tree awareness, advocates for the protection of mature tree benefits, and educates community members about the City’s heritage trees and proper maintenance practices. All great trees start small! Visit the City’s webpage about young tree care best practices. The WeHo community is encouraged to check out resource videos and take the tree steward pledge!

Finally, the City will continue to implement its people-centered Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (WeHo Climate Action), which outlines the City’s intended path to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate while centering equity and quality-of-life outcomes for the West Hollywood community. The City s biannually updates its WeHo Climate Action public dashboard that monitors progress toward achieving carbon neutrality and its 60 programs and projects. To learn more about the City’s active sustainability initiatives and public dashboard, visit WeHo Climate Action & Sustainability.

The City of West Hollywood will, additionally partner with The Center for Early Education to provide a day of service for school children. This private event will take place at Kings Road Park and programming will feature monarch butterfly conservation education and activities, planting nectar and other foliage, and park cleanup. Visit the City’s educational Monarch Butterfly Conservation webpage to learn more about monarch butterfly conservation and City efforts.

For more information about West Hollywood’s Earth Month 2024, please contact Andi Lovano, City of West Hollywood Community & Legislative Affairs Manager, at (323) 848-6333 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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David Cooley makes emotional exit as owner of The Abbey WeHo

Video captured by longtime patron Edgar Alvarez shows a tearful Cooley hugging his staff and patrons as he made his way out of The Abbey WeHo

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Actress & singer Jennifer Lopez with David Cooley, the founder and now former owner of The Abbey WeHo in January of 2024 at an event honoring Cooley. (Photo Credit: The Abbey WeHo/Facebook)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – David Cooley, the founder and former owner of The Abbey WeHo and The Chapel at The Abbey, made a tearful exit on his last day as owner of two of West Hollywood’s most iconic nightclub on Thursday night. He officially turned over the reins over to new owner Tristan Schukraft.

The final hurrah was a low-key affair. According to a witness, at one point all the bartenders lined up to bid their former boss a final farewell, but Cooley took too long to come out from the back, so they eventually went back to work.

David Cooley’s Final Day at the Abbey – Photo courtesy of Edgar Alvarez

Video captured by longtime patron Edgar Alvarez shows a tearful Cooley hugging his staff and patrons as he made his way out of The Abbey WeHo. The crowd clapped and cheered, and people can be heard thanking him as he made his final exit.

@wehotimes David Cooley, the founder and former owner of The Abbey WeHo and The Chapel at The Abbey, made a tearful exit on his last day as owner of two of West Hollywood’s most iconic nightclub on Thursday night. He officially turned over the reigns to new owner Tristan Schukraft. The final hurrah was a low-key affair. According to a witness, at one point all the bartenders lined up to bid their former boss a final farewell, but Cooley took too long to come out from the back, so they eventually went back to work. Video captured by longtime patron Edgar Alvarez shows a tearful Cooley hugging his staff and patrons as he made his way out of The Abbey WeHo. The crowd clapped and cheered, and people can be heard thanking him as he made his final exit. As a joke, and perhaps a final nod to Cooley’s longstanding relationship with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, a sheriff’s deputy vehicle waited for him out front and then whisked him away in a dramatic exit while people on the sidewalk waved goodbye. #wehotimes #wehonews #wehocity #weho #westhollywood #wehonightlife #westhollywoodnightlife @The Abbey ♬ original sound – WEHO TIMES

As a joke, and perhaps a final nod to Cooley’s longstanding relationship with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, a sheriff’s deputy vehicle waited for him out front and then whisked him away in a dramatic exit while people on the sidewalk waved goodbye.

The Abbey Food & Bar and The Chapel at The Abbey were sold to entrepreneur Tristan Schukraft—a technology entrepreneur turned hotelier, nightlife aficionado, and well-known member of the West Hollywood LGBTQ+ community.

The Abbey and The Chapel add to Schukraft’s portfolio of businesses that enrich the LGBTQ+ community across the United States, which includes MISTR, the largest telemedicine provider of free online PrEP and long-term HIV care serving all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. More recently, Schukraft acquired and is in the process of reimagining Tryst and Circo, LGBTQ+ hotel and nightlife venues in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“I’m excited to build on the legacy that David Cooley created over the last 33 years at The Abbey. David built a small coffee shop on an unknown side street into one of the most famous gay bars in the country, if not the world. This is both an honor and a significant responsibility,” explains Tristan Schukraft. “I plan to respect and honor The Abbey’s history while bringing new ideas that reflect our evolving LGBTQ+ community and my personal approach to hospitality. We’re not just maintaining a legacy business and an international landmark; we’re adding to the future of LGBTQ+ nightlife.”

David Cooley’s last day at The Abbey WeHo truly marks the end of an era.

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

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

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Cyndi Lauper is Lifetime Ally Icon for WeHo Pride Parade 2024

WeHo Pride 2024 will kick off on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 with the José Sarria Drag Pageant on Harvey Milk Day

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WeHo Times/Los Angeles Blade graphic

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD | The City of West Hollywood and WeHo Pride producer JJLA today announced that Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning artist Cyndi Lauper will be the WeHo Pride Parade’s Lifetime Ally Icon.

Renowned for her groundbreaking contributions to music, activism, and LGBTQ advocacy, Cyndi Lauper epitomizes the ethos of pride, inclusivity, and resilience. WeHo Pride will honor Lauper for her work in bringing the LGBTQ community and social justice issues to the forefront, as well as expanding queer representation in mainstream pop culture.

“Cyndi Lauper embodies the spirit of inclusivity, unity, and vibrancy that has defined West Hollywood throughout its history,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John M. Erickson. “Her unwavering dedication to advocacy throughout the years, coupled with her unparalleled musical legacy, makes her a perfect fit for this moment in time as Lifetime Ally Icon as we celebrate WeHo Pride 2024.”

A tireless advocate for LGBTQ rights, women’s issues, and social justice, she co-founded True Colors United in 2008, a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating homelessness among LGBTQ youth. In response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Lauper launched the Girls Just Want to Have Fundamental Rights Fund, housed at the Tides Foundation, to support women’s rights and health. With a career spanning decades, Lauper has left an indelible mark, especially within the LGBTQ community. From her iconic hits like True Colors and Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Lauper’s repertoire resonates as a poignant soundtrack of the LGBTQ equality movement and beyond.

The WeHo Pride Parade will step off at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 2, 2024, beginning at N. Crescent Heights Boulevard at Santa Monica Boulevard, and will travel westbound along Santa Monica Boulevard into the heart of City’s Rainbow District to N. Robertson Boulevard.

Full of music, dancing, colorful floats, festive marching contingents, and creative flair, the WeHo Pride Parade is free and open to the public, embracing LGBTQ representation, inclusion, and progress. The parade celebrates diversity, love, and resilience in the heart of West Hollywood. Each year, Parade Icons are selected for their significant contributions to the LGBTQ community, visibility, community involvement, and advocacy.

Pride Starts Here. 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.

WeHo Pride will kick off on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 with the José Sarria Drag Pageant on Harvey Milk Day. 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.

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

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

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

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Neon dog gets forever home on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood

WeHo CLASSIC is BACK! The Neon Dog is fully restored & installed at its new forever home at William S. Hart Park & off Leash Dog Park

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Neon Dog West Hollywood (Photo by Paulo Murillo/WEHO TIMES)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – A City of West Hollywood CLASSIC is BACK! The Neon Dog is fully restored and installed at its new forever home on The Sunset Strip by the entrance of William S. Hart Park & off Leash Dog Park.

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, a property leased by the City of West Hollywood, but owned by the City of Los Angeles. There were three reviews that went before the city of Los Angeles to obtain the full permission to install the project.

Neon Dog West Hollywood – Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

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 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 Neon Dog is a reconditioned, electrically rotating neon sign in the shape of a dog (10’6” high, 10’9” at its widest), and part of the City of West Hollywood’s Urban Art collection. The proposed project includes the installation of the Neon Dog atop a 12’-tall vertical support pole (with corresponding structural foundation and electrical connections) at the Park’s Sunset Boulevard entrance located between North Kings Road and North Sweetzer Avenue. The proposed art installation would located at a nook to the right of the park entrance. The sign will stand on long pole above arms reach, sitting at about 12 feet above ground. A trashcan and bench would be removed from the area.

Neon Dog West Hollywood – Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES
Neon Dog West Hollywood – Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

The famous Collar & Leash neon dog sign was originally located at 8555, Santa Monica Boulevard. A crane removed it from the Collar & Leash parking lot on Tuesday, June 24, 2020. It was uninstalled and carefully placed in the back of a truck and was taken to Ontario California for much needed repairs in preparation to become a permanent art installation in West Hollywood.

William S. Hart Park & Off Leash Dog Park is a fenced-in park between Sunset Boulevard and De Longpre that allows dogs to play off-leash in a tree-lined space with mulch on the ground, located at 8341 De Longpre Ave, West Hollywood.

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

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

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