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West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

Celebrate Russian-Speaking Community, Free Screening ‘AIDS Diva: The Legend of Connie Norman,’ Open Call for Arts Grant Applications plus more

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

West Hollywood to Celebrate Russian-Speaking Community Cultural Heritage Month with Multiple Events

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

The former Soviet Union encompassed 15 republics — Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Belorussia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia — and Russian culture, itself, has withstood centuries. With more than 100 distinct ethnic groups within the former USSR, Russian culture does not represent any one group. For Russian-speaking people, Russian language unites people and serves to connect and deepen a common culture across regions.

This year, as the devastation of war continues to grip Ukraine, Russian-speaking Community Cultural Heritage Month programming will continue to focus on standing for peace in Ukraine and bringing the diverse Russian-speaking community together to share the cultural heritage and welcome new members of the community.

The following events are Russian-speaking Community Cultural Heritage Month events presented by the City of West Hollywood and its Russian-speaking Advisory Board during May: 

  On Sunday, May 7, 2023 at 12 p.m., the City of West Hollywood presents Victory in Europe Day, which marks the end of the Nazi regime in Germany and the defeat of the German army in Europe. The event will take place at Plummer Park’s Fiesta Hall, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard, and will serve as a remembrance of the estimated 50 million people who lost their lives during World War II. The event will be followed by MUSIC WITH A MOVIE CAMERA, dedicated to the Victory in Europe Day, presented by Helix Collective. The ensemble performs music from the innovative films of the 1920-80s by composers from the former Soviet Union such as including It’s a Wonderful Life with a score by Dimitri Tiomkin, Man with a Movie Camera, one of the earliest depictions of the cities of Ukraine on film, The Gadfly, with music by Dimitri Shostakovich, and more. This is a free event and no RSVP is required. For more information, please call (323) 848-6501 or email [email protected].

On Saturday, May 13, 2023, at 4 p.m., the City’s Russian-speaking Advisory Board presents MaySky Classical Night 2023, an evening filled with beautiful classical music performed by world-renowned stars. This year’s event will be held at the City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard, and will benefit Casa De Luz via the Imperial Court to Los Angeles and Hollywood. Casa De Luz is a refugee house on the border of Mexico and the United States that provides shelter to people who otherwise would be prosecuted or executed in their own countries.  

 On Sunday, May 21, 2023, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the City and its Russian-speaking Advisory Board will host the 22nd Annual WeHo Mishka Festival at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The event will embrace the opportunity to explore and share the deep historical elements of Russian culture. It will also feature the 17th Annual Russian-speaking Community Awards presentation. The day will also feature a reception for the Art of Wellness exhibition currently showing in Long Hall. For more information, call (323) 848-6501. 

On Sunday, May 28, 2023 at 11:30 a.m., 11 of the best animators in the region will gather on the same stage in the extraordinarily bright Candy Land children’s show where exciting adventures await in the sweet land ruled by the Candy Queen and the Candy King. This free show will take place in Plummer Park’s Fiesta Hall, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. 

About the Russian-Speaking Community in West Hollywood — The City of West Hollywood is home to a large community of people from regions of the former Soviet Union. According to a 2013 survey of the community in West Hollywood, there are 3,872 people who live in the City who identify a former region of the Soviet Union as their primary ancestry. This represents approximately 11 percent of the City’s total population of 34,399 people.

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

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

Details about additional Russian-Speaking Community Cultural Heritage Month programs are available by visiting www.weho.org/RSCweho.

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

City of West Hollywood Announces Open Call for Arts Grant Applications

The City has opened applications for its 2024 Arts Grant program. For those who are interested in applying, the City will host a virtual Arts Grant Program workshop via the Zoom platform on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 at 12 p.m. Participants will learn about grant eligibility requirements and the application process, as well as have the opportunity to ask questions. First-time grant applicants and returning organizations with new development personnel are strongly encouraged to attend the Arts Grant Program information workshop to become familiar with the application process.

Grant opportunities are available to individuals and nonprofit arts organizations. Arts grants will be awarded in varying amounts and include funding for performing arts projects, individual artists, and organizational development.

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 City’s 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 grants categories with open application processes for 2024 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 2024 and 2025. Proposed presentations may include, but are not limited to: comedy show, dance performance, drag performance, film screening, fine art exhibit, music presentation, poetry reading, and theatre presentation. The Arts Project Grant category is a match grant (a match grant requires that for every dollar requested from the funding source, the equal amount is matched – through in-kind donations, private donations, and/or other grants) and 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 Saturday, July 1, 2023.

Community Arts Grant — Supports non-profit arts organizations with a history of supporting BIPOC and/or female artists and audiences. Proposed projects should take place in West Hollywood in 2024. Proposed presentations can include celebrating heritage months, presenting social justice centered art, and/or an educational and participatory program (workshop) which engages BIPOC and/or female artists and audiences. The maximum grant award for this category is $6,000. The deadline for this category is Saturday, July 1, 2023. 

Organizational Development Grant — Supports both the organization’s mission to provide arts programming and the organization’s capacity by directly supporting technical assistance to improve its ability to fundraise, develop audiences, and build its administrative infrastructure. This grant category is not a match grant and, with one application, an organization can be funded for three years. Applicant organizations should be prepared to utilize a Technical Assistant (or arts consultant) to provide sustainable resources to the organization. The maximum grant is $5,000 per grantee per year ($5,000 for each of the first two years dedicated to technical assistance; the final year for the grantee presentation). This award includes enrollment in the West Hollywood Artists Bootcamp, a highly sought after professional development series about the business of art. The deadline for this category is Saturday, July 1, 2023.

Transgender Arts Initiative Grant — Supports and enhances the presentation of artworks in West Hollywood by transgender artists and non-profit organizations with a history of supporting transgender artists. Proposed projects should take place in West Hollywood in 2024. Proposed presentations should include art presentations which engage trans artists and audiences. The maximum grant award is $6,500 for both artists and non-profit arts organizations. The deadline for this category is Saturday, July 1, 2023.

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 three artists. This category will open on July 1, 2023 and the deadline for applications will be Friday, September 1, 2023. WeHo Artist applications are reviewed by the Performing Arts and Cultural Affairs Subcommittee.

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 Eva Angeloff, City of West Hollywood Grants Coordinator, at (323) 848-6354 or at [email protected].

‘Senior Month’ with Activities throughout the Month of May

For more than two decades, the City of West Hollywood has organized an annual series of activities to engage its thriving population of older community members during Senior Month, celebrated each May. West Hollywood’s ongoing efforts to support, celebrate, and value older adults is part of the commitment to being an age-friendly city. 

The City of West Hollywood’s Senior Advisory Board meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 at 2 p.m. at the City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. This meeting will include a discussion of issues of importance to the older adult community. The meeting will also be livestreamed and available for replay on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/wehotv.

Additional programing in May includes: 

  • Honeycomb Harmonies by Keenan Hartsen – Saturday, May 6, 2023 at 10 a.m. at Plummer Park’s Vista Lawn, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard – Hosted by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division, paint tires and play recycled musical instruments with artist Keenan Hartsen at this interactive art installation in the park. 
  • 78th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day – Sunday, May 7, 2023 at 12 p.m. at Plummer Park Fiesta Hall, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard – Co-hosted by the City of West Hollywood’s Russian-Speaking Advisory Board and the West Hollywood Comprehensive Services Center, Helix Collective’s 10-piece film-music ensemble will perform music from the innovative films of the 1920s to 1980s by composers from the former Soviet Union. 
  • Maysky Classical Night – Saturday, May 13, 2023 at 5 p.m. at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard Join the City of West Hollywood’s Russian-Speaking Advisory Board for an evening filled with beautiful classical music. RSVP is requested at https://givebutter.com/2023Maysky 
  • Walt Disney Family (virtual) Museum Tour – Tuesday, May 16, 2023 at 12 p.m. Join the museum’s certified Storyteller Guide for a virtual journey through the Walt Disney Family Museum. Contact (323) 876-1717 for more information and to register for this virtual tour.
  • Human Rights Speakers Series: AIDS Diva: The Legend of Connie Norman – Saturday, May 20, 2023 at 2 p.m. at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard Connie Norman was a fierce, witty, and compassionate AIDS/Trans activist in ’80s and ’90s Los Angeles. The film uniquely and intimately explores the overall story of AIDS activism through the life of Connie Norman, and “ordinary kids achieving the extraordinary” by confronting a plague when others wouldn’t, and essentially defending their right to exist. The event will also include an interactive intergenerational discussion exploring youth-led human rights activism in the past and today. Come learn about the activism of the past to help inform the activism of the future! Free Admission. RSVP Required: https://HRSS-2023May20.eventbrite.com
  • Seniors In Action (SIA): Community + Connection + Conversation – Tuesday, May 23, 2023 at 2 p.m. at the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard – Activities that provide engaging opportunities for participants to learn something new, contribute their talents and experience, and deepen their connection to the West Hollywood Community. This is an interactive experience, so be prepared to participate! Seniors In Action is presented by the West Hollywood Comprehensive Services Center in collaboration with the City of West Hollywood’s Senior Advisory Board. Please contact Marina Goldshteyn at [email protected] to sign up and receive more information. SIA events are held monthly on every fourth Tuesday of the month at 2 p.m.
  • “Eddy’s World” Wednesday, May 31, 2023 at 12:30 p.m. at the West Hollywood Community Center at Plummer Park, Rooms 5 and 6, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard Film screening, followed by Q&A with director Lyn Goldfarb, Eddy’s daughter. Eddy’s World is an engaging portrait of a 101-year-old toy inventor. Optimistic, creative, and curious, Eddy is an endearing storyteller who shares his philosophies of life and his wisdom on aging. No RSVP required.

Community members ages 50+ are also encouraged to enjoy the many virtual and in-person programs and services offered by Los Angeles LGBT Center Senior Services Department. The Senior Services May newsletter, including the calendar of events and information about how to RSVP is available on the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s website. This month’s highlighted activities are:

  • Senior Art Exhibition Opening – Thursday, May 4, 2023 at 5 p.m. in the Gallery at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, located at 1125 N. McCadden Place in Hollywood – Opening reception for the exhibition featuring art created during the Senior Arts Program. The show will run through the month of May.
  • National LGBTQ Elders Day – Tuesday, May 16, 2023 at 12:30 p.m. at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Senior Center, located at 1118 N. McCadden Place in Hollywood – Join the Los Angeles LGBT Center for a lunch and service to pay tribute to earlier generations whose activism and bravery have created a path for younger community members to envision a future free from discrimination and stigmatization.
  • Art Lecture: Breaking the Gay Code – Wednesday, May 17 at 3 p.m. at the Senior Center, located at 1118 N. McCadden Place in Hollywood – Learn about the double lives of iconic queer artists. Discover Caravaggio’s audacious life, John Singer Sargent’s secret muses, the extraordinary female artists living in Boston marriages, and Frida Kahlo’s intimate relationship with Georgia O’Keeffe. 
  • Senior Showcase – Wednesday, May 24, 2023 at 2 p.m. at the Village at Ed Gould Plaza, located at 1125 N. McCadden Place in Hollywood Senior Center groups will come together to showcase their talents including writing, dancing, exercises, and much more! 

Senior Month programming is presented by the City of West Hollywood and its Senior Advisory Board, the Activities Program of West Hollywood Comprehensive Services Center of Jewish Family Service LA, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.For more information about additional related programming in the month of May and about senior services in the City of West Hollywood, please visit www.weho.org/services/social-services/senior-services. For additional information about City of West Hollywood’s Aging in Place/Aging in Community Strategic Plan, please visit www.weho.org/aging.

City of West Hollywood and Congregation Kol Ami will ‘Shalom Peace Square’ at Event on Sunday, May 7 at 4 p.m.

The City of West Hollywood and Congregation Kol Ami will dedicate the intersection of N. La Brea Avenue and Lexington Avenue as Shalom Peace Square. There will be an official Shalom Peace Square sign unveiling ceremony on Sunday, May 7, 2023 at 4 p.m. at the corner of N. La Brea Avenue and Lexington Avenue, adjacent to Congregation Kol Ami, located at 1200 N. La Brea Avenue. A reception will follow in the temple courtyard following the dedication.

Since its founding in 1992, Congregation Kol Ami has become an important leader in the Jewish, LGBTQ+, and West Hollywood communities and its commitment to progressive spirituality, diversity, inclusion, and social justice has been celebrated nationwide. For more information and to register in advance to attend the Shalom Peace Square sign unveiling ceremony, please visit the Congregation Kol Ami website at www.kol-ami.org/event/shalompeace.

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

Human Rights Speakers Series Presents an Interactive Discussion and Free Screening of ‘AIDS Diva: The Legend of Connie Norman’

West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series, in conjunction with ONE Archives Foundation, will host a screening of the film AIDS Diva: The Legend of Connie Norman followed by an interactive discussion exploring youth-led human rights activism.

The event will take place on Saturday, May 20, 2022, at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. and opening remarks will take place at 2 p.m., the film screening will begin at 2:15 p.m., followed by an interactive discussion on youth-led activism. The event is free, but seating is limited. RSVP is requested at https://HRSS-2023May20.eventbrite.com

The award-winning documentary film AIDS DIVA: The Legend of Connie Norman, features the fierce, witty, and compassionate AIDS/Trans activist in ’80s and ’90s Los Angeles. The film uniquely and intimately explores the overall story of AIDS activism through the life of Connie Norman and “ordinary kids achieving the extraordinary” by confronting a plague when others wouldn’t, essentially defending their right to exist.

The event will also include an interactive intergenerational discussion exploring youth-led human rights activism in the past and today. Come learn about the activism of the past to help inform the activism of the future!

The City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series brings together diverse communities to learn about and discuss global, national, and local human rights issues in a supportive environment. The series reflects the City’s commitment to human rights and core value of Respect and Support for People.
For additional information about the Human Rights Speakers Series, please visit www.weho.org/hrss.For more information, please contact Joy Tribble, the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Specialist, at (323) 848-6360 or at [email protected].

West Hollywood City Council Adopts First-in-the-Nation Glue Trap Ban 

The West Hollywood City Council unanimously adopted an ordinance banning the sale and use of glue traps in the City of West Hollywood. This anticruelty measure is the first in the United States to ban the sale and use of glue traps and is consistent with the City’s progressive animal welfare policies. The Ordinance will go into effect next year.

Glue traps have long been recognized worldwide to be cruel and indiscriminate. They are intended to attract rodents, insects, and vermin; however, they frequently trap other animals, including rabbits, opossums, and even companion animals such as dogs and cats. It is not uncommon for birds, attracted by insects caught in devices, to also become unintended victims of the traps.

“The City of West Hollywood has always been a leader on issues related to animal welfare,” said City of West Hollywood Councilmember Lauren Meister. “My council colleagues and I enthusiastically adopted this ordinance to prohibit the use and sale of glue traps within the City because these devices are sadistic and cruel.  As a compassionate and progressive city, it is incumbent on us to find more humane alternatives to rodent and pest control.”

The primary goal of a glue trap is to entrap rodents or other pests when they cross the board since their feet and bodies stick to the adhesive.  The animals are then incapable of freeing themselves and slowly other parts of their bodies get stuck to the trap, or they suffer from starvation, dehydration, or suffocation.  After several days or weeks, the animal dies, but the process is extremely cruel, painful and subjects the animal to a slow and inhumane death.

According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), these traps have been used to capture other wildlife including birds, snakes, and squirrels.  PETA reports there are numerous reports of cats becoming stuck in glue traps and requiring veterinary assistance.  Additionally, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns against using glue traps as trapped animals produce urine and feces, which may have harmful human health impacts.

The City of West Hollywood has been on the forefront of animal rights and protections for decades and the City’s commitment to animal rights is one of its legacies. The City has consistently worked to enact leading-edge animal welfare legislation:

  • in 1989, the West Hollywood City Council passed a Resolution 558 making West Hollywood a “Cruelty Free Zone” for animals. This action was then followed by West Hollywood’s move to secure animal care service policies that included a no-kill policy for stray and abandoned animals. The City also focused its efforts on raising awareness about the availability of thousands of abandoned animals at shelters waiting to be adopted, even sponsoring local adoption fairs at our City parks—a tradition that continues to this day,
  • in 2004, the West Hollywood City Council passed an Ordinance to ban the practice of declawing cats, thereby making West Hollywood the first City in North America to ban this procedure,
  • in 2008, the City of West Hollywood adopted a Resolution supporting Proposition 2, which led to a statewide standard in the caging of chickens,
  • in 2009, the West Hollywood City Council took a stand against puppy-mills and the sale of dogs in local stores that came from such mills, and
  • in 2011, the West Hollywood City Council passed an Ordinance prohibiting the sale of fur established that it is “unlawful to sell, offer for sale, display for sale, import, export, trade, or distribute any fur product by any means anywhere within the City of West Hollywood on or after September 21, 2013.”

            For more information on the scope of the ordinance and the implementation timeline, please contact City of West Hollywood Governmental Affairs Liaison Hernan Molina, at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6364.

Resolution Declaring the City of West Hollywood a Sanctuary City for Transgender People

The City Council of the City of West Hollywood has adopted a resolution declaring the City of West Hollywood a Sanctuary City for Transgender People.

Across the nation, there is an unprecedented wave of legislation targeting the transgender and LGBTQ+ communities. 2023 marks the fourth consecutive record-breaking year for anti-trans legislation in the United States. In just one month, the United States doubled the number of anti-trans bills being considered across the country from the previous year. So far in this year’s legislative session, 492 anti-trans bills have been introduced that restrict fundamentals such as healthcare, housing, education, and the freedom of expression for transgender people.

Transgender and gender non-conforming people continue to face stigma, bias, and systemic discrimination from an early age, heightening their vulnerability to violence. According to the HRC, fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, who face significantly higher rates of harassment, bias, and physical violence. A record number of discriminatory anti-trans legislative bills fuels even more bigotry and stigma against transgender and non-binary people.

In adopting its Resolution, the City of West Hollywood declares itself a safe city and sanctuary for transgender people. The specific definition of a “sanctuary city” changes from bill to bill, but it is generally defined as a state, county, or municipality that has policies or laws in place to protect or grant freedom from persecution of a particular group. The approved Resolution is consistent with the City’s core values, which include Respect and Support for People; it aims to support transgender people and foster inclusion, acceptance, and equality.

The City of West Hollywood applauds legislation aimed at protecting the rights of transgender people, including protections for transgender youth that are currently under attack. In September 2022, the State of California signed into law Senate Bill 107, introduced by Senator Scott Weiner, to protect transgender youth and their parents if they flee conservative states that have restricted access to gender-affirming care. Congressmember Adam Schiff recently introduced the “Privacy in Education Regarding Individuals’ Own Data Act” which would ban federal funding to schools that require students to disclose information about their menstrual cycles. The legislation is in response to several Republican-led legislatures who have proposed bills that force students to report menstrual cycle information in an attempt to track pregnancies, abortions, and gender related therapy.

The City of West Hollywood has been one of the most outspoken cities in the nation in advocating for the legal rights of LGBTQ people. More than 40 percent of residents in the City of West Hollywood identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The City of West Hollywood is one of the first municipalities to form a Transgender Advisory Board, which addresses matters of advocacy on behalf of transgender people in the areas of education, community awareness, and empowerment, and makes recommendations to the West Hollywood City Council. Through its Transgender Advisory Board, the City of West Hollywood regularly co-sponsors programming and recognizes Transgender Awareness Month and Transgender Day of Remembrance each November. The City has a longstanding commitment to respecting and supporting all people. The City has consistently opposed initiatives that fail to recognize diversity and tolerance and that discourage safer and more welcoming environments for individuals. 

In 1985, the City of West Hollywood joined cities around the nation to memorialize the sanctuary movement and recognize the rights of people fleeing persecution and oppression in their homelands on account of race, religion, nationality, or social or policy affiliation. The City reiterated and expanded its sanctuary status in 2001 for the use, cultivation, and distribution of medicinal marijuana, and in 2015 to include LGBTQ immigrant workers of color. The adopted Resolution reiterates the City of West Hollywood commitment to transgender people and advocating for equal rights and protections for trans community members.

For more information about the Resolution Declaring the City of West Hollywood a Sanctuary City for Transgender People, please contact Hernán Molina, Governmental Affairs Liaison, at (323) 848-6364 or at [email protected].

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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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West Hollywood

WeHo presents key to the city to LA Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Presentation took place on Wednesday, May 31 at a reception at Heart WeHo to mark the kick-off of WeHo Pride 2023

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West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne kicked off LGBTQ Pride Month 2023 by presenting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence with a key to the city. (LA Blade photo by Simha Haddad)

WEST HOLLYWOOD – West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne kicked off LGBTQ Pride Month 2023 by presenting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence with a key to the city.

The presentation of the key took place on the Heart Nightclub stage in front of hundreds of invited guests, less than a couple of weeks after The LA Dodgers Major League Baseball franchise apologized for shunning the LA Chapter drag group.

After their public apology, the Dodgers offered the sisters the Community Hero Award for their twenty-seven years of service in the community to be presented at LA Dodger ‘Pride Night’ on June 16 at Dodger Stadium.

“Tonight is so important,” Mayor Shyne told The Blade. “The sisters were discriminated against, and we all rallied behind them. This jey to the city symbolized the love that we have for each other no matter what. We will always stand together united.”

“On behalf of my colleagues on the City Council – and in representing the City of West Hollywood – I’m happy to extend a Key to the City to the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne alongside WeHo’s Mayor Pro Tempore John M. Erickson. 
(LA Blade photo by Simha Haddad)

The Mayor, Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath who is a former Mayor of WeHo, along with representatives from the Sisters drag group, Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur, and California State Senator Caroline Menjivar, with Los Angeles LGBT Center Chief Executive Officer Joe Hollendoner, LA Pride President Gerald GarthBoard had attended a meeting with Dodgers President and part-owner Stan Kasten and other stakeholders on Monday, May 22, to work out a solution.

Supervisor Horvath, who had facilitated the meeting, later told the Blade that important dialogue between the Dodgers and other parties had commenced. “I was honestly moved and grateful by the commitment in the room by all the parties, especially Dodgers President and part-owner Stan Kasten,” Horvath said.

Sister Unity, a spokesperson for the drag group, told The Blade that the sisters’ work has never been about accolades.

“Our work has never been about awards,” said Unity. “We love to dress up this way, it’s fun, and the glitter is so pretty. But then, when we saw just how much need there is for our work, how on any given night there are between five and seven thousand unhoused LGBTQ+ children who have been thrown out of their homes, the need for our work fueled us along with our delight in dressing up.” 

Unity also shared that the Dodgers incident as well as Shyne’s presentation of the key, marks a cultural shift both in the LGBTQ+ community and in America.

“As drag queens twenty-seven years ago, we knew we weren’t likely to get a lot of accolades. In a community that is already fringe, we were the fringe of the fringe. We are risky. We stick our necks out by being ‘this’ queer. We never expected the amount of support that came to us after what happened with the Dodgers. The fact that we were stood up for by so many members within and without the community marked a big change. They trusted us enough to stand up for us. Drag is now not only accepted at nightclubs. It is accepted politically in boardrooms and meeting rooms in all these prestigious institutions.”

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have been creating positive change since their first appearance in San Francisco on Easter Sunday, 1979. Since then, the Sisters have established Orders in places such as London, Paris, Wales, and more. They have devoted themselves to community service, ministry, and outreach to those on the edges and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity, and spiritual enlightenment.

The Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence made their debut in Southern California in 1995 in Diana Ross’s video with RuPaul promulgating joy launching their decades-long commitment to social activism. They work to strengthen community through drag activism by raising much-needed funds for community charities and by bringing about a better understanding of gay spirituality. They also work to unite LGBTQ communities and raise drag awareness among individuals, businesses, and organizations that are often ignorant or even hostile to members of the drag population.

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West Hollywood

WeHo Pride 2023 kicks off Friday, June 2

WeHo Pride Parade will Step-Off at 12 p.m. (Noon) on Sunday, June 4

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WeHo Pride Parade 2022 (Photo credit: Jon Viscott)

WEST HOLLYWOOD – This second year of the City of West Hollywood’s own annual Pride celebration kicks off Pride month with music, arts, the parade, and a host of other activities. Starting off on Friday, June 2 to celebrate WeHo Pride Weekend, WeHo Pride presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD in a free show featuring Idina Menzel, Jessie Ware, Shangela, and Tinashe beginning at 6 p.m.

OUTLOUD at WeHo Pride presents the Ticketed Music Festival on Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4. Produced by JJLA, the music series will feature headliners Grace Jones, Carly Rae Jepsen, Orville Peck, Passion Pit, and many more artists.

The Free WeHo Pride Street Fair and Women’s Freedom Festival begins at 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 3 with the Annual Dyke March at 6 p.m.

Free WeHo Pride Arts Festival and Community Group Event Programming Continues through Thursday, June 30

Photo provided courtesy of the City of West Hollywood (Photo credit: Jon Viscott)
  • WeHo Pride Weekend will take place on Friday, June 2, 2023, Saturday, June 3, 2023, and Sunday, June 4, 2023 in and around West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. For all the latest #WeHoPride information, visit www.wehopride.com and follow @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook.
  • WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD will feature Idina Menzel, Jessie Ware, Shangela, and Tinashe with additional performances by JORDY, Tolliver, and DJ Venessa Michaels beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 2. After several weeks of advance complimentary ticket registrations, capacity has been reached for WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD. Unfortunately, no additional RSVPs can be accepted for Friday Night at OUTLOUD entry. For additional information about other free WeHo Pride Weekend programs, visit www.wehopride.com and for information about Saturday and Sunday music festival details and tickets, visit OUTLOUD @ WeHo Pride at www.weareoutloud.com.  
  • The free WeHo Pride Street Fair and Women’s Freedom Festival begin at 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 3 and the annual Dyke March will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 3. The Street Fair is located along Santa Monica Boulevard between Hancock Avenue and La Peer Drive. The Women’s Freedom Festival will feature emerging LGBTQ and BIPOC women and non-binary musicians, comedians, poets, and activists will take place at the Community Stage, immediately followed by the annual Dyke March. The WeHo Pride Street Fair will continue on Sunday, June 4. More information is available at www.wehopride.com
  • WeHo Pride Weekend will feature the ticketed OUTLOUD @ WeHo Pride music festival and concert experience produced by JJLA at West Hollywood Park on Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4 featuring a star-studded, high-energy line-up celebrating and advocating for queer and allied voices in music. Headliners include Grace Jones, Carly Rae Jepsen, Orville Peck, Santigold, and Passion Pit along with dozens more. Plus DJs, drag, and dancing all weekend long. Full artist lineup, event, and ticket information is available by visiting www.weareoutloud.com. Follow OUTLOUD on Instagram and Facebook @OfficiallyOUTLOUD.
  • On Sunday, June 4, 2023, thousands of people will gather in West Hollywood for the annual WeHo Pride Parade, an imaginative and colorful tradition along Santa Monica Boulevard that embraces LGBTQ+ representation, inclusion, and progress. Full of music, dancing, vibrant floats, festive marching contingents, and creative flair, the Parade celebrates LGBTQ people and their contributions to community and culture. Icons for this year’s WeHo Pride Parade will be RuPaul’s Drag Race, Laith Ashley, Niecy Nash-Betts & Jessica Betts, and Melissa McCarthy. KTLA is the official broadcast partner of the 2023 WeHo Pride Parade. For those not able to attend in-person, tune-in for WeHo Pride Parade coverage on KTLA 5, KTLA + and KTLA.com featuring Cher Calvin, Pedro Rivera, the KTLA Family and surprise special guests. Enjoy OUTLOUD @ WeHo Pride and the WeHo Pride Street Fair following the parade.
  • The 40-day WeHo Pride Arts Festival continues through June 30, 2023. Events will be live at various locations throughout the City of West Hollywood and will also feature selected online programming. More information is available at www.wehopride.com/artsfestival
  • WeHo Pride community group event programming takes place through June 30, 2023. Details about community group events are available at www.wehopride.com/calendar
  • Other highlights of Pride Month in the City of West Hollywood include the annual Pride Pickleball Tournament, a free Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles concert in West Hollywood Park, and a free combined Lesbian Speakers Series/Summer Sounds event at Plummer Park featuring Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins. More information is available at www.weho.org/calendar

Information about WeHo Pride Weekend street and facility closures is available at www.wehopride.com/eventmap#closures

Information about the City’s Pride Ride free WeHo Pride Weekend shuttle service is available at https://go.wehopride.com/3qfnasc

Additional information about #WeHoPride is posted at www.wehopride.com and @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook.

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

WeHo Pride Parade will Step-Off at 12 p.m. (Noon) on Sunday, June 4

The Icons for this year’s WeHo Pride Weekend Pride Parade will be RuPaul’s Drag Race, Laith Ashley, Niecy Nash-Betts & Jessica Betts, and Melissa McCarthy. WeHo Pride will honor these trailblazers and allies as this year’s Icons for their work in bringing the LGBTQ community and social justice issues to the forefront, as well as expanding queer representation in mainstream pop culture.

The WeHo Pride Parade will step-off at 12 p.m. (noon) on Sunday, June 4, 2023 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.

WeHo Pride Parade 2022 (Photo credit: Jon Viscott)

KTLA is the official broadcast partner of the 2023 WeHo Pride Parade. For those not able to attend in-person, tune-in for WeHo Pride Parade coverage on KTLA 5, KTLA + and KTLA.com featuring Cher Calvin, Pedro Rivera, the KTLA Family, and surprise special guests. 

“The City of West Hollywood is pleased to kick off another WeHo Pride celebration filled with engaging activities and plenty of opportunities to celebrate the LGBTQ community,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne. “Our WeHo Pride Parade Icons embody queer joy and fierce allyship by creating spaces where our community can be celebrated, whether that’s on the red carpet or directly through their art and advocacy. We’re thrilled to celebrate the impact our Icons have in creating a more evolved and accepting world.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race is being celebrated as this year’s Drag Icon and will join the WeHo Pride Parade on a float accompanied by a number of fan favorites from the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise.

Long-time host and judge Michelle Visage will be receiving the Drag Icon award on behalf of the franchise. The illustrious Drag Race series has produced some of the most globally famous drag queens, and the City of West Hollywood is thrilled to include Drag Race participants in this year’s parade including Angeria, Gigi Goode, Gottmik, June Jambalaya, Rock M. Sakura, Symone, and more.

Produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and World of Wonder (WOW), the franchise has reshaped international pop culture, earning 27 Emmys, and has created a global network. Fans can catch the current season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 8 streaming exclusively on Paramount+.

Receiving this year’s Breakthrough Icon award is Laith Ashley, a model, actor, and activist who launched his career with a campaign for Barneys New York in February 2014. As of 2023, Ashley was the male lead in Taylor Swift’s Lavender Haze music video, and in 2017, he was the first transgender man to be featured in an ad campaign for the Diesel brand.

Since then, he has volunteered with nonprofit organizations like FLUX and the transgender division of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). Before beginning his career in the entertainment industry, Ashley was a counselor for homeless youth in New York City and spearheaded trans sensitivity training in medical facilities and homeless shelters.

He now uses his platform to help inform others about the trans experience and other marginalized groups, as well as advocate for social justice in hopes of a more open, loving, and accepting world.

Actress Niecy Nash-Betts and singer-songwriter Jessica Betts will be honored with the title of Trailblazer Icons for blazing their own trail in Hollywood.

The married couple has made HERstory on their own terms by finding love and leaning in. In 2022, Niecy and Jessica became the first same-sex partners to appear on the cover of Essence magazine. The cover story received a nomination for a 2023 GLAAD Media Award in the category of “Outstanding Print Article.”

Niecy has gained recognition as an Emmy Award®-winning producer and three-time Emmy-nominated actress best known for her roles on Comedy Central’s RENO 911!, ABC’s The Rookie: Feds and Netflix’s Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. She is also the host of Don’t Forget the Lyrics! on FOX.

Early in her career, Jessica was crowned the winner of Road to Stardom with Missy Elliott. She he has toured with numerous renowned artists and has been inducted into the BET Music Matters showcase.

In recent years Jessica has continued to release music and acted alongside her wife on Comedy Central’s Reno 911!: It’s a Wonderful Heist, TNT’s Claws and ABC’s The Rookie: Feds where she and Niecy played a same-sex couple.

Melissa McCarthy has been named WeHo Pride’s 2023 Ally Icon and is being recognized for her outspoken allyship and celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. Emmy winner and two-time Oscar nominee, McCarthy, known for her roles in Bridesmaids, Can You Ever Forgive Me, Tammy, Ghostbusters, Gilmore Girls, and much more, is a staunch advocate for the LGBTQ community and has recently been very outspoken against the anti-drag laws that are being introduced by state legislatures across the country.

West Hollywood and WeHo Pride

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 (June 2 – 4) will include a free WeHo Pride Street Fair representing a diverse array of LGBTQ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration; the Women’s Freedom Festival; the annual Dyke March; Friday Night at OUTLOUD; OUTLOUD @ WeHo Pride music festival; and a wide range of community group programming throughout Pride month.

The 40-day WeHo Pride Arts Festival (May 22 – June 30) takes place at various locations throughout West Hollywood, along with selected online programming.

Additional information about #WeHoPride is posted at www.wehopride.com and @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook.

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 three of the five members of the West Hollywood City Council are openly gay. The City has advocated 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. #WeHoPride @WeHoCity

For more information about WeHo Pride, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Event Services Division at [email protected].

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

WeHo Pride Parade 2022 (Photo credit: Jon Viscott)

WeHo Pride Weekend Street and Facility Closures

Street and Facility Closure Information: https://www.wehopride.com/eventmap#closures

WeHo Pride reminds the local community and the greater LA region about WeHo Pride-related street and facility closures. Drivers and Metro riders can anticipate increased traffic and commute times; please plan to use alternate routes.

Street Closures:

  • N. San Vicente Boulevard closed from Melrose Avenue to Santa Monica Boulevard from Thursday, June 1, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 5, at 10 a.m.
  • Santa Monica Blvd (Eastbound) closed from N. La Cienega Boulevard to N. Doheny Drive from Friday, June 2, at 12 p.m. (noon) through Monday, June 5, at 7 a.m.
  • N. Robertson Boulevard closed from Santa Monica Boulevard to Melrose Avenue from Friday, June 2, at 3 p.m. through Monday, June 5 at 7 a.m.
  • Santa Monica Boulevard (Westbound) closed from N. La Cienega Boulevard to N. Doheny Drive from Saturday, June 3, at 6 a.m. through Monday, June 5, at 7 a.m.
  • N. San Vicente Boulevard closed from Santa Monica Boulevard to Cynthia Street from Saturday, June 3, at 6 a.m. through Monday, June 5, at 10 a.m.
  • Santa Monica Boulevard closed from N. Fairfax Avenue to N. Doheny Drive (including side streets one block north and one block south of Santa Monica Boulevard) from Sunday, June 4 at 5 a.m. through Sunday, June 4, at 5 p.m. for the WeHo Pride Parade. Santa Monica Boulevard from N. La Cienega Boulevard to N. Doheny Drive will remain closed though Monday, June 5 at 7 a.m. 

Facility Closures:

The City of West Hollywood will activate its annual Pride Ride free shuttle service during #WeHoPride Weekend.

More information is available at https://go.wehopride.com/3qfnasc.

Parking Information For WeHo Pride Weekend

Permit Parking Requirements are Suspended from 4 p.m. on Friday, June 2 through Monday, June 5 at 7 a.m.  >>> Parking Meters will be Enforced Throughout the Weekend <<<

 Permit parking requirements are lifted for WeHo Pride Weekend from Friday, June 2 at 4 p.m. through Monday, June 5 at 7 a.m., however parking meters will be enforced throughout the weekend. Drivers can anticipate increased traffic and commute times; please plan to use alternate routes based on street and facility closures.

Please note that Santa Monica Boulevard will be closed during the weekend in both directions of traffic and during closures for the WeHo Pride Parade on Sunday, June 4, 2023, there will be limited access to cross Santa Monica Boulevard for those seeking to drive around the City or access parking locations.

Attendees of WeHo Pride Weekend festivities are encouraged to observe the boundaries of the City of West Hollywood when parking; if parking occurs in the City of Los Angeles and/or the City of Beverly Hills, all parking restrictions for those cities must be observed.

Limited paid public parking near the WeHo Pride site in and around West Hollywood Park may be available on a first-come-first-served basis at the Pacific Design Center, located at 8687 Melrose Avenue; Kings Road Parking Structure, located at 8383 Santa Monica Boulevard; and Hancock Parking Structure, located at 901 Hancock Avenue.

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WeHo Recovery Center mourns loss of Board VP John O’Neil

“John dedicated himself to service to our community & uplifting those that were suffering. We are so grateful for the time we had with him”

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John O’Neil/WeHo Times

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The West Hollywood Recovery Center and Log Cabin (WHRC) Board of Directors are mourning the loss of Board Vice President John O’Neil, who passed peacefully Monday evening, May 22, 2023, following an aggressive cancer diagnosis. He was surrounded by family and close friends at Cedars Sinai. He was 61 years old.

John O’Neil lived and worked in the City of West Hollywood for many years. He was a pillar in the recovering community. He recently celebrated 35 years of continuous clean and sober time on March 1, 2023. He was an inspiration and touched many lives in the West Hollywood community.

The official statement from the WHRC Board reads as follows:

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved Vice President of the West Hollywood Recovery Center board member, John O’Neil. If you knew John, you knew love. You knew what it felt like to be seen. You knew you were safe and accepted exactly as you were. You knew laughter, you knew joy and you knew that you were in the presence of someone special.

John dedicated himself to service to our community and to uplifting those that were suffering. We are so grateful for the time we had with him and will miss him dearly. Thank you John for your Light, your service and for the love you’ve given all of us.”

A memorial service date is currently pending.

About the West Hollywood Recovery Center/Log Cabin:

The mission of the West Hollywood Recovery Center & Log Cabin is to provide a meeting place for 12-Step groups and to provide assistance with addiction recovery, and prevention, education to those in need; to act as trusted servants; to provide positive social exposure and a meeting place for 12-step programs and their interests; to host 12-step meetings and related social activities within this environment; to foster 12-step programs and the 12 traditions associated with these programs as a way of life; to create a safe, nurturing environment for persons engaged in any 12-step program; to share experience, strength and hope; and abide by the “12 Concepts For World Service” as set forth in the service manual for Alcoholics Anonymous.​

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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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Harvey Milk Day kicks off WeHo Pride season

City of West Hollywood kicked-off pride season with its six-week WeHo Pride Arts Festival hosting the first ever José Sarria Drag Pageant

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Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

By Mike Pingel | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood kicked-off pride season on Harvey Milk Day this Monday as part of the its six-week WeHo Pride Arts Festival. This year, in light of the wave of anti-drag legislation and protests across the nation, the City hosted the first ever José Sarria Drag Pageant.

The José Sarria Drag Pageant was organized by the City of West Hollywood and HIT, and co-sponsored by the Imperial Court. The event took place at the West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center’s Respite Deck, located at 8750 El Tovar Place, adjacent to West Hollywood Library.

José Sarria Drag Pageant – Photo by Mike Pingel

The event was hosted by Maebe A. Girl, who became the first drag queen elected to public office in the United States, after being elected to the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council in 2019. Pageant judges included: Queen Mother Karina Samala and Emperor Eugene Maysky of the Imperial Court; Ebony Lane; City of West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne; and Kiki Xtravaganza.

Judges of the José Sarria Drag Pageant – Photo by Mike Pingel
Maebe A. Girl – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Mayor Pro Tem John Erickson, and council member Chelsea Byers were also at the event for the earlier part of the pageant.

Drag Kings and Queens were invited to compete for the crown in three rounds: Formal Wear, Question and Answer, and Talent.

The event provided a live DJ, voter registration table, a Harvey Milk photo opportunity, milk and cookies, information tables from local organizations, and custom typewritten poetry provided by Pride Poets.

José Sarria Drag Pageant – Photo by Mike Pingel
José Sarria Drag Pageant – Photo by Mike Pingel
José Sarria Drag Pageant – Photo by Mike Pingel

And the Winner is…

Girlie!

First runner up was Virgina X, third runner up was Aunda, and fourth was Roger-Roger. Girlie won a crown and a cash prize. There were nine contestants in total

Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES
José Sarria Drag Pageant – Photo by Mike Pingel
Photographs by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

José Julio Sarria was the first openly gay man to run for office in the United States when he ran for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1961. He was unsuccessful in his run, but he garnered 6,000 votes and set in motion the idea that a gay voting bloc could wield real power. In this way, he helped pave the way for Harvey Milk’s successful run for office. José Julio Sarria was also a well-known drag performer under the name Window Norton, and founded the International Imperial Court System which is one of the oldest and largest LGBT organizations in the world.

Harvey Milk Day was established in 2009 by the California State Legislature and it was signed into law by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2015, West Hollywood became the first city in the nation to observe Harvey Milk Day as an official holiday and has held events commemorating the day since 2010. Harvey Milk became the first openly gay elected leader in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. (Out lesbian Kathy Kozachenko was elected to the Ann Arbor City Council in Michigan in 1974 — becoming the first openly gay person elected to political office in the United States.) In November 1978, Milk was assassinated by Supervisor Dan White after only 11 months in office. In 2009, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Harvey Milk with a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contribution to the LGBT movement.

More information about the WeHo Pride Arts Festival is available at www.wehopride.com/artsfestival. Information about WeHo Pride Weekend, which takes place June 2-4, 2023, is available at www.wehopride.org.

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

His official website is www.mikepingel.com

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

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LA Drag Nuns: 1st public appearance after LA Dodgers controversy

The LA Sisters were removed from participating in the baseball team’s 10th Annual Pride Night event at Dodger Stadium

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LA Drag Nuns - Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

By Mike Pingel | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The LA Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence–known as the LA Drag Nuns on social media–made their first public appearance at Micky’s WeHo on Friday night to “spread some community love and blessings” following the Los Angeles Dodgers controversy where the LA Sisters were removed from participating in the baseball team’s 10th Annual Pride Night event at Dodger Stadium.

The LA Dodgers also snatched their Community Hero Award a following complaints from some Catholic priests and a U.S. Senator Marco Rubio who weighed in all the way from Florida.

LA Drag Nuns – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

The team faced a double backslash from LGBT groups like the LA LGBT Center and LA Pride following their decision to cave in to pressure from religious groups and a Republican Senator.

Micky’s was packed with supporters inside who wanted to greet the sisters. They asked for selfies and shared a laugh over cocktails on an early Friday night.

A media frenzy took place at 8857 Santa Monica Blvd. There was a long list of local media outlets on the sidewalk and inside the patio interviewing the sisters individually.

LA Drag Nuns – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

One Sister said she was overwhelmed by the love on her walk to Micky’s WeHo. She said people were clapping for her on the street.

A lot of the supporters who showed up were members from the leather community who are also known to fundraise for LGBTQ causes.

The evening was supposed to a bar crawl, but the Sisters spent most of their time at Micky’s WeHo.

LA Drag Nuns – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence describe themselves as a charity organization and human rights activists. “Our mission is to uplift our community and all marginalized groups, especially the ones ignored by larger organizations, spiritually oriented or otherwise,” reads a recent statement.

“We are queer nuns serving our people just as nuns of other cultures serve theirs. We are not solely male; our membership includes all genders, religions, and romantic affiliations. Though we both serve the transgender community and have transgender members, we are not an exclusively trans organization. We unequivocally support the rights of people born transgender. We are both silly and serious. We use our flamboyance in service to our charity work and our message, which is, ‘There is room in our world for each person to be who they are, as they are, free from shame or guilt, and alive in joy and love for their own self.”

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

His official website is www.mikepingel.com

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

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WeHo’s ‘We’ve Always Been Here’ art installation up at City Hall

A new mural is being installed at West Hollywood City Hall by Britt Westveer depicts the long history of diverse LGBTQIA+ people

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We’ve Always Been Here Art Installation by Britt Westveer - Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

By Mike Pingel | WEST HOLLYWOOD – A new mural is being installed at West Hollywood City Hall, located at 8300 Santa Monica Blvd, in time for pride month. We’ve Always Been Here by Britt Westveer will run from May 2023 through April 30, 2024.

The 10×20 wheatpasted mural artwork is a collection of three large, printed posters featuring digital collages made from found imagery and the artist’s own archives depicting the long history of diverse LGBTQIA+ people who have “always been here.”

We’ve Always Been Here Art Installation by Britt Westveer – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES
We’ve Always Been Here Art Installation by Britt Westveer – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

The new mural has replaced the Our Pride mural art installation by artist LaToya Peoples which was part of the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division 2022 WEHO Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival. The mural was a bright blue sky, symbolic of the progress LGBTQ+ people have made and have yet to make. Each hand represents diverse people.

We’ve Always Been Here will be completed by the end of this week.

Britt Westveer is a queer Milwaukee and Los Angeles -based multidisciplinary artist with a focus on textiles and photography. Her work evokes both the past and the present, with a heavy emphasis on identity. Her bio states that she’s currently exploring these themes by researching the erasure of women and non-binary people’s history during the ‘Old West’ in the early to mid-1800s. Through the use of storytelling, photographs and found imagery, she wants to demystify the fables of the west, as well as generate a discussion about people who identify as women or non-binary during a time that has been consistently populated with cis-male-centered folklore and glamorization.

Britt Westveer – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Westveer is a freelance designer with a multitude of skills that she’s cultivated from her fine arts education and experiences in the creative industry. While her passion is in fine art photography and textiles, she is also skilled in graphic design, social media management, website building, photo editing, TikTok video editing, and printmaking.

I’m currently part of an exhibition in her hometown of Milwaukee at the University Club Tower Gallery Space.

The new art installation is part of the City of West Hollywood’s Art on the Outside Program, the City’s temporary art program that installs rotating artworks throughout the city. The artworks can include sculpture, murals, digital art, and other outdoor works. Most exhibitions remain on display between six months and three years. All projects are subject to the Art on the Outside Program Review and Approval Process. The program is funded through the Public Beautification & Art Fund.

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

His official website is www.mikepingel.com

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

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WeHo City Council votes 4-1 to add four Sheriff’s positions

The budget for these additions will be incorporated into the City Manager’s Recommended Budget for FY2023-2024

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West Hollywood Sheriffs (Photo Credit: Paulo Murillo/WEHO TIMES)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – At a regular West Hollywood council meeting, on Monday, May 15, the city council voted to refund Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies positions during a discussion on the semi-annual community safety update.

West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tem John Erickson made the motion that was seconded by Mayor Sepi Shyne.

City Council voted on the motion regarding citywide community safety contract staffing levels. The City Council voted 4-1 (noting the no vote of Councilmember Byers) to approve a motion to add four positions to the City’s budget for Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department services, as follows: two (2) non-sworn Public Information Officer/Community Liaison positions; one (1) Entertainment Policing Sergeant; and one (1) Sheriff’s Deputy.

The approved motion additionally provides direction for the City Council to consider adding another one (1) Sheriff’s Deputy following the City Council receiving its next Semi-Annual Community Safety Update in December 2023.

The budget for these additions will be incorporated into the City Manager’s Recommended Budget for FY2023-2024, which will be on the agenda for the regular meeting of the West Hollywood City Council on Monday, June 26, 2023. The agenda will be posted in advance of the meeting at www.weho.org/councilagendas.

The City Council of the City of West Hollywood received its Semi-Annual Community Safety Update as part of its regular meeting. The City’s community safety partners, which included representatives from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Block by Block (BBB) Security Ambassadors program, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) West Hollywood Station, provided the City Council with detailed updates about the City’s community safety activities.

The Semi-Annual Community Safety UpdateItem 5.B., contains details. The item is posted as part of the meeting agenda and the meeting is available for viewing on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/wehotv.

“The safety and well-being of our community is the City of West Hollywood’s top priority. We’re seeing that crime is trending downward in 2023 from 2022 levels. We’re deeply committed to continuing that trend and making sure our city is safe,” said Mayor Shyne. “We are continuing to work proactively with our community safety partners. There are more Block by Block security ambassadors than ever before and our Sheriff’s community policing team is out during days and our entertainment policing team is out at night so that West Hollywood is a safe place to live, work, and visit around the clock.”

As background, in June 2022 the City Council of the City of West Hollywood approved changes in community safety as part of its approval of the FY2022-2023 City budget. Changes included an increase of Block by Block Security Ambassadors by 30 positions to perform foot patrols in residential neighborhoods; adding one Sheriff’s Deputy assigned to the Entertainment Policing Team; maintaining existing funding levels for LASD Supplemental Patrols for the fiscal year; and decreasing the number of LASD Deputies by two within 90 days.

During the second half of 2022, the City’s Block by Block Security Ambassadors program was expanded by 30 personnel for a total of 85 security ambassadors. Block by Block Security Ambassadors work in collaboration with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station to provide supplemental safety services.

Expansion of the program aims to provide an additional public presence to proactively reduce crime and the City will maintain expanded staffing levels for its Block by Block Security Ambassadors program.

The Block by Block Security Ambassadors Hotline provides access to free, 24/7 support by phone at (833) WEHO-BBB / (833) 934-6222 or by phone and text message at (323) 821-8604. For additional information, visit www.weho.org/bbb.

The City of West Hollywood contracts with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement and the Los Angeles County Fire Department for fire protection.

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

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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 to consider approval of 2023 Halloween Carnaval

The WeHo city-sponsored Halloween event had been cancelled for the past three years, from 2020 to 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic

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Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – West Hollywood City Council will consider the approval of the general programming outline for 2023 Halloween Carnaval as part of new business at a regular city council meeting on Monday, May 15, 2023.

City Staff is recommending street closures, temporary infrastructure (portable toilets and lighting), Special Event Permit fee waivers, enhanced public safety resources, and a DJ. Estimated cost for the programing is approximately $1,500,000.

West Hollywood has been home to the country’s largest outdoor Halloween celebration for decades. The Halloween Carnaval, held annually on October 31st, has been known to attract hundreds of thousands of guests to Santa Monica Blvd.

The event originated organically as residents and visitors came in costume, causing the street to close to accommodate the growing number of attendees. Over time, the City added a sponsored event program featuring multiple stages, entertainment, and food vendors.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and related health orders in March 2020, the City cancelled all non-essential City events and gatherings, including the Halloween Carnaval. City-sponsored Halloween event has been cancelled for the past three years, from 2020 to 2022. Despite the lack of official City events in 2021, the City increased public safety measures for Halloween in anticipation of a potential increase in visitor turnout.

In 2022, the City encouraged businesses to host their own Halloween celebrations and waived fees for Special Event Permits for the weekend leading up to Halloween.

The City also absorbed the costs associated with L.A. County Fire Department’s site plan review to support the businesses’ efforts. In preparation for an expected increase in visitors to West Hollywood, the City temporarily expanded pedestrian thoroughfares and increased the number of public safety personnel.

In March 2023, staff released a survey to the West Hollywood business community
seeking feedback on Halloween events. Major takeaways from the survey results include:

  • More than half (54%) of surveyed respondents believe that past Halloween events
    positively impacted their business.
  • 56% of respondents believe Halloween events are extremely important to the overall
    economic health of West Hollywood.
  • 41% of respondents reported that Halloween is more impactful to their business than
    other annual events.
  • 77% of respondents believe Halloween contributes positively to the City of West
    Hollywood’s brand and reputation.
  • 88% of respondents identified a street festival environment as the component that
    attracts the most people on Halloween.
  • Respondents that do not benefit from Halloween events cited lane closures and
    increased traffic as a detriment to their business, as well as safety concerns.

For 2023 Halloween Carnaval, staff is proposing the following:

  • Closure of major streets in West Hollywood, similar to the Pride footprint closure
    (Santa Monica Blvd from Doheny to La Cienega, Robertson Blvd and San
    Vicente Blvd from Santa Monica Blvd to Melrose).
  • Portable restrooms.
  • Waiving certain special event permit fees for brick-and-mortar businesses as well
    as covering L.A. County Fire’s associated site plan review costs for such permits.
  • Establishing a temporary cannabis event zone.
  • DJs, provided on a small stage format in one location within the general street
    closure event footprint.
  • Free transportation to the festival area, such as with The PickUp and The
    CityLine.

The Regular City Council Meeting is taking place at West Hollywood Public meeting Room – Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard, starting at 6pm.

To view the complete staff report, visit: (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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West Hollywood

LASD releases special bulletin, hopes to identify hit & run suspect

A Silver MINI Cooper hit three pedestrians as it sped away following a verbal altercation between the driver and a man in the crosswalk

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Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department patrol vehicle. (Photo by Paulo Murillo/WeHo Times)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released a special bulletin asking for any information that will identify hit and run suspect involved in an incident on Monday morning where three pedestrians were struck by a Mini Cooper on Santa Monica and San Vicente Blvds. Two were hospitalized with minor injuries.

Plate: Unknown / Black Bonnet Stripes / Black Wheels
Broken Rear Windshield / Missing Front Driver’s Side Quarter Panel Trim
(Possibly a 2011 MINI Cooper S Countryman)
Date/Time: 05/07/2023 @ 0259 hrs.

Location: Santa Monica Bivd / San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood The vehicle shown, a Silver MINI Cooper, hit three pedestrians as it sped away following a verbal altercation between the driver and a man in the crosswalk.

The vehicle drove west on Santa Monica Blvd and turned north onto Hilldale Ave.

Please contact Det. Lombera with any information or similar incidents.

Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. If you see something, say something. Anyone with information can also drop a tip at https://www.lacrimestoppers.org.

Your identity is always encrypted and anonymous. No personal information, phone number, e-mail, IP address or location is ever requested, saved, traced, tracked or monitored. Period.

The purpose of Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers is to prevent and reduce crime, by forming a partnership among the community, law enforcement and the media to offer anonymity and cash rewards to anyone providing information leading to an arrest.

Crime Stoppers encourages members of the community to assist local law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime by overcoming the two key elements that inhibit community involvement: fear and apathy.

West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station polices the City of West Hollywood and the unincorporated communities of Franklin Canyon, Universal City (which includes Universal Theme Park, Studios, and Citywalk), and the Federal Enclave in West Los Angeles.

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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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West Hollywood

WeHo assault rifle robbery suspect in custody in Beverly Hills

“I want to assure the community and the city council that we are taking every possible step to prevent similar incidents from happening”

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A police officer making an arrest. (file photo)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – West Hollywood City Manager David Wilson informed the community at a regular council meeting last night that the suspect who may have used an assault rifle to rob two individuals near La Boheme restaurant has been arrested in Beverly Hills, along with three of his accomplices.

During his manager’s report, Wilson stated that the safety and the wellbeing of community members is the city’s top priority and that they are deeply committed to ensuring that everyone feels secure in with community.

“With respect to the robbery that was caught on video last week near the alley on Orlando, just south of Santa Monica Boulevard, the Beverly Hills Police Department arrested four people involved in a robbery in their city with similar circumstances,” he said. “The West Hollywood sheriff’s Station has been working closely with Beverly Hills and believes that the four individuals they have in custody may be the same suspects alleged to have been involved in the West Hollywood robbery. The West Hollywood sheriff’s station is currently putting together a case information for the district attorney’s office, and we’ll provide an update to the public as soon as possible.”

Wilson added that he understood that recent events may have shaken the community’s sense of security and some people may feel vulnerable. “I want to assure the community and the city council that we are taking every possible step to prevent similar incidents from happening,” he said. “We are working closely with the sheriff station and the community safety partners to address any concerns and take swift action so that our community remains a safe and welcoming place for everyone. We are constantly reviewing and enhancing our security measures to keep our community safe, and we’ll be providing a community safety semi-annual update at the next council meeting on May 15.”

According to the update, the city will continue to work with community safety partners to proactively keep the community safe. In addition to the regular vehicle patrols, the sheriff’s community policing teams will continue to be out during the day and the entertainment Policing Team will out at night to ensure that the community is safe.

The City is also in the process of adding additional foot and bike patrols with sheriff deputies to complement the foot and bike patrols by the city’s Block by Block security ambassadors.

Wilson also reminded the community to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities.

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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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