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West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

Moving Image Media Art Program, One Institute’s Circa: LGBTQ+ Histories Festival, AIDS Walk Los Angeles, and more

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

Meet City’s New Community Development Director, Nick Maricich, & Executive Team

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood will host three in-person community meetings for residents and businesses to meet the City’s new Community Development Director, Nick Maricich, and the City’s Executive Team. Community Meetings are free to attend and open to the public; no advance RSVP is required. Meetings will provide an opportunity for community members to share ideas and provide feedback about all City departments and services, especially the Community Development Department. Meetings will take place, as follows:

  • On Tuesday, September 26, 2023 at 6 p.m. a Business-Focused Community Meeting will take place at West Hollywood City Hall in the Community Meeting Room, located at 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard.
  • On Wednesday, September 27, 2023 at 1 p.m. a General Community Meeting will take place at the West Hollywood Aquatic & Recreation Center in the La Cienega Room, located at 8750 El Tovar Place.
  • On Wednesday, September 27, 2023 at 6 p.m., a Resident-Focused Community Meeting will take place at West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard.

The City of West Hollywood’s new Community Development Director Nick Maricich has a successful history of furthering successful urban planning in the Los Angeles region. In his most recent role, Maricich served as Principal City Planner overseeing functions of the Citywide Policy Planning Division for the City of Los Angeles. He also served for five years as the Director of Planning Policy and Development for former City of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. He brings a wealth of experience in working with diverse Los Angeles neighborhoods in the areas of community planning and historic preservation. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Geography with a minor in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles.

The City of West Hollywood’s Community Development Department is responsible for managing the City’s urban environment and creating a livable community that balances the needs of residents, businesses, property owners and visitors. There are three divisions within the City’s Community Development Department that assist in creating and implementing the community’s vision: Current and Historic Preservation Planning; Long Range Planning; and Building and Safety. For additional information about the City’s Community Development Department, please visit www.weho.org/city-government/city-departments/community-development-department

For more information about the meeting, please contact Christine Safriet, Assistant to the City Manager, at (323) 848-6467 or at [email protected].

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

Neighborhood Conversations in September to Discuss Laurel House & Park Renovation

The City of West Hollywood invites community members to attend the fourth and fifth Neighborhood Conversations about the renovation of Laurel House and Park. The Neighborhood Conversations will be led by the architecture consultant team from Page & Turnbull in partnership with consultants Kimberli Meyer and Sara Daleiden who are guiding the development of the Artist Residency Program for the cultural resource.  The meetings will offer an opportunity to preview initial designs and provide feedback on the architectural plan development for Laurel House and Park Artist Residency Program.

On Tuesday, September 26, 2023 there will be an in-person Neighborhood Conversation from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Plummer Park Community Center, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard in Rooms 5 and 6. Drop-in; no RSVP is necessary. On Wednesday, September 27, 2023 there will be a virtual Neighborhood Conversation session from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. via Zoom. Register in advance for this virtual meeting using the Zoom platform.

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. Page & Turnbull was awarded the architectural contract to begin schematic design development for the Laurel House and Park.

For additional information, please contact Alicen Bartle, City of West Hollywood Project Development Administrator, at (323) 848-6323 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood Presents Artists and Icons Featuring Tim Sullivan

The City of West Hollywood’s Artists and Icons series will host a film screening of the short documentary, Relighting Candles: The Tim Sullivan Story, followed by a conversation and Q&A with advocate, activist, and candlemaker Tim Sullivan moderated by director, producer, choreographer, and author Adam Shankman.

The event will take place on Wednesday, October 4, 2023 at 7 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, 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).

Tim Sullivan is a true West Hollywood hero. Ever since opening his candle shop in West Hollywood 25 years ago, Tim has employed people experiencing homelessness as well as newly sober people each December holiday season to help pour the thousands of candles ordered each year. Tim has been sober since 1981 and has never lost the spark to serve his community.

Relighting Candles: The Tim Sullivan Story is a short documentary by Zeberiah Newman and Michiel Thomas and executive-produced by Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy that chronicles the 82-year-old Sullivan’s inspiring journey from alcoholism to sobriety to employing unhoused and newly sober members of his community at Timothy Jay Candles.

The West Hollywood Artists & Icons series is a periodic event 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 Lou Adler, Barbara Bain, Bette Davis & Mae West, Frances Taylor Davis, Dan Guerrero, and Michael McMillen.

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

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

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

City Presents How To Hack Birth Control Screening and Q&A

The City of West Hollywood and its Women’s Advisory Board will present a free community screening of the award-winning digital series How to Hack Birth Control followed by a Q&A with the director and cast members and moderated by the City’s Mayor Pro Tempore John M. Erickson. The event will also include a reception, giveaways, and health information.

The event will take place on Saturday, September 23, 2023, at 4 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, 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, alternative transportation is encouraged).

Directed and written by Sassy Mohen, How to Hack Birth Control is a digital comedy series about navigating and taking charge in today’s contraception universe, starring Garrison Oliver Gross, Lauren Elizabeth Harris, Aisha Renee Holden, Jackie R. Jacobson, Brooke Ashley Rose Johnson, Micaela Martinez, Xanthe Paige, Spring Inés Peña, Cynthia San Luis, and Dash Kennedy Williams. 

Told through the sharp wit and perky charm of the narrator Ruth, How to Hack Birth Control takes a run at a hit list of ‘not supposed to talk about,’ scenarios. How do you get the morning after pill quickly and for free? Where can you hide your birth control? How do you get your doctor to listen to you? All of the things women want to know but are taught to be too afraid to ask.  How to Hack Birth Control has been an official selection at more than 60 film festivals, including the Nashville Film Festival, the Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film FestivalNewFilmmakers LA, and Harlem International Film Festival, and has won 21 awards. 

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

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

City of West Hollywood Recognizes September as National Recovery Month and Invites Community to the Van Ness Recovery House Carnival Celebration

The City of West Hollywood recognizes September as National Recovery Month, which started in 1989 and is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life. Recovery month aims to increase public awareness surrounding mental health and addiction recovery and celebrate the gains made by those in recovery. Recovery Month has adopted the theme of Every Person. Every Family. Every Community. as its permanent tagline. 

The observance of National Recovery Month reinforces the City of West Hollywood’s commitment to providing social services, health education, and information to community members in-need and to improve quality of life. The City contracts with several agencies to provide substance abuse, recovery, and health and mental health services. In addition to the City’s work with contracted agencies, the City works to educate and raise awareness about the dangers of substance use. 

On August 31, 2023, the City joined the recovery community in recognizing Overdose Awareness Day, a global event held annually to remember and memorialize the lives lost to drug overdoses and to promote awareness about the importance of overdose prevention. West Hollywood City Hall was lit in purple, the color of recognition for Overdose Awareness Day, and also participated by sharing #OverdoseAwarenessDay messaging in @wehocity social media.

The City of West Hollywood invites the community to attend the Van Ness Recovery House Carnival Celebration on Saturday, September 30, 2023, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Plummer Park’s Fiesta Hall and Great Lawn, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. In celebration of the Van Ness Recovery House’s 50th Anniversary, the ‘Carnival’ is being brought to the community to highlight the organization’s 50 years of work and service, and to recognize September as National Recovery Month. The Carnival is free and open to the community and will include food, games, and entertainment.  

The Van Ness Recovery House is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to meet the critical and expanding needs of the LGBTQ+ community through whole person care and integrated services that target drug and alcohol addiction, mental health concerns, and sexual health in a socially supportive environment. The 20-bed residential treatment facility opened in 1973 and was one of the first facilities to welcome people with HIV and AIDS into residential addiction recovery treatment.

Since its inception, the Recovery House has served thousands of individuals struggling with substance related disorders. The City contracted with the Van Ness Recover House beginning in 1992 and has referred thousands of community members and residents to the agency to receive services.

“The City of West Hollywood has made it an ongoing priority to address recovery services by providing funding for programming at a variety of agencies and by educating the public about substance use,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore John M. Erickson. “Congratulations to the Van Ness Recovery House for 50 years of amazing work and service to the community.”  

As part of its commitment to recovery services, the City of West Hollywood is working on next steps in the renovation of the historic Log Cabin building, which houses the West Hollywood Recovery Center (WHRC) on N. Robertson Boulevard. In late June 2023, the California State Legislature approved AB 102 Budget Act of 2023, which contains $1.15 million in appropriated funding to support the Log Cabin renovation project. On Monday, July 10, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 102 into law.

More information about the Log Cabin is posted here: www.weho.org/Home/Components/News/News/10917/23

The City of West Hollywood’s Human Services Division publishes a Substance Abuse Services Guide featuring information about addiction and recovery resources: www.weho.org/services/human-services/substance-abuse-addiction-recovery.

For more information about the City’s addiction and recovery resources, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Human Services Division at (323) 848-6510. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

For additional information about the Van Ness Recovery House’s Carnival Celebration, 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.

AIDS Walk Los Angeles to Take Place in City of West Hollywood on Sunday, October 15

The 38th annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles returns to West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard, on Sunday, October 15, 2023 beginning at 10 a.m.

Due to the AIDS Walk, there will be limited street and lane closures in West Hollywood. Drivers should expect delays and plan accordingly.

Street closures will occur as follows on Sunday, October 15, 2023:

  • N. San Vicente Boulevard between Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue: 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Santa Monica Boulevard between N. Doheny Drive and N. La Cienega Boulevard: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Lane closures will occur as follows on Sunday, October 15, 2023:

  • Southbound lane at the intersection of N. La Cienega Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Both southbound lanes at the intersection of N. Doheny Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Both northbound lanes at the intersection of N. Doheny Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Westbound lane on Melrose Avenue between N. Robertson Boulevard and N. Doheny Drive will be limited to local access. (Vehicles will not be allowed to enter the intersection at N. Doheny Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard.)
  • N. Doheny Drive from Rangely Avenue to Melrose Avenue – (North side traffic will be diverted east on Melrose Avenue): 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • N. Doheny Drive from Carmelita Avenue to Santa Monica Boulevard – (South side traffic will be diverted West on Sunset Boulevard): 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

West Hollywood Park impacts will occur as follows on Saturday, October 14, 2023 and Sunday, October 15, 2023:

  • Basketball courts will be closed on Saturday, October 14 and Sunday October 15.
  • Dog parks will remain open on Saturday, October 14 with access via alternate gates.
  • Dog parks will be closed on Sunday, October 15 between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Dog park gates will reopen on Sunday, October 15 at 2 p.m. with access via alternate gates.

To avoid traffic and parking delays, event participants are encouraged to use alternative modes of transportation such as ride sharing services or Metro. Some public parking structures/lots will offer a limited amount of parking at the following locations for a fee on Sunday, as follows (please note that some locations are not immediately adjacent to West Hollywood Park):

  • Kings Road Parking Structure, 8383 Santa Monica Boulevard
  • La Jolla/Havenhurst Lot, 1043 La Jolla Avenue (metered)
  • Orange Grove Lot, 1114 N. Orange Grove Avenue
  • Spaulding Lot, 7718 Santa Monica Boulevard
  • Queens Lot, 8459 Sunset Boulevard
  • Sunset Lot, 8775 Sunset Boulevard
  • West Hollywood Park Five-Story Structure, 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard, enter from N. Robertson Boulevard/El Tovar Place (due to the N. San Vicente Boulevard closure).

AIDS Walk Los Angeles participants can hop on one of several Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) bus lines that connect to the City of West Hollywood, including: 4, 10, 30/330, 105, 212/312, 217, and 218. More information regarding lines is available at www.metro.net and Metro will post service advisories at www.metro.net/service/advisories.

AIDS Walk Los Angeles is the world’s first walk to fight HIV and AIDS and benefits APLA Health, which provides world-class LGBTQ+ empowering healthcare, HIV specialty care, food, housing, and other essential support services. 38 years ago, a group of fed-up activists, patients, advocates, and friends put their soles on the line to shake the government into action during the AIDS crisis.

Since that first Walk in 1985, hundreds of thousands of walkers and their supporters have raised more than $94 million to combat HIV and AIDS. These funds are a vital lifeline that sustains APLA Health’s programs and services benefiting more than 18,000 individuals living in Los Angeles County, which continues to have the second largest number of people living with HIV in the country.To register for AIDS Walk Los Angeles and for more information, please visit www.aidswalkla.org.

For more information, contact APLA Health by email at [email protected] or by phone/text at (213) 201-9255.

City of West Hollywood will Co-Sponsor the One Institute’s Circa: LGBTQ+ Histories Festival

The City of West Hollywood is a proud co-sponsor of the One Institute’s Circa: LGBTQ+ Histories Festival. The month-long festival will feature 70 programs throughout October beginning on Sunday, October 1, 2023 and ending on Tuesday, October 31, 2023. As part of the festival, 12 programs will be located in West Hollywood. Visit www.circafestival.org to view the schedule of events and to purchase tickets.

Circa’s unprecedented lineup honors LGBTQ+ History Month through thought-provoking exhibitions, readings, performances, panel conversations, and more, showcasing the trailblazing history and cultural contributions of the LGBTQ+ community. Festival programs spotlight the bold artistic talent of more than 200 community presenters representing every part of Los Angeles’ thriving arts and cultural landscape, from leading actors, writers, thinkers, filmmakers, and cultural organizations. 

Circa 2023 will open on Sunday, October 1, 2023 with the ONE Magazine at Seventy exhibition. This will highlight the story of triumph and courage surrounding ONE Magazine, the first nationally distributed LGBTQ+ magazine in the United States. Organized by One Institute, curated by One Archives at the USC Libraries, and co-presented with the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the event will start at 3 p.m. at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Village at Ed Gould Plaza, located at 1125 N. McCadden Place in Los Angeles.

Events in West Hollywood will begin on Wednesday, October 4, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. with Stories of Sex Work at The Mic at Micky’s, located at 8857 Santa Monica Boulevard. Other events in West Hollywood will include panel discussions, pop-up exhibits, lectures, and various workshops occurring throughout the month. More information and tickets for all events happening in West Hollywood can be found at West Hollywood – Circa (circafestival.org)

Participating organizations include the ACLU of Southern California, Celebration Theatre, Gender Justice LA, the Getty Research Institute, the Goethe-Institute, Lambda Literary, Museum of Neon Art, William Grant Still Arts Center, Williams Institute, and more. Program participants include groundbreaking actor Michael Kearns, Making Gay History podcaster and author Eric Marcus, Lambda Literary Awards winner Abdi Nazemian, pioneering cleric and activist Reverend Troy Perry, trailblazing photographer body artist Sheree Rose, cultural anthropologist Dr. Gayle Rubin, TransLatin@ Coalition founder Bamby Salcedo, founder of the Black AIDS Institute Phill Wilson, artist Dorian Wood, young artist and activist Mars Wright criminal defense attorney and civil rights activist Mia Yamamoto, and many more. 

Founded in 1952, One Institute is the oldest active LGBTQ+ organization in the country, dedicated to telling LGBTQ+ history and stories through education, arts, and social justice programs. One Institute serves as the independent community partner that supports ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the University of Southern California (USC) Libraries, the largest repository of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) materials in the world. One Institute’s mission is to elevate queer and trans histories and embrace emerging stories through collaborative education, arts, and cultural programs. Moreover, ONE Institute envisions a world motivated by social movements of the past to take action toward queer and trans liberation.

In addition to the festival, an exhibition in celebration of One Magazine’s 70th Anniversary will debut on Sunday, October 1, 2023 at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Advocate & Gochis Galleries and Courtyard. Exhibition materials will highlight iconic artifacts from ONE Magazine’s history such as the October 1954 issue that became the focal point of the landmark Supreme Court case ONE, Inc. v. Olesen, which was the first in U.S. history to rule in favor of LGBTQ+ freedom of speech and expression. 

The curatorial and educational choices made by One Institute are guided by a commitment to social equity and justice. One Institute engages with the complexity of LGBTQ+ history and representation through highlighting the intersectional narratives of Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), women, gender-nonconforming and transgender people, people of various abilities, youth, and elders across all socio-economic classes.

To learn more about the One Institute, please visit www.oneinstitute.org.

West Hollywood Presents Go Tell It on the Mountain (Adapted 2023) by Artist Ray Anthony Barrett and Silent Homeless Lamp (2023) by Artist Iván Navarro

The City of West Hollywood proudly presents the next exhibitions in the Moving Image Media Art (MIMA) program. Go Tell It on the Mountain (Adapted 2023), a short film from artist Ray Anthony Barrett, will make its worldwide debut on the Streamlined Arbor billboard located at 9157 Sunset Boulevard, and will air at the top of every hour for 10½ minutes. Silent Homeless Lamp (2023), a short film from artist Iván Navarro, will make its debut at the Invisible Frame billboard located at 8743 Sunset Boulevard, and will air at the top of every hour, and 30-minutes past every hour for approximately five minutes. Both works will be on exhibition from Sunday, October 1, 2023, through Wednesday, January 31, 2024. 

MIMA is an ongoing exhibition series of moving image media artworks on multiple digital billboards at various locations along Sunset Boulevard. The goals of the MIMA program are to foster cultural equity, expand accessibility, inspire communication, and enhance the human experience of the Sunset Strip. 

Go Tell It on the Mountain (Adapted 2023) is Artist Ray Anthony Barrett’s months-long expedition across the majestic vistas of the western United States. An artist, writer, photographer, and chef, Barrett’s Homeric odyssey coalesced as his restaurant was scheduled to open the day California went into the COVID-19 lockdown. Go Tell It on the Mountain (Adapted 2023) is a Black man’s existential journey to erase the erasure of Colonialism, to reclaim agency around food security, and to reconcile his complex relationship with the land to which his history and existence are so inextricably linked.

Ray Anthony Barrett is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice encompasses filmmaking, photography, sculpture, and writing. He has presented his soul food popup Cinqué in collaboration with The Underground Museum, approaching the culinary project as an artistic undertaking. Barrett exhibited at the 2010 Dakar Biennial and has been profiled in the Los Angeles Times. He earned a BA from the University of Missouri in 2003 and an MFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2011. Barrett lives and works in Los Angeles. 

Iván Navarro uses the quotidian of the things we take for granted to illustrate how difficult it is to address a problem to which we are so willfully blind. As Navarro searches for an outlet, his fluorescent-bulb shopping cart (an ode to Dan Flavin on wheels) strolling through an affluent neighborhood, doesn’t receive a single glance. With Silent Homeless Lamp (2023), Navarro uses what has become the universal symbol of transience – a shopping cart – to allegorize our collective complicity and the draining of resources that it requires to address something that, if seen, could have been prevented. Navarro’s cart persists, lit with a blinding white glow. A beacon of hope, a lamp, to light the way for all.

Iván Navarro graduated with a BFA from PUC University of Chile, Santiago, in 1995 and has been living and working in New York since 1997. In 2021, Navarro held his retrospective exhibition PLANETARIUM in Paris, a collaboration between Centre Quartre and Gallerie Templon. Navarro’s solo exhibitions have been on view worldwide, including Brussels, New York, Paris, Santiago, and Seoul. Navarro’s group exhibitions have also been held around the world, including in New York, New Zealand, San Francisco, and Santiago. 

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

MIMA enables artists to occupy, contest, and play with the definition and uses of public space and manifest moments of connection and spectacle. Artists exhibited in the program are selected from the MIMA Prequalified List, a rolling, open-call for moving image media artists, curators, and non-profit arts organizations, with applications reviewed bi-annually by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, in May and November. The MIMA Prequalified List includes a diverse list of artists of all career levels; from emerging to internationally recognized. https://go.weho.org/mima

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

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

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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West Hollywood

Q Con Queer comic con returns to WeHo

WeHo Mayor John Erickson & Vice Mayor Chelsea Byers attended the event as Erickson, an admitted comic book nerd, stated this was his favorite

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Q Con West Hollywood 2024. (Photo Credit: Mike Pingel/WEHO TIMES)

By Mike Pingel | WEST HOLLYWOOD – Over 1000 queer comic book fans hit West Hollywood Plummer Park for the third annual Q Con queer comic book convention this past Saturday, June 15, 2024.

The event was hosted in part by Prism Comics, the nonprofit championing LGBTQ+ visibility, diversity, and inclusion in comics, graphic novels, and popular media. The WeHo Pride event had something for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community, including LGBTQ+ books, comics, artists, and meet and greets with authors and cosplay personalities.

Q Con West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

This year, Q Con included special appearances by X-Men ’97 voice-over actors Holly Chou (voice of Jubilee in X-Men ‘97), Christine Uhebe (voice of Nina Da Costa), and JP Karliak (voice of Morph from X-Men ’97, available from 11 am – 1 pm only); Gui Agustini (voice of Sunspot), and Morla Gorrondona (voice of Lilandra). The actors participated in meet and greets and signed autographs.

Q Con West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

There was also a surprise appearance by actor Kevin Caliber, who starred in the movie Surge of Power, which screened at the event. Many may recognize Caliber from his role as Superman in the movie Superman World War. He also appeared in the TV shows Supergirl and Futureman.

Q Con West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

The event was larger than in previous years, with more exhibitors on display at the West Hollywood Recreation Center. The expanded programming included comics creators, cosplayers, panels, gaming, photo opportunities, and comics portfolio reviews by comics professionals for aspiring comics creators.

Q Con West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Creators at the event included David Booher (Killer Queens, Ghostbusters), A.C. Esguerra (Eighty Days), Sina Grace (Superman: The Harvests of Youth), Sam Maggs (Tell No Tales: Pirates of the Southern Seas), Knave Murdock (Transcat), Josh Trujillo (Blue Beetle), William O. Tyler (We Belong), Shannon Watters (Lumberjanes, Hollow), Kendra Wells (Tell No Tales: Pirates of the Southern Seas), Qweerty Gamers, and more.

Q Con West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Special guests at the Prism Comics table included Tim Sheridan (DC Pride Through The Years; Superman: Man of Tomorrow), Rex Ogle (Free Lunch, Northranger; Four Eyes), Lee Dawn (We Are Frogs), and animated voice actress Valerie Rose Lohman.

West Hollywood Mayor John Erickson and Vice Mayor Chelsea Byers attended the event to show their support. Mayor Erickson, an admitted comic book nerd, stated that this was his favorite programming in the entire WeHo Pride Arts Festival.

The event concluded with a cosplay costume contest. The Joker took first prize, followed by the Green Lantern and an Anime character.

Q Con West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Prism Comics:

Prism Comics is a nonprofit championing LGBTQ+ visibility, diversity, and inclusion in comic books, graphic novels, and popular media.

Founded in 2003, Prism Comics is “LGBTQ+ Comics Central” at San Diego Comic-Con, WonderCon Anaheim, Los Angeles Comic Con, other conventions, and online, providing a safe, welcoming community for LGBTQ+ and LGBTQ+ friendly comics creators, readers, librarians, educators, and families. Prism has helped foster many comics creators who have become major voices in comics and graphic novels.

For more information, please visit prismcomics.org and @prismcomics.

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Mike Pingel

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

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

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West Hollywood

Final OUTZone patios removed from WeHo’s Rainbow District

During the most acute stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of West Hollywood responded in a variety of creative ways to community needs

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West Hollywood Rainbow District. (Photo Credit: Paulo Murillo/WEHO TIMES)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The final four remaining OUTZone outdoor patios in West Hollywood’s Rainbow District were dismantled and removed this past week, marking the end of an era when outdoor patio dining spilled onto Santa Monica Boulevard during the pandemic.

The OUTZone patios were taken down from Beaches WeHo, Tom Tom Restaurant, Fiesta Cantina, and Trunk’s Bar, all located within walking distance of each other.

Beaches WeHo owner Jacob Shaw tells WEHO TIMES that he was able to work out a deal with Koontz Hardware next door and obtained permission to expand their patio area into their property line, so their patio area is wider than before the pandemic. Workers were seen on Wednesday taking the OUTZone apart and making adjustments.

West Hollywood Rainbow District – WEHO TIMES

Tom Tom Restaurant had to revert back to their previous patio space. The restaurant was also trying to meet a deadline to have the OUTZone patio removed by Thursday.

West Hollywood Rainbow District – WEHO TIMES

Trunks Bar had their seating area removed right after WeHo Pride weekend. The city also had the concrete K-rails removed, and cars are already taking advantage of the extra parking space in a spot where customers enjoyed drinks for these past three years.

West Hollywood Rainbow District – WEHO TIMES

Fiesta Cantina removed portions of their OUTZone but still needs to take down the wood paneling as of the posting of this piece.

West Hollywood Rainbow District – WEHO TIMES

Some businesses like La Boheme WeHo had the option to apply to make their OUTZone patios permanent. However, businesses on streets with sidewalks greater than or equal to 19 feet deep were not given this option. Therefore, businesses in the City’s Rainbow District along Santa Monica Boulevard were mandated to revert to pre-COVID-19 sidewalk allowances. They were given an extension to keep the OUTZones past WeHo Pride weekend. Some businesses, like Stache WeHo and Hi Tips, opted to end theirs early at the beginning of the year.

During the most acute stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of West Hollywood responded in a variety of creative ways to community needs as we all navigated the pandemic.

In July 2020, the City began a Temporary Outdoor Expansion Permit (TOEP) program by offering streamlined approval for businesses to use sidewalks, on-street parking spaces, and private parking lots as areas to expand operations while protecting health and safety.

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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 appea

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

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Heart WeHo owners say club will remain open until further notice

It will be business as usual at the former home of Rage Nightclub while the business is in escrow and legal agreements are ironed out

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Heart WeHo/WEHO TIMES

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – Heart WeHo nightclub, located at 8911 Santa Monica Boulevard, is not closing anytime soon, say the owners of Beaches Tropicana, the new restaurant and bar set to take over the space near the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente Boulevard.

It will be business as usual at the former home of Rage Nightclub while the business is in escrow and legal agreements are ironed out.

Beaches WeHo owner Jacob Shaw tells WEHO TIMES that a report stating Heart WeHo was closing after WeHo Pride weekend is false. He said there will be a transition from business to business and that Heart WeHo will remain open through most of it until they may have to close for major renovations.

Partner Paul Nichols added that there will be no disruption to operations and there will not be a farewell party because some partners are staying (Nichols included), and the partners leaving are simply going across the street to Rocco’s WeHo.

In fact, this past Thursday night, Heart WeHo had a busy night with a long line snaking around the corner for an album release party for Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo. There is also a Thank You for Pride Party happening this Saturday.

The Beaches WeHo team has formally announced that a whole new concept called Beaches Tropicana is coming to the former Heart WeHo space in the heart of West Hollywood’s Rainbow District. Renovations are set to kick off after Pride Month celebrations, with the highly anticipated grand reopening slated for Labor Day 2024.

“HEY BEACHES FAM!” reads a post on Beaches WeHo’s social media platforms. “We have some exciting news to share with you all. We’ve officially purchased the venue that is currently Heart WeHo, and Heart’s original partners Lance Bass and Paul Nichols will be joining the Beaches team. Together, we are all excited to transform the space into something truly special. INTRODUCING **BEACHES TROPICANA!”

According to the post, Beaches Tropicana will be their flagship headquarters, combining a full-service Cuban-American restaurant with an entertainment venue where guests can dine, dance, and enjoy top-notch performances, all in one space.

Beaches WeHo at 8928 Santa Monica Boulevard will also be getting a makeover and will be turned into Beaches Baja with a new Tex-Mex menu. According to a press release, the team is in talks with several high-profile chefs and hopes to make an exciting announcement once these plans are finalized.

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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 appea

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

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WeHo Mayor John Erickson graces cover of THE FIGHT Magazine

This interview delves into his personal narrative, celebrating his identity and the vibrant LGBTQ+ community he now calls home

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Mayor John M Erickson on the cover of THE FIGHT Magazine (Paulo Murillo/WeHo Times)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – West Hollywood Mayor John Erickson has landed on the front page of The Fight Magazine.

In this issue, a shirtless Mayor, being interviewed by editor and publisher of WEHO TIMES, Paulo Murillo, speaks about the gay male experience while growing up in Ripon Wisconsin.

The Q&A is part of an ongoing media partnership between the two news outlets. Space is limited in print, so stay tuned for the full unedited online interview coming soon.

Mayor John M Erickson on the cover of THE FIGHT Magazine (Paulo Murillo/WeHo Times)

West Hollywood Mayor John M. Erickson grew up in the small town of Ripon, Wisconsin where he faced the challenges of understanding his sexuality amidst a backdrop of limited representation and societal expectations.

This interview delves into his personal narrative, celebrating his identity and the vibrant LGBTQ+ community he now calls home as we approach Pride Month in the City of West Hollywood.

How do you identify?

I identify as a very proud gay man. I identify with the historical struggle to come out as a member of what was then the lesbian and gay community or the gay community, and now the full beauty of the rainbow we have today… I’m comfortable in my own body that way, and I fought like hell to be this comfortable and this out with who I am.

When did you know you were gay?

I grew up in a really small town … population like 7,000 people, and I knew I was different at a young age. I want to say middle school. I probably knew I was gay as more versions of LGBTQ identity were coming out on TV. You’re always so fearful of what that is because you’re othered in so many communities. By the time I was in high school, I knew I was gay. And before I went to college, I came out privately to a few close friends. Then when I was a sophomore in college, I came out fully to my family.

How did your family react?

My mother probably took it harder than anyone, but that’s because she grew up at a time when LGBTQ people were further demonized than they are still today. My dad was very stoic and said, “Well, you’re just so good at sports. I don’t understand what’s going on.” He didn’t get it, but I came to be close to them in individual ways. My sisters were extremely supportive in bringing my parents around. Thank God they’re licensed therapists, so they were able to work through it with my mom and my dad. They had a toolbox, and now my parents are some of my biggest supporters. I can’t do what I do without them.

To read the rest of the interview click on the link below:

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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 appea

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

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Micky’s WeHo fined for Go-Go Dancer performances on Patio

Micky’s WeHo was fined $1,000 & a $75 administrative fee for lacking a special license permit to have go-go dancers in their patio dining area

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Micky’s WeHo at 8857 Santa Monica Boulevard was fined $1,000 & a $75 administrative fee for lacking a special license permit to have go-go dancers in their patio dining area. (Photo Credit: Paulo Murillo/WeHo Times)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – While local bars and restaurants in the Rainbow District hustled to make the most out of WeHo Pride weekend, one of their busiest times of the year, Micky’s WeHo at 8857 Santa Monica Boulevard was fined $1,075.00 when West Hollywood Code Enforcement issued an administrative citation.

This included a $1,000 fine and a $75 administrative fee for lacking a special license permit to have go-go dancers in their patio dining area.

The fine outraged Micky’s owner, Michael Niemeyer, who said he didn’t care about the money but found the policing of his LGBT bar inappropriate during a time meant to elevate and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community he serves.

Paulo Murillo/WeHo Times

“I’ve owned a bar since 1978,” he said. “I’ve had my face pushed up against the wall by police officers. I’ve had police batons under my chin while I was being made to produce our liquor license. I’ve seen people get thrown over the bar by police and ABC agents because they were ‘overserved.’ I think of all that when something like this happens. I remember police using their batons to lift women’s dresses to check if they were wearing female underwear. I’ve seen all of that.”

Niemeyer is furious that Code Enforcement entered the establishment during pride weekend, an event he says has been watered down in the past ten years and lost its meaning due to political correctness.

“It’s a big day of the year for us, but there’s a reason for the season,” he said. “People stood up and fought back. Over thirty years ago when I first opened Micky’s, there was sensitivity from the sheriffs and the city. They understood where we were coming from. They can do their fire inspections and safety checks, but don’t do it in the middle of everything. Stay the f*ck out during the pride celebration.”

According to an employee, Micky’s WeHo has always been allowed to have go-go dancers in their patio area for two main West Hollywood events: the WeHo Halloween Carnaval and WeHo Pride weekend. He said they have never needed a special permit nor have they ever been fined in the past 30-plus years, so he doesn’t understand why this year was different.

“They have never fined us before,” he said, asking to remain anonymous. “Meanwhile, look at the hot dog vendors all over the street. Why aren’t they being fined? I saw go-go dancers in the outdoor patios at Beaches WeHo, Heart WeHo, and Stache. Why aren’t they getting fined?”

Paulo Murillo/WeHo Times

Director of Community Safety Danny Rivas stated that information-sharing on code enforcement matters is limited. “What I can share is that City staff received a reported concern last Friday evening, May 31, that businesses in the Rainbow District may have been performing entertainment in areas where they had not received approval,” he stated. “The City’s code enforcement team works with businesses when concerns emerge, and the team always makes attempts to gain voluntary compliance.”

According to Rivas, a warning was provided on Friday evening, May 31, regarding entertainment occurring in an area without approval. “The following day, on Saturday, June 1, Micky’s continued with entertainment in the area for which they had been warned the day prior. As a result, City staff issued a citation on Saturday, June 1.”

He added that Beaches WeHo had acquired a special event permit allowing entertainers to perform, and City staff was not made aware of any concerns regarding Stache.

“Regarding street vendors selling hot dogs, City code enforcement officers were deployed,” he added. “They addressed unpermitted street vending, among other issues, on Friday, May 31; Saturday, June 1; and Sunday, June 2, each day between the hours of 6 p.m. and 3 a.m. The City did receive reports of unpermitted street vending prior to the 6 p.m. deployment on Saturday, June 1, and we immediately responded to those reports upon conclusion of a late afternoon public safety briefing that day.”

Rivas also stated that it is important to remind the community that it is extremely challenging to address unpermitted street vending, as the State of California passed Senate Bill 946 in 2018 and Senate Bill 972 in 2022. These bills have placed limitations on the ability of municipalities to address unpermitted street vending.

Niemeyer says he disagrees with the citation. He thinks it is incorrect and inconsistent with past years, and he has every intention of contesting the fine with West Hollywood City Hall.

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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 appea

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

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WeHo Pride Arts Festival kicks off with Life in Pictures exhibition

This exhibition is part of the 2024 WeHo Pride Arts Festival featuring LGBTQ+ dance, visual art, performance, literary arts, & more

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WeHo Pride Arts Festival 2024 (Montage via WeHo Times)

By Mike Pingel | WEST HOLLYWOOD – WeHo Pride Arts Festival kicks off Friday, June 14, 2024, with LGBTQ+ photography exhibition, Vitam Picturarum (Life in Pictures), exploring the quotidian – framing a snippet of everyday life of and through our queer lens. Expounding on existential issues, tribalism, creativity, love, joy, and more, from the humdrum to the fantastical, with a presentation of well over 30 local and international artists.

The opening reception will take place on June 14, 2024, from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Plummer Park, Long Hall, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd., featuring a DJ and literary performance by West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Jen Cheng.

This exhibition is part of the 2024 City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Pride Arts Festival and the Queer Biennial, formed in 2014 with a mandate to present and champion a more equitable representation of ever-expanding LGBTQ+ and BIPOC diasporas. The Queer Biennial presents full-fleshed, alternative art experiences representing a wide range of disciplines, including art installation, performance, and film.

There is some free parking at Plummer Park. However, attendees are strongly encouraged to take public transit or rideshare.

Image courtesy of the WeHo Pride Arts Festival

WeHo Pride Arts Festival will take place Friday, June 14, 2024 to Sunday, June 16, 2024 at various locations throughout the City of West Hollywood. First launched in 2008, and formerly known as the One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, this year’s Arts Festival will feature a stellar range of LGBTQ+ dance, visual art, performance, literary arts, and more. More information will be available in the coming weeks at www.wehopride.com.

WeHo Pride celebrations during June 2024 will include a diverse array of LGBTQ+ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration. The City of West Hollywood invites community groups to take part in WeHo Pride 2024.

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 three of the five members of the West Hollywood City Council are openly gay or lesbian.

Pride is deeply rooted part of West Hollywood’s history and culture. In fact, Pride events have taken place in West Hollywood 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.

More information: www.wehopride.com/artsfestival.

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Mike Pingel

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

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

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2024 WeHo Pride Parade on KTLA 5

Tens of thousands of people gathered in West Hollywood on Sunday for the annual WeHo Pride Parade live streamed on KTLA

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The mobile Los Angeles Blade billboard advertisement truck marks the end of 2024 WeHo Pride Parade June 2. (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA 5)

WEST HOLLYWOOD – Tens of thousands of people gathered in West Hollywood on Sunday, June 2, for the annual WeHo Pride Parade. Legendary pop singer Cyndi Lauper (Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, True Colors) was named the 2024 WeHo Pride Parade Lifetime Ally Icon and joined KTLA’s live broadcast.

The 2024 WeHo Pride Parade on KTLA was live streamed on Sunday afternoon.

Watch:

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Typewriters return to WeHo Pride for 5th annual Pride Poets

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Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – This WeHo Pride, be on the lookout for typewriters. LGBTQ+ poetry group Pride Poets will be standing by waiting to listen to your story and turn it into poetry, on the spot, for you to take home.

Pride Poets celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, an accomplishment for this first-of-its-kind program which uplifts the voices of LGBTQ+ writers in direct dialogue with their community. In an age of book bans and LGBTQ+ censorship across the country, Pride Poets gives the community a chance to connect and support these writers, and for the writers to serve their community directly and hear their stories.

You might get a poem from Lambda Literary Award-winner Victor Yates, who himself was a poem-recipient in the program’s first year. Says Yates, “I stumbled across Pride Poets in 2019 and was blown away. It was this moment of literature, and honestly a break, in the middle of the Pride to get to sit down with a poet and have your own life turned into a poem and given back to you – I knew I had to be part of it the next year.”

In its 5 years, Pride Poets has worked with over 200 poets to write more than 3,000 poems for the public. During the pandemic lockdowns, when festivals disappeared, Pride Poets operated a hotline that received over 500 calls during Pride weekend. “This was my Pride, this year,” said one caller, who was isolated in the hospital. Another used the poem written for her and her fiance as the vows for their Zoom wedding. And at the festival, one in every ten or so people who receive a poem cry.

“Writing custom poems for strangers is a revelation,” says Catherine Gewertz, a founding member of Pride Poets, who covers the education beat as a journalist when she’s not churning out poems on a typewriter. “In an age of isolation, it creates surprising, tender bonds that come from feeling seen. As the poet behind the typewriter, I get the gift of these unexpected connections, and the experience of deepening my writing in surprising ways.”

The group is the brainchild of Brian Sonia-Wallace, who started writing for strangers a decade ago at a typewriter and now runs typewriter poetry company RENT Poet. “We write at a lot of straight weddings and corporate events,” Sonia-Wallace says, “so it’s been meaningful to bring this transformative practice back to my community.” Sonia-Wallace has just been announced as a 2024 Rainbow Key Awardee for this work by the City of West Hollywood, where he formerly served as Poet Laureate.

Sonia-Wallace isn’t the only Pride Poet to become a Poet Laureate, with founding members Carla Sameth (Altadena) and Jen Cheng (West Hollywood) receiving this title in the years since the group started and helping to change the narrative of poetry from an ivy tower eccentricity to a powerful tool for community organizing.

In addition to bringing together established writers, Pride Poets serves as an incubator for emerging LGBTQ+ talent, supporting participating poets in publishing, performing, and teaching. Beyond Pride, members have supported each other in writing and beyond, from appearing on a game show together to attending a gay rodeo.

Ironically, many Pride Poets say their experience writing poetry is what has brought them to Pride for the first time, or the first time in a long day. Poets are famously introverts, and Pride can be overwhelming. Equally ironically, many of the poets have embraced their identity as poets for the first time since starting this practice. Many have other writing careers as novelists, journalists, screenwriters. Even founding member Hank Henderson, who ran LGBTQ+ literary series Homocentric at Stories Cafe for ten years, marveled, “I wrote more poems in two days at Pride than I had in the two years before that.”

Pride Poets will be at Booth 135 on Santa Monica Blvd between Huntley and Westbourne 12-7pm, June 1 and 2.

Confirmed poets for 2024 include:

Priya Chatwani; Syd; Catherine Gewertz; Victor Yates; Jen Cheng; Jay Baldwin; Alexia Jasmene; Michael Narkunski; Timothy Nang; Tee; DW; Valerie, darling; José Rios; Jeffrey McCray; Jair Bula and Hank Henderson.

Pride Poets receives funding from the City of West Hollywood. Arts Coordinator Mike Che says, “It’s rare that governmental art funders get to see firsthand the emotional impact of the projects they help bring to life. Throughout the last five years I’ve been blessed to have seen countless tears, hugs, and genuine smiles as a direct result of the amazing work of Pride Poets.”

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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 appea

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

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Sheriff Luna expected to march in this year’s WeHo Pride Parade

The third annual WeHo Pride Parade will step off at 12:30 p.m. along Santa Monica Boulevard on Sunday, June 2, 2024

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Sheriff Robert Luna, along with other LASD personnel participated in West Hollywood’s 2nd annual Pride Celebration in 2023. (Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – Sheriff Robert G. Luna is expected to march at this year’s WeHo Pride Parade kicking off on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. An email sent earlier this month invited all Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department members to join and march with at this year’s parade.

“All Department members are invited to attend,” reads the email. “Come show your support and march with Sheriff’s Department members, friends and family. We welcome you, your spouse/significant other, children, and family members to join us.”

Sheriff Luna marched in the 2023 WeHo Pride parade. He was joined by LASD sworn personnel, civilian employees, volunteers, FBI, LAPD, and their friends and families.

LASD group photo before 2023’s WeHo Pride parade. (Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles)

The WeHo Pride Parade will step off at 12:30 p.m. along Santa Monica Boulevard on Sunday, June 2, 2024. The parade will Feature Festive Floats with Community Groups, Nonprofit Organizations, Local Businesses, and More. Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning artist Cyndi Lauper will be the WeHo Pride Parade’s Lifetime Ally Icon this year.

The City of West Hollywood reminds the community and the 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 will take place, as follows:

  •  N. San Vicente Boulevard closed from Melrose Avenue to Santa Monica Boulevard fromThursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 3, at 10 a.m.
  • Santa Monica Blvd (Eastbound) closed from N. La Cienega Boulevard to N. Doheny Drive from Friday, May 31, at 12 p.m. (noon) through Monday, June 3, at 7 a.m.
  • N. Robertson Boulevard closed from Santa Monica Boulevard to Melrose Avenue fromFriday, May 31, at 12 p.m.(noon) throughMonday, June 3 at 7 a.m.
  • Santa Monica Boulevard (Westbound) closed from N. La Cienega Boulevard to N. Doheny Drive from Saturday, June 1, at 6 a.m. through Monday, June 3, at 7 a.m.
  • N. San Vicente Boulevard closed from Santa Monica Boulevard to Cynthia Street from Saturday, June 1, at 6 a.m. through Monday, June 3, at 7 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 2 at 5 a.m. through Sunday, June 2, 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 3 at 7 a.m.

Facility Closures will be, as follows:

  •  West Hollywood Park from Monday, May 27 through Wednesday, June 5 (West Hollywood Park will reopen Thursday, June 6).
  • Small Dog Park at West Hollywood Park from Monday, May 27 through Wednesday, June 5 (Small Dog Park will reopen Thursday, June 6).
  • Large Dog Park at West Hollywood Park from Wednesday, May 29 through Tuesday, June 4 (Large Dog Park will reopen Wednesday, June 5).
  • Five-Story Parking Structure at West Hollywood Park from Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 3, at 10 a.m.
  • West Hollywood Library Garage at West Hollywood Park from Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 3, at 10 a.m.
  • Aquatic and Recreation Center Garage at West Hollywood Park from Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 3, at 10 a.m.
  • Plummer Park South Lot from Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 3, at 12 p.m.
  • Robertson Lot from Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 3, at 10 a.m.

The City of West Hollywood will activate its annual Pride Ride free shuttle service during #WeHoPride Weekend. The City’s free transit services, The PickUp and Cityline, will offer combined Pride Ride services that will operate over the weekend.

Pride Ride vehicles (both PickUp and Cityline vehicles marked with route/destination) will travel through West Hollywood from N. La Brea Avenue to N. Kings Road along Santa Monica Boulevard. Select Pride Ride vehicles (marked with route/destination) will also run to the Hollywood & Highland Metro Station as follows:

  • Friday, May 31, 2024 – West Hollywood route will run from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. From 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. service will run to-and-from the Hollywood & Highland Metro Station.
  • Saturday, June 1, 2024 – West Hollywood route will run from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. service will run to-and-from the Hollywood & Highland Metro Station.
  • Sunday, June 2, 2024 – West Hollywood route will run from 11 a.m. to midnight. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. service will run to-and-from Hollywood & Highland Metro Station to N. Fairfax Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard due to WeHo Pride Parade street closures. Following the Pride Parade, once streets have reopened, Pride Ride will run along Santa Monica Boulevard between N. La Brea Avenue and N. La Cienega Boulevard until midnight.

WeHo Pride Weekend (May 31 to June 2) 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; free Friday Night at OUTLOUD; OUTLOUD at WeHo Pride music festival; the WeHo Pride Parade, and a wide range of community group programming throughout Pride month. The WeHo Pride Arts Festival (June 14 – June 16) will take place at various locations throughout 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. 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 appea

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

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WeHo City kicks off WeHo Pride with José Sarria Drag Pageant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mike Pingel

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

His official website is www.mikepingel.com

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

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