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WeHo partners with APLA Health hosts 2023 AIDS Walk LA

Hundreds gathered at West Hollywood Park Sunday morning to participate in the APLA Health’s 38th annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles

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AIDS Walk Los Angeles in West Hollywood. (Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES)

By Mike Pingel | WEST HOLLYWOOD – Hundreds gathered at West Hollywood Park Sunday morning to participate in the APLA Health’s 38th annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles, an event that not only raises funds, but also brings awareness about HIV and AIDS.

The iconic walkathon returned to the City of West Hollywood for a second consecutive year after it moved to Los Angeles for several years (the City of West Hollywood hosted the annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles event from 2001 to 2015). The theme for this year is “Don’t Flake LA”.

AIDS Walk Los Angeles in West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Participants on Sunday directly helped people receive the support they need from APLA Health services. While ending HIV/AIDS remains their core focus, APLA Health has expanded their presence over the years to wherever there’s a need for greater health equity in LA County. APLA Health programs improve the lives of over 16,000 residents each year, and the AIDS Walk Los Angeles helps raise awareness for critical wellness programs including food pantries, older adult assistance, Transgender support, PrEP & PEP services and much more.

AIDS Walk Los Angeles in West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Mayor Sepi Shyne was joined by Mayor Pro-Tempore John Erickson, and council members Lauren Meister, John Heilman and Chelsea Byers.

“Thank you all for coming out to participate the AIDS Walk LA,” said Mayor Shyne. “We are so grateful to have re-partnered with APLA for the second year in a row, bringing AIDS Walk back to our city where you belong. An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States had HIV at the end of 2021. About 13 percent are HIV positive, but we are unaware that that equates to 153,500 people. 36,136 people received an HIV diagnosis in the United States. But here’s some good news. The annual number of new diagnoses decreased seven percent from 2017 to 2021. And that can likely be attributed to the use of PrEP, but also to your support for AIDS Walk LA and to those that support ending HIV AIDS for good.”

AIDS Walk Los Angeles in West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES
AIDS Walk Los Angeles in West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Other speakers included California State Assembly Member Rick Zbur, APLA Health Chief Executive Officer Craig E. Thompson, California Senator Anthony Portantino, and Chief Marketing & External Affairs Officer at APLA Health, Craig Bowers.

Participants began walking at roughly 11 a.m. This year’s Walk course was approximately 2 miles, which adds up to roughly 5,000 total steps. The Walk started and ended in West Hollywood Park.

AIDS Walk Los Angeles in West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES
AIDS Walk Los Angeles in West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

AIDS Walk Los Angeles is the world’s first walk to fight HIV and AIDS and benefits APLA Health (formerly AIDS Project Los Angeles), which provides 20 different services including medical, dental, behavioral health and HIV specialty care; PrEP counseling and management (APLA Health PrEP stands for preexposure prophylaxis, the administration of antiviral drugs intended to prevent HIV/AIDS.); health education and HIV prevention; and screening and treatment for diseases spread through sex.

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 $92 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.

For more information, please visit www.aidswalkla.org or email [email protected] or call or text (213) 201-9255.

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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’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 is republished with permission.

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West Hollywood

WeHo’s Rainbow Neon Dog gets public art dedication

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dedication of the Rainbow Neon Dog Art Installation – WEHO TIMES

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

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

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

Dedication of the Rainbow Neon Dog Art Installation – WEHO TIMES

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

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

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

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Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at [email protected]

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

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OUTLOUD Presents Pride @ Bev Center with Drag Talents 

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

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Los Angeles Blade/WeHo Times graphic

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

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

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

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

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

WHERE:  Grand Court of Beverly Center on Level 6

8500 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

To purchase tickets please CLICK HERE.

Experiences included with your General Admission ticket:

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

Event Rules

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

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

For more information, visit beverlycenter.com.

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Mike Pingel

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

His official website is www.mikepingel.com

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

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Kesha headlines as WeHo Pride presents Friday Night OUTLOUD

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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LGBTQ commission selects finalists for 2024 Rainbow Key Awards

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

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Photo Credit: Paulo Murillo/WeHo Times

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

The finalists are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at [email protected]

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

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

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

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7th Annual Drag Queen Series - Photo by Mike Pingel


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

And the winner is…

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

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

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

7th Annual Drag Queen Series – Photo by Mike Pingel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

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

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Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

City website news – www.weho.org/news 

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

Engage WeHo – engage.weho.org

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

WeHoTV YouTube channel – www.youtube.com/wehotv

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

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

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

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

City of West Hollywood Recognizes May as Building Safety Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hepatitis C Community Educational Forum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goals for the Sunset Arts & Advertising Program are:

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

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

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

West Hollywood Celebrates All Things Canine on World Dog Day 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

West Hollywood Celebrates WeHo Russian-Speaking Community Cultural Heritage Month

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

Russian-speaking Community Cultural Heritage Month 2024 events include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UPDATED:

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

The breakdown of the sale is as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at [email protected]

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

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Bouncer at Heart WeHo arrested in brutal beating of gay stylist

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

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

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

The statement by LASD reads as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heart WeHo complied and released the following statement:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The link to GoFundMe campaign is here: (Link)

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Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at [email protected]

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

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City of West Hollywood is hosting a Public Safety Open House

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

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WeHo Times/Los Angeles Blade graphic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at [email protected]

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

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Family demanding answers in beating of gay hair stylist in WeHo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The family’s GoFundMe campaign: (Link)

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

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

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