CSW Acknowledges LA Pride Parade Will Be Replaced by Protest March

Thu, Mar 09, 2017   By James F. Mills    54 Comments

Equality California marching for equal rights. (Photo by Derek Wear of Unikorn Photography)

With West Hollywood Park construction reducing the space available for the annual pride festival and a protest march replacing the pride parade, this year’s LA Pride in June may prove to be a vastly different experience from recent years.

That was the message coming out of a community meeting on Wednesday night where leaders of the Resist March and Christopher Street West (CSW), the group that produces L.A. Pride, discussed this year’s pride events.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure that the people who come to the city, sometimes only once or twice a year, are going to see something familiar [at the pride festival],” reported CSW board president Chris Classen, conceding that accomplishing that goal was proving challenging.

The Pride Festival will be a ticketed event, as always (likely $20 per day), scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, June 10-11 in West Hollywood Park, plus a free transgender event and Sizzle sober area on Friday, June 9. However, the entire festival will have to be downsized as a three-year construction project that began in January has closed off a significant portion of the park.

CSW is losing almost 70% of the “footprint” it had available in 2016, Classen reported. Consequently, only West Hollywood Park’s great lawn and the auditorium, plus San Vicente Boulevard between Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, are currently available for this year’s Pride Festival.

Officials with the City of West Hollywood are negotiating on behalf of CSW to see if part of the Pacific Design Center lot and/or the adjacent Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) lot can be used for the pride festival. CSW hopes to have a final answer about the available footprint following the April 3 City Council meeting when L.A. Pride will next be on the agenda.

As a result of this uncertainty, CSW currently does not know how many entertainment stages it will have. It may only be able to accommodate one stage (last year they had three) and consequently has not been able to begin booking talent.

“I’m not happy that we’re this late in the process. We’re 90 days away [from the festival] and I don’t know where we’re putting things, but we’re going to get there,” Classen assured the two dozen people attending the meeting. He added they expect to use more DJs and less live talent this year.

While the 2016 event was branded as a “music festival” due to the large number of musical acts performing, this year’s will not have that branding.

Meanwhile, the annual pride parade has been canceled, ceding to the nationwide LGBT Resist March that is scheduled in many U.S. cities for Sunday, June 11, the day the Los Angeles pride parade would normally occur.

Similar to the giant Women’s March that took place in dozens of cities across America on Jan. 21, the Resist March in Los Angeles will step off from Hollywood and Highland, since there is a subway station there allowing participants to arrive by mass transit. The march will follow a 3.1 mile path down La Brea Avenue, turning onto Santa Monica Boulevard and ending at San Vicente Boulevard, the entrance to the Pride festival.

With a quarter-million to a half-million people expected to participate in the march, John Erickson, a Resist March committee member, said they expect to have several simultaneous smaller marches in surrounding areas that feed into the larger march going down Santa Monica Boulevard. Resist March committee member Paul Katami reported they will figure out a way to provide transportation back to Hollywood and Highland from San Vicente Boulevard.

With so many people expected to be in the streets, it is impractical to incorporate aspects of the pride parade such as cars and floats into the protest march. “It’s very difficult to mix pedestrians and vehicles,” said Classen, who expects the pride parade to return in 2018.

Since a possible 500,000 people will be marching down Santa Monica Boulevard to the entrance of the L.A. Pride festival at San Vicente Boulevard, many may decide to attend the festival. However, with the smaller festival footprint, it may not be possible to let them all in.

“Security insurance costs the same [whatever the attendance], but I can’t pay for that if I don’t have the footprint to let enough people in to buy tickets and food and beverages. Sixty percent of our income comes from people coming to this festival,” Classen said. “Add on to that the fact that we may have half a million people who come on the march. If I only have room for 5,000 people on San Vicente, where do they go?”

Resident David Reid suggested the pride festival could move to the large Poinsettia Park, which is just across the West Hollywood border in Los Angeles on Romaine Street at Poinsettia Place. Classen said that was a consideration, but pointed out there are advantages to having the pride festival in West Hollywood Park since it is immediately adjacent to the Boystown LGBT entertainment area.

A recent report showed that the pride events generate an estimated $5 million in revenue for West Hollywood businesses, especially those in Boystown. Classen noted that one of the things which makes L.A. Pride unique was its adjacency to the gay entertainment district. He pointed out that in places like San Francisco and San Diego, their festivals are held more than a mile away from the gay districts.

Responding to charges about its finances, Classen reported that the festival has lost money for 10 of the past 17 years. CSW board member Craig Bowers reported that CSW reduced office expenses by 67% after moving from its longtime offices on Santa Monica Boulevard at Harper Avenue to new offices in a back corridor of the Pacific Design Center blue building.

Staffed entirely by a volunteer board, CSW does hire consultants in the period leading up to the festival, but currently has no plans to hire any full time staff such as an executive director, Classen said.

CSW also owns an AIDS hospice, Casa Del Sol, in East Hollywood, which is operated by AIDS Project Los Angeles. Additionally, CSW funds a yearly LGBT scholarship to the University of Southern California (USC).

Wednesday night’s meeting was originally scheduled to be a special meeting of the city’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board (LGAB). However, LGAB did not achieve a quorum as only four people of its 10 board members showed up. Consequently, the meeting was transformed into an informal community meeting where CSW and Resist made their presentations.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that a study found that the annual Pride event generates an additional $9 million in revenue for local workers and businesses. The revenue generated actually is estimated at $5 million. The story has been updated to reflect that.

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54 Comments

  1. John KThu, Mar 09, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Move the damn festival to Grand Park downtown. What you have now is a GIANT clusterf–k. Entrance to the festival on a good year is abysmal at best. Long, crowded lines, inefficient ticket sales, slow security screening and this year you are adding a massive protest parade ending right at the entrance AND a smaller festival footprint – gee, what could go wrong? For the next 3 years while the council rebuilds the park in their own image MOVE THE DAMN FESTIVAL. As planned now, any injuries, fights, crushed people trying to squeeze through a fixed numbers of gates – all on the heads of Chris (I know best) Classen and the stick our heads in the sand (unless you pay us) City Council.

  2. JD90069Thu, Mar 09, 2017 at 10:14 am

    WTF !! how is CSW so backwards and late in knowing what they are doing with the Parade and Festival. The weho Park plans were known MONTHS ago and possibly a year ago. Why weren’t options talked about after last years fiasco. We need to have the PARADE to celebrate our Lifestyle, our Culture, our friendships, our diversity, and incorporate the #Resist and Protests into the PARADE. We have to know the struggles of our PAST to learn from them and # RESIST our current ADMIN, but we need to have the PARADE to celebrate our neighborhood and diversity(struggles and strengths).

    Now onto the options for the Festival, I think asking the LA Metro for the parking area is a great option (first and foremost option), if that can not be worked out then what about SAMO blvd that is already closed off due to the PARADE(lol), from Doheny to Robertson. Take advantage of that area. (yes it would be closed for w days).

    If SAMO blvd needs to be reopened, here are other options
    Another option, and an option that the local shops may like due to waking traffic is to close Robertson Blvd off from SAMO to Beverly Blvd and have the festivities down that street.

    Another option would be to close off La Cienega Blvd from Fountain to Melrose and have the festival along that street. Trust me, the restaurants and bars on that street would love the business and foot traffic. it may have to shut off at midnight instead of 2am but it would be a blast.

  3. Jimmy PalmieriThu, Mar 09, 2017 at 10:32 am

    I think given the current political circus surrounding our administration, and most probable harm to the lgbt community, (already having harmed the trans community with bathroom laws….AGAIN) a protest march is more appropriate this year. I think excitement will generate participation, which will generate more ticket sales. This, albeit late, is as best thought out as it can be given the the circumstances of space. I did notice several people at this meeting trying to create controversy where there was none. Some just want to malign CSW no matter what they try to do. I am looking forward to this years Pride, as we will be creating history by participating in this march, which is anticipated to be extremely large. Once again, Weho will be in the forefront of the movement.

  4. RandyThu, Mar 09, 2017 at 10:48 am

    JD90069, I believe the answer to your question is that CSW has been shaken up with board members leaving, etc.. They’ve probably known what parts of the park they lost access to, for quite some time, but maybe it is taking longer than expected to negotiate with the MTA and PDC. I’m not trying to defend them, as I really don’t know. I’d hate to be in charge of this effort.

    However, one would think that this all might be easier to organize, overall, with a smaller festival, and no parade entries. After all of the controversy last year, and the money loss, I think scaling everything down is a good idea, even if they are forced to do it by the park renovation and cancellation of the parade.

  5. RandyThu, Mar 09, 2017 at 11:16 am

    John K, it is too late for that this year. And the City of West Hollywood is going to try to hang on to it, probably for fear of permanently losing it. CSW needs some major improvements, but I think it should stay in West Hollywood, which is still the center of gay culture for our larger metropolitan area.

  6. ATL1975Thu, Mar 09, 2017 at 11:57 am

    RIP, LA Pride.

  7. Larry BlockThu, Mar 09, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    This is not a done deal. We can have both. Last nights 4 members of the LGAB was not even a quorum. It was a discussion that leads to todays headlines. The protest can go from Hollywood to Crescent Heights and the parade can go from Crescent Heights to West Hollywood Park.

    If you are angry, contact Mayor Meister, who took over the subcommittee and got us to this point where we are about to lose our pride parade. Losing continuity might affect next year’s parade too. Companies and people are planning their floats, and I don’t see Delta Airlines, and Wells Fargo Bank sponsoring a protest. Those dollars will have to be made up elsewhere. And that would be a smaller, more expensive festival.

    The community conversation after last years Pride centered around this year’s new park footprint and opening up the festival to the north side of Santa Monica to include all the non-profits and community service organizations. Mayor Meister took over the sub-committee working with CSW to plan this years Pride. The complete failure of the subcommittee is why this discussion is on the table.

    I’m fond of and supportive of Brian Pendleton, the founder of this march, who along with Don Zuidema from LASC met more than a month ago to discuss getting this off the ground. I support Brian and this initiative, but we can have both. We can walk for LGBT rights and for our voices to be heard and then we should celebrate who we are as a community and not let Trump take away our Pride.

  8. jeffery wardThu, Mar 09, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    This is a failure of planning, imagination, and leadership! This will hurt the One City, One Pride branding and if I were one of the thousands of people that come into West Hollywood from all over the world for this event, well, I would rethink my plans in the future! I place this squarely on CSW! This is their baby, and Classen, in his ego driven effort to create a fiefdom for himself, alienating the Public, City Staff, and even his own Board along the way, is solely responsible, and unless their is a very public apology for this then it would behoove the City, the Council, and the Citizens of West Hollywood to rethink their relationship with him and CSW. It seems that the Organizers of the RESIST March are quite capable of putting together things, maybe the City should do the responsible thing and bid this out in the future!

  9. MannyThu, Mar 09, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    This is the biggest thing LGAB will hear all year and they don’t show up…..Nice!

    CSW knew for a year that West Hollywood Park wasn’t going to be available and they still don’t know where they’re going to put the stages…..Great!

    500,000 people marching to San Vicente and no place to put them…..Genius!

    This is going to be something to really look forward to.

  10. Chuck StewartThu, Mar 09, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    I’ve read elsewhere that the logical approach to the entire event is to model it after Halloween–which is very successful for the city. Place all the vendors up and down Santa Monica Blvd., have a few entertainment stages and dance areas, have the parade down one side of the blvd.,
    and make it free to the public. The City of West Hollywood should take over the administration of the event.

  11. 90069Thu, Mar 09, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    This sounds like a real disaster and may likely be the last LA Pride. Why on earth did CSW and the City wait so long to take the construction of WeHo Park into consideration for what it would do to the festival. I think most people would agree that the previous prides were already too constrained that a 70% reduction in space seems absolutely outrageous. The fact that Classen seems to think it is more important to be located near the bars, which are typically at 3x capacity normally speaks to the fact that there is going to be thousands of guests and community members locked out of both the bars and the festivals.

    To make matters worse Classen is already telegraphing the fact that this Pride will lose a considerable amount of money. “Insurance and security cost the same no matter how many people attend!” Say what? That does not make any sense.

    We need to be careful that the protest rally doesn’t turn in to a full blown riot when 500K people descend on a rinky-dink festival or bars with lines going around the block.

    Why on Earth not plan to have Pride in Plummer or Poinsettia Park. This would be much better than the cement jail of Grand Park that DTLA Pride was hosted in. DTLA Pride was “cute” but also a complete mess but 2017 LA Pride may make that event look like Coachella in comparison.

    A real tragedy for the community, tourists and pride. It may never recover but here we are with a 3 year contract with these clowns.

  12. JohnThu, Mar 09, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    So now gay people are too privileged to have their own annual observance and have to sacrifice their interests and subculture to basement dwelling social justice warriors holding yet another “protest march” against their own miserable lives. What else would be expect with Lauren Meister as mayor? She is a longtime anti-gay warrior determined to turn West Hollywood into a generic, sterile suburb for straight women like herself. Her support for the homophobic Standing Rock tribe and recent attack on the Gay Men’s Chorus showed us all that this was coming. One more of her ilk on the City Council and gay WeHo will be dead forever. The sad thing is that so many gay people agree with her agenda.

  13. Leslie KThu, Mar 09, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Larry, your constant rants against Lauren Meister have become tiresome.

  14. FranzThu, Mar 09, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Have it at Poinsettia Park and then just double the Cityline shuttles (on Santa Monica and Fountain) and have an agreement with Metro in place to have any boarding in the city of WeHo be free. This will alleviate most of the transportation issues. It will also make people walk all along Santa Monica Blvd, spreading the money all over the city of WeHo instead of just Boystown.

  15. JasonThu, Mar 09, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    Why can’t we do our Pride Parade on Saturday so it can happen in addition to the march? And why the hell can’t the festival spill Melrose between San Vicente and Doheny?

  16. John McCormickThu, Mar 09, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    I think a weekend away is perfect for that weekend!!! I won’t be able to leave my house anyways… #Clusterf*uck #ByeWeho

  17. Larry BlockThu, Mar 09, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    @Leslie. The Mayor deserves responsibility to oversee things like this and she replaced Duran on the subcommittee and John Duran would not have let Pride slip away. At the community forum everyone screamed at the way the mayor handled it. My last rant was about how Lauren cut the public comment period to 60 seconds or 90 seconds and also how under her leadership every week its consent calendar shuffle, so much stuffed into one meeting a month for 8 months.. which never happened before.. after that ‘rant’ you call it the last meeting was not skipped on a holiday , but moved to Tuesday.. exactly as suggested. My other rant as you say is her appointments and I think the video of the rent stabilization meeting speaks for itself. Perhaps you also thought it was a rant to ask her to speak up for her candidate in this past election, — which if she had it may have changed the game but she hesitated so long that thankfully the incumbents won. So, Im sorry if you are protecting Lauren, Im protecting the public comment period, the integrity of the commission and our Pride. Three things that Lauren let slide. And this comment would not be complete if I didn’t say that while I don’t agree with her on all issues she texts me back whenever I text her and we have some good history in my mind.. you might be viewing things through a narrow lens.

  18. RandyThu, Mar 09, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    90069, Poinsettia Park is in the City of Los Angeles, so that would mean a negotiation with that city, and a high level of cooperation between the two cities. I think that space is also too small. I can pretty much guarantee that the type of people who live on the East side are going to have a lot bigger problem with the festival literally being across the street from their homes (on Willoughby, for example), than those on the West side. And what about parking? Also, Poinsettia park is literally adjacent to people’s homes on Martel (not even across the street from them).

    Even with a smaller footprint, I think West Hollywood park is the only place in the city to have this event. Hopefully they can get some space from MTA and/or the PDC. It is also closer to the nightlife, and hotels. And at the end of the parade route.

  19. C.R.Thu, Mar 09, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    This is what happens when you demand that West Hollywood hold onto pride at all costs rather than being open to having it elsewhere in the city. West Hollywood does not own gay pride, with this going on this should have been the year to attempt a move. It’s going to happen eventually anyways, gay pride will not be relegated to West Hollywood for all eternity. How many people participate in this march is a complete crapshoot because obviously most people usually treat it as a big party they look forward to. You’re going to have a lot of disappointed people. Not to mention that this now presents a whole new set of extra security concerns making this event into something twice as political. As a default, I guess, what was mentioned by another person here in having the event mimic the set up for Halloween sounded like the best approach. Keep the streets blocked off and have the sides lined with vendors and the stages set up the same, keeping the event FREE just as Halloween is. But that probably won’t happen……..

  20. Adios CSWThu, Mar 09, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    What is the obsession with having our parade on Sunday vs Saturday anyways? It actually works our worse for most people. I’m all or standing up and protecting our rights, but this whole thing just sounds depressing. New Orleans pride is the same weekend. Time for a trip. 500k marching in LA? Get a grip.

  21. Christopher RothThu, Mar 09, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    We would gladly welcome everyone here on the Eastside! We have Santa Monica Blvd. A beautiful park, plenty of shopping and amazing mom and pop shops who could cater the best of authentic international cuisine curbside. We are growing, we are diverse. Come visit us anytime!

  22. Roy Rogers OldenkampFri, Mar 10, 2017 at 1:19 am

    Crikey everybody chill. I don’t feel like a party as our country crumbles under the weight of a tyrant. The Woman’s March downtown was energizing and brilliant and peaceful. More, please, We can have the regular parade next year, if we are still a nation. So, haters and bashers take a freakin’ break- a lotta broken record commentary around here. Oh, and we handle half a mill at Carnaval, so we’ll somehow survive, the bars and hotels will be packed as ever.

  23. Gary TurnerFri, Mar 10, 2017 at 1:30 am

    Are you people kidding me? We are under attack like never before, our LGBT rights in the US are in limbo, our trans brothers and sisters are are bearing heartbreaking, outrageous discrimination at its worst…

    Yes, people are literally being murdered in the streets around the world right now just for being who they are…

    Stop being selfish and start finding ways to help. Register to march right now at http://www.ResistMarch.org. Get your family, friends and colleagues to support and march with you.

    If you want a reminder of why we are OBLIGATED to do something, read this heartbreaking story from yesterday… http://www.news.com.au/world/south-america/smartphone-footage-captures-brazilian-transgender-woman-pleading-for-her-life-prior-to-being-beaten-to-death/news-story/42bad78ac9177c85a5529a23c48398ad

  24. Jan Michael FosterFri, Mar 10, 2017 at 6:24 am

    With so many threats against us, our right, our healthcare from the federal government the March should take precedence. As long as the branding of Gay Pride is kept im glad for the change

  25. Greg M.Fri, Mar 10, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Making this a FREE Halloween style event is a great idea, a gay people’s march with free entertainment and vendor stands. Our community, our country and our fellow immigrants are under attack and we must take a stand. What better way for the City of West Hollywood to be the nations leader in the fight for LGTBQ and ALL minority rights…a grand people’s parade…with lots of areal photos for REAL news documentation, of course.

  26. Jim Van MatreFri, Mar 10, 2017 at 9:07 am

    THANK YOU LA PRIDE. Sometime you have to fight instead of party.

  27. John MolineroFri, Mar 10, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Nothing like grabbing some popcorn and watching the left eat itself in to oblivion.

    Leave it up to the left to so badly botch the planning of a major event and then turn what used to be a fun and inclusive parade and celebration in to a seething bitter temper-tantrum of Kindergarten level chants.

  28. jimmyblueyesFri, Mar 10, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Another march through Boystown? Only the people with parking spaces will attend. Start by admitting that WeHo DOES NOT OWN GAY PRIDE. This March needs to happen in downtown LA and culminate on the steps of City Hall, where it becomes national news. Imagine an inclusive event that’s actually accessible by mass transit, attended by diverse supporters, in an event as big as January’s Women’s March. Instead, clinging to that feeble “festival,” here comes a “March” that leads everybody directly to The Abbey. That’s a “protest?” Count me out.

  29. JohnFri, Mar 10, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Why not have the parade/march continue past San Vicente and end in the beautiful walkway on the north side of Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills. The LGBTQ community can double back into WeHo and our brothers and sisters in the Resist Movement can disperse into Beverly Hills.

  30. Leslie KFri, Mar 10, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Larry, I’m not protecting Lauren, really, though it’s my understanding that nobody was yelling at her at Wednesday’s meeting, but rather at CSW. It just seems that every comment of yours on all matters singles her out, whether she’s involved or not.

    You say Lauren got us to the point of losing the pride parade (I know you don’t need to be reminded that there are five members on council, each with an equal vote), yet you make no mention of the fact that the LGAB could not be bothered to achieve a quorum for Wednesday’s meeting.

    Your apparent obsession with Lauren smacks of sour grapes over her successful election to council (over you) and her subsequent refusal to vote for your at-large appointment to a commission. Though I suspect your current support of Duran and Heilman will result in the appointment to a commission this time around, your need to blame Lauren for every problem in the city suggests an inability to work with others. Indeed, isn’t this the same charge you make about Lauren’s appointees?

  31. EricFri, Mar 10, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    A protest march is great and all, but who is the intended target? All the LGBT tourists and revelors in WEHO? The march should be targeted at those who make the decisions and where THEY ARE. Canceling the Parade and the fun joyous excitement it brings to the 1,000’s or parade goers shows CSW is out of touch.

  32. AlexFri, Mar 10, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    OH GREAT! Let’s close down and inconvienience all the residents of West Hollywood who almost all already support LGBT rights with a noisy “march”. Instead of a fun happy parade that brings smiles to almost everyone watching. Time to skip WEHO PRIDE 2 years in a row!

  33. James FieldsFri, Mar 10, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    At this point with the construction, there was no discussion of what real estate would remain when it is done and I suspect that there will still be a loss of space. I believe that it is time for a few things to happen. 1 more the event in fact don’t be afraid to move it out of West Hollywood since it is the ‘LA Pride Parade’. 2. Consider moving it to a venue in LA where you would have sufficient space and parking, How about Pan Pacific Park or Griffith Park. 3. The only true constant is change, yet it is one of the most difficult things for people to embrace. Evolve the event so that it incorporates fresh ideas and sponsor that are more current and inline with present times. Or at least something different. (see below)

    Locations Grifftith Park or Pan Pacific Park Both Safe
    Griffith Park Pros Zoo Parking Lot or Soccer Fields
    1) Parking Lot Pros – There are many events allow to happen in the parking lot itself. Traffic in and out of the lot can be controlled. The lot supports having an event and parking for the public. Cleanup should be fairly easy because the lot is mostly asphalt or concrete. Some access to public transportation, other attractions in the park like the Zoo, Gene Autry Western Museum, Travel Town. Could benefit and participate
    Parking Lot Cons- May be competing with other venues like the Zoo itself or the Gene Autry Museum. The lot is more exposed to the general public.
    2) Soccer Field Pros- Is a large space and already fenced in. Access to the Area can be controlled by closing Fwy entrance and the direct road to the soccer fields. Zoo parking lot can be used for event attendees.
    Soccer Field Cons – Manicured Grass must be restored after the event. This could be a big expense. Securing this area could be a challenge as you would be competing with soccer teams for it but they don’t generate as much revenue as en event like this would. Nearest Hotels are in Glendale or Burbank. A shuttle would be a consideration. Not much natural shade but that is ok.

    3) Pan Pacific Park Pros – Nice central location, access to public transportation
    Pan Pacific Park Cons- Very open to the general public. The entire event would need to be fenced in if an admission is going to be charged.

    Event Details

    This event would be more like a faire than the Festival. There is an opportunity to have a lot of commercial and non commercial sponsorship.

    Competitions
    Cooking – Ethnic Cooking, Thai, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Latin(Mexican, Cuba, Guatalan, Venusuelan…etc), BBQing, Baking…etc
    Possible sponsors, the food network, many local restaurants, Better Homes and Gardens, popular food and cooking magazines, cook book. Cooking contests can be judged in different categories by celebrities associated with the previous mentioned entities along with dignitaries, people selected from the general public etc. Sponsor and restaurants can donate prizes and/or gift certificates to the contest winners the first few years (if this becomes an annual event). Eventually a contest entry fee can be charged and winners can be granted cash prizes. You can also have 2 categories in this competition; Restaurants and Individuals. The winning Restaurant would get exposure from winning in that category because there would be a PR component after the event to announce winners. Also, there is the possibility of creating or putting online a cookbook of winning recipes from this event. Eventually this cookbook is something that could be monetized and a revenue stream after the event. As a perk or prize to Individual winners could be having their culinary creations featured on the menu of a participating restaurant. Competitions can also be held in categories regarding taste/flavor and also presentation. Local Grocery stores can be sponsors. Gelsons, Ralphs, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s….etc.

    Home Categories

    1) Room Decorating and Accessorizing
    Possible Sponsors – IKEA, Best Buy, FTD, Pottery Barn, Resurrection Hardware, Direct Buy, Lamps Plus, Bed Bath and Beyond, Linen and Things, Hotel Liquidators, ….etc (I’m sure you can think or places where we buy furniture).
    Competitions
    1 – Room Decorating – Given a pile of furniture and a room space (2 to 3 walls and a floor), At lease 4 areas should be set up this way. Previously registered teams must take what they are given and arrange them in the room space. This would be a timed event. The final results are judged and photographed. The furniture is moved out afterwards. Each team gets to arrange the furniture in all 4 spaces and be judged on each. There will be heats in this category and this can be one of the major events for day 1. Day 2, From the photographs taken on day 1, the winning room arrangements are set up and the next faze of competitions begin.

    2- Room Accessorizing – Given the 4 spaces teams must select accessories like pictures, mirrors, vases, pots, flowers, lamps, brickabrack…etc and they must accessorize the room, This is a timed event and pictures will be taken at the end of the each heat. The teams must accessories each of the 4 room spaces, one at a time until each team has done all 4. Prizes for these contests can be donated furniture, gift certificates, or the opportunity for the winning group(s) to decorate a display in one of the sponsoring stores (after event PR). This event could have sponsors booths where the sponsors can offer advice on room decorating, furnishing, they can also show, distribute catalogs of merchandise, offer discount coupons to event attendees.

    3- Crafts – Competition – Taking obscure things like palm frongs, crates, rocks, jars, vases and creating either useful or decorative objects for the home. For this you can have people submit pictures ahead of time showing the objects they have created and the finalists can bring the objects to be displayed at the faire for final judging. This would also be an opportunity to have hardware store sponsor places like Lowes, Home Depot, Orchard, Ace and Koontz, Hardware to have both with catalogs, discount coupons for product. Some of these stores have advisers who might be able to serve as judges for this
    event. This area could also be devoted to Artists, Glazers, persons who make art type things to sell.

    The above events should be advertised to be inclusive of both home owners and apartment dwellers.

    4- Gardening – Pictures can be prejudged in this area. Finalist can win gift certificates to Lowes, Home Depot….etc. Opportunity for the Lowes, HD, Ace…etc. Same as above. Other possible sponsors could be HGTV

    5- Sewing, Knitting, Crocheting, Needlepoint, Macramé
    This event can have categories like clothes, male and female, pets, crafts and accessories like drapes, doilies…etc. Pictures can be sent in ahead of time for judging. Finalists can come and have their clothing creations modeled in a fashion show for final judging. Some of the models should should be transgender MTF and FTM. If you can wrangle some celebrity fashionistas and Department store buyers as judges. Pets can also be walked on the runways. The winner can get a prize like an entry in a local fashion show or fashion week.
    One other aspect could be drag as the girls do like to hit the runway. We could have the best or most outrageous drag or drag performance.

    5-Leather
    This can be a competition for the local leather smiths to show their creations and display them. Then can send in pictures of their works to be judged by a panel made up of prominent people in both the leather and fashion community. There could be some categories like; Bar fetish ware and then leather eveningwear creations for both men and women. Some of the leather smiths can create in both categories. Swede creations would be acceptable also in this competition. I’m drawing a blank for a prize in this category though. There can also be fetish demonstrations and vendors of toys and fetish paraphernalia for this aspect of the faire. There can also be kink themes for leather contest creations like executioner, archer, swashbuckler, swordsman…etc.

    6- Hair and Beauty can have a part in this – Hair Styling and Hair Cutting, make-up contests would be great – local salons can participate in this. Categories, like most stylish and current or most outrageous doo or weave. The doos can also be modeled on the runway. Local beauty supply stores can be involved. Major Beauty Product companies could be sponsors parts of this venue because we use a lot of hair care and skin care products.

    7 – Marching Band Competition – LA, SF, SD and PS can compete for the best marching bands and Cheering Squads.

    8 – This could also be and opportunity to introduce back in some rodeo events as the Rodeo hasn’t occurred in LA for a while. Goat dressing maybe, some horse riding events, nothing to do with cows or bulls or roping animals. I think I need to go to the LA County Fair again this year to see if there are any other events that we can give a twist to.

    9 – Cars could also be a part of this event. Greater Autos of Yesteryear can exhibit their cars at this event. If I can think of some kind of competition for cars I will include it.
    Harley Davison could sponsor a Custom Chopper contest as many people also have bikes.

    10 – Pets – Do a twist on ‘Best in Show’ for dogs – You can have an ugly mutt contest – no pure breeds allowed and a ‘Attitude Dog ‘ contest for purebreds or dogs that are quaffed within an inch of their lives.

    11- On line networking sites can participate with an online challenge How many only friend/chat buddies can you identify as present at the event. You can have a booth where they can list themselves only by their handle on participating websites. Persons participating in this can walk around and make a list of the persons known by their online handles to see who is able to collect the most names. Sponsoring online pay sites could offer a year free membership to the winner.

    Many Vendors could participate that support the community such as Logo, Hero, some radio stations…etc.

    If this event is put together right, I don’t think there would be a problem getting beverage, bear, wine and water sponsors.

    12 – A small wine tasting event could be in an area designed to be a little upscale with a small stage for jazz and/or classical music performers. Wine and Beer sponsor, Local jazz clubs, piano bars, small entertain venues, comedy clubs could sponsor this area.

    13 – There could be a family area for people who have kids, a moon bounce and a temp playground could be set up but then companies that provide toys, cribs, children’s clothes, children’s educational and learning products, could have booths set up in this area. Bring on Sponge Bob. Bring back the Teletubbies

    14 – This one might be a little harder to do but worth it if it can be done. A lot of young kids 16 – 34 are gamers. If a video game company would be willing to set up or sponsor a gamers area where they demo new games and allow people to play games against one another. There could be a contest on whoever gets the highest score that weekend playing one of these computer games wins one. Best Buy, Frys and other home electronic stores could participate in this area and have a both with catalogs and discount coupons. If one of them was generous enough to donate a big screen TV, that would be a good item to raffle off as a fund raiser. I also have an idea for a web scavenger hunt where you are given clues but must surf the web for key words noting the location of a prize at the event. This would require a kiosk with some laptops. This again could be something sponsored by one of the home electronic stores.

    15 – One other venue I propose is a ‘Change the State/Change the Country’ where politicians can give speeches and people can exchange ideas no matter how radical on what we can do to fix the problems facing California and the country. There could be a few video camera stations were people can have their ideas recorded. These recordings could be reviewed at a later time and have some of the best ideas edited on to another tape and sent to the California Legislature and/or to Washington. Sometimes you have to be open to ideas that are way outside the box in order to deal with some crisis’s that we are now facing as a country. This area would also serve to support people attending who feel that politics should be included in the event. Also persons wanting to have petitions signed for this and that like marriage equality, no more DADT…etc. can be localized to this area.

    I can probably think of other ideas and I wonder that being one person who can come up with all of these doable ideas, I can only imagine what a group of people who are willing to let go of the status quo and think a little out of the box would be able to do keeping with the ideals of having fun, being inclusive and educating people. Also, I’m sure other workable ideas are in the heads of others who are quite frankly tired of Pride and would embrace the idea of doing something different.

    You don’t even have to call this a festival, that opens up the door to a lot of creativity and a lot less criticism. We don’t have to play to a community that is concerned about the event being too commercial. We don’t have to appease any grass roots movements though they should be included…etc. You can still have DJ’s, Dance performances, dance venues, live entertainment, Jazz music….etc. We can also have rides or not, something that was attempted but never really successful in the past. , We can have a midway with carny games or not, admissions or some of the proceeds can benefit a charity(s) or not. This can be supported or produced by a non-profit org or not. None of the pride restrictions apply so you can be as imaginative as you want. I would think that this event would take at least 2 years to plan and execute and we might not get the support of certain municipalities because it might be seen as a competing event but it’s not. I think this is something that both LA and West Hollywood can do jointly if enough people are ready to truly embrace change and letting go of old ideals. I believe it is finally time to do something completely different. A festival, parade and a march done really qualify. They don’t always celebrate who we are when they aren’t always open and accessible for everyone who is in and supports our community.

    James F.

  34. JJFri, Mar 10, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Larry Block! RIGHT! ON! I’m becoming a big fan!! =)

  35. WillisFri, Mar 10, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    I think people are missing the larger point. The NATIONAL PRIDE MARCH is in Washington DC on the SAME DAY this year. Hundreds of thousands marching in DC- and showing support by marching in other cities around the country. How does it look for LA to be the only city celebrating with corporate sponsors and people dancing on trucks? A simultaneous march in LA is the best option and presents a show of national unity from the West Coast. This year is much bigger than another excuse to have a party. Instead of standing on the sidewalk with friends and watching, you and your friends can actually participate in something this year that will more likely be the one year you actually remember. I already know promoters and groups that normally sponsor floats, who are finding new ways to present themselves in this years march. I agree that everyone ending up in WeHo at the end of the march is going to be an issue, as is the smaller Pride Festival. We have creative people in this city. All will turn out well.

  36. CarolFri, Mar 10, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Isn’t Plummer Park a West Hollywood Park? Why not have it there?

  37. KyleFri, Mar 10, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    The see/hear/believe-only-what-you-choose-to-tune-into echo chamber one sees/hears around West Hollywood and its various parts is amazing. I’m involved with several gay dominant organisations and I’d say from discussions that at least 25% of gay members voted for November’s winners – a significant part of “the community” one could say. Admittedly they are not so big on the winners’ style per se, but emphatically for most of the general concepts. Of course there are some twitchy outlier issues, but you don’t get everything tidy selfie folks.

    So, where are these parts of the community going to be represented in the no-parade yellathon?

  38. Jimmy PalmieriSat, Mar 11, 2017 at 1:30 am

    I for one do not care if the trump voters feel included or not. they are evil and have harmed this community in a frightful way. sad, pathetic misfits. deplorable’s if you will.

  39. JustinSat, Mar 11, 2017 at 7:40 am

    it’s a pretty sad state of affairs that with over a year notice for pride and with 3
    months to go there seems to be no real plans. That falls squarely on CSW and its leaders again, as well as the subcommittee of John D’Amico and Lauren Meister – and since Meister is the presiding mayor scheduling the outreach and the follow up and working close w staff on the agenda then Meister deserves double the blame. It’s just sad that our community is at this point of pride and they want to send messages to Rwanda or spend time on some
    pretty stupid items instead of focusing on our local issues. Wasn’t it just the last council meeting or two that Meister put forth a marijuana education plan (schools do that) and that time could have been spent nailing dinner an Pride.

  40. MikeSat, Mar 11, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Im very upset there is not a parade and have no plans to join an angry protest. This is not right. The city council and mayor have failed the LGBT community.

  41. David ReidSat, Mar 11, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Re: Poinsettia. City of WeHo contributes greatly to its budget. It is technically an LA County facility. Likely Sheila Kuehl would snip the red tape and make it happen. Finally, respect for the Eastside of West Hollywood!
    There is 5 levels of parking, unused this year, under the new Avalon apartments. The place is vacant. The least the developer could do would be to open that up. There is parking at The Lot that has been opened before for community events. The footprint of Poinsettia is larger than the existing West Hollywood Pride Park before the remodel. Tennis courts, Recreation Center. Huge green space. And it is largely fenced already.
    It will only be an ‘angry’ protest if the people are angry. The Womens March was a FESTIVE day downtown January 21st. This should be filled with balloons, and flags, and signs and pure positive energy.
    If WeHo can close SMB down for Carnaval (aka Halloween) for 18 hours they can shut it down for Pride for 18 hours. Or please, explain the difference (other than admission fees) between October and June in closing the Boulevard.

  42. BvinlaSat, Mar 11, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    1) I see no point having a protest in a place where everyone is already on your side. Move the protest somewhere where it will rattle those against us. Hint: It looks like Beverly Hills isn’t so blue on this election map! http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-pol-ca-california-neighborhood-election-results/
    2) Why not hold the parade on Saturday. Most people would prefer it on Saturday anywise. Then you can have a parade and protest.
    3) Move the pride grounds to poinsettia park. Or open up Santa Monica blvd Halloween style and move booths there,while keeping the stages and beer gardens fenced in what remains of we hope park. Charge for the stages and beer gardens, leave the booth part on the street free. Stringing the event all along santa monica blvd would be good for the local small businesses.
    4) Accept it’s time for pride to adapt and change. Heck its been so same old same old the Past few years a shake up will likely bring back many that have grown bored with it.

  43. Nir ZilbermanSat, Mar 11, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Great job!

  44. Follow the MoneySun, Mar 12, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Scott Schmidt = Lauren Meister campaign manager = CSW consultant = Delay in Decision Making = Loss of Pride 2017planning. Lauren’s campaign manager was also receiving money as CSW consultant.

    8/22/2016 article WehoVille: CSW budgeted $12,000, apparently for the services of Scott Schmidt, the election compaign manager for and former City Council deputy to Mayor Lauren Meister. As of the date of the financial report, Schmidt had been paid $5,000. City law bars former council deputies from lobbying the City Council,

    So in August 2016 two months after last years Pride, and when 2017 Pride decisions are being made Scott Schmidt became a paid consultant and Mayor Meister did not entertain alternative solutions to this years Pride programming. Scott later resigned.

  45. BillSun, Mar 12, 2017 at 11:22 am

    All the positive and love that comes out of the parade is going to be replaced with hate for tRump and the other half of America.

    Isn’t there a better option?

  46. MannySun, Mar 12, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Has anyone asked the residents on Martel, Willoughby, Fuller, Romaine and Poinsettia how they feel about using Poinsettia Park?……Maybe someone should.

    David how about you?

  47. jcSun, Mar 12, 2017 at 11:55 am

    WeHo. You are being extremely DIVISIVE. Half the country voted for Trump. Why alienate half of everybody? Just find a different hobby for next 4 years instead of giving yourselves tumors. Last time there was a “antiTrump” protest in WeHo there was 35 protesters but there was also 35 proTrump ralliers. If you have a protest there will be a rally. I live in WeHo and am happy for the country with our POTUS. The media and sites like this are divisive. There are many Gays for Trump. Why support the media & democrats (for votes) agenda of Islam when Islam wants to stone gays, throw gays off rooftops? The idea of peace and love are novel but unfortunately that is not the world we live in. It is like Neiman Marcus and all these other companies stocks dropping when they speak out against Trump, their stocks tank because they are alienating half their customers. Do not force feed your opinions on everyone else. If you don’t like POTUS because you get your info from the biased media fine, but not everyone feels the way you do. Have you ever met the man? Perhaps he is a good person like Christian Ben Carson states he is (who actually knows him). Perhaps he is a bad person, who knows, but until you know for sure stop assuming. 50 plus days in and around 4 to 8 years to go. Let it go. If Biden was a Republican and won POTUS the media would say he was a Nazi and half the country would believe it. Look at Europe. Check out on Facebook or Youtube or Twitter Paul Joseph Watson for a different view of what CNN feeds the public daily. Notice how CNN (or other outlets) never talk about any news other than POTUS? Nothing about panda bears, or fires, or earthquakes, just 24/7 about POTUS .. agenda there perhaps? Have a nice day, try not to get triggered. I am part of half the country that is very happy but a ton of my friends want a Pride parade and have ZERO interest in a protest against the person half the country voted in. Take away the dead voters/illegal alien votes and he won the popular vote by millions and millions of votes. I have yet to meet one person against him. Love Trumps Hat. 🙂

  48. JESS - Registered VoterSun, Mar 12, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Yet ANOTHER Giant Fail for the City of West Hollywood. No Longer a “Gay Mecca” but a sell out to big business. 99% of people do not have a clue about Christopher St. Stonewall Bar circumstances. Ignorant of out history. It is no wonder the ‘straight world’ hates us! We do more harm to ourselves than any one in the straight world could do to us. WE do not have a clue how to be a real “community” how to support one another. Even gay bar business is down, primarily because of lack of security. How long has it been since Cooley’s was to open? 3 years? Looks like it may never open. Come on boys and girls learn how to get along with one another. Learn how to support GLBT businesses, so they can spend money in the Community. #TermLimits on City Council.

  49. Bill and Jay McMahonSun, Mar 12, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Yes, sadly, this has resulted in weho and la wanting and getting support and popularity with those who hate at its core value, and there is no room in this event for those who are lovers. Anyway, Hollywood and West Hollywood are known as loveless neighborhoods, and now letting the haters taking over, sad, very sad. All the other suggestions are just political, business, and so out of touch with what the people want and need.
    Los Angeles should have a counter parade for those who love and want to see love and want to be around people who love, a luvin for all who love. The haters will be in hollywood and west holllywoood, so it will sure be safe to show our love, what gay pride means for us at least, and the reason for a celebration. Where is the love?

  50. George HirstMon, Mar 13, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Plumber park would be best. They have trans already carting people to boystown bars on the weekend. Grand park downtown would be good but the gay bars in WH would likely not make as much money due to the distance. It has always been in WH but things change. Not sure what the heck is going on with all the development at WH park? Talk about wasteful spending.

  51. Sean GotcherTue, Mar 14, 2017 at 11:01 am

    The parade is always such an exciting time. All the floats, all the love, all the laughter. Why can’t we have the parade and follow the last float with a solidarity march?

  52. George HirstTue, Mar 14, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    Sean, These are scary times we are living in with the evil GOP/Trump in power. They are not our friends. If it were up to Paul Ryan and Mike Pence they would wipe us off the face of the earth if they could. A unifying march is more inline with what is needed. RESIST!

  53. Mitch BartTue, Mar 14, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    I support the Resist March for this year (and maybe until Trump is NOT President!)

    Sorry Weho but it is time to change the whole design. Go back to the City of LA roots of the event (it’s an LA Pride Event after all).

    Start the March (or Parade) at Hollywood and Highland or Hollywood and Vine and go EAST on Hollywood and Sunset Blvds through East Hollywood, Los Feliz, Silver Lake and Echo Park ending with the festival at Grand Park DTLA.

    Grand Park was literally designed for this type of festival! Plus that route is MetroRail accesible at both ends, no need to bus shuttle people back to a MetroRail station.

  54. RandyThu, Mar 16, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Mitch, not a bad idea, but you do realize that that route is more than twice was long as what they are proposing? It is over 7 miles. The entire width of the San Francisco peninsula. I don’t know how many people would be up for a march that long. I think quite a few would bail in the middle.

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