DTLA Proud Takes Over Pershing Square

Beaching it in downtown L.A. (Photo by Derek Wanker)
Beaching it in downtown L.A. (Photo by Derek Wanker)

The first gay Pride festival in downtown Los Angeles attracted an estimated 4,000 people to Pershing Square Sunday.

The DTLA Proud festival included events at nearby gay bars such as Bar Mattachine, New Jalicso, Redline and Precinct. And those attending spanned the LGBT culture with gay men, lesbians and transgender people evident. The masters of ceremony for event were the Boulet Brothers, known for nightlife events at Precinct.

The festival included booths from non-profit organizations such as APAIT, which provides health services to Latino and Asian LGBT people and a gay history and culture exhibition by ONE National Archives.

The DTLA Proud festival took place five weeks after the annual L.A. Pride parade and festival in West Hollywood. That event has been criticized by many local LGBT activists for its reorientation as a music festival and for its high festival ticket pricing — $30 compared to $10 for DTLA Proud. Some see DTLA Proud as a possible threat to L.A. Pride, given the growth of the gay community in downtown Los Angeles and the fast launch of several gay bars. However L.A. Pride differs from DTLA Proud in that it offers a historic annual parade and also offers a much larger selection of music performances, in line with its organizers’ effort to recast it as a music festival. According to a study commissioned by the City of West Hollywood, L.A. Pride generates $5 million in additional spending at city bars, restaurants and shops each year.

The City of West Hollywood, which subsidizes L.A. Pride with more than $500,000 in services and foregone revenue, on Aug. 17 will hold the second of two meetings with community members to discuss issues with L.A. Pride and Christopher Street West, the non-profit that runs it. The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. at the West Hollywood Park Auditorium, just north of the library, on San Vicente Boulevard.

The Boulet Brothers on stage at DTLA Proud (Photo by Derek Wanker)
The Boulet Brothers on stage at DTLA Proud (Photo by Derek Wanker)

More pictures of the events, by Derek Wanker, are on the pages that follow:

  1. DTLA Proud was a fun and highly inclusive event. With a very low $5 presale ticket price, the event was accessible to nearly anyone who wanted to go – and it was a big success (ok, they do need to work out the drink ticket/bar logistics, but overall it was a really well done affair). CSW should take note on how to organize and run a pride event. I really hate what the WeHo LAPride festival has become – a bloated, overpriced, mishmashed mess, accessible to only a small part of the community. Personally, I will no longer attend the LAPride festival and I will not support anything the secretive and mismanaged CSW does. The DTLA Proud, on the other hand, was an event I could get behind and support.

  2. Tony – I think you are misinformed, so let me try to explain. I know some of the organizers of the event and attended a couple of the community meetings – from what I understand the admission price covered costs for security, park fees, and basic festival infrastructure (restrooms, tents, etc). It’s also important to note that it was only $5 pre-sale which is a vastly more accessible price for people of all economic status. I also learned that DTLA Proud was founded as a non-profit organization, so all proceeds from the event will go into future DTLA Proud festivals. It is not a businesses – everyone involved donated their own time and resources, and it really showed – it was a fantastic display of unity and community. The crowd was extremely diverse and truly represented all colors of the LA LGBTQ community. It’s amazing what they were able to pull off with virtually no money and just a couple of months to plan the entire thing. Major props to the organizers; I hope next year’s DTLA Proud will iron out some of the wrinkles that are expected in a 1st annual event. Haters gonna hate. Hope to see you there next year, Tony. You go DTLA Proud!

  3. I agree with Tony. Pride should be 100% free. The parade is free. There is no need to even cage in the park for the various dance tents. Sadly the entire country as lost sight of what any Pride organization is about. Now its all about $$$.

  4. What happened? When did the expression of Pride in who we are turn into a business? $30.00, $10.00 for what? I already paid the price to be who I am today.
    Now there’s a competition involved? Didn’t Pride originally involve Unity?
    Ironically, none of this makes me Proud.

  5. This is what West Hollywood Pride should be like, instead of the One City One Pride mess that is throughout the month and lacks any focus or cohesion.

    Would it be so bad to have 3 pride celebrations in Los Angeles – we are a very large and diverse City. I agree that competition is a good thing. Let the City, CSW and Los Angeles all join the fray.

    DTLA Pride was chaotic – the drink lines were outrageous and the on-site ticketing was a disaster. I think the organizers were not anticipating the demand for a fun gay pride experience after LA Pride 2016 fizzled – not just due to CSW’s antics but also the terror scare. However, with a few tweaks DTLA Pride would surpass CSW’s LA Pride and on a comparatively shoe-string budget. The DTLA Pride event was based on locally sourced talent, was affordable, lacked over-the-top police presence and obnoxious corporate sponsors. A lot of Wehoans took to the 101 and the 10 to go downtown for the first time in a long time.

  6. It is time to open up our LA Pride event to all, with reasonable ticket prices, non profits that are accessible to most people and not hidden behind the $30 admission fee, and promote an open, inclusive environment for all to attend. It is time that our Pride offered a community benefit instead of just using the community for its park space. It is time to move past CSW, and get a clear accounting of the finances of the Pride Festival, and it is high time the parade and festival added a community benefit with profits going to our local social service organizations to help others.

    I’m sorry to be out of town during the next community meeting but with the current lineup of embedded relationships I fear we will not make enough progress. Council member D’Amico has stated clearly that the finances of CSW will have to be open and made public before future commitments will be made by the city council. But I fear the community is at a slight disadvantage to move on from CSW when Mayor Lauren Meister is on the subcommittee doing the negotiation with her ex-campaign manager and deputy Scott Schmidt. It’s not a level playing field for community input. The city pays money to CSW who hires insiders with council connections to delay any move away from CSW all the while that CSW does not disclose their revenues. At the first community meeting about 3 weeks ago I asked Chris Claussen the President of CSW, ‘what were the revenues and how was this years event profitable or not? And he answered ‘he did not know’ ‘he would have to look at it and see what monies are left outstanding.’

    If the President of CSW doesn’t know if the bills are paid with monies left or if there is a stack of bills on his desk to get paid then we need a new President who knows these things a month after the event. (or at least will disclose it) For me that was the last evasive answer needed to make up my mind that we can do better without CSW controlling all the money, charging 1000 to a non profit, splitting revenues on every beverage sold, and still not able to turn a profit and provide a community benefit to all of us.

  7. It’s time to say goodbye to CSW and find a new organizer for the Pride event in West Hollywood. Either that, or it’s time to pass the Pride duties on to an new organization like DTLA Pride and move the entire LA Pride Event (including the prime June weekend) to Downtown L.A. At least it would be perceived as more inclusive there. Time to put CSW out of its misery and close the organization down. No more taxpayer subsidies to an organization that is tone deaf until the community screams and so financially opaque while it continues to lose money on an event that should at least break even.

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