Los Angeles Blade, Volume 08, Issue 13, May 31, 2024

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Celebrating Pride 2024 Listing of SoCal events, PAGES 04-16 MAY 31, 2024 • VOLUME 08 • ISSUE 13 • AMERICA’S LGBTQ NEWS SOURCE • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

Southern California’s LGBTQ+ 2024 Pride events

Venice Pride’s Gaywatch

May 31

Baja Venice 311 Washington Blvd, Venice venicepride.org

Venice Pride Block Party presented by Aids Healthcare Foundation

May 31

99 Windward Ave

LA’s beloved grassroots LGBTQ+ Pride celebration returns with a *FREE* party in the street!

Venice Pride Block Party

Los Angeles Angels Pride Night

June 1

Angel Stadium of Anaheim

Join fans in the Gate 5 Courtyard for pre-game Pride festivities. Purchase a Pride Night ticket package and receive discounted pricing along with a Pride Night-themed Angles hat ro eeds rom ea h t et r hase ene t r de angels.com/pride

AIDS/LifeCycle 2024 Ride

June 2-8

The Cow Palace

AIDS/LifeCycle is a fully-supported, seven-day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. It’s a life-changing 545-mile ride-not a race-through some of California’s most beautiful countryside. aidslifecycle.org

WeHo Pride Weekend

May 31- June 2

e o r de s o on ar e a , a , th a s e a e ent wehopride.com

Friday Night @ Outloud

May 31

WeHo Pride presents this free-to-attend concert in West Hollywood Park featuring headliners to be announced soon! wehopride.com

Glendale Pride in the Park

June 1, 1pm-5pm dams are n ar

The Glendale Pride in the Park celebration and queer family picnic is back. Glendale invites everyone in the community to join and work with love, in healing, and in creating safe space for our kids to thrive. glendaleout.org

Yappy Pride Party Returns to Just Food for Dogs West Hollywood

June 1, 2024, from 2 pm – 5 pm

The Yappy Pride Party is returning to the Just Food for Dogs West Hollywood kitchen, o ated at anta on a o e ard, at rda ne , , rom m m during WeHo Pride weekend. Dogs and their pet companions are welcome to attend the e ent at the r ar ng ot on the orner o anta on a o e ard and a r a en e ests e e rate the o o r de onth th some ood and re reshments ast e ents ha e o ered ra s, resh made rgers, hot dogs, and there ere ent of dog treats for pets to munch on. This year enjoy a photo session with fur family photos (available from 3-5pm) with the purchase of toy and treat bundle. There will also be a K-9 couture contest.

Relentlessly Advocating for Pet Health Being Completely Transparent as ng e s ons on ent den e

r ng hange n r ategor onor ng et e hro gh ort o es e orts o an nd them at reta t hens, ns de eter nar n s and hos ta s, at et ood ress stores n a orn a, et o o at ons nat on de, and on he om

To learn more, please visit; https://www.justfoodfordogs.com/

Women’s Freedom Festival and Dyke March

Women’s Freedom Festival

June 1, 12pm – 6pm

WeHo Pride Street Fair Community Stage at La Peer Dr. Co-sponsored and produced by the L-Project, the festival will feature emerging LGBTQ and omen, non nar m s ans, omed ans, oets, and a t sts wehopride.com

Dyke March

June 1, 6pm-10pm

WeHo Pride Street Fair Community Stage at La Peer Dr. Featuring a motorcycle-led march, this annual rally will begin immediately following the Women’s reedom est a a ong anta on a o e ard wehopride.com

e o r de ee end s a most on s t a eg ns th s r da , a , to nday, June 2, 2024, with the return of the Women s reedom est a and e ar h on Saturday. Women are taking over Boystown for WeHo Pride! Women’s Freedom Festival and the e ar h ret rns or ts rd ear at est o ood r de on at rda , ne 1, 2024 beginning at 12 noon!

This event is FREE. It is produced by The L-Project Los Angeles and co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood. o ated at the e e rat on tage on est end o anta on a d at a eer en e, the event will be hosted by Jackie Steele with sounds by DJ Boom Boom & DJ Sterling Victorian.

This year’s ne o art sts n de e er orman es e e th ad ne ra e ones h ah na att son her oon Theia ar ah o nts and the ng een and oetr a m n onet at ns asha a r han and West Hollywood’s Poet Laurette, Jen Cheng.

Guest speakers will include: Queen Hollins, Chanel Lumiere, Amy Stretten (Chickhominy)

e ar h er orman e , er stag ng or the e ar h eg n at m th an o en ng er orman e ed sa at m he e ar h a at m and the ar h eg n m ers nterested n o n ng r de ders or the e ar h, ease onta t atr na Vinson at: dykemarchweho@thelproject.org

Reserve your tickets for a chance to win free promos and other giveaways by clicking on the link here: (Link)

The Women s Freedom Festival lineup and schedule (*subject to change) is as follows:

ACT ONE – 12:30 PM – 3 PM

Host: Jackie Steele

Sounds by: DJ Boom Boom @mz_djboomboom en ng eremon

Tongva Nation Land Blessing

Queen Hollins

Jen Cheng @jencvoice

Chanel Lumiere @chanelblaclumiere

Nekeith @officialnekeith ade ne ra e ones aesthetic_thespian

Suri Chan @suri___chan

Shiah Luna @shiahluna her oon cherimoon

Gattison @justgattison


Southern California’s LGBTQ+ 2024 Pride events

ACT TWO – 3 PM – 5 PM

DJ Sterling

Theia @theiaofficialxo

Mariah Counts @mcshmammer

KingQueen Band @kingqueen.band


Yazmin Monet Watkins + Sasha MaRi @yazminmonetwatkins @allthingssashamari

Medusa @legendmedusa

Trans Choir

Pride Rider Rally @pride_riders_la

he ro e t s an h stor a es an non ro t organ at on o nded n sa eth and erg, n est o ood, a orn a he r m ss on s to romote and support emerging LGBTQI BI+POC women and non-binary creatives through the arts and te hno og

Outloud @ WeHo Pride

June 1-2

An award-winning, ticketed concert highlighting LGBTQ artistry, this star-studded, h gh energ ne e e rates and ad o ates or eer o es n m s , ng o r de Season!

eho r de om

WeHo Pride Street Fair

June 1-2

he street a r s ree and n de omm n t gro ooths, e h tors, s onsor a t at ons, a stage th e er orman es, and other enterta nment e ements eho r de om

WeHo Pride Parade

June 2

o or and enterta n ng e ent or the ho e am , the arade eat re ont ngents s h as oats, ands, dr teams, dan e teams, enterta nment entr es, mar hers and s e a g ests eho r de om

LA Pride in the Park

June 8, 1pm-11pm

Los Angeles State Historic Park r ng treet, os nge es r de n the ar s a h gh ant ated m s e ent h s ear’s headliner is Latin s erstar art n o n ng h m on the mass e oot stage e , o s ha and o o a, among others t’s also an LGBTQ+ community event organized by CSW, LA s or g na r de non ro t, esta shed n ests en o o er a res o a t t es, g o s, g ea a s, and more rom artners, e h tors, and endors a r de org

(Photo Credit: Ricky Martin/WeHoTimes)

Southern California’s LGBTQ+ 2024 Pride events

s the rst o en ga at n art st to ta e enter stage at the h gh ant ated r de e ent o the ear, th s mar s art n’s rst e er head ner r de er orman e r de n the ar ret rn to the os nge es tate stor ar on at rda , ne ross a res and th a a a t or , , r de n the ar s one o the most so ght a ter and argest a r de on erts n the o ntr dd t ona , the o a theme or th s ear’s r de season s “ o er n r de, h h e e rates the omm n t s a t to e a thent a enera dm ss on and asses are no a a a e to r hase at a r de org “ am thr ed to e head n ng r de n the ar e a se t’s an n red e o ort n t to e e rate o e, d ers t , and e a t , sa d art n “ r de s a testament to the o er o omm n t , the o er o s t , and the o er o stand ng or o r r ghts e ng art o th s rant omm n t s me th r de and r ose


JUNE 9, 2024:STEP OFF at 11AM

he est arade e ng s ots are a ong the m dd e o o ood d, or on gh and, o os te the road ast area te o s at shar , so get there ear to get a good s ot o an’t e th there n erson, e s re to at h the arade e on , r de’s a e e s on tream ng artner


June 9, 2024

( e re ee ng the e e rat on go ng on nda thro ng the t mate ree o art ad a ent to the arade, o en rom m d da and go ng nto the e en ng th a er orman e stage, arge endor age, ood e s, o ars, and more, t’s the a e to e to a ter the arade ast ear, , eo e en o ed th s ree arade “a ter art , don’t m ss t

he o art endor ooth a at on dead ne has no assed ta t ned to earn more a o t the oo th ngs e ha e n store

LGBTQ+ Pride Night at Dodger Stadium

Friday, June 14 - 7:10pm PT

Dodger Stadium

r or d er es nn ng odgers ta e on the ansas t o a s th r de re game est t es eat r ng art , and r de mer h or s e a t et ho ders

and the
also features six dance production numbers and an unforgettable
ONE SHOW ONLY! Sunday, June 30 | 3pm | Pasadena Civic Auditorium | $45-125 GMCLA .org Gay men’s chorus of los angeles Featuring Priyanka Featuring LatriceRoyale
GMCLA’s 200-member
Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin , music legend Dionne Warwick , undisputed voice of
generation, Whitney Houston
Pride Concert
Season finale
three-song medley with Latrice Royale and Priyanka , stars of

City of West Hollywood

City Hall

8300 Santa Monica Blvd.

West Hollywood, CA 90069-6216

Tel. (323) 848-6460

FAX (323) 848 6562





Vice Mayor







Welcome to WeHo Pride 2024!

As Mayor of the City of West Hollywood, I’m overjoyed to welcome you to WeHo Pride 2024!

WeHo Pride is like no other Pride celebration because the City of West Hollywood is like no other city. We’re vibrant, diverse, queer, and fabulous! We’re also tireless in our ongoing fight for justice, equality, and inclusion. To me, Pride is all of you: our big, bold, beautiful community.

Since our incorporation in 1984, West Hollywood has become one of the most influential cities in the nation in advocating for LGBTQ people, and in speaking out to achieve full civil and human rights. We’re only 1.9 square miles, but no other city has had agreater impact on fairness and inclusiveness for LGBTQ people.

We like to say Pride Starts Here. While that’s true in so many ways, the fact is that Pride is more like 24/7/365 in West Hollywood. More than 40% of our residents identify as LGBTQ+ and we are home to a thriving Rainbow District. Our streets are emblazoned with inclusive pride crosswalks, our medians display a rainbow-hued selection of LGBTQ+ flags, and we take Pride in being out, loud, and proud each and every day.

I’m so inspired by what WeHo Pride 2024 will bring. From our OUTLOUD Music Festival to our Street Fair, Parade, Dyke March, Women’s Freedom Festival, Arts Festival, community programming, and so much more. Most important, WeHo Pride will bring countless thousands of us together to take pride.

Keep up with all the details at www.wehopride.com and follow @wehopride on Instagram.

Enjoy WeHo Pride 2024!

John M. Erickson Mayor, City of West Hollywood


Southern California’s LGBTQ+ 2024 Pride events

Catalina Island Gears Up for an Unforgettable Pride Celebration June 15, 2024

ata na r de, s onsored an , o at noon th the eremon a r de a , start ng rom r g e tage and ont n ng a ong the s en ater ront to the amo s ata na s and as no art ants are en o raged to don the r r ghtest ra n o att re as the o n n th s o o s mar h sho as ng s ort or the omm n t n add t on, the h stor ata na s and as no e t n rant ra n o o ors to sho ase ata na’s o e and s ort or the omm n t r g e tage e the heart o the e e rat on, eat r ng an e t ng ne o e enterta nment gh ghts n de

• en h s a ema e o er and, no n or the r h gh energ er ormanes, head ne the e ent

• sha et rn ng or her th rd ear, sha ee the ro d dan ng th her d nam m es

• ng een he ro o and s a o ar demand

• erma d eat r ng anda e arre s and r ttan am e , th s d o ends ro , o , and

• an e e ande nger song r ter and o nder o

• atr t ames r sh orn, an hester ased eer o s nger song r ter

• ae s ormer a gro nd dan er or r tne ears, r ng ng h s s s to the stage

• on and a ng er orm ng as oth so o art sts and the r d o gro nda

• ster a no n or the r e e t st e and or g na songs

• o an as egas ased no n or h s n e t o s sets

• n add t on to the ma n stage er orman es, an a ter art e he d at the h h rom to ose, eat r ng sets o an and s

“ e are de ghted to e ome e er one to ata na s and or th s s e a e e rat on o o e and d ers t , sa d m tt ohann, o o e ata na “ r de s not st an e ent t s a testament to o r omm n t ’s omm tment to n s on and a e tan e ata na s a onder dest nat on or s tors ear ro nd, o er ng a e om ng atmos here, st nn ng s ener , and a ar et o a t t es or a to en o e oo or ard to a antast da o e e rat on, m s , and n t

Pride is Universal at Universal Studios Hollywood

June 15, 2024 10pm – 2am r de’s on a ter ho rs art s a at n ersa t d os o ood, th a m ted d s o nted t et r e o n o the mag o hen the ar oses to the at m and o get to sta nt am or the r de on ater ho rs e er en e th m t e ’s, dan e areas, ash ars, n ersa hara ters, and enhan ed ght ng thro gho t the ar s the reta stores, se e t resta rants, r des, and attra t ons rema n o en st or s htt s seet ets s e ent s e ter o rs art

City of Santa Monica celebrates Pride he month ong a o r de e e rat on ret rns th s ne th ntera t e a t t es and e er en es that honor and e e rate the omm n t and romote n s t and a e tan e n anta on a a o r de s a t de artnersh et een anta on a a e, o nto n anta on a, n , n and anta on a er, n oa orat on th the t o anta on a and anta on a ra e and o r sm

Fierce Fables: Drag Queen Pride Family-Edition

June 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

t anta on a er, the omm n t s n ted to art ate n the err o o nd d ng osted n artnersh th he ro omed , th s e ent e omes a

am mem ers to en o a drag een and ng stor te ng orner, a e a nt ng and sho sto ng dan e n m ers e rag een, andora o and ohnn enteman

Pride on the Promenade

June 22, from 2 to 8 p.m.

h s e o art trans orms h rd treet romenade nto a o or e e rat on eat r ng m s a er orman es rated , g ea a s, games and a reta o mar et a e sho as ng o a s nesses, reat ng an n s e s a e or a ages to ome together and e e rate d ers t s, o a ser e ro ders and omm n t gro s e resent a ong the romenade, o er ng s ort and reso r es or the omm n t

Sounds of Santa

June 22, from noon to 6 p.m.

Monica: Pride Edition

am es groo e to the eats o e m s a enterta nment er ormers n enter a a nder Lanterns of Love, an o erhead o or antern nsta at onrant o erhead ghts a so s an rom h rd treet romenade to anta on a a e, m nat ng the est e atmos here so on at rda , the anta on a a e d one o ers d r end r de rogramm ng and a t t es, reat ng an ed at ona and enterta n ng s a e or h dren to a and earn a o t n s t and a e tan e or more n ormat on a o t o nds o anta on a r de d t on, s t santamon a a e om he t o anta on a s ded ated to n reas ng s t and nderstand ng o the road s e tr m o gender dent t es and e er en es th n the omm n t he t e e rates r de th the month ong ght ng o t a n ra n o o ors and a ser es o ed at ona , t ng e ents d r ng the month o ne omm n t e ents n de the t ’s r de ro amat on on a an e e n sh ne est a on ne a n o am tor t me at the anta on a rar on ne am r de rag een tor t me th e on ne r de s nset s m at the nnen erg omm n t ea h o se on ne and m h more m ortant r de otes

WeHo Pride Weekend Street and Facility Closures

WeHo Pride Weekend will Take Place fromFriday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2 in and Around West Hollywood Park and the City’s Rainbow District he t o est o ood rem nds the omm n t and the reg on a o t e o rde re ated street and a t os res r ers and etro r ders an ant ate n reased tra and omm te t mes ease an to se a ternate ro tes

Street Closures will take place, as follows:

• N. San Vicente Boulevard closed from Melrose Avenue to Santa Monica Boulevard rom h rsda , a , at m thro gh onda , ne , at a m

• Santa Monica Blvd (Eastbound) closed from N. La Cienega Boulevard to N. Doheny Drive rom r da , a , at m noon thro gh onda , ne , at a m

• N. Robertson Boulevard closed from Santa Monica Boulevard to Melrose Avenue rom r da , a , at m noon thro gh onda , ne at a m


Dancing with Dane (Photo provided by DTSM, Inc.) (Photo courtesy of the City of West Hollywood)

John M. Norian MD, FACOG

HRC Fertility

As a leading fertility specialist, Dr. Norian is passionate about helping our LGBTQ community achieve their goals of family building. Whether this involves helping gay men to become fathers through egg donation and surrogacy or assisting gay women through donor sperm inseminations or reciprocal IVF. His philosophy in helping those realize their dreams of having a family combines both the precision and science of reproductive medicine with a warm and compassionate style of doctoring.

His areas of expertise include in-vitro fertilization (IVF), preimplantation genetic screening (PGT), sex selection, egg freezing, optimal treatment for low responders, LGBTQ fertility treatments, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). He has been a supporter of the LGBTQ community, often speaking out on the importance of helping all intended parents achieve their dreams of having children. Dr. Norian and his multilingual clinia team o er h gh a t nd d a ed are res t ng n re nown success rates and it is because of this his patients come from around the world seeking treatment with him.

Dr. Norian has authored over 25 peer-reviewed journal articles and coauthored books focusing on reproductive biology and fertility and regularly presents at national and international meetings. His interests include trail running, reading, and enjoying time outdoors with his family. Dr. Norian currently ra t es at t o o es n asadena, a orn a and an ho Cucamonga, California.

University of California, Berkeley (undergraduate); Royal College of Surgeons (medical school); obstetrics and gynecology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York (residency); reproductive endocrinology and infertility, National Institutes of Health, Maryland (fellowship). He is currently a volunteer Associate Clinical Professor at Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California.

Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility Obstetrics and Gynecology

Huntington Memorial Hospital, San Antonio Regional Hospital

Los Angeles Magazine Southern California Super Doctors, Inland Empire Magazine Top Doctor, Castle Connelly Top Doctor, Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies: Registry Chairperson, American Society for Reproductive Medicine: Prize papers, Society for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, Associates: Chairperson, Royal College of Surgeons, Council medals: Best Research Paper & Presentation, University of California, Berkeley: Honors Society member

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Southern California’s LGBTQ+ 2024 Pride events

• Santa Monica Boulevard (Westbound) closed from N. La Cienega Boulevard to N. Doheny Drive from Saturday, June 1, at 6 a.m. through Monday, June 3, at 7 a.m.

• N. San Vicente Boulevard closed from Santa Monica Boulevard to Cynthia Street from Saturday, June 1, at 6 a.m. through Monday, June 3, at 7 a.m.

• Santa Monica Boulevard closed from N. Fairfax Avenue to N. Doheny Drive (including side streets one block north and one block south of Santa Monica Boulevard) from Sunday, June 2 at 5 a.m. through Sunday, June 2, at 5 p.m. for the WeHo Pride Parade. Santa Monica Boulevard from N. La Cienega Boulevard to N. Doheny Drive will remain closed though Monday, June 3 at 7 a.m.

Facility Closures will be, as follows:

• West Hollywood Park from Monday, May 27 through Wednesday, June 5 (West Hollywood Park will reopen Thursday, June 6).

• Small Dog Park at West Hollywood Park from Monday, May 27 through Wednesday, June 5 (Small Dog Park will reopen Thursday, June 6).

• Large Dog Park at West Hollywood Park from Wednesday, May 29 through Tuesday, June 4 (Large Dog Park will reopen Wednesday, June 5).

• Five-Story Parking Structure at West Hollywood Park from Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 3, at 10 a.m.

• West Hollywood Library Garage at West Hollywood Park from Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 3, at 10 a.m.

• Aquatic and Recreation Center Garage at West Hollywood Park from Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 3, at 10 a.m.

• Plummer Park South Lot from Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 3, at 12 p.m.

• Robertson Lot from Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 3, at 10 a.m.

The City of West Hollywood will activate its annual Pride Ride free shuttle service during #WeHoPride Weekend. The City’s ree trans t ser es, he and t ne, o er combined Pride Ride services that will operate over the weekend.

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

• Friday, May 31, 2024 – West Hollywood route will run from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. From 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. service will run to-and-from the Hollywood & Highland Metro Station.

• Saturday, June 1, 2024 – West Hollywood route will run from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. service will run to-and-from the Hollywood & Highland Metro Station.

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

WeHo Pride Weekend (May 31 to June 2) will include a free WeHo Pride Street Fair representing a diverse array of LGBTQ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration; the Women’s Freedom Festival; the annual Dyke March; free Friday Night at OUTLOUD; OUTLOUD at WeHo Pride music festival; the WeHo Pride Parade, and a wide range of community group programming throughout Pride month. The WeHo Pride Arts Festival (June 14 – June 16) will take place at various locations throughout West Hollywood. Additional information about #WeHoPride is posted at www.wehopride.com and @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook.

Notice to Owners of Unclaimed Property

The California State Controller is safeguarding cash, securities, and valuables for millions of individuals and businesses Could any belong to you?

By law, businesses and institutions must hand over property such as bank accounts, uncashed checks, insurance benefits, stocks, savings bonds, and safe deposit box contents when there has been no account activity or owner contact, generally for three years. The State Controller’s Office has unclaimed property for more than 76 million individuals and organizations.

Many claimsfor propertycan be filed electronically. There is no deadline for claiming your property. Contact the State Controller’s Office to get information concerning the amount or description of a property belonging to you.

State Controller’s Office, Unclaimed Property Division P.O. Box 942850, Sacramento, CA 94250-5873

California Relay (telephone) Service for the deaf or hearing impaired from TDD phones: 1-800-735-2929 and ask for 1-800-992-4647

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Southern California’s LGBTQ+ 2024 Pride events


Avoid the hassle that is parking in LA, and be good to the environment, by using one of LA Metro’s convenient train or bus lines. Wherever you live, LA Pride is accessible by public transportation.

etro s the ro d a rans t artner o r de oo or t re anno n ements a o t r de ards, ne r de ra ed ses and tra ns or , stat on ta eo ers, parties, and more!



Celebrates Pride Month With Disco, George Takei and More

Select content slated to air during Pride Month is listed as o o s s hed e s e t to change):

L.A.: A QUEER HISTORY – Sat., June 1 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus and Thurs., June 20 at 7 p.m. on PBS SoCal

he tone a r s ng n e or has een de regarded as the eg nn ng o the a ghts o ement, t the tr e heart o the mo ement, and hat e no as “Gay Culture as orn n os nge es h s m sheds ght on h stor a g res ho are arge na no edged, reat ng a ne o nd d a og e a o t h stor t a so a etter nderstanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

AMERICAN MASTERS: Ballerina Boys – Sat., June 1 at 11:30 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus he stor o es a ets ro adero de onte ar o, a om an o men ho dan e on o nte as ballerinas.

DISCO: SOUNDTRACK OF A REVOLUTION “Rock the Boat” – Tues., June 4 at 8:30 p.m. on PBS SoCal and Tues., June 18 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal as e as Sat., June 8 at 5:30 p.m. and Wed, June 19 at 10 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus he o en ng e sode o the ser es oo s at the roots o d s o ho t emerged rom a as des re or n s on, s t , and reedom among erse ted a , ga and m nor t ethn omm n t es o e or t t te s the remar a e stor o ho a g o a henomenon egan n the o t a artments and asement ars o e or t , here a ne generat on o DJs and musicians, like David Mancuso, Nicky Siano, Francis Grasso and Earl Young he ramm s , oneered a d st n t so nd and a ne a o s nn ng re ords

DISCO: SOUNDTRACK OF A REVOLUTION “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” – Tues., June 4 at

9:30 p.m. on PBS SoCal and Tues., June 25 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal as e as Sat., June 8 at 6:30 p.m. and Wed, June 26 at 10 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus et aga nst the a dro o a o er and se a erat on, the se ond e sode ta es e ers to the h gh atermar o d s o n the m d ’ s t as the rth o the “disco diva” from Gloria Gaynor and Candi Staton to Donna Summer and Thelma Houston o e er, mainstream success by The Bee Gees’ soundtrack album “ at rda ght e er, The Rolling Stones’ “ ss o , Rod Stewart’s “ o a h n ’m Sexy” and Studio 54 took disco further and rther rom ts roots o n s t and reedom, as stra ght, h te men started to em ra e and repackage the sound.

DISCO: SOUNDTRACK OF A REVOLUTION “Stayin’ Alive” – Tues., June 4 at 11 p.m. on PBS SoCal and Tues., July 2 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal as e as Sat., June 8 at 8 p.m. and Wed, July 3 at 10 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

he na e sode do ments the e s r ng o resentment rom h te, stra ght, ma e dominated, rock-loving middle Americans, as they targeted disco for its hedonism, femininity and queerness. A vocal “Disco Sucks” movement began to gain momentum, culminating in the “Disco Demolition Derby at om s e ar tad m n h ago, here organ ers destro ed tho sands o d s o re ords n ront o a a ng a d en e o ase a ans n add t on, the hedon sm and se a erat on em od ed d s o o nd tse sto ed n ts tra s the crisis. Pushed out of the mainstream, the pioneers of disco retreated and regrouped.

DEAR IKE: LOST LETTERS TO A TEEN IDOL – Sat., June 8 at 10 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

he stor o a teenager’s all-consuming childhood quest to contact his boyhood idol, Ike Eisenmann, and as h m to star n an an mated s en e t on e that he as ore er de eo ng n an o erst ed three r ng nder

UNIDAD: GAY & LESBIAN LATINOS UNIDOS – Sat., June 15 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus a and es an at nos n dos as o nded n , on a e ears e ore egan to ra age omm n t es as the os nge es area’s rst ma or eer at n organ at on, and the m hron es e ents at a ota t me n the h stor o e a t , omen’s r ghts and r ghts mo ements that sha ed the dest n es o ’s communities.

TO BE TAKEI – Wed., June 19 at 8 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus and Thurs., June 20 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal

h s a ard nn ng do mentar eat res Star Trek legend, marriage equality advocate and s o es erson or ra a st e s erstar George Takei.

ARTBOUND: LGBTQ Nightlife – Wed., June 19 at 9 p.m. and Sun., June 23 at 4 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

n th s e sode o ARTBOUND, see ho a ro ng n ght e ent n os nge es called “Mustache Mondays” became a creative incubator for today’s leading edge contemporar art sts h s m e am nes the h stor o these s a es and ho the sha ed the eer cultural fabric unique to Southern California.

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “Stonewall Uprising” – Thurs., June 20 at 10 p.m. on PBS SoCal and Sat., June 22 at 9:30 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus hen o e ra ded the tone a nn, a o ar ga ar n the reen h age se t on o e or t on ne , , the street er ted nto o ent rotests that asted or the ne t six days.

LOST LA: Coded Geographies – Sat., June 22 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

h s e sode o LOST LA e ores t o ndergro nd g de oo s, The Negro Travelers’ Green Book and The Address Book, that reveal the hidden geographies many Angelenos had to navigate, exposing Los Angeles as a place of coded segregation and resistance.

OUTRAGE OF DANNY SOTOMAYOR: American Stories – Sun., June 23 at 5 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

Danny Sotomayor as a man on a m ss on to address n st e he er , o en ga a t st, o t a artoon st and organ er too to the streets o h ago, s ng d so eden e to age ar on t o a s ho marg na ed the omm n t and t rned a nd e e to the r s s a h e ght ng a os ng att e th the d sease h mse

CLIVE DAVIS: The Soundtrack of Our Lives – Sat., June 29 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus oo at the e and or o re ord e e t e and rod er Clive Davis, hose e decade career has launched many superstars, including Janis Joplin, Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen and Aerosmith

JUSTLY WED: Scenes from the Marriage Equality Movement – Sun., June 30 at 5 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

n e orat on o the e er en e and ega o the ga marr ages n an ran s o

(Photo courtesy of LA Metro)

Los Angeles Blade

8237 Blackburn Avenue, Suite 201

Los Angeles, CA 90048

Dear Community,

As we commemorate Pride Month, I am filled with pride and gratitude for our vibrant LGBTQ+ community in Los Angeles County. This month is not just a celebration, but an opportunity to reflect on our history and renew our commitment to protecting and advancing LGBTQ+ rights.

Pride Month is about uplifting the LGBTQ+ community,honoring those whopaved the way, supporting those who are standing strong for equality today, and empowering the generations that will continue to lead. From Ginger Rogers Beach, to Oil Can Harry’s in theSan Fernando Valley, to West Hollywood,the Third District and Los Angeles County are home to many LGBTQ+ landmarks that serve as beacons of hope, resilience, and joy. These spaces not only remind us of our rich history, but also inspire us to continue our advocacy and celebration of LGBTQ+ lives.

As we celebrate Pride, we must also acknowledge the harsh realities faced by LGBTQ+ people, especially our youth. LGBTQ+ rights are under attackacross the nation, with policies targeting trans youth and concerted efforts to roll back protections. Our LGBTQ+ and , especially, our trans youth need to know that we are here for them, that we stand with them, and that we celebrate them. They deserve to grow up in a world where they can be their authentic selves without fear.

I look forward to celebrating with the generations of LGBTQ+ Angelenos who have lived out and proud this June and all year long. Le t us see this Pride Month as a call to stand up against hate and injustice, and to continue building a community where everyone can live with pride.

In community,


Bringing Pride every day to everyone everywhere

What sets Gay Pride Apparel apart is not just the quality of the designs but also the unwavering commitment to giving back

NEW YORK – A relatively new clothing line is making major headway on the LGBTQ+ apparel scene. Gay Pride Apparel, a vibrant clothing line specializing in LGBTQ+ T-shirts and crew necks, was founded by Jesus Gutierrez and Sergio Aragon, best friends since the sixth grade and now partners living in New York City.

Gay Pride Apparel, which has seen astronomical growth since its inception in 2019, recently celebrated a major milestone: its apparel products are available at Walmart for the second consecutive year, both in-store and online.

“This is very exciting,” Aragon told The Blade in an exclusive interview. “We are so grateful that they were able to help us amplify our vision of bringing pride every day to everyone everywhere.”

In addition to its Walmart placement, this year, Gay Pride are has em ar ed on a m r ad o other h gh ro e collaborations. In May, Gutierrez and Aragon partnered with HBO’s popular show, We’re Here, a show that follows renowned drag queens Sasha Velour, Priyanka, Jaida Essence Hall, and Latrice Royale as they continue the series’ mission of spreading love and connection through the art of drag across small-town America. The collaboration includes a line of exclusive merchandise that will be available for Pride month, and possibly beyond.

Continuing their upward trajectory, Gutierrez and Aragon are launching a collaboration with the Broadway award-winning musical Wicked, which the New York Theatre Guide describes as being centered around the themes of female friendship, discrimination, and governmental corruption. This partnership includes a pride-focused merchandise collection featuring four unique designs, one of which will be showcased and sold at the theater. h s o a orat on s gn es a s gn ant a h e ement or the brand, as their products will be sold at the show’s venue. “It’s crazy to see our clothing being displayed and sold at a venue like that,” Aragon said.

Additionally, Gay Pride Apparel is teaming up with NYC Ferry, an LGBTQ+ ally known for its inclusivity. This collaboration aims to create a special merchandise line that emphasizes The Ferry’s message that all passengers of all sexual orientations and gender identities are welcome aboard.

Gutierrez and Aragon took time out of their busy schedules to share their inspiring journey from best friends in hoen to n ent a entre rene rs n the eer ash on scene in New York City and beyond.

Growing up queer in Mexican American households

Jesus Gutierrez and Sergio Aragon’s personal backgro nds a ed a s gn ant ro e n sha ng the r s on for Gay Pride Apparel. Both grew up in Hispanic, Mexican American households, but their journeys to self-acceptan e ere mar ed d erent ragon, a rst generat on mer an, a ed a h dhood ed th re g o s and so a e ents that made h m ee d erent and om e ed h m to h de h s dent t r family was very diverse in our culture growing up Hispanic Mexican American,” Aragon said. “We always had a bunch o estas and re g o s so a e ents that ame th e ng n the h r h ne as d erent rom hen as tt e I remember going to these parties and these family events and there always being a religious cloak over everything. It always felt like I didn’t belong and I had to hide my identity. the belief system was that it was not good to be gay. This was just something we did not talk about.”

Aragon shared that this feeling of religious culture within his household delayed his coming out until his sophomore year in high school.

In contrast, Gutierrez came out at the age of 12, driven by a desire to rebel against the toxic masculinity, oppressive gender roles, and domestic violence he witnessed in his household. His coming out story is particularly harrowing.

“I came out when I was 12. I don’t really know where that came from but if I had to guess I would say it was seeing all the machismo around me. I grew up in a household of domestic violence. My mom stayed with my dad. He was the breadwinner. The view of the hyper masculinity of the man being in charge of the house and the woman cooking and staying home and having to take the abuse, I think I wanted to rebel against all of that,” he told the Blade.

t erre rst ame o t to h s mother, ho em ra ed her son’s sexual orientation. However, worried about his father’s potentially explosive reaction, he elected to come out to his father in the presence of his mother and a school counselor, hoping these supportive adults would he so ten the o e as teen

“The domestic violence had always been directed to my mom, but coming out I feared that that would be turned on me,” Gutierrez said, recalling the event. “I came out to my father in front of a school counselor because that was supposed to be a safer environment. I thought maybe if this tall, educated Mexican man told my father I was gay he o d ta e t d erent than to d h m he o nse or said, “Your son doesn’t like girls.” My father got up and left my mother and I stranded at the school.” ater, a oot a a er r end o ered to a t erre home. He explained that his father mistook his straight friend for a gay partner of his and immediately exploded in rage.

“My father went after him verbally. My father was telling me I was going to die from AIDS. I didn’t even know what that meant. He broke my door down. Domestic violence is a vicious cycle,” Gutierrez said.

Despite these challenges, Gutierrez found solace and support in his friends, who played a crucial role in his development. His experience of constantly coming out in stages shaped his resilience. “You never really stop coming out,” he said, quoting an old adage in the LGBTQ+ community.

Fostering a Sense of Belonging

Both Gutierrez and Aragon attribute much of their sense of community to their childhood friends who supported them thro gh d t t mes h s sense o omm n t s something they strive to foster through their Gay Pride Apparel brand. They aim to create a space where everyone ee s n ded and e e rated, re e t ng the d erse and multifaceted nature of the LGBTQ+ community.

Gutierrez’s perception of the LGBTQ+ community hanged s gn ant a ter ta ng an st d es course in college, which broadened his understanding and appreciation of the community’s history and struggles. This newfound perspective reinforced the commitment to creating a brand that celebrates and supports the LGBTQ+ community.

(Photo courtesy of NYC Ferry) JESUS GUTIERREZ and SERGIO ARAGON, founders and partners in the New York City-based Gay Pride Apparel, a vibrant clothing line specializing in LGBTQ+ T-shirts and crew necks. (Photographed for the Los Angeles Blade by Drey Kaun @dreykaun)

The Start: From Phoenix to a Big City Pride

In the summer of 2018, Gutierrez and Aragon moved from the sunbaked streets of Phoenix to the bustling energ o e or t , here the e er en ed the r rst massive large-scale pride event. The vibrant celebrations and the sense of community pulsing through the city left a lasting impression on the couple.

However, one observation stood out starkly: pride merchandise seemed to vanish as quickly as the rainbow conett sett ed h s eet ng resen e o a are ed the o e to re ogn e a s gn ant ga n the mar et a need for pride gear that could be celebrated year round.

The seed for the idea of Gay Pride Apparel was planted. Gutierrez, with a keen eye for graphic design from his prior roles in corporate America, and Aragon, armed with extensive merchandising experience, decided to turn the r dea nto rea t an ar , the had se red the domain for Gay Pride Apparel, laying the foundation for a brand that aimed to celebrate pride beyond the connes o a s ng e month

he r m ss on as ear to reate a rand that o ered ear ro nd s ort and o e or the omm n t thro gh the r a are he rst ear as a h r nd o hard work and dedication. Gutierrez and Aragon poured their hearts into spreading the word about their new vent re he ormed artnersh s th non ro ts, e er aging these collaborations to build a community around their brand. In those early days, the support from friends and family was crucial, as they relied on these initial sales to gain momentum.

“The contributions we were able to raise we’re not that arge, t erre sa d t the goa has a a s een to e a e to g e a to non ro ts and eo e and organ a tions that are doing great work.”

with their customers, who were not just buying apparel but also supporting a cause.

“During the pandemic, which was about one year after the a n h, e started go ng th the o o e er th ng happening in the world,” Gutierrez explained. “It was a very scary time for everyone, and we started pushing our message out on social media that we are in this together. We asked the community how we could help them and how we could be there for them as a business. We made it cleat that we wanted to support each other during these weird times. We created some really fun products which was what our bread and butter was at the time and blew up overnight.”

Gay Pride Apparel quickly became more than just a brand; it became a symbol of inclusivity and year-round pride. Gutierrez and Aragon’s journey from Phoenix to founding their own business is a testament to the power o re ogn ng a need and ha ng the o rage to t o day, their apparel continues to make people feel supported and loved, every day of the year.

Discreet Packaging

Gutierrez shared the story behind their decision to offer discreet packaging for their products. “We started out as a loud and proud brand, coming from a big city queer rand ers e t e, he e a ned t the rst ear that we started blowing up, in 2020, we heard a lot of feedback about our shipping. People would receive their packaging from the USPS person and get cruel comments or looks. Sometimes the packages would disappear. Sometimes parents would not let children get their packages.”

This feedback was a wake-up call for Gutierrez and Aragon, reminding them of their own experiences growing up in households where expressing their identity was not always safe. “I remembered if we were younger and we had received something for pride, we also would want discreet packaging in our households,” Gutierrez said. “So now we a so o er that e a so o er d s ret on hen e harge the credit cards. It’s important that we be discreet.”

he de s on to o er d s reet a ag ng as not st about customer satisfaction but also about ensuring the safety and comfort of their customers. “This was a very big learning moment for us. We had forgotten that we had been in that position too,” Gutierrez admitted.

Building an Authentic Community

Since its inception, Gay Pride Apparel has thrived on the principle of creating an authentic and inclusive online community. Their success isn’t just built on vibrant and meaningful products but on the strong sense of connection they cultivate among their customers and followers, they both emphasized.


The sense of community extends beyond product development. Gutierrez and Aragon are passionate about re ng the r od ast, hro gh the eer ens, h h aims to amplify the voices and stories of queer individua s a ross ar o s nd str es h s at orm re e ts the r des re to reate s a es here the d ers t o the community can be celebrated and shared.

oth attr te the r dee sense o omm n t to the support they received from friends during challenging times in their lives. Gutierrez recalls a particular friend who supported him while he lived in a domestic violence shelter, often taking him into her home and even paying his phone bill when his father neglected to. Aragon also cherishes the friends and family who supported him, noting their invaluable role in his development. “It is the sense of community that we try to foster through our social media presence and our clothing line, Gay Pride Apparel,” Aragon said.

t erre shared ho h s nderstand ng o the community evolved over time to a deeper understanding of the all-encompassing message embedded in the raino ag

What sets Gay Pride Apparel apart was not just the quality of the design elements but also the unwavering commitment to giving back. Contributions to various charities, particularly in their home state of Arizona, became a cornerstone for Gutierrez and Aragon’s business. This dedication to community support resonated deeply

One of the foundational elements of their community-driven approach is actively seeking feedback from their followers. Gutierrez and Aragon ensure that every product they release resonates deeply with their Instagram audience. This dedication to listening and adapting has fostered trust and loyalty among their customers, they

“In the beginning, I associated gayness as my father and the news portrayed it to me with AIDS and random hookups being all there is to it. I also associated being gay with sinfulness because the Catholic Church did not accept it. t as gre , e er th ng started to hange er e t on o o r omm n t hanged hen too an study course in college that really realigned my thinking. I earned a o t the tone a r ots and arsha ohnson earned a o t a these d erent s t res th n the queer space. Then, when we started working on Gay Pride Apparel, we really saw how there is an entire world of us out there. For a long time, we felt isolated and alone, but then we realized we are not alone and we want to foster that ee ng n others e are a er d erent, t e ha e th s th ng that r ngs s together, he to d the ade

JESUS GUTIERREZ and SERGIO ARAGON (Photographed for the Los Angeles Blade by Drey Kaun @dreykaun) JESUS GUTIERREZ and SERGIO ARAGON (Photographed for the Los Angeles Blade by Drey Kaun @dreykaun)
SCAN Affirm partnered with Included LGBTQ+ Health (HMO) includes comprehensive medical, hospital and pharmacy coverage. As a member, you have access to PrEP therapy, behavioral healthcare and concierge services to assist you in finding clinically competent and affirming LGBTQ+ providers. For more info about SCAN: Visit www.scanhealthplan.com or give us a call at 1-855-845-7226 TTY: 888-SCAN-TTY Designed to meet the healthcare needs of LGBTQ+ older adults. SCAN Affirm partnered with Included LGBTQ+ Health (HMO) is an HMO plan designed for LGBTQ+ beneficiaries but available to anyone who qualifies for Medicare. Please speak to a SCAN representative if you have questions about qualification. SCAN Affirm partnered with Included LGBTQ+ Health (HMO) is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in SCAN Health Plan depends on contract renewal.


T H U R S D A Y J U N E 6 | 6 P M 8 P M


FeaturingartistsfromtheMusicForwardFoundation'sLGBTQ+ EmergingArtistsAwardprogram:Boyish&Yancyabril CustompoemscourtesyofBrianSonia-WallaceandthePridePoets!


i l


is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

Trump thinks he can say anything — even quote Hitler — and win

Listen to his words and be very afraid

Trump believes he can say anything, even using Hitler’s words, and be elected. My faith is in the decent people in America; they will reject him. It was reported “a video posted on Trump’s social med a ro e eat red mo head nes and ne s a er pings envisioning coverage after a Trump victory. One headline read hat s ne t or mer a th te t nderneath that re erred to the reat on o a n ed e h

he ord e h s asso ated  th erman nder do t er, ho des gnated h s a reg me the h rd e h hen t was reported in an interview with political analyst Jon Delano on o tts rgh, r m as as ed hether he s orts an restr t ons on a erson s r ght to ontra e t on e res onded, e re oo ng at that, and m go ng to ha e a o on that er short , and th n t s someth ng o nd nterest ng th n t s a smart de s on e e re eas ng t er soon

This despite polls showing nearly 8 in 10 Americans believe ontra e t on sho d e ega , and a a a e ter the a ash, he a eared to a tra am ng someone e se or the ost on his website, and saying he supports contraception, but adding, t sho d e e t to the states sa e e e hat he sa s rst, and be afraid. Women should be very afraid, if Trump is elected. Leaving it to the states gets you this: o s ana a ma ers ot ed to classify abortion pills as controlled substances. This would ma e possession of the drugs without a prescription a crime in o s ana, n sha e a t me h s hen the ttma her Institute reports 63% of all abortions in the U.S. in 2023 were medication abortions. Yes, Trump is scary.

While Trump continues to say these crazy things and seems to get a a th t, the m nd ogg ng th ng s most o the med a ont n e to o s on den s age, and a e m ss o en ords Where is the rationale for that? We see misleading polls in this e e t on e, n e er ra e e ent , Joe Scarborough had ma or est ons a o t the e or mes ena o s, and the methodology used. It appears some respondents listed as most e oters, a t a hadn t oted n a o e o ears an o the polls where Trump is leading are within the margin of error. e oo at o s o er the ast o e o ears on eg s at e ra

es, and abortion, they have been wrong. Democrats ended up winning even if the polls said they were even, or behind. Maybe eo e st don t ant to ta to o sters an more, or ma e even lie to them. I haven’t responded to a pollster for at least e ears get a s rom o sters on m and ne es, st have one), my cell phone, and get surveys and polling questions by email. I never respond. My advice is to disregard the public polling.

no and dates do nterna o ng, and that s ne or the r r oses t the genera o d do etter to sten to the candidates, hear what they say, read what they write, and e e e them r m a t a sa s he ants to e ome a d ta tor, and ses terms e he e h e at hes hat states are doing about abortion and contraception and continues to say that s ne h m e a s the eo e ho stormed the a to on Jan. 6, 2021, great patriots, and says he will pardon them. He n tes a no n h te s rema st, entes, to d nner th h m at ar a ago e o oses do ng an th ng a o t the order no , te ng mem ers o h s art to ote aga nst the rst ar tisan bill to do something about immigration in years. He uses the s ogan mer a rst and th n s na e , n th s or d, e an pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist. He wants to cozy up to t n, and th n s that s good or mer a o ng eo e need to e s ared e a se he s a mate de nier, and they will live with the results of that the longest. Just oo at the estimate of the hurricanes for this coming season, you see what will happen if we do nothing. Trump promises a group of energy billionaires if they raise a billion dollars for h m, the an dr a dr oom erg re orts, tor e an ona d r m n the res dent a e e t on threatens $1 trillion in energy investments and future support or o ar on energ so r es, a ord ng to a ood a en e report.

Americans must simply listen to what Trump says. That should scare, at a minimum, every woman, African American, Latino, mem er o the omm n t , and o ng erson e hear him, we must believe him; and we must soundly defeat him.


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e editors reserve the right to accept, reject or edit any submission. A single copy of the Los Angeles Blade is available from authorized distribution points, to any individual within a 50-mile radius of Los Angeles, CA. Multiple copies are available from the Los Angeles Blade o ce only. Call for rates. If you are unable to get to a convenient free distribution point, you may receive a 52-week mailed subscription for $195 per year or $5.00 per single issue. Checks or credit card orders can be sent to Phil Rockstroh at prockstroh@washblade.com. Postmaster: Send address changes to the Los Angeles Blade, PO BOX 53352 Washington, DC 20009. e Los Angeles Blade is published weekly, on Friday, by Los Angeles Blade, LLC. Rates for businesses/ institutions are $450 per year. Periodical postage paid at Los Angeles, CA., and additional mailing o ces. Editorial positions of the Los Angeles Blade are expressed in editorials and in editors’ notes as determined by the paper’s editors. Other opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Los Angeles Blade or its sta . To submit a letter or commentary: Letters should be fewer than 400 words; commentaries should be fewer than 750 words. Submissions may be edited for content and length, and must include a name, address and phone number for veri cation. Send submissions by e-mail to tmasters@losangelesblade.com. ©2024 LOS ANGELES BLADE, LLC. VOLUME 08 ISSUE 13 2023 GLAAD Media Awards

rgent concerns arise when congressional staff face ethics investigations

e need sa eg ards to m t gate r s o n a r o t omes

th rare e e t ons, ongress ona sta tend to a o d engag ng n ond t that o d re e t oor on the mem ers the re resent or that h h o d other se r ng them o t rom eh nd the s enes and nto the s ot ght ast ee , ho e er, as the se ond t me n h h ro e a stor a o t a h e o sta on a to ho o nd h mse the s e t o a om a nt to the o se th s omm ttee, the od hose r mar res ons t s n est gat ng re orts o neth a and n a ond t mer a s e e ted re resentat es n the rst, ar or e a or reene ed a re ort aga nst emo rat e a e h n oss s to a de e a se he had a ed st ers o er a trans ho s gn that the ar r ght eorg a ongress oman had d s a ed o ts de her o e he se ond om a nt ame rom an o a th the den arr s adm n strat on o er an es e a om at e and ant trans ema that as sent the h ghest ran ng de t n a est rg n a e an s ongress ona o e he t o ases are not other se ana ogo s s the em ssar es o a ma ers ho are res ons e to the r onst t ents, sta sho d e he d a o nta e or o t o o nds eha or e send ng o ens e ema s to harass o eag es on a to or n the edera go ernment ontrast, de orat ng a oster n the ong orth o se e d ng tho t erm ss on s hard a r me that sho d e es a ated to the th s omm ttee, art ar not hen the oster s o ens e to mem ers o a marg na ed omm n t and as h ng n the rst a e to ro o e a o eag e a ross the ha ho has a trans da ghter

a months ong ro e e or ng hether a areer sta er had ro ght d s red t on the o se o e re sentat es th h s st ers as not a s rd eno gh, t as ed o none other than ar or e a or reene, ho has een g t o that harge rt a e er da s n e she as rst e e ted e a , or nstan e, that she has a ed or o en e aga nst her o t a o onents, n d ng sh ng a deo on so a med a n h h she sa d then o se ea er an e os deser es the death ena t mem er o ongress e ds a tremendo s amo nt o o er re at e to e en the sen or most a to sta , a a t that as ro ght nto shar re e or h n oss s h e o sta as he so ght to de end h mse aga nst not st the omm ttee s n est gat on t a so an a da t the a to o e n s ort o an arrest arrant a ong th threats and harassment so se ere that h s home as mon tored a en or ement

he o se th s omm ttee de ned to omment hen rea hed o t ast ee to on rm re e t o the om a nt ed aga nst the sta er, st as the had re sed to ro de n ormat on a o t the stat s o the ase n t ated reene s re ort

he omm ttee s enate o nter art s e en more o a a o

n strat e e am e as o t ned n an art e the am a gn ega enter, a non art san go ernment a o nta t gro , h h noted that n the re ent nd t ment o e erse emo rat en o enende , the sho ng deta s re ea ed the a egat ons seem ng had no end

he e den e aga nst h m as s ent agrant and ongstand ng, the art e arg es, to eg the est on s the enate n a a e o nd ng and root ng o t otent a or r t on e ore t e omes a r me

art o the ro em, a ord ng to , s that the er ham er s eth s omm ttee ro des no means h h a om a nt an e seen thro gh to ts n est gat on and res o t on he no s er tt e a o t hat the om m ttee does, and erha s e a se the omm ttee does er tt e st d n o nd that none o the , re orts that ere ed o er a er od o ears res ted n an orma d s nar san t ons

o s , trans aren s m oss e hen sens t e n ormat on m st e e t on dent a to rote t the nteg r t o an n est gat on o e er, e are go ng to ont n e see ng ases n o ng om a nts aga nst ongress ona sta rather than the a ma ers the ser e, the t me to on s der re orms s no

eas res o d n de sa eg ards to m t gate the r s o n a r o t omes hen n est gat ons are ro ght mem ers o ongress and target those ho ha e ar ess o er, or a me han sm h h the omm ttees o d e re red to share more n ormat on a o t ases nder the r re e to the e tent oss e

en hen the a eged ond t a sta er arrants an eth s omm ttee ro e, t me and reso r es m ght e etter s ent root ng o t m s ond t mem ers o on gress, h h s a most a a s ar more onse ent a

Christopher Kane is the Blade’s White House reporter. Reach him at ckane@washblade.com.


Lesbian, bi, trans stories dominate queer crop of summer movies om

oo ada t on, horror thr ers, and more on the a

Summer is almost upon us, and that means it’s time to look ahead toward another season of movies – but for queer movie fans, the typical “popular” summer escapist fare might not ha e te the r ght a ea ot to orr the ade s here to o er o r s a st o t t es to watch for.

Backspot a , n theaters e med non nar oronto mma er aterson in their feature directorial debut, this Eliot Page-produced sports drama has been described as h ash or om et t e heer eaders o s ng on am t o s heer eader e e er a o s o eser at on ogs , t s a hea eer themed om ng o age ta e that ea es ro mance with hard-hitting “behind-the-scenes” as she and her girlfriend, selected for an all-star s ad, s are o aga nst a hard edged head oa h o t eer est or d star an a he ood ho demands a dr e to ard er e t on or ng e to on ront her o n r ng anxiety to keep her dreams from crumbling into dust. Also starring Shannyn Sossamon (“A n ght s a e , da ashe tendo, homas nton a de, and end re son

Let the Canary Sing (June 4, Paramount Plus) Billed as “the story of music’s most authentic superstar,” this career-spanning ro e o eer ad a ent o on nd Lauper from award-winning documentarian Alison Ellwood delivers a chronicle of her ascent to stardom and an exploration of her impact and the legacy that she has bestowed through her beloved music, iconic style, unapologetic feminism and fearless advocacy. There’s not much we can say about this one except that it’s a perfect treat for fans – and an enticing invitation for future fans – to get a close-up look at a legend who has truly earned her status.

Queendom (June 14, in theaters/on demand mma er gn a a dano a s e h nd th s a ard nn ng do mentar , h h o o s eer ss an er orman e art st Jenna Marvin as she takes to the streets of Moscow to stage theatrical protests against the country’s Putin-led authoritarian regime – all while working behind the scenes to escape her home and and ee to a a e here her eer dent t sn t a r me om ng n the m dd e o Pride month, it’s a potent reminder that – in many parts of the world – queer people still live in fear of homophobic suppression, but it’s also an inspiring story about the risky business of speaking truth to power.

Summer Solstice (June 14, in theaters) It should go without saying that telling trans stories is m ortant r ght no , and th s m rom roo n ased d re tor oah ham s s e a t the nd e need o o ng trans man eo o a r en e as he h st es h s a thro gh a life of auditions, acting classes, barista jobs, and “situationships,” it segues into a thoughtful exploration of interpersonal gender politics when an old friend – cisgender and straight Eleanor ar anne end n , ta es her on an m rom t ee end geta a n state e or ea ng th the ne d nam s and o d emot ons o re at onsh s a ter trans t on, t s a mo e which goes a long way toward revealing both the commonalities and the unique complications that ultimately make any trans story, told authentically, into a human story.

Cora Bora (June 15) If you’re a fan of Max’s queer-friendly queer-favorite series “Hacks,” you’ll need no introduction to the comedic personality at the center of this “dramedy” from director Hannah Pearl Utt. Out bisexual comedian and actress Megan Stalter stars as a “failed girl m s an ho sets o t not st to re ta e her areer ros e ts t to n a the a e t ons of her ex-girlfriend – and forges a new life path for herself in the process. Stalter, known mostly

for her endearingly painful, over-the-top comedic portrayals of deluded-but-inextinguishable on den e, gets an o ort n t to sho a m h der range o a ers here than she s een a o ed to e ore e ore t don t orr she s st h ar o s o o s, ann a nto, den a er , homas ann, he sea erett , and eer omed on argaret ho a so star Fancy Dance ne , n theaters e h s de t eat re rom mma er r a rem blay is also the eagerly awaited return to the big screen of Indigenous American actor Lily adstone, hose s ar nom nated t rn n ast ear s ers o the o er oon not on made history but made them into a star. Here, they play a queer hustler who becomes the g ard an o her n e e sa e e o son hen her s ster d sa ears r ng to sta one ste ahead o a dead eat dad hea gham, h te ot s and an mer an st e s stem that is weighted against the rights of Indigenous women, they hit the road into the backcountry of the r ahoma reser at on on a est to nd the m ss ng mother he s a read re d t ng another s ar nod or adstone, but whether or not that’s just Hollywood hyperbole, it’s sure to be one of the summer’s must-see picks.

Sing Sing (July 12, limited theaters/ August 2, wide release) Speaking of last year’s Oscar nominees, powerhouse outga thes an o o or o man om ngo s the lynchpin of this based-on-a-true-story prison drama about a wrongly convicted inmate at the notorious correctional facility ho nds so a e n a reha tat on theater program, mounting productions with fellow prisoners and rising above the crushing isolation of incarcerated life. Intense and topical, yet also inspirational and uplifting, it debuted at last year’s Toronto Internat ona m est a a ongs de om n go’s other starr ng eh e, st n and h s performance in it was praised as superior, s ar nod not thstand ng ons der that a one a re ommendat on to add th s reg edar d re ted rea e ta e to o r at h st Deadpool & Wolverine (July 26, in theaters) It’s rare for us to include a big-ticket comic book m n o r st o om ng eer t t es, t e an t gnore the a ea o th s ne ar e entr in which the two title characters are thrown together for a mission that will rewrite the history o the ore er re, t so nds e a on en ent a to h t the reset tton and ta e the blockbuster franchise in a new direction – but it’s also the irresistible culmination of a longstand ng man r sh he d the anon a anse a ead oo an e no ds or an o er ne gh a man , e ed enth s ast a oth stars s n e ong e ore th s e er on e t eh e e er got green t re ted ha n e , and a so starr ng non nar a tor mma orr n n the r rst a no s ro e, t eat res orena a ar n, o e ane , Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni, and Matthew Macfadyen, too – and while it may not be highbrow nema, ased on the rre erent, order ne a s rd st tone o oth the ead oo om s and the re o s m nsta ments made rom them, t s e to e a ot o n Cuckoo g , n theaters ast t not east, th s erman mer an o rod t on a h n ng es e horror ta e a o t a am a at on ng n the s that nd themse es en dangered after discovering the resort town in which they are staying harbors a web of disturbing secrets – will undoubtedly draw the attention of hardcore horror fans. But it also has strong, built-in queer appeal in the form of its transgender star, Hunter Schafer (“Euphoria”), ho ta es on her rst starr ng m ro e as the mo e s na g r an te ens, ess a en , an thardt, and art n so as a so star, th d re t on and s reen a oth om ng rom Tilman Singer.

MEGAN STALTER stars in ‘Cora Bora.’

After 16 years together, my wife suddenly wants children

‘I don’t want to be stuck in restrictive heteronormativity’

Dear Michael,

A few months ago you answered a letter from a guy who wanted a baby but his boyfriend didn’t. I’m in the opposite situation. Carol and I have been together for 16 years (we’re married) and all of a sudden she wants to have a baby. This was never on the table until her dad died last year suddenly of a heart attack.

n e then she s een a d erent erson he te s me that she wants to focus on something “bigger” than just enjoying life and also wants some sort of sense that “life will go on.”

To me, being queer has always meant that we get to fully live life in the present, for us. We don’t have to focus on ha ng ds and a that enta s ert t st , s ee de r ation, diapers, babysitters, PTA obligations, college tuition, etc. Let straight people deal with those headaches while I enjoy myself.

I don’t want to be stuck in restrictive heteronormativity, giving my time and energy to a kid who’s going to go from crying to whining to tantrums to rebellion to not talking to me. And then expect me to pay their bills after they’re 18. And why crowd the planet even more? In my opinion, ha ng a a on th s anet s se sh sent menta t Carol and I always saw 100 percent eye-to-eye on this issue but now she’s gone over to the other side. I have shared all of the above to shake some sense into her but haven’t gotten anywhere. This was not our agreement at all. I know you can’t change someone else, but doesn’t she owe our relationship a commitment to the life we already agreed on? I’ve suggested grief counseling but she says no.

Michael replies:

No one owes their partner a commitment to not change. It’s a guarantee that we all change over time. Relationships challenge us to stay with someone as we both evolve in big and sometimes unexpected ways over the years. There’s no way around this challenge if you want to stay happily married.

It’s also true that you don’t have to keep living with someone who changes in ways you don’t want to accommodate.

So, if Carol is certain that she wants to be a mom and if you are certain that you don’t, you can leave.

It makes sense that you’re sad and angry (putting it mildly) when your wife suddenly wants to completely upend your life. That said, you’re not going to improve your marriage by criticizing Carol or insulting her wish to parent. And if you pressure her to give up a deeply held wish, she will likely resent you.

Instead of these tactics, how about being curious regarding her desire to parent? What “bigger” meaning is she hoping to get from life? How does she think her father’s unt me death a e ted her, not st on th s ss e t oss in other ways as well?

There’s great value in being curious about our partners’ d eren es rather than ontem t o s or r t a hat s a path toward greater intimacy, in that we get to deeply understand the person we are spending our life with. While you may not stay with Carol, you still might want to have a close and caring relationship with the woman you’ve spent 16 years with. Understanding her better might also help you make some peace with her desire to parent. I also want to encourage you to consider that there are many ways to be gay, lesbian, queer — to be just about anything. You could say it’s “heteronormative” to want to parent; but you could also view it as a common human (and non-human) desire that is unrelated to sexual orientat on aro has d erent deas or ho she ants to e This doesn’t mean that she is foolish.

I’m curious about why you have such an unrelentingly negative view about parenting and kids. Is it possible that you’ve had some tough experiences in your life that have shaped this view?

I’m not pushing you to change your mind, but you might consider talking with some parents to get some sense of what parenting, and children, are actually like.

You might open up your thinking, and your heart. You might decide you are willing to lean in Carol’s direction, or you might not. In any case, I’m hopeful that you would get a more balanced picture of what parenting and childhood can be.

(Michael Radkowsky, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who works with couples and individuals in D.C. He can be o nd on ne at  michaelradkowsky.com. All identifying inormat on has een hanged or reasons o on dent a t a e a est on end t to  michael@michaelradkowsky. com.)

The Los Angeles Blade introduces ‘Ask Pastor Brandan’

The Los Angeles Blade is pleased to introduce a new bi-weekly column for members of the LGBTQ+ community who have questions about their faith, life, and the intersection of religion with sexual orientation or gender identity in their daily lives.

If you have questions or would like to reach out to Pastor Brandan, please email: AskPastorBrandan@gmail.com


Priapus-Toxin, P-Shot Offer New Approach to Erectile Dysfunction

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Treating erectile dysfunction has traditionally involved taking pills like Viagra, but a new approach combines Botox and advanced techniques to enhance penile health and function. The treatments, called Priapus-Toxin (formerly referred to as Bocox) and the P-Shot, are gaining attention for addressing sexual wellness concerns.

Developed by Dr. Charles Runels, who also created the O-Shot for women, Priapus-Toxin uses Botox to relax smooth muscles in penile blood vessels, increasing blood flow for improved erections. Research in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found 50 units of Botox can enhance erectile function for three months, while 100 units can provide benefits for up to six months.

“I initially sought the P-Shot for better, more permanent erections,“ said one patient in his 30s who underwent both treatments.

“When I learned combining P-Shot with Priapus-Toxin would enhance my girth and strengthen my erections, I decided to go for it, and I‘m thrilled I did.“

Priapus-Toxin may also increase penis size, with some patients reporting gains of up to an inch in both girth and flaccid length, though a half-inch increase is more common. When combined with the P-Shot, which promotes new blood vessel and collagen growth, the results can be even better.

The P-Shot, or Priapus Shot, uses platelet-rich plasma from the patient‘s blood to stimulate cellu-

lar regeneration and tissue repair, addressing issues like Peyronie‘s Disease and erectile dysfunction.

Benefits of the P-Shot include:

- Stronger, firmer erections

- Increased sexual stamina and drive

- Enhanced penile size (both length and girth)

- Resolution or improvement of penile curvature due to Peyronie‘s Disease

- Increased penile sensitivity

- Relief from pain during erections

- Improved blood flow regulation

- Better control over premature ejaculation

- Boosted sexual performance and orgasmic pleasure

“Within a few weeks, my sex life improved significantly,“ the patient said. “My erections are longerlasting and harder, and I‘ve noticed an increase in girth.“

Robert H. Cohen, M.D., a Beverly Hills Cosmetic surgeon, certified in both the PToxin and the PShot procedures, has been performing and teaching both procedures since their inception. With over 25 years of experience in aesthetic medicine, Cohen creates a comfortable environment for patients during the quick, minimally invasive treatment.

“The results have been excellent, and I would definitely repeat the procedure,“ the patient confirmed. “Yes, I‘ve told my friends about the P-Shot and Priapus-Toxin. It‘s not something I hide; it‘s about improving your health and quality of life. A lot of people have


been interested.“


With minimal downtime, Priapus-Toxin and the P-Shot are emerging as effective, lasting solutions for sexual health concerns among men seeking to improve function and confidence.

“Most patients find the com-

bination of the two procedures greater than either procedure individually. They are the ‘Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid‘ of the male intimate wellness world. and one of our premiere procedures and our patients love the results,“ proclaims Dr. Cohen.

ROBERT prepares to the Priapus-Toxin (formerly known as Bocox) and P-Shot combination. (Image provided by Robert H. Cohen, M.D.)

‘On Bette Midler’ is a divine new read

art harm ng, art nosta g , and er a e t onate


That word’s appropriate in this situation. Fantastic, that’s another. Transcendent or celestial, if you’re of that mind, or perhaps anointed. There are many adjectives you can use for a performer who transports you, one who sings to your soul. Sensational, breathtaking, outstanding, or – as in the new book “On Bette Midler” by Kevin Winkler – another, better word may be more suitable.

Born in Hawaii a few months after the end of World War II, Bette Midler was named after m star ette a s t as a erha s a s o s start des te a m nor d s ar t d er s mother tho ght the mo e star s rst name as rono n ed et , o ng d er seemed at a young age to want to follow in her almost-namesake’s footsteps. By age 11, she’d won accolades and prizes for her performances and she “yearned to be a serious actor.” As soon as she could, she headed for New York to seize her career.

Alas, her “unconventional” looks didn’t help win the roles she wanted but she was undeterred. Unafraid of small venues and smaller gigs, she “just blossomed” in New York City. Eventually, she landed at the Improv on 44th Street; the owner there helped her negotiate some minor work. Another man became her manager and secured a job for her at the Continental, a New York bath house strictly for gay men. She was hired for eight summer nights, Friday and Saturdays only, for $50 a night.

Almost immediately, her authenticity, her raunchy language, and her ability to relate to her audience made her beloved in the gay community. Midler’s tenure at the Continental expanded and, though legend points to a longer time, she worked at the bath house for just over two years before moving on and up, to television, recording studios, movies, and nto ans hearts t , as s n er, d t rea matter hat stage she as on he to hed audiences wherever she performed.”

In his earliest words – and, in fact, in his subtitle – author Kevin Winkler reminds readers that n ette d er s a oo that s h gh o n onated, ed th ersona ontem a t ons e s, n other ords, a s er an, t that stat s doesn t mar th s oo n er restrains his love of his subject, and he doesn’t gush. Whew.

That will be a relief to readers who wish to relish in their own fervor, although you’ll be glad for Winkler’s comprehensive timeline and his wide look at Midler’s career. Those things come after a long and fascinating biography that starts in 1970, takes us back to 1945, and then pulls us forward through movies, television appearances, stage performances, and songs you might remember – with appearances from Barbara Streisand, Barry Manilow, and her t s a n tr , art on dent a , art harm ng, art nosta g , and er a e t onate es te that th s s a ersona oo , t s great or readers ho eren t aro nd d r ng Midler’s earliest career. If you were and you’re a fan, reading it is like communing with someone ho a re ates d er e o do nd n ette d er o nd t d ne

‘On Bette Midler: An Opinionated Guide’

c.2024, Oxford University Press | $29.99 | 232 pages


“A Strange Loop” Creator Invites Audiences: Come Along for the Ride

“Come with an open mind and be ready to let your freak flag fly as you watch it, because that’s what we’re doing onstage.” This is the mandate Michael R. Jackson, creator of “A Strange Loop,” has for audiences attending Center Theatre Group’s (in conjunction with American Conservatory Theater) run at the Ahmanson Theatre from June 5-30.

Synopses for “A Strange Loop” speak to creative types pursuing a dream. “Hell-bent on breaking free of his own self-perception, Usher, a young, gay, Black writer who hates his day job, writes a musical about a young, gay, Black writer who’s writing a musical about a young, gay, Black writer...a strange loop. Usher grapples with desires, identity, and instincts he both loves and loathes, all brought to life on stage by a hilarious, straight-talking ensemble.”

Taking the stage as Usher, an usher for the Disney stage production of “The Lion King,” is Malachi McCaskill. Disrupting his world and creative process is an ensemble of thought characters: Tarra Conner Jones (Thought 1), Cameron Barnett (Thought 2), J. Avionce Hoyles (Thought 3), Tony Award nominee John-Andrew Morrison (Thought 4), Jordan Barbour (Thought 5) and Carlis Shane Clark (Thought 6).

A Thought audience members often zero in on: Daily Self-Loathing. Jackson says, “Most people say this character exists in some version in their own mind.”

Many will find the story behind Jackson and “A Strange Loop” and their journey to stages from Broadway to London and California relatable. “A lot of people say, ‘This is my life;’” Jackson remarks, “that “A Strange Loop” speaks to some truth that resonates with them.”

“Healing” is another word audiences often equate with “A Strange Loop.” Especially when topics or comments most often hidden in public are voiced. Jackson says, “Hearing those things said out loud makes them feel uncomfortable, but also validated in some ways.”

“A Strange Loop” has racked up awards, including two Tonys—one for Best Musical, another for Best Book of a Musical—and a Pulitzer for Drama. Yet, Jackson, who wrote the book, music and lyrics, didn’t have a prepared speech for any of the presentations—something unusual for a person with his passion for words.

Born in Detroit, Jackson was a child actor. By 13, his interest had changed to writing. His dream job? “I wanted to become the head writer for the soap opera ‘One Life to Live.’” A behind-the-scenes internship with ABC’s “All My Children” would give him a taste of that world.

Jackson’s passion for writing spurred “A Strange Loop” into being over 20 years ago. At the time, a 23-year-old Jackson had just graduated from NYU’s undergraduate playwriting program and was thrust into the “real world.” “I started writing this thinly veiled personal monologue about what it felt like to be a young Black gay man at that time,” he recalls. “I didn’t have any

ambitions for it being a musical or anything like that.”

In graduate school, back at NYU, the monologue made an appearance, this time connected to lyrics Jackson was writing, including those for “Memory Song,” one of the 17 songs that would eventually be featured in the one-hour and 40-minute musical.

While Jackson was working day jobs, from theatre usher for “The Lion King,” “Mary Poppins” and “Aladdin,” to behind-the-scenes on soap operas, “A Strange Loop” started coming to life. In November 2016, Playwrights Horizons held a full concert reading in New York City. “The day of the reading, Trump was elected,” Jackson recalls. “Everyone came with all this Manhattan liberal despair, and the show very powerfully alchemized that. It was defiantly itself and gave people a little burst of energy.”

The musical’s next stop was off-Broadway, where it received critical acclaim. Next up, “A Strange Loop” was set for the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC, when Covid struck. After a delay, a sev-

en-week run concluded on January 9, 2022.

Broadway was in “A Strange Loop’s” sights, where it opened at the Lyceum Theatre on April 26, 2022 with a slew of entertainment notables onboard as producers, among them  Jennifer Hudson , RuPaul Charles , Don Cheadle ,  Frank Marshall , Alan Cumming ,  Ilana Glazer ,  Mindy Kaling  and  Billy Porter

After closing on Broadway on January 15, 2023, “A Strange Loop” premiered in London at the Barbican Theatre from June 17 to September 9, 2023. Currently, the musical is making its West Coast debut, starting in San Francisco with a run at The Toni Rembe Theatre (formerly the Geary Theatre) before it opens in Los Angeles June 5.

Jackson is curious to experience the energy of West Coast audiences in regards to “A Strange Loop.” “I think it will take people a minute to really get on the ride, or maybe they’ll get on it right away. The show’s audacity is infectious, and people will take to it because it’s something new—there’s nothing else like it.”

From L to R: TARRA CONNER JONES, JORDAN BARBOUR, JOHN-ANDREW MORRISON, MALACHI MCCASKILL, AVIONCE HOYLES, J. CAMERON BARNETT, and JAMARI JOHNSON WILLIAMS in “A Strange Loop” at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre June 5 through June 30, 2024. (Photo by Alessandra Mello)

LA’s home for queer performing arts, Highways celebrates 35 years

From the AIDS crisis to today’s trans moral panic, Highways has stood at the vanguard of daring queer expression

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – For 35 years, Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica has been home to some of America’s most daring and experimental queer performing arts works.

Formed during the peak of the AIDS crisis, Highways was established as a venue where queer work, often ignored, ridiculed, or censored by mainstream arts institutions, could thrive. Given a safe space to experiment and present work that challenged social, political, and cultural norms, generations of queer artists came up through highways and have gone on to become some of the most important names in performing arts.

For Highways’ executive director Leo Garcia, that commitment to producing works that challenge the mainstream has been key to the institution’s long-term success.

“What excites me is our interest in the constant development of new works by artists who work with political, social, psychological, and personal narratives, and the hard work that we bring to make certain that the doors are open to provide access to the artists who are developing these new works and who bring their communities to our space,” Garcia says.

Highways was founded in 1989, amid intersecting crises in the LGBTQ community and the artistic communities in Los Angeles.

“The AIDS pandemic had really surfaced, and… most of the performance places closed and much of the city’s infrastructure had collapsed back then, and that had to do with real estate r n hes and rea rat red ta e and eo e e ng a e to a ord s a e so or , Garcia says.

“There was just this recognition that we were in a crucial time politically, and at a sort of a cultural intersection where the performance art that we were creating was suited to the social-psychological-cultural climate.”

Despite the progress the LGBTQ community has made since Highways’ early days, Gar-

cia says the organization is still presenting deeply political works that uplift the community and challenge the status quo.

As an example, he cites trans choreographer Sean Dorsey, whose dance company will headline Highways’ 35th Anniversary Party June 7-8, with a new performance called The Lost Art of Dreaming.

“The reason we’ve brought on Sean Dorsey is I feel that it’s the trans community that is really under attack in this country, and we’re just going to celebrate the beauty of a trans choreographer and their beautiful new work,” he says. “We’re also going to be honoring the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who have been a part of Highways for at least two decades.”

Artistic Director Patrick Kennelly says part of Highways’ success is that it’s constantly seeking out new generations of artists who keep the work fresh.

o, there s these d erent es, and t s nterest ng no e ng o der to see th s resher gro dea ng th the s m ar nds o st that as hen as start ng o t n th s e d 20 years ago,” he says.

Garcia became involved with Highways in 1992, just a few years after it was founded by writer Linda Frye Burnham and performance artist Tim Miller. Garcia says he had just moved to Santa Monica from New York and was just wandering around his new neighborhood when he came upon the theatre.

“There was no one at the door, and I walked in and peeked in the curtain. There were like seven people in the audience, and Annie Sprinkle was doing her show. She was inserting something into her vagina and you could go in and look inside of it. That’s the kind of work they were doing here,” Garcia recalls.

He says he started seeing shows and getting involved with the theatre, until eventually

LA’s home for queer performing arts, Highways celebrates 35 years. (Photo courtesy of Highways Performance Space) Highways Artistic Director PATRICK KENNELLY (Photo courtesy of Highways Performance Space)

he as as ed to ome on oard as the s a manager e e ent a too o er as art st d re tor n , ead ng the om an nt he hand ng art st d t es o er to rrent d re tor atr enne

enne , ho s n h s t ent eth ear or ng th gh a s, rst got n o ed as an n tern h e st d ng at a rts that t me, gh a s had a read de e o ed a re tat on or d s o er ng and oster ng m ortant ne art sts t as aro nd the same t me that there as a g art e n the LA Times a o t the th ann ersar , and there ere names n o ed that as am ar th rom hat had een st d ng, enne sa s

ar a and enne est mate that the e he ed oster h ndreds o art sts and sho s d r ng the r t me at gh a s reg ar host ng a ne sho e er ee , t ee s er ear er the ears, gh a s has a so e anded ts rogramm ng to n de or s and or other m nor t and marg na ed omm n t es, h e st oregro nd ng or and or the omm n t

mong the man art sts ho e ome thro gh gh a s are a es atter o nder atr sse ors, t er r e nom nee r st na ong, a rth r en s rant re ent s aro, and nternat ona er orman e art st on the ome art sts and o e t es rom gh a s ear est da s are st resent ng or s at the en e to th s da , n d ng ermo ome ena and the os nge es o ert e artment hat s een e t ng to me s to d s o er and or resent ear or s art sts ho gro nto h ge g ent t es, hether t s to r ng the or d th the r or or gett ng them h ge ma nstream at orm ng, ar a sa s s or the t re, ar a and enne e sa that the see gh a s ont n ng to ad an e ts re tat on or e er ment ng th o d ne art orms and de e o ng m ort ant, nheard o es

ho e that the s a e an s r e another ears and ont n e to s ort these emerg ng art sts ho are e er ment ng and d s o er ng the r ro ess and ma e don t ha e the a ess t at that o nt n the r areers or arger sho s, enne e sa s e ant to ont n e to or th the omm n t es that e re ser ng and t needs to e a a e o a an es and o a orat ons or a these d erent t res and genders and d s nes, ar a sa s Highways’ 35th Birthday! will take place June 7-8 at 8:30pm at Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St, Santa Monica, CA, 90404. Tickets: highwaysperformance.org

Highways’ executive director LEO GARCIA (Photo courtesy of Highways Performance Space)


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