This year’s Gay Pride weekend in Los Angeles promises to be bigger, badder — and bolder — as celebrants will be ditching the traditional parade and moving into full-scale protest mode.
While gay pride in Los Angeles typically celebrates the historic Stonewall Riots in 1969 in New York City, the parade has evolved over the years into a colorful street celebration of the many stripes of gay identity. However, this year’s event, set for June 9-11, will reflect community concerns over individual freedoms. L.A. Pride, run by activist organization Christopher Street West, is planning to amp up the volume and make an all-inclusive statement of force called the #ResistMarch.
L.A. Pride with Punch
The #ResistMarch, similar to the LA Women’s March in January, will offer an immersion in creative signage, performance art, music and inspired expression, and will take over the most traveled sections of Hollywood on June 11, starting at 8 a.m. Families, friends, clergy, concerned citizens and non-citizens of all persuasions are invited as the LBGT community expands its mission.
Leading up to the march will be a multi-day celebration of pride that will include parties and performances around town.
The action begins June 9 at Dodger Stadium for the official 2017 LA Pride kickoff party at 5:30 p.m. in the Right Field Plaza Bar. The party will run until first pitch at 7:10 p.m. Special guests will include Billy Bean (vice president of Major League Baseball), actor Noah Galvin (Kenny on the ABC sitcom The Real O’Neals) actor Guillermo Diaz (Huck in the ABC series Scandal).
Saturday and Sunday night musical celebrations will feature onstage performances by the likes of Brandy, Erika Jaye, Aron Carter and Young M.A. A lesbian-focused party has been scheduled for June 6, as has a transgender soiree for June 9.
Meet Me in Boystown
Most of the action happens in West Hollywood, known as Boystown, and the epicenter of LGBT life in Los Angeles. The annual pride parade usually runs along the busy streets of Robertson and Santa Monica boulevards of this town, which sits at the confluence of Hollywood, West Los Angeles and the city of Los Angeles.
The tag line of West Hollyood is “a mile of style,” reflected in WeHo’s plethora of sidewalk bistros, bookstores, designer boutiques and outrageous pet amenity stores. The city of 36,000 carries a Walkscore of 87, meaning those that dare can go car-less.
West Hollywood is getting a simultaneous boost in attention these days from The Abbey Food & Bar, a legendary hot spot on Robertson Boulevard that has been the hub of gay nightlife for more than a quarter of a century. E! is running a new reality show, What Happens at the Abbey, chronicling the lives of the owner, patrons and staff.
Other West Hollywood hot spots for catching a bite or a beer include Urth Caffé where you can sip organic coffee and munch a matcha tiramisu on the sidewalk patio, usually shared by an unmade-up celebrity or two. More upmarket moments call for Lucques’ farm-focused Cal/Med cuisine by local legend and James Beard Award-winner Suzanne Goin, or airy Fig & Olive on Melrose Place with its menu of healthy Italian fusion options. Hip, fun farm-to-table food can be had at Laurel Hardware, until recently a long-standing hardware store. Red-O is ground zero for chic eats of Mexico, according to star chef Rick Bayless, while Saddle Ranch Chophouse features serious meats in a kitschy Old West setting.
Russian-owned Bar Lubitsch is fun for trendy beer drinking with ethnic flare. The Surly Goat has a great happy hour, a patio and more than two dozen craft beers on tap. Now Boarding is a Mad Men-style throwback for classic cocktails and entertainment.
You Can Get There From There
For the #ResistMarch, there is a convenient stop on the Red Line Metro from Downtown Los Angeles, where the #ResistMarch begins Sunday morning. (Guests staying at Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown can catch the Red Metro Line about two blocks away at 7th Street.)
You can also take the Pride Ride, a free shuttle that will run along Santa Monica Boulevard in a four-mile loop with 15 stops (including Hollywood & Highland for the #ResistMarch) between Robertson Boulevard and La Brea Avenue.