One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival Starts May 22nd

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West Hollywood’s One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival is all virtual this year. The city will celebrate the artistic contributions of the LGBTQ community with 40 days of online programming. It all kicks off with Harvey Milk Day on Saturday, May 22, 2021, and ends Wednesday, June 30, 2021, which marks the end of Pride month.

Due to the coronavirus crisis, all festival events have moved to an online virtual platform to respond to the City of West Hollywood’s efforts to prioritize health and public safety. A select few programs can also be experienced as self-guided solo walking tours or outdoor exhibitions. A complete list of this year’s One City One Pride festival events is available at www.weho.org/pride. View a brief promotional video for One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival here: http://bit.ly/2021OCOP.

The 2021 theme for One City One Pride is For the Record LGBTQ stories of the past that have often been hidden or undocumented. One must read between the lines to find stories hidden behind “beard” marriages, coded language, and erased or destroyed evidence. This year, One City One Pride looks at some of these previously hidden stories.

This year’s festival poster was designed by Joan Cox through an open call poster competition which received submissions from around the world. Within the artwork are images from the diaries of Anne Lister.

Anne lived in the early 1800s and during her life, she wrote a five-million-word diary. Around one-sixth of the diary is encrypted in a code she had devised, combining the Greek alphabet, zodiac, punctuation, and mathematical symbols, and it describes in great detail her lesbian identity and affairs. The code used in her diaries was deciphered by the last inhabitant of Shibden Hall. When the content of the secret passages was revealed, he was advised to burn all the diaries, but did not take this advice, and instead continued to hide Anne Lister’s diaries behind a panel at Shibden Hall.

In 2011, Lister’s diaries were added to the register of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme which notes that the “comprehensive and painfully honest account of lesbian life and reflections on her nature… have made these diaries unique.” Most recently, Lister’s life was featured in the popular BBC-HBO television drama series Gentleman Jack.

The 2021 One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival kicks off at 4 p.m. on Harvey Milk Day, Saturday, May 22, 2021 with a special online performance of Patricia Loughrey’s play Dear Harvey: Stories of Harvey Milk. Extensively researched and beautifully constructed, this documentary-style ensemble play recounts the life and lasting impact of groundbreaking LGBTQ activist and politician Harvey Milk, as told by the people who knew him best … the real-world figures whose lives were forever altered by Milk’s too-short career. This spirited play reaffirms his impact and the continued relevance of his campaign towards equality, three decades after his assassination. The cast includes Calpernia Addams, Mario Burrell, June Carryl, Reggie Lee, David Tran, Robin Tyler, and Brittney S. Wheeler. This performance will be available to watch for the duration of One City One Pride through June 30, 2021. A link to watch online will be sent to people who RSVP in advance at www.weho.org/pride. There will be a special welcome from Stuart Milk, the nephew of Harvey Milk, as well as from the City of West Hollywood Mayor and members of the City Council of the City West Hollywood.

More detailed information about the City of West Hollywood’s One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival events is available at www.weho.org/pride.

Additional events of the 40-day festival include:

  • John Elgin Woolf: Master of the Hollywood Regency (Trail and Short Film) presented by Friends of Residential Treasures: LA from Sunday, May 23, 2021 to Wednesday, June 30, 2021. Free. Experience online or as a self-guided walking tour. Architect John Elgin Woolf’s work defined luxury living for Hollywood’s elite in the Golden Era. Creating glamorous homes for figures including Katharine Hepburn, Judy Garland, Mae West, John Wayne and others, he became the master of the style known as “Hollywood Regency.” Take this self-guided architectural trail curated by filmmaker and journalist Matt Tyrnauer. Or watch a short film exploring the interior of the Seiter House. It is an important early work that John Elgin Woolf designed for himself and his same-sex partner. This FORT:LA project is presented with the support of a grant from the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division as part of the City’s One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival.
  • Love Note presented by Rogue Artists Ensemble from Sunday, May 23, 2021 to Wednesday, June 30, 2021. Free. No RSVP Needed. Experience online or as a self-guided experience at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. Rogue Artists Ensemble’s Love Note is a free, interactive, solo audio expedition of your heart, taking place in West Hollywood’s Plummer Park, where audience members can activate sonic narrative experiences at eight unique stops throughout the park. Using only a cell phone and headphones, participants will discover and listen to stories about romance, compassion, and connection, leading to a secret phone line, where participants are invited to share their own love story that will become part of the project’s archive. The community-contributed stories recorded during the run will be then woven back into the experience to create an ever-evolving tapestry of voices calling out for love and belonging. This experience is free and open to the public during park operating hours. The experience does contain some mature themes and is not recommended for children. A travel map is available for download at the Rogue Artists Ensemble website for audience members to use for their story expedition in the park. Can’t make it to Plummer Park? Visit the Rogue Artists Ensemble website at www.rogueartists.org/lovenote to create your own experience from the comfort of your home.
  • Meringue, a public art exhibition from Sunday, May 23, 2021 – July 2022. Free. Outdoor exhibition on traffic median at Santa Monica Boulevard and N. Doheny Drive. Meringue is a temporary public art exhibition by LGBTQ artist Kim Kiduck. Meringue’s sensual curves invite touch, and the artist intends it to feel like a portal to travel without moving — that you travel when you come in contact with it, not physically, but in the imagination. The translucency of Meringue lets sunlight in to glow naturally during the daytime, and at night transforms Meringue into a mixing chamber of various light combinations. The exhibition will be lit up in rainbow colors for the duration of the City’s One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival.
  • The City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series presents: Breaking Fast. 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Online Event. Free. For more information and to RSVP: https://bit.ly/hrss-breakingfast /

The City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speaker Series and One City One Pride LBGTQ Arts Festival present Breaking Fast: Exploring the Intersection of Faith and Sexual Identity, an open panel discussion of the feature film, Breaking Fast, and its themes related to navigating the difficult conversations and real-life impacts of faith, sexual identity, and community.

  • A Special Women’s Music History: A Celebration of the Betsy York Collection presented by June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 27, 2021. Online Event. Free. RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/151160295513. Join the June Mazer Lesbian Archives for a celebration of the Betsy York Collection with Betsy York herself, Sandy Ramsey, and Bonnie Morris. Betsy York distributed and produced music for numerous music labels in New England and Southern California, Sandy Ramsey has worked in the women’s music industry for decades, and Bonnie Morris is the archivist of Olivia Records and a lecturer at UC Berkeley. Find out what it was like to distribute this music and how Betsy traveled coast to coast doing it! This program is presented with the support of a grant from the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division as part of the City’s One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival.
  • The Lavender Effect Virtual Pride Parade on Sunday, May 30, 2021, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Online Event. Free. Livestreamed on YouTube athttps://www.youtube.com/c/TheLavenderEffect. Come celebrate Pride with The Lavender Effect’s Live Virtual Pride Parade hosted by actor/comic, Alec Mapa. The two-hour event features a full roster of celebrities, LGBTQ+ organizations and politicians taking part in the celebration. More information is available at www.thelavendereffect.org.
  • Walking Amongst the Rubble: Undocuqueer Pride Queer Poetry Reading Series presented by Influx Collectiv from June 1 through June 15, 2021. Free.More information and the online podcast is available at https://www.influxcollectiv.org/podcast. Walking Amongst the Rubble is supported by a grant from the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division as part of the City’s One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival.
  • Secret Lives, stories, music and original writings by LGBTQ seniors watch party presented by NewStages, a program of Oasis Theater Company at 7 p.m. on the first four Tuesdays in June. Free. RSVP by calling (323) 860-5830 or by email at seniors@lalgbtcenter.org. Secret Lives will explore the stories of the remarkable seniors as well as many historical figures who had to keep secrets to maintain their careers, their families, and their place in society. This program is presented with the support of a grant from the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division as part of the City’s One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival.
  • Pride Publics: Words and Actions presented by ONE Archives Foundation on the construction fence at 687 Robertson Boulevard from Saturday, June 5, 2021 to July 1, 2021. Free. ONE Archives Foundation presents “Pride Publics: Words and Actions,” a multi-site outdoor exhibition that examines the intersection between pride and publicness and examines themes central to queer public life while highlighting trailblazers and their visions. With free and accessible outdoor installations plus a digital guide, this exhibition aims to give visibility to LGBTQ life in the public through the lens of history, community, and activism. More information is available at https://www.onearchives.org/pridepublics. This exhibition is organized by ONE Archives Foundation. This program is supported by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division as part of the City’s One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival.
  • PRIDE Shining Through streaming concert presented by Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 5, 2021, and only available for streaming for 48 hours. Free with suggested donation of $20. For GMCLA’s Pride Concert, the Chorus will perform some of the best music ever written! Among the songs in this hour-long virtual event are the soul-stirring We Hallelujah, the roof-shaking This is Me, and the heart-stopping We Belong. This program is presented with the support of a grant from the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division. For more information and to RSVP: www.pride.gmcla.org.
  • Disarm Hate Virtual Panel Discussion at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Free. For more information and to RSVP for the panel discussion:https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_qvo-hvPyQuOlXkJ5iTpUWg. Attendees are encouraged to stream the film prior to the panel discussion.  A list of streaming services currently providing Disarm Hate is available at https://linktr.ee/Disarmhate. Three years ago, the news of Pulse Orlando nightclub shocked and devastated the LGBTQ community. One man, a hairdresser and activist from New Jersey, Jason Hayes, decided to do something. Without experience, money or celebrity backing, he began organizing a national rally for gun violence prevention and LGBTQ civil rights to be held in Washington D.C only two months after Pulse. He called the rally DISARM HATE. Meanwhile, on the other side of the map, nine strangers from Los Angeles, made it their life’s mission to get to DISARM HATE to stand behind Jason. Along the way, they stopped at sites where other LGBTQ people were murdered with firearms in order to have a discussion about two of America’s most polarizing past times: hate and guns. Disarm Hate follows the story of the nine LGBTQ individuals who come together after the Pulse Massacre to join Jason as he builds a national rally to demand LGBTQIA equal rights, fight the NRA, and challenge America’s obsession with gun violence.
  • Pride Poets Poetry Hotline presented by West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Brian Sonia-Wallace & the Pride Poets from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, June 11, 2021 to Sunday, June 13, 2021. Free. Call in to get a custom poem for you or a loved one based on the topic of your choice, written by one of the team of LGBTQ+ Pride Poets standing by at the remote Poetry Hotline from June 11-13, marathon-style from 10am-10am. Poems will be written on-the-spot, and callers can choose to have copies of the poems emailed or mailed to them. Poetry hotline: call 202-998-3510 to speak to a poet. Pride Poets is a RENT Poet Project, made possible by a One City One Pride grant from the City of West Hollywood and organized by Brian Sonia-Wallace, with the permeable poetry hotline in 2021 co-organized with Molly Thornton.
  • LGBTQ History in Comics — A virtual panel with readings from creators presented by Prism Comics. Launches Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at 6 p.m. Free.View the panel at: http://www.youtube.com/wehoarts and www.prismcomics.org. Join Prism Comics, moderator Justin Hall (No Straight Lines; Associate Professor of Comics, California College of The Arts) and a diverse, talented group of creators as they explore our queer past through comics. The panelists’ books span recent and revolutionary American history, the Old West, Black history, the roots of the San Francisco gay movement and 1930s pre-war Europe. Each creator will also do a special video reading of a section of their work as bonus virtual programming. The panel and readings will remain online for viewing after the premiere date. More information is available at www.prismcomics.org. This program is presented with the support of a grant from the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division as part of the City’s One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival.
  • WeHo Reads: Legacy and Lineage and the Lost Generation at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Free. RSVP to get a reminder: https://wehoreadsrajivjubidare2021.eventbrite.com. As part of the City’s WeHo Reads series and One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, poets read and discuss works by mentors they’ve never met alongside their own work. Featuring Rajiv Mohabir, author of The Cowherd’s Son, Dare Williams, and Jubi Arriola-Headley, author of Original Kink, with musical guest Jayson Joseph of Elephants With Guns. Streaming at www.weho.org/wehoreads.
  • Shaped By Sylvester: Tiki Spills the Tea podcast organized by Steven Reigns. Free stream at https://www.stevenreigns.com/appearances from Wednesday, June 23, 2021 to Wednesday, June 30, 2021. Born in Watts, Los Angeles, to a middle-class African-American family, Sylvester developed a love of singing through the gospel choir of his church. Leaving the church after the congregation expressed disapproval of his homosexuality, he found friendship among a group of black cross-dressers and transgender women who called themselves The Disquotays. He made an impact in music, fashion, personal expression and also on those he befriended even before his fame. Hear about Sylvester’s influence to a previous West Hollywood resident who grew up with him, Tiki Lofton. Tiki met Sylvester, then known as Dooni, and that friendship influenced her life. Listen to her tales of growing up black and trans in 1960s LA with a good friend that soon became a disco superstar. This program is presented with the support of a grant from the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division as part of the City’s One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival.
  • West Hollywood Pride Play Reading Festival presented by The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 26, 2021, and Sunday,  June 27, 2021. Free. https://www.facebook.com/groups/laplaywrights. The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights (ALAP) is the support and service organization for playwrights in Southern California, which presents programs and events to provide education, networking, resources, and opportunities for playwrights and the public. The annual West Hollywood ALAP Pride Reading Festival features staged readings of six one-act plays on Saturday, June 26, 2021 and one featured full length play on Sunday, June 27, 2021. This program is presented with the support of a grant from the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division as part of the City’s One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival.
  • QueerWise presents Queer/Women+ Discussion at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 26, 2021. Free. How many genders of queer woman are there? Butch, femme, switch, boi, top, bottom, dyke, transbian, gay? How many genders share a border with woman: enby, genderqueer, they/them, ze/zir, per? Is woman a political identity? Can the personal still be political? What about gender body? Spirit, mind? Join the woman-identified people of Queerwise for an exploration of gender where it gets tricky – where gender touches race and class and desire. Livestreamed at https://www.facebook.com/queer.wise.
  • Stuart Timmons West Hollywood LGBTQ History Tour — A collection of short films to be released on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 at 9 a.m. Free.Originally written by acclaimed author/historian Stuart Timmons (The Trouble With Harry Hay; GAY L.A.), and produced/directed by Jason Jenn, the tour first dazzled audiences in 2015 as part of the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the City of West Hollywood’s incorporation in November 1984 an continued to be presented in 2016 and 2017. Timmons’ West Hollywood LGBTQ History Tour was in the process of being written. A stroke in 2008 halted the project. It remained incomplete until a One City One Pride grant allowed Timmons and a small team to finish his research. It brought the project to a rousing completion as both a self-guided walking tour and a special in-person performance event. For 2021, the tour is being recorded as a collection of short films hosted indefinitely in the  WeHoArts YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/wehoarts. This program is supported by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division as part of the City’s One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival (www.weho.org/pride).
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Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at editor@wehotimes.com
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