Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Venice Pride Preparation - Get Ready For Gaywatch 2017!

Venice Pride is rapidly approaching, and now in its second year, will have no problem topping the inaugural celebration last year. With events planned all weekend June 1-3, this year's Pride celebration will most certainly be memorable.

I sat down recently with Pride organizer, Grant Turck, to hear about what's in store for our LBGTQ friends this year, and was happy to hear about how much the whole thing has grown even in just one year. The main fundraiser for the Pride events is the sale of the colored light bulbs that will make up the rainbow Venice sign. Bulbs can be adopted through the Venice Pride site for $100 each (you get to pick color and placement), and you keep the bulb after the festivities. Gratitude to the individuals and local businesses who have already taken part, especially the L.A. Rams, who sprang for all of the blue bulbs in the letter "C"! Way to support your Community, Football! - And they're new to town, so it would be nice to see longtime local businesses helping out as well. Or maybe those entities who are trying to take over our Community might like some decent p.r. while trying to un-do some damage? Just a thought ... These community events don't happen for free, and the sale of the bulbs is more important than ever to pull off this year's special events. 

Events like the dedication of the Bill Rosendahl Memorial Beach on June 1st, which will be the stretch of sand from Park to Breeze Avenue. The lifeguard tower at Brooks Avenue will be painted in rainbow colors marking the sand destination for the gay Westside. The beach is a beautiful way to recognize and remember Rosendahl, the first openly gay person elected to the City Council, and a true champion of Venice. A permanent plaque indicating the site as "Bill Beach" will be installed later this Summer.  I think Rosendahl would have loved to know that there will be a permanently inclusive beach named in his honor. How cool.

Friday, June 2nd will be the lighting of the Venice sign in its rainbow colors for Pride month. The street party there on Windward will begin at 5 p.m. until the sign is lit (by a special guest!) at 9 p.m. There will be booths and exhibitors, food trucks, music (by DJ Victor Rodriguez) and dancing in the streets the entire time. This year there are two official after-parties: "Gaywatch" will be held at The Birdcage (upstairs at The Victorian on Main Street) and go from 11:30 to 2 a.m., and "Queer As Funk" featuring the Puscie Jones Revue will be happening at The Townhouse/Del Monte Speakeasy from 9:30-2 a.m. for even more dancing and celebration. Gay, straight, whatever you are, this street party is always a blast for the entire community. A Community that needs dancing in the streets now more than ever. And support and solidarity.

For those revelers that manage to get up in time there will be a big beach clean up on Saturday morning, June 3rd, named "Beach, Please!" I love it, and I love that there is an element of giving back to the community in the mix. Everyone needs to do their part in keeping Venice beautiful, and not just by being good looking partiers (thank you in advance!). The beach clean up will be followed by a "Status Is Sexy Pride Extravaganza" at a stage at Muscle Beach, with performers and fun until 5 p.m.

With a little less than a month to go before Venice Pride arrives, now is the time to chip in where you can to help make all of this fun happen. There are still 51 rainbow bulbs available (as of this typing) for adoption, as well as the sale of Venice Pride shirts that will both help, and look great when you wear it to the sign lighting. There are also volunteer and sponsorship opportunities available, both of which may be signed up for at the website as well.

These are the times to be looking out for each other. I'm not gay, but I can sure understand the importance of inclusion and acceptance of all people, no matter what their sexual preference. Seriously, who cares? Whatever makes you happy and doesn't hurt anyone else is cool in my book. And those things should be not only supported, but celebrated. That's why we're talking about this today ... so that there is still time to make this the best party our LBGTQ will attend all year.

Let's "Light up the night for Equality!" together. Let's show the whole world that there is a whole lot of Pride on the Westside! Thank you for your ongoing support of our wonderful Venice Community - one and all.

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