As June rolls around each year, we bust out the rainbow flags and prepare to celebrate all things Pride. Los Angeles holds the distinction of being the home of the first public LGBTQ Pride parade ever staged, and West Hollywood Pride remains one of the biggest and best-known Pride events anywhere.
While WeHo’s big fest may command a lot of attention, it’s not the only Pride game in town, so we’ve rounded up seven distinct options to keep you feeling the love, acceptance, and pride all month long.
West Hollywood, June 9 & 10
Produced by Christopher Street West, the same activist group that organized the historic first Pride march in 1970, L.A.’s most-recognizable Pride celebration has struggled with some controversy in recent years. Critics have suggested more needs to be done to create an event that acknowledges the diversity of the LGBTQ+ experience and strikes the right tone in a changing political climate.
One way organizers have attempted to address that for 2018: booking a festival entertainment lineup that features more queer women as performers than ever before. The parade is a free, public event; the festival portion is ticketed ($25 – $400) and will feature three stages of live music from Kehlani, Tove Lo, Icona Pop, Eve, and many more.
Between both the ticketed and free events, the City of West Hollywood estimates some 400,000 celebrants will be on the street over the course of the weekend.
Elysian Park, June 9
For the 11th year, Dyke Day L.A. will serve as the unofficial Pride parade afterparty for lesbians, queer individuals of all kinds, and their allies–basically anyone who seeks a more grassroots alternative to the bigger Pride events.
The event is a volunteer-organized picnic party in Elysian Park, featuring music, food, and education booths. Dyke Day is less about A-list talent or elaborate production, and more about creating an upbeat community environment where everyone feels accepted and included.
West Hollywood, May 22-June 30
This LGBTQ-oriented arts festival runs from Harvey Milk Day to the end of Pride month. It kicks off with a staged reading of the Milk-dedicated play, Dear Harvey, on May 22, and then with author Lillian Faderman presenting her new book, Harvey Milk: His Lives and Death, on May 30.
The festival’s theme for 2018 is “I Remember,” which comes through in programming that includes a special performance marking 20 years since the death of Matthew Shepard, a musical created entirely around the personal remembrances of LGBTQ senior citizens, and a “Day of History” with creators of the earliest rainbow flags, snd screenings of documentaries about the 1980s AIDS epidemic and ACT UP activists.
Venice, June 1-3
It’s Pride by the seaside at this quirky Venice celebration. The centerpiece of the the three-day celebration is a free public block party on June 2, featuring the ceremonial lighting of the iconic VENICE sign that hangs across the intersection of Winward and Pacific in rainbow colors (each of the 87 bulbs in the sign can be “adopted”; so far, the Chargers have booked up all the blue and yellow ones, but other colors are available).
Other highlights of the programming are a “United We Pride” flag-raising event to open festivities on the morning of June 1, and beach cleanup party, offering an opportunity to add some community service to your Pride celebrations.
Hollywood, June 22-24
Produced by Brandon Anthony, the local nightlife impresario also behind some of West Hollywood’s big recurring club nights, including Starboy Sundays at Rage and ACCESS at Villa Lounge, this Pride month event aims to draw a crowd that’s ready to party.
Summer BASH is actually four individual parties: Friday night at the Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood, Saturday night at the Roxy, a Sunday day party at Bardot, and a Sunday night party (pitched as both Urban Pride and as a BET Awards afterparty). Each event promises its own celebrity entertainment.
Santa Ana, June 23
The largest LGBT Pride event in the county, this afternoon festival in Santa Ana features three stages, one of which is entirely focused on Latinx-oriented and Spanish-language programming. In the afternoon, officials will crown the winners of the Mr., Mrs., Miss, & Mx. Orange County Gay Pride Pageant, and a Lady Gaga cover band will entertain the crowds.
Pershing Square, August 25-26
While DTLA’s official Pride party takes place well past June, it’s still worth marking on your calendar. Launched in 2016, Proud turns Pershing Square into a colorful carnival atmosphere, with everything from drag shows to an inflatable water park for splashing around in the summer heat. Organizers have yet to announce performers and other details, but take advantage by snagging pre-sale tickets while they’re going for just $5.
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