Talk of Sweeping Changes to L.A. Pride

10.25.2013

By Jonathan Carmona

L.A. Pride, which once featured Paris Hilton as grand marshal, is primed for a makeover.

West Hollywood Councilmember John D’Amico has proposed improvements to LA Pride that addresses years of complaints.

For some time now, Los Angeles Pride has come under criticism by area residents for being unvaried and lacking a political component. Community members have complained about the admission fee to the Pride festival, the quality of celebrities secured as parade grand marshals, and the quality of the festival’s parade floats.

On Monday night, WEHOville.com reports West Hollywood Councilmember John D’Amico presented the City Council with an improvement plan for making extensive changes to L.A. Pride that would address many of the complaints that the yearly gay festivities have received.

D’Amico, who both praised the work of event producer Christopher Street West (CSW) and constructively offered critique, said he ultimately wanted a “collaborative tone” between the city, the public, and CSW.

“This is not something that the city of West Hollywood wants to own,” D’Amico explains. “We don’t want to end up with this event. We want to collaborate with CSW along the way.”

Early Monday, D’Amico and Duran released a report proposing that West Hollywood help secure performers and celebrities for L.A. Pride, hire consultants and event planners, and be allowed to appoint a city staffer to the CSW Board of Directors. Duran, away on travel, was not present at Monday’s meeting.

Although the city, in 2012, provided CSW with $253,855 in services for Pride, D’Amico suggested an increase in that investment and suggested the city make greater use of its vast resources and connections.

Councilmember John Heilman, who additionally wants to see the three-day event expanded to a week of events, agrees with D’Amico’s proposal, saying that he also would like to see the city contribute more money to Pride.

“[The city] could do programming as part of a gay pride week,” Heilman said. “We could have the Gay Men’s Chorus perform. We could have a Broadway musical night. We could have transgender night, a drag show night and rock night. We could create an experience … I think it’s the kind of thing that we could really market as a week of gay pride rather than just a weekend.”

The City Council has scheduled to reopen the discussion of CSW and gay pride at its Nov.18 meeting. The City’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board (LGAB) will also be hosting a townhall forum on Oct. 30, to get community input on ways to improve Pride.

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