It's Just My Opinion
Christopher Street West's 2011 LA PRIDE Celebration kicked off to a
dark overcast day, reminiscent of my years living in San Francisco and
attending their massive PRIDE march. The LA Parade portion seemed more
on top of tightening lag time between floats, marchers and performers than
other parades I've attended. As is custom, Dykes on LOUD bikes kicked off
the Santa Monica Blvd. procession followed by members of the Sheriff's
department. Displaying a cohesive celebration, the sight of floats and
contingents representing cities from all over the Southern California
is a is a heart felt reminder of how far the GLBT community has come
since the Stonewall bar riots of 1969. The serious tone of the moment was
broken when a much younger friend inquired about the PAWS float, as he
was unfamiliar with the organization. I couldn't miss the prank opportunity
by telling him, PAWS stood for People Against Water Sports. One of these
days I'll tell him I was kidding.
Sounding like my grandfather, When I was your age.... I remember back
when San Francisco's celebration was just the annual Freedom Day parade.
Then the attempts at unification which actually separate us where brought
in using the titles of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and of late,
Questioning Youth and Queer. Next be prepared for Filipino war vets who
only bottom. Despite such individuality focused titles the weekend
LA PRIDE celebration and parade brought an eclectic array of participants
including the wonderfully talented and nostalgic Union Station band, The
employee organization Out at NBC Universal, Antioch University, and GLBT
employees of Sony Corporation.
Celebrities found along the procession included attention addict and
attorney Gloria Allred with the All-Reds, a group of men and women dressed
as her in Red blazers. Former State Senator and actress Sheila Kuehl greeted
viewers with a warm smile. Actress Maria Chonchita Alonso and Andy Cohen,
Executive VP of Programming and Development for Bravo, received a sincere
welcome from the crowd as did Grand Marshal, Olympic skater Johnny Weir.
Later on Sunday, Weir took the festival stage to introduce comic Margaret
Cho who did a fabulous side splitting set. That is, until it came to a
shocking halt when she performed a original rap song with an unannounced
male partner that just wasn't funny or even entertaining. The original
American Idol who most people know from the series Star Search,
representing Upright Cabaret, was Sam Harris. Harris moved the crowd with
his incomparable voice and introduced his husband and child from the stage.
Sam's fellow Upright Cabaret member, Jennifer Leigh Warren blew away the
audience with her versions of classic Shirley Bassey songs which will be
heard at an upcoming show at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center's Renberg
Theatre. Another talent pool participant was Prince Poppycock, an
overnight sensation on America's Got Talent, brought his operatic
vocals and 17th century French Court influenced costumes to an enthusiastic
While the stage talent impressed, I was disappointed that the main stage
was basically unused for the first half of the day. How easy it would have
been to invite members of any local high school glee club, church choir
or aspiring coffee shop singer, to fill the time before scheduled entertainment
kicked off each day around 4 pm. Continuing my old man rant, does the music
have to BE THAT LOUD! It's bad enough I have to have my remote in hand
when the evening news jumps to an eardrum busting commercial but seriously,
Main Stage tech crew - take note. People living in Scottsdale Arizona
do not need to hear the music. And lastly, if you are a club owner presented
a float in the parade, have your DJ pick out some classic piece of dance
music or something so new and hot, most people haven't heard it yet.
During this years LA PRIDE parade, I counted five, yes FIVE different club
floats all playing Jennifer Lopez' latest single 'On the Floor.'
Those are just three little issues and, with such changes, LA PRIDE can
easily be one of the best GLBT celebrations on the planet.