Responding to criticism and concerns from the community about the state of the yearly LA Pride festival that takes place in West Hollywood each summer, Weho City Council members John D’Amico and John Duran proposed Monday that the city get more involved in the planning and execution of the event.
D’Amico and Duran are part of sub-committee that has met with the event’s longtime organizer, Christopher Street West (CSW), to come up with new ideas and improvements for the festival.
D’Amico and Duran reported their recommendations to the council at its meeting Monday night. The recommendations include:
- The city should help secure talent for the event
- The city should assist with the selection of the Grand Marshall
- Add entertainment to the parade itselt, by adding talent that entertains the crowd every 10-15 minutes
- Consider doing the parade at night or dusk
- Provide more cultural event areas and features
- Improve the festival entertainment overall
- Expand the area of the event to include the MTA depot on Santa Monica Boulevard and possibly to Robertson Boulevard
- Add the city’s name to the event
While CSW has produced the event, the city has been a host and sponsor since 1984, and last year contributed $272,520, according to city documents.
While introducing the report D’Amico stressed that the city did not want to take over the event.
"This is not something that the city of West Hollywood wants to own," D’Amico said. "We don’t want to end up with this event. We want to collaborate with CSW along the way."
D’Amico also said that West Hollywood’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board (LGAB) will host an Oct. 30 forum to discuss ways to improve the festivities, where he hopes the public will provide feedback on the ideas in the report. He also said that CSW has agreed to review the report and come back with their response at the Oct. 30 meeting.
Many of the suggestions came from a city report that was issued in 2006, D’Amico said. The old report was included in the agenda packet for the meeting.
"What I think is interesting is that in March of 2006, in rereading the history of this, it’s my sense that we were facing many of the same challenges," D’Amico said. "But I would argue that what’s different now is that gay and lesbian political life is different now than it was in 2006. Our sense of how we move forward into the 21st Century with marriage and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as part of our regular daily lives, it gives us an opportunity to look with fresh eyes at the Christopher Street West celebration and think about ideas that we perhaps didn’t have the luxury of considering in the past."
What do you think about the suggestions issued by D’Amcio and Duran? Do think the festival could use some improvements? Tell us in the comments.