When it comes to seeing the future, most of us imagine a bleak vision of sunken cities, sex robots, and cold corporate corridors. For those who like to think positive, however, this dire concept of the future is disrupted by visions of flashing lights, Radical Faeries, and gigantic rainbows.
“I knew something special was happening,” wrote author Tim Miller in this publication in 2016, “the minute I saw the large goat being led by a wild Radical Faerie through the jammed streets of Venice Beach with the throbbing music of DJ Victor Rodriguez filling the gathering space and a huge conga line including a dancing dog snaking through the large crowd.”
Miller wasn’t alone in seeing the light. His labeling of Venice Pride as “a glimpse of the future” in its first year is emblematic of the positive, can-do attitude of the independent festival that’s now in its third year running. Since 2016, Venice Pride hasn’t just been a three-day celebration during the first weekend in June. It’s been an actual force for change in the Venice community. The celebrations aren’t just about partying: They’re focused on doing good in the community, from the “Beach, Please” yearly beach cleanup to Venice Pride Founder Grant Turck’s instrumental role in helping the iconic gay bar Roosterfish reopen after a brief, tragic closure. Three years in, Venice Pride seems intent on topping itself. This year’s main events center around not only Roosterfish’s grand reopening, but Venice’s role as one of the first cities to fly the United We Pride flag, the largest free-flying rainbow flag in history.
“The flag is being manufactured right now.” Said Turck, who was responsible for reaching out to the San Francisco Pride organizers to bring the flag to Venice before it embarks on its world tour. “It’s 1,047 by 30 feet, and the largest Pride flag that’s been flown so far has been a 1,033 square foot banner in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I’m meeting with the British Consulate to help them get on board. It might end up in Buckingham Palace!”
That’s not all. In addition to the yearly sign lighting, where Venice’s businesses and community members “adopt” one of the bulbs that lights up the Venice Pride sign, the beach cleanup, and Gaywatch, this year features a takeover of the basement tavern, a Drag Brunch, and a cabaret-style late show. To kick things off, the United We Pride flag will have a raising ceremony while the Trans Choir of L.A. performs “Over the Rainbow.” All this packed into one weekend.
“I’m really excited about the Rainbow flag, the visual aspect of that.” Turck said. “I love the sign lighting with the huge flag there. We’ll have disco balls, and we’ll totally transform Windward Avenue into Studio 54. Studio 54 West.”
During the Roosterfish grand reopening, Turck has arranged to set up “interactive, primarily cash-based, but gay and fabulous” GayTMs, modeled after those of the ANZ bank in Australia.
The bigger and more fabulous Venice Pride gets, it stays true to its core identity as a celebration that takes the concept of Pride to heart. If Venice Pride truly is a window to the future, we have nothing to fear.