January 20, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

City of West Hollywood’s ‘One City One Pride’ LGBTQ Arts Festival

Features a ‘virtual platform’ for arts and cultural events: May 22 through June 30

By Staff Writer

Each year, the City of West Hollywood celebrates the artistic contributions of the LGBTQ community with its vibrant One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival. The festival runs for 40 days, from Harvey Milk Day on Friday, May 22, 2020 through Tuesday, June 30, 2020, which marks the end of Pride month.

Due to the coronavirus crisis, all festival events have moved to an online “virtual platform” to respond to the City of West Hollywood’s efforts to prioritize health and public safety. A complete list of this year’s One City One Pride festival events is available at www.weho.org/pride.

The 2020 One City One Pride Festival kicks off at 5 p.m. on Harvey Milk Day, Friday, May 22, 2020 with a special livestreamed online reading of Patricia Loughrey’s play Dear Harvey: Stories of Harvey Milk, produced by Celebration Theatre, the nation’s oldest continuously running LGBTQ theatre. Readers include Calpernia Addams, Caroline Stephanie Clay, Robin DeJesus, Mayor Lindsey P. Horvath, Reggie Lee, Amy Pietz, Michael A. Shepperd, David Tran, Bruce Vilanch, and Brittney S. Wheeler. This reading is not being recorded for future viewing. A link to watch online will be sent to people who RSVP in advance at www.weho.org/pride.

“We have to hold onto our pride more than ever this year, and I’m overjoyed to be part of kicking-off a ‘virtual platform’ of One City One Pride events with the reading of Dear Harvey on Harvey Milk Day,” said West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey P. Horvath. “Moving to a virtual platform will help us safeguard health and well-being. We’ll be able to connect and celebrate in a new and creative way this year. Happy Pride to everyone in West Hollywood!”

Additional highlights of the 40-day festival include:

1) Pride Poets. Every Friday in June 2020, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Pride Poets will write and perform spontaneous works based on a queer history interview. RSVP at www.weho.org/pride. Pride Poets will also produce Pride Poets’ Poetry Care Packages from Quarantine, responding to custom poem requests from the public that were submitted at pride.weho.org/pride-poets. Finally, each week, Pride Poets will curate a half-dozen poem excerpts to produce WeHo Chalk Poetry on sidewalks throughout the City for passersby to enjoy.

2) On Saturday, June 20, 2020 and Sunday, June 21, 2020 at 4 p.m. virtual readings of plays chosen from blind submissions by an esteemed panel of judges will make up the ALAP (Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights) Pride Playreading Festival. Saturday will feature readings of short plays and Sunday will feature a virtual reading of a full-length play. To RSVP, send an email message to events@laplaywrights.org with your full name and whether you would like to attend the short play readings, the full-length play, or both no later than 5 p.m. the day before each event, and you’ll be sent a Zoom link.

3) On Saturday, June 27, 2020 at 7 p.m., New Stages and the LA LGBT Center Senior Services Department present Out of the Dark, a virtual online event featuring LGBTQ seniors sharing their coming out experiences through song and storytelling, RSVP at www.weho.org/pride.

4) A virtual panel discussion about the legendary store, Circus of Books, will include conversation with Circus of Books owners Karen and Barry Mason, documentarian Rachel Mason, and transgender activist Buck Angel and will close out the One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 6 p.m. RSVP at www.weho.org/pride.

Additionally, Pride Poets, a project funded by the City of West Hollywood, currently has an open call for the 2020 Pride Poets Cohort. In 2019, Pride Poets popped up with typewriters around the City of West Hollywood throughout the One City One Pride Festival crafting more than 600 new poems for passersby commemorating their personal queer histories. This year Pride Poets is moving to an online format.

Pride Poets seeks additional poets to join the cohort in creating poetry as a public service, including writing custom poems for strangers and friends, sharing poetry in chalk on the streets, and supporting one another’s writing lives.

All LGBTQ+ poets & writers are welcome. Queer poets of color, trans poets, poets with disabilities, and West Hollywood-based poets are especially encouraged to apply. Since the Festival has moved to an all-digital format this year, poets from anywhere in the world may apply.

Those chosen for the cohort should expect:

· Weekly Poetry Workshops and Mics to build skills and create inclusive queer lit space online (Tuesday evening workshops, Friday evening mics);

· Writing of custom poems to celebrate the personal queer histories people send (remotely!) to craft into verse;

· Publication in chalk of excerpts from the written poems on the streets of West Hollywood;

· A $100 base stipend (more for additional duties).

An application to apply for the Pride Poets 2020 Cohort can be found at www.weho.org/pride.

Pride Poets is made possible by a City of West Hollywood One City One Pride arts grant and organized by Brian Sonia-Wallace aka RENT Poet. Returning Pride Poets from 2019 include Catherine Gewartz, Reg Clarkina, Jen Cheng, Natalie Nicole Dressel, Hank Henderson, and more.

The One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival is organized by the City of West Hollywood.

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