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LA Pride

Lifestyle Angelenos

5 Reasons Why LA Pride Remains My Favorite Weekend of the Year

June 20, 2017

If you live in West Hollywood like me, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be out and about, wandering the good ol’ streets of Santa Monica Blvd. each year during the second weekend of June.

LA Pride (which just took took place June 9-11) is especially great for a Weho resident for the sake of being able to avoid traffic, but in general, it’s amazing overall and continues to be my favorite happening of the year.

Keep scrolling for 5 reasons why this culturally important, weekend-long event cannot be beat!

1. There Are a Handful of Events Leading Up to the Big Weekend

Obviously all of June is Pride month, so there are Pride-centric occurrences happening all over, during the course of four weeks, but in the week leading up to LA Pride, there’s a handful of local events that go down, including baseball games, charity events and more. Kicking things off the Sunday before Pride week began was GLSEN‘s Sunset Cocktails event, hosted by Lance Bass and Rosario Dawson, among other influential names in the community. I was invited to the Sunset Tower gathering, which raised money to ensure there are LGBTQ-inclusive K-12 schools across the country. Although the event has passed, you can still donate HERE.

2. The Weho Bars Are More Fun Than Any Other Time of Year

Ok, this is slightly debatable, as everyone who lives in 90069 knows that The Abbey and its neighbors are a complete blast during December, leading up to Christmas and NYE, but I must say they are most bustlin’ during Pride. Each bar has its own vibe, but one thing holds true: They all manage to bring out droves of people and there are always surprises. This year, for example, my fav Kesha put on a surprise performance at Pump. She’s just one of many fun folks you can expect to see roaming through the different spots during this weekend. Let’s just say if you’re a fan of any Bravo TV show, you are sure to get your “star”-studded fix this weekend.

3. The Festival Is an Experience in Itself

LA Pride can be quite the overwhelming experience (in a good way, of course!). The excitement of the bars is just one facet to the whole event. In addition, you have the actual festival, which over the years has booked a slew of memorable music acts. I’d be lying if I said this year’s selection was my favorite, but looking back, one of my favorite memories of all time was being with my closest friends, dancing the night away to Kesha in 2015. They’ve also had Fifth Harmony, Demi Lovato, Carly Rae Jepsen, Trina and so many others take the stage in the past. But that’s not all. There’s usually a roller rink, incredible decor, and now, more than ever, a growing number of entertaining booths. I started off my Saturday getting glitter eye makeup and a heart painted on my cheek from the MAC Cosmetics booth (a first for LA Pride!). As expected, their booth was booming with color and vibrant music. There was just so much excitement all around. And as you can see below, Gigi Gorgeous was one of the many familiar faces to make her way through the festival!

Photo Credit: Lindsey Best

Photo Credit: Lindsey Best

4. It’s an Excuse to Throw a Party

Celebrating equality and the idea of people coming together for the same reason is definitely an excuse to throw a party. Each year, I throw a Pride brunch for some of my closest friends, and it’s the perfect way to kick off the afternoon before heading down to the Blvd. Everyone is in the best mood and it’s a great feeling everyone just being together and supporting. And an added bonus? It’s a great excuse to put my brightly colored beauty products from NYX, Joico InstaTint, Salon Perfect and more to use by leaving them out for guests to use as touchups!

5. You Run Into Familiar Faces, While Also Encountering New Ones You’ll Stay in Touch With

If there’s one place to spot friends—both old and new—Pride festivities are it! Pride brings out all kinds of people, so whether its an old coworker, long lost pal or even a new person you just started chatting up at the bar, you are definitely bound to exchange hugs and walk away with some new numbers (or Instagram handles)!

Angelenos Featured

If You Live in West Hollywood, You’ll Agree With These 11 Truths

March 9, 2017

If there’s one thing most people learn about me right away, it’s that I love West Hollywood (90069 to be exact!).

Not only is it my favorite part of Los Angeles, it’s also one of my favorite parts of the country. From the beautiful, brisk walks down Holloway Drive, to the familiar faces at the Fairfax Whole Foods, seriously, this place is home and I can’t imagine living anywhere else in the City of Angels (I say that now and watch me move to a beautiful Brentwood mansion—ahh, dreams).

Photo Credit: @rozhatch

But whether you consider this spot your permanent residence or you’re simply in-between living spaces and this happens to be a stop on the way, you totally know that there are certain things about West Hollywood that stand apart from the other L.A. cities or sections out there.

Need a little refresher? Check out the 11 truths below—I’m pretty sure you’ll agree!

1. Jesus Sightings Are Totally Normal

Yep, there’s such thing as West Hollywood Jesus, and he’s bound to pop up just about anywhere in the city, at any given time. He’s totally harmless—and so popular that he’s even landed a coveted Facebook fan page!

Photo Courtesy of Hollywood Jesus fanpage

2. The West Hollywood Public Library Is the Perfect Place to Go If You Want to Contract an Illness

This is no joke. My laptop had water damage a couple of years ago, and even though I was stressed as one can be, I looked forward to stepping into the then-newly redesigned West Hollywood Public Library across from the Pacific Design Center. What I encountered, however, was an endless string of sneezing, weird noises and funky odors for a week straight. Never. Again.

3. You May Be Approached to Purchase Roses on Any Given Outing on Santa Monica Blvd.

You’ve probably encountered a sweet Hispanic woman who nudged you to buy roses during a casual stroll on a night out anywhere near The Abbey. She’s been around for at least the 10 years I’ve lived in L.A., so she’s pretty much a staple. And in all that time, only one rose has been bought for me from her ::tear tear::

Photo Credit: @troy_david_5

4. There’s a 90% Chance You’ll Have a Vanderpump Rules Cast Member Sighting on Any Given Outing in Weho

About as likely as it is to be approached by “Roses Lady” is the likeliness you’ll spot James Kennedy (excuse me, DJ James Kennedy) flaunting his Beats headphones around his neck like a statement piece on Robertson or Santa Monica Blvd., waiting for Max Todd to get off work from Pump. But head a few doors down and you can get a glimpse of Jax putting his bartending skillz to use (yep, the gang actually works there!)

Photo Credit: @KatrinaWest

5. The Pavilions on Robertson and Santa Monica is an Around-the-Clock Hotspot—Don’t Come With a Hair Out of Place

The hype has died down a bit over the last few years, but it wasn’t too long ago that I would park my car, look in the mirror, and drive away without getting out. Couldn’t risk a run-in.

6. “Weho” Only Refers to the Area on Santa Monica Blvd., West of La Cienega and East of Doheny. Anywhere Else In the Area Is Simply “West Hollywood”

Word.

7. Enter the La Cienega-Holloway CVS at Your Own Risk (That’s All I Need to Say)

SCARY AF

8. The Sunset/La Brea Intersection Is Undoubtedly One of the Scariest in the City

Welp, aside from the endless supply of transients strollin’ the mean streets, there are also a slew of documented car accidents at these cross streets (here’s lookin’ at you, Shia LaBeouf!). But I will say, at least Mashti Malone’s ice cream and The Woods bar are two blocks away.

Photo Credit: @gurulamkin

9. The Walk Up La Cienega from Holloway May as Well Be Runyon

No time to drive to Runyon, park your car and hit the strenuous (<– for me, at least) climb? Oh, fear no more, for you have La Cienega as your fill-in hill, right? Nothing says workout quite like a “hike” up to Sunset Plaza. That trek is brutal!

10. L.A. Pride Is One of the Best Weekends of the Year

Well, that is, unless you don’t live in the “parameters” and are subjected to driving or Lyfting anywhere around the area during that time. Otherwise, Pride is the freaking best!

Photo Credit: @jemocrat

11. You’ve Entered the Black Hole of The Abbey on at Least One ‘Sunday Funday’

Enter with caution, my friends. I am most definitely guilty of one too many of these. Once you’re lured in, your day is doomed!

Lifestyle Angelenos

5 Awesome Things to Know About L.A.! Pride 2016, Straight from the Festival’s President Chris Classen!

June 8, 2016
Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

LA! Pride has come a long way since its inception in the year 2000, when it was known as LA/Valley Pride (LAVP).

But even in really recent years, the festival that celebrates the LGBT community has majorly stepped up its game, bringing on top-tier musical acts (can we reminisce about last year with Kesha for a moment?!) and attracting a majorly diverse crowd.

This year (my seventh!), which kicks off this Friday (!), is expected to bring an even bigger crowd, especially by boasting performances by big acts, including Carly Rae JepsenCharli XCXKrewella and dozens of others.

But a musical upgrade isn’t the only big change you can expect this year. Skyelyfe caught up with Chris Classen, president of the festival and also president of Christopher Street West, which produces the three-day event. He dished on everything we all need to know leading up to (at least what I consider) the most fun weekend of the year!

Photo Credit: Own Your Pride Campaign

Photo Credit: Own Your Pride Campaign

From what went into selecting this year’s artists, to flashier decor and better food options, read below for five things to know about LA! Pride 2016:

1. Keep Your Phone Charged, Because There Will Be Far Too Many Photo Opps!

“World class musical acts, more inclusive programming, and interactive art experiences will be all over the festival,” Classen says. “I mean, wait until you see this thing. There are so many social media moments, you’ll have serious FOMO if you stay home.”

2. Much More Thought Went Into This Year’s Musical Lineup, But the Weekend Is Still Affordable

“This year we sat down and said, ‘Ok, let’s curate a lineup that’s diverse, cool, and broad,” Classen explains. “We wanted a mix of acts we love, but haven’t been ‘discovered’ yet, and some names people already love. We also added acts to the schedule, so it’s a really packed weekend of talent. The best part? It’s only $35 per day.”

3. Each Musical Act Has a Special Tie to the LGBT Community

“All of our acts are allies,” Classen says. “Many are openly LGBTQ, but the coolest change this year isn’t the headliners – it’s the entire lineup. Never before have we had a talent list that is as diverse as our own community.”

4. Classen Loves Being Behind the Scenes of West Hollywood’s Biggest Annual Event 

“Putting together the nations largest, ticketed LGBT event takes a year of preparation with a tight-knit team of dedicated people who become a second family to me,” he says. “But during the event, few of the attendees know who I am, and my favorite part of the weekend is being able to watch the joy and sense of wonder on people’s faces as they experience what we have put together for them.”

Photo credit: Jon Viscott

Photo credit: Jon Viscott

5. Kesha Left Her Mark on the Festival, Following Last Year’s Incredible Headlining Performance

“Being backstage with Kesha last year was one of my favorite memories of Pride,” Classen says. “She was lovely, and so genuinely excited to be a part of the event.”

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Music Angelenos

This L.A. Pride 2016 Playlist Will Get You Stoked for the Festival!

June 7, 2016

Carly_Rae_LA_Pride_skyelyfeL.A. Pride Music Festival & Parade kicks off its three-day celebration on Friday, and this year’s lineup boasts some seriously impressive talent!

As I noted in April, Carly Rae Jepsen, Charli XCX and Krewella are headlining West Hollywood’s hotly anticipated event, which also features live performances by Trina, Timeflies, Da BratGavin Turek, Gallant, EC Twins, Hailee Steinfeld, Timeflies, Daya, Bebe Rexha and a slew of others.

Can’t wait until the weekend to catch all of the acts? Check out the playlist below to get an earful of each one!

And come back tomorrow for my interview with L.A. Pride president Chris Classen!

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Music Angelenos

Carly Rae Jepsen & Charli XCX Are Headlining L.A. Pride 2016!

April 26, 2016

Carly_Rae_LA_Pride_skyelyfeL.A. Pride‘s headlining act last year will forever be a tough one to follow (I mean, come on, it was Kesha!) – but – I will say I can’t complain about this year’s selection.

Carly Rae Jepsen will take center stage as the main act during the annual West Hollywood festival (which happens to be my favorite event of the year) from June 10-12, the organization announced on its website today. Charli XCX and Krewella are also among the headlining acts.

A slew of additional talent is slated to perform over the course of the weekend, including, Gavin Turek, Gallant, EC Twins, Hailee Steinfeld, Timeflies, Daya, Bebe Rexha and two throwback favs: Da Brat and Trina!

L.A. Pride, which celebrates love and equality for the LGBTQ community, has been home to other additional big performers in the past, including Tinashe, Demi Lovato and Jennifer Hudson.

If you’re feeling nostalgic over last year’s festival with the “Your Love Is My Drug” singer, fear not because just two hours south, you can catch my favorite pop star performing her hits at San Diego Pride on Sat., July 16 (you just might see me there!).

Uncategorized

Now That I’ve Finally Recovered from L.A. Pride (Yes, It Took a Week!), Here Are the Highlights in Photos!

June 22, 2015
Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Unless you’ve done a full weekend of L.A. Pride, you likely don’t realize how much it can take out of you. It’s like the West Hollywood Coachella (ok, with way less music and people, but still….it is a highly anticipated full weekend of non-stop activity and you see so many people you know). So, yeah, I’ve come a long way since last Monday when I was in major Pride recovery mode. I think I’m back to normal now?

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

I say this every year (this was my 6th Pride), but each time really does get better and better. I had almost every single one of my closest friends by my side at some point during the 3-day venture, I got to see my favorite pop star Kesha perform all of her hits (Fifth Harmony, Eden XO, Tinashe and Wilson Phillips were also among the weekend’s musical acts), and I had run-ins with many-a-weho-character (which is always my favorite part of these outings).

Photo credit: Jon Viscott

Photo credit: Jon Viscott

As usual, The Abbey was bustling with bodies and tended to be where my friends and I spent the majority of the time if we weren’t inside the festival itself. I also came to discover Bar10, a spacious new spot on the Boulevard that plays legit hip-hop music and loungey house. It has a totally different vibe than let’s say Flaming Saddles, for example (ok, well, that’s a given, but seriously, it’s different from anywhere else out that way and the crowd is way more laid-back). I hosted a brunch for my friends on Saturday at my apt, which was the perfect kick-off to our Kesha-filled day. And the Palihouse rooftop was once again the place to be on Sunday afternoon!

Oh, Pride, how I hate to see my favorite weekend of the year go by so fast. But at least there are these photos to commemorate the momentous occasion.

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Photo credit: Jon Viscott

Photo credit: Jon Viscott

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

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Music

New Music Monday: Gardens & Villa, RAC, Keys N Krates & More!

June 15, 2015

gardens-villa-new-album_skyelyfeSeeing my favorite pop star Kesha perform live at L.A. Pride over the weekend was amazing, but for today, it’s time to dig up some new material.

I’m totally loving Gardens & Villa‘s synthpop “Fixation,” Keys N Krates‘ trappy “Save Me,” Coyote Kisses‘ indie-electro “Ferrari” and indie rock by Family of the Year with “Make You Mine.” And of course I always get excited by new RAC tracks, so be sure to give a listen to “Back of the Car.”

Click on the playlist below for 11 fresh tracks as part of this week’s New Music Monday!

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Angelenos

Pride, Not Prejudice! : WeHo’s Biggest Weekend

July 24, 2014
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Sunday’s Pride parade … view from my apartment

Most of the people I know spend 362 days of the year counting down to Coachella, but for me, LA Pride is my favorite weekend. This June was my fifth year taking part in the festivities, which celebrate equality, and I can honestly say, each year that goes by, the more people you know and the more fun it becomes.

A big group of friends and I kicked off the merriment at the festival on Friday night at West Hollywood Park, where I caught an unexpected performance by Monogem, a new act I have liked since they kicked off their career. Then on Saturday, I indulged in a hearty, mimosa-filled brunch with a friend at Marco‘s in West Hollywood, before making my way back to the festival with the same group of friends as the night prior. We had VIP wristbands, so aside from getting into the festival, we also got to take advantage of the roller rink, which is never a good call for me, a pure klutz. In between skating around, we caught a lively performance by Azealia Banks and then I did some wandering around by myself. The crowd inside the actual festival comes from all over the place, so it’s definitely not a group I am necessarily used to seeing during a typical night out in West Hollywood. But it was fun just roaming around and meeting random people and stopping at various booths. I ended up charging my phone at the Frontiers magazine booth, so I spent most of my time over there.

If I had to pick one out of the three days of Pride, I’d say Sunday was the most fun. The same group of people and I started off the afternoon with a little day party at two of our friends’ apartment and then went from bar to bar. Pump, which is Lisa Vanderpump‘s newest venue, has been a regular hangout for me since its recent opening, and the final day of pride was no exception. My friends and I saw the chic and demure lounge turn into a loud, bottle-poppin’ party spot. There were so many people at Pump, and the private little room in the very back was wild, with girls dancing around topless and who knows what else! Despite some tension on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, former cast mate Carlton Gebbia made a little cameo at her former costar’s hot spot. We chatted her up for a bit, and I must say she was delightful.

The night concluded at The Abbey, an obvious staple in Weho and for the weekend. It was there that I saw a ton of familiar faces. Music was blaring until the wee hours of the morning and we stayed until pretty much closing. It was really hard to see another Pride weekend come to an end.

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