Given the current political climate, this feels like the right thing to do.
Similar to the giant Women’s March that took place in dozens of cities across America on Jan. 21, the Resist March in Los Angeles will step off from Hollywood and Highland, since there is a subway station there allowing participants to arrive by mass transit. The march will follow a 3.1 mile path down La Brea Avenue, turning onto Santa Monica Boulevard and ending at San Vicente Boulevard, the entrance to the Pride festival.
With a quarter-million to a half-million people expected to participate in the march, John Erickson, a Resist March committee member, said they expect to have several simultaneous smaller marches in surrounding areas that feed into the larger march going down Santa Monica Boulevard. Resist March committee member Paul Katami reported they will figure out a way to provide transportation back to Hollywood and Highland from San Vicente Boulevard.
With so many people expected to be in the streets, it is impractical to incorporate aspects of the pride parade such as cars and floats into the protest march. “It’s very difficult to mix pedestrians and vehicles,” said Classen, who expects the pride parade to return in 2018.
Since a possible 500,000 people will be marching down Santa Monica Boulevard to the entrance of the LA Pride festival at San Vincente Boulevard, many may decide to attend the festival. However, with the smaller festival footprint, it may not be possible to let them all in.
That smaller festival footprint? It’s because West Hollywood Park construction has reduced the space available to party in.
The Pride Festival will be a ticketed event, as always (likely $20 per day), scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, June 10-11 in West Hollywood Park, plus a free transgender event and Sizzle sober area on Friday, June 9. However, the entire festival will have to be downsized as a three-year construction project that began in January has closed off a significant portion of the park.
CSW is losing almost 70 percent of the “footprint” it had available in 2016, Classen reported. Consequently, only West Hollywood Park’s great lawn and the auditorium, plus San Vicente Boulevard between Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, are currently available for this year’s Pride Festival.
Officials with the City of West Hollywood are negotiating on behalf of CSW to see if part of the Pacific Design Center lot and/or the adjacent Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) lot can be used for the pride festival. CSW hopes to have a final answer about the available footprint following the April 3 City Council meeting when LA Pride will next be on the agenda.
As a result of this uncertainty, CSW currently does not know how many entertainment stages it will have. It may only be able to accommodate one stage (last year they had three) and consequently has not been able to begin booking talent.
“I’m not happy that we’re this late in the process. We’re 90 days away [from the festival] and I don’t know where we’re putting things, but we’re going to get there,” Classen assured the two dozen people attending the meeting. He added they expect to use more DJs and less live talent this year.
Which… might be a bit of a problem. Half a million amped-up and angry homosexuals with no where to go? Whoops.
Still, the march sounds pretty amazing. See you there.
(Top photo by Derek Wear of Unikorn Photography)