|Los Angeles Pride has been no stranger to controversy over the past few years.
However, it appears that organizers have taken some of the criticism to heart when putting together this year’s event. For instance, in a nod toward making the festival more accessible and inclusive, Paula Abdul will give a free concert on the Park Stage on Friday, June 6.
Other highlights during the festival include performances by Meghan Trainor, British electronic pop trio Years & Years, Grammy winner Ashanti, Greyson Chance, MNEK, Pabllo Vittar, Miss Vanjie, and Saro.
Billy Francesca, a prominent figure in L.A. nightlife, has once again been tapped to host the festival. As someone who has had a front-row seat at prides past, who better to ask for recommendations on where to go and what to expect when you get there.
What’s the best thing about L.A.?
Well, I mean I can’t pick just one thing. It’s a definite toss-up between having a Starbucks and a weed dispensary on every corner; obviously, the weather is wonderful and being close to Puerto Vallarta is a dream.
Seriously the best part is the diverse group of kids we have here. We get all walks of life, and sooner or later, everyone you know comes through L.A.
What’s your favorite part of LA Pride?
This may sound a little selfish and weird, but I love the end of the festival when I get to have a drink on the main stage with the entire team from JJ LA. They produce the event, and they all work so hard. I love sitting there with the crew, looking out over a park littered with glitter and confetti and thinking, “Wow, we had all these people from all over, just having the best time.” I love that.
The best place to go for Pride brunch?
Well, other than my own “Dragged Out to Brunch”? The Abbey puts on such a kickass drag brunch in general and then goes even more over-the-top for pride. It’s like brunch times 10. Tour buses stop. There are cameras. It’s a hoot!
Where would you recommend an out-of-towner watch the parade?
Anywhere on Santa Monica Boulevard would be ringside seats. I mean I’m partial to watching from a helicopter—fanning my nails as I say this—but, Revolver or Micky’s have great patios if you can get there early and watch the whole day unfold.
Best place to meet hot guys?
In what world would I know? They run from me! I’m 6-foot-2 and an old bearded drag queen. They avoid me like plague. (Laughs.) HOWEVER, “Sunday Funday Butch Queen” at Revolver has a lot of men I would dip in honey and tie to a tree.
What bars are best for a post-parade drink?
Before the parade starts, right at the beginning, I am always at Fubar. All the floats are lined up and you get to see everyone and kiki around and take photos. It’s like the pre-parade party in the street and Fubar is at the start.
Any special Pride Week events/parties someone visiting should definitely not miss?
“Drag Yourself to the Valley” on June 6, a night of performances at The Garland Hotel featuring Vanessa Vanjie and Brooke Lynn Hytes. So, that’s gonna be rich!
The Standard Hollywood always lets me throw a pre-pride pool party. This year it’s on Friday, June 7. It’s totally free, no cover or any of that, just great music, costumes and dancing all day, sitting by the pool.
I need a day party to start the shenanigans for the weekend.