The City of West Hollywood kicked off Pride season with the first event of its six-week WeHo Pride Arts Festival on Harvey Milk Day, Monday, May 22. This year, in light of the wave of anti-drag legislation and protests across the nation, the City of West Hollywood commemorated the life and legacy of the extraordinary leader Harvey Milk, who fought tirelessly for equality and social progress, by hosting an event featuring the first-ever José Sarria Drag Pageant, among other activities.
The City of West Hollywood invited the community to celebrate Harvey Milk Day on Monday, May 22, 2023, beginning at 6 p.m. with the first-ever José Sarria Drag Pageant, organized by the City of West Hollywood and HIT, and co-sponsored by the Imperial Court. The event took place at the West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center’s Respite Deck, located at 8750 El Tovar Place, adjacent to West Hollywood Library. This was a free event. Reservations were required at https://2023harveymilkday.eventbrite.com.
The José Sarria Drag Pageant was hosted by Maebe A. Girl, who became the first drag queen elected to public office in the United States after being elected to the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council in 2019. Pageant judges were Queen Mother Karina Samala and Emperor Eugene Maysky of the Imperial Court, Ebony Lane, City of West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne, and Kiki Xtravaganza. There was a special performance by Nina Bo’nina Brown, who competed on the ninth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Drag Kings and Queens were invited to compete for the crown in three rounds: Formal Wear, Question and Answer, and Talent. Cash prizes were awarded to the Top 10 finishers. Those interested in entering the pageant were instructed to email Sean Knapp at firstname.lastname@example.org by 11 p.m. on Sunday, May 21, 2023. Participation details were emailed to those who registered.
In addition to the Drag Pageant, there was a voter registration table, a Harvey Milk photo opportunity, milk and cookies, information tables from local organizations, and custom typewritten poetry provided by Pride Poets. Pride Poets is a cohort of LGBTQ poets who create custom poetry for the public on typewriters and was founded by current West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Brian Sonia-Wallace for the City’s LGBTQ Arts Festival in 2019. Pride Poets’ participation in this event was funded by a City of West Hollywood Arts Grant.
José Julio Sarria was the first openly gay man to run for office in the United States when he ran for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1961. He was unsuccessful in his run, but he garnered 6,000 votes and set in motion the idea that a gay voting bloc could wield real power. In this way, he helped pave the way for Harvey Milk’s successful run for office. José Julio Sarria was also a well-known drag performer under the name Window Norton and founded the International Imperial Court System, which is one of the oldest and largest LGBT organizations in the world.
Harvey Milk Day was established in 2009 by the California State Legislature and it was signed into law by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2015, West Hollywood became the first city in the nation to observe Harvey Milk Day as an official holiday and has held events commemorating the day since 2010. Harvey Milk became the first openly gay elected leader in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. (Out lesbian Kathy Kozachenko was elected to the Ann Arbor City Council in Michigan in 1974 — becoming the first openly gay person elected to political office in the United States.) In November 1978, Milk was assassinated by Supervisor Dan White after only 11 months in office. In 2009, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Harvey Milk with a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contribution to the LGBT movement.
More information about the WeHo Pride Arts Festival is available at www.wehopride.com/artsfestival. Information about WeHo Pride Weekend, which takes place June 2-4, 2023, is available at www.wehopride.org.
The City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Pride Arts Festival is organized by the City’s Arts Division. The City of West Hollywood is committed to providing accessible arts programming for residents and visitors. The City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division delivers a broad array of arts programs including: Art on the Outside (temporary public art), Urban Art Program (permanent public art), Summer Sounds, Winter Sounds, the WeHo Reads literary series, Free Theatre in the Parks, Arts Grants for Nonprofit Arts Organizations, Library Exhibits and Programming, the City Poet Laureate Program, Drag Story Hour, Human Rights Speakers Series and the WeHo Pride Arts Festival. For additional information, please visit www.weho.org/arts.
For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Harvey Milk Day celebration, please contact Mike Che, City of West Hollywood Arts Coordinator, at (323) 848-6377 or at email@example.com. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.
For up-to-date information about City of West Hollywood news and events, follow @wehocity on social media, sign-up for news updates at www.weho.org/email, and visit the City’s calendar of meetings and events at www.weho.org/calendar. City Hall services are accessible by phone at (323) 848-6400 and via website at www.weho.org.
For reporters and members of the media seeking additional information about the City of West Hollywood, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Public Information Officer, Sheri A. Lunn, at (323) 848-6391 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brandon, Jose Sarria was known as, “the WIDOW Norton” – not ‘Window Norton.’
Otherwise looks like awesome fun.
As an aside, I hope you can clean up the site layout. Between the intrusive repeating ads, oversized pop ups and messy graphics, it’s becoming difficult to read Wehoville. Thanks
Howdy, thanks for the correction and forwarded to Bran. Apologize for the new platform and but the updates have been completed. Appreciate your feedback or we welcome your subscription.
Allocating City funds for this charade is not responsible.
I agree. We seem to have forgotten……what a city government is for. It’s not this.
This is waste of resources by a city with crime, drugs and indigents flooding the streets of weho.
They need to be banned and resources helping the elderly.
They all look fabulous! Healthy and enjoying life is what it’s all about.
You can’t possibly believe that.
Yeah, I do! and so do millions of other people who love drag queens. There wouldn’t be an Emmy award winning TV show if people didn’t like drag. Or a Drag-con. Or countless sold out world tours by drag queens etc.
It’s a very small group. Most people just roll their eyes.
Not a healthy looking person evident here either physically, emotionally or mentally. Why do people feel entitled to disgorge their proclivities on the general public to be somehow foolishly lauded. Not sane behavior.
I can’t judge whether it was sane behavior, but it looks like everyone was having fun!
They obviously were having a blast. And it’s really sad that people have resorted to making hateful remarks on here for no reason.
Have we hit the over saturation point with drag yet? Asking for a friend.
I agree. Plus, Harvey Milk has no direct link to the drag community, so this tribute is confusing. If they did a tribute to Rambo, I’d guess it’d also be a drag tribute.
What is going on here?
Dr. Pearl Erickson’s goal has been reached. Living in West Hollywood IS one big drag!
Erickson, the ever-vigilant fashionista, yet again communicated his political stance through his wardrobe, aligning himself with the latest Corporate Woke party agenda. However, the phrase “protect trans kids” a clear exemplification of unadulterated ideology – a paradox, a fallacy and a self-contradiction that both stifles rational thought and coerces speech simultaneously. Very on brand, Councilmember.
Make sure you get vaccinated for monkeypox.
Gotta love that trademark snark! Seriously, check out purple pitcher plant as a natural treatment & clinically tested to be effective for mpx, the tincture is available at the website Amish ways
But the Federal and California state of emergency for mpx ended in Feb