L.A. Scene June ’09: Pride, Protests and Parties


The Dyke March and Truck Stop

Pride weekend in West Hollywood typically kicks off with the Dyke March. I’d never attended the Los Angeles event, but I had seen pictures from San Francisco, where it appeared as though all of my overly aggressive seventh grade classmates who had tried to murder me during dodgeball were now the topless riders of gleaming Harleys. 

The Weho march was predictably more tame. I got there for the tail end of the rally, just in time to hear that the Obama administration had decided to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act. So that was a buzz kill.

The attendees were mostly female, of all different ages and descriptions, some with children, many with signs relating to gay marriage, others with signs noting the power of their, uh, nether regions. The dykes on bikes were calmly parked to the side and one very nice lady let me take her picture before she and the others got some secret signal and the motorcycles roared to life, zooming down Santa Monica Boulevard.

They were followed by an elderly marching band, some women in a pink golf cart, several hundred Doc Martin and Converse clad people on foot, and several impractically shod femmes and drag-queens who were bringing up the rear in their platforms and stilettos.

There didn’t seem to be a clear destination point so most women marched until they identified a suitable watering hole and called it a day. Some folks, like comedian Jennie McNulty, marched all the way … to their cars. About an hour later the march made its way to West Hollywood Park for the obligatory after party.

I headed off for a quiet snack at a local café and was thinking of retiring for the evening. Silly moi. Naturally, that’s when a friend appeared wielding wristbands and before I could say “abracalesbian” I was sucked into the concrete vortex that is Here Lounge.

The Friday event at Here is called Truck Stop and is hosted by gal about town Charlene Borja of Gimme Sugar fame. As usual it was a mix of women from different parts of the Inland Empire, several Hollywood hipsters, a very tall woman with an unusually powerful handshake, and Michelle Wolfe.

The dance floor sees more action than at other events and is unavoidable as it’s what separates the bar from the bathroom. Every so often a siren blares and you hear Charlene on the mic beckoning, “LAAADIIIIIEEEES” and everyone goes running to watch the go-go dancers/bartenders gyrate on the bar. It sounds like a fire engine or a nuclear disaster alarm and it never ceases to terrify me. Honestly, I don’t get it. Is there actually something to witness or is this just a Pavlovian response? Maybe if you run fast enough you win your very own stripper?

The bar is supposed to look stark and modern … you know, like a parking lot. If you get there early you can secure comfy outside seating amidst the artificial trees. If you get there late you have to stand in line for ages.

The music is great, particularly when D.J. Saratonin spins. The interior is somewhat plush, with plenty of VIP booths available in case you don’t want to speak to anyone other than your friends and your living room is just too quiet and inexpensive.

One of my barely of legal drinking age friends showed up late and I tried to chat with her. Unfortunately she’d had a long night and kept throwing up behind one of the fake trees. Obviously, it was time to go.

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