Our Gay Hollywood Adventures with Out & About Tours
Last Friday, a group of us had the opportunity to attend the "Pre-Tour" of the upcoming LGBT gay history bus tour that Out & About Tours is putting together here in West Hollywood, making its debut for Halloween 2009!
Offering an in-depth yet entertaining look at LGBT history and its hotspots not found in your average LA travel guide, we undertook one hell of a fun "journey" through LGBT history beginning with LA's pre-Spanish settlement era, continuing through the Golden Age of Hollywood, the gay rights movement of the 60s & 70s and ending in present day.
We began in West Hollywood, continued on through Downtown LA, via Echo Park and Silverlake and then returned through Hollywood. We saw it all... from LA's first gay porn theatre to a Judy Garland performance at The Other Side piano bar in Silverlake. We even had a chance to enjoy a cocktail there as well!
From their website, here are some of the tour highlights:
- Join Out & About Tours as they share with guests the first footfalls of the Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade which occurred on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and McCadden Place in June of 1970.
- Out & About Tours uncovers LA’s more seedy side of life, as guests tour past Merced Theatre, LA’s first porn theatre from the 1880’s.
- Guests will swing by one of the last gay piano bars for a cocktail, a song or two and a fascinating five minute clip from a documentary of the same name, “The Other Side: A Queer History” by Jane Cantillon.
- Was “Stonewall” really the first gay uprising? Out & About Tours will ask guests to share a moment of silence at the site of LA’s “Stonewall,” two years before the riots occurred in New York City. The LA incident fueled many things, including the iconic magazine “The Advocate,” one of the world’s oldest LGBT publications, still in publication today.
- Many are aware of the phrase “Lipstick Lesbian.” Out & About Tours will take guests past the famous lesbian bar that coined the phrase and changed the way that gay woman dressed and conducted themselves publicly. The patrons of Peanuts on Santa Monica Boulevard put a new twist on the term “liberated woman.”
- It’s no secret that LA has a heavy Spanish influence but do Angelenos and tourist a-like really know where it all began? Out & About Tours will stop off at “El Pueblo” just outside of Olvera Street in Downtown LA and pay homage to some of the oldest public structures in the area and share with guests their significance in gay history.
- No tour of LA is complete without a jaunt on the world-famous Sunset Strip; Out & About Tours will show guests the location of the first openly gay bar of the area and show how it influenced the feel and shape of all gay bars thereafter.
- While the All-American white-boys were building a thriving “Boy’s Town” in the city that is now known as West Hollywood, LGBT Latinos and African American were dancing to the beat of their own drums in other parts of town. Out & About Tours will point out significant venues.
- If it’s more dirt that guests are looking for, Out & About Tours will show them LA’s oldest bathhouse that still operates today and once hosted many a closeted movie star.
- Out & About Tours will explore the complex gay underground scene during Tinseltown’s Golden Age for those guests who want the skinny on gay Hollywood.
- While touring through the eclectic city of Silverlake, Out & About Tours will salute the house high on a hill that hosted the first meeting of the gay movement in America.
- Out & About Tours prides itself in the fact that their comprehensive and entertaining tour contains more than 100 points of interest.
The tour itself runs on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as every other Friday. It departs from the ONE Archives Gallery & Museum in West Hollywood (which is a treat unto itself). From Out & About Tours, "the tour enlightens, educates and encourages riders to reflect on how history has shaped today’s gay-experience."
Check out this video we made from our trip, at:
Their most recent article:
Their official website: