No Pride

Officials cancel annual OC gay festival at UC Irvine

Others are more blunt. "Look at Long Beach. Their pride party is fun, fun, fun! Ours has been horrible," said one well-known community activist. "Part of the problem is that Orange County needs to put on a festival that helps gay people feel good about themselves, and improving the venue is just one part of it. Let's face it: except for Laguna Beach, there is a strong sense throughout Orange County that openly gay people aren't to be seen. It's a pity, but people have to go elsewhere."

Leaving OC for a good and productive time isn't always necessary, however. During Memorial Day weekend, for example, Woody's at the Beach restaurant and the Boom Boom Room organized with Peter Blake Gallery and 31 other local and national businesses to sponsor a "Hunks in Trunks" party that delighted partygoers and raised more than $28,000 for Laguna Beach Shanti AIDS Resource Center.

Nevertheless, OCCP's Helms—who has been in consultation with LA's Christopher Street West festival managers as well as Long Beach Pride officials—says he is not giving up on a future successful countywide festival.

"Maybe we have come to a time when gay people don't believe they need to fight for anything anymore," he said. "I hope that is not true. I think we have to come up with a new agenda, a new production."

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