A Great Place to Hang

Article excerpt

The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center pumps up its focus on community with the Village

If it takes a village to raise a child, it took the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and about $6 million to raise The Village, the center's newest facility opening in Hollywood June 21.

The 33,000-square-foot building, officially called The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, is designed to be a gathering place for all the city's gay men and lesbians. Featuring a palm tree-landscaped courtyard, open-air art gallery, coffee shop, 200-seat theater, 30-station cyber center, printing shop, and meeting and office space for community organizations, the building promises to be a welcome alternative to the Los Angeles area's more traditional gay gathering places in West Hollywood and Silver Lake.

"There is nothing else like this anywhere," said Lorri Jean, executive director of the center, calling the facility the wave of the future for gay and lesbian centers across the country. While similar organizations have set out to provide either a social services center or a community center, The Village represents an attempt to offer both, she said. Located about a mile from the center's headquarters and a few blocks from its Jeff Griffith Gay and Lesbian Youth Center, The Village also will help relieve overcrowding at the other buildings.

"For 27 years the center has been involved in reactive work--mental health services, shelter for kids kicked out of their homes, medical services for people with HIV, and even fighting antigay ballot initiatives," Jean said. …