LGBT Center’s ‘Simply diVine’ at Home at Hollywood Forever

An elegant picnic in a cemetery? But, of course. As a tradition for years before the turn of the century, families in New Orleans held massive, elegant picnics in their centuries-old cemeteries on All Saints’ Day to honor, visit and respect the memory of the spirits of their loved ones.

So now do nostalgic and reflective Angelenos at Hollywood Forever—and this year it’s especially for a good cause.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s 13th annual Simply diVine premier food and wine event for LGBT people and their allies is going bigger this year and will take place at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Saturday, March 24, 2018, from 6–9 p.m. in the most elegant of picnics.

Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger of Border Grill, a Los Angeles LGBT Center board member, invites everyone to help support the center and its life-changing and life-saving programs and services, and come be a “Star Among the Stars” at the annual premier food and wine event.

Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger of Border Grill at the Women in the World Salon at NeueSpace in Hollywood, California, February 13, 2018. (Photo by Monique A. LeBleu)

“This year, with our new home at the iconic Hollywood Forever, Simply diVine is giving you more than ever before—more of L.A.’s premier food, wine, and spirits, more space, more fun,” said Feniger, the event’s co-chair. “There’s never been a better time to show up and support the LGBT community. We need everyone in this fight as we keep working to build a world where all of us can thrive.”

Hollywood Forever is a frequent and popular venue for movie events through Cinespia and other events with picnics on the spacious and manicured lawns of the famous cemetery. At Simply diVine, Guests will sample extraordinary food and drinks from L.A.’s most popular restaurants, food trucks, wineries, distilleries, breweries, among the “founders of Hollywood’s great studios, as well as writers, directors, and, performers” such as Cecil B. DeMille, Johnny and Dee Dee Ramone, Jayne Mansfield, Gypsy Boots, Iron Eyes Cody, Rudolph Valentino, Judy Garland, Douglas Fairbanks, and recently Anton Yelchin, and “hundreds more of Hollywood’s greatest stars.”

Le Cirque Iris performer Simply diVine 2012. (Photo by Elise Thompson)

Paramount Studios and RKO Pictures were built on 40 acres on the back half of the original 100-acre Hollywood Cemetery, founded in 1899, and where Paramount is still today.

A more intimate experience is available, allowing a one-hour exclusive early entry to the main event at 5 p.m. with a CLUB VIP Lounge ticket. This ticket will feature private bartenders from The Chapel at The Abbey, tastings of rare wines and Tito’s Handmade Vodka, music and entertainment by Rachel Sorsa Band, DJ Young Wags, and magician Bill Bailey of the Magic Castle, and celebrity chef experiences with Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken of Border Grill, with complimentary VIP parking included.

Participating restaurant partners include Blue Window, Border Grill, Café D’Etoile, Connie & Ted’s, Craft, Crossroads, Hinoki & the Bird, Joan’s on Third, Kismet, Melody, Pot, Rao’s, Rossoblu, Shake Shack, Tavern, and The Village Idiot, with Sous Chef’s sponsored by Hollywood Forever and Wells Fargo and Pastry Chef’s sponsored by Endemol Shine North America, Keller Williams Beverly Hills, and Sysco.

The Banh Mi in progress at Good Girl at Simply diVine in 2012. (Photo by Elise Thompson)

Wineries, craft beers, spirits, specialty coffees and juicers include Classic Wines, Common Cider Company, Equality Vodka, Health-Ade Kombucha, Henry Wine Group, Hollywood Hot, Jardesca, JFC International, Le Grand Courtage, Middlebar, Mosaic Wine Alliance, Mulholland Distilling, Nosotros Tequila, Planet Wine, Riboli Family Wines, Southern Wine & Spirits, and Treasury Wine Estates, with Aqua Panna, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, and Perrier® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water as in-kind sponsors and Sommelier sponsors American Airlines, RideYellow, and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

Since 1969 the Los Angeles LGBT Center has cared for, championed and celebrated LGBT individuals and families in Los Angeles and beyond with the Center’s “more than 600 employees” providing services “for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world.”

Ticket prices are $150 for FOODIE advance general admission ($160 for FOODIE at the door) where guests attend from 6 – 9 p.m., and CLUB VIP tickets are $500 per person, where guests can attend starting at 5 p.m.

[6pm] This just in! Starting now through Saturday at 4:30 p.m. you can use code RAINBOW to receive $25 off FOODIE tickets!

Support simplydivinela.org and share photos at the event with hashtag #simplydivine.

Hollywood Forever, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038. All online ticket sales end on March 24, 2018, at 5 p.m. Tickets at the door are $160 per general FOODIE ticket on a first-come, first-served basis until sold out. All proceeds support the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Learn more at simplydivinela.org

The line for Umami at Simply diVine in 2012. (Photo by Elise Thompson)

 

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About Monique A. LeBleu

Monique A. LeBleu is a writer, photographer, videographer, shameless foodie and wineaux. Her love of film history and a background in film production, post production and film theory give her unique insights into her movie reviews, and a brief background in technical theater fuels her passion on all-things theater and film. As a foodie, living in the ever-growing and diverse culinary landscape that is the City of Los Angeles feeds her never-ending pursuit of the perfect comfort food. She lives in the hope that someday she'll find the world's best Mac n' Cheese to pair with a saucy Malbec.
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