www.hotdonnas.com / @hotdonnasclubhouse
READ OUR STORY BELOW, but first...
WHAT IS THIS FUNDRAISER FOR?
Hot Donna's Clubhouse is an all inclusive space for queer, non-binary, trans and lesbian individuals who want to have fun in a safe space. What does that mean? We want you to visit Hot Donna's and feel safe to express your truest self, without judgement or scorn from the business or the patrons. We want you to have the courage to flirt with someone you find attractive, without having to worry if they're straight. We want you to be in a place that feels like its yours, without the overwhelming presence of cis-gay men taking over. We welcome anyone who identifies as a lesbian or a trans person (non-binary fits under this umbrella as enby folks don't associate with the sex they were prescribed at birth).
We are focused on opening this space in Los Angeles and are focused on the Silverlake/Los Feliz/Echo Park area as it's an emerging queer scene outside of West Hollywood's 'boystown'.
WHY IS IT CALLED A CLUBHOUSE?
Hot Donna's wants to exist beyond the simple idea of a bar. We want to be home base for hang outs, birthday parties, co-working, games, and more. We know that it's unrealistic that our community would want to consume alcohol 3-4x a week in order to find safe space. So Hot Donna's Clubhouse will be open from 9/10am in the morning and be a safe hang-out space until about 4/5pm where we would transition into a typical bar space. We have big plans to be inclusive of all ages and preferences when it comes to community engagement and programming. We will also be happy to serve fun mocktails, lattes, and small bites created by local queer business owners.
WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO OPEN A QUEER BAR FOR LBTQIA PEOPLE IN LOS ANGELES? (yes, we left out the G)
There is a huge lack of diversity in the clubs, bars and spaces in the iconic LGBTQ+ scene in West Hollywood at the moment, which is our well-known "gayborhood" in LA. Additionally, there are currently no brick & mortar spaces in LA that cater to a lesbian, trans/non-binary crowd other than the LGBT center. Lastly, there is a huge gap when it comes to hiring in our current LA-based queer spaces. So Hot Donna's would like to hire inclusively, focusing on queers of all body types, genders, ethnicities, and sexualities. We need people like you, people who care about diversity and inclusive to give your assistance/support in making this happen.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT THE CURRENT LACK OF LESBIAN+NON-BINARY CENTRIC BARS IN LOS ANGELES?
Beyond hosting events for our community 1-2x a month, we have been building a well thought out plan with a few friends (an architect, a branding designer, an ad exec, a realtor, a restauranteur) and would love to have your endorsement and assistance so people like me can have a place to call home outside of home. We are currently exploring any kind of vacancies in surrounding areas and building financials for our future space to ensure that we will make a profit, in addition to working with other queer organizations on a daily basis to make this a reality that is reflective of our community.
WHERE ARE YOU GETTING THE MONEY TO DO THIS?
Beyond personal investment, we have discussed amongst ourselves crowd-sourcing amongst LGBTQIA+ Hollywood figures, influencers, friends, local businesses, etc. because we want the community to own a piece of this clubhouse. We know there is a need for this space and that it will profit greatly - we just need YOUR SUPPORT. We are also taking on limited investors that have a heart for this community.
WHY HASN'T THERE BEEN A LESBIAN OR TRANS FRIENDLY BAR IN WeHo OR LOS ANGELES?
Good question. There are very few city/county-wide initiatives to preserve LGBTIA+ culture or to provide creative ways to help queer women/non-binary folks and/or queer BIPOC people get the funding to start a for-profit business in such a wealthy area like Los Angeles. As we've seen in the news over decades, this has been a huge issue in our country, society and community, as queer women, queer BIPOC folks and trans people have been marginalized when it comes to major financial opportunities. Ideally, Hot Donna's would be the antithesis of that exact dilemma, where people of that ilk can get an opportunity to work in a for-profit business that makes a difference in their respective communities.
RISKS AND CHALLENGES
The common risks and challenges of this project is that it doesn't make it. That we spend money on rent, interiors, alcohol, marketing, etc. and no one comes and no one spends the money to keep the business profitable. Do we believe this will happen? No. Is it possible? Of course.
Over the years, we have attended many wonderful events hosted by tons of fabulous lesbian event organizers in an effort to find and build queer community without the overcrowding of gay men. We have always wanted to collect all these events and wonderful people into one place we can call our home base. A place where we can go every night of the week to see the familiar faces and meet new potential friends and partners.
That's why we've dreamed for years of creating a clubhouse that was inclusive to queer women and gender expansive people. I myself feel outside of the gender binary, even if I might present more feminine. So I want a space where other non-binary/trans individuals can connect with the beautiful humans we've created a community with over the years.
Our mission right now is to connect with as many lesbian, trans/non-binary, BIPOC, queer creators and promoters to hear from them about what YOU want and need in a safe and fun space. We also want to hear from you directly via instagram or email. So please, feel free to reach out to us at [email redacted] or on IG @hotdonnasclubhouse or on our website at www.hotdonnas.com/contact and tell us what you want and need from a space like Hot Donna's Clubhouse.
Additionally, we are still seeking investors, donations and space to live. We will continue to host events as we search for a space, to continue our mission of creating queer community, and to continue raising funds.
We are focused on opening this space in 2022, and honey, that costs $$$$
So come to one of our events to continue to support us and share the word with your personal community. They might be looking for a safe place to have fun, too.
All proceeds received from merch sales, drink sales or event tickets go directly back into Hot Donna's pocket for opening costs (ie: permitting, licensing, attorney fees, etc). We do not personally pocket any of the funds for our own personal expenditures.
We are still on the prowl for the perfect space in the perfect location, but once we find that place - the more money we have, the faster and easier it will be to open.
ABOUT: LAUREN RICHER/Founder
As a queer she/they person, resident of West Hollywood, and an activist - I absolutely love that there is such a lively gay scene in the area, that's why I moved here. However, myself and many of my female identifying and non-binary friends have always felt very excluded from the male dominated scene in West Hollywood. There hasn't been a designated lesbian or trans safe space in the area for decades.
I want to invite more people into the area, to live, to party, to eat and enjoy all there is to offer in this area, with the addition of being inclusive to all. I believe making a more prominent female/non-binary/trans inclusive bar/club/restaurant would change the landscape of this city and bring in more open-minded clientele and renters that can help our community evolve to be reflective of the world we're growing into today.
I am currently a casting director for feature films and television, focusing on diversity and inclusion when it comes to putting people of color, people with disabilities, queer youth, etc. on screen. I specialize in finding new talent to bring positive representation in our media. Previously, I had been an art director in advertising, and have spent many years off and on being a bartender when times were tight. Opening a space like this would be a true culmination of all my skills and aspirations, so I am very passionate about this journey.