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It is 6 o’clock on this warm Saturday evening, and the Christopher Street West Gay Pride Festival on San Vicente Boulevard is jammed. Nothing much is happening at the Rogaine booth, but free ID Lube is a big hit. At the Circuit Dance tent, revelers move to their own peculiar inner beat, regardless of what’s playing over the sound system. It is a time to let loose and possibly win a gift certificate at the Cock Ring Toss.

Photo by Patrick Range McDonald

“How much does it cost?” asks an L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy, dressed in full uniform, with his gun and handcuffs hanging from his belt.

“Two rings for a dollar, or six for $2,” says Sergio Pacheco, a friendly man with a quick smile. He works the booth, which is raising money for Hollywood’s Van Ness Recovery House.

“Give me six,” says the deputy, holding out two wrinkled dollar bills.

Pacheco takes the cash and hands over the black rings. The deputy sizes up his targets — three rows of five erect penises, or 15 penises in all.

“You have any tips?” asks the deputy, straight-faced.

“Just throw them over the cocks,” Pacheco says. “But it’s not as easy as it looks.”

“Don’t worry,” he says. “I’m a professional at this.”

The deputy doesn’t explain. At any rate, his first toss misses everything. So do the next five throws. “Damn,” he says.

That $10 Pleasure Chest gift certificate will not be his. “The Pleasure Chest donated the dildos,” Pacheco explains, “and we set up the booth. It was a joint effort.”

For his regular job, Pacheco manages the Midtowne Spa at Kohler Street. It is a gay bathhouse that features half-off Tuesdays, when private rooms cost $14.50 for eight hours.

“It’s always our busiest time,” Pacheco says. “We get 500 to 600 customers.”

Another festival-goer steps up and buys six rings from Pacheco. He’s a young, skinny lad with sunglasses and no shirt. On his second toss, the ring goes over one of the cocks.

“We have a winner,” Pacheco announces, and hands over the gift certificate.

“What’s the Pleasure Chest?” the young man asks his older friend.

“It’s a sex shop,” the friend replies.

The young man smiles.


Click here for more photos from Gay Pride Festival.

Also read Patrick Range McDonald's Queer Town on our staff blog, LA DAILY.

LA Weekly