Arts » Music

Celebrating Pride with Judy's Daughter

by David-Elijah Nahmod
Sunday Jun 18, 2017

Her mother, the late Judy Garland, was a gay icon. Now, nearly fifty years after her mother's death, Lorna Luft continues to embrace the gay community and the concept of Pride.

"I will always stand shoulder to shoulder with my LGBTQ brothers and sisters," Luft tells Bay Area Reporter, as she prepares to perform a special Pride-themed show at Feinstein's at the Nikko. "I grew up in a house that taught acceptance toward everyone. We've come a long way, but we have a long way to go."

Luft noted that her mother's passing in 1969 coincided with the Stonewall Riots, the night during which a group of LGBTs fought back against police harassment at the Stonewall Inn, a small and now-historic gay bar in New York City.

"I'm on the Board of the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative," Luft said. "It's a wonderful organization about giving back and spreading the word about tolerance. We need to learn more about tolerance. It was only a year ago that the horror of Pulse happened."

As we spoke, Luft also noted the recent terror attacks in London, which affected her personally.

"My husband is British," she said. "We're living in a world I never thought it would be; the whole world is upside down now."

Despite such tragedies, the singer said that she was excited about returning to San Francisco, a city where she has strong connections; her son went to college here.

"I have contributed a great deal of money to San Francisco because of my son's parking tickets," she said with a laugh.

She also spoke of her favorite spots in the city, which included the Hotel Nikko, where she'll be doing her Pride show.

"I love the Top of the Nikko," she said. "You can see the whole city up there. And I love Union Square, even though the neighborhood is bad for my credit cards. When I'm in Union Square I can hear my cards screaming to let them out of my wallet!"

Luft also noted San Francisco's famous hills.

"Just walk up California Street and you'll get all the exercise you need," she said.

Asked what her Pride show will entail, Luft was happy to answer, although she didn't want to give too much away. She prefers that her audience get most of the answer while she's performing the show.

"My show is about celebrating who we are," she said. "And it's about not being afraid. I'll be doing some of my mom's songs and a lovely medley from Peter Allen, my sister Liza's ex-husband. I want people to come see the show and to celebrate. Pride is about celebration. Forward is so much better than backward."

Luft added that she often thinks about the world her two grandchildren are going to grow up in.

"I celebrate Pride," she said. "I celebrate green to save the planet. I want everyone to celebrate Pride, and to bring their families. It was only 48 years ago that Pride began. Now Pride is celebrated in every city. Bring your flags. Bring whatever you want to celebrate!"

Lorna Luft performs at Feinstein's at the Nikko Friday June 23, 8pm and Saturday June 24 at 7pm. $28-$60 ($20 food/drink min.)Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St.

Copyright Bay Area Reporter. For more articles from San Francisco's largest GLBT newspaper, visit


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