EVITA | Q&A With Ollywood and Andrés Rigal

Every Friday in West Hollywood!

Written by

Aitor Saumell

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Founded by Ollywood and Andrés Rigal, EVITA is LA's hottest LGBTQIA+ party happening every Friday night in West Hollywood. The seasonal party has featured huge DJs, singers, celebrities, and even the RuPaul Drag Race queens while also hosting new up-and-coming talents. We sat down with Ollywood and Andrés to discuss EVITA, how it started, and their plans for the party's future.

Images courtesy of Davide Laffe

Describe an EVITA Party to someone who has never been before?

Ollywood: EVITA is a weekly Friday queer night at Nightingale Plaza in West Hollywood. We usually run on 4-5 month seasons once a year. We are a performance based party with 4-5 shows per week. We have had everyone from major singers and DJs to all of the RuPaul Drag Race queens and other internet sensations.

ANDRÉS: We have always taken great pride in the fact that when you attend EVITA you can immediately feel that each event is intentionally programmed to represent all sides of Los Angeles. It’s a space where everyone can be themselves and raise their flag without any judgment—No matter who you are, or how you identify, you will be welcomed and celebrated.

How did EVITA begin?

A: EVITA originated a decade ago in 2013. Back then the overwhelming representation of LGBTQIA+ culture was the celebration of hyper masculine, cisgender culture. Queer representation was not what it is today and the word “Queer” was rarely used, if at all, when describing nightlife. At the time, I wanted to create a brand that celebrated the strength, power, and perseverance of fluid sexual energy–What was then seen as counterculture in the LGBTQIA+ scene. The name EVITA was intentionally chosen from Latin/Hebrew origin meaning "life” which we aimed to share with our guests every week. Since its creation, EVITA has existed in many forms throughout the decade, but the brand as we know it today wasn’t born until OLLYWOOD and I partnered in 2017. Since then EVITA has exploded into a glittering seasonal spectacle featuring the best of the best of emerging and established talent.

What makes an EVITA Party special? What's the secret sauce? 

O: We work very hard on making sure every week is special with the best talent we can get. The venue is spectacular, which makes it a really beautiful place to be each week. Lastly, the EVITA family that we have created is super special. We have people that treat the party like their church. It’s a place where they can feel free, dream and be their true selves and we encourage all of that.

A: Honestly, I feel like the secret sauce to EVITA is the combination of my amazing creative partnership with OLLYWOOD, our incredible queer family of performers, hosts, DJs and dancers and most importantly the entire Los Angeles LGBTQIA+ nightlife scene, which shares its energy and light with us every Friday. This unique symphony creates a lighting in a bottle effect that even today continues to inspire awe in myself every time we open our doors.

Why do you run in seasons?

O: Because so much work goes into the party, we find it’s best to put everything we have into it for a few months and have a super strong season. We then let it rest for a year or longer, and bring it back when the demand reaches a critical level. We both have other projects and careers so it’s a lot to take on when we are in it. But we love it. Taking it away means people miss it and are excited about it when it returns.

A: You can’t have Christmas every day! LOL–but seriously, seasons are special because they are time capsules and burn moments, memories and feelings that reach your soul and you won't soon forget. I’ve always been very intentional with everything I create and I’ve never been the type to just throw a party for no reason. That said, when I create a brand, I aim for it to grow over the years with it becoming a moment in time that cannot be duplicated. Magic is found in the ephemeral. Also, running in seasons allows the brand to rest, recharge and return stronger than when it retired.

What are some favorite EVITA memories?

O: For me, the first party after Covid was incredible. The city opened on a Thursday and we opened the next day on Friday. There was a line of hundreds of people down the street. Everyone was just so happy to be out and together again. Dua Lipa came and hosted the party. Orville Peck performed. It was spectacular.

A: I agree! The season after Covid lockdown was so special. I think that we all realized how important queer nightlife is and this was underscored when we were one of the first parties to return after a year of solitude. In all my years I’ve never experienced energy and gratitude like that.

What do you have planned for this season?

O: There is a whole new wave of talent in LA that I’m really excited to welcome to the party. Some new kids that have moved here know of the party but haven’t been yet. I love seeing the creativity of looks that kids put together. It’s never about money, or how much you spent on your look. I love seeing what people can create.

A: The most exciting part of an EVITA seasonal return is that there is a whole new ocean of talent to feature on our stage. So much has happened since our last season and we are thrilled to be able to invite all of the new faces that have emerged into our community. Of course, we have to also invite our famous family favorites back to EVITA! Oly and I like to keep it a weekly surprise so I can’t say exactly what we have planned, but I can say that you’re going to love what we have coming. ;)

Dream line up for a fantasy EVITA Party?

O: Paris Hilton on the decks, Lindsay Lohan hosting, RuPaul lip-syncing, Britney Spears and Lil Nas X performing.

A: Honey Dijon spinning, Robyn performing, Jennifer Coolidge hosting, surrounded by all my family and friends.

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Ollywood, EVITA, Andrés Rigal, Dua Lipa, David Laffe