Dia Art Foundation presents Walter De Maria’s Truck Trilogy in Dia:Beacon. Begun in 2011 and completed posthumously, the Truck Trilogy consists of three classic Chevrolet pickup trucks, which have been stripped of all extraneous elements and details. Placed vertically in the trucks’ flatbeds are circular, square, and triangular polished-stainless-steel rods. Similar to De Maria’s Bel Air Trilogy (2000–11), the Truck Trilogy juxtaposes the elegant lines of mid-century American industrial design with the geometric vocabulary that underscores more than fifty years of the artist’s practice. This installation is organized as part of a year of programming in celebration of Walter De Maria’s art, marking the fortieth anniversary of The Lightning Field, The New York Earth Room, and The Vertical Earth Kilometer, each commissioned by Dia and completed in 1977. Walter De Maria was born in Albany, California, in 1935. He died in Los Angeles in 2013. Opens September 22, 2017, Dia:Beacon.
From LSD to surfboards and iPhones, California has long been defined by an audacious, experimental energy. This summer, London's Design Museum will celebrate the Golden State’s influence on contemporary design culture with a new exhibition, California: Designing Freedom. The central premise is that California has pioneered tools of personal liberation, and that the roots of today’s techno utopia can be traced back to the free-wheeling counterculture of the 60’s and 70’s.
California has its own history of enabling freedom of expression, from new graphic languages to social media. Perhaps no place on earth has done more to democratise access to industrial technology than California. I am a direct beneficiary of that. In December 2010, I joined the 21st century by investing in my very first MacBook Air. That laptop facilitated my leap from print to digital publishing, and my hop across the pond to carve out a career for myself as a freelance journalist. Through that instrument I was able to build a website and craft my own story, my own artefact in the digital realm.
With individualism and self-empowerment being emblematic of the State, the idea of personal liberation is intrinsic to a Californian attitude. It’s no coincidence that this is also home to Hollywood, the centre of myth making in the West. “That’s the amazing thing about Los Angeles,” says artist Doug Aitken. “Anyone can go there and carve out their own world and create their own reality.” And if the iPhone is the pinnacle of Californian ingenuity, then taking a selfie and posting it on Facebook is a quintessential Californian behaviour. Californian products have affected our lives to such an extent that in some ways the entire world has essentially become Californian.
California: Designing Freedom runs until 17 October. design museum.org
Ojai, California is the crown jewel in the hippy kingdom, which has for the better part of a century lured dreamers, doers, and thinkers pursuing spiritual enlightenment and artists seeking inspiration and calm.
Now a new crop of hipster makers and merchants is traveling the 80 miles north of Los Angeles to bask in Ojai's groovy, quirky sensibility. Brad Steward is one of the six founders of Caravan Outpost—a beautifully hand-crafted Airstream hotel which embraces a small space, sustainable lifestyle.
The former apparel designer has worked between Geneva, Switzerland, Annecy, France, Helsinki, Finland and Portland, Oregon for the last 25 years. He believes that, as a travel company, a certain minimalism and utility necessarily drives what they do – Airstreams by nature lend themselves to sustainability. With that in mind, he is appealing to the type of people who consciously choose to have ‘fewer, nicer’ things in their life. But don't let that put you off investing in a Caravan Outpost emblazoned hoodie from the onsite store which has a fine range of clothing, vinyl, blankets and enamelware.
For the ultimate outdoorsy experience head to the Ojai Hot Springs, a non-profit run by a handful of locals who love the springs and want to see them preserved. It’s a hot natural spring, one that you can soak in for hours before the time comes to mosey back to your hammock at the Airstream Park. There, you'll be cooking dinner alfresco under the stars while connecting with a community of environmentally conscious like-minded folks around a crackling log fire.
It’s something the posh crowd up at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa probably won’t get to experience, but that’s not to say you shouldn't sample their signature Kuyam treatment which means “a place to rest together" in the language of the Chumash people who originally inhabited the Ojai Valley. Combining the therapeutic effects of cleansing mud, dry heat, inhalation therapy and guided meditation, you’ll return home feeling enlightened and inspired.
caravanoutpost.com; ojaihotsprings.com; ojairesort.com
Featuring around 500 works, the exhibition Autophoto examines the history of photography’s relationship with the automobile, from 1900 to the present day. For much of the last century, the automobile represented something glamorous and exciting. Indeed, for many people, cars remain potent status symbols today.
Driving along empty highways still evokes a sense of freedom and the evolution of this idea can be traced back to the Beat generation of the 1950s, epitomized by Jack Kerouac’s epoch-defining novel, On The Road (1957).
The following year witnessed the publication of The Americans, a seminal photography book – indeed, arguably the most influential of the 20th Century – by the US photographer Robert Frank. To create this epic work, which documented every echelon of US society, Frank secured a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1955 to fund a series of road trips across the United States over the following two years. During his travels, he took 28,000 shots, before selecting just 83 for the final series of The Americans. One of them recorded an assembly line in a Ford Motor Company factory known as the River Rouge Plant in Detroit.
Perhaps no city on earth has such a symbiotic relationship with the automobile as Los Angeles. US artist Ed Ruscha’s series of 34 black-and-white aerial photographs of vacant car parks within Los Angeles looks at the impact of the motorcar upon the landscape. Thirtyfour Parking Lots was one of 17 artist’s books that Ruscha published during the ‘60s and ‘70s (“I want to be the Henry Ford of book making,” he once said).
Another brilliant work tackling this theme is a project called Vector Portraits by the American photographer Andrew Bush. After settling in Los Angeles in 1985, Bush took photographs of cars and their passengers taken while he was driving in the city’s streets and freeways. With the help of equipment installed on his passenger seat, Andrew Bush captured drivers framed by their car windows and the surrounding landscapes, either stopped in traffic or traveling, lost in their thoughts or interacting with other passengers. The portraits reveal how connected drivers and cars are; just as we tend to say how much dogs and their owners look alike, it seems as though cars and drivers also share a close identity.
To kick off LGBT Pride month, I am extraordinarily proud to present the legendary gay rights activist Troy Perry, co-founder of the world’s first gay pride parade, which took place in Hollywood on June 28, 1970. We stand on the shoulders of giants like Troy.
You’ve just returned from Cuba—what was happening there?
I was the first American citizen to receive Cuba's CENESEX award in front of almost 5000 people at the 10th Cuban Gala Against Homophobia at the Karl Marx Theater in Havana. The National Center for Sex Education [Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual] is directed by Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro, a champion of gay rights in Cuba.
Do you have a history with Cuba?
My dad was the biggest bootlegger in all of Florida, but he owned a tobacco farm too. The only country he went to outside the U.S. was Cuba. There’s a picture of him taken in the 1930s sitting in a wicker chair waiting for a ship to take him to Havana. He wanted to know what the Cubans were doing to be the gold standard of tobacco in the world. I’ve been honored by all sorts of groups, but little Cuba meant a lot to me.
What kind of obstacles did you face as an openly gay man in the 60s?
In 1965 I was drafted when I was 25 years old into the U.S. army and sent to Germany. I was a cryptographer, and openly gay. I had no problems with the military but back then in the 60’s, under tuberculosis and cancer they asked the question do you have ‘homosexual tendencies’. I said no I don't have homosexual tendencies I am a homosexual! They would ask are you are practicing homosexual and I would answer “I have it down pat”. It was like that until don't ask don't tell in the early 90s.
When did homosexuality become legal in California?
Back then if you were a lesbian you had to have three pieces of female clothing, if you were a man you had to have three pieces of male clothing under your drag or you’d be carted off to jail. That's how stupid the laws were in California. I wanted allies. The only African American in the room was Mervyn Dymally, California’s first black lieutenant governor. In 1975 Governor Jerry Brown [with the support of Assemblyman Willie Brown who first introduced the bill in 1970] then signed the Consenting Adult Sex Bill that legalized homosexuality in California. It said that whatever we did in the privacy of our own bedroom is nobody’s business.
Where did gays and lesbians go to meet back then?
Huntington Park, where I founded MCC, had two gay bars. Our Chief of Police in the little town of Huntington Park, a separate City at the edge of LA, had a lesbian sister as it turned out. He would not even let his officers come in the gay bar. There was a hall there where the big GGRC drag ball took place every year, purposefully because the LAPD could not make any arrests that were out of their jurisdiction. We had a lesbian bartender and if anyone came in trying to cause trouble she took a pool cue and would wait outside with the person for the cops to come pick them up. They didn't come into the bar. It was called the Islander. The other bar was called the Little Tokyo.
Anywhere else good?
I’d been to a private bar called Canyon Club in Topanga Canyon where you went to the front door and you buzzed. They had a window and they would decide if you were gay or not. An ex vice officer of the LAPD opened the bar because he had a gay nephew who had invited me. Then they buzz you through the second door. The nephew told me if the police come the lights will go up and there will be a red light that will twinkle for a little bit. If there is a lesbian couple here grab one of them as they won’t arrest you if you were dancing with a woman.
Did you have an inkling that you might be gay while married to your wife?
When we were married I went into a bookstore in Santa Ana where I pastored. I saw "Physique" magazine. I had known I was different but couldn't face it. My church had told me if I would just marry a good woman that would take care of that so I married my pastor’s daughter. Two children later here we are in Santa Ana. I asked the lady if she had anything on homosexuality. It was an education. I believe today that she was a lesbian. When I got back I threw everything away except “The Homosexual in America" which said there were millions of people just like me. I hid the books between the mattress of the bed.
What was your childhood like?
We didn't dance or drink although of course my father was a bootlegger. My mother was Southern Baptist, my father’s family were Pentecostals. I was sexually raped when I was in my teens. He was an alcoholic. My mother remarried a man when my Dad died. She said to me “you have to help me raise your brothers”. My father died being chased by the police in Tallahassee Florida. My Uncle Howard, who was married to my father's sister, was the grand dragon of the Klu Klux Clan for the state of Florida. This is my history.
What are your earliest religious memories?
I have an interesting story some of which I have never told. When I was eight years old Uncle Howard died and I was taken to his funeral at a little Methodist church in the woods. After the funeral we went out to the graveside, the Pastor nodded towards the woods and hundreds of ghosts started coming out of the woods. After it’s over with we get in the car and mother says to my father I can't believe what we just saw and he said we could never talk about this.
What was it like growing up in the segregated South?
Many years later I was passing through Tallahassee and visited my Aunt Bessie. I went to her home. I’m 27 years old. She goes into the kitchen and moves a rug and pulls out her Klan robes and Klan bonds. She said I guess I’ll never get the money out of this and I said I hope you never do.
Was there racial segregation in your town?
I was one of those Southern kids that grew up with black kids. In the South, before puberty, white and black kids played together. When I was a little kid we were so poor we were the end of the line of white families closest to Frenchtown, the segregated neighborhood. I believe this with all my heart that what happened were life lessons.
How did things change after your Dad died?
When my Dad died and I was trying to help my mother. She had five boys In the South you got married again very quickly as a widow. Her new husband was an alcoholic and there was always tension in the house. He’d put a gun in my mother’s mouth and said if you ever leave me I’ll kill you. He moved us away from Tallahassee and would not let me go to church because someone might find out what’s going on at the house. He tried to force my little brother to eat liver, stuffing it down his throat. My mother jumps up, screaming at him to stop, and she picked up a beer bottle and broke it over his head. He knocked my mother down on the floor. I’m 13 years old. He pulls the phone out of the wall. I ran out of the house over the hill to a neighbour's house. I told them my stepfather was trying to kill my mother. She pulled out a pistol because the law in a lot of Southern states was that if you come on our property, they can shoot you. She walked me back home and mother was sitting there crying with a black eye.
How did that make you feel?
I loved my mother. To this day if I have a vision of God, it'd be my mother. She loved me and all her boys unconditionally. When I came out her biggest fear was that someone would hurt me. I begged my mother to not let him back. When he came home I knew from his look he’s going to murder me. He hates me because I reminded my mother of my father, Troy Senior. He announced a week later that his brother was visiting but it wasn't his brother, it was some guy he’d met on a shrimp boat. And he brought him in to teach me a lesson.
This man crawls in my bed in the middle of the night, puts his hand over my mouth.…I had never had anal sex. And it hurt so bad. I thought this is God doing this to me because he knows my secret feelings that I’m different somehow. I was such a sad child. The woman who drove the school bus was probably a lesbian, she wore comfortable shoes and had a baseball bat. She could tell that day I got on the bus. I justified it by telling her that he’d stolen my tip money so I put $10 in my pants, along with my toothbrush. I was so broken. I walked into the school, walked out the back door to the Greyhound bus station in Daytona. That was 1953. I said I wanted a ticket to Moultrie, Georgia where my aunt and uncle lived.
What do you remember about that journey as a 13 year old kid?
The buses back then acted as city buses too so if you were country people you’d just wave it down. A person gets on and was in male clothes but with lipstick. A very rough looking male wearing makeup. It got deathly quiet and h/she was going to the next little town. We dropped the person off and everyone started talking again.
Did you ever tell your Mom what happened?
I found out later, after I ran away, that my mother ended up screaming at her husband “if you’ve done anything to him I will kill you”. She became a tiger and scared him to death. I could never tell me mother what happened. Even as an adult.
What impact did that have on you, running away and moving to Georgia?
My aunt said “you have a calling to the ministry don't you”. I love church. And I knew I loved the Lord. They were Pentecostals. She started the snake handling churches. I was not into any of that. My other relatives were Trinitarian which was ‘Jesus Only’. She said “God is going to use you but not in the way you think.” Women weren't allowed to cut their hair. Men couldn’t wear jewellery.
They packed a little suitcase for me and I moved to El Paso Texas to live with my Aunt Bessie, my father’s sister where I was the only white boy in a school of mostly Mexicans. I ended up going back home and my mother is Baptist. I was licensed to preach at the age of 15. I had clergy in my family. I was tall for my age. When I was 18 I was already evangelizing. My Uncle Roy, the shortest Mason in America, he could tell that something was wrong. By now it’s two years later and we went to pick up my goods. He had a gun with him, he was a Baptist minister but people are afraid of short people. In the South the women’s rights went through the husband, didn't matter if she was a widow.
How did these experiences impact your politics today?
Before Trump was elected I really thought all the things are going to come together. We won marriage, the big enchilada. But I discovered very quickly that we have to fight for the refried beans and the little enchiladas too. Of course I voted for Hillary Clinton and we went to bed early on Election Night, I didn't see any way that he could win. I woke up the next morning in shock. Americans forget we’re a Republic, and there’s a very small group of people that elect the President. Even though she won 3 million more votes the Electoral College voted him.
What are your views on LA Pride becoming Resist?
Brian Pendleton called me and said we need to reset what we’re doing. We feel like we need to do something different this time. We can go back next year but our community needs to hear again that we are going to resist, like the early demonstrations here in LA. Black lives do matter, Hispanic lives matter, union groups, women, trans lives matter.
Will you be attending?
My partner Philip and I absolutely will. I will speak at the start of the march with the Mayor of LA. This is my home. When I moved here I adopted Los Angeles and I love my city.
The first annual Lambda LitFest Los Angeles is a celebration of contemporary voices honoring and expanding on the rich, diverse tradition of LGBTQ writers and readers in Southern California.
LitFest at large will run at satellite locations all week. Tonight I heard Los Angeles based writer, musician, filmmaker, and former porn actor Christopher Zeidschegg, aka Danny Wylde, read an excerpt from his book.
On Wednesday, Emmy-award winning writer Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Hannibal) will be joined in conversation with film critics Dave White and Alonso Duralde while speaking about his epic career at an event in West Hollywood.
The main event, however, is LitFest Saturday on March 11 at Barnsdall Art Park — a full day of back-to-back panels with esteemed members of the LGBTQ literary community including Justin Torres (We the Animals) who lives in Los Angeles, where he is Assistant Professor of English at UCLA.
“Queer Truth: Nonfiction & Journalism in a Post Truth World” will bring together journalists and essayists to discuss the importance of telling our stories at a time when the very concepts of objectivity and truth in the media are under scrutiny.
Peter Paige (co-creator and executive producer of the award-winning, critically-acclaimed hit Freeform series The Fosters) will be joined by four other writers to discuss their approach to crafting queer characters in their work from novels to screenplays and everything in between.
Part of Lambda LitFest’s mission is to celebrate underrepresented authors born in L.A. To that end, Avenue 50 Studio in Highland Park presents the best and brightest writers of Chicanx culture, defined as “a new, radical, decolonized, inclusive identity” (beyond Chicano/Chicana and Latino/Latina) “forged on the streets of L.A. for LGBTQ and non-binary familia.”
LAMBDA LitFest Los Angeles March 6-12; lambdalitfest.org
Every city reaches a point when its arts and cultural institutions need more than just a lick of paint. Such was the case when Frank Gehry was brought in to breath life back into the once thriving port town of Bilbao. The Guggenheim Museum seemed to put the city on the world map. But could commissioning a 'starchitect' to wave a magic wand and thereby create a ripple-like revenue boost, also known as the 'Bilbao Effect', work in somewhere like, say, Saskatchewan? With the opening of Remai Modern Art Gallery in Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, by Canadian architectural firm KPMB (Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects) and Smith Carter Architects and Engineers, we might be about to find out.
As it turns out, the birthplace of abstract minimalist painter Agnes Martin has a legacy of progressive support for the arts. In the 1940’s, Saskatchewan was the only place in North America to elect a socialist government. Established in 1948, the Saskatchewan Arts Board is the oldest public arts funder in North America, and second oldest in the world after the Arts Council of Great Britain. In the era of McCarthyism, the political dimension was one thing that attracted luminaries such as Clement Greenberg, Barnett Newman, Donald Judd and John Cage to lead workshops here in the 1950s.
The socialist government, which funneled money into health research, is the reason why little ol’ Saskatchewan is not only the birthplace of Canadian medicare but also where the term ‘psychedelic’ was first coined in 1951. But had it not been for German Jewish exile by the name of Frederick Mendel who came to Saskatoon in the late 1930s, we might never have heard of this little prairie town. Partly advised by his daughter who was an artist herself, he brought world-class art to the city. With the opening of the Mendel Art Gallery in 1964, it suddenly had paintings by leading European and Canadian modernists such as Georges Braque, Francis Picabia and Emily Carr.
Then in 1982 Sir Anthony Caro founded the Triangle Network which brought together 25 emerging and mid-career artists from the US, Canada and the UK, who spent 2 weeks making work alongside each other. The triangle consisted of London, New York and Saskatoon. Today, Gregory Burke, Remai Modern’s CEO & Executive Director, aims to provide a forum for artists to explore urgent questions surrounding climate change, globalization, technological advances and the continuing aftershocks of colonization across the world.
Slated to open to the public in late 2017, the museum will house a permanent collection of more than 8,000 works, including the world’s most comprehensive collection of Picasso linocuts (405 total) and 23 rare Picasso ceramics, as well as works by contemporary indigenous artists, a series of rotating exhibitions, and the works that once resided inside famed local cultural center, the Mendel Art Gallery, until it closed its doors in 2015. Fancy a trip to Saskatoon?
On this day exactly 50 years ago, protestors gathered at The Black Cat Tavern in the first documented LGBT civil rights demonstration in the U.S. February 11, 1967 often gets eclipsed by June 28, 1969, the day of the famous Stonewall riot in New York City, which is widely regarded as the beginning of the modern LGBT rights movement. But in truth the 1967 Black Cat protest is where it all began. Located on Sunset Boulevard, the modest Art Deco building that houses The Black Cat attracted a largely working class clientele and was nestled among a number of businesses friendly to gay men and lesbians. This is back in the days of a pre-hipster Silverlake, long before ordering artisanal cocktails and kale salad became de rigueur. Following a police raid, hundreds gathered outside the bar on February 11, 1967 in peaceful protest. To celebrate this milestone, L.A. Conservancy has commissioned a series of short films about The Black Cat and other lesser-known places that tell the stories of Los Angeles’ rich LGBTQ heritage. Despite the growing awareness of these places, many significant community anchors have been lost before their stories could be told. “Anything that happens that’s not documented we are destined to forget," says Alexei Romanoff, who helped organize the first P.R.I.D.E (Personal Rights In Defense and Education) demonstration. "If we stop telling our story, if we stop educating our own community, that’s when we make the big mistakes,” says Romanoff. “We are a tribe. By being close and united we don't give up hope and that’s what these films are teaching us.”
To watch the movies visit laconservancy.org/lgbtq-films
The Tailwaggers store, which first opened its doors back in 2003 in Hollywood, has become a cornerstone of the Los Angeles doggy community, with a second store in West Hollywood. Spearheaded by its CEO Todd Warner, pictured here with his dogs Buddy and Henry, the stores do a top job of providing the community with healthy, natural pet care products that are consistent with a holistic approach to pet health.
The Tailwaggers name itself has a fine pedigree, dating back to the Tail-waggers club created in 1915 in England. Bette Davis put the organization on the map in the US when she was elected as President of Southern California’s branch in 1929. Her dedication to animal welfare was a powerful force in raising awareness in Hollywood. In 1938, Life magazine covered one of her fund raising events, which enlisted the likes of Howard Hughes as a generous donor and Walt Disney, who personally designed the place cards.
Todd Warner (note that the initials T and W align beautifully with the name of his store), is building on that legacy by carrying the baton with The Tailwaggers Foundation which serves as a financial resource for non-profit animal rescue groups who are struggling to cover the cost of medical care for sick and injured animals. Recognizing that healthy dogs and cats stand the best chance for finding a loving home, his donations directly facilitate the adoption process and improve animal welfare in general.
His heartfelt devotion to his four legged friends, necessary for the protection and care of animals without voices, culminates in the Waggy Awards on March 19. Bringing together the great and the good of the animal welfare community, Warner likes to think of these awards as 'our furry little Oscars'. Crusaders, activists and pioneers dedicated to the protection of animals will collect awards for their service alongside Oscar™-nominated actress and well-known animal activist Linda Blair as well as Tippi Hedren and Moby. The confluence of Hollywood, community spirit and animal welfare harks (or should that be barks?) back to those early days when Bette was fighting on behalf of humanity's most devoted companion.
Listening to George Michael’s lyrics were like therapy for me. I remember when 'Older' came out in 1996, it gave voice to my own closeted yearnings. ‘You Have Been Loved’ was a secret homage to his Brazilian lover Anselmo Feleppa who died from an HIV-related illness in 1993, although you could miss that if you weren't paying attention. I was hanging on every word. Closeted George was a master at placing an ambivalent pronoun that could fly under the radar. 'Fastlove' was loaded with subtle and not so subtle linguistic backflips: “Stupid Cupid keeps on calling me, And I see lovin’ in his eyes”. This ode to sexual adventure worked on another level too. Throughout it you hear a sample of a disco track with the haunting refrain “sending you forget me nots, to help you to remember, baby please forget me not I want you to remember." Only a gay man would understand why that resonates. The thrill of the chase, the dangers of promiscuity, the wild intoxication of anonymous sex is blended beautifully with that sad, melancholy ache that comes from being physically fulfilled while spiritually and emotionally there is still a void.
Of course George was yet to come out, and this track foreshadowed his toilet tango in Beverly Hills for which he was arrested in 1998. Careers have been sunk by a lot less than a lewd act, but George threw caution to the wind with 'Outside', the monster hit that became my own coming out anthem. In the video he deftly turned the judgement-laden narrative on its head. By transforming a men’s bathroom into a disco of policemen kissing, he challenged hypocrisy and created musical alchemy. What could have been his cue to crawl under a rock became a transcendent moment of glorious triumph. YAAS!
George was no angel, nor was he a stranger to cruising on Hampstead Heath, but he had the humility to poke fun at himself (see his cameo on Ricky Gervais’s Extras). That he had self destructive tendencies which got him into dicey situations is undeniable but you might do too if you had grown up in a culture that criminalises your basic instincts. As Alan Downs says in his book 'The Velvet Rage', “any person that grows up in an environment that is essentially invalidating struggles with shame.” And like too many gay men, George began to rely heavily on substances to numb the pain.
“Gay people are more than two and half times more likely to become alcohol or drug dependent, over two and half times more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression disorders,” Downs continues. Last year it was reported that George underwent three months of treatment near Zurich for depression. Not all gay men have depression or substance abuse problems. And you don't have to be gay to be an addict, but it helps. Throw global pop superstardom into the mix (Amy, Whitney, Michael Jackson et al) and you’re left with a volatile pressure cooker waiting to explode (or implode). Perhaps being caught with his pants down was exactly what George wanted to burn the house down. Trouble is when you light that match it’s not always easy to stop, especially when you have some faulty wiring that prohibits the ability to start or stop an activity in spite of destructive consequences.
My own coming out story ran concomitantly with and was facilitated by George’s. I still have all the press clippings. I wonder if there would be such a hoopla today? Back then, it was still considered acceptable to mock gay people in the media. Things have progressed but it’s interesting to observe how public toilets are still such a hot topic, albeit more for trans people. You don't hear too many stories of entrapment these days, which is essentially what happened. I had the honour of meeting him at Attitude’s 10 year anniversary party in 2004. He was with his ‘American angel’ Kenny at the time. Shortly after things started to go wrong. In 2006 he pleaded guilty for driving while unfit through drugs and in 2008 was cautioned for possession of class A drugs including crack cocaine. In 2010 he crashed his Range Rover into a shop in North London and again admitted to driving under the influence of drugs. Clearly George did not have his shit together, but to say that this was due to his fading career is incorrect . His “25 Live” tour (2006-8) grossed more than $200 million. Anyone who battles with mental illness or addiction knows that it’s an inside job; no amount of success is going to quell the demons, if anything it will exacerbate them.
George is part of a generation of gay men that lived through an awful storm. After a decade of death and shame he got to see gay marriage being legalised which is awesome, but it doesn't undo all those years plagued by worry, fear, heartache and pain. George crafted the soundtrack to our lives. Through his music he allowed us to find our common humanity: on 'Outside' he reminds us that “there’s nothing here but flesh and bone.” I stand on the shoulders of men like George who fought my battles for me. But I remain vigilant: shame, fear, and prejudice have not vanished. In an era when basic battles for legal recognition have been won, more insidious forms of homophobia are still very much alive. Maybe he flew a little too close to the sun, but in doing so he saved me from living a lie. Growing up gay is a lonely experience, or at least it was in the 90s. Thank you George for making me feel less alone. I hope you're happy up there in gay heaven. You brushed my eyes with angel's wings.
Nick’s Cove Restaurant, Oyster Bar & Cottages is located on the twisting, cliff-hugging route north from San Francisco up Pacific Coast Highway on a relatively undiscovered, unspoiled swath of pristine coastline. The construction of the highway in 1930, followed by the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937, brought a surge in tourist traffic looking for food, lodging and adventure. Marin County became a popular destination for weekend motorists, and Nick's Cove is one of the last remaining historic settlements from those early days of tourism. Today, Nick’s Cove offers some of the finest seasonal, sustainable California cuisine sourced from the surrounding Marin and Sonoma County farms as well as fresh seafood and Tomales Bay oysters.
The Croft, the on-site farm and garden that was finished last summer, is now blossoming under the property’s own farmer, Brendan Thomas. Brendan is dedicated to making sure he not only grows a wide variety of vegetables sustainably, but that he does so while making a positive impact on the land. Thomas, inspired by bio-intensive, natural, and organic approaches to farming, is creating a system where all parts — animals, plants, and soil — work together to create a whole. Currently The Croft is supplying most of the restaurant’s mustard greens, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, honey and eggs. The chickens seem to be responding well to their coop with a view of the glittering Tomales Bay coastline.
High society types and other people of monetary means have flocked to the coastal community of Montecito near Santa Barbara, California, since the late 1800s when they came in search of winter sun, salty sea air, mesmerizing vistas of the Pacific Ocean, and a near perfect Mediterranean climate. Long time residents of Montecito include actress and scion to a multi-billion dollar fortune Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Oprah Winfrey who owns a 40+ acre spread that La Winfrey now calls The Promised Land.
But long before them there was Madame Ganna Walska, a Polish opera singer and socialite, who purchased an estate here in 1941 and spent 43 years designing a world-class botanical garden called Lotusland. For her, grand Italianate gardens were boring. Her taste leaned more towards the experimental incorporating the principle of sustainability long before that was even a word. The extraordinary collection of cycads, cacti and palms, ferns, aloes and lotuses are a testament to the singular vision of Madame Walska, a bold and audacious pioneer if ever there was one.
Born in 1887 in Poland, her charm, allure, and powers of seduction were legendary. She lived a cultured life in St Petersburg, Russia, being named the most beautiful woman at the ball by Tsar Nicholas. She collected famous friends and married six times, a number of those husbands being very wealthy, and actually became an opera singer to get the attention of a husband to be. She moved to New York during World War I where she continued to sing and get married a lot, first to multimillionaire sportsman and carpet tycoon Alexander Smith Cochran and then to industrialist Harold F. McCormick, chairman of the International Harvester Company. Orson Welles claimed that McCormick's lavish promotion of Walska's opera career was a direct influence on the screenplay for Citizen Kane.
After a short marriage to death ray inventor Harry Grindell Matthews (it seems having three names was de rigueur in those days) it was on the encouragement of her sixth husband, yoga master and guru-trickster Theos Casimir Bernard, that she purchased the historic 37-acre "Cuesta Linda" estate in Montecito. Together, Walska and Bernard planned to create a spiritual retreat called Tibetland. However the guru was revealed to be a charlatan, and the marriage fell apart.
Madame's passions, formerly reserved for men, travel and luxury were soon subsumed by her love of the garden. Eccentric to her core, Madame used to wander barefoot on the grass with a bird called ‘Happy’ perched on her shoulder. She built an outdoor theater where she placed her collection of antique stone grotesques. Here a stage backdrop and wings made from tall hedges became a kind of living metaphor: nature had her back. Like many a rare bird of paradise, Madame was plagued by stage fright; had she not been, perhaps we wouldn’t have been blessed with such a glorious legacy of horticultural splendor.
*It turns out our informed docent Cristi Walden is herself a pioneer in the plant world running the nearby Sea Crest Nursery so make sure you get on her tour when Lotusland reopens in February 2017.
It may look a bit rough round the edges now, but in one year the 700 block of South Alameda Street in downtown Los Angeles will be transformed into a high-end restaurant and boutique shopping mecca.
First known as the LA Terminal Market, the 30-acre plot that Row DTLA now occupies was once the site of the former Southern Pacific Railroad HQ, a major hub for the distribution of produce across the region from 1917 to 1923.
In June it debuted the Brooklyn export Smorgasburg food and flea market, held Sundays on what still operates as a produce market during the rest of the week.
Eventually, Row DTLA will be a place where people can park their car in a mammoth 4,000-space parking lot - the biggest in Los Angeles County, no less - and shop at retailers that are less familiar to the West Coast crowd.
Right now, the downtown behemoth is kicking off the holiday season by hosting a bricks and mortar shopping pop-up for twelve outfits that are already killing it online. They include snazzy Swedish watch brand Daniel Wellington, purveyors of minimalistic time pieces with interchangeable straps, New York luggage line Away Travel and This Is Ground, producers of premium leather kits that are proudly “designed in LA, made in Italy”, with a focus on utility and usability.
With the soon-to-open hipster hotel Nomad at Seventh and Olive streets, downtown Los Angeles’ cultural renaissance continues apace, providing an irresistible laboratory for brands that cater to the culturally attuned.
My love affair with California started in the 90s when I discovered Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. Maupin’s tale about a group of friends who live at the top of some wooden steps at 28 Barbary Lane in 70’s San Francisco opened up a portal to a magical land of possibilities, a gay utopia. Much of the action in his book Significant Others is set on the banks of northern California’s Russian River. In my heart I always knew that I would one day visit this fabled paradise. And twenty years later I did just that.
Did you watch the Season 2 premiere of “Looking” where the guys end up at a bacchanalian party in the woods after running into a Faerie? It was set in Russian River, a longtime LGBT getaway since the 1970s. As a card-carrying fantasy addict, I should have known better. “Looking” was riding on a wave of romantic nostalgia that doesn't really exist today.
I stayed at Dawn Ranch, formerly Fife’s, which was Guerneville’s most popular gay resort from the late 1970s to the early 2000s. Back then there was a bunkhouse in the lower meadow which turned into a club. By all accounts it got pretty frisky down there on the banks of the river. Today, Dawn Ranch is mostly a wedding facility with marriage packages. I didn't feel like a solo traveling homo was the kind of guest they wanted floating about. They didn’t actively make me feel unwelcome but they didn’t actively make me feel welcome either. What is it they say about the sins of omission? Being ignored or airbrushed from history is kind of rude, but I digress.
Guerneville is much less gay than it used to be which is indicative of a wider trend but Russian River has its own specific and charged story. Because San Francisco was hit hard by AIDS, resorts like Guerneville suffered. Then the dotcom crash happened and more recently the 2008 economic downturn. In conjunction with the inevitable floods you get from being perched on the banks of a river, former gay resorts took a major battering.
Certainly any gay business owner in Guerneville with an ounce of acumen, and many are still gay run, target the waves of tech entrepreneurs that emanate from San Francisco. Most resorts now cater to the spa break or wine country enthusiast. San Francisco's demographics are changing rapidly (it's as expensive as Manhattan to live there now) so the getaways in its vicinity are changing accordingly.
Dawn Ranch is a case in point: locals say that when Fife's owner turned his back on the gay customer it ripped the gay soul out of Guerneville. But the truth is that how gay men fraternize has changed. There is no 'gay beach' on The River, as featured in “Looking”. Believe me, I looked, and in fact I went to that very patch of beach where the canoe scene took place. I was the only gayer. That will change at big gay gatherings like Lazy Bear Weekend: this Aug 3-8 marks its 20th anniversary (lazybearweekend.com) which sounds like a lot of fun.
Service is notoriously patchy on The River so this might force people off Grindr and Scruff momentarily, or at least until they find wifi, but apps in general have had a major impact on the mating rituals and travelling patterns of homosexualists. Somehow the idea of us all congregating in one spot and dancing together till dawn seems like quite a retro concept these days. The R3 (Russian River Resort) Bar and Hotel’s pool seems to qualify as the main gay hub but there were no “Promised Land” style discos in the redwoods on the July weekend I visited. That was for TV optics.
Another factor is Airbnb: smaller groups of gay men come up from San Francisco (glued to their phones) to party together in the confines of their rental cabin (and then post on Snapchat to legitimize the experience). The only exclusively gay resorts are R3 and Highlands, which is clothing optional. The chequered history of some of The River’s gay resorts is worth a documentary in itself. At the height of its gay renaissance in the mid 70s, The Woods resort would host 10,000 patrons on a holiday weekend. Then there was a mysterious kitchen fire and it burned to the ground.
Boon Hotel + Spa, which used to be a cruisy gay hotel called Paradise Cove, is one of the best lodging options. Crista Luedtke was among the first gay business owners to plant her flag in Guerneville. The result is a chic, minimalist hotel that marries old and new elements, including reclaimed-redwood furniture, cork floors, and the option of summer glamping in tents. Dogs are welcome.
Dawn Ranch has totally removed same sex couples from its website/marketing material and does not participate in Lazy Bear. They've followed the money: (straight) weddings and wine tourists. It makes me smile to think that bridezillas staying here will be sleeping above what was once a dark room. If walls (or trees) could talk. It's just so weird (and a little sad) to think that hundreds of gay men used to congregate around this pool and trot off to the bunkhouse for sex and now it’s for sanitized hen parties. This used to be the flagship gay resort but apparently it was flooded badly in ’95 and the owners didn’t have insurance, or something. The orgiastic legacy of Guerneville is long-gone and the air has rather gone out of the “Gay Riviera” moniker. But for a slice of LGBTQ history, Russian River is the real deal. And the giant redwoods, as indifferent today to what goes on underneath their branches as they were thousands of years ago, are a reminder of how tiny humans are compared to the majesty of nature.
Where to eat:
Boon owner Luedtke’s ventures also extend to the dining realm with Boon Eat + Drink, where seasonal menus take full advantage of the region’s abundance of great produce. A few doors down Main Street, her café and gourmet grocery Big Bottom Market is a hit for its biscuits and brunch/lunch fare. And we love anything with the name bottom in it, although, it turns out Guerneville was first settled in 1860 on an alluvial flat known as Big Bottom.
By day, David Blomster runs Pat’s Restaurant & Bar, Guerneville’s combo diner and old-school bar. Come 5 p.m., however, Pat’s Restaurant switches from club sandwiches and patty melts to soba noodles and kimchi, as the restaurant reimagines itself as Dick Blomster’s, a Korean-inspired dinner spot. Blomster's nightly alter ego has earned him a steady fan base for everything from Korean Fried Crack (authentic and addictive spicy fried chicken), kimchi pierogis, and other comfort foods with Korean flair.
Once upon a time, trams rumbled through the hills and canyons of northeast Silverlake. In the era before mass auto ownership, developers had to arrange electric streetcar or commuter railway transportation if they were going to sell real estate. Because the Pacific Electric passenger services were designed and built by people who were gaining profits from real estate development, they were not financed simply to make money providing a passenger service. After World War 1 real estate developers in Southern California and elsewhere had stopped funneling capital into public transit and began shifting the costs of providing transportation to the residents themselves. With no funding from real estate development profits, there was systematic disinvestment in public transit and the trolleys fell into decline.
In the 1940s, the Pacific Electric Railway system was sold to National City Lines, a company whose investors included Firestone Tires, Standard Oil, and General Motors. This shady move eventually resulted in the dismantling of L.A.’s urban rail network. But Sunset Junction, its name a relic of L.A.'s heritage as a streetcar city, continued to serve as an important node in L.A.'s streetcar network until May 31, 1953, when the Pacific Electric shuttered its South Hollywood-Sherman Line. Streetcars continued to roam the Hollywood Line up Sunset until September 26, 1954, when buses replaced trolleys. Today, the tracks and electrical wires are gone, but you can still envision the trolleys making their way down the center of Santa Monica Boulevard.
The trolleys and streetcars may be long gone, but the staircases that lace the steep-streeted hillsides of Silverlake remain. City planners and developers installed these “walk streets” in the 1920s as direct routes for pedestrians to get down to the trolley lines. The staircase-to-trolley system was so much a part of the landscape that developers in some areas built houses that had no other access to the outside world. These once forgotten paths, neglected and unused for decades, serve as historical reminders of a bygone time when this was not a city of cars.
Mapplethorpe gets top billing at LACMA and the Getty’s twin retrospective, ‘Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium’, exploring the work of one of the most influential visual artists of the late 20th century.
Twenty-five years ago, Robert Mapplethorpe’s exhibition ‘The Perfect Moment’, which included his famous X portfolio, received a very different reception. Gay S&M isn't for everyone, I grant you, but when the exhibit hit Cincinnati in 1990, all hell broke loose. Local law-enforcement officials and anti-pornography groups took it upon themselves to rise up against the exhibit at the Contemporary Arts Center.
The Mapplethorpe obscenity trial—the first time a museum was taken to court on criminal charges related to works on display—became one of the most heated battlefronts in the era’s culture wars. Taking place over two weeks in the fall of 1990, the resulting attention challenged perceptions of art, public funding, and what constituted “obscenity.” To give you some cultural context, this is the same year that Linda, Christy and Naomi stepped in for a (then) closeted George Michael in his iconic 'Freedom' vid (a full 8 years before George was arrested for a ‘lewd act’ in a Beverly Hills toilet incidentally).
At the time the body was a contentious subject. From the craze for physical fitness to heated debates about reproductive health, pornography and the AIDS epidemic, the 80s had been marked by a heightened pre-occupation with bodies and sex. The artist himself had died of AIDS related illness in 1989.
A quarter century on, an organized minority is still trying to enforce their worldview on America. Conservative Republican governors have introduced ‘religious freedom’ laws to ‘protect’ a ‘vulnerable religious minority’ in Mississippi and N. Carolina. This is a deft use of Orwellian Newspeak. In the upside down South, the bully is now the minority, and freedom is now being touted as a smokescreen for discrimination.
In the summer of 1989, Mapplethorpe’s traveling solo exhibit sparked a national debate about whether tax dollars should be used to support potentially "obscene" material. It's interesting to see how sexual politics and money intersect in 2016: tech companies are condemning Mississippi and N. Carolina’s anti gay laws, which are in part a revolt against the legalization of same sex marriage last summer. That the gay movement is now so cozy with corporations is progress, I guess, especially given that it is still possible to be fired for being gay or transgender in 28 states. That’s right, you can lose your job, your ability to support yourself, for being homosexual. The war is still being waged, and we stand on the shoulders of giants like Mapplethorpe who fought our battles long before it made financial sense for corporate giants to stick up for us.
“Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium” at the Getty Center and LACMA until July 31; lacma.org, getty.edu. Listen to my report on Monocle24 here
With Nick Jones's Soho Warehouse opening next year, Downtown’s march toward gentrification is taking off like gangbusters. With authentic loft style living and former industrial warehouses aplenty, the neighbourhood still feels like a pre-sanitised New York from the 70s - for now. On June 25, the US Bank Tower, currently ‘the tallest skyscraper in the West’, is opening a restaurant and observation deck on the 71st floor with its very own glass slide. Riders will coast 45 feet from the 70th floor to the 69th floor, encased in glass an inch and a quarter thick that will jut out from the skyscraper 1000 feet above downtown LA.
Booming construction of glossy projects like the Broad museum continues apace while art galleries are popping up all over the place, Hauser, Wirth & Schimmel's Arts District opening being the most notable. With exhibition spaces in London, New York and Zurich, it's a statement to the rest of the world that, as a global art metropolis, Los Angeles has arrived.
Downtown LA has pretty much always had gay bars, but these days the gays in the know have jettisoned WeHo for bars and clubs like Precinct, Redline and Mattachine. A fake giant redwood tree is on display at the lovingly restored Clifton's cafeteria, originally from the 1930s, while Ace hotel, above, has one of the best rooftops in town, up high amongst the twinkling time capsule that is DTLA.
Go see: Don't Look Back: the 1990s at MOCA, until July 11.
The fabled Hollywood retreat and cradle of midcentury modernism is riding a wave of energy and enthusiasm not seen since the city’s postwar heyday. Some of the world’s most visionary architects moved here to build houses for Hollywood stars in the desert modernism style, developed from the 1920s through the early 1970s. That Palm Springs is having a style moment was cemented by Louis Vuitton celebrating its 2016 Resort Collection with a fashion show at The Bob Hope Estate, a Palm Springs landmark designed by the great modernist architect John Lautner. Here are some of the highlights from the 11-day festival celebrating all things midcentury modern.
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Palm Springs, two hours by car from LA, has been a hideaway for the Hollywood set since the 50‘s. The studios required their big name stars to be on call and no further than 100 miles from Hollywood. This is why Palm Springs became such a popular spot for the Hollywood elite at that time.
“America’s boy next door” Tab Hunter, pictured, was a frequent visitor. This week, he gave a rare insight into what his life was like as a closeted box office star back in the 50's while doing a Q&A at the screening of his new movie “Tab Hunter Confidential”. This is noteworthy because the festival celebrates all things midcentury including the cars and the stars.
poolside gossip | slim sarons | neutra
No doubt you’ve seen the photo shot in 1970 by Slim Aarons. Two attractive women sit in lounge chairs beside a teal-blue pool looking fabulous and moneyed. A third, all legs and carefree attitude, strides toward them with a drink in her hand. In the background is a modern glass-and-stone house and purplish mountains. That house, the iconic Kaufmann Residence is THE house that kickstarted the whole movement to restore and revive mid-century architecture in Palm Springs; the very house that may have single-handedly transformed Palm Springs from a recreational haven into an architectural-cultural destination. Built in 1946 by architect Richard Neutra, who died in 1970, this unforgettable residence is widely considered to be one of the finest works of residential architecture in North America.
In March 1962, Mr. Loewy, who had a house in Palm Springs, saw the Kennedy presidential plane landing at the airport. He thought the graphics looked terrible and offered to make some suggestions. His color scheme and graphics proved to be timeless, and they survive today on Obama’s Boeing 747 who happened to be in Palm Springs this week while having a pow-wow with leading dignitaries at Sunnylands. Just as Mr. Loewy’s logos and designs helped to differentiate commercial products in the marketplace (Lucky Strike, the Coca Cola bottle), his work on Air Force One helped make the plane a world-famous symbol of presidential majesty and power.
Albert Frey was the father of the Desert Modernism style and one of the small handful of architects responsible for Palm Springs's midcentury look (he designed the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway station, the Tramway Gas Station, Palm Springs City Hall). This week I visited Frey II House, the second of two houses he built for himself in the city. Frey picked out an incredible spot on the side of a mountain (just above the Palm Springs Art Museum). Frey’s Aluminaire House — a 1930s architectural installation — is coming to Palm Springs for permanent residency soon. The feeling is that Palm Springs is the spiritual home for the all-metal house which is currently disassembled in storage.
Don’t miss the Bauhaus exhibition at The Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion (101 Museum Drive). Located in a 1961 savings-and-loan building crafted by pioneering desert architect E. Stewart Williams and renovated by the Los Angeles firm Marmol Radziner, this is one of four imposing bank buildings which were designed to inspire confidence and optimism at a time when pent-up consumer demand was fueling exceptionally strong economic growth in a post war period.
Modernism Week runs until Sunday, Feb 21. Listen to my report on Monocle 24 here
Let's get right to it: here are my takeaways from the fourth annual Los Angeles Art Book Fair organized by New York nonproft Printed Matter.
Los Angeles Art Book Fair is the West Coast companion to NY's Art Book Fair with books, special edition prints and limited-edition zines galore to ogle. More than 250 exhibitors come from all over the globe — from Spain and Denmark to Israel and Japan — as well as numerous publishing outfits from the United States, including more than 100 from California alone.
Following the successful participation of Spain’s Libros Mutantes in the New York fair, Spain is the first country to have a dedicated Focus Room which will give a boost to the work of independent Spanish publishers – a sector that has undergone a major creative transformation in recent years. The art book, fanzine and photo book are currently experiencing a ‘moment’ in Spain. Taking part in this event helps put Spanish self-publishing on the global map.
The GBLTQ community is represented in all its glory at the LAABF, the zine being a particularly powerful tool for any disenfranchised group that feels it's being misrepresented by mainstream media. Make sure you visit the Original Plumbing stand, an independently produced zine by and for trans men. Other delights include visual artist Adam Seymour who operates under the name Rural Ranga (he's an aussie ginger and they call gingers orang-utans apparently). His debut art book Wank Bank features memoirs of his life as a happy-ending masseur in New York. "Wank Bank was 100% funded by the flicks of my wrist" says Seymour.
Brooklyn-based rare book dealer Arthur Fournier Fine unearths an archive of the Southern California punk zine FER YOUz that hasn’t been shown before. Fournier is displaying the original color masters of the zine, which was produced by photographers Brian and Nikki Tucker in the early 1980s. Meanwhile Los Angeles conceptual artist Allen Ruppersberg has created a record store that features records about records. First, he digitizes obscure works from his own record collection, then he records these onto blank vintage discs that he both displays and sells online as part of a project called the El Segundo Record Club.
Guerilla girls reinventing the ‘f’ word (feminism) is a big theme at this year’s LAABF. Traditionally the zine universe has been considered a masculine domain, but not so any more. Tamara Santibañez produces Discipline which pokes a finger in the eye of heteronormative, capitalist, white supremacist patriarchy by shining a light on the human body, the subtext and the overlooked. She is joined by a gang of other women artists whose work proves that zines are not just for the boys.
East of Borneo is an online magazine and book publisher that documents contemporary art and its history, as considered from Los Angeles. Standout title includes Piecing Together Los Angeles which is the first dedicated collection dedicated to the mother of California architecture writing, Esther McCoy, an historian and witness to the birth of West Coast mid-century design. Another title, Facing the Music, documents Walt Disney Concert Hall and the redevelopment of Downtown Los Angeles.
Grammy award-winning composer, artist, writer, musician and screenwriter Mason Williams made pioneering contributions to California conceptualism in the 1960’s. Presented by Alden Projects, Bus (originally exhibited at the Pasadena Museum of Art in 1967), a 36-ft long silkscreened image of a Greyhound bus, pictured above, is unfurled here. Lifelong friend and sometimes collaborator Ed Ruscha’s work is also on display (e.g. photo novel Crackers). MW’s contributions to LA conceptualism in the 1960’s continue to defy classification.
This year, the fair has also inspired a number of off-site events including nighttime art book parties at the Ace Hotel, an artist reading at the Million Dollar Theater and Sarah Peters' floating library installation in Echo Park, where visitors in pedal boats will be able to check out works to read as they float around the lake. A staff of friendly floating librarians facilitate the check out process and make reading suggestions.
The LA Art Book Fair (Feb 12-14), held at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in DTLA. Listen to my report on Monocle 24 here
America is having a powerful cultural moment. Beyoncé delivered a highly political Super Bowl half time show after surprise-releasing the video for her totally brilliant new single Formation, a black queer feminist f**k off to white supremacist heteropatriarchy. I love the fact that Queen Bey has expanded the conversation further by including New Orleans-based trans singer and rapper Big Freedia aka ‘The Queen of Bounce’. Incidentally, despite the themes in the video, nothing was shot in New Orleans. It was all shot in Los Angeles. The Southern Gothic set was actually an historic Pasadena home. But frankly who cares? This is the biggest music video in recent memory and a call to action from the most powerful woman in show business. It is time that we all got in formation: “[She] did not come to play with you hoes. [She] came to slay, bitch.”