Go West: Utopian Vision for One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival

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The city of West Hollywood’s One City, One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival offers a wide range of programs and a utopian vision for 2017. Running through June 30th, the fest’s theme of “Go West,” references movement toward a utopian promised land, dreams of gay liberation, and the freedom to live openly in West Coast communities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and West Hollywood. Featuring interactive, performance, visual arts, and education events, this year’s programming explores LGBTQ history, culture, and art.

Dubbed a “Day of History,” on Saturday June 3rd, One City One Pride offers multiple events that will take place throughout the city.

At 11 a.m., Radar Productions presents Drag Queen Storytime in the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room. The free event includes children’s stories and crafts. Radar brought the same acclaimed program to the San Francisco Public Library. The meeting room is located at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., 90069.

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Also starting at 11 a.m., the Stuart Timmons LGTBQ History Tour combines an urban hike with an entirely original performance art piece. Written by author and historian Stuart Timmons and directed by Jason Jenn, the tour leads participants to a variety of locations.

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They’ll encounter over a dozen costumed characters, bringing the history of West Hollywood to vibrant life.  The experience includes a brief shuttle ride that drops passengers on Sunset Blvd.  Each tour lasts between 90 and 120 minutes, with departures scheduled every fifteen minutes between 11 and 1 p.m. Live music will be performed while participants wait to board. This is the third year for the charming tour, presented in a final staging to celebrate the legacy of the recently deceased Timmons. Timmons is the author of The Trouble with Harry Hay and GAY L.A., among other works.

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ADA accessible throughout,  colorful parasols will be provided during the tour, offering shade from the sun and enhancing the lively interactive atmosphere. This unique event starts at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., 90069.

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From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., trans artist Yozmit, the first artist to receive a Trans Initiative Grant from the City of West Hollywood, presents the interactive performance installation “Totem Building.” Yozmit will create transformative visual wearable art pieces to be used as a ritual object or totem. The audience will be invited to create prayers and intentions which she will collect for part of a future performance.

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The artist will stitch a ribbon or bead onto her Pyramid Dress, as a symbol of exchange for those intentions and prayers. This interactive, transformative performance will be held on Santa Monica Boulevard near San Vicente Boulevard.

At 5 p.m., there will be a screening of Reel in the Closet, a feature-length documentary. The film connects viewers with queer people from the past, utilizing rare home movie footage that dates back as far as the 1930s. Filmmaker Stu Maddux also discovered recorded news stories and community productions, and regularly updates the documentary, encouraging audience members to share movies of their own pasts. Maddux notes that he embarked upon the project when he was searching “for a way to really understand the people who came before me, not just read about them.”  The film will be screened at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers, located at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. 90069

Also at the City Council Chambers, throughout the day the film LA: A Queer History will be shown in a continuous loop; ONE Archives LGBTQ History Exhibits will be displayed in West Hollywood Park.

Later in June, One City, One Pride highlights include:

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“Out There,” a group art exhibition at the Los Angeles Art Association’s Gallery 825 opening June 9th from 6 to 9 p.m. The exhibition will run through June 18th, with the gallery open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Monday. The gallery is located at 825 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, 90069.

Also on the 9th, from 6 to 10 p.m., the Annual Dyke March begins with a protest sign making workshop conducted by Sparkleblob’s Julianna Parr, followed by a march down Santa Monica Blvd. at 8 p.m. Confirmed speakers include Patrisse Cullors of #blacklivesmatter, and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.  the The workshop takes place and march begins at Sal Guariello Veterans’ Memorial, 8447 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 90069.

From 7 to 9 p.m. on the 9th, Yozmit’s Migration of the Monarchs and WALK will take place. Based on the idea that everything in life transforms, the trans artist will perform WALK as live ambient art along Santa Monica Blvd. between Robertson Blvd. and San Vicente Blvd.

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June 11th from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., LA Pride hosts a human rights march in lieu of a parade. The march starts at Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles, and concludes near West Hollywood Park. 

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And June 29th, at 7:30 p.m., there will be a world premiere film screening of Jeanne Cordova: Butches, Lies, and Feminism, a new documentary on the life and accomplishments of late activist and author Jeanne Cordova. Film director Gregoria Davila and Cordova’s partner Lynn Harris Ballen participate in a post-screening discussion. The screening takes place at West Hollywood City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., 90069.

For a full calendar of One City One Pride events through June 30th, visit    www.weho.org/pride

One City One Pride is organized by the City of West Hollywood through WeHo Arts, the City’s Arts & Cultural Affairs Commission and Arts Division, with input from the City’s Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board, Transgender Advisory Board, and other community partners. 

 

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  • Genie Davis; Photos: Weho.org

Art Gone Wild with Book Club: Going Native at Durden and Ray

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Stephen Wright’s post-modern novel Going Native is a wild ride of literary fiction fused with pop culture.  When an art exhibition is based around the book, and includes performance pieces and cocktails made with absinthe, then art lovers can expect a wild ride when it comes to the exhibition, too.

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Durden and Ray’s delightful and provocative “Book Club: Going Native” is indeed wild – wildly inventive and conceptually clever. Curator Steven Wolkoff assembled a cadre of visual artists, a mixologist, hair stylists, dancers, and a choreographer to create an opening that fused art with performance plus an excerpted book reading.

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While I’d only read a few chapters of the novel when the opening rolled around, it did not dim my pleasure in the experiential evening, which included the work of: Ania Catherine – choreographer, Ben Jackel – visual artist, Constance Mallinson – visual artist, Dani Dodge – visual artist, Dave Bondi – toy designer, David Leapman – visual artist, Kate Kelton – actress/artist, Gavin Bunner – visual artist, Jayna Zweiman – architect and co-founder of the Pussyhat Project, Jenny Hager – visual artist, Jon Flack – visual artist, Kio Griffith – visual artist, Liza Ryan – visual artist, Michael Webster – composer, Robin Jackson – best bartender/mixologist in LA (per LA Weekly), Steven Wolkoff – visual artist, Tom Dunn – visual artist, Traci Sakosits – Creative Director of Vidal Sassoon, North America, and Matthew Kazarian – Vidal Sassoon.

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Dancers with their hair knotted to each other spun in a circle. Mixologist Robin Jackson poured sapphire, saline solution, absinthe, and oleosaccharum into cups and candy-colored water pistols for guests to shoot into their and other’s throats. The guns themselves were crafted by toy designer David Bondi, whose design, packaged and labeled as “Durden n’ Ray” also hung from a display rack on a wall.

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Artist Dani Dodge offered up a compelling, layered painting “Previously Unthinkable Patterns.”

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The painting, a mixed-media fusion of paint, duct tape, party favors, a piece of a wedding dress and the ashes of papers that contained burned fears dripped off the canvas literally with a 72″ tulle train puddling on the ground. The ghostly shape of the car that figures large in the novel emerges from the layers like a ship through thick fog, the canvas begs to be touched, but one doesn’t touch; still the almost physiological impression of being touched by the artwork persists.

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Above, artists Dani Dodge and Kio Griffith.

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Kio Griffith’s “Whichever Wolf You Feed,” a mixed media piece of wood, sheet metal, paint, sandpaper, and a ventilation duct, oozes mystery; the mood abetted by a dancer positioned against the corner wall next to the piece.

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David Leapman’s “Salt hungry butterflies,” gold ink on black paper, has an elegaic feel that evokes calligraphy and Japanese woodblock prints. The artist contributed three similar works in all to the exhibition. Jenny Hager’s abstract “Bedlamite,” acrylic and marker on canvas, is bold and heated; Tom Dunn’s detailed, fascinating “Mesopotamia Drawing Series” functions as a kind of adjunct to the book’s chapters which are themselves a series of connected yet separate stories.

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Curator Wolkoff  created a series of “wedding rings” crafted of acrylic paint without support, they are as warped as the book’s belief system. The spacey stop-motion video of Traci Sakosits and Matthew Kazarian, “Basic Space,” compels repeated viewing, as does Dodge’s second piece in the show, the haunting “Evidence,” a video shown wall mounted on a mini-iPad.

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All eyes were turned to Jayna Zweiman’s “It considered other facts, other views,” a dark green kaleidoscope-like sculpture which guests peered through and took IG-worthy semi-selfies through.

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Constructed with mirror, plywood, and oil-based paint, the work was fabricated by Paul Guillemette and suspended from the gallery’s ceiling. The architect and co-founder of the Pussyhat Project has created a wonderful, changing fractured image that reflects both the quality of the book and a reader’s perception of it. It’s a fun house mirror take on art, life, and novel. The work’s green exterior represents the color of the stolen car driven by the novel’s protagonist.

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While seeing the exhibition without the dancers, drink, and electronic soundtrack hum is a different experience than the opening night, it is a worthy one. The art stands alone, and one could know nothing of the book and have heard nothing of the opening’s vastly entertaining art circus and still enjoy it.

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Above, a pop art distillation of the book, “Helter Skelter” by Gavin Bunner, goache and ink on paper.

Like many of Durden and Ray’s shows, this one is edgy and thought-provoking; the gallery and the art collective are building a reputation as a must-see in the crowded field of LA art.

  • Genie Davis; Photos: Genie Davis

 

A New Phoenix Rising

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Located on 3rd at its juncture with La Cienega is a reincarnation of the former Phoenix as – The Phoenix. And it’s a new bird rising. Sleek, French-bistro styling draws the eye to the  bar, while draft cocktails like the Dublin Donkey and La Paloma – as well as a wide selection of whiskies – draw the palette.

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While the food may be somewhat secondary to the beverages, it’s tasty too: below, Fusilli Marinara topped with a fried egg. The idea, our server tells us, is to mix the fried egg in with the basil and Parm cheese. The marinara sauce has a nice zing.
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Lighter fare is also present. The Phoenix House Salad adds feta cheese, pear, pepperocini, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, and red onions to fresh mixed green. Toasty bread on the side.
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Below, Adolfo Suaya, partner in the restaurant, ready to help patrons enjoy the classy but cool European vibe.

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The very red-lit patio was our favorite spot. Hip, happening, sexy lighting, comfortable booths and the al fresco bar scene that LA needs a lot more of.

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Below, crisply well-seasoned fries are redolent of rosemary.

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Below: those well prepared draft cocktails.

The Paloma features Milagro Blanco Tequila, Giffard’s Pamplemousse,  plus lime and soda.

We loved the Dublin Donkey, a nicely spicy blend of Tullamore Dew, Giffard’s Ginger of the Indies, lime, and Ginger Beer.

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To sum up: a welcoming place for a drink and some food, The Phoenix is open late and stays stylish. Insiders tip: the patio is the perfect spot for a date night. The Phoenix rises to become your next occasion for celebration. It’s located at 8480 3rd Street close to the Beverly Center.

  • Genie Davis; Photos: Jack Burke

Fantastic Art Auction at Lyme Away Fundraiser

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March 19th 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. – save the date. Lyme Away: Help Nicole Saari Win the Fight Against Late Stage Lyme Disease

The beautiful art you see throughout this article are just some of the incredible pieces donated by artists for this event. 

Fundraiser Kristine Augustyn Heavenly Bodies $250

LA area residents, we invite you to a free art party/birthday celebration and most importantly of all, fundraiser, at The Neutra Museum Gallery at 2379 Glendale Blvd. in Silver Lake. There will also be delicious home-made Mexican food, store-bought cake :), cocktails, wine, and beer.

Fundraiser Susan Lizotte Mercury $900

The goal: to help raise funds for young mom and songwriter Nicole Saari’s treatment for Late Stage Lyme Disease — Nicole is the daughter of this ezine’s publisher, Genie Davis.

Fundraiser Robyrn Allatore Inverted Nipple $900 start $150
The event will feature an incredible collection of local artists, along with food, drink, music, silent auction items, and plenty of fun. Neutra curator Dulce Stein’s birthday is the 18th, and Genie’s is the 20th – and in lieu of gifts or lunches, we want YOU to come check out the fun, buy some art or a silent auction item, have a few drinks and dinner! 

Fundraiser Tracey Weiss

We have some absolutely incredible art donated by a wide range of wonderful artists – each of whom will be featured here in upcoming weeks. But of course, if you have art to donate, we would love, love, love to include your work, too.

Fundraiser Bibi Davidson Don't Tell Anyone $450

Please come and enjoy the evening, and if you’re not in LA but want something awesome to hang on your walls, please reach out – online purchases can be made, and careful shipping accomplished.

Fundraiser Aline Mare Darker Matters value $500 start at $150

Donations can also be made at https://www.gofundme.com/help-nicole-beat-chronic-lyme

Fundraiser Diane Cockerwill Stairway to heaven $200 bid $125

In Nicole’s own words: “I have a dangerous combination of tick-borne infections that have become chronic and incredibly difficult to treat – severely weakening my immune system and affecting every part of my body. Without knowing it at the time, a tick bite on a backpacking trip six years ago caused me to become infected with Lyme disease and the co-infections Babesia (a parasite) and Bartonella (a bacteria). For some people, typical presentation does not immediately occur and these illnesses can slowly wreak havoc destroying health over the course of years, as was the case for me. Due to my now compromised immune system, I also have a deeply rooted chronic staph infection called MARCONS (Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci), a digestive bacterial imbalance called SIBO, multiple types of mold (yes, mold) colonization within my body, Candida enteritis – a chronic fungal infection in my digestive system and other areas (which also tested positive for an unusual resistance to most typical therapies), as well as severe allergies which now require me to carry an Epi-Pen. Although I still look OK, these illnesses have at this point left me disabled in a plethora of ways, as I continue to lose strength and the ability to power through my day as time goes on. I can no longer hike, surf, dance, take long walks, or do many of the things I love best. Even playing my instruments for too long results in painful hand cramps. The scariest part is that it will only continue to get worse if left without prompt and proper treatment.

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Chronic Lyme patients can develop fatal cardiac infections, brain damage, increased risk for cancers and more. Symptoms change and spike in severity giving me some good days where though I don’t feel well I can push myself hard to do things and other days where I can’t get out of bed at all.To give you an idea of what this is like, just a few of the symptoms I battle with include: insomnia that prevents me from sleeping more than a few hours without interruption (even with medication), severe bone and joint pain, crippling fatigue, speech problems that come and go, nerve pain, difficultly breathing at times (which has forced me to carry an inhaler), painful rashesand itching (especially in sensitive areas,) memory loss, feeling “foggy” all the time, low white blood cell count, digestive hormonal imbalance, depression, anxiety, mood swings, suicidal thoughts, hypothyroidism, menstrual pain and abnormal cycles, muscle twitches and cramps, inability to heal fully from injury, severe and longer lasting infections from other ordinary illnesses, and more.My health is quickly getting worse and it is imperative that I start treatment as soon as possible. Considering the complexity of the situation, I’m seeing a leading specialist on tick-based infections who will craft a custom treatment plan to tackle everything in the best way possible, step by step. Unfortunately, this condition is not yet recognized by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and as such, we’ve been told that little to none of the treatments are likely to be covered by insurance.

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While we plan to pursue every resource and assistance program at our disposal, the treatments and medications could cost more than $1,000 a week upfront, and the doctors have told us it will take at least two years to beat this. Due to the difficulty of diagnosing this particular set of illnesses, we’ve exhausted our limited savings just getting to this point, so we are hoping and praying for your support. You truly can help save my life – every donation helps, no matter how small, as does sharing this page with your family, friends, and colleagues.Thank you so much for your time, your love, and all your support and generosity. Any help whatsoever that you can provide is truly a miracle and a blessing to our family!”

Fundraiser Dwora Fried Las Mayas $450 Fundraiser Chuka Susan Chensy Blue Marilyn $400, $150 bid Fundraiser Alana Marcelletti Fundraiser Terry Holzman Sailors Delight $75 value $35 start Fundraiser Samuelle Richardson Fundraiser Frederika Beesemeyer Roader Eaton Canyon July Afternoon $250 Fundraiser Glenn Waggner Bad Directions Value $150, bidding $100 Fundraiser Kate Carvellas What Goes Around $300 open $100