the pride ISSUE NUMBER 21, VOLUME 2 07.321 — 08.10.2017
| JULY 28 – AUGUST 10, ‘17
THE LOS ANGELES LGBT NEWSPAPER
FASHION SAVES LIVES As fashion gets queerer, creators get more serious about its political possibilities
MORE ON PAGE 2
⚫ CULTURE FASHION
07.28 — 08.10.2017
FROM THE COVER
⚫ BY HENRY GIARDINA
Fashion Saves Lives As fashion gets queerer, creators get more serious about its political possibilities.
This past week, after Vogue’s July 13 cover story featuring a besuited “androgynous” Gigi Hadid came out, the Queer Internet was in an uproar.Vogue’s story, which used its cover models Hadid and Zayn Malik to put forth a notion of a new, gender-free approach to fashion, was seen as tone-deaf and ignorant by many in the queer and nonbinary community. Many Twitter users took offense at the fact that, rather than put an androgynous model on their cover,Vogue chose to go with Hadid and Malik because they have a relationship in which they often share each others’ clothes. The controversial Vogue article, titled: “Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik are Part of a New Generation Who Don’t See Fashion as Gendered” begins by name dropping “Orlando”, Virginia Woolf’s groundbreaking experimental novel about a male protagonist who switches genders halfway through the story. Orlando, as one of the few canonical literary characters nonbinary people have to represent them, is used as an example of how young people in fashion don’t “play by the rules,” while its entire point and themes (about gender inequality, the changing expectations of gender roles through time, etc) are entirely erased. Vogue’s article does get one thing right: It sets the tone for just how little the rest of the piece is going to “get it” about queer fashion as a movement. The upset around the piece had to do, mostly, with matters of representation. Nonbinary writer Akosua Johnson wrote in “Fashionista” that “nonbinary people may be leading the charge in defying fashion's gender conventions, but our incredibly cool styles are not the end of what it means to be genderfluid. This active reversal of the many ways in which gender roles are forced on us is not a result of some flower-power, laissez-faire, devil-may-care millennial faux-losophy but is a byproduct of generations of people struggling to be recognized and self-defined, despite what others might think.” Nonbinary actor and model Rain Dove, who has modeled in both men’s and women’s fashion shoots, took Vogue to task, noting that gender fluidity is “not a trend,” especially when it comes to fashion. In fact, where gender is concerned, fashion has historically been a place where androgynous, queer, and genderqueer people could see themselves represented even before they were allowed basic rights. This legacy, oddly, is how queer creators of fashion
make their power felt in the Trump age more than ever, using clothes as a way of keeping the queer community not only visible but impossible to ignore. Take a look at three recent collections by queer creators that just came out. One, the last of many collaborations between queer L.A. boutique Otherwild and the lesbian culture Instagram Herstory, features elements of throwback lesbian fashion, including faded jeans, baggy tees that read “how dare you assume my gender,” and buttons reading “I am wet” and “pervert power.” Another collection by Raul Lopez’s LUAR recreates classic men’s business wear as colorful, feminine, proudly queer attire. The collection, called “Corporativo” was designed by Lopez as a direct comment on – and affront to – the Trump administration. Meanwhile, the most surprising statement fashion line of all comes from 19-year-old model Jovel Ramos, who created his spring ‘18 fashion capsule to benefit queer homeless youth. Twenty percent of the funds made from sales go to New York’s Ali Forney Center, and the clothes are made to sell. The 19-year-old model, whose style takes a tip from Mick Jagger, King Krule, and other old-school androgynous icons like Grace Jones and David Bowie, created the capsule – white tees over striped shirts with cutouts of a Jack Skellington grin overlaid – to do more than just represent queer culture in fashion. “Queer visibility is great,” Ramos told OUT, “but that’s not saving anybody’s life.” The desire to move past being seen into the realm of being loud, present, and impossible to ignore, seems to be the general trend. That’s why the outrage over what might seem like a harmless Vogue article seems so oversized. The queer community has always been fighting for its life, and fashion is where it’s always thrived. From old school designers like Valentino and Riccardo Tisci to Alexander McQueen and Tom Ford, fashion has always been a queer-dominated industry. Now it has to become more than that. It has to start saving lives. And no one understands that more than Ramos. Tell me a bit about the mission behind your new capsule collection I spent the last couple of years working in fashion, modeling, and developing my character. I sort of built an audience along the way and started to do all these features in magazines, and even on television that was centered around being queer, but I felt like that wasn’t enough. I wasn’t giving back to the same community that helped build me from the ground up. So I started my self-titled label ITSJOVEL and started my first capsule collection where 20% of all proceeds were donated to the Ali Forney Center.The Ali Forney Center is a non-profit shelter that houses
Photo: Damian Corredor.
Jovel Ramos models his fashion capsule to profit the Ali Forney Center for queer homeless youth.
and supports LGBTQ+ youth in New York. What were you thinking about when coming up with the designs? During the design process, I wanted to make sure the capsule was really reflective of my style and who I am.The capsule featured three pieces - a hoodie, a cropped baby cap sleeved t-shirt, and an oversized tee with the overly long striped sleeve attached. All
the pieces featured a menacing jack-o-lantern smile on them. I wanted it to feel dark and spooky, but still ultra feminine. When I was thinking about the designs I was inspired by the idea of goth culture and those sort of disgusting t-shirts you’d find on clearance racks at Hot Topic. It was about taking some-
FASHION, see page 4
07.321 — 08.10.2017
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07.28 — 08.10.2017
BACK IN SESSION
⚫ BY CONNOR DUFFEY
LGBT Organizations Demand Transgender Student Protection With many schools going back in session in a month’s time, public concern continues to mount over the issue of protection of transgender students in the classroom. On Tuesday, several LGBT rights organizations sent a joint letter to all 50 State Departments of Education urging them to protect transgender students’ rights to a discrimination-free learning environment. The letter, primarily sponsored by Public Justice, National Women’s Law Center and Lambda Legal, goes on to state that this protection is necessary under the instating of Title IX, a law that prohibits sex discrimination in schools: “Schools that discriminate against transgender students, such as by denying them access to bathrooms and other single-sex facilities that correspond with their gender identity or failing to protect transgender students from harassment, are violating Title IX and the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.” The letter also addresses the Trump administration’s removal of Title IX guidance for schools in February 2017 and further asserts that de-
spite the revocation, there should be no confusion over the necessity of protection of transgender students’ basic rights: “We are concerned that the withdrawal of the Title IX guidance might lead some schools to believe that transgender students are not entitled to access bathrooms or other single-sex facilities consistent with their gender identity, or that the law or their obligations under Title IX to protect transgender students have somehow changed.That is simply not the case.” Days before the letter was sent to the State Department of Education, Federal Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos sent a letter to Sen. Patty Murray discussing the federal agency and stating that Obama-era educational institution-based civil rights protections had “descended into a pattern of overreaching, of setting out to punish and embarrass rather than work with them to correct civil rights violations and of ignoring public input prior to issuing new rules.” Sharon McGowan, a former Justice Department attorney in the Civil Rights division who
now works in strategy for Lambda Legal, believes that DeVos’ language in her letter attempts to undermine civil rights protections put into place, in a quote obtained by The Daily Beast: “She’s using this language that suggests the Department of Education is in need of some massive correction,” states McGowan. “Having been inside the government, watching the painstaking deliberation the Department of Education went through to receive input from schools and administrators and agencies...they [DeVos and colleagues] just want to create a narrative to undermine the legitimacy of this policy.” Nathan Smith, Director of Public Policy for GLSEN, an LGBT students rights group that signed Tuesday’s joint letter to the State Department, chastised DeVos’ criticisms of the Obama administration as well as her claims of remaining “neutral” and “impartial,” in another quote from The Daily Beast: “In her letter, Sec. DeVos implies that investigating complaints into discrimination against transgender students is inherently biased, priv-
ileging transgender students over other complainants. Nothing could be further from the truth.” “One cannot be ‘neutral and impartial’ by refusing to protect transgender students from well documented and disproportionate harassment and discrimination.” “To the contrary, any inaction on reports of such discrimination is by definition biased and partial.”
FROM THE COVER ... CONTINUED
⚫ BY HENRY GIARDINA
FASHION, from page 2 Photo: Damian Corredor.
Jovel Ramos models his fashion capsule to profit the Ali Forney Center for queer homeless youth.
thing so creepy and Halloween inspired and making it feminine and sexy, like the cropped baby tee. Do you think the future of fashion is androgynous? If so, why? I wouldn’t necessarily say ‘androgynous.’ I definitely think that fashion is in a better, more open-minded direction. I just wish it was more authentic. I want to see more queer, trans, and GNC folk in magazines and campaigns. Take Gigi off the cover and throw one of us on there! I’d like to think our community is the future. That’s what I’m fighting for. How did your past experience inspire this collection? I’ve spent my entire life, both in and outside of my career fighting. I’ve fought for acceptance, I’ve fought for visibility for other young queer kids, and I’ve fought my way through rejection in this industry. I’ve done things that I would never dream of as a kid. I’ve been in magazines, on runways, I’ve performed along pop stars. All these experiences have inspired me to give back to my community and the people who’ve supported me. I know what it’s like to grow up queer and come from a low income/urban background. Believe me, it’s not easy. I want to let kids know that you can do anything. Even if you feel like nobody’s rooting for you, you’re capable of anything as long as you remain 100% organically you. Where do you see yourself within
(or without) the fashion world? I’ve always seen myself in the fashion world as an outsider. But I think it’s made me a better person in the long run. I’ve developed a strong work ethic and a sort of ‘do-it-yourself’ attitude. I’ve built an entire brand off of being everything that fashion hates. What's next for you, in terms of fashion or otherwise? My first semester of college in New York, I sat down with a career advisor and told her all the things I wanted to accomplish and she laughed in my face. She told me I was all over the place, had too many goals, and I had to sit down and pick one thing. She was completely wrong because I’m 20 and I’ve accomplished over half that list. I really do think the sky’s the limit. I want to expand my label and sell it in major retailers, and get to see it on celebrities who are LGBTQ+ advocates. I’d love to see my clothes on strong women like Miley Cyrus or Gaga. What would you tell your younger self? “Even if things seem dark right now, persevere because you’re going to lead one fabulous fucking life after high school….and stop plucking your eyebrows so thin!” Do you have any plans to bring your work to L.A. at any point? I’d love to bring my work to L.A. at some point. I’d love to expand and get the label in more stores. Follow Jovel Ramos on Instagram: @itsjovel
07.321 — 08.10.2017 CULTURE FILM
FROM SILVER SCREEN TO TV SCREEN
⚫ BY ANNETTE SMERDJIAN
From Outfest to PBS, “Amigas With Benefits” Tells a Queer, Intersectional Love Story Earlier this month, Outfest screened some of the best indie LGBTQ movies of the year, including some short films. Screenings of films often included one-minute shorts before the movie, aside from the short films that were screened. One of the short films included in this year’s lineup was “Amigas With Benefits,” which went on to become a contender in the PBS Online Film Festival. The lesbian short film follows Lupita and Ramona, two brides-to-be, who met and fell in love while in a nursing home together. Lupita has finally decided to embrace her sexuality and be the wife of the woman she loves. Yet, their wedding day is interrupted by an uninvited guest who objects to the matrimony. Through the struggles of their situation as elders and the rejection of their love by others, they find each other again and run toward freedom.
Adelina Anthony, the writer, producer, and director of the short film, is a two-spirit Xicana lesbian whose multi-genre work spans over 20 years. She and her wife created AdeRisa Productions, giving way to films such as “Forgiving Heart.” Anthony explains in an interview for PBS that intersectional representation isn’t just a simple substitution of white characters with people of color, but an embrace of that person’s whole identity and particular presence in the scenes, “...the story challenge isn’t just about putting brown bodies where white and heterosexual bodies have historically occupied literary, theatrical or cinematic space – for me, the challenge is to tell a story we think we know in an altogether unique way.” She continues about the short film, “I knew my protagonist, Lupita, was going to be a Latina lesbian elder who had been living in the closet
almost all of her life. But living a lie has deep repercussions, and the story touches upon this.” The short film is available to view online at
the PBS Online Film Festival through July 28. A vote can be cast for any of the films presented after viewing on the website.
“Amigas With Benefits” tells the story of two women who fall in love in a nursing home.
07.28 — 08.10.2017
⚫ BY HENRY GIARDINA, RESEARCH BY J.J. ENGLENDER
In “Staircase,” Two of the World’s Most Prestigious Actors Played Gay Lovers In 1969, 20th Century Fox had the bold idea of assigning “Singin’ in the Rain” director Stanley Donen to “Staircase,” a drama that (tried, at least) to paint a sincere portrait of a gay relationship without taking an inherently judgmental or pitying attitude. Did it succeed? Well, not quite. The legendary British actors Rex Harrison and Richard Burton took on the roles of lovers in “Staircase,” a bold move but not quite an unexpected one, especially for Burton, who had already played (sort of) gay in “Becket” five years before. Taking place in London but filmed in Paris, “Staircase” tells the story of two men in a co-dependent, mostly unhappy relationship. The film opened to semi-decent reviews – although, in 1972, Rex Harrison told reporter Rex Reed that he considered the film “a disaster.” Life magazine's Brad Darrach marketed the film as "Rex and Dick in a Sick Gay Flick,” while other critics cattily commented that Harrison and Burton acted like several of their ex-wives. The response, from most viewers, was moot, and although the representation of gay life in “Staircase” was much more forgiving than previous mainstream “gay life” films like 1951’s “Detective Story” or 1961’s “The Children’s Hour” (both of which end with the gay character dying,) no one, gay or straight, was particularly thrilled by its portrayal. Charles Dyer's stage play, from which the movie was based, had opened to raves in 1966 in London.This was not the case with the Broadway production, which opened at the Biltmore in 1968 and closed after 61 performances. Although the appeal of “Staircase” hadn’t quite translated for an American audience, the film rights were quickly optioned off with Donen taking the lead and Dyer writing an expanded version of the stage production for the screenplay. Stanley Donen offered Burton the part of the meek, put-upon lover Harry Leeds quite bluntly, saying: “You must think me stark raving mad, but I want you to play a homosexual.” To hammer home this (at the time) indecent proposal, certain ads disbelievingly proclaimed: “Richard Burton and Rex Harrison play what?” The usual legacy actor trouble brewed on the set, with reports of Burton drinking and forgetting his lines – with his wife Elizabeth Taylor also in Paris at the time filming “The Only Game in Town,” Burton was understandably distracted. Harrison responded in kind, by walking offset several times. After shooting wrapped, the studio was desperate to find a way of marketing their very expensive and risky film with a gay theme.They landed on a number of taglines, the bluntest of which marketed “Staircase” simply as “a sad gay story.”
1969’s “Staircase” asks: ‘What makes a man live with another?’
Photos courtesy Adsausage.
07.321 — 08.10.2017
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07.28 — 08.10.2017
NEW BREW ON THE BLOCK
⚫ BY HENRY GIARDINA
Dry River Brewing is Making Slow Beer in the War Zone That Is Boyle Heights Photos: Dry River Brewing.com.
LEFT – Dry River Brewing has just opened its tap room in Boyle Heights.
BELOW – Owner Dave Hodgins at Dry River Brewing.
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Will they survive?
As far as symbols of impending (or even complete) neighborhood gentrification go, the a newly-opened brewery doesn’t fall far behind a newly-opened coffee shop. In fact, it might even come in front of it in the grand scheme of things. So how come, after weeks of protesting the much-contested Weird Wave Coffee on Cesar Chavez Ave., have Boyle Heights activists neglected to say or do anything about Dry River Brewing, the new environmentally-conscious brewery that just officially opened its taproom to the public? Dry River Brewing had its official tap room soft opening in late June, around the same time that protesters started showing up en masse to encourage Boyle Heights residents to boycott Weird Wave. And though Weird Wave might seem a more obvious token of gentrification than a brewery that’s open only a few weekends a month at this stage, the fact that Dry River – a brewery that was in the works long before the end of California’s years-long stretch of drought – has opened without fanfare seems strange in light of the recent controversy. In terms of the brewery itself, it seems – much like Weird Wave – and unlike the recently shuttered spate of art galleries to pop up in the neighborhood – to fill a need, or at least a desire, in the Boyle Heights community. But then again, so does The Indie Brewing Co., a brewery that stands extremely close by, and whose facility Dry River uses to ferment their own product. That, plus the tap room, is Dry River’s distinction. The idea of making ‘slow’ beer, which takes time (obviously,) while prioritizing ingredients and energy- and water-saving methods over a quick product, is what puts Dry River apart from the rest of the trendy breweries that tend to start popping up in newly-gentrified or gentrifying areas.The beer is aged in wine barrels and left to its own devices for long periods of time, distinct from the traditional beer-brewing method of using steel barrels for shorter periods of time. Dry River’s approach to beer is fully local – brewers ferment and flavor their product with local hops, as well as unused food from nearby groceries. They’re also trying to conserve water, by using about half the amount the average brewery uses in the brewing process – an ambitious project that Dry River’s owner, Dave Hodgins, hopes to realize in the next few years.That is, if they can stay in the neighborhood long enough.
07.321 — 08.10.2017 ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION
GAYEST NEWS EVER
⚫ BY HENRY GIARDINA
Some Plot Suggestions for That New Season of “The L Word” Move over, Ilene, we’ll take it from here.
Ever since the gay Internet caught wind of a full-on “L Word” revival last week, most of us can think of nothing else. The possibilities of Bette, Tina, Shane, Alice, Helena, and Jenny’s corpse coming together again are simply endless – and mind-boggling. So to quiet the insane voices of anticipation in our heads that are rendering sleep impossible, here is a list of a few suggestions (ahem, demands) for the new season’s character arcs. 1. Jenny Comes Back From the Dead Yes, yes, everyone hates her, we get it. But she’s the one we LOVE to hate, that’s the important thing. What’s a show without a great villain? And seriously, who else really fits the bill? You don’t expect the writers to trot out Dawn and her lover Cindy for the umpteenth time, do you? 2. Alice, Having Been Wrongfully Accused of Jenny’s Murder, is Released From Jail So we all know the story of how, in the “L Word” spinoff that never was, tentatively titled “The Farm,” Alice was supposed to take the rap for Jenny’s murder, even though she was innocent. In the new season, Alice will get sprung in no time, using her newfound freedom and prison friends (plenty of room for an “Orange is the New Black” crossover here) to wreak havoc on the lesbian community of Los
Creator Ilene Chaiken has confirmed that the legacy Lesbian show will return.
Angeles, one vaginal rejuvenation at a time. 3. Bette and Tina are Now Polyamorous Don’t say you didn’t see it coming. Everybody’s favorite artsy, new-agey couple has thrown out their puritan morals and embraced the era of advanced sluttiness that is the 2010s. 4. Shane and Jenny’s Resurrected Ghost Have a Showdown, In Which Shane Finally Breaks Up with Jenny and Gives Us the Ending We Deserve We were all waiting breathlessly for that relationship to end, and somehow we were denied that one, simple pleasure. Thankfully we have Season 7 to amend this error. Preferably this breakup takes place in the same wrestling ring where Nikki and Jenny had
their showdown in Season 5. 5. Kate McKinnon Makes a Guest
Appearance As Alice’s charismatic, slightly eccentric lawyer. And gay. Did we mention the character is gay?
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07.28 — 08.10.2017
⚫ BY STAFF WRITER
PlushCare App Brings PrEP to the Masses
PrEP, the preventative medication that allows HIV-negative users to retain their negative status, hasn’t taken long to revolutionize the way we think about safe sex and HIV prevention. So why don’t more people use it? More importantly: Why don’t more people know about it? In large urban capitals like Los Angeles, PrEP’s benefits are widely proclaimed through posters, ad campaigns tied to health centers and community organizations like the L.A. LGBT Center, and known about in general just through word of mouth. When it comes to smaller towns across the country, however, PrEP education has a long way to go. That’s why healthcare app PlushCare has just taken the initiative to allow for PrEP access, screenings and education in 18 states around the U.S. Each month, the number of states with access is set to increase. Here’s why that’s important. Although HIV prevention methods are beneficial to over 1.2 million individuals at
direct risk, only 7 percent of this population is currently on PrEP. As many as 1 in 3 doctors either don’t know about PrEP or are unwilling to prescribe it. “Until now, access to PrEP in most places has been severely lacking, due to social stigma and lack of education among patients and physicians alike. In fact, according to the CDC, 1.2 million people are at greatest risk for HIV, yet only 79,000 actually take the drug,” said Dr. James Wantuck, MD, co-founder and chief medical officer of PlushCare in a press release. “We are changing this reality. PlushCare is in a unique position to do so and is making a once devastating and taboo medical issue manageable for all.” With PlushCare’s new PrEP initiative, an initial check-up is not required in order to access to PrEP. The app does, however, make it easy to check in with a provider via text or video chat to enable the safe continued use of the drug. The app also allows users to set up lab tests and figure out eligibility.
PlushCare now makes PrEP treatment available to patients in 18 states and counting.
07.321 — 08.10.2017 CULTURE THEATRE
TAKING THE STAGE
⚫ BY HENRY GIARDINA
Sal Mineo Gets His Second Act in “Rebel With a Cause”
The actor Sal Mineo’s life, in many ways, mirrored that of his two-time co-star James Dean. Like Dean, he blasted to fame in 1955’s “Rebel Without a Cause” as a young, sensitive member of the new generation. Like Dean, he had a knack for playing tragic, misunderstood characters. Like Dean, he was bisexual and met an early, tragic death. But unlike Dean, Mineo was murdered, most likely because of his sexuality, in an alley behind his Sunset Strip apartment at the age of 37. That murder defined his legacy and put a definitive stop what was – at the time – looking like a solid comeback for the aging star. That murder – and the comeback before it – is the subject of “Rebel With a Cause,” Dean Ghaffari’s one-man show about the actor, singer, and gay right’s activists final days. The Mineo story lends itself to the classic tragic format – humble beginnings (Mineo was the Bronx-born son of coffin-makers) early success, a sharp fall from grace, a return to the spotlight, and a gruesome, mysterious death that cut the actor’s life short before he could return to his former glory, with only $20 to his name at the time of his death. In addition to being an ear-
ly gay rights advocate, Mineo was also an early critic of the kind of racist typecasting that plagued Hollywood in the ‘50s, putting Mineo in every “othered” role from that of a Sioux warrior to a Jewish soldier returning to his homeland to a doomed Mexican worker on Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor’s estate in “Giant,” the second film he co-starred in with James Dean. It’s oddly tempting to say that Mineo was a bit too ahead of his time – that his brand of raw talent, bravery, and activism was just a bit out of step with a world that was just starting to wake up to the thousand cuts of injustice it had suffered over the last few centuries. But that would be too easy. Mineo deserved to live and do his work and pursue the love he wanted. With Ghaffari’s play, we get to see him live again, if only for one more night.
“Rebel With a Cause: The Sal Mineo Story” opens at Promenade Playhouse on August 11. Photo: Promenade Playhouse.
Dean Ghaffari plays the tragic Sal Mineo in his one-man show.
⚫ BY HENRY GIARDINA
In “Our Great Tchaikovsky,’ Hershey Felder Explores the Life, Work, and Sexuality of an Artist In you know of the actor, musician, and writer Hershey Felder, you’ll know that for the past ten years has committed his life to
portraying a diverse array of musicians in one man shows, from Tin Pan Alley craftsmen like George Gershwin and Irving Berlin to clas-
Photo: The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.
sical masters like Chopin and Beethoven. With each portrayal, Felder uses the music to inform his understanding of the man (or men) who wrote it, getting deeper and more personal with work that seems, with each passing year, to slip from our analytical grasp. Felder’s work is a kind of living biography – a melding of his deep appreciation of work with his understanding of what emotional toll its production must have taken on each creator. Which brings us to that louche Russian master, Tchaikovsky. The man who brought us “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker” is the latest subject of Felder’s work in “Our Great Tchaikovsky,” a deep dive into the music as well as the less-discussed aspects of the great master’s life, patronage, and sexuality. The sexuality, of course, is the challenge in a one-man show. How to hint at it, ref-
erence it, or even bluntly talk about gayness in the context of a man who couldn’t hint, reference, or bluntly talk about it in his own time? Who probably wouldn’t even be able to talk about it in the Russia of today, much less during his own lifetime during Imperial Russia’s great last gasp? Felder brings up this point, poignantly, at the beginning of each show, when he brings out a letter from the current Russian government asking if he would be open to bringing his show to Russia – on the condition that he remove any mention of Tchaikovsky’s homosexuality. Luckily, Felder has absolutely zero interest in this. He’s content to keep telling the tale of the Russian master here in the States, where the full story can finally come to light. Our Great Tchaikovsky will play at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts through August 13.
07.28 — 08.10.2017
07.321 — 08.10.2017 CULTURE EATS
⚫ BY HENRY GIARDINA
ME SO HUNGRY
Prepare to Eat the Gayest Cake Ever as Momofuku Opens Its First L.A. Location
If you’re ever had the pleasure – nay, the privilege – of eating at any of super-chef Dave Chang’s New York locations, including Momofuku, Momofuku Milk Bar, or Ma Peche, then you know what heaven tastes like. Everything on the menu at Chang’s many establishments, from Momofuku’s aptly-named Crack Pie to Noodle Bar’s Pork Ramen, contains a base minimum of 1,020 calories and is made, quite simply, to addict, if not enslave. And the most visually-pleasing (and gayest) or these treats is no exception. Which is why we’re making absolutely no bones about the fact that we’re thrilled L.A. is getting its very own Milk Bar within the year. It doesn’t seem like a stretch to claim that the Momofuku empire – primarily its sister magazine, “Lucky Peach,” which just got discontinued – may have been single-handedly responsible for bringing the trend of Instagrammable cuisine to its peak. Rather than favor pretension and tiny portions like many of their high-end New York competitors, Dave Chang’s restaurants always favor simplicity, flavor, and an approachable type of beauty that al-
ways comes with a bit of nostalgia baked right in. Case in point: Momofuku’s rainbow-spotted, 8th-birthday-party-cum-gay-wedding cake, featuring layers of funfetti cakes pasted together with cereal milk icing and topped with a fancy version of lucky charms. It’s basically everything you’ve wanted since you were a kid, made totally appropriate – and even classy – for adult consumption. The Milk Bar Birthday Cake predates the Unicorn flavor craze by at least five years, and – unlike all the Johnny-come-latelys and copycats – gets it exactly right. That’s why Chang remains the best in the business. When it comes to our deepest, darkest, 3rd grade, budding-gay Lisa-Frank desires, he hits the sweet spot every time. In addition to opening a Milk Bar in place of the Melrose Baskin Robbins, Chang also plans to open a new restaurant called North Spring in Downtown L.A. later this year. We don’t have an official opening date for either North Spring or Milk Bar yet, but that doesn’t stop our taste buds from watering in anticipation. L.A. could not be more ready for this jelly.
Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake.
⚫ BY GENNA RIVECCIO
Guerrilla Tacos Goes Legit with Arts District Flagship Will the OG Taco Truck Be Able to Keep Its Street Cred? If L.A. symbolizes one thing to people other than fame-chasing and Lana Del Rey in the “H” of the Hollywood sign, it’s tacos. Specifically taco trucks. And if anyone has been at the forefront of the taco truck competition, it’s Wes Avila with Guerrilla Tacos, originally stationed outside of Handsome Coffee before moving to beloved coffee hero Tyler Wells’ other endeavor, Blacktop Coffee. The popularity of Avila’s distinct style and flavor has landed it on the 101 Best Restaurants List in the thirteenth slot, with esoteric fillings like sea urchin and wild boar proving that L.A. is the only city that allows for this level of epicurean experimentation – the kind that stodgier east coast types might deem a bastardization. But if food that tastes this good is a bastard, Guerrilla Tacos is of-
Photo: Guerrilla Tacos.
ficially the Jon Snow in this Game of Tacos. So-called “illegitimacy” aside, Guerrilla is finally going legit with a brick and mortar
outpost to be located in the Arts District at 2000 East 7th Street. Originally “a tiny operation” that only saw fit to materialize
a few days out of the week, it’s clear the taco-loving public can’t get enough. And for good reason: Avila’s culinary background has known the gourmand expanse of Le Comptoir and L’Auberge. Attracting the attention of Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold back in 2014 and just about everyone else within a comfortable radius of the county, it’s no surprise Avila is finally making good on a promise to open a brick and mortar after just five years of being in business. And there’s no sign of him stopping with just one “flagship” in L.A. – a 2,400 squarefoot space, to be exact. Avila also told Life & Thyme, "I want to be in Chicago, Brazil, Tokyo, Hawaii… I don’t see an end to it.” Which music to our ears – or perhaps... cilantro to our tastebuds? But those who thought they could have their taco and eat it too, beware. The opening of the brick and mortar next year means no more quaint little taco truck to be endeared by.
07.28 — 08.10.2017
COMMUNITY REAL ESTATE
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⚫ BY GENNA RIVIECCIO
A Touch of Noir: Raymond Chandler’s Brentwood House Could Be Yours What Life does to your body, we undo
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Brentwood is one of those many L.A. neighborhoods that acts as an ecosystem unto itself. An ecosystem that, let’s be honest, has a lot of creepy energy because of that whole O.J. Simpson murdering Nicole Brown on Gretna Green Way thing. But it’s the type of dark aura that perfectly suits the real estate that once belonged to hardboiled detective fiction writer Raymond Chandler. His most famous character, Philip Marlowe – immortalized on the silver screen by the seamlessly-cast Humphrey Bogart in “The Big Sleep” – is almost like an extension of Chandler himself: impenetrable, cold and arcane. This description is something of the antithesis of Chandler’s former home, nestled in a cul-de-sac for added enchantment. A beacon of warmth with its cozy interiors, inviting backyard and almost sickeningly rustic entrance – complete with strategically overgrown plants – one could almost never imagine someone with the prickly reputation of Chandler to have lived here. But maybe it’s precisely because of this heliograph of comfortable domestic life that Chandler was able to produce some of his
best work (“The High Window,” to be exact) in the early 1940s when he inhabited the space. The home’s current owner, John McVie, famous in his own right, of course, as the bassist of Fleetwood Mac, possibly still feels some of the residual Chandler energy (try not to think of “Friends,”) and perhaps wants to pass it along to a person who can better appreciate it. Though certainly not an aspiring writer still struggling to get a two million dollar book deal à la Emma Cline. But maybe a Stephen King type looking to preserve the legacy and integrity of literary history. The “modest” two-bed, two-bathroom home is on the market for approximately three million dollars. The price of a song, really, for property of such historical value located in Brentwood. Private gardens in the front and backyards allow for that sort of writerly reflection you’ll inevitably want. Or if not that, the sort of reflection that tends to wander toward the financial ruin you’ve caused yourself just to feel closer to Raymond Chandler, whose ghost will probably clean out your liquor cabinet most nights.
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07.321 — 08.10.2017
WHAT TO DO
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WHEN: August 12-13 WHERE: Los Angeles Convention Center WHAT: A gathering of the foremost beauty gurus on Instagram, IRL WHY: For the beautyobsessed, get some FaceTime with the makers of your favorite YouTube tutorialists. And finally learn how to do that flawless #wingtip.
WHEN: August 3- September 10 WHERE: Los Angeles LGBT Center, The Village at Ed Gould Plaza WHAT: Artist Sugiyama uses portraiture to explore the possibilities of breaking the binary through non-oppressive masculinity. WHY: Anti-Patriarchal for the win.
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WHEN: August 5, 11 A.M. WHERE: Los Angeles State Historic Park WHAT: L.A.’s favorite queer bicycle brigade takes to the streets for its 6th annual Misa Negra bike ride. WHY: The ride is open to all, and, in the words of the psycos themselves, we need solidarity now more than ever.
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WHEN: August 2, 4:30 P.M. WHERE: The Spirit Guild, 586 Mateo St. WHAT: A tour (and tasting) of L.A.’s finest clear alcoholic beverages. WHY: Gin and vodka are both gluten-free.
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07.28 — 08.10.2017
⚫ BY HENRY GIARDINA
GIVE IT A LISTEN
Issa Rae’s “Fruit” Zooms in on One Man’s Sexuality
Ever since the release of “S-Town” earlier this year, the podcast world has been facing a minor crisis. After Brian Reed cracked open the case of a desperate, brilliant bisexual man living in deep red state territory, the podcast world, at last, had created its first literary-scale masterpiece, its “In Cold Blood.” No one, clearly, was about to go back to boring old Fresh Air after that. With the bar raised considerably, how would new podcasts with the same traditional, tired format, keep up with the new gold standard set by the groundbreaking “S-Town,” a show that zeroed in on one
man’s life to create a larger-than-life story? Would listeners accept anything less than this ever again? Would podcasting ever be the same? Short answer: No. But something else did happen alongside the release of “S-Town,” a quieter yet just as groundbreaking story that breaks the rules in much the same way that “S-Town” does, only using a new kind of fiction as its format. “Fruit,” a podcast produced by Issa Rae – the creator of “Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” along with “Insecure,” the HBO series that grew out of it – is a fictional story that borrows an episodic, confessional
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format to tell its story across two seasons. Like the recent Netflix show “13 Reasons Why,” “Fruit” operates through a suspenseful, play-by-play unfolding of events, with each episode ending on an emotional cliffhanger. Using the world of pro sports to explore the conflicts of perceived masculinity, race, and sexuality, “Fruit” takes on the story of X, a pro-football player on his way up in the world who struggles to understand and accept his queerness. As a black man in the hypercompetitive, and often hyper-homophobic, world of football, X isn’t that thrilled about acknowledging the part of him that wants to date, have sex, and explore deeper levels of intimacy with men. But he gives way to this part of himself, episode by episode, eventually running past the thousand obstacles that stand in the way of his embracing his iden-
tity, only to find by the end of Season 2 that accepting what you want is only half the battle. The rest is about trying, through heartbreak and resistance, to actually get what you want. Listening to X tell his story in the first person, filling in the emotional details in monologue while we hear the actual, often stilted interactions with the people in his life in dialogue, is exhausting, thrilling, and addictive. With each episode spanning no longer than 20 minutes, “Fruit” is designed to tantalize, and it succeeds. The feeling that “Fruit” accesses, in its most skillful plays, is a kind of ecstatic anticipation similar to what a fan might feel at a game even though he’s standing on the sideline, passive. It doesn’t matter that it’s fiction, or that it’s about football, or that it’s at times absurdly dramatic: We’re fully in the game, cheering X on from the sidelines.
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“Fruit” tells the stor y of X, a pro-football player struggling to accept his queerness.
07.321 — 08.10.2017
⚫ BY HENRY GIARDINA
A LOOK AT LGBT+ MENTAL HEALTH
Olly Alexander’s “Growing Up Gay” Tackles Homophobia, Depression
“You cannot underestimate shame,” says Years and Years frontman Olly Alexander, who, despite having made a name for himself as a singer, actor, and gay advocate, struggles with mental health issues and body dysmorphia almost around the clock. Though, for most queer people living out in the open, it’s never a case of “in spite of.” It’s “because of.” In Alexander’s new BBC documentary, “Olly Alexander: Growing Up Gay,” the singer goes in-depth about his past struggles as someone who, to deal with the pain and pressure of bullying, resorted to self-harm and bulimia as a teenager. Sadly, it’s a common enough story for LGBTQ+ kids raised in the strict, homophobic British
school system and all over the world. When it comes to the shame society doles out, says Alexander, no one is immune. “Your first introduction to your sexuality is that it’s wrong, and that you have to hide it.” He says. “The moment shame creeps into your life from a really young age, for LGBT people, the moment you realize you’re different from everybody else, that plants this seed of toxic pain and it just grows and grows and grows...as you get older.” Alexander talks to kids across England about their experience with bullying, suicidal ideation, and self-harm. He supplements the interviews with extensive research, citing studies on the effect of bullying for teens and young adults, including a new study by
Stonewall whose findings showed that half of all LGBTQ+ teens face bullying at school. While this statistic doesn’t come as a surprise, it does call to attention the fact that, despite growing numbers of suicides, the culture at large has become somewhat blase about at-risk youth, taking the bullying trends in stride as a kind of inevitable “coming of age” marker. For many kids, however, the victimization is real, and very avoidable should schools at any point choose to acknowledge the problem and put money into education and prevention. Through meeting with teens who have experienced abuse and ostracization at the hands of their classmates, Alexander explodes the myth that bullying has to be the norm for kids
who read as ‘different.’ He also discusses the danger of drugs and drug culture as a seductive, highly dangerous escape route for gay men struggling with their identity. Alexander sites a recent study by Imperial College finding that at least twelve people die each day in London from overdosing on chemsex or “G.” “I’ve had friends who aren’t here anymore because of it.” He says. “And if one more person goes that way, I can’t. It’s not right.” “Olly Alexander: Growing Up Gay” is part of the BBC’s acknowledgment of the 50 year anniversary of the Sexual Offenses Act of 1967, which decriminalized gay sex acts between consenting adults.
⚫ BY HENRY GIARDINA
07.28 — 08.10.2017
“Friends From College” is Peak Nostalgia Programming
Despite its excellent casting, the new Netflix show falls into a few problematic patterns.
If anyone were to tell you three years ago that someday you’d be watching a post-“Wonder Years” Fred Savage pretend to be in a relationship with Billy Eichner – aka that guy who accosts people on the street for a living –on TV, you probably wouldn’t believe it. First of all, a Fred Savage comeback?! Secondly, Billy Eichner?! That guy who keeps shoving a microphone into New Yorkers’ faces and offering them a dollar for worthless information? But much has changed in three years, paving way for the kind of programming that would have been considered beyond belief in the pre-Netflix age. Namely: That unthinkable “Full House” remake, a wildly successful reboot of the ‘70s-‘80s clunker “One Day at a Time,” and “Riverdale,” an entire series devoted to hyper-sexualizing the characters of the Archie universe. This brave new world also includes “Friends From College,” a sweet, well-meaning, but ultimately repetitive comic drama about six Harvard grads who end up, twenty years after graduating, all living, working and screwing around (mostly with each other) in the same city. Granted, that city is New York, but it’s still not quite enough to make it all plausible. Unless you take the time to truly and seriously consider the earth-shattering central thesis of “Friends From College,” which is that no one really grows up. No one wants to, first of all, and even those that might want to simply... can’t. This is where we start to run into the same trap of other shows rushing in to trade on the nostalgia tsunami created by Netflix reboots and original programming. How many times, for instance, have we seen that scene in which two people having an affair – each married to other people – have to come up with a quick, convincingly non-sexual reason as to why they’re in the same place at the same time to the satisfaction of a mutual friend or colleague? How many times, also, have we seen the familiar stock characters folded into more adult-seeming stock relationship templates: The marriage that’s not working because he’s distracted and she’s controlling, the long term relationship that’s not working because he’s clueless and she’s ambitious. The affair that’s not working because he’s trying to have kids and she’s already got them. In the world of “Friends From College,” anything that falls outside of the
Billy Eichner and Fred Savage toast their doomed relationship in “Friends From College.”
central friend group – any other responsibilities including jobs, kids, and spouses – simply don’t matter. They basically don’t exist. And you can say whatever you want about the French farceurs from which comedies like “Friends From College” borrow their template, but at least they saw that all the slamming doors and sexual hijinx in the world don’t really matter unless there are some, you know...stakes. Things almost, for a brief moment, start to get interesting when it comes to the one gay couple in the show. Fred Savage’s aforementioned relationship with Billy Eichner is fraught from the start because Eichner – the one true adult in the entire “Friends From College” world – doesn’t like how juvenile his boyfriend becomes when he’s around his selfish, obnoxious friends. In any other actor’s hands, Eichner’s nearly-thankless role becomes the one note of interesting criticism in and of the show. His character exists as the beleaguered Nick Carraway of the piece, eager to have an adult relationship with his boyfriend, only to be thwarted by the constant presence of messy
Eichner’s “Difficult People” returns to Hulu August 8.
adults who refuse to grow up. In an era when gay characters are often relegated to the sidelines, denied personhood – or worse, made an example of – Eichner’s appearance on “Friends From College,” is the show’s one redeeming quality. But
then, we’d expect nothing less from Eichner, who has made a career of being a complex, defiantly undefinable gay character on screen, both in “Billy on the Street” and the excellent “Difficult People,” which returns (mercifully) on August 8.
07.321 — 08.10.2017
⚫ BY ANNETTE SEMERDJIAN
“Two Queens in a Kitchen” is Your New Favorite Cooking Show The cult favorite returns for its second season.
The digital platform that brought us “Brown Girls” now heralds the second season of “Two Queens in a Kitchen,” an unconventional cooking show which explores topics of race, queer culture, and the impact of intersectional feminism. “Two Queens in a Kitchen” creator and director Elijah McKinnon and Open TV founder Aymar Jean Christian began the second season by talking about art and TV, and by claiming space and the presence of Open TV for the queer community as well as its filmmakers, all while making salad and mixing drinks. Christian spoke about how Open TV is revolu-
tionizing the TV industry by presenting a platform that defies television conventions through a more expressive way of production. “Folks are realizing that television doesn’t have to be what they grew up with or their mom’s or dad’s or grandpa’s television, it can be a kind of television that inspires you that teaches you to think identity in more complex ways, to think about the role of space and where you are in your city and be a community as a part of television.” He went on to mention that often we expect writers and directors to create a series, but with Open TV creation of television content is open to artists of all kinds. One of the most important things in claiming space as both Christian and McKinnon talk about in the first episode of the series’ second season is coming together as a community and creating
companies that cater to queer talent and creativity. Open TV’s “Brown Girls” has received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series on top of getting a full series deal with HBO. “Brown Girls” is nominated alongside online spin-offs of major shows like “Broad City,” “Better Call Saul” and “Fear the Walking Dead.” Last year’s nominations included shows like theYouTube show “Her Story” about a trans woman finding love and embracing her sexuality in the same category. Online platforms are showing to be a place where queer POC can see their ideas fully realized on screen and audiences are responding well enough for them to be considered for bigger projects. Open TV has proven to very much be a platform for visibility in indie filmmaking to the main-
stream.You can view the second season of “Two Queens in a Kitchen” and more on OpenTV.com.
07.28 — 08.10.2017
LOS ANGELES HEALTH
SEX BELONG TOGETHER
PROTECT THEMSELVES Know your prevention options. Tag in. VISIT AND TALK TO A HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
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