Please visit the Fall 2012 class website project at Queer Arts Los Angeles Website.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Reflection

This course was very interesting. This course was very challenging for me, especially when taking into account the technological portion of the course. I understand the benefits of having your own computer to work on these projects, I thought this would be easy to overcome but the CLICC computers also lost my work several times. I wish I had been more diligent regarding the project, however navigating the spaces where I am out and not out became difficult to manage. The most enjoyable part of this course was a tie between reading Cordova's memoir (minus some of the relationship drama) and the prezi presentations which broke down a lot of necessary history. It was more engaging to see Queer history through multiple mediums instead of just an academic lecture. The ability to interact with multiple texts was more exciting.

I do want to thank Profe and my classmates. I can honestly say that the things that I learned through this class are invaluable. These discussions were priceless, so thank you all

Hominterm part 2

"Hardly any black writers have enjoyed the financial independence and associated social protection that Proust and Gide could take for granted" (kindle page 359)

The ninth chapter was probably my favorite chapter of the entire Hominterm book. It directly talks about the experience of intersectional Black queers.
It begins the chapter by recalling the work of several Black writers. more specifically on the memoirs that Black literature was well known for. As the quote mentions Black writers could not partake in the privileges that other writers could actively take part in. In some cases the financial stability was unheard of. These interesectional Harlem authors had to navigate their queerness in a "survival mode" and not in leisure like most of their more privileged Euro-descendant counterparts.

Extra Credit

Stonewall Uprising

This film is astonishing. It shows the history of the LBGTQ community and how the society has been oppressing its members. The thing that stands out to me is the lobotomy for gay people. Homophobic people think that the front part of their brain get damage; thus, they conjecture that gays have mental illnesses. As they have conceived that gay people are "sick" and "pervert," they think that only heterosexual people can cure their "disease." They believe that the front part of their brain got damaged; thus, they try to remove part of their brain. Moreover, the homophobias have also invented other ways to torture the queers, so that they are threatened and forced to change their mind after their suffering.

One horrible thing that the movie mentioned is that, there were secret police to detect gay people in the past. If you get caught, you are going to be sent to jail. Once the queers are known to be gay, the local newspaper or other propaganda will unveil your name into the gay list. Therefore, after they are release from the police station or jail, everyone in the community will know that they are gay. Letting the public knows that they are gay is something risky at that time. Gays were not protected by laws and the Constitution, so family, institutions and businesses can do whatever they want to repress the gays, such as kicking them out of the family, not hiring them or laying them off.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Reflection

I have really enjoyed this class and am sad that it has come to an end. This course was both challenging and rewarding. I don't consider myself good with technology so the idea of using photoshop and iMovie was a bit intimidating. However, I enjoy different forms of art so, exploring different mediums for myself sounded interesting. I'm glad I took this class because I was exposed to a new interest of mine that I did not know I had. After making my short film, I was left wanting to do more. I wished I could've my film longer, I wished I had started working on it earlier so to develop a better storyline. The process of making the film was super fun. I'm so appreciative of this course and Professor Lopez for igniting this new interest in me. I want to pursue this interest and turn it into a hobby. My career goal has been to work with GLAAD and I feel that exposure to this course has taken me one step closer to attain that goal. This course has also thought me a lot about our queer history right here in LA. It is amazing to learn about this intersectional history because LA is such a diverse city, and when it comes to queer history, gender and race are also significant factors. My favorite text that we read this quarter was Jeanne Córdova's When We Were Outlaws. I enjoyed this book the most because although it presented historical and political issues, it did so through a memoir which is an easier and more interesting read.

Homintern pt.2

"for 'discretion' is absolutely central to the formulation of homosexuality as a socially acceptable condition of life. It is a broader concept than the 'closet', but it occupies some of the same wardrobe space" p. 307

This quote comes from chapter 10 where the discussion is over the "good homosexual" versus the "bad homosexual". In summary, the good homosexual is one who is not overt about their sexuality, a bad homosexual is one whom is. The quote states why it is wrong to have this binary ideology of a good homosexual and a bad homosexual. Limiting a homosexual's level of expression of their sexuality just so that they fit into the norm is wrong. As the quote says, doing that is the same as forcing them to stay in the closet. Being discrete is similar to being in the closet, whether forcibly or by choice. A heterosexual person is not limited in how they express their sexuality so neither should a homosexual. The claim is that if homosexuals were discrete then they would fit into the norm. However, that norm that homosexuals would be fitting into is a heterosexual norm. Homosexuals do not need to fit into or become the heterosexual norm. Rather, homosexuality needs to become just of a norm as heterosexuality is.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

FIN

This quarter went by too fast! I enjoyed this class very much and actually looked forward to Friday mornings :)

I still cannot get over the origin of California though! That lesbian warrior was badass and I will share her story until the day I die!

This class has taught me a lot about my queer community and my queer herstory. I appreciated all of the discussions, movies, books, pictures and projects we shared. This class allowed me to be more creative and more open.

There was a paragraph in Homintern that I really liked and even day dream about it... on page 275, it described a lesbian fantasy:

"The music was rhythmic and popular. The floor was jammed with a mass of couples...a mass of girls, dancing, arms locked around each other, bodies pressed close and warm. Their cheeks were touching. Quick light kisses were exchanged. And they were all girls, every one of them: young and lovely and infatuated with each other. they touched one another with gentle caresses, they kissed they smiled and laughed and whispered while they turned and moved together. There was no shame, no shock, no self-consciousness about it all. They were enjoying themselves. They were having fun in the most natural way imaginable. They were all in love, or so it seemed. They were – what did [Jesus] call it? – GAY"

Thank you all and special thanks to Professor Lopez!

Lesbian Bonobos (just cause they are dope)


Reflection

I am honestly so sad this course is over! It feels like the weeks went by so fast. This was by and large my favorite class I have taken at UCLA since I transferred last fall. I really appreciated that the class always seemed to have an open floor for people to relate their feelings or prior knowledge to the material that Professor Lopez presented. Pretty much everyone in the class contributed to class discussions each time we met and everyone seemed to enjoy this dynamic by building off each others thoughts. The material was also very interesting, I especially liked Jean Cordovas book and Gay L.A., but I also haven't finished fun home all the way yet. I think I liked these books so much because they told the story of queer people living before I was alive and all the ways they have contributed to our present state and future. The video project has also been great. I have always wanted to learn to produce short videos like this but had never taken the time to learn. After all we have done for this video project, I feel like I would be capable of producing more videos like this on my own. I liked that we were able to be independent in our projects and decide the direction we wanted to go, but able to come back at any time to prof. Lopez for assistance or advice on our projects. The screening tomorrow will be very fun and the perfect way to end the class. I hope that I will continue to work with everyone  in this class again.

Reflection

This is my first LGBTQ studies and also art class, and it is sad that this is the last class of the quarter. For this LGBTQ studies class, I understand more about the history of Los Angeles and the global LGBTQ communities; at the same time, I was astonished by the movement of LGBTQ rights which has been an on-going event for centuries. In different period, there are different types of expression and advocacy for the community; nonetheless, they are fighting for liberation and freedom. The rise of different individuals from the community is the most impressive; their rise is not necessary to be standing on the street protesting, yelling out their slogan, but it can be just using their talent to express their thoughts and feelings.

 From this class, I come up with a question: Why straight people have the rights to identify and classify what is obscene or pervert and what is art. Art is a subjective thing; if it does not fall into your subjectivity, then that is your opinion and you should not slander others' works. People are always double-standarded. They are opinionated toward the LGBTQ community, so that they can protect their power structure by abusing the other. They make sure that queers cannot be treated equally by generating homophobia As a result, queers lose their rights to create art and identify what is art. This is an inspiration for me toward this revolutionary community.

 I really like the book When We Were Outlaws by Jeanne Cordova. This book gives me a bigger sense of how we should participate in LGBTQ community, and what are our roles in this community. When I was reading Cordova's memoirs, I understand more about the daily life of a queer. Their struggles, their battle with the homophobic people, their failure and their victory are so empowering that I doubt myself to do something for this community. Even one action such as speak up for your community can bring a great impact to the people around. We should make sure that everyone are comfortable about their identities and nobody can be prohibited for full expressing themselves.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Final Reflection


As I reflect back on the readings and materials presented in class I can honestly say I admire and respect even more the creative pieces artists share with all of us. These artists are vulnerable to criticisms that offer nothing other than judgments towards their work from people that have not bothered comprehending or researching the artists. An example I can draw on is the chocolate Jesus that infuriated a priest to the point that he insulted Cosimo Cavallaro the sculptor of “Sweet Jesus”. As I observed the video presented in class I watch Cavallaro attempt to keep his calm, but he eventually knew that he had to defend himself. In many instances, artists that defend themselves are dismissed by the same aggressors due to their inability to understand the root of their anger. Perhaps, it is so internalized within that they feel the need to inflict others with their unsolved issues.

I would also like to Thank Professor Lopez Gaspar de Alba for exposing the class to several extra credit opportunities related to our queerness. I attended an art gallery by Laura Aguilar that helped me reconnect with my body in ways I thought I would never. Now I am actively seeking and making times for teaching moments like those that I find compelling and look forward to acquiring new perspectives. Unfortunately, I will not be staying for everyone’s presentation due to personal matters, but I am grateful to have shared a space with you all. Good luck on finals and future endeavors.
-K.L.A

Reflection

The best part of this course was to be in a space, and especially a classroom, where everyone in it was interested and/or has been directly affected by the queer history taught.  This is not the kind of class where everyone takes it to get a passing grade; the efforts of every classmate were thus so much clearer and more appreciated.  This small queer/ally community is what brought me to the idea of my final project, (representing the lives of queer people lost in history), and is what has drawn me into all of the readings and resources this quarter.  The class felt like a network of support in education and art, just like Jeanne Cordova had, like Alison Bechdel made, and like Sylvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier worked to form.  Reading the stories of these women who were a million times braver than most is inspiring to all young queer people.  It has also made me realize how important our final videos are.  In them, we get the opportunity to share and document our stories and inspirations to make sure that they are never ignored or buried.  Most of the time, I refuse to work with video but I think I learned how to approach time-based art where I can still use my background in painting and drawing.

class reflection

Whoa! I cannot believe the quarter is already coming to an end. It feels like just yesterday we were reading and discussing Gay L.A. I was excited to learn the history within our own community, especially here in Los Angeles. There were many untold stores that I was not aware of, making me reflect and become grateful of our culture. As I engaged in the readings I was able to comprehend how queer individuals were oppressed, living in a world of fear and having a negative connotation. After witnessing the resistance, I was inspired and encouraged to pursue my aspirations. Coming in, I had no experience with using Photoshop or iMovie. My biggest challenge was utilizing the medium. After many trials and errors, I learned how to come up with a film that pays homage to the LGBT community and how they have influenced many people. I am excited to showcase my final project, by being embedded in the culture and engraved in society.  I enjoyed learning about queer history and the people who made it possible for us to have a voice. They paved the way for future generations. We have a history of resistance and have overcome many obstacles and will continue to do so. 

Reflection

I am happy I took this course and I am so glad I had the opportunity to enroll before graduation. One thing I especially appreciated was the literature assigned. When I first read Gay L.A. and Homintern, I was overwhelmed because there are so many people mentioned throughout each chapter and it was difficult to keep names and dates in order. But that is specifically why I also enjoyed these books -- it really drives the point home that there is a lot of gay history that is largely absent from history textbooks, and so there is a lot to catch up on. These books, coupled with some of the historical events that we talked about (Stonewall, Culture Wars, etc) gave me a grounded overview of history that I have not encountered in other courses. Hearing other students talk about their experiences was also informative and I am glad that everyone felt comfortable enough to do so. I also appreciate how we were able to put our own creativity into our film projects and I am very excited to see everyone's short films!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Reflection

I am extremely glad that I took this course because I had never been exposed to queer literature in the past. And the queer literature that we were exposed to in this course was truly eye-opening to the harshness the queer community has gone through in Los Angeles. I enjoyed coming to class and learn more in-depth details about the authors of the books, which was awesome because it made reading the books a lot easier. I also enjoyed learning about the variety of artwork that different artists create that in some cases have caused controversies between the artist and the audience. I was also very appreciative of everyone's insights about the different topic we discussed in class and highly appreciated that everyone was respectful and mindful of each other opinions.

I am overall really grateful for having taken such an insightful class with professor Lopez who contributed to making such a hectic quarter a lot more bearable!



Friday, March 9, 2018

Reflection

     I am saddened that the quarter is coming to a close so soon. I have learned and listened a lot. The most shocking aspect of the course that I feel really was vital in understanding the place of the LGBTQ community in Los Angeles and the world as a whole is the invisible history of queer people. Although it was a more dense read, Homintern I feel carried the most weight in regard to a historical account of LGBTQ terminology, visibility, and contributions. The novel embedded queer people and contributions into known history and time periods in a way that created a space and acknowledgement in the present that accounts for the lack of such in the past. It struck me as a vital read in understanding the place of the LGBTQ community today and the evolution of the community and society as a whole.
     I have appreciated the input and voice of my peers in reflecting on this material. It has been the diverse opinions and experiences of everyone that made the class engaging and interesting. I think the dialogue created through these books and artists is constructive in reflecting on resistance and realities of the past as well as our present.
     Without this class, I would not have been exposed to iMovie and Photoshop, both of which I found to be extremely fun and hopefully useful tools in the future. The art and creativity of the material and of my peers has been interesting and illuminating.
     Also, the assignments for the course have all been purposeful and concise. The blogposts have allowed me to see how my peers feel about the material and subjects we covered as well as given me a platform to reply to their points. It is also a useful tool for individuals who prefer not to speak frequently in class but still want to engage with the material. The papers have been good reflections on the very dense books and have given me time to think about the author, their purpose, and what the message is. And the project is my favorite aspect of the course. I am looking forward to seeing everyone's projects and also presenting mine. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on my own experiences and immediate relationships as well as gave me a reason to become familiar with iMovie. I do not often get the opportunity to create art or a piece other than a body of writing and have enjoyed the process.

Reflections

This quarter has led me on an eye-opening journey of queer culture in Los Angeles, and a new way of reading queer artists. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you all as a group, and I look forward to next Friday with great anticipation. I am quite nervous about showing my work, particularly as I am aware it may not showcase opinions that everybody is aligned with, but my aim is to display a variety of queer identities and external queer expressions in a poetic documentary form with the hope that you will each be able to relate to at least one of the people speaking and in turn reflect on the diversity of the LGTBQ alphabet. I’ve also written a very, very short piece of spoken word to play alongside my own performance, so I’m interested to see how that is received!

The most challenging part of this class has equally been the most interesting, which has been the difference between the queer American approach and the queer Western European approach. It is easy to let shared language form an illusion of shared ideology, but the reality is that the cultural differences are huge and it has been greatly interesting to see how these cultural differences affect the typical queer American experience in contrast to the typical queer Western European experience. Both Europe and America are at the forefront of the new queer movement, yet both approaches take very different stances. I feel it is often the conflict of approach in activism, with sexuality/gender issues, of whether to embrace, reclaim, embody and locate power in the identities that exist or whether to entirely reject the existence of these identities. Of course, I am making a huge generalisation, but from my observations I feel that America is leaning in the direction of embracing and empowering these identities, whereas the UK and Western Europe tends to lean in the direction of rejecting all labels and conformities.


When I initially started to engage with queer culture in America, including in class, I found this quite challenging and jarring with my own ideologies. However as I have opened up to learning and witnessing the empowerment I now find myself in a very interesting experience of understanding both approaches. I cannot say that I agree with one more than the other, as I feel both approaches fit the two very different societies that they function within. I think it is fantastic that UCLA has an LGTBQ department, and I look forward to this becoming a reality in the UK Russel Group Universities. In conclusion, we should continue to take pride in paving the way for LGTBQ academia and I wish you all the absolute best with whatever path you take from here on and upwards.

Final Blog Post


My evolution, the fire flamed by this class, has been one of both historical and theoretical leaps. Coming in, I had little reference to queer history as a whole—and even less so, queer history in Los Angeles, a city of which I’ve just moved. More broadly, though, this queer history has given me a clearer view of all history: that is to say, queer history is our history and our history is all history. Analysis of history, however, was just a way for a more important lesson to be learned: a more macrocosmic lesson about queer theory. After reading historical accounts, you start to see trends in the way queer people are oppressed, how they react, and the apparatuses society uses to contain these two things. Ideology was a word that came to mind often while reading the texts in the class, one tool of oppression utilized against queer people. This, along with the history, has given me a deeper understanding about the culture and what it’s up against, in addition to countless new artists and theorists referenced in the class that I can take with me to my other studies and to my flaneuring around Los Angeles. Lastly, even though I’m no artist, learning Photoshop and iMovie was fun and will certainly be helpful down the road.

"Out of Exile" (- recommendation)

Nonny De La Peña is a former journalist who has spent over a decade working in progressive augmented reality experiences. She combines virtual reality technology with activist and human rights documentary to create experiences that place the participant in the shoes of the represented. She has completed various projects, including experiences on Syria, Guantanamo Bay, global warming, abortion clinic rallies and an LGTBQ experience. The technology is still in early development, so the visuals are not yet photographic, however the emphasis is placed on immersion and sound. As a participant, you wear the virtual reality goggles and headset but you are further sensed and tracked as you move about the space, allowing you to freely explore the virtual area. De La Peña locates the element of documentary in the aural, as she uses real collected recordings of these locations and situations.

"Out of Exile" is a project De La Peña completed in 2017, sponsored by the True Colors Fund. She was inspired by the high percentage of LGTBQ people within the homeless youth community, and was moved to create an experience as part of LGTBQ activism. The experience uses the real mobile phone recordings made by teenager Daniel Ashley Pierce when he came out to his religious family in 2014 and was subsequently attacked and kicked out of the house. The experience places the participant next to Daniel, and the participant becomes witness to the fight that unravels. After the experience in Daniel's former home, the participant is then introduced to other LGTBQ identifying homeless youth, and presented with some shocking statistics. De La Peña ends on a note of hope and inspiration, directing the participant toward the True Colors organisation for more information.

I had the chance to see the experience this week in the virtual reality suite in FTV Room 3, headed by UCLA's Steve Anderson. It was incredibly moving, and although it is one of many similar stories that I have heard it was a new experience to really be placed in the heat of the moment. I would highly recommend it, if you have a chance perhaps send Professor Anderson an email and see if you can drop in and participate!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Homintern part 2

In the many different aspects of queer culture Homintern illuminates the multi-faceted and diverse queer life. One part I find of interest was the aspect of class wars. In one section, Janet Flanner gives her point of view of class and homosexuality. She believed that prominent homosexual displays "showed a definite lack of propriety and class" (319). This quote explains that lack of certain "social cues" is scene as savage. One thing that is interesting is that this idea limits queer people so its almost oxymoronic that queer people themselves protest public displays of queerness. I think that maybe a small part of why Flanner and others held this belief was out of fear. Because of the animosity aimed at the queer community it would make sense for people to have internalized homophobia. All in all it is an interesting point of view because it demonstrates a certain disconnect within the community about publicity. I think it also holds over some different social roles that people have been raised to exist in and shows that these people were multifaceted and also had conflicting beliefs. 

Homintern Part 2

The quote that I selected from the second half of Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World comes from the chapter titled "The New World." When reading this chapter I was really interested in the beginning part that covered the Harlem Renaissance which showed how many literary figures, musician, and artists of that period were queer. In a previous LGBTQ studies course I had done a research paper about The Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance and its implications for Black queer individuals. In an African American Art history class I read a lot about the Artist Richmond Barthe who was queer. Many artists, poets, and musicians had to rely on patrons in order to have artistic careers. One patron who was really involved in the art scene in Harlem in the 1920's was Carl Van Vechten. The quote I chose talks about Van Vechten's involvement with the Harlem stating "The Harlem Renaissance would have flourished without Van Vechten's help, although it would not so easily have come to the notice of white Manhattan, and the broader American Culture," (269). I had know a little about Van Vechten before through reading a book that focused on his motivations for sponsoring and involving himself with black queer artist during the Harlem Renaissance. The book talked a little about the voyeuristic quality of Van Vechten's (and other whites) interactions with black culture and people during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. Harlem operated as a playground for many of the elites of New York, allowing them to experience the fruits of the Black experience in bars and clubs. As the book mentions the abundance of white people in Harlem lead to the eventual displacement and exclusion of man black people from the best bars and clubs in their communities. The fact that whites were able to have privilege in spaces that were created by and for black communities makes me question the value of Van Vechten's exposure of Harlem to white Manhattan.

Homintern Part Two

"Especially irritating was the gay liberationist claim that homosexuality was intrinsically radical and subversive of the heterosexual, patriarchal status quo. For many older men, the quietism imposed by the illegality of homosexual acts had led to an extremely cautious social conservatism that was never likely to welcome the raucousness of the new liberationist politics." (318)
 From this quote, I can see how an authority can turn into dictatorship and oppression toward a group of people. In an older generation, gays were worried about the exposure of their sexual orientation. This is because from the example that Chapter ten mentions, those gay people who expose their homosexuality would be kicked out of schools; they would lose their jobs; they would be blackmailed by haters; they might get harassment from the police; and they might be sent to jail for the accusation of indecency or other charges. Therefore,  they choose to silent themselves and lock themselves in the closet. "Illegality of homosexual acts" had been the means to abuse and threaten the sexual minorities. And others just wanted to keep the LGBTQ community quiet, so that they did not have to deal with them and emancipate them. On the other hand, the liberal young activists did not have the experience of oppression, injustice and inequality; therefore, they were fearless to use radical movement to advocate for themselves. As a result, rebellion is necessary for the liberation of the LGBTQ community from an authoritarian authority. Besides, because of their loudness and radicalism, heterosexuality became an "old hat". (318) They also created a new trend that represents and empowers their community members.

Homintern

One interesting theme throughout the novel is the depiction of self-hating or self-denying gay men. From Mao to Kerouac, Gregory Woods is interested in this intergroup within the community: "Although not averse from receiving the occasional blow job from a man, Kerouac had little sympathy" (Woods 252). Woods here is referring to Kerouac's annoyance with Tangiers because it was filled with "mostly fags," calling it a "hive of queens" (Woods 252). This reminded me of earlier in the novel, on a chapter about world leaders, where Woods goes over Chairman Mao's homosexual behavior. He refers to an account by Mao's doctor that showed how the leader had his male bodyguards do sexual favors for him before bed. This, of course, is the same chairman who persecuted queer people in his country. In the same earlier chapter, about a two hundred pages before the comments on Kerouac, Woods talks about the case of Herbert Hoover, a gay man who was worried about gay people in the government. Throughout Homintern, this idea of non-ally gay men is explored. It seems Gregory Woods is interested in how even to the gay man the idea of the Homintern was terrifying. But in the macro, it shows just how effectively a society can shape the mind of an individual, even turning them into one who hates himself.

Homintern part 2

"In the 1960;s Janet Flanner grew increasingly uncomfortable with the sexual openness she witnessed. She tended to regard it as a breach of class-based etiquette: 'She was shocked by overt homosexuality in New York, which to her showed a definite lack of propriety and class'. Ambivalent about increasing gay visibility in the USA, Noel Coward was extremely uncomfortable when taken to the profusely gay resort Fire Island but, typically, enjoyed the adulation he received there. In his diary he wrote that he found the atmosphere of the place 'sick-sick-sick'. He went on: 'Never in my life have I seen such concentrated, abandoned homosexuality. It is fantastic and difficult to believe. I wish really that I hadn't gone. Thousands of queer young men of all shapes and sizes camping about blatantly and carrying on-- in my opinion-- appallingly. Then there were all the lesbians glower at each other... I have always been of the opinion that a large group of queer men was unattractive. On Fire Island, it is more than unattractive, it is macabre, sinister, irritating and somehow tragic.'" Page 319

I feel like in my personal life I have met queer people just like Janet Flanner and Noel Coward. This attitude I think could be defined as being a self-hating-gay. I think that this attitude can be rooted in a few different things. Partly, I think since LGBTQ people have always been trying to fight against notions that they are perverted, or sexually deviant, some queer people have removed themselves so far away from their sexuality that they feel sickened by public affection. We come from a culture that has historically hated queer people, used violence against them, so a method of survival is to dissociate yourself from queer groups and people, especially those who are publicly displaying their sexuality. Similarly, women have been indoctrinated to be pure, virgin, gentle, etc. and this can be a contradiction to some if they are involved in queer culture. All in all, its very unfortunate that there have historically been queer people that share the attitude of Flanner and Coward, but I think its so important to understand the context in which these feelings are formed and to react with compassion by continuing to promote discussion about the attitudes queer people have been historically indoctrinated into.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Homintern (2nd half)

"Sexual liberation is all very well - for those who are at liberty." (p 297)

I think this is an incredibly important fact to highlight; not all have the freedom and/or privilege within their personal or public contexts to be "sexually liberated". As Audre Lorde describes, lesbian bars she entered in the fifties had male bouncers which tended to keep out the "undesirables" (black women).  It is easy to romanticize freedom of sexuality when you have other privileges to hold you up in society.  Most of the time, queer people of color do not have the amount of structural support to fall back on if they choose to be "out" in a society that punishes them for it.  Heberto Padilla's words also emphasize this inequality: "Make love not war / (slogans imported from Europe) / are a kick in a prisoner's balls."  To make love rather than war is easier said and done when you are not consistently at war with your own identity, community, and social contexts.  Additionally, when Reinaldo Arenas repudiates Whitman's writing, he is commenting on the false, exclusionary umbrella of a gay lifestyle that is manifested in his work. The fact that it took three versions of Arena's Farewell to the Sea for it to finally be published displays Whitman's blatant white privilege as a queer writer.  

Homintern (chapter 9)


I found chapter nine of Homintern to be an interesting take on race -- specifically, the different ways that “black American self-assertion” was understood through first account narratives (261). The author mentions James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain, a novel I read recently and very much enjoyed. But the author also mentions that works of fiction (like Go Tell It on the Mountain) were not the dominant kind of narratives being disseminated by black Americans. Instead, they supposedly wanted to “contribute to the social record than to fashion an aesthetic object” (261). I disagree with Gregory Woods’ assessment here. I think that works of fiction also contribute to the shaping of the social record, especially for authors who, as Woods points out, were black writers who were marked and disenfranchised by the color of their skin. Baldwin’s novels, like the work of Richard Wright and Zora Neale Hurston, may be fictional stories, but they still speak to the racial and social discord that first person accounts can share. But I did appreciate how Woods pointed out how white crowds flocked to Harlem with “partial and distorted” views of how the black community lived (270). This kind of curiosity highlights how black identities, especially those who were also gay, were constantly under surveillance and observation as ‘others.’

Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World

"The guiding principles behind Ulrich's' formulation were those of the Napoleonic Code, according to which offenses against religion or morality that did not do harm to either society or individuals should not be subject to prosecution by secular authorities" (p. 306).

    It is interesting to read about moments of progressive policies and rules throughout history. The mention of the Napoleonic Code reflects that history does not necessarily become increasingly progressive and is subject to change in both directions. The Napoleonic Code in particular is cited because of its relation to Germany and Europe in recent history. Fluctuations toward liberal policies once again after a period of repressive policies can call into question the stability of all rights and liberties, including gay rights and liberties.
    The rights and liberties of individuals are always at risk during and after times of crisis. Especially for minorities, the ruling majority has the power to establish rules which stem from fear and uncertainty. Exemplified in the internment of Japanese Americans during the second world war, the outing of thousands of LGBTQ citizens during the Lavender Scare of the mid-nineteenth century, and other countless events, the rights and liberties of minorities are never fully secured.
    Although security will remain an issue into the foreseeable future given the historic context, the rights of minorities can be gained back or fought for. Resistance exists through the actions of an individual, a collective whole, and through simple existence.
    At the lowest level, existence provides a form of resistance that can not be suppressed except through elimination of an individual. The actions of an individual can be a catalyst for thought, reform, and visibility. Such a catalyst can incite collective action and through the organization of multiple individuals can hold power in numbers. The potential for progress can not draw inspiration for the future without the history of change and reform whether it be progressive or regressive change.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

From Frivolity to Seriousness

In chapter 6 of Homintern we see “Germany, land of the free!” becoming accepting with homosexuality. Especially in the upper-class, the boarding- school system kept boys and girls from any contact with each other. This helped perpetuate the idea that adolescent homosexuality would become normal at school. Writers like Oscar Wilde were also accepted and considered a great poet. Writers were accepted in magazines on the bases of friendships. There was even a ‘fashion’ gay men dressed in, adopting different styles. The first was affluent and whimsical, dedicated to aesthetic. This was later replaced by masculinity.

“The Thirties might also be called the homosexual decade, in the sense that in these years homosexuality became accepted as a personal idiosyncrasy.” In certain Berlin dancing- halls, women danced only with women and men danced with men, this could be seen growing from city to city. This reminded me of West Hollywood as explained in Gay L.A. being the epicenter of gay liberation and promoted brotherhood within the community but now we celebrate pride in different cities. 
Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World


David C. quotes:


“The twentieth century’s sexual revolution took place, not in the 1960’s, but in the 1920’s, with the final shattering of Victorian conventions. Prohibitions created a sense among people that they were outlaws, which helped loosen morals and behavior in other ways. Moreover, it created a sense that other bounds could and even should be transgressed as well” (272).

I thought this particular quotation by David C. was interesting and also important to recognize because he acknowledges that a modern sexual revolution did not occur during a period of time where it would be most likely that such event would take place; considering the radical movements that took place during the 1960’s. Instead, David points out that the 20th century’s sexual revolution took place just two years after WWI. It happened during a strict and conservative period of time where nationalist and fundamentalist movements were simultaneously taking place in the United States. It just seemed intriguing to know that despite the harsh and complicated circumstances in which people found themselves in, they still found the strength and the courage to have created a sexual revolution.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Homintern


"Actually, there is no such thing as a homosexual person, any more than there is such a thing as a heterosexual person. The words are adjectives describing sexual acts, not people. Those sexual acts are entirely natural; if they were not, no one would perform them," (page 337).

Amen to that. Right?!

If everyone in the world would understand this simple concept, the world would be a better place. The word “homosexual” has been used in subjective ways that carry negative connotations, while the word “heterosexual” has been used in subjective ways that carry positive connotations.

This can also be applied to gender and race such that gender and race words are socially constructed descriptions of behaviors and physical characteristics, not people.
Yet, labels of sexual orientations, genders, and races do not seem to be going away anytime soon. I try my best to UN-label myself of these social constructs and I believe more people should too.

At the end of the day, ALL HUMAN BEINGS share 99% of the exact same DNA and our differences do NOT matter unless we make them matter!

For my last post, I would like to thank our professor for an awesome quarter! I enjoyed your class the most! Thank you Professor Lopez!


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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Homintern (pt. 2)

"The repeal of Prohibition in 1933 had negative effects on the presence of gay social life in the city" 
(Gregory Woods, Homintern, p. 272)

Woods closely considers the connection between nightlife culture and queer solidarity, particularly in London, Berlin, Paris and the USA, as a space for both queer people to meet but also a space for the foundations of queer alliance during the Prohibition. I thought it was incredibly interesting to consider the insight that the 1920 Prohibition actually created a stronger bond between the gay and straight communities. Initially this seems counterintuitive, as the easy assumption would be that stricter laws governing social life would diminish the possibility of socializing. However, as Woods explores, the Prohibition actually gave the night community something in common. For the first time both queer and heteronormative people shared a common position as outlaws. As bars became unlawful, those that entered them did so at their own risk and so were not excluded based on their sexual orientation. Unfortunately, as Homintern stresses that despite some gay liberation in the arts community "most sites of homosexual pleasure" were still also "sites of homophobic attack" (277), the unity created by this outlaw community was not strong enough to continue when Prohibition was repealed in 1933. The law transcended social progression and these "negative effects" forced the queer community back to the same position as pre-1920. However it is clear that whilst the figures chronicled in Homintern, from Oscar Wilde to Roland Barthes, paved the way for the queer community, the space provided by nightlife culture became the beginning of free expression that ultimately began to move beyond the bars and into daily life as the queer community was slowly accepted - a transition that is still continuing in this current day.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Paris Was a Woman 1996


I really enjoyed learning of the different empowered women of Paris during that time period. These admirable women had many accomplishments that surely influenced our womanhood for the better. One woman that really stuck in my mind that I even had to google search was Josephine Baker. I learned that Josephine Baker was born in the U.S. then moved to France only to become their most famous high-paid-performer. The sad part was that she had came back to the U.S. at some point but was overwhelmed with racism then quickly returned back to France. Since she was very loved and accepted in Europe, she was granted citizenship. Josephine Baker later became an activist and dedicated herself to fighting oppression. She continued to return to the U.S. during the 1950s and actively participated in the Civil Rights Movement, fought alongside Martin Luther King Jr., participated in the March on Washington, and was an advocate that spoke up for what was right. Consequently, the U.S. eventually named May 20th as "Josephine Baker Day". Nonetheless, Josephine Baker was an amazing entertainer, beautiful, respectable and intelligent person! Here are some of her quotes I found and would like to share: 

"The things we truly love stay with us always, locked in our hearts as long as life remains."

"He was my cream, and I was his coffee– And when you poured us together, it was something." 

"I wasn't really naked. I simply didn't have any clothes on."

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Paris Was a Woman

The most captivating aspect of "Paris Was a Woman" was how this group of women acted as vehicles for the work of their creative friends.  Their goal and purpose was to give room for the artists in their lives to flourish with their work.  Gertrude Stein's interest in Picasso's work inspired him to push more boundaries in the beginnings of cubism.  Adrienne Monnier's and Sylvia Beach's bookstores published work that was too scandalous, paving the way for James Joyce's and Hemingway's careers. These women acted out of love for creative endeavors and didn't expect or receive much in return for their efforts.  I was curious while watching the film about the politics of queer women in Paris at the time.  I understand that Paris was an exceptional city and allowed for much experimentation, but I wonder how, or if the women even did fit into society at large.  I was especially questioning the relationship between Picasso and Stein; knowing that he was an incredible sexist, I wonder how he felt about a women being a necessity in the launching of his artistic career.  Or, did Picasso respect Stein's opinion more than he respected most women's opinions because she was a lesbian?

Homintern, Paris was a Woman

An interesting aspect of the movie, Paris Was a Woman, is that it highlights a part of history often overlooked. The aspects of skilled artists, craftsmen, and writers trading within their own community is quiet interesting. One thing that this seems reminiscent of is non-western ideas of currency and trade. Often in other cultures trade between two skills or a skill and an object is pretty common. It's pretty remarkable that a sub-culture in a western civilization that embraces this practice. The perspective of a modern "Isle of Lesbos" was truly fascinating because it was a recreation of Sappho's era and the art and literature being embraced. I think Paris is the perceived cultural hub of the world, although I wouldn't argue that, and that makes this all the more important. The things talked about in this movie such as lending libraries are extremely fascinating because it shows a group gathering information and art about its group identity and creating a place for it.
Homintern is fascinating because it is the macrocosm of the same thing as Paris was a Woman. Rather than focus on mainly white lesbians in Paris, this book focuses on many different people within the LGBT community who worked to establish the culture and art of the community. Homintern gets really interesting when it discusses post war movements within queer arts and culture. This is where the overlap of the book and the movie occur. One thing is that within the small community in Paris there is safety in numbers, but in Homintern, being out is different, and doesn't always conclude well. Being "out" fore exoticism or differentiation of one's work is useful, but presents a danger of being "out." I personally believe that being queer does influence your art and your perspective but maybe doesn't quite separate you from other artists. In act of rebellion, being out is a strong stance to take, but in art, it can present a danger depending on your social climate.

Paris was a Woman


“We were a lost generation who knew exactly where we were going,” an expatriate says on the migration of great artists and writers to Paris. The documentary Paris was a Woman is interested in this precise migration. However, its focus is more compelling than the countless movies and documentaries on the subject: it is interested in women’s role in this movement, both on the page and behind the scenes. Moreover, it’s interested in the sexuality of these artists, often the queer sexuality, and the way personal relationships between great writers interact and shape history: the romantic relationship between Sylvia Beach, founder of Shakespeare and Company, and another bookshop owner, for instance. The film does a great job at illuminating, from a queer perspective, the power of LGBTQ peoples and their role in history. It takes back the story of writers in Paris—a narrative often conquered by interest in Hemingway and his manliness—and situates it instead within a queer and feminist framework. While the documentary takes an exciting, important, and underseen perspective on such a popular period in history, it does so more or less traditionally, cinematically speaking. The documentary is composed of archive footage and talking heads and fails to edit it in an effective way. It slogs and loses its focus at times; but when it finds it, it’s incredible compelling and important.     

Paris Was A Woman

I am glad that this film brings back the history of women, in particular to the history of the expatriate lesbian community. History is male dominated, and women were seldom written into it. Being part of the creative community, however, women, such as Natalie Barney, Sylvia Beach, Adrienne Monnier, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Janet Flanner and others, were not recognized or remembered from the success and the rise of modern arts. They were usually written as a part of someone else’s (especially men’s) story. This film evokes these hidden female pioneers in modern arts and brings them back to the lost and neglected part of history. They have a huge influence on modern arts and literature, and they discovered a lot of well-known writers and artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. They are the leading figures in social life and literature. For example, Sylvia Beach as a bookseller in her own bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, assisted Hemingway to publish his first book, Three Stories and Ten Poems; Gertrude Stein discovered and purchased Picasso's paintings in her Paris salon.

Besides the fact that this lesbian community was the pivot for literature and arts, their private life is also interesting. This American female expatriate community in Paris, France established between the 1920s and 1930s, and it provided support and encouragement to its members. Their opened lifestyle of being a lesbian or a queer in modernism gives arts into another level and aspect. Thus, creating and enforcing new forms and development of idea and creativity into modern arts and literature.

Paris Was a Woman


The film caught my attention the second it involved women and women thriving in Paris. I really appreciated the fact that women were expressing their creative aspects in the arts, fashion, and personal lifestyle.  At a time when women had no rights it was crucial for them to seek their individuality to avoid being under the regime of male dominated world. The fact that a woman started her own bookstore to educate women from various socioeconomic backgrounds was fascinating. Most importantly, the entrepreneur soul had no prior knowledge on how to run a bookstore, all she knew that books needed to be read before purchasing. The film also brings us to the life of Janet Flanner that left her husband in America to move to Paris. Many women felt like Paris welcome them despite their sexual orientation, plus it gave them an opportunity to date or live with whoever they wanted. Many well-respected artists like Picasso loved sexual ambiguity, because a person should not need to know the sex of an individual to determine their worth or the worth of the painting. It was also interesting how paintings were traded for food meaning art was an underground form of currency for many that had talent, but still struggle to make ends meet. I am really looking forward to plan a trip to Paris to appreciate all the rich history, creative art, and women.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Paris Was a Woman

Paris Was a Woman was such an interesting film to watch! As some as my other classmates have said, I love the female focus of the film and how they look closely at queer women and the art that they were producing in Paris, France during the 20's and 30's.  I love looking at historic footage and I had definitely not seen any of the footage that they showed in the movie. One thing that stood out was how closely knit the queer female artists were in Paris and even living close together. My final project is on queer community, so this aspect really stood out to me, I love the different ways that queer people have made their home with other queer people even though most of the time this made them more subject to targeting by straight people or the police.  It reminds me of how in Gay L.A. lesbian women would buy or rent houses in the same neighborhoods so that they could live in little communities together. I also love how this film really gives power to the female muse, because I feel that when people talk about artists muses its more in a manner that objectifies them and ignores that these influential women had agency; they had their own separate lives, motives, art, and influence. Its also interesting to compare how queer women were living in Paris during the 20's and 30's versus how queer women were living during the same time in the United States, and while there were of course still issues for queer women in Paris they were still afforded a little more control of their sexuality in contrast to the United States.

Paris Was a Woman


Director Schiller and writer Andrea Weiss remind us in Paris Was a Woman, how it reinvented centuries of conventional wisdom about the role of females in the creative process. Not only were these women not given the same platform as male artists or as craftsmanlike, they were still nonetheless revolutionaries.
France, was a natural magnet for women in the post-World War I years, who established the first graduating class of the late 19th-century feminist movement. Like Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and other male figures who gravitated to Paris at the time, these young women were trying to redefine the form, function, and symbolic vocabulary of art. 
The salon-and-cafe culture of the day was remarkably androgynous. But unlike the guys, many of the female artists -- a goodly percentage of whom were lesbians -- were also spreading their new freedom of sexual liberation. 
I was proud that women were taking a stand and being vocal. Oftentimes women’s narrative are dismissed by male dominated figures. Paris Was a Woman embraces France, and shows the most cherished a way of life quite different than the one left behind. The film brings in archival footage, music, paintings, literature, and interviews with folks who were there, encompassing the sense of adventure and limitless possibility that the women's movement seems to have lost in recent years.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Homintern

"As Modernism in Europe began to assimilate this exoticism into the mainstream of all the arts, the struggle, for artists, was to avoid becoming the norm. Perhaps, in this respect if not in many others, lesbians and gay men had an advantage." (93)

As GAY L.A. chronicles the thorough history of the LGTB community in Los Angeles, Gregory Woods's Homintern considers the global history, specifically in relation to the artists, dancers, writers, poets, actors and notable figures that paved the way for the community. I found it particularly fascinating to read about the effects of the World Wars on the community, and the movement within Europe. Whilst London and Berlin, during the Weimar Republic, were relatively progressive in attitudes, Paris became the central hub that housed flourishing artists in the LGTB community. Nonetheless the book outlines this fear of being 'accused' of being gay, and how even within the arts community this label could damage reputations and ruin careers. I found it hugely interesting reading about Russia, especially in relation to the recognition of the Russian ballet as one of the best worldwide. In the current socio-political climate Russia is still viewed as a dangerous destination for LGTB people, however it is equally the home of some of the best ballet dancers in the world and, as the book notes, many male ballet dancers identify as queer and gay. This conflict between the high number of LGTB people within the arts, yet the judgement and issues that arise with being 'out', is captured by Woods. Whilst identifying as LGTB can be seen, to the heterosexual art consumer, as "exotic" and something exciting and against "the norm", it was equally a community denounced by figures as established as George Orwell - who wrote homophobia into his novels, such as a tale of having to "fight off a man" (179) in Down and Out in Paris and London. I think it is an unusual approach to consider the LGTB community as being at "an advantage" for being outside the norm. I agree that within the arts it is important to be visible, and that not being "mainstream" can be beneficial in this way, however it is a complex view to consider labels that could cause imprisonment, such as that of Oscar Wilde, a benefit. This is the core of the argument of Homintern; an argument that has no true answer. Was being out, in the name of art and exoticism, worth the artistic gains when faced with the potential dangers of being judged and even ostracized and imprisoned?

Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World

     Fundamentally I felt "Homintern" to be distinctly different from our past readings, both Gay L.A. and When We Were Outlaws. The subject matter is wider reaching in regards to how old and geographically wide it recounts examples. The concept of a global covert gay network is somewhat of an interesting conspiracy theory and arises out of many forces of globalization. The late 19th century and early 20th century brought about the establishment of the printing press, steamship power, railroads, telegraphs, and other technologies. Without such technologies and changes the globalization of any network, LGBTQ or not, would not be easily fathomable.
     The Lavender Scare was interesting in its rise out of primarily paranoia and distrust. It is important to note that prior to Eisenhower's Executive Order 10450, the American Association of Psychology cited homosexuality as a mental disorder. With the added stigma and oppression from both society and institutions, this order was accepted by the majority of the American people. Executive Order did not explicitly state homosexuals or members of the LGBTQ community as being subject for removal but it involved language that provided the legal basis for thousands of firings of suspected LGBTQ members or known individuals.
     It is not uncommon for talented and famous individuals to be persecuted in life and primarily celebrated in death. In reference to Oscar Wilde, he is renowned for his literary accomplishments and contributions to modern literature but in life he faced much scandal and persecution. This is similar to Alan Turing, the pioneer of the modern computer and the British hero who contributed an immense amount to the Allied Powers and helped end World War 2. These men are remembered positively as heroes and pioneers, partially due to retroactive motions to restore their name, though in life they faced many difficulties due to their sexual orientation.

Paris Was a Woman


I really enjoyed the female-centric focus in the film Paris Was a Woman. I loved learning about the literary momentum and progress for which women were responsible -- for example, Adrienne Monnier’s incredible idea of a lending library. This idea, as the narrator makes clear, gave women -- wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, etc -- access to literature and to a larger extent, encouraged women to immerse themselves in new ideas and narratives. I am sure that this access also encouraged women to become writers themselves. I loved that the film focused on Janet Flanner, a New Yorker columnist who wrote about the scene in Paris. As a woman living in Paris, Flanner could give her unique perspective on what was going on in the city, from film to music to ballet to architecture, among other topics. Although I am a subscriber to the New Yorker, I never knew about Flanner’s work for the magazine, so I was compelled to look up some of her articles. I learned that she played an important role in covering Hitler’s rise to power: she was asked to write on him in 1936 and relayed how ignorant he was, especially his “anti-Semitic, anti-Communist, anti-suffrage” views, not to mention how he felt violence was wholly justifiable and acceptable.