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

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Project Update

I am currently working on gathering more pictures for my project. I will most likely not be able to make it to Boyle Heights until the weekend.  I am looking forward to making it to the local church, and recording images of the Virgen and queering things up when I superimpose photoshopped ictures of La Virgen. I think it would be very powerful to re frame my community’s perceptions of muxer through La Virgen de Guadalupe.

I am really glad to have reconvened with both profes as I feel that has provided the best feedback thus far. It is also necessary that I provide background information on “[un]framing” (Gaspar de Alba), which I have decided to use to guide my research to explain the
I am particularly interested in looking at the process of unframing muxer figures, specifically that of La Virgen de Guadalupe and more importantly analyzing her and her identity as Tonatzin.

I am looking at La Chica Boom’s presentation of La Virgensota Jota as a sexual figure. In “obscuring” popular presentations of La Virgen, La Chica boom is unframing the dichotomized view of women. SHe makes you reframe the Virgen, to unframe her cultural presence.

The idea of being an hocicona is part of the unframing that is necessary for women to make changes in the overall gendered perceptions of muxeres. WHich is a notion that Gloria Anzaldua mentions prominently in her work. Las muxeres hociconas demonstrate a rebelliousness captured in La Chica Boom’s performances.

Project Proposal

For my final project I want to look at the “virgin whore” contradiction within Latinx culture. IMy work will be rooted in the academic works of professor Gaspar de Alba in her work [Un]framing the Bad Women. In addition to looking at  Anzaldua’s theories in her book Borderlands/La Frontera, like the nepantla and the Coatlicue state . I plan to analyze the rejection of this contradictory paradigmatic framework of these “good” and bad mujeres” through the work of artist La Chica Boom, Xandra Ibarra.

La Chica Boom has become one for the most identifiable muxeres that is questioning traditional cis-heteronormative models of looking at women in Latinx households. Her identification of the overtly sexual has not only challenged norms but transformed the framing of muxer.
Project update

I have decided to interview UCLA queer students from the LGBTQ+ center to find out about their experiences at UCLA -- a place that "feels" and appears quite heteronormative. I want to understand the struggles that students might be experiencing or on the contrary, how accepting they have found this institution to be of queer individuals. I would also ask the student how they express their sexuality: through art, clothing, music, poetry. The reason why I would ask students this is because I used to paint self-portrait to release the stress I felt as a closeted individual. And I turned to art to express a part of my sexuality. In order to illustrate my findings, I have thought about creating an Instagram page that I will name “Queers of UCLA” where I will be posting the pictures of the students I interviewed as well as their art(if they have any). Although I will be illustrating a range of different students on the Instagram, I will be focusing on three particular individuals to specifically talk about. Aside from pictures, I will also be incorporating the recordings of the conducted interviews.

Project Updates

James Charles, the first male model on CoverGirl, has been misunderstood as transgender. However, he identifies himself as gay. There are confusions about transgender and men wearing make-up. Cosmetic products have been related to feminine and female beauty and their appearance, and the idea of queer men or gay men wearing make-up is a new trend on social media. In this project, I would like to investigate the general misapprehensions about transgender and men wearing make-up, and also the causes of the trend. I would like to invite a queer man to help me to film a video. In order to make my video more interesting, I would like to do an interview with him while he is doing his make-up or make-up tutorial. I would like to search on Youtube to see how to make the whole interview more smooth and concise.

In reference to Gender and Material Culture in Britain Since 1600 by Hannah Greig, Jane Hamlett, Leonie Hannan, there is an interesting quote "Like queer men, women managed their bodies to enhance their visibility and desirability. Like queer men, their make-up was thought to symbolise a dangerous independent femininity and unruly sexuality." (131) Since this quote draws an analogy between queer men and women, I would like to research on how this can or cannot be applied on queer men, and also the contrasts between queer men wearing make-up and women with make-up.

Since this trend is popular among social media such as Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, I want to focus on millennials as my main audience. I would also try to extend my project to older generations, such as millennials' parents and grandparents; I would like to observe the different impression, reaction and interpretation toward the idea that men can wear makeup of beauty purposes.

Project Update

Who:  This project will be about the queer people of Los Angeles who so long ago created a space to celebrate their queerness. The people who began All Fools Night in a sense paved the way for the Pride parade and the positive position on a gay lifestyle.
What: The video will be a longer version of a gif-- an animation that is short but with a lot of information on loop.  It will depict a parade through the streets of LA.
When: The drawings in the animation will attempt to blur lines of time through architecture and clothing.  The architecture will resemble "old LA" with elements of new LA and the clothing on the figures will include older styles and new fashion.  This is to emphasize the effect of this very old event on present Los Angles; it will function to remind the viewer of the history of pride that is too often forgotten.
Where: I'm still considering if I want the location of the parade to be a recognizable spot in Los Angeles or to simply mimic its layout and borrow elements from its architectural history.  Either way, it will be more about Los Angeles in general and its queer population.
Why: I find it surprising that All Fools Night is not known by anyone.  The only history I can find of it is in GAY LA which is only a few sentences.  I feel like this moment in time should be commemorated.
How: A lot of drawing.

Week 6 update

Hello! So unfortunately I had a family emergency last week that caused me to miss class, I also missed last weeks blog post so I'll have to do some extra credit to make up for that. I am bummed I missed the writing workshop! In terms of where I am at with the project, I have to retrieve my camera from a friend I let borrow it and then start collecting footage. My project is going to be on queer community.So I'll start with how queer people traditionally met (bars and coffee shops?) and then move on to more modern ways like dating apps. I will also be including footage of my queer friend group and talk about how we all met each other. Since I dont have my camera or footage yet, I am going to bring some historical images of where queer people would meet and some audio to go over it. Over the weekend once I have my camera I will begin my interviews and start to compile everything. I feel pretty confident about the project and feel like I have a pretty clear vision of what I want to communicate with it. 

Project Update

So after much streamlining, I'm going to be diving into colonialism's effects on queerness. Specifically, I am going to be going over how identities are split between separate communities, e.g. queer, people of color, birth place, etc. But in order to do this investigation I'm going to be using art as an investigative tool about identity. I want to step back from who I am as a person and think about why I write or draw the things I do, and why my friends do that, in the context of being queer. And then I'm going to investigate how in my particular case it seems like there's a conflict of interest between being mixed indigenous and white, and also queer.
I'm excited to see where this goes, especially in the aspect of creative outlets. I think I will have a short clip of "trailers" of one or two stories I've written and juxtapose them with aspects of my life and growing up, and even moments of recollection. I'll be writing a loose narration/poetry to go with the video that will be put over it. All in all I want this video to discuss the issues of the idea of "in between two worlds" that I always picture as limbo-esque and that I feel that myself and others get are sometimes stuck in and why that happens.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Updated project idea

After working on the project and experimenting with photoshop, I know have a clear idea on where I want to take my take my idea. Right from the beginning, I was focused on the artist Jeremy Lucido and his work. But after much thought I decided to change my view. Don't get me wrong I'm still interested in his work, but now I would like to question sexuality. Ask why nudity is taboo and look down upon. I would like to interview relatives or friends and get their perspective. For my project I want to incorporate some sensual images, like Mapplethorpe's Perfect Moment. And add some interviews. My biggest challenge would be finding individuals comfortable being on camera and interviewed. I would like to incorporate different viewpoints and see what each person offers. I'm interested in hearing what they have to say and how they react to the topic. This experience would be something new and I'm excited to see where it goes. Maybe I could add some statistics and bring awareness about STDs. I feel there is so much stigma with nudity because for some, it may be associated with diseases. If this is the case I'll be important to address the issue and offer resources that are available. 

Project (going forward)

Now that we have been given tools to help narrow down and organize our projects, I have a clearer focus. Going forward, I am compiling about a dozen or so images of Brian Kenny's work that correspond to themes of gender, sexuality, and masculinity. I think I might combine gender and masculinity since I am honing in on his particular position as a gay male artist in America (and how the two themes work in tandem throughout his work). Once I assemble the dozen images, I will continue to read interviews with Kenny and think of ways to insert his visual commentary with my own. Although a lot of his work is autobiographical, I also want to think about the conversation his art brings to the art world (such as, how do these pieces try to continue the legacy of someone like Jasper Johns, and exploring how his work seems to be influenced by other artists like Jacob Lawrence and Christian LaCroix). Considering that Kenny is a multimedia artist, I will be sure to include works that are paintings but also the function of his work that can be worn (like his sports 'jerseys').
Overall, I want my audience to not only understand Kenny as a brilliant artist, but also understand the social commentary behind his work.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Week 6 Update

I think the free write and the discussion as a class helped me really narrow my focus down. Rather than focus on LGBTQ families and seek out other people I am focusing on my mother and sister. I am traveling to Sacramento for Presidents Weekend and will be recording them asking very vaguely centered questions like what they think about family, the word lesbian vs. gay, and just talk about their experience as parent and child. I think the concept of family is important to talk about because it establishes a relationship and also normalizes the typified lesbian family "spectacle". The idea that it is somewhat of a spectacle is something I am trying to challenge through a very organic and in touch representation of relationships and the mundane existence of everyday life. Also, I will address the labels as identified by Jeanne Cordova in her memoir and also an interesting vernacular in the LGBTQ community. Vernacular identification plays a large roll in regards to the LGBTQ community that is reflective of ones place in the community and the idea of the community as a whole. And lastly I will hope that the conversation comes across something interesting that may stick out as an experience to go more in depth on. The photos, home videos, and art will be supplemental material but I think it will aid in lessening the "spectacle" aspect of the topic and also provide some background.

Please comment with any suggestions or comments!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Project Update

I have started to compile together abstract representations of gender and sexuality within art and film, specifically looking at dance as performance art and an exploration of the body. I have also started to write spoken word for my own performance art, however I am still deciding whether to approach this through dance or through a comparison in approaches to gender representation. One idea is to have the same performer carry out a routine, but on one half of the screen dress in a 'masculine' way and on the other in a 'feminine way', or alternatively I could have each side of the performer get ready for the day and show how this process differs when portraying 'masculine' or 'feminine' traits. In my personal life I have been thinking more about what 'feminine' beauty is, and how this is constructed socially, and as a form of rebellion against the need to be 'beautiful' I have cut my hair and experienced a liberation from this. In terms of interviews, I have secured two interviews with two men of different sexual orientation identities, and I am in search of other interviewees. I need to consider where to reach out to and what questions best to ask that will explore my topic but not direct the interviewees away from their organic responses. I may need to narrow down my focus, but I will see what issues the interviews raise to determine this.

Project Update: Week Six

My initial jumping off point for the project was an interest in the musician Anohni, a transgender woman. However, after practicing making an infographic with random transgender representation statistics I found online, and after being inspired by the macrocosmic scope of my peers and their projects, I began to focus on a larger theme: that is, transgender erasure in the music industry. When I looked up information on representation in music, I found nothing—total invisibility. I was able to tie this back to Anohni, too, because I remembered her essay, her manifesto for not attending the Oscars, talked about how she was cut from the show’s performances in favor of more “commercially viable” artists who were nominated. This erasure, and my inability to find studies on transgender people in the music industry, made me want to do a project with a larger concern, maybe using Anohni’s essay as a jumping off point. I’m interested in why and how transgender people are being erased from music, while also holding up some transgender artists who I think are incredible. I also think I must acknowledge my own identity as a straight cis man and the implications that come with someone like me—someone who is neither transgender nor musician—tackling this subject, although that might be a short penultimate footnote in the video. I haven’t decided.   

Friday, February 9, 2018

When We Were Outlaws

When We Were Outlaws, the memoir of Jeanne Córdova is a first hand account of what it was like being a Chicana lesbian heavily involved in activism. As we read in the beginning Córdova's identity heavily influenced her position in all aspects of her life. Identifying as a lesbian feminist activist Córdova used all the knowledge and skills she and other queer women had to fight for equality in gay and heterosexual society. Her career as a writer also giver her a unique position that allowed her to participate in conversations with important activists, share her lesbian perspective on current issues, and to some degree establish a lesbian identity in the press. A quote that stood out to me from the memoir is one that describes a response Angela Davis had to a question Córdova asked about the relevance black and gay rights movements have to one another. Davis responded: "I believe that all people have a right to privacy in their personal lives...But there is a difference between the oppression of racism and economic exploitation...and the quality of discrimination against gay people," (21). Davis makes a point that I feel is usually not recognized by people when discussing the plight of people of color and/or queer people. When I have conversations with people they often conflate the struggles of queer people and people of color even though they have different histories that inform/motivate the specific way their oppressions manifest.
When We Were Outlaws

“My role as a radical feminist lesbian was to spread the revolutionary word. When the revolution was over, maybe I’d move to the Valley and settle down” (20).

“I’ll get married when I’m too old to be political. Or, when dykes are free to be dykes, whichever comes first” (31).

These two particular quotes stood out for me because I feel as though they go hand-in-hand with each other, as the first quote indicates Cordova’s passion and devotion to her political career. While the second quote re-assures how serious she is about making a political impact on society’s oppressive views on the gay and women’s rights. Cordova mentions that on the one hand, she could have just pursued a “normal” life in the corporate business world and be like everyone else. But as an individual whose identity as a Chicana lesbian feminist is constantly threatened by the political system surrounding her, the burdening desire to fight for her rights as well as the rights of her sisters, she just could not simply live a “normal” life and put these issues at the back of her mind. Which is when, at the end of the quote, she explains that “when the revolution was over, maybe [she’d] move to the Valley and settle down” (20). Indicating that not until she witnessed revolutionary change in politics, will she ever settle down for a simpler, less politically involved lifestyle. On the other hand, her relationship with BeJo -- her significant other -- in a way questions her devoted involvement in activism. BeJo insists on forming a monogamous relationship while Cordova explains that a monogamous relationship is nothing but a heteronormative way of controlling women. Through this situation, we can notice Cordova’s absolute devotion to her activists and the work she wants to continue to do as a journalist, even if that indicates not being on the same romantic level as BeJo.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

When We Were Outlaws

I am impressed by the dedication of Cordova on social and political issues. At the beginning of this week's reading, Cordova chose to left her lover in order to deal with picketing the GCSC in Los Angles resolutely. However, she saw her mentor, Morris Kight, became an insignificant and insubstantial man. Kight did not stand by her side; instead, he was hiding at the back, without taking any actions or speaking up. She felt disappointed and somehow painful because someone she respected and looked up to had turned into a coward and figurehead, during the time that she needed him. She wrote:
He'd sold out, left the ranks of the oppressed and evolved into a bureaucrat, an Establishment social worker, ever-hungry and willing to compromise for the next government grant. (222)
Later on, this reminded her the story between her and her father. I feel heartbroken and puzzled. How can a father can throw someone out just because of his daughter's sexual orientation? Where does this "shamefulness" comes from? Being a queer has to struggle a lot with the social norm and how the society do not give you a space; home, on the other hand, is the only space that you can be yourself, gets acceptance and recognition from your intimate ones. Her family did not provide her the safe space; it rejected her and forbidden her to ever step into the family zone. It is hurtful that she had lost her family in order to live as what she was, and I find that this is ridiculous and outraged. To response to that, I really like this quote: "The fear, not the punishment, was the thing to conquer, I told myself." (228) Her courage in facing challenges and injustice is the spirit that I should learn, and this quote is the essence throughout the book.

When We Were Outlaws

Jeanne Cordova maintains a very strong voice in her memoir and it holds value in the narrative as it introduces the readers to who she is as a person. Cordova maintains a stubborn, but innovative. Cordova, as a person, seems to be a relentless, motivated, and well driven person and this drive really shows in the events of her life. From working for L.A. Free Press to creating The Lesbian Tide, Cordova manages to shift and change the events around her to help benefit her activism and pursue her desires. She's very undeterred in her work which makes her appear to be this amazing champion of an activist. But she is very much a real person and she deals with injustices and prejudices that lesbian Chicana women face. Her analysis and reflection of events is uncanny in the sheer astuteness of it. She really understands how the world--the straight world-- works. She's able to see how men around her will try to pit her against other members of her community, especially women, but uses this to her advantage and plays these people for fools. She has a very distinct self-awareness that is unfounded in many others and she as a Chicana and a lesbian is able to relate to but understand her impact as a person but also of her actions on other people. I found this so incredible because it's so rare for people to be this aware of who they are and how they affect those around them and it brings a softness to someone who seems much like a swashbuckling lesbian writer and activist. I think that this is especially important because no matter what group someone is part of, it's unlikely that they'll be able to step away from their actions and see the true impact. While Cordova is this amazing person and role model, the best take away, at least from part one, is that she is human at her core and all her actions, no matter how brazen or herculean, are the actions of a human seeking a better life for herself and others. It all boils down to her humanity and awareness of the human situation.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

When We Were Outlaws

My favorite moments in When We Were Outlaws are those in which Cordova uses her true and loud personality to fight for what she believes in and keep her resilience strong.  When she uses her standing as a triple-oppressed minority to get a job at the Free Press, she doesn't apologize for or mask any aspect of herself in order to do what she wants.  When faced with the sexist man who wouldn't print the issue of The Lesbian Tide with two women kissing, she proved that it didn't matter what he called her, she would "get the girl" at the end of the day and her magazine as well.  With Cordova's back turned to all things that attempted to threat her activism, there was nothing stopping her.  Even with the loyalty oath and lack of attention payed to her at the GCSC, Cordova had confidence that the "ship was not going down, so long as [she was] on it".  I admire her ability to not act carelessly and hastily; when several people suggested burning GCSC to the ground after their termination, as angry as Cordova was, she still knew how to react.  Her refusal of oppression onto her community, and her constant fighting, is what inspired so many to follow her, even when so much was at risk for them.

Jeanne Cordova

“My name is Jeanne Cordova. I’ve read your paper carefully, and I am here to tell you that what The Free Press needs is a gay columnist- one who is also a feminist and a Chicana. Hiring me gives you three oppressed minorities for the price of one!” (8)

This is Cordova’s introduction to Art Kunkin, the publisher and editor of the Los Angeles Free Press. This quote stood out to me because she is brash and ambitious, Jeanne Cordova is passionate about her belief that her duty is to change the world and end discrimination against gays and lesbians. Regardless of her sexual orientation, she becomes an investigative reporter for the famous, L.A. Free Press and finds herself involved with covering the Weather Underground and Angela Davis. At the same time, she takes the initiative to create what will be the center of her revolutionary lesbian world: her own newsmagazine, The Lesbian Tide, destined to become the voice of the national lesbian feminist movement.  She is an activist and is not afraid to be vocal and unapologetic. Her diverse background enables her to bring in a new perspective and see the world through a different lens. I was empowered by her restlessness as she paved the way for future storytellers.

When We Were Outlaws

One scene in When We Were Outlaws I found fascinating was the meeting Córdova has with her male publisher. The image of two women kissing was considered too scandalous to print, so Córdova has to maneuver cleverly around the publisher’s homophobia and sexism. As Córdova makes clear, the publisher insists that The Lesbian Tide’s “contract doesn’t mean shit to [him]” (40). In this scene, we understand that the publisher holds power not only over Córdova as a client, but as a man whose business decisions will impact the message she is trying to disseminate to her readers. In a sense, the publisher represents a patriarchal figure that wants to keep the author -- both as a lesbian and as a woman -- under control. He relents by asking her to give him her “best secrets about women” in exchange for The Lesbian Tide to be printed (41). It might seem that she is subverting his authority by purposely giving him bad advice about women, but she points out that this power was “narrowly held…with me forced to play the only card a butch had with a man like that -- other women” (43). I really appreciated her analysis here because it exposes how women are often pitted against each other for the sake of bartering with men. This small section of the book really illuminates who she is as a writer -- a lesbian who not only has talent but also the astuteness to understand how her actions may affect others -- something the male publisher lacks entirely.

When We Were Outlaws

Morris Knight is one of the most interesting peripheral characters at the beginning of Jeanne Córdova’s pseudo-fiction, pseudo-non-fiction book When We Were Outlaws about her involvement in the LGBTQ movement of the 70s. Knight, whom Córdova meets during her push to build The Lesbian Tide, is a fascinating and problematic figure in the book. In the theoretical sense, Córdova admits that Knight was aware of the intersectional problems of the movement, even connecting homophobia to misogyny, but was himself a victim of problematic ideologies in the material sense, because he failed to address—and even contributed to—these problems in his activism. “Morris Knight was savvy about the national political landscape and the intersections of the social change movements… Yet he was too much a man of the 1950s to make the emotional leap of accepting women as political peers,” Córdova writes (61). This quote typifies just how embedded things like misogyny are, even among allies. To say Knight was savvy about intersections performatively, a common criticism of activists today—the phrase virtue signaling is often used—doesn’t get at the real problem here: that is, the capability of doublethink among humans, even the best of us. Knight is an example of just how much activists and allies need to work on themselves in addition to the movement.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

When We Were Outlaws

"I was a 'lifer'- a lifelong lesbian, a dyke who'd never been heterosexual, married , or slept behind enemy lines." (67)

Throughout the memoir, a recurring theme of increasing diversification within the Women's Movement continued to arise. As communicated from Jeanne's perspective, this identification aids in understanding the individuals who make up the collective as well as the struggles of the group as a whole to have a common and clear goal. The reflection of Jeanne Córdova as more embedded in the movement than women who may have more recently identified as non-heterosexual lends itself to the complexity of the identities and spectrum of belonging in any political or social movement. She typically communicates where the person falls in the spectrum of the movement during encounters or larger group organizations. This not only highlights the consciousness of such differences within the movement but bring the issues at the base of such differences to the forefront of the group dynamics. Such issues include the longevity of their sexual identification, chosen label, and political drive for the cause. Though, it is this spectrum of belonging that becomes an issue if it creates a status of "second-class citizenship" for members. The lesbians who felt more comfortable identifying as "gay women" and felt fraternity with gay men inadvertently felt like undermining presences for the movement and were seen by some as different, if not second-class, members. On the other hand, while there as examples of mild exclusivity, there is still inclusivity for all who share the values of the Women's Movement. Non-female allies of the Women's Movement including the "effeminists" and extended the membership past women to include those who support women's rights and more specifically within the LGBTQ community, lesbian equality in the gay movement. The Women's movement was not one of exclusivity but rather one of subtle levels of ranging inclusivity.

Monday, February 5, 2018

When We Were Outlaws - First Review

'As June ranted, I cringed at her labelling gay men as the enemy. Male values and oppression were the enemy, not all gay people in management.'

Jeanne Córdova's fiery and assertive personality, in the face of adversity, is an inspiring symbol of the queer spirit that carried the community through years of opposition to the more progressed position that we continue to develop now. Córdova is inspiring in her willingness to use her self-identification to a benefit, as it gives her a unique label as a journalist that allows her to gain her job at The Free Press, speaking to the wider community on behalf of the queer community, and further establish her voice in The Lesbian Tide, reporting back to her own community. I was particularly amazed to read about her interview with Angela Davis, who continues to be recognised internationally as a figurehead, and it is clear that Córdova's standing as a journalist is high. I was surprised to see that the book was published in 2011, as I read it as a dated text. Whilst the aforementioned content was inspiring and empowering, much of the content is also quite uncomfortable to read. The divisions that are outlined within the communities, including divisions within the queer community, were troublesome to read about. Initially the animosity between these groups seemed unnecessary and xenophobic, however I was shocked to read about the mass firing of queer female and effeminate men by other members of the queer community.

This particular quote is significant in its message. Whilst the memoir has a strong voice of tension and division between these groups, Córdova overtly announces, here, that this is specifically to do with “values” that manifest “oppression”, and that this is not necessarily shared by “all gay people”. It is important not to group everyone outside of the queer female community as other and hating, as these values are not monolithic and should be targeted on a specific basis rather than assumed as a shared opinion. These opinions should not be dismissed, particularly as they are impacting the lesbian livelihood and affecting their quality of life, but such “labeling” should be avoided, as Córdova warns. In a society that now strives to unite all desire under “love is love”, these labels read as inimical to the joined effort against the far few hating voices as Córdova experienced decades ago. However it is important to recognize how these divisions used to be manifested in order to appreciate the harmony between queer women and queer men in the present day.
I am not exactly sure what I want to do for my project but I do have in mind to do ethnography among UCLA queer students and hear about how represented they feel on campus. I want to find out how students feel in a campus that appears to be on the more heteronormative side and understand if this phenomenon has affected their confidence in their sexuality. In order to conduct the enthnography, I would interview queer student I already know, but also students who are part of the LGBTQ+ community on campus.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Final Project Proposal

For my final project, I was thinking about creating a short 5-minute video that focused on queer latinx artists. I wanted to make this a sort of documentary-style video where I interviewed a handful of different artists and asked them about their life, their art, their pressures and struggles being latinx and what being queer and latinx means to them. So far I have a few friends in mind that I want to interview; one of them is a drag queen, one of them is a painter/writer, and one is a photographer.

I'm going to be posting a casting call on social media, such as instagram, to try to gather as many different types of artists as I can.

The mission of this video will be to empower other artists of color and to incorporate and involve different facets of the community. I don't want this to become a project that highlights struggle (while that will be included), more so, a project that displays achievement, love, and power.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Project Proposal

One of the queer artists I'm most passionate about is singer Anohni. Her career, spanning almost a decade, is filled with advancements both in her art and in her personal freedom. Just recently, shortly before the release of her critically-acclaimed 2014 album Hopelessness, she began publicly identifying as a woman, requesting the press use female pronouns as her friends and family had been doing for years. This, along with a name change (from Antony to Anohni), began a new era in her career, with politics at the forefront. Every song, except arguably one, on her 2014 dance protest album, of the pop-electronica genre, is a radical statement on topics such as the climate, queerness, imperialism, and capitalism -- incredible considering the pop nature of the album. 

More than being just an exciting musician, with incredible sounds and advancements in her field, she is an outspoken woman. For example, she boycotted the Academy Awards the year she was nominated, and is not one to shy away from calling out journalists and peers on counter-progressive things. 

I think the fact that she is a musician -- and not a painter or something -- with a handful of video interviews will make for an interesting five-minute film. 

Final Queer Art Project

I am not entirely sure on the queer art project I would like to focus on, although, I do know I want it to revolve around queer love, relationships, and self-expression.  I will begin by searching for articles based on these key words, hopefully that will help me narrowed the project.  I do wish to take an ethnographer approach by going to places where queer folks frequent and take notes on their interactions to collect some data, but the interviews I wish to conduct would be of people I know that identify as queer. Also I would like to integrate myself in the project somehow, besides being the developer.  I chose love because it is a universal theme, therefore I would like people outside the queer community to be able identify with, but alongside I also want people to understand/expose them to queer love. Love is a very abstract concept; therefore I do foresee some challenges, such as, love varies from person to person. I will begin by developing an interview guide that helps me find common ground on love based on the responses I received during the interview. As of now, I do not wish to integrate any artist’s work, but if an artist comes up along the way I would like to utilize him or her as an example to guide my project.

Extra Credit: Stonewall Uprising

This past summer I spent an entire month staying in NYU’s dorms located near the Village. I arrived to Manhattan on NYC’s Pride Day; therefore I had the opportunity to dance, sing, and enjoyed the Parade that celebrates our queer identity.  I had common knowledge of the Stonewell Uprising, but never had background on the constant harassment and mistreatment NYPD inflicted upon them. As I watch the documentary in class it was emotionally disturbing, because I took for granted all the rich history that bar really carries. Hearing about the constant public service announcements against gay people made my jaw drop. I could not believe how opposed people were against queer folks, instead of trying to understand them, they wanted to fix them via electric shock therapy utilizing pornographic images. It broke my heart how folks were in the state of “having nothing to lose” because they were disowned, rejected, or unwanted by their family and society. It was great to listen how each person remembers that night of protest. The police officers were used to always having control over them, so when they fought back they finally knew the amount of power united folks really have. Most importantly, it taught gay folks not to let themselves be constant target of police brutality simply because of who they love, fuck, or truly are.  I was truly happy towards the end of the documentary because for once in their long struggle for gay rights justice was on their side. 

Project Proposal

I have not 100% decided what I want to do for my final project, but I have a few ideas I will discuss here. 

My first idea is that I would like to create a piece about LGBTQ community. When I say LGBTQ community, I dont mean as a whole- but more so the small and rightly knit groups that queer people form with their other queer friends. At least in my personal life, and the lives of many of my friends, most of my friends are somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum and I think that this is because we all have a special understanding of the queer experience and support each other better because of this. 

My second idea would be about bisexuality, and more specifically erasure of bisexual and pansexual identities. I think that this topic is specifically interesting because I think that this issue is prevalent not only with straight people, but within the LGBTQ community as well. Last quarter I wrote a research proposal on this issue for a program I was trying to get accepted to (I didn't end up getting the spot), so this might be a good opportunity to present some of the research and literature review I did on this issue. 

For either of these ideas I plan on conducting a few short interviews with people that I know. I think that if I go with the idea on LGBTQ community, it would be more of a narrative story-telling type video. If I were to go with the bisexuality issue it would be more so focused on facts and statistics because I have already done some research on the subject. The bisexuality idea is one that I definitely have more prepared for, but the community idea for some reason is sounding a little more fun to me!

Project Proposal

James Charles is the first boy to be first male ambassador for CoverGirl. He then becomes a YouTuber for beauty tutorials. He can sing also. His makeup is amazing and pretty. Every makeup has its theme and story; some of them is like beauty tips for daily makeup, while some of them is related the LBGTQ community. Moreover, he will say “hey sister” at the beginning of his video. Besides, he also helps other male YouTubers to put on makeup. For example, he turned his little brother into a drag queen. This is interesting to collaborate with other straight men or women, and transfer them into a community member that they have never exposed to. He may not be the first man to put on makeup, but from the video, I can see a teenage boy who is confident, conscious and passionate on doing what his doing, and I believe those are the important features of the LBGTQ community. He redefines the term beauty, which goes beyond what the society limits. Although underneath his makeup is a male figure, what’s underneath his skin does not follow what the society constructs him to be. Unlike a drag queen, he does not cover his masculinity. He puts on mascara, highlight, lipstick, foundation and so on. He does not hide anything from his identity.
What it is meant to be ‘queer’ is to challenge the norm, at the same time, it is an umbrella and protection for the non-mainstream. Now right, my idea on the project maybe related to makeup, a performance of art, and probability filming a makeup tutorial. However, I have to think more deeply of how should I tighten it with queer.  

Project Proposal

 I'm very inspired by Gabriel Mozart Steven Abeyta's short film series, The Beginnings of My Heart, where he has a native lesbian work through inter-generational trauma to be able to have a healthy relationship and be able to express her love for her girlfriend. Abeyta has "heart girl" go to four different spirits, representing a different aspect of the emotional harm she felt, that each have a piece of her "exploded" heart that she needs to reclaim. I want to do something similar to this, exploring western-ism, colonialism, inter-generational trauma and the queer identity, as well as art as a self exploratory or conciliatory medium.
I've always been a story teller so I plan to use one or more of my stories and characters to navigate what I find from interviews I have with people. I'm going to explore my characters through my own art and writing, through some sort of soliloquy or dialogue, or poetry read over the scenes, I plan to explain answers I have found.
I have many stories but a few story lines of mine that I may use to explore these ideas. The character story lines I am choosing from include a teenager with the sense of loss of bodily autonomy after a sudden change, and no longer being "right" in their body, an immortal traversing time as an outsider for a couple reasons and the slow process of coming to terms with herself, a devout person learning about being brainwashed into leaving her identity and choosing between absolution and love, and a nonbinary queer "anti-hero" who as only ever seen themselves as a villain in media and is struggling to choose a place on the "good" side and the "bad" side. I plan to have a weird quality to these stories, with avante garde art, appearance of the characters, or physical expression such as dance to explore emotions hard to put into words, and to show the beauty of unique identities examined from intersectional, decolonized, and abstract points of view. I plan to allude to the Twilight Zone in narrative style and narration of before and after the events I investigate, in reference the strange zone between worlds, that I personally feel like I live in.

Project Proposal

For my art project I was considering incorporating some work from Jeremy Lucido. He is an award-winning American artist, blogger, photographer, zine publisher and film director who runs a photography studio located in Los Angeles, California.

 His zine, Starrfucker Magazine is a  a black-and-white print zine featuring his homoerotic photography as well as other art and photography from contributing artists. His work is celebrated and collected worldwide. The “New Beefcake” series has been published and shown in galleries in the past year. His love for portrait photography is stronger than ever and he is currently available for commissioned portrait, event, erotic and editorial photography.

With the influx of Gay bars and nightlife into the ever-growing downtown neighborhood, Jeremy can be seen at bars such as Precinct and Redline capturing queer nightlife in his own style, always with the focus on a person’s story.

This year he is riding in AIDS/LIifeCycle and on June 3rd - June 9th, over 3,000 Cyclists, Roadies, and Virtual Cyclists will be participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise funds for the life-saving services.  

I am looking forward to this creative process and can't wait to see the end result. 

Final Project

For my final project I wanted to look at the ways histories of queer people of color are impacted by dominant LGBTQ discourses that focus mainly on white men. I may start with the impact colonization had on Indigenous sexuality and gender expression. The chapter in Gay LA that talked about the Spaniards treatment of the berdache really interested me. It surprised me that that was the only mention of queer Indigenous people in the whole book.  In addition to Indigenous queerness I want to look at the representation of Black queer individuals in queer media. I don't have a clear idea of what the project is going to look like but I definitely want it to be creative. What I have vaguely envisioned for the project so far is either a zine or a video.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Project Proposal

For my video I want to re-document and reinsert All Fools Night into history.  There is far too little information to find on this event that is so significant to LA's background.  My strong-suit is not in video, so I want to use my own drawings to create an animation of All Fools Night-- one that would only leave room for celebration of queer life in LA.  I think it is important to continue to shed light on lost or untold perspectives, and even more so through the use of my own artistic practice. I am hoping the creation of this video would serve as a historical corrective; I feel that visual art is extremely effective in depicting events that weren't visually documented in their time.
The animation would be rather short to avoid having to make hundreds of drawings but my artistic style is very busy and information-heavy. Even though it will not be long, I will have it loop so that a viewer has time to absorb the imagery of this wild occasion.  My drawings and paintings are all based on the city of Los Angeles, as it exists now, (I've attached an image of one of my recent drawings), so I feel that this will be a fun project because I will have to place myself in a different time period to depict the same city.


After watching the movie Chavela Vargas at the Hammer Museum, I fell in love with her. I first learned about Chavela in the Frida Kahlo movie, where Chavela passionately sang "La Llorona" to Frida inside of a bar. She had a masculine appearance, she was elder, her voice was raw like no other–extraordinary! I listened and purchased all of her songs thereafter. From her movie, I learned, that Chavela was famously a lesbian, controversial, ranchera singer but lived in solitude and had many female lovers. Today, many people do not know who she was and I would like to change that as much as possible. Chavela Vargas was an important figure that was influential in gay and Latino communities expanding from Mexico to Spain to the USA. For my project idea, I want to share who Chavela Vargas was and why she was so damn awesome! I would implement her music, photos, clips (if I can download any), any relevant artwork, and quotes that most spoke to me. For example, when Chavela was asked in an interview where she was from, she answered that it did not matter where a person came from, what mattered was where a person was going.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Project Proposal

 For my project, I would like to focus on the American artist Brian Kenny. He is a New York based artist, 35 years old, and although he has not exhibited in that many places thus far, he is definitely an up and coming artist whom I believe will one day be a household name. In fact, this year he launched a collaboration with the famous French designer Christian Lacroix.

His artwork is incredibly bright, autobiographical, and political. A lot of his art is painted onto textiles, but he also does multimedia artwork as well. I would like to continue researching his work, history, and motivations.

The image I have posted here is from an artwork titled MASC 4 MASK. What appears to be a sports banner is actually a collage of different images that confront conventional ideas of masculinity: there seems to be a pair of eyes, dismembered arms, and teeth that do not belong to any specific sex. With artwork like this, I want to understand more about his desire to blur gender lines and analyze the way he breaks down and confronts masculinity. As a queer man, Kenny also includes the male form in much of his work and does collaborations with his partner, Slava Mogutin.

Project Proposal

Related imageThe queer artist that I want to focus on for my project is Syd tha Kyd. She is a lead singer from the band known as The Internet. Prior to this, she was a vocalist for another group known as Odd Future. Her musical genre is a fusion of R&B, soul, and electronica. I want to do my project on her because of personal reason. Not to be too corny, but her music really did improve my life. In the past, I was really into underground rap and Chicano rap because the lyrics in those songs resonated with me. However, I then realized that that music was contributing to my depression. The music took me away from my real world problems but into some dark thoughts. A friend pointed out that I needed to start listening to "happier" music so that I could have a more positive mindset. Then, another friend told me to listen to "Ego Death" by The Internet and that's when I got hooked onto R&B/Soul. I realized that in the past I liked music whose lyrics had deeper meanings (harsh realities). Now, what I look for in music is more about the rhythm and how it makes me feel. So, because Syd was the first artist that positively contributed to my mental health, I'm making my project about her.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Project Idea

Project Idea

            As a film minor hoping to work within the film industry when I return to the UK, I feel a creative project would best suit my abilities and interests. I want to explore the theme of labels within sexuality. Through a compilation of interviews, spoken word, image and performance I want to create an abstract, poetic documentary that exhibits the performative nature of sexuality and asks why labels are important, how they are constructed in queer image, and when they can be detrimental. I will find a variety of different people with a variety of different identities and endeavour to also exhibit labels beyond the overtly known labels of “gay”, “lesbian” and “bisexual”. Using Eve Sedgwick’s ideology on the meaning of “queer” as encompassing of all non-heteronormative identities, I aim to explore what “queer” really means, and the instability of our gender and sexuality categories. Whilst my film is topic based, I will incorporate images from queer artists based in Los Angeles to support my exploration of the embodied self image, specifically Anthony Friedkin, Alex Donis, Raul Pizarro and Ariel Vargassal, whilst I will also consider performance art with queer New York based dancer Emma Portner. I will write and perform my own spoken word, and create staged visual images to accompany this. I predict the biggest challenge will be finding a variety of people with a variety of identities comfortable talking on camera or voice recorder, but as I consider myself within the queer community I believe I can use my own identity to relate to others and hopefully inspire contribution to the project.