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

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Extra Credit: One Archives @ USC

               On March 11th I visited the One Archives at the USC libraries. The One archives feature the world's largest collection of LGBTQ material that is primarily in national scope but also includes a special focus on LGBTQ history within the Los Angeles region. It includes a wide array of materials such as books, periodicals, manuscripts, textiles, posters, over 4,000 paintings and drawings, and over 14,000 films and videos. The mission statement of the One Archive is to "collect, preserve, and make accessible LGBTQ historical materials while promoting new scholarship on and public awareness of queer histories." Upon visiting the archive, I found many pieces that were relevant to our class. On the walls of the archive there many editions and publications of the Lesbian Tide, where Jeanne Cordova served as the editor and publishers of what became the newspaper of record for lesbians and feminists of the 70's and 80's. I also saw a copy of Les Voz, a popular Lesbo-Feminista editorial in Mexico City, which featured an image of La Sirena and the La Virgen de Guadalupe. In addition, I also saw that someone had recently donated a copy of When We Were Outlaws by Jeanne Cordova.
             During my visit to the One Archives, I had the opportunity to visit the DIE KRANKEN exhibition. The exhibition "examines the significance and complicated history," of gay motorcycles clubs in Southern California "through a variety of multimedia and performative strategies." The exhibition included a bar which memorialized a gay leather motorcycle bar which was raided by the police in 1972 and a video entitled Spray of Tears in which a fighter pilot is shot down and nursed back to health by a nurse. However, in this version of the video the nurse is played by a club member in drag. After visiting the exhibition, a staff member of the One archive gave us a tour of the archives. He took us into the back room where the collection is held in hundreds of boxes. He opened one of the boxes and showed us all the varied topics held in just one box, which can include just about anything relating to LGBTQ material. He mentioned that surprisingly enough publications from his undergraduate years as the head of the queer/gay community at his university found their way into the archives. One of the most important things I learned from him was that this repository acted as a space to help collect LGBTQ material throughout the past few decades and use them to both understand LGBTQ culture and keep it within living memory, though it has often been repressed by heteronormative culture.

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