Late Night: The Endless Gothic Summer

In Southern California, it feels as if summer is a sun-proof vampire, immortal, a never-ending gothic summer of drought and car chases, punctuated by shootings, stabbings and beatings, heartbreak and horror.  In his blog The Westsider, author, journalist and Los Angeles native Rodrigo Ribera D’Ebre recalls:

People would hear more gun shots at night and gang members walked around their neighborhoods in the daytime wearing brown-colored gardening gloves to avoid fingerprints on their guns. The visual is so stark in my mind—bald heads, white t-shirts, shrink-to-fit Levis, white sneakers, and the ever-famous “brownies” on people’s hands.

My neighborhood had one (reported) shooting this summer. There have been nights of gunfire with no sirens ever heard, nights when cars race up our block and the neighbors call the next morning to warn me that unfamiliar vehicles are circling the block. Cops eat regularly at the red sauce joint just down the street and movie stars stroll the Sunday farmers market within walking distance of my house, within walking distance of thirteen houses of worship. A mile away, last weekend, a local guy was stabbed during a music festival.

The darkness of Los Angeles, of Southern California, cannot be chased away by sunlight. It is in our history–the missionary conquest first of the natives, then the conquest of the conquerors by “Americans.” It is in the history of the enslavement, land grants and curses on Griffith J. Griffith (who gave his name to Griffith Park) and the Doheny family, the Chicken Coop murders, the stretch of Sunset Blvd known as Deadman’s Curve, the Manson Family, the SLA shootout, the Hillside Strangler and the Nightstalker, Rodney King and OJ.

Raymond Chandler, Ross McDonald, Joan Didion, James Ellroy captured our darkness in prose; film noir held it to the projector’s light. But in art–well, the Light and Space movement and Cool School avoided it. Low Brow and Pop Surrealism toyed with it, dancing around with cartoons and big eyed girls in antlers. It wasn’t until Rodrigo Ribera d’Ebre that a specific nativist genre, Dark Progressivism, was recognized and defined.

This year, my own gothic summer officially began with Bats’ Day in Fun Park (aka Goth Day at Disneyland) and has moved through the release of Prayers‘ EP and video “Gothic Summer,” into San Diego tattoo parlors and restaurants with altars to the dead placed discreetly by the front door, culminating with “Devils’ Town,” a month-long art show in L.A.’s Chinatown, which I co-curated with d’Ebre, and artist Edwin Quiroz.

The choice of Chinatown was not an accident. Los Angeles first rose to international infamy not because of our film stars or orange groves. Known as “Los Diablos” the wickedest city west of the Mississippi, Los Angeles made worldwide news in 1871 with the lynching of 17 Chinese men by a mob of whites on the street known as Negro Alley. The Chinese Massacre remains to this day the largest urban lynching in U.S. history.

This was the jumping off point for our artists in “Devils’ Town” — the devils of our city’s past, the devils in our region’s present. And these artists brought it hard and strong and brave and bold; in black and gray, in glowing nighttime neon tones, in the reds of blood fresh and dried. “Devils’ Town” is a fundraiser for d’Ebre’s documentary, Dark Progressivism: On Rupture and Rebellion; while the artists are paid for the sales of their work, we are donating our curatorial fees to complete the film’s production. “Devils’ Town” closes this weekend with a party featuring a performance by Prayers.

I am proud of this show, proud of the artists, proud of living in this city in endless gothic summers And I am proud of myself for casting off societal expectation, stepping outside the stereotypes of where I was born, where I went to school, of how and who I am expected to be; proud to be able to move through many worlds with grace. That is my dark progress.

And gothic is the summer. Eternally

Top: Germs, Concrete Jungle.

Detail: Krush.

Top: Juan Carlos Muñoz Hernandez. Bottom, Jose Lopes.

L to r: Jose Lopes, Pablo Cristi, Ed Gutter.

Left, Ed Gutter. Top right, Tyson Pedrosa. Bottom, Jason Hernandez.

 

FDL Movie Night: After Tiller

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The assassination of Dr. George Tiller while at church in Wichita, Kansas in 2009 brought abortion rights into sharp and horrible focus. Tiller’s clinic, Women’s Health Care Services, one of only three clinics nationwide to provide late-term abortions at the time. After his death, Tiller’s clinic closed.

After Tiller follows the lives of the last four remaining doctors in the United States who perform late-term abortions, those in which the fetus is over 25 weeks old. Two of these doctors who worked with Dr. Tiller at his Wichita clinic — Dr. Shelley Sella, and Dr. Susan Robinson — begin working at a clinic in New Mexico. Meanwhile, Tiller’s friend, Dr.Warren Hern continues to maintain his practice in Boulder, Colorado, and Nebraska-based Dr. LeRoy Carhart is eventually forced out of Nebraska by legislation.

Our guests, filmmakers Martha Shane and Lana Wilson explore the lives of these four doctors–their histories, their practices and what led them to perform third trimester abortions, which account for only 1% of all abortions performed in the United States. Many of the patients who come to these doctors have fetuses which suffer from severe abnormalities. Others are women who are unable to care for a child. The onus of accepting the patient falls on the doctors, and there are times they say no.

Every day these doctors risk their lives to perform abortions and provide family planning (their practices are not solely third-trimester abortions). The day of the passage of the Nebraska Parental Notification Law, fires broke out on Carhart’s property, burning his home and a stable. Two family pets and twenty-one horses were killed. Carhart states that he received a letter likening the deaths of his animals to the “murder of children.” The doctor who had a walk-in/urgent care clinic switched to abortions-only, saying he would not

cede victory to the antis

Dr. Hern’s first marriage broke up over the pressures of being targeted by anti-choice radicals. Now remarried, with a stepson, he is taking stock of his practice and his future. Dr. Shelley Sella and Dr. Susan Robinson alternate at at a women’s clinic in New Mexico, traveling away from their spouses and facing the reality that they too could be killed.

All four of these doctors know they are the final stop for women carrying babies with fetal abnormalities that appear in the final trimester. The stories are heart-breaking, babies missing half their brains, babies with diseases that will condemn them to a brief life of pain, surgeries, and other medical procedures.

After Tiller is a compassionate look at the right to choose and those who work to maintain that right, despite personal peril.

After Tiller, which airs on PBS POV beginning September 1st, won the Candescent Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. (more…)

Live Blogging: 2014 Emmys

It’s the 66th annual Emmy Awards and there are some big changes. The show is broadcast live on the West Coast, with Seth Meyers as the host. GLAAD points out that

this year’s Emmy nominees included openly gay actors Jim Parsons, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sarah Paulson and Kate McKinnon as well as shows (“Orange,” “Modern Family,” “Game of Thrones”) sporting LGBT characters and stories.

It’s brilliant that the Academy of Television Arts & Science recognizes the streaming media of Netflix (and should the time come, Hulu) as part of “television” and has embraced Netflix series. It’s going to be a hard call for some of these nominations, and while I’m a little disappointed in a couple categories (what no Sharknado! Well maybe next year Sharknado 2: The Second One will make the cut), this year’s nominees dorepresent one of the finest years in TV ever. (And Vince Van Patten is nominated for Best Director-and to think he used to be a TV teen idol heart throb!).

Is your popcorn popped? Here we go! Seth is about to take the stage!!

Nominees:

Live Blogging: 2014 Emmys

It’s the 66th annual Emmy Awards and there are some big changes. The show is broadcast live on the West Coast, with Seth Meyers as the host. GLAAD points out that

this year’s Emmy nominees included openly gay actors Jim Parsons, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sarah Paulson and Kate McKinnon as well as shows (“Orange,” “Modern Family,” “Game of Thrones”) sporting LGBT characters and stories.

It’s brilliant that the Academy of Television Arts & Science recognizes the streaming media of Netflix (and should the time come, Hulu) as part of “television” and has embraced Netflix series. It’s going to be a hard call for some of these nominations, and while I’m a little disappointed in a couple categories (what no Sharknado! Well maybe next year Sharknado 2: The Second One will make the cut), this year’s nominees dorepresent one of the finest years in TV ever. (And Vince Van Patten is nominated for Best Director-and to think he used to be a TV teen idol heart throb!).

Is your popcorn popped? Here we go! Seth is about to take the stage!!

Nominees

(more…)

2014 Emmys Red Carpet Liveblog

The Emmys are here! The night when television celebrates its best. And on the red carpet, this means the best and worst dressed, as well as our favorite stars.

This year, the Emmys are broadcast live on the West Coast so we’ll be able to live blog both the arrivals and the show itself, starting at 4pm West Coast Time with the red carpet arrivals on NBC. Social media will be in full force:

Twitter maven Retta from NBC’s comedy “Parks and Recreation,” will be Twitter’s official live tweet correspondent from the Emmy’s red carpet and inside the show sharing hilarious commentary throughout….Eonline will aggregate all key social conversations happening around the Emmys popular #eredcarpet all in one spot.

Look for your favorites and the nominees, then stay with us at 8pm ET, 5pm PT when I’ll be doing Movie Night with one hand and live blogging the Emmy broadcast (featuring Seth Meyers) with the other!

PS: I’m rooting for Laverne Cox, the first openly trans actress nominated for an Emmy:

Cox herself makes the distinction “openly trans,” as she says she knows of another transgender woman who won an Emmy years ago, but was not out.

Late Night: Chris Kluwe Scores Win for LGBT

Chris Kluwe
I don’t know a whole lot about football. In a pinch I will root for the Ravens because they are named for the quintessential Edgar Allen Poe poem (though one hopes their Super Bowl win will not live up to the poem’s refrain).

Up until a couple years ago I thought the Vikings were cool, too, because Loki is rad and so is Odin. And Valkeries! And Berserkers!!  I also bet ponies by color of silks and horses’ names. Yes, I am sports challenged. Actually when the Viking’s punter (that’s the guy who kicks the ball on fourth and long) Chris Kluwe spoke up for marriage equality in Minnesota as a private citizen, not as a Viking, it put the team on my radar. Goooo Minnysoooootah!

Kluwe was bucking stereotypes of thick-skulled football players, and setting a positive, inclusionary message since there are plenty of LGBT football fans, and every adult should have the right to get married.

Only Minnesota Vikings special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer repeatedly used homophobic language in Kluwe’s presence and spouted Biblical quotes as his justification for his bigotry.

After escalating hostilities as well as surgery on his knee, Kluwe was replaced by a draft pick. He sued the Vikings over their anti-gay behavior. Today the lawsuit was settled with the team donating a substantial amount to five charities, including several in Minnesota, over the next five years. In addition, tweeted Kluwe:

They are implementing enhanced training within the entire organization, and are committed to a zero tolerance policy on homophobia…The Vikings will be working to create a symposium to bring together sports and LBGTQ leaders in order to address this issue in sports.

Even better:

Priefer has been suspended the first three games of the 2014 NFL season and will donate $100k to LGBT charities.

Score! Thanks Chris Kluwe! And here he is playing bass with his band Tripping Icarus: (more…)

Late Night: Chris Kluwe Scores Win for LGBT!

Chris Kluwe
I don’t know a whole lot about football. In a pinch I will root for the Ravens because they are named for the quintessential Edgar Allen Poe poem (though one hopes their Super Bowl win will not live up to the poem’s refrain).

Up until a couple years ago I thought the Vikings were cool, too, because Loki is rad and so is Odin. And Valkeries! And Berserkers!!  I also bet ponies by color of silks and horses’ names. Yes, I am sports challenged. Actually when the Viking’s punter (that’s the guy who kicks the ball on fourth and long) Chris Kluwe spoke up for marriage equality in Minnesota as a private citizen, not as a Viking, it put the team on my radar. Goooo Minnysoooootah!

Kluwe was bucking stereotypes of thick-skulled football players, and setting a positive, inclusionary message since there are plenty of LGBT football fans, and every adult should have the right to get married.

Only Minnesota Vikings special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer repeatedly used homophobic language in Kluwe’s presence and spouted Biblical quotes as his justification for his bigotry.

After escalating hostilities as well as surgery on his knee, Kluwe was replaced by a draft pick. He sued the Vikings over their anti-gay behavior. Today the lawsuit was settled with the team donating a substantial amount to five charities, including several in Minnesota, over the next five years. In addition, tweeted Kluwe:

They are implementing enhanced training within the entire organization, and are committed to a zero tolerance policy on homophobia…The Vikings will be working to create a symposium to bring together sports and LBGTQ leaders in order to address this issue in sports.

Even better:

Priefer has been suspended the first three games of the 2014 NFL season and will donate $100k to LGBT charities.

Score! Thanks Chris Kluwe! And here he is playing bass with his band Tripping Icarus:

 

(more…)

FDL Movie Night: FRED

FRED, the story of Fred Karger‘s quixotic run for president in 2012 gives an inside look at politics as the first out gay candidate for President revs up his campaign for the Oval Office. Karger, our guest tonight, is one of the most engaging and delightful politicians I’ve ever encountered. We’ll be discussing his 2012 run for president, his work to expose NOM and the Mormon money in Prop 8 campaigns, and political activism.

Despite having worked on nine presidential campaigns and serving as a senior consultant to the campaigns of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford, Karger is virtually unknown (his campaign slogan is “Fred Who?”) as he launches his campaign in 2010.

He faces an even larger political hurdle: He’s a gay Republican.  The 2010 Southern Republican Leadership Council won’t let him hold a press conference. CPAC won’t let him speak. Steve Scheffler, an Iowa Republican delegate sends Karger an email saying he

will abort your campaign

(and here I always thought most Republicans were opposed to abortions). Karger manages to spin these setbacks into positive press, positioning himself as an underdog, a throwback to the pre-religious conservatives who took over the Republican party.

Karger stayed closeted until 2004 when he left The Dolphin Group, a political consultancy firm which worked on Republican Presidential campaigns as well as campaigns for California Governor George Deukmejian and Lt. Governor Mike Curb. When the Boom, one of the oldest gay bars in California (located in Karger’s town of Laguna Beach) was threatened with demolition, Karger stepped out of the closet and started a grassroots campaign to save the venerable watering hole, surprising many LGBTQ activists who had no idea who he was, and were slightly suspicious of his Republican politics. (Full disclosure: I have Republican friends and they are not crazy, horrible, hate-filled, racist, Monsanto-lovers. They eat organic food, give to charity and are really nice people.)

The distrust begins to shift when Karger joins the campaign to boycott the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego for their donations to support Proposition 8, winning an unlikely ally in Cleve Jones, founder of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and co-founder of the San Francisco AIDS Project. Karger’s Californians Against Hate uncovered the national coalitions fighting against marriage equality in California. His run for president was inspired in part by the Church of Latter Day Saints’ efforts to repeal marriage equality in California, and his concerns about Mitt Romney’s faith shaping national policy.

During his 2012 run for President, Karger engaged many Gay Straight Alliances and LGBTQ  groups. In the documentary–and in conversations I’ve had with him–he expresses his desire to empower youth to strive for their dreams, to embrace opportunity. His run for presidency was a way to visibly express how far LGBT have come from when he was growing  up. Along the way he really upset many Republicans while causing both Republicans and Democrats to question their political dogmas.

I met Fred Karger through the internet because he shares the same name as my stepfather, a film composer. I wrote a post about the two men, and Karger the candidate contacted me. We had lunch and visited Occupy LA. I truly admire his dogged and relentless pursuit of NOM and the Mormons, and his attempts to show how politics work.

FRED gives an inside look at a grassroots political campaign, one that upset the prevailing powers that be, while providing an engaging portrait of a man who by embracing and loving himself has has found away to integrate his political skills with his true self. It’s a sweet smart documentary that reveals so much about our country, the progress we’ve made, and the progress we’re still working on. (more…)

Late Night: RIP Lauren Bacall

Gods, I love Lauren Bacall — elegant, smart, witty, husky voiced, strong-willed. I loved her hair, her movies, her romance with Humphrey Bogart, her graceful ballsy aging. This elegant, intelligent no-BS woman has died at 89 of stroke-related complications, and with her passing a great deal of Hollywood history is gone.

Her movies with Bogey were my favorite, Dark Passage my ultimate fave, but who can forget this sexy scene from The Big Sleep?

Or this classic from To Have and Have Not, where the legendary couple met: