When I first heard of Lila Star, I was intrigued. “The First Trans Latina Rapper,” as she was billed, caught my eye and imagination. I could not wait to talk to her. Excited to speak with Star, who will be performing at The Pride & Equality Magazine 15th Anniversary Ball on September 14th, we settled down for our Q&A, drinks in hand, and began to chat like two old friends.
Star is making a name for herself, working with big names from Rupaul’s Drag Race and taking the title of the first Trans Latina Rapper, a title she is very proud to claim. Her journey started some time ago with a video that paved her career. “About four years ago, when I made the video for my song “The Truth.” The director didn’t even know I was trans until much later. I have since worked with the director, Nestor, many times.” The title of “first trans-Latina rapper” is an important one to Star and she is proud to claim it. “There is no one doing what I am doing. If there is, she isn’t speaking up. When you are younger you don’t realize that you have something special, a unique voice. I am a triple threat. I want to express myself any way I can.”
Lila is the first rap or hip-hop artist to appear in our publication and taking the mantle of LGBTQ’s first Latina female artist is a title she wears proudly. When it comes to how she is accepted by the hip-hop community, the experience has brought some harsh feelings into the limelight. “Well, I think it’s sad,” says Star. “The hip-hop and gay communities have always influenced each other with different slang and fashion and such. I have had to deal with a lot of prejudice in the hip-hop community with people who are not supportive because they are dealing with their own sexuality. I got to where I am all on my own. I plan to knock down any doors that come before me on my own. It makes me more driven to prove that I can do it.”
When it comes to Star’s influences when creating her music she shares that everyday living is always the best way to create. “The usual life experiences. When I grew up Lil’ Kim and Tupac were my saviors. They were my hip hop Gods. As I get older just the lessons life has taught you.” She continued to share her love for Lil’ Kim when it comes to how the sometimes controversy artist’s style appears in her videos. “I am the trans-Lil’ Kim! When I was a kid I was a regular church-goer but my alter ego is a bad girl. It helps me express my sexuality. I can be her unapologetically and it is easier to say things you really feel.”
Lila is truly making a name for herself, recently collaborating with Drag Race alumni, Shea Coulee, and season 10 contestant, Vixen, on the song Cocky. The video, a powerful, fierce form of expression, leaving those who watch it wanting to strut their stuff after viewing. A childhood connection led to the collaboration. “Shea and I met because we are both from Chicago and we got to talking and were both dealing with losing our dads. ‘Cocky’ just kind of came out of those talks.”
When it comes to Star’s aesthetic, it should be no surprise that she is a fan of fashion. “I love fashion! It’s been a childhood inspiration. “ I love clothes. Growing up, I would play with pieces. I was scared growing up in the hood - being half Puerto Rican. Everyone was uber masculine. So I got to play with boy sides. I love thrifting. I am obsessed with designers. They make me feel expensive and beautiful and diva-like.”
Star has a few upcoming projects on the way. “I just completed a short film called “Lake Shore Drive” and have a role in an upcoming movie that I can not talk about just yet.”
Lila Star is determined to be a powerful element in the music scene and if her attitude and style have anything to say about it, we’ll be seeing more of her in the future.
Albuquerque has a small, but thriving and growing, LGBTQ business community. There have always been gay-owned or operated businesses, and of course, LGBTQ people work in just about every type of business there is. Some examples are the restaurants Standard Diner and the Range Cafes, Self-Serve, Swank, Shears to You, One Community Auto, Urban Fresh Cosmetics and many others. The Albuquerque LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce has a mission of helping our LGBTQ-owned or friendly small businesses grow, to help our community start their own businesses and to help provide resources which can facilitate those start-ups or growth of existing businesses. One role is making the LGBTQ business community more visible in the City, and to ensure we have a “seat at the economic table” so we are included in plans to help businesses throughout Albuquerque. Mayor Tim Keller is introducing new measures to bring the City out of our economic doldrums. And he has promised to work with us on all aspects including LGBTQ tourism.
LGBTQ tourism is a huge market. Many LGBTQ travelers don’t know much about our City. They don’t realize the City and State have sexual orientation and transgender protections, or all we have to see and do. The Chamber is working to change this along with our partners at VisitABQ, the lodging industry and airlines. LGBTQ travelers spend more than straight travelers. It is in our interest to attract these travelers and show them all we have to offer. The same-sex couples who came to get married are spreading the word, but we must do more.
In 2014, Albuquerque Business First newspaper held an event called, “Reinventing Our City”, about getting our economy moving. They showed all the sectors that were suffering. Many had great ideas, but they take time. Not one sector was growing - except one. In December 2013, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal in NM. We saw a huge influx of same-sex couples from Texas, Colorado and other states coming to get married. It was a large economic boost and made tourism the only segment that was growing. Some couples dropped huge amounts of money, in one case over $100,000 just for the reception. Even more modest weddings created jobs for hotels, airlines, wedding officiants and others. Most of these couples sought gay-owned or gay-friendly businesses using resources like the Chamber, the New Mexico Pride Guide, and EQNM. The general business community was stunned.
What did they think about the LGBTQ business community? Nothing - we were not even a factor in their minds. This was a wake-up call demonstrating both the buying power and the businesses in our community. Same-sex couples continued coming until 2015 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal across the country. By word of mouth, many of these couples had such wonderful experiences they recommended to their friends to come here to get married, so it’s still providing benefits.
Albuquerque Business First has created a list of LGBTQ-owned businesses. The first year, this list was fairly small. The second year, the list grew, and we expect this list to grow even more. Why? Because for these small businesses, it is another “coming out” process. But the list is growing as more LGBTQ business owners see the benefit of being on the list and know it’s safe. The LGBTQ Chamber is part of the Western Business Alliance composed of the LGBTQ chambers from cities across the West. Annually, the WBA holds an Economic Summit. In 2018, it was in San Francisco. Our Chamber bid on hosting the Summit, and won for 2020. This will bring a very diverse group of LGBTQ business leaders to our City, and they, in turn, will go home and spread information about Albuquerque to their communities.
The Chamber is already working with VisitABQ, hotels and business owners to sponsor the Summit, and is also working to bring many more LGBTQ conferences to Albuquerque, such as the national LGBTQ realtors association and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. All of this will help our LGBTQ businesses to grow and prosper. The Chamber works with the Small Business Administration and local funders to help members of our community to start new businesses. Mayor Keller is focusing on growing “home-grown” businesses so this is a great time to start a small business. For more info, visit the LGBTQ Chamber at www.abqgaychamber.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. NM Pride Guide at gogaynewmexico.com, or Equality New Mexico at www.eqnm.org.
Blake’s Hard Cider, the largest craft hard cider brand in the Midwest, is introducing an inspired beverage concept that is equal parts refreshing and meaningful – with a sizable portion of proceeds going to leading LGBTQ civil rights organization, The Human Rights Campaign® (HRC).
Blake’s Rainbow Seeker is a delicious specialty cider featuring a semi-sweet blend of Michigan-grown apples infused with real pineapple and a hint of sage. The all-natural, gluten-free cider features a 5.5% ABV and it arrives in stores in May across all 19 states of Blake’s distribution footprint. Customers can find the tropical cider in most Midwest Meijer locations and all Michigan Kroger's. Proceeds from Rainbow Seeker, the first of Blake’s Kinder Cider Series, will fund a $40,000 direct donation to advance civil rights and equality programs spearheaded by HRC. The cider will flow from taps across Blake’s footprint on Friday, April 27.
“Rainbow Seeker is the first installment in what I believe is a kinder cider platform for Blake’s,” said Andrew Blake, owner and founder of Blake’s Hard Cider. “Our brand has grown quickly, and with that evolution comes the opportunity to make a difference and to bring awareness to social and environmental issues that have great personal and communal meaning. As with everything we do at Blake’s, we’ll do what we believe is right.”
Rainbow Seeker will be sold in 12-ounce cans in six-pack form and on draft throughout Blake’s distribution network for the duration of the summer. Each six-pack has a suggested retail price of $10.99 - $11.99 per with a portion of program proceeds going directly to HRC. The brand is currently sold in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, New Jersey and Florida. It will be launching in Virginia and Washington D.C. this Spring.
The HRC is America’s largest civil rights organization. Its three million members and supporters work to advance a future where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work, and in the community.
“We are grateful to Andrew and Blake’s team for their generous support of LGBTQ equality,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This is a fun concept that we can all embrace, yet it comes at a serious moment in time when we are working harder than ever to push back against anti-equality sentiment.”
Blake’s will partner with distributors, retailers, restaurant and bar partners to host events during June Gay Pride Month and in the fall for National Coming Out Day.
“We’ll produce 120,000 cans and we’ll distribute those cans to 19 states,” said Blake. “We see it as 120,000 great opportunities to encourage people to be kind, support equality and simply be good to one another.”
Rainbow Seeker is the first installment of the Blake’s Hard Cider Co. Kinder Cider Series – a series that will bring awareness to social and environmental issues that directly impact Blake’s small farm community. If you would like to get involved in this movement, visit blakeshardcider.com/donate.
I must confess, since joining the gym in West Hollywood, I’ve compared myself to other guys working out. It’s hard not to. I’ve even started conversations with other men about body image, literally about butts, botox, biceps & steroids. It got me thinking about how men view themselves in ways, which are mostly considered the realm of women. What I find most revealing is the stress, anxiety, and state of flux many men find themselves in today in relation to their body image. Mass media has much to do with this, depicting the ‘ideal’ person, and after so many repeated images on multiple platforms, it starts to seep in that we just aren’t ‘enough’. We begin to lose sight of what our bodies look like and begin to see what our bodies are not. It becomes something unworthy when compared to the countless ‘perfect’ figures that we know on some level aren’t real yet yearn to be.
Body dysmorphia (BDD) is an important issue for the gay community to address because it’s one that’s glossed over. It’s time we took a breath and questioned whether this quest for perfection is healthy and question why we think it will make us happy? For those unfamiliar with the term, body dysmorphia is a body image disorder where the person sees their body through a distorted lens. Flaws stand out, good isn’t good enough. Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, social anxiety and OCD can cause or be the result of BDD. In the United States, it BDD affects 2.5% of men (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
From my experience in the gay community, the ideal person you’re expected to be is health conscious, incredibly ripped, washboard abs, great skin, perfect teeth, and just drop dead hot. Not to mention being a scintillating conversationalist. The feeling you get is if you haven’t acquired those attributes, you’re less of a man and far from being an ideal partner. Sometimes I feel anything short of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ statue would be considered less than the gay ideal. No wonder we are all on Lexapro and require validation morning, noon and night.
Being in the best physical shape is a great ideal to have and work towards, though we need to frame it in a way that doesn’t demand perfection from us. Many of us are holding up an ideal beyond most humans. Some men can look like that and good for them – but we shouldn’t denigrate their bodies either. For the rest of us who aren’t Fabio, our bodies shouldn’t bring us shame. It’s something to accept, perceived ‘flaws’ and all.
I’m a healthy, active 44-year-old man, I’m not 18 and I’m neither Peter Pan nor Dorian Gray. I carry a few extra pounds and I love my body for what it is — mine. I’m not an athlete or model. I believe in doing the best you can with what you’ve got. It doesn’t make you any less sexy.
However, it’s clear from the research that men are guilty of not only comparing themselves to other men but also commenting on one another’s bodies (we can be so queeny.) Whether we realize it or not, it has long-lasting, damaging effects that creep up in unhealthy ways. We need to stop comparing ourselves to photo-manipulated fitness model and get our priorities in order. Support each other. Accept ourselves for who we really are. It’s not the outside that matters – it’s what is on the inside. Practice positive affirmations every day. Know you’re good enough for anyone to love. Stop with the negative, damaging comparisons and remember that no matter where you are right now, you are perfect as is. You are unique, hot, and sexy. Who you’re looking for is looking for you, right now!
Gordon Fraser is a Career/Marketing expert and philanthropist. He is the President of Gordon Fraser and Associates, LLC and U.S. Executive National Vice President and Independent Consultant with Arbonne International, overseeing a network of 50,000 global consultants and retail buyers in excess of $80m across Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Poland. You can learn more about Gordon by following him on Twitter @gordon_fraser
Teachers around the country, often in red states, are organizing to fight the ongoing destruction of public education. For generations, politicians have targeted public schools, with major funding from the school privatization movement, to help create a two-tiered class-based system by crippling public schools and demonizing teachers.
Past advocacy by educators as part of their professionalism has contributed to the conservative criticism of public education in the US and its scapegoating of teachers’ unions for any problems conservatives want to lay on the public school system.
Back in 1970, for example, the AFL-CIO-affiliated American Federation of Teachers became the first major union to stand against discrimination against lesbians and gay men. In 1974, its larger national rival, the National Education Association, added sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination policy.
Both unions have struggled with right-wing forces from within and without to maintain and expand the stands they took way over a quarter of a century ago. In 1999, both joined nine other educational and psychological organizations to condemn the aggressive right-wing promotion of the brainwashing mislabeled conversion “therapies,” as potentially harmful and ineffective, and to counter harassment of LGBTQ youth.
The final goal of economic conservatives is to privatize education so that children become lucrative moneymakers 24/7 for multinational corporations. For the religious and social conservatives, it’s to guarantee that our kids conform to their right-wing, sectarian Christian agenda, including marginalizing LGBTQ people.
The major enemies of this sectarian and corporate agenda, who are motivated by the stake they have in education as well as the fact that most become educators out of their love of teaching, are those teachers’ unions – the organizations that represent the actual trained professionals who are really in the classroom with America’s kids.
In contrast, how long has it taken their bosses – the motley crew on elected school boards, the managers who mimic CEOs, and the scared school systems – to stand against bullying and “safe schools?”
It’s not as if the teachers are in it for the money. With their educational backgrounds they could make more working in front of computer screens, in investment firms, or in real estate.
Instead, teachers take responsibility for a nation’s important resource, our children. But their value to us is reflected in how they’re treated compared to our bankers, armament dealers, informational techs, and corporate executives.
We talk a good line about education in this country, but the evidence belies what we really believe. When we talk about more funding for our schools you can hear people say: “You don’t think that throwing more money at schools works, do you?” When it’s about the Pentagon, who can’t account for one-quarter of its expenditures, we call it allocation.
And that child in the inner city school knows what education really means to us. As those students listen to our lines about how important education is, he knows what his teachers make, where they live, and how they’re treated in the media. But students also know how much those sports stars make, in what kinds of homes they live, and how people idolize them.
Those young students are too smart. They can see through all the American blather about the value of education to the truth good ole Jesus underlined: “Where your treasure is, there your heart is also.”
Going beyond appearances, we do everything to put our teachers down. We hold them suspect. We pile them with responsibilities way beyond their expertise and passion.
We place these professionals in a system run by people who have never run a classroom. Imagine the standards of the medical or legal profession set by boards of people with no qualifications other than the fact that they received the most votes in an electoral system where many qualify as “low information voters.”
We hire superintendents and downtown office bureaucrats who couldn’t run a classroom and think schools are businesses. Even our Secretaries of Education are managers, not educators.
In keeping with this business-model obsession, Obama’s Arne Duncan never taught in a classroom. He was a CEO appointed by a mayor to be chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools. No wonder his programs perpetuated the philosophy of the Bush administration that’s dictated by corporate America.
And now we’re stuck with Betsy DeVos who bought her position, could care less about public schools, and wants to see all students brought to her sectarian Jesus.
I’m surprised that more teachers suffering through these people who think they know better how to manage education like a factory, aren’t bitter and disheartened. What must it be like to be blamed so that the fault is always: you’re not a good teacher; and the solution is some sort of “merit pay” based on criteria set up by non-professional corporatists and their hand-picked “consultants?”
Union busting remains on the agenda of numerous superintendents around the country. But if it weren’t for our teachers’ unions, teachers, those professional educators, would have no voice at all in the way we teach and nurture the students they, not the policy makers, interact with every school day.
Teachers know what works. Teachers know why education isn’t always working in the US.
We know that smaller classrooms work. We know that the happier teachers are, the better they teach.
We know that education is not an assembly line where products can be measured by endless standardized testing. We know that students come from different places (income levels, family backgrounds, emotional needs, talents, motivations, and abilities), and that the measure of a good educator is a student’s progress from that individual place along a path, not their conformity to arbitrary standards such as those behind initiatives like that No Child Left Behind law.
We know that, yes, throwing money at education will actually go a long way to solving our problems. How about just 1/10th of what we can’t account for of military spending?
But we’ll also have to start thinking about teachers as a national resource. We’ll have to think of our schools and colleges as more than training institutions for some corporate agenda.
In Taiwan where education is highly successful, September 28th is not only Confucius’ Birthday. It’s a national holiday to honor teachers.
People there actually stop working to honor teachers.
In the US we just tripped over Teacher Appreciation Week, but I bet most didn’t even know when.
That illustrates our real problem.
Robert N. Minor, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at the University of Kansas, is author of When Religion Is an Addiction;Scared Straight: Why It’s So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It’s So Hard to Be Human; and writes a regular column on relationships for 50PlusPrime.com Contact him at www.FairnessProject.org.
After conquering New York Fashion Week in the spring of 2017, breakout fashion designer Matt Sarafa has his sights set on the capital of the fashion world, Paris. Debuting his new line "ROLEPLAY" on Thursday, September 28TH during Paris Fashion Week, at the Hotel d'Evreux, Matt is ready to reignite the industry with his new high-end line. At 19-years-old, Matt is one of the youngest designers to ever show at the illustrious Paris Fashion Week. Never one to be limit himself, Matt is already known as an accomplished young designer, and entrepreneur for creating his clothing line "Hot Me$$," as well as his jewelry and clothing line "FAKE."
Matt's newest designs for "ROLEPLAY" will blur the lines between ready-to-wear pieces, mixed with different textures, and high-end couture. The remarkably talented young designer has drawn inspiration from every aspect of his life. Holding true to his belief that fashion is for everyone and knows no gender, "ROLEPLAY" will continue to show Matt's talent for creating beautiful pieces of clothing that will give his wearers confidence to be who they are. The fun spring collection features many bright and fun pastel colors including baby blue, millennial baby pink and more. Created for both women and men, "ROLEPLAY" features pieces that are unlike anything he has shown before, that will once again show how gifted Matt is when it comes to creating for the world of fashion.
Not only debuting a new line at Paris Fashion Week this year, Matt continues to grow his online store with the worldwide release of his "FAKE" collection that will be made available on MattSarafa.com later this fall. Debuting in the spring of 2017 at New York Fashion Week, "FAKE" is Matt's take on high-end, ready-to-wear street fashion. Along with the clothes for the line, Matt released an exclusive jewelry line that has continued to flourish, and sell out on his website. The line includes rings, knuckle rings, necklaces, chokers, hand chains, and more.
Growing up in Manhattan Beach, California, Matt always had an artistic side and was passionate about drawing and painting since he was a child. After binge-watching an entire season of "Project Runway" with his mother at the age of 7, he knew fashion was his true calling. He then learned how to hand sew from his grandmother and eventually began taking classes to perfect his technique. Growing up in the age of YouTube, Matt started his own channel which features makeup tutorials and fashion tips and advice, which is watched by thousands of budding fashionistas looking for a little help and inspiration. This caught the attention of producers for "Project Runway: Threads," which aired in 2014. A fan favorite on that show, Sarafa was a no-brainer choice for producers when the networks newest show "Project Runway Juniors" aired in October of 2015.
When Matt isn't busy launching his new clothing line, building his fashion empire, or spending time studying as a sophomore at UCLA, Matt loves giving back working with charities such as Life World, Children's Hospital LA and the Pink Lotus Foundation. Undoubtedly one of the most talented new generation of designers, Matt and his new collection "ROLEPLAY" will completely blow away the fashion world during its debut.
Starring Daniela Vega, the first transgendered Oscar® presenter in history, comes A Fantastic Woman, the Academy Award® winner for Best Foreign Language Film and the first Chilean movie to win an Oscar®, debuting on Blu-ray™ and digital May 22 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. From the producers of Jackie, Spotlight and Toni Erdmann, the acclaimed drama stars acclaimed newcomer Daniela Vega, in the story of a young transgender aspiring singer who must confront society and her older lover’s family when he dies unexpectedly. Directed by Sebastián Lelio (Disobedience, now filming Gloria with Julianne Moore), A Fantastic Woman also stars Francisco Reyes (Neruda) and Luis Gnecco (Neruda, No).
Marina is a young transgender waitress and aspiring singer. A story of Marina and Orlando, an older man, who are in love and planning for the future. After Orlando suddenly falls ill and dies, Marina is forced to confront his family and society, and to fight again to show them who she is: complex, strong, forthright, fantastic.
In “The Making of A Fantastic Woman” featurette, available on the Blu-ray release, fans will delve into the passionate storytelling and incredible artistry of the film with this in-depth profile highlighting the extraordinary performances, stunning visuals and flawlessly crafted direction. Also included is an audio commentary with director Sebastián Lelio.
A Fantastic Woman also won Best International Film at the 33rd Independent Spirit Awards, won Best Feature Film at the Berlin International Film Festival and was named one of the Top Five Foreign Language Films by the National Board of Review.
Seriously...What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew
Never having been on an adventure, Ken Schneck finds himself stumbling twice into rural Uganda; signing up for a 425-mile bike ride; stirring up drama at a Californian hippie, healing retreat; and somehow standing up straight with a colossal backpack strapped to his shoulders deep in the backwoods of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. This occasionally heartbreaking, often insightful, and reliably witty travelogue has at its core our never-ending search for meaning, our desperate need to grasp that elusive sense of place and community, and how we often fail to succeed (sometimes hilariously so!) but keep right on trying.
Paperback: 230 pages
Publisher: 1984 Publishing (May 23, 2017)
TRANS/gressive: How Transgender Activists Took on Gay Rights, Feminism, the Media & Congress...and Won!
In the early 1990s, no one talked about transgender people, and no one knew one. We were not on TV or in movies. What formed the visible part of the trans community – overwhelmingly white, urban, and middle class – was also overwhelmingly focused on conferences, surgery or hormones and cisgender acceptance. This was still a determinedly non-political population, often in defensive crouch because it was also constantly under attack by the media, police, local legislatures, feminists and even LGB-but-never-T advocates. We were a group that still thought of ourselves as a collection of separate individuals, not a movement. Without realizing or intending it, the community was reaching critical mass. Even in those pre-Internet, pre-cellphone days, enough trans people were running into one another often enough to begin realizing we could be a force, that we didn’t really need cisgender acceptance. What we needed was our civil rights. This is the inside story of how in just a few years, a handful of trans activists would come together in the face of enormous difficulties and opposition to launch from the very margins of society what would grow into the modern political movement for gender rights.
Paperback: 218 pages
Publisher: Riverdale Avenue Books
Language: English ISBN-10: 1626013683
The Life and Death of ACT UP/LA: Anti-AIDS Activism in Los Angeles from the 1980s to the 2000s
The Life and Death of ACT UP/LA explores the history of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, Los Angeles, part of the militant anti-AIDS movement of the 1980s and 1990s. ACT UP/LA battled government, medical, and institutional neglect of the AIDS epidemic, engaging in multi-targeted protest in Los Angeles and nationally. The book shows how appealing the direct action anti-AIDS activism was for people across the United States; as well as arguing the need to understand how the politics of place affect organizing, and how the particular features of the Los Angeles cityscape shaped possibilities for activists. A feminist lens is used, seeing social inequalities as mutually reinforcing and interdependent, to examine the interaction of activists and the outcomes of their actions. Their struggle against AIDS and homophobia, and to have a voice in their healthcare, presaged the progressive, multi-issue, anti-corporate, confrontational organizing of the late twentieth century, and deserves to be part of that history.
Paperback: 260 pages
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (May 18, 2017)
Language: English ISBN-10: 1107514177
TheWEED (Wellness Energy Earth Dispensary) announced today its collaboration with L.A. based pop artist and LGBTQ+ advocate, Nina Palomba, to bring an artisanal gallery experience to its customers. Palomba’s installation entitled “Love and Light,” will showcase all-original artwork and be on display from June 4th until July 15th.
TheWEED prides itself on offering customers of diverse backgrounds a shopping experience that blends cannabis with culture. In addition to being a high-end dispensary, theWEED is also an art gallery showcasing the work of international artists and features street art, graffiti and pop art. Some of the artists regularly displayed include Shepard Fairey, Alec Monopoly, SX Doom and King Saladeen. TheWEED’s art collection is part of what draws people from all over California to the shop.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to support the arts community and take great pride in the fact that our customers don’t feel rushed to get in and out,” says Stewart Stinson, General Manager and Owner of theWEED. “We’re honored to have Nina’s work at the shop, just in time for one of LA’s most lively weekends!”
Renowned for her playful illustrated narratives and uplifting murals, Palomba’s work has taken her across the globe leaving her mark all over the world. As an LGBTQ+ advocate, Palomba devotes her time to supporting the community by painting uplifting murals across the country. She travels teaching workshops to students about being a queer artist in today’s world while spreading positivity through art, encouraging others to “Shine On!” Palomba plans to illustrate notions of whimsical love stories through noir revival in her painted installation. “Overlapping LA Pride, visitors can expect nothing less than artwork that brings a smile to your face, fills your heart with romance and leaves a mark on your day in the best way!” says Palomba.
For more information on Nina Palomba, please visit ninapalomba.com and follow her on Instagram @theninapalomba.
Jesse Saint John has been songwriter to the stars for five years now, but only this year did he begin his endeavors as a solo artist. Today, the queer pop artist premiered a one-take music video for his debut single, ‘Move’. This track could easily be on the soundtrack of a teen cult film, so it’s no surprise that some of saint john’s influences for this track were 90s flicks like GO, Doom Generation, Nowhere and Cruel Intentions, so it’s quite fitting that this lyric visualizer was filmed in the same garage as the 1999 crime comedy, GO.
Saint John told Out Magazine that he chose to lead with ‘Move’ because “it just felt like a great marriage of intense energy and hooky melody—and [he] knew it’ll be so fun to do live.” Though we are currently only witnessing the dawn of his solo efforts, he has already been widely recognized as a queer musician and consequently was invited to play at this year’s LA Pride Festival alongside musical sensations such as Tove Lo, Kehlani, and Icona Pop on June 9th.
The band, Hella Bella, is unique in their own right. With a drag queen lead singer, Bella Gigante, taking the lead of this ultimate party band, you will not be disappointed when you take in one of their shows.
How did this band become a reality?
Bella Gigante: My goal was to always have a band. Along the road, I began to meet different musicians who wanted to be a part and shared similar visions. Three years later it finally happened”Hella Bella was born.
Who are your musical influences?/ Where does the inspiration for your music come from?
B: Our musical influences vary from Blonde to Rocky Horror Picture show. We are attracted the most by music that people can connect with. We love to make you dance, laugh and feel. We are inspired the most by the people in the crowd.
What do you feel you are offering the music scene that isn’t been seen now?
B: There is nothing greater for us than to take the entire crowd with us on our journey. There are many amazing bands out there today what sets us apart is that our lead singer is a giant drag queen with a set of pipes and a band full of wonderful characters. In addition, our band has Sarah Meadows on bass, Linda Strauss on cello, Joe Buffalo on lead guitar and our newest member Clark Libby on drums. I love this band and am very proud of them.
What are your upcoming gigs?
B: You can check us out at Santa Fe pride on the plaza June 30th. For all other gigs please follow us on Facebook, Hella Bella or Bella Gigante.
P&E - After Print
Here are some of the latest articles and topics in the GLBT community.