West Hollywood

Queer Califas Art Exhibition Opens in West Hollywood

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA – Artist Ruben Esparza wanted to do something different: curate an art exhibition featuring Latino artists of all persuasions. queer, gay, lesbian, trans, gender non-conforming, plain ol’ bi…you get the idea. That’s what the “x” in Latinx is for: however any of the Latino artists choose to define themselves.

Esparza applied for a grant with the City of West Hollywood’s Arts and Culture Department. And got it.

The result is Queer Califas: LA Latinx Art, what the City of West Hollywood’s website says is part of the Getty initiative Pacific Standard Time: Latin America & Latino Art in Los Angeles, “with special thematic programming called WEHO ARTES.”

With the grand opening this evening, I caught up with Garza this afternoon as he put the final touches on the exhibition, taping little white cards with little black letters on them to the wall (using blue painter’s tape), remembering he needed to print out a price list for would-be art collectors – and perhaps most important, getting his skirt ready.

“Find somebody that loves you, not somebody to love” Esparza told me the sentence, in Spanish, silkscreened onto his skirt means. Those same words appear in a similar piece of clothing worn by a model in a photograph on display by Manuel Rodriguez (aka Sad Boy) . Rodriguez gave Esparza his own skirt to wear at tonight's opening.

Esparza wanted an eclectic show, one featuring photographs, collage, drawing, painting, mixed media three-dimensional pieces and more. He succeeded.


While the space at West Hollywood’s Plummer Park is humble, not some fancy Westside gallery, and some of the pieces are not quite fully-realized, quite a number of them are worthy of attention. 

For instance, Gregorio Davila’s “We’wha,” a spray paint stencil evokes the pop art power of a Warhol crossed with Native American iconography. Roy Martinez created “Untitled,” an odd-yet-elegant execution featuring a bouquet of faux roses in chains hanging upside down against a wall. (Your guess is as good as mine, but it is captivating.) And Ben Cuevas really, really likes yarn. His “Totes Queer” and “Not Masc For Masc But Yass for Yass” transform what we think of as a grandmother’s pastime into postmodern commentary on sexting and modern speech.

Queer Califas: LA Latinx Art runs through December 9 at Plummer Park in West Hollywood and is open 1-7pm, Friday through Sunday.




NOTE: the prior version of this article incorrectly named the artist of the Untitled roses and chains piece.


Halloween 2017: West Hollywood Get-Ups You Might Have Missed!

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA (Halloween 2017) - As usual, the annual nighttime street fair and costume extravaganza along Santa Monica Blvd (from La Cienega Blvd. to Doheny Blvd.) did not disappoint. Revelers numbered several hundred thousand people and, despite the crowd, spirits were high and everyone seemed to get along fine.

All types, from young to old, straight to gay, cis to trans, human to canine, mensch to superhero, strutted their stuff, eager for their 15 minutes of Warhol-like fame. #WeHoHalloween
















Addiction Treatment Program By LGBTQs For LGBTQs Opens in West Hollywood

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA – Along the ever-gentrifying Melrose Avenue – not far from the Marc Jacobs, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen boutiques – a new addiction treatment facility has opened for business.

Its distinction? Pride Recovery Los Angeles (PRLA) is operated and staffed by LGBTQs for LGBTQ patients seeking treatment for any number of addictive behaviors.

Sex addiction? Yeah, they can help with that.

Alocholism? Uh-huh.

Drug addiction, such as dependence on crystal meth? You bet.

At the new program’s early evening open house Larry Hymes, clinical director of PRLA, looked around the lobby, seeing attendees drinking small bottles of Pellegrino and cans of Diet Coke, and said, “It’s just great to hear so many people affirming what we are doing.”

He meant potential partnership entities, both those with the power to refer patients to programs like his, such as therapists, nonprofits and other treatment centers, as well as those who can house his clients, such as sober living facilities. PRLA is outpatient only, just one of a number of factors distinguishing it from other addiction treatment programs in Los Angeles.

Three thirty-something male staff members, who work in operations for one of those sober living homes, the luxurious Westwind Recovery Residencies just south of West Hollywood on San Vicente Boulevard, said they were at the open house because “a gay-run treatment center is unique.” They wanted to check out PRLA as a number of their residents will now attend the LGBTQ program.

Westwind, mostly owned and operated by LGBTQs, is one of two investors in PRLA, along with Bel Air Treatment. Zachary Ament of Westwind said, "Throughout the years of working with the LGBTQ population, we became increasingly aware of the need" for a facility like PRLA.


Stasie Kardashian owns and operates the intervention centers Kardashian Addiction Services and Lifeline Interventions. Seated on beige and brown upscale patio furniture on PRLA’s above-the-street outdoor space overlooking Melrose, she was there because a treatment center for gay people, created by gay people is unusual.

Highlighting experiences she had known of personally, being in the addiction recovery field for so many years, she said, “It’s important for LGBTQ people in recovery to be treated by LGBTQ people.” “They understand. They know about the issues facing someone who comes to them for help.”

Kardashian cited a case she was personally familiar with where an HIV-positive male patient with an active sex addiction was placed in a dorm room with another male patient whom it was inappropriate for him to be roomed with. “They just didn’t get it,” she explained, referring to the non-LGBTQ treatment center not experienced with the unique needs of LGBTQ addicts.

West Hollywood City Councilman John Duran showed up to support PRLA. “On November 5,” he told me, “I’ll be sober for 21 years.” So the political is personal, at least for him.

PRLA has actually been seeing clients for nearly four weeks. Matthew Bianchi, outreach and admissions coordinator, who had just picked up a mini cupcake with rainbow glitter on it, said, “We actually have 22 people in treatment already.”

Able to treat up to 60 people simultaneously, PRLA offers three treatment programs: a Monday through Friday full-day program lasting six hours per day, half-day programs also five days a week, and a twice a week outpatient program designed for clients with some recovery under their belt.

(NOTE: this story was amended on October 27, 2017. The prior version reported PRLA is exclusively owned by LGBTQ people.)