WeHo Celebrates L.A.’s Latino Heritage with Exhibits, Dance and Films


WeHo Artes begins its next round of events celebrating L.A.’s Latino heritage in November with art exhibits, a dance performance, film screenings and forums.

The series encompasses events related to the Getty Foundation Initiative “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA” and additional original projects that West Hollywood is presenting

Queer Califas: LA Latinx Art

It all starts on Nov. 4 with the opening of the group exhibition “Queer Califas: LA Latinx Art.” The multi-disciplinary show was curated by artist and West Hollywood resident Rubén Esparza, and features multi-generational LGBTQ artists – from communities across the U.S. and beyond – who call California home. They include Laura Aguilar, Marcel Alcala, Maritza Amezcua, Enrique Castrejon, Rick Castro, Ben Cuevas, Gregorio Davila, Diego Eduardo, Cleonette Harris, Carolina Hicks aka SBTL CLNG, Rigo Maldonado, Roy Martinez aka Lambe Culo, Miguel Angel Reyes, Angelo Alessandro Rodarte, Manuel Rodrigues aka Sad Boy, Daniel “Chino” Rodriguez, Joey Terrill and Rommy Torrico and a performance by El Sancha y Las Sirenas. The exhibition opens with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at Long Hall in Plummer Park, which is at 7377 Santa Monica Blvd.

“There is a thread that connects Latinx people,” said Esparza “It is a strong soulful link, which is indelible. A lineage that carries the rhythm of varied cultures… A shared history connected through common language(s)—all taking a part in a queer cultural awakening with a surging desire to tell their stories.”

Queer Califas runs through Dec. 9 and is open weekly Friday through Sunday, from 1 to 7 p.m.

Selfies and a “Sense of Place”

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“A Sense of Place” by Jose Dåvila

Between Nov. 1 and 15, the first “movement” will commence for the PST: LA/LA project “Sense of Place” by Guadalajara-based artist Jose Dávila.

Currently installed in West Hollywood Park, “Sense of Place” is an eight-foot square cube sculpture comprised of 40 unique concrete forms that fit together like a puzzle. The work is designed to be disassembled in three migratory movements – November, January, and March – with pieces to move and be reinstalled in places all over the greater Los Angeles area.

“The individual pieces will take on new life at their temporary sites because, unlike other works of art, these sculptures are meant to be USED,” said Shamim Momin, director of the Los Angeles Nomadic Division and curator of the project. “Take a selfie, use them as urban furniture, make your mark, dance across and over and around, take a nap, learn to skate…make them part of your story.”

Destinations for pieces in the November movement include: West Hollywood’s Plummer Park, the Brand Library and Art Center, Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles, Langer’s Delicatessen-Restaurant and the Santa Monica Pier. In its final iteration in May 2018, the sculpture will return to its cube form to be re-installed at West Hollywood Park at 647 N. San Vicente Blvd., representing a tactile portrait of Los Angeles.

Dancing in the Cemetery

On Nov. 4, the Floricanto Center for fhe Performing Arts (Danza Floricanto) – the oldest existing professional Mexican folk dance troupe in Southern California – will present Floricanto’s 16th annual Fiesta del Díade los Muertos at 8 p.m.

The dance will take place at the Marilyn Monroe Theatre at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. The theatre will be transformed into a cemetery, and, under the direction of Gema Sandoval, a series of vignettes will tackle social issues and subjects such as love, death, teen pregnancy, immigration and abuse of women, among others. With humor and respect, the event celebrate and honor this traditional holiday – Chicano style. Tickets are $15 in advance, and $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online here. The theater is at 7936 Santa Monica Blvd.

Where to Find “The Forgotten”

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David Feldman (left) and Ramiro Gomez (Photo by Tony Coelho courtesy of the City of West Hollywood)

On Nov. 15, in conjunction with the exhibition “In West Hollywood,” featuring works by West Hollywood-based artists Ramiro Gomez and David Feldman, there will be a screening of the award-winning short film “Los Olvidados,” followed by an artists’ talk with Gomez and Feldman.

Directed by Feldman, “Los Olvidados” – Spanish for “the forgotten” – tells the story of Gomez’s artistic process and follows him as he installs a site-specific work deep in the Sonoran Desert as a powerful statement on immigration. Gomez has risen to prominence as an artist through addressing issues of immigration and making visible the “invisible” labor forces that keep Los Angeles and other locations across America running.

The event takes place at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. Admission is free but guests are asked to RSVP in advance online. “In West Hollywood” is presented by the City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Arts program in association with the Charlie James Gallery, and is on view at the West Hollywood Library through March 15.

Simon Doonan on Mundo Meza and ‘80s Art, Fashion, Culture in LA

Simon Doonan, the celebrated window dresser, cultural critic, author and creative ambassador-at-large for Barneys New York, will talk about the late artist Mundo Meza.

Meza’s work is a focal point of “Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A.,” a group exhibition organized by ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives Gallery at the USC Libraries.

In the early ’80s, Doonan collaborated with Meza on provocative window displays at West Hollywood boutiques including Maxfield. He’ll discuss the intersection of artistic, fashion and club cultures during that time in Los Angeles.

The event will take place at 3 p.m. on Nov. 19 at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. Admission is free, with priority given to members of the L.A. Museum of Contemporary Art.

“Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A.” is on view at ONE Gallery, West Hollywood, 9007 Melrose Ave., and at MOCA’s Pacific Design Center location through Dec. 31. It is co-curated by C. Ondine Chavoya, professor of art and Latina/o studies at Williams College, and ONE Archives’ David Evans Frantz.

El Pato Pascual: Disney, Donald Duck and Latin America

The documentary “Walt & El Grupo” will be screened at 7 p.m. on Nov. 29 at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers in conjunction with an exhibition titled “How to Read ‘El Pato Pascual’: Disney’s Latin America and Latin America’s Disney.”

“Walt & El Grupo,” chronicles the ten-week trip that Walt Disney and a group of artists and filmmaking talent (later known as “El Grupo”) took to South America in 1941 at the behest of the U.S. government as part of the Good Neighbor Policy. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Ted Thomas. The event is free and takes place at West Hollywood City Council Chambers.

The art exhibit, presented by MAK Center for Art and Architecture and the Luckman Gallery at Cal State LA, features more than 150 works by 48 Latin American artists who investigate and challenge nearly 100 years of cultural influence between Latin America and Disney. It is curated by filmmaker/writer Jesse Lerner and artist Rubén Ortiz-Torres and is on view at both locations through Jan. 14, 2018.

“How to Read El Pato Pascual” (Donald Duck, in Spanish), is a book that tells the story of Disney’s engagement with Latin America, which extends from Donald Duck’s first featured role, the 1937 Mexican-themed short “Don Donald,” to the 2013 attempt to copyright “The Day of the Dead.”

About Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA

“Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA” is an exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. Supported by grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA takes place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California, from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, and from San Diego to Santa Barbara.


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