Posts Tagged ‘LA’

blocks away from history

February 14, 2009

le barcito

le barcito

a hop, skip and a tumble down the street from where I live is a crusty little bar called le barcito, nestled between a laundromat and rough trade, which is a seller of…um…er…adult leather goods? i think. at least that’s what i heard somewhere. anyway, i’ve been in le barcito a couple of times for a drink on my way to akbar or the eagle or church or wherever and have always thought it was a perfectly okay place to start or end an evening.

the bar itself is a typical hole-in-the-wall gay latino bar — flat screens showing news, soccer or telenovelas, really bad techno, pop and tejano music, and semi-scary drag performances. oh, and cheap drinks. pretty standard stuff. nothing to write home about.

so i was surprised when i read this article from the LA times last november reporting that the los angeles city council had designated le barcito a historic-cultural landmark. whaaaa? pero, por qué?

amazingly, the bar, which was formerly called the black cat, was the center of major protests in silver lake in february 1967. in the 60s and 70s, life as a gay american was a lot different than today. there were no legal protections for gays and people could be fired from work if they were outed, or arrested if they were caught holding hands or kissing someone of the same sex. so in that environment on new year’s eve of 1966/1967, plainclothes cops went into the black cat, beat up and arrested 14 patrons and bartenders. two of the men arrested were later found guilty of lewd conduct, just for kissing each other as auld lang syne played, and were registered as sex offenders. these events happened two years before the stonewall riots (which are widely seen as the birth of the gay rights movement in america), and the resulting protests drew hundreds of LA residents demanding equal protections for homosexuals under the law.

Protests Outside of The Black Cat. Photo Courtesy of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives

Protests outside of The Black Cat. Photo courtesy of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives

in addition to a handful of my friends who live in the neighborood, the event commemorating this landmark drew superstar LA city council president eric garcetti, lillian faderman – a scholar, author and historian of GLBTQ history and alexei romanoff, who was the owner of the new faces bar (now circus of books bookstore) down the street from the black cat. (rami kashou of project runway fame was also there, and we chatted for like eight seconds. he seems really nice!)

the event made me well up with such a Snuggie™ feeling of pride and gratitude for everything that GLBTQ’s of a previous generation have done for me and the friends i love. it also gives me courage and hope for the future, and brings added meaning to the hours of protesting we did following the passage of prop 8 in november.

even though i was closeted growing up in my little hometown in florida and constantly received signals from all around me that it wasn’t okay to be gay, i knew that there were other places in the world where it was. and it’s because of the amazing sacrifices that people like alexei made to just be the person they were born to be that made that possible.

my first post: why am i blogging?

November 22, 2008

 

mural by cache on sunset between echo park and silver lake

mural by cache on sunset between echo park and silver lake

so this is my first post! i’ve wanted to start a blog for a long time now, but i’m just getting around to it. what’s taken so long?

  • this shiz seems so narcissistic. i’ve always been a little shy and prided myself on being humble (is that oxymoronic? is oxymoronic even a word?), and most of the blogs i follow seem like either an outlet for the blogger’s self-indulgence or a way to make money, but i realize now that’s not always the whole story or even half of it…maybe not even a third
  • wasn’t sure exactly how narrow/niche or how broad to focus the content. still not sure…i’ll wing it
  • who really cares what i have to say? a: maybe my mom

so why now?

  • REALLY want a way to document the beauty of living in silver lake and LA, and the beauty of my friends, people, art/architecture and life here; LA gets a bad wrap for being shallow/hollow/vapid, but it’s a misconception
  • had dinner with my friend’s 89 year-old great uncle the other night and wanted to share with peeps some of the cool stuff he told me about living in silver lake over the past 50 years. seems like a blog would be a good way to do stuff like that
  • started a twitter account about 4 months ago (@krwlos1 follow me!) and loving it, but sometimes feel like expressing myself in more than 140 characters; maybe i’ll explain why i like twitter so much in a later post
  • there’s so much going on in the country and the world right now.  i’m feeling compelled to write and can’t read my own handwriting so i might as well blog
  • it’s easy
  • i work in PR and want to get a better/richer/deeper understanding of the inner workings of social media

i’ll either post another blog about who i am, more around what i plan to include in this blog, why i chose KRWLOS1 (probably obvious but who knows), etc. OR i’ll just put that info in the “about” section of the blog. probably the latter.

okay…sarah silverman and it’s always sunny in philadelphia are calling me from my DVR right now saying, “watch me! please, watch me!” like i used to scream to my mom from the diving board at our family’s new smyrna beach summer vacation spot, and i WILL answer their cries. my mom didn’t answer mine, and where did that leave me? in the hospital after slipping and landing head first on the side of the pool. don’t want sarah and it’s always sunny to meet the same fate.