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 …if you’re female, or female-presenting, or if you’re queer, or a person of color, we have made a lot of inroads in a lot of different fields, businesses, but we are in no way where we should be—where we deserve to be.”

-Lola Flash


Lola Flash’s retrospective at Pen + Brush, 1986 to Present, honors creative activism at its finest.

As a queer black woman, Flash, at age 59, has used the medium of photography and photographic processes to confront the dual injustice of invisibility and stereotypical portrayals of gender, sexuality, race, and age for over three decades. Her portraits, many of which were taken with a 4×5 camera, serve to capture those in her communities who are often overlooked. Beginning in 1986, Flash documented her involvement with the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) demonstrations and also employed cross-color film processing to reverse the printed photograph’s colors—further illuminating how one person’s blue-sky can be another’s fire-red horizon.

Now on view, Flash’s “Cross-Color” series presents a new world to behold, where black is white and what’s usually identifiable is obscured, exhibited alongside five portrait series, in which Flash invites viewers to see her world, her communities of individuals, in all their unique specificity. The “[sur]passing” series explores the spectrum of race; “surmise” captures fluid presentations of gender; SALT challenges ageism; LEGENDS spotlights leaders of the LGBTQ+ movement; and Incarceration, a singular self-portrait, is the inaugural piece in a series about the mass imprisonment of people of color. Together, this historic retrospective of seventy-one photographs spans a life of advocacy that Flash explains can be united by a simple message: “Look at us,” she implores, “How can you not love us?”

“A lifetime of creative activism needs honoring,” author Juno Roche, writes in the catalog accompanying the photography exhibition, and “needs acknowledgement and celebration.” Pen + Brush, the expansive gallery and organization that has been dedicated to championing women in the arts for over a century, is doing just this by kicking off 2018, another year of resistance, with the Lola Flash Retrospective, now on view through March 17, 2018.

Read our conversation at The Rail.

Shyla Sheppard and Missy Begay, Co-founders of Bow & Arrow Brewing Co.

Last fall my partner and I were vacationing in Albuquerque, NM and had the pleasure of finding our way to the Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. By my second  Wild Sumac, described in the beer menu as an earthy lemonade with a desert sparkle, I knew I was going to have to share the news.

ICYMI: There’s something brewing in Albuquerque.

The craft beer movement is thriving way out west and nowhere more refreshing than at Bow & Arrow. Co-founders Shyla Sheppard and Missy Begay, partners in business and in life, are fostering a beer-lovers community at their Native-owned brewery and taproom in the heart of the American Southwest.

They opened their taproom in the adobe desert city near the pink Sandia Mountains. There, they serve wild, sour, and barrel-aged beers that are brewed onsite. In collaboration with their Head Brewer, Ted O’Hanlan, they strive to integrate local ingredients that are adventurous and unique to the area.

“There is a long history in the Southwest of cultures melding together,” Begay says, when we connected for an interview for Curve magazine. “The indigenous culinary tradition here is very strong.”

“Having a strong connection to the land is based on our upbringing,” Begay continues. She was born in Albuquerque and raised on the Diné Nation. Sheppard grew up on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota, where she is a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes.

“From a young age, we were taught that the land has its own spirit. And in my tribe, Mother Earth is our mother,” Begay says. “The land provides water, earth, plants—everything you need to brew great beer. We’re conscientious of where our ingredients come from and we take great care in selecting them.”

Curve Magazine, Feb/March, 2018

The full review (rave) about Bow & Arrow is in the February/March digital issue of Curve magazine. Support women-run queer media by subscribing.

In addition to brew magic, “The Land of Enchantment” also features Sheppard and Begay’s motivation for leadership that’s inspired by their belief in The Seventh Generation.

“Speaking out and being visible is really important for future generations so they can freely aspire to do what they want to do whether they are gay or indigenous or whatever.”


For the June issue of Curve magazine, I connected with Ariel Levy to discuss “too much” women and her memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply. The interview and book review are in the Pride issue and on newsstands now.



During our interview, I asked Ariel why she published this memoir about losing the life she was authoring for herself, which included being a reporter, wife, and mother. She did not spare herself. Ariel went well beyond the writer’s call to sit down with the page and open a vein.

Yet writing is one thing, publishing another.

“These extraordinarily intense things happen to the human female animal around the reproductive system,” she responded. “If you’re female, you will have some kind of drama around menstruation or pregnancy or birth or menopause.”

Ariel continued; noting that as a feminist, she believed:

“The whole world of human reproduction in the human female animal—that affects half the human population—is not something that is a subject for literature much. So I felt strongly that this was a legitimate subject to write about and that it was worthwhile.”

Through Ariel’s willingness to put her life on the page, to lay her mind and body bare, we can become better acquainted with our own thoughts, discover shared experiences, and challenge our perceptions as we keep evolving, generation after generation.

This is the revolutionary Mother Nature of memoir.

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