‘FLAMING CREATURES’ BLAZE TRAIL TO PALM SPRINGS GALLERY BY DESERT OUTLOOK
By Will Dean, Desert Outlook
Read the original article here.
It’s 1974 — all over again.
If you haven’t noticed, the ’70s are hot. In fact, the decade that gave birth to modern liberation movements, from gay rights to women’s equality; relaxed and au natural beauty; and adventurous sexual expression has been the rage for a while. It’s influenced today’s artists and tastemakers alike, American Hustle-ing its way onto The Big Screen and rock ‘n’ rolling down the runways of Saint Laurent, Gucci and Roberto Cavalli.
The decade was especially significant, even life-changing, for LGBT Americans. The year 1970 brought gay equality marches to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, just a year after the Stonewall uprising in New York City, and planted the seeds for annual gay Pride parades and festivals. Great migrations followed in subsequent years to these metropolises, where LGBT residents dared to form community.
It’s in the spirit of that era and the occasion of this year’s Greater Palm Springs Pride Festival that the Ted Casablanca Gallery in Palm Springs (TedCasablanca.com) presents the “Flaming Creatures” photography exhibition. Opening Nov. 4, the show features Michael Childers’ photographs from two bravura community events. The first was a LA drag ball in 1974. (Yes, children, there was drag before RuPaul.)
Childers photographed the exquisitely made-up and fabulously adorned guests at the ball and at an art gallery. Though taken for an Italian magazine, this is the first time the photos will be displayed in a gallery setting.
Closer to home, the subject of Childers’ second set of images is the 2002 Palm Springs White Party. The annual circuit party was established by that time as a desert escape for gay men to congregate, revel in the music and fully embrace their identity. Childers’ compelling images capture all of that, their revealing costumes and so much more.
“The staging and lighting of these images is reminiscent of something you might see from Nan Goldin or Diane Arbus,” says gallery curator Bruce Bibby. “The works evoke a range of complex emotions, and capture two unique moments in time and the people who made those moments possible. I’m so pleased that the public can finally see these amazing images.”
IF YOU GO
What: “Flaming Creatures” exhibition and artist reception honoring photographer Michael Childers
Where: Ted Casablanca Gallery, 388 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs
When: 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5
Admission: No cover