Mugshot Monday brings us this Federal Bureau of Prisons mugshot of Bayard Rustin, circa 1944. Recently awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama, Rustin is one of our political, sartorial and intellectual icons of the twentieth century. He served as a leading force in the civil rights movement, consulted MLK on Gandhian tactics he learned in India and organized the March on Washington as a relatively young gay man. His activism extended into the remainder of his life as a civil rights hero and staunch advocate for lesbian and gay rights. His was a mission of integration, compassion and fierce self-love, and he never cowed to pressures from within the civil rights movement to hide or downplay his sexuality. “Physically, sexually he was the most compelling man I have ever seen,” Gay Morenus recalled of Rustin, whom she met in Chapel Hill, North Carolina three years after this mugshot was taken. With colleagues from the Fellowship of Reconciliation, he was there on a mission: use non-violent direct action to challenge state segregation laws on interstate public transportation; in this case, buses. For this pre-echo of the 1961 Freedom Rides, Rustin would eventually spend twenty-two days on a North Carolina chain gang. Rustin was no stranger to punishment: for refusing both the draft and alternative, non-combat service, the West Chester, Pennsylvania-raised Quaker had spent twenty-eight months (February 1944 – June 1946) in federal prison. Though he’d be arrested for civil disobedience many more times, one incident stands out. From the Chicago Defender, January 31, 1953:
Bayard Rustin, 40, prominent lecturer and fearless fighter for civil rights, was sentenced to 60 days in county jail on a morals charge on a guilty plea… He was arrested by Pasadena police last Thursday in company with two white men in an auto parked near a hotel. The other men… were given similar sentences…sexual deviates often referred to as “queers.”
Rustin believed that acceptance, diversity and mutual respect were the underpinnings of all strata of a civil society, regardless of the purported focus of any given movement. He understood love as the foundation for progress. What does it mean to love — to live — so abundantly? Described by an old female friend as  ”the best lay I ever had,” American political activism could well say the same.

Mugshot Monday brings us this Federal Bureau of Prisons mugshot of Bayard Rustin, circa 1944. Recently awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama, Rustin is one of our political, sartorial and intellectual icons of the twentieth century. He served as a leading force in the civil rights movement, consulted MLK on Gandhian tactics he learned in India and organized the March on Washington as a relatively young gay man. His activism extended into the remainder of his life as a civil rights hero and staunch advocate for lesbian and gay rights. His was a mission of integration, compassion and fierce self-love, and he never cowed to pressures from within the civil rights movement to hide or downplay his sexuality. “Physically, sexually he was the most compelling man I have ever seen,” Gay Morenus recalled of Rustin, whom she met in Chapel Hill, North Carolina three years after this mugshot was taken. With colleagues from the Fellowship of Reconciliation, he was there on a mission: use non-violent direct action to challenge state segregation laws on interstate public transportation; in this case, buses. For this pre-echo of the 1961 Freedom Rides, Rustin would eventually spend twenty-two days on a North Carolina chain gang. Rustin was no stranger to punishment: for refusing both the draft and alternative, non-combat service, the West Chester, Pennsylvania-raised Quaker had spent twenty-eight months (February 1944 – June 1946) in federal prison. Though he’d be arrested for civil disobedience many more times, one incident stands out. From the Chicago Defender, January 31, 1953:

Bayard Rustin, 40, prominent lecturer and fearless fighter for civil rights, was sentenced to 60 days in county jail on a morals charge on a guilty plea… He was arrested by Pasadena police last Thursday in company with two white men in an auto parked near a hotel. The other men… were given similar sentences…sexual deviates often referred to as “queers.”

Rustin believed that acceptance, diversity and mutual respect were the underpinnings of all strata of a civil society, regardless of the purported focus of any given movement. He understood love as the foundation for progress. What does it mean to love — to live — so abundantly? Described by an old female friend as  ”the best lay I ever had,” American political activism could well say the same.


You can’t overestimate how exciting it was to be openly gay in San Francisco in the 1970s. I mean, Stonewall had happened in 1969, gay civil rights legislation was passing in different states, and, you know, for the first time you could love openly and not be considered sick, not be arrested. It was a very exciting, heady time…
Alysia Abbott writes about growing up with her gay dad in SF in the 70s in her new book Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father. As a millenium of civil rights struggles whirs into action before our very eyes — nascent advances are made, fundamental victories are threatened — it’s good to take a close look at those who brought us this far by demanding the right to be themselves.

You can’t overestimate how exciting it was to be openly gay in San Francisco in the 1970s. I mean, Stonewall had happened in 1969, gay civil rights legislation was passing in different states, and, you know, for the first time you could love openly and not be considered sick, not be arrested. It was a very exciting, heady time…

Alysia Abbott writes about growing up with her gay dad in SF in the 70s in her new book Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father. As a millenium of civil rights struggles whirs into action before our very eyes — nascent advances are made, fundamental victories are threatened — it’s good to take a close look at those who brought us this far by demanding the right to be themselves.

Fairyland Memoir

Fairyland Memoir


Drag sisterhood and performance art collective Chez Deep kick off Pride Weekend in New York with a performance of Common Visions — a ritual drag transformation and live talk show with special guests Domonique Echeverria, Linda Simpson and Mss Vee. A narrative framed within a classical drag revue, Common Visions reaffirms the drag performer as spiritual guide to interpret and celebrate the psycho-spiritual and pop-culture myths that make each of us diverse and divine. 
Chez Deep is the New York City-based drag sisterhood of performers Alexis Blair Penney, Sam Banks, Hari Nef, Colin Self and Bailey Stiles. Common Visions goes down this Friday evening at Ace Hotel New York — RSVP here.

Drag sisterhood and performance art collective Chez Deep kick off Pride Weekend in New York with a performance of Common Visions — a ritual drag transformation and live talk show with special guests Domonique Echeverria, Linda Simpson and Mss VeeA narrative framed within a classical drag revue, Common Visions reaffirms the drag performer as spiritual guide to interpret and celebrate the psycho-spiritual and pop-culture myths that make each of us diverse and divine. 

Chez Deep is the New York City-based drag sisterhood of performers Alexis Blair PenneySam Banks, Hari NefColin Self and Bailey Stiles. Common Visions goes down this Friday evening at Ace Hotel New York — RSVP here.

Chez Deep

Chez Deep


Last November, we celebrated Gay Pride, vogueing and NYC ballroom culture in Palm Springs with Miracles Club, Mike Q, Total Freedom, Beyondadoubt, Isaiah Esquire, Raja and the House of Xtravaganza at our annual Hands On queer music and arts festival. We’ll be reveling in underground queer culture, film and art this fall at Ace Hotel & Swim Club during the first weekend in November — save the date, and keep an eye out for more details soon.


Video by Mariah Garnett.


To kickoff our LGBTQ pride celebrations this June, we’re exhibiting Current Issues: The Gay Blade Vol. 1, No. 1-6, 1969 in the gallery space at Ace Hotel New York. First published in October of 1969 as a single-sheet, hand-distributed newsletter appearing in gay bars around D.C., it’s the longest-running LGBTQ paper in the United States, still running as The Washington Blade and named by the Times as “one of the most influential publications written for a gay audience.” In its early issues, we find reports on civil rights issues and police harassment, roommate and job referral services, invitations to community dinners, legal advice and classifieds ads. Grown from the vitality and perseverance of queer culture and community, The Gay Blade helped citizens organize in their struggle for equality, while both supporting and documenting the mundanities of everyday life and survival.
To see the full selection of early issues, and read more about the Blade (unrelated to Zorro), stop by the gallery and pick up your own copy of our handmade zine featuring some of our favorite issues.
Stay tuned for more on pride this month here.

To kickoff our LGBTQ pride celebrations this June, we’re exhibiting Current Issues: The Gay Blade Vol. 1, No. 1-6, 1969 in the gallery space at Ace Hotel New York. First published in October of 1969 as a single-sheet, hand-distributed newsletter appearing in gay bars around D.C., it’s the longest-running LGBTQ paper in the United States, still running as The Washington Blade and named by the Times as “one of the most influential publications written for a gay audience.” In its early issues, we find reports on civil rights issues and police harassment, roommate and job referral services, invitations to community dinners, legal advice and classifieds ads. Grown from the vitality and perseverance of queer culture and community, The Gay Blade helped citizens organize in their struggle for equality, while both supporting and documenting the mundanities of everyday life and survival.

To see the full selection of early issues, and read more about the Blade (unrelated to Zorro), stop by the gallery and pick up your own copy of our handmade zine featuring some of our favorite issues.

Stay tuned for more on pride this month here.


Bayard Rustin — debating here with Malcom X — was one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s closest confidantes. A passionate and earnest speaker and a very sharp mind, he was also queer as a three dollar bill, and became a somewhat bifurcated icon of two occasionally divergent movements that ultimately sought — and seek — a common goal: a humanity so free that our eyes nearly ache with the brightness of the horizon. He was one of the fiercest and most adored champions of that vision — and we honor him in celebration of Black History Month. Find a way to watch Brother Outsider — you will be glad you did.

Stay tuned for more about some of our African American icons this month. In the meantime, let’s go be free, and remember our political ancestors.









Saturday night of Hands On : Shade during Palm Springs Pride, we held a vogueing ball hosted by Hector Xtravaganza of The House of Xtravaganza and judged by Raja of RuPaul’s Drag Race and friends — MikeQ provided the soundtrack, The Miracles Club wailed, and Beyondadoubt got Isaiah Tillman into contortions. We took a break to watch Paris is Burning in the Clubhouse — apparently everyone has the script memorized seeing as how it was like a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening with impromptu live accompaniment. Shots from our Sunday pool party with The Miracles Club and MikeQ up shortly. Stay tuned.

Saturday night of Hands On : Shade during Palm Springs Pride, we held a vogueing ball hosted by Hector Xtravaganza of The House of Xtravaganza and judged by Raja of RuPaul’s Drag Race and friends — MikeQ provided the soundtrack, The Miracles Club wailed, and Beyondadoubt got Isaiah Tillman into contortions. We took a break to watch Paris is Burning in the Clubhouse — apparently everyone has the script memorized seeing as how it was like a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening with impromptu live accompaniment. Shots from our Sunday pool party with The Miracles Club and MikeQ up shortly. Stay tuned.


Tomorrow, Paris burns by the pool at Ace Palm Springs for pride weekend. Hands On : Shade, a celebration of queer NYC ballroom culture all weekend with a mini-ball hosted by Raja from RuPaul’s Drag Race and Kiki Xtravaganza of the House of Xtravaganza, plus a screening of Paris is Burning and sets by MikeQ (Vogue Nights, NYC), Miracles Club and Beyondadoubt, and pool party with Mustache Mondays. We have a couple rooms left for the weekend — it’s 86 and sunny. Come werk.


We’re in a van driving down the I-5 today with The Miracles Club, Chanticleer of Magic Mouth and Beyondadoubt to celebrate all stripes in the desert for a few days. Come down and hang out with us.


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