Manifesting Equality

Saturday, March 6, 2010

By: Brent X Mendoza

After the disappointing outcome of the Prop 8 vote, Los Angeles has seen quite a number of protests, marches, and demonstrations attempting to send a message to the political powers that be. Most of these grass roots assemblies have been organized without corporate or financial sponsorship by loosely connected individuals utilizing social networking sites. While these gatherings have been very effective in attracting media attention, they’ve lacked a structure and centralization as a unified event.

The organizers of Manifest Equality set out to make a significant statement with a five day pop-up art show/music event which brought together hundreds of the nation’s most talented visual artists and thousands of Los Angelenos to demand full and equal rights for all Americans. Featuring well known street artists such as Shepard Fairey, Swoon, Robbie Conal, and Barry McGee, the former Big Lots location in Hollywood was transformed into a mega mart style gallery, with wall to wall art comprised of every conceivable medium.

The majority of the works naturally focused on political propaganda themes, co-opting iconic American symbols and tweaking them in classic street art style. Some of the more attention grabbing works included a pink confederate flag, the California state flag featuring a rainbow grizzly, and numerous depictions of smeared or altered versions of the U.S. Constitution.

The event also hosted a number of interactive activities which included a photo op where visitors could be inserted into Manifest’s heart and equal sign logo; and also a day time crafting session, sponsored by Make Something School, which paired teens and world-renowned creative personalities to produce collaborative art.

The entertainment for the closing night reception featured performances by Sam Sparro, Issac Brock of Modest Mouse, Sea Wolf, as well as DJ sets by Pink Enemy, Kelly Cole, Tim Biskup, Daisey O’Dell, and Chrystal Method. The event’s lineup of high caliber entertainment was assembled by The Roxy Theatre’s owner and operator Nic Adler, who along with brother and Shwayze collaborator Cisco Adler also purchased two large pieces of art to be displayed in their venue’s VIP lounge, On The Rox.

With thousands of people of every conceivable diversity and background flowing in and out of the event, the five day pop-up was a roaring success in raising awareness as well as capital to support equality for the GLBT community.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Scooter Fried