Homeless State of Emergency, STI/STD PSAs, Seth Bogart Show

Last week, the City of Los Angeles declared a "state of emergency" on homelessness. Using language that compares the city's rise in homelessness to the effects of a natural disaster, it's a notable shift for city officials who have long tried to distance themselves from the issue. Our politicians generally prefer to focus on less complex, vote-getting fixes that hold more obvious and easy implementation strategies. Though it seems as simple as giving people homes, homelessness has what feels like miles of layers, with voices on so many sides - advocates who feel people have the right to perform human functions and sleep wherever they want, businesses that see homelessness only as an impediment to their economic prosperity, low-income housing providers who are making profits off of the city's homeless increases, the list goes on. The City is clearly getting pressured from all ends to take more action, and it's going to have to seriously match its words with money and resources to make effective changes. However, a vital role the City must take is as mediator. Our elected officials must be willing to bring all sides to the table to broker key compromises that ensure both the right to economic prosperity and personal liberties. In doing so, the City must not fail to consider the voices of the homeless, which they've consistently overlooked - while homelessness is a problem for business owners, it is primarily a problem for the homeless. Those who are actually living on the streets must have a say in what happens to Skid Row.  •

Drive, bike, or bus around Los Angeles and you'll likely spot one of AIDS Healthcare Foundation's billboards. Like the GEICO of PSAs, their advertisements use humor and hyperbole to effectively get people talking about their cause, creating campaigns like "Do it for Mom -" and "Straight Outta Condoms." Their most recent ad features silhouettes of two pairs of lovers with the words "Tinder, Chlamydia, Grinder, Gonorrhea" followed by their identifier. But the two dating/hook up apps are not having it - Tinder has demanded the billboards come down and Grindr has dropped AIDS Health as an advertiser. It's really too bad, as these apps, while for-profit businesses, play major roles in the sexual health of many Angelenos, particularly in a demographically young community like Downtown. Not only should the billboards be considered freedom of speech, but they provide a provoking reminder of the importance of getting tested and being a healthy human.     •

As Seth Bogart's solo show comes to a close at 356 Mission this Friday 10/2 with a party featuring celebrity imposters including Dynasty Handbag performing as Madonnerd, here's a snap review of the exhibition from Get Down Town Issue 1 written by Ariel Dixon:


Retailer, designer and Hunx and His Punx frontman Seth Bogart brings his own brand of retail as art form to 356 Mission this September. Bogart has previously collaborated with Saint Laurent and MOCA, and his star continues to rise, with his designs repped by the likes of Kathleen Hanna, Tavi Gevinson and Miley Cyrus. All the attention is well-earned — Hunx and His Punx have seen membership changes in recent years (with the inclusion of Shannon Shaw of Shannon and the Clams), but paid their dues on the road alongside the late Jay Reatard. While the punk scene then and now had no shortage of the devil-may-care je ne sais quoi, Hunx and His Punx turned up the volume on the scene’s queer voices. Bogart’s Wacky Wacko shop in Echo Park boasts his own designs, along with a giant, pink, sneering unicorn head above the storefront (signage that speaks for itself). The space, inside and out, is as much on display as Bogart’s clothing line, blurring the line between installation and retail space, art and attire. Of course, none of those concepts are mutually exclusive, and therein lies the draw of much of Bogart’s work. 356 Mission has hosted a revolving door of genre-pushing artists, each riding the mounting wave of Los Angeles’ (and Downtown’s) art scene, with no crest in sight. Seth Bogart’s work is provocative, visually stimulating, and often funny; it feels viscerally responsive to its time. His upcoming stint at 356 Mission is not to be missed. Opening reception Sept. 3, 7pm. On display through Oct. 2, W-Su, 11am-6pm. 356 S Mission Rd.    •

A sampling of AIDS Health Foundation's billboards around LA (via