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HER / LA: Everything you need to know about the new feminist festival

This past weekend the inaugural HER / LA festival took place bringing together hundreds of feminists, a killer lineup of artists, performances, parties, and a LOT of lesbians. We caught up with one of the founders, Chloë, to hear all about this incredible new festival and to find out what we can expect from them in the future. If you didn’t get the chance to catch it this time, keep up with them through their mailing list and the social medias because this event is only going to get bigger.
 
What is HER / LA? Tell us everything!
HER / LA is a modern, mobile, feminist pop-up festival celebrating community and culture.
 

We are the anti-mean girls,

the new wave riot grrrl,

sex-positive,

LGBTQ encompassing,

ultra-inclusive creatives,

who believe in the power of women

supporting other women.

 
We believe a good time and expanding minds are not mutually exclusive, and thus HER / LA was born.
 

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What made you want to set it up?

I got involved with HER / LA in January, when Laura Wise approached me to help her orchestrate a feminist pop-up festival. We’d known each other through mutual friends in the- oh-so intertwined LA lesbian community. I’d always admired her work for the LA Lesbian Center and AIDS/LifeCycle. Once we got to talking, I realized we shared a zeal for modern feminism – the positive, yet realistic kind that unites rather than preaches.

I loved the idea of creating a festival for women, by women, that balances festivity and substance while giving excellent artists a platform to show their work and connect.
 
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Who came out for HER / LA?

People, gay or straight, have a tendency to fall into cliques and stay locked in social circles. My biggest desire was to open up a chill, non-pretentious, awesome, interesting environment for women of all sexualities and circles to come together and share some sincere but non-sappy love. We’re all so hard on ourselves. We want to be good at everything, and society is always pitting us against each other or making us feel like we’ve gotta take some other girl down to get ahead. I think that’s bullsh*t. I think women could run the world if we stopped hating on each other and channeled that frustration at the patriarchal exclusionary perception and social structures that are actually responsible for ignoring female accomplishment and artistic innovation.
Also, girls.
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Tell us about some of the performers – who were you looking forward to seeing the most?
I was really excited to have shirts from Bobo Academy, my favorite queer gear retailer run by an amazing lesbian. AfterEllen alum shaman Giana was there with a High Priestess doing some cool magick. She’s so talented it’s insane… Not to mention Giana is a lesbian sociology professor, so from magick to gender she’s utterly brilliant. We had three lesbian Djs, including two from my list of the coolest queer DJs: Goodboy Morgan and Bouncehouse. Little Indian, a dope DJ and producer, rounded out the triumvirate. The three of them are responsible for Milk Milk Lemonade, my favorite girl party in Los Angeles. Wherever they go, the hot girls go. Our live bands were stacked with LGBTQ goodness too: Wasi, No Girlfriends, and Wolfprize are all killer up-and-coming LA bands.
 
wolfprize
 
How do you see the relationship between feminism and lesbians growing or changing?

I think that feminism and queer women are intrinsically tied. Historically, certain feminists have not been very supportive or embracing of the lesbians. That whole “I’m a feminist, but don’t worry I’m not some man hating lesbian” thing is particularly odious, and I still think there’s an unspoken need from certain feminists to grind in the point of “I AM FEMINIST BUT I LOVE DICK BJS NO LESBO HERE NO HOMO, am I one of the guys yet?” Fortunately that’s becoming less and less common as LGBT rights have become mainstream.
 
The feminist movement actually owes a huge debt to the lesbian community. We’ve been fighting for respect and equal rights for women for DECADES without receiving equal attention or action.
 
I think that the future of feminism involves seamless integration of homosexual and heterosexual women in one movement. HER / LA is organized by two gay women, but we’re inviting women of every sexuality to participate. We even had Alexi Wasser of Boycrazy Radio and Girls as a special host. I would love to see feminists be equally represented by gay, bisexual, and straight women. We all deserve a place at the table.
 
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How do you want to see it grow – what are your ambitions to do with it next?

We hoped to see women of every type talking, laughing, and connecting with rad feminists they would have never otherwise encountered. The ultimate goal is to become a traveling pop-up festival that can tap into local talent and thinkers in every city throughout the country. Next up would probably be another west coast stop, like San Francisco or Portland.
More than anything, though, I hope HER / LA creates the community we deserve.
 

Keep up-to-date on HER / LA to catch them next time: