The Grit and Glamour of Queer LA Subculture

REACH LA Archive

This path contains images and videos gathered and scanned from the REACH LA office by Oxy's CTSJ 337 students, as well media gathered by Adrienne Adams from Sean/Milan™ Garcon and the broader West Coast House and Ball Scene after the course. Our current archive/exhibit represents a small portion of a much larger collection that spans between REACH's and other private holders' uncatalogued collections.

2015 Ovahness Ball Program is an interactive gallery of ball performances visually recorded by various professional videographers and mere cellphone-recording attenders. All are, as of this publication (Sept 2018), available on To test the relative grain and grit of these videos is to register less the professionalism of the videographer than the "realness" of smartphones. Tavia Nyong'o's very point that Paris is Ovah! when it comes to "official" documentation and participation becomes clear when this digital and analog combo meets in this Ball Program feature. By flipping Scalar's image annotation feature as an interface to performances for the various categories in ballroom competitions, Grit and Glamour hopes to emphasize the history of the ball repertoire and how the digital revolution has changed it.

This archive also contains Ovahness and Opulance, a video created by Adrienne Adams and Cesar Martinez, both students at Occidental College, for REACH LA's 25th anniversary. The video contains 18 oral history interviews Adams conducted with the founders, educators, current staff, ballroom participants, and former participants in the organization. For the anniversary event, Adams organized an exhibit on the history of REACH LA with the materials from its archives and others provided by Sean/Milan™ Garcon. The exhibit also included ipad stations where the attendees can interact with the 2015 Ovahness Ball Program that Grit and Glamour created in Scalar. For more, see Adrienne Adam's section on Reflections on REACH LA and their timeline.

The Field Notes section provides quotidian yet important pedagogical evidence of both Oxy students' blindsided wonder over their site-visit to REACH LA's headquarters and their initial "ordering of things" stored throughout the office. Let's just say that seeing boxes of unused and out-of-date condoms stacked in a non-profit storage room did more to inform students about the pandemic days of HIV/AIDS than any academic lecture could.

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