• Sitting in Sound

    Jul 15| Special Event
    Jesse Fleming, A Theory of Everything, 2015, Installation view.
  • Opening Reception

    Jul 15| Special Event

    L: Nora Slade, Kate Mouse Mickey Moss, 2014, Photo transfer and fabric paint on sweatshirt, cardboard and found objects. R: Marisa Takal, I Love My Sister, 2016, Oil on canvas, 65 x 50 inches.

    Opening Reception for the two-person exhibition of work by the Los Angeles-based artists Nora Slade and Marisa Takal

    Light snacks and refreshments.

    Exhibition on view July 15 - August 19, 2017.

    Bolsky Gallery located across from Ben Maltz Gallery, ground floor, Galef Center for Fine Arts.

  • Amelia Gray is the author of the short story collections AM/PM, Museum of the Weird, and Gutshot, as well as the novels Threats and, most recently, Isadora, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Tin House, and VICE. She is winner of the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, of FC2's Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize, and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. 

  • Image: BijaRi, On the rooftops of Santa Domingo-Savio neighborhood as part of the project Contando con Nosotros, 2011

  • Luis J. Rodriguez was Los Angeles Poet Laureate from 2014-2016. The twenty-fifth edition of his first book, Poems Across the Pavement, won a 2015 Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement. He has written fourteen other books of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and nonfiction, including the best-selling memoir Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. Rodriguez is also founding editor of Tia Chucha Press and co-founder of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore in the San Fernando Valley. In 2016 Tia Chucha Press produced the largest anthology of L.A.-area poets, Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes & Shifts of Los Angeles. Rodriguez’s last memoir It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award. His latest poetry collection Borrowed Bones appeared in 2016 from Curbstone Books/Northwestern University Press.

  • Raised in Philadelphia, with roots in South Africa and Trinidad, Zinzi Clemmons’ writing has appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, Transition, The Paris Review Daily, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships and support from the MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Kimbilio Center for African American Fiction. She is co-founder and former Publisher of Apogee Journal, and a Contributing Editor to LitHub. She teaches literature and creative writing at the Colburn Conservatory and Occidental College. Her debut novel, What We Lose, as well as a second title, are forthcoming from Viking.

  • Louise Sandhaus is a graphic designer and graphic design educator. She was previously Director of the Graphic Design Program at CalArts where she currently is faculty. Her recent book on California graphic design, Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires and Riots: California and Graphic Design 1936-1986, co-published by Metropolis Books and Thames & Hudson, has received laudatory reviews from The New York Times, The Guardian, Eye, and Creative Review. The book received the Palm d’Argent for best art book at FILAF (International Festival of Art Books and Films on Art).


Victor Yates ('14 MFA Writing) Receives Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers

Yates will be recognized at the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards ceremony in New York City

Victor Yates ('14 MFA Writing) has been awarded the 2017 Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers. Last year, his novel A Love Like Blood won the 2016 Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Debut Fiction. "He is a necessary voice and advocate for the voiceless and underrepresented in the LGBTQ community," said the judges. Yates will be recognized at the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards ceremony on June 12 in New York City. Always working on several projects at once, we caught up with Yates to ask him about the award, his thoughts on intersectionality, and where his writing will take him next. 

Congratulations on receiving the Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers. The judges specifically praised your work for its intersectional themes, would you be able to tell us a little more about how you approached the themes in A Love Like Blood and the importance of intersectionality in today’s cultural landscape?

Race, ethnicity, and colorism fascinate me to no end, especially multiracial issues. I was interested in embodying a young, biracial character (Carsten) who embraced being Spanish and Black. From there I was curious what would happen if his family struggled with a religious identity after converting from Islam to Catholicism, and how that would impact Carsten's struggle with his sexuality. When readers read A Love Like Blood, I want them to feel as if they are reading about someone who has a beating heart and is real and living. At its core, it is about a father and son, who run in photography business together. When they are working together, it is the only time that they can display their love for each other.

Intersectionality in today’s cultural landscape is important to me especially with the current administration. I work full-time at a trade school where I have students who have green cards, who are undocumented, who are ESL, who have mental health issues and are of color, and who are trans. Their lives and experiences matter and are worth documenting. Looking through the lens of intersectionality, I think it is easier to see how a Somali-Cuban gay male who is Catholic but raised with certain Islamic beliefs could face homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and prejudice, and have a fear of coming out. I hope to continue to add diverse voices to the queer canon of literature.

Tell us about your current project, recording the experiences of older men in the gay community and preserving them for future generations. 

Last summer, I curated an intergenerational reading at the LGBT Community Center of the Desert in Palm Springs with the writer, Dave Lara. Lara, age 70, talked about his experiences in the Vietnam War, the environment for men who were out, and how he received a dishonorable discharge. His was the first story I had heard about gay life in the army. I realized because of the AIDS epidemic, the gay community lost hundreds who could have passed on a rich history. That rich history is now lost. Few organizations exist that focus on documenting the stories of older gay men to preserve them for future generations. Therefore, I wanted to audio record narratives of older gay men to pass history on to younger gay men as well as have the recordings donated to One Archives to preserve and have available for the public. I wrote a grant proposal to the City of West Hollywood to further project and use video instead of audio. I also wanted the men who participated in the project to talk about how either moving to California or West Hollywood has impacted their lives. The project, titled Genitalic, will debut at a special event at the West Hollywood Library sometime next fall.

What have you learned through this project?  

The first person that I interviewed was Dave Lara. Lara is Mexican and Jewish. He stated that West Hollywood had a three picture I.D. rule. Minorities had to show three photo I.D.s to get into clubs. It was a way to reduce the number of Black and brown people who would be let in. He passed for Jewish; therefore he had no issues getting in. I then spoke to Lee Jackson, a fair-skinned Black man. He hated going to West Hollywood because of the rule. He had a Black friend who has curly, blonde hair and blue eyes and could pass as white. The friend would go to West Hollywood alone and would not have any issues. However, when that friend went with a group of Black friends, he was carded. When the doorman saw that his I.D. stated that he was Black, he was not allowed to enter the nightclub again. The everyday challenges that these gentlemen faced, now both in their 70s, are what I hope to preserve and share so that this and future generations may learn from their experience. 

As an alumnus of the MFA Writing program, what did you take away from your time at Otis College? Was there a specific mentor, project, or subject matter that stays with you?

The words of my professors, Peter Gadol, Jen Hofer, and Sarah Shun-lien Bynum stay with me. For Sarah’s class, we had to create generative responses to writing that we read in the workshop. I had difficulty staying in the present tense, so she took my chapter that I workshopped and color coded the different tenses that I used. Purple was present tense. Orange was past tense. Green was general information. The first sentence was purple, then the rest of the first page was orange. Purple wasn’t seen until page three. Now, when writing, I remind myself to stay in the purple. From Jen, I learned it’s okay to be poetic as a fiction writer but not to lose the image that is being created. From Peter, I learned the importance of sentence structure, style, and character development.

Overall, while at Otis, I learned the importance of discovery and supporting of all the arts. I became interested in photography while at Otis, and my character in A Love Like Blood became a photographer. I would check out cameras from the Photography Department and the things that I learned from the department ended up in the book. I would wander the different floors in the main building and look at the art hanging up. I would listen in on conversations in the hallway. Often, the descriptions of the art or pieces of conversations ended up in the book.

An exhibition at the Ben Maltz Gallery still haunts me, Alison Saar ('81 MFA). I visited the exhibition every other day and would study the individual pieces. Her work was startling, imaginative, painful, and beautiful.

What is something you wish you would have known when you were first starting out as a writer?

I wish I would have known about outlining. Without an outline, my first book took longer than expected to write. Now, for my second novel, I am outlining first, before I start writing. 

What is next for you, where do you see your writing going in the coming years?

I will be reading in Manchester, UK in July at Chapter One Bookshop. I plan to do more international readings. Also, I am doing a reading in Memphis in two weeks. I love doing readings and hearing the audience responses to my writing. I believe that art doesn’t exist until someone sees its, touches it, hears it, or experiences it. I am working on my second novel and on two different grant proposals to get funded to work with young writers. I love teaching because not only do I get to work out the next generation of talented writers, but also I learn more about myself as a writer. 

To learn more about Yates' writing and follow his current projects, visit or follow him on twitter.

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