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The Iconic Beverly Hills Hotel Wallpaper is Now on a Shoe, and We Are Unwell

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  1. Can someone please hop on healthcare.gov for us at 12AM on November 1, 2017, and get us signed up for the last bastion of hope for healthcare in America, BECAUSE WE ARE UNWELL.

Luxury brand Koio Collective attacked us this past month by partnering with The Beverly Hills Hotel to create a new sneaker with a pattern in the style of the hotel’s iconic wallpaper, and we. are. shook.

The rent check is about to be late for next month, because this shoe runs between $475 and $550. The sneaker is being sold exclusively online and at the hotel itself. Designed with the legendary Martinique Banana Leaf print, the history of the hotel – and the print itself – is one littered with celebrity, wealth, glamour, and sordidness, and we are here to read you the filth.

The hotel was built in Los Angeles in 1912 before Beverly Hills even existed. Of course, social media did not exist back then, but developer Burton Green, President of the Rodeo Land and Water Company, was a bit of a marketing genius; he wanted to incite a “land rush,” and advertised the hotel as located “halfway between Los Angeles and the sea.”

As Beverly Hills became its own city in 1914 due to its rapid growth, so the elite continued to flock to The Beverly Hills Hotel. From the 1940s on, it was a celebrity hotspot, attracting the likes of Princess Margaret (commoners were instructed to not speak to her unless spoken to, and to stay at least five feet away from her and Lord Snowdon at all times), the Crown Prince of Monaco, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, the Rat Pack, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor; in fact, Elizabeth Taylor enjoyed quite a bit of time in the bungalows with six of her eight husbands, and Bungalow 7 is known as “Norma Jean,” because of the amount of time Monroe spent there. John Lennon and Yoko Ono spent a week in bed at the hotel. Lindsay Lohan’s list of the people who she allegedly slept with surfaced at the hotel. Several movies were, of course, filmed there, including: California Suite, American Gigolo, Shampoo, The Way We Were, and many more.

The hotel was – and still is – no stranger to what is dubbed in LA as “power lunches” (perhaps these days known as “power brunches”); in 1938, when Vivien Leigh went to the hotel to see lover Lawrence Olivier, he brought her to meet agent Myron Selznick. Not long after, she was cast to play Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind. Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy carried on much of their 25-year affair there. Howard Hughes had roast beef sandwiches delivered to a nook in a tree while he was living on the property – because what else are you going to do, as an eccentric millionaire, besides renting nine bungalows at The Beverly Hills Hotel and eat roast beef?

The history of the wallpaper is as rich as the tapestries it finds itself on. In 1937, decorator Dorothy Draper designed the banana leaf pattern, called “Brazilliance” for the California-based Arrowhead Springs Hotel. In 1942, Hollywood-based decorator Don Loper designs what became the iconic Martinique wallpaper, a banana leaf design based on the original that now adorns The Beverly Hills Hotel. Celebrities who stay in the hotel or go on photoshoots at the hotel are constantly photographed in front of it, cementing its place in history. The wallpaper can only be bought here. The good news is, small samples are available to the public at – gasp! – only $9.95, so you can have your own little piece of history.

As for the history of the shoe company, well, Koio is about 100 years younger than the hotel itself, yet Chris Wichert, one of the founding members of Koio, states that their company “shares [the]same values,” as the hotel, with a spokesperson for the hotel echoing the sentiment.

Edward Mady, Regional Director West Coast USA and General Manager at the hotel, states, “Koio is the ideal partner to create this fun footwear that celebrates the hotel’s most beloved design element and Southern California lifestyle.”

And showcasing SoCal it does – it makes us want to pack our bags and book a room now. Does In-N-Out do room service? Guess we’ll have to wait until we have the celebrity bankroll to truly have it all.

Anna Jones is a freelance writer, editor, and producer living in Atlanta, GA by way of Los Angeles. She owns a copywriting agency called Girl.Copy, and an independent film studio called Tiny Park Productions. She has been a professional writer for over 10 years, and four of those years were spent working for famous fashion bloggers and/or corporate fashion giants as a copywriter, like Hautelook and Nordstrom. She loves coffee, traveling, spending time with her family, and taking herself on solo sushi-and-beer dates.

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The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson Gives LGBTs’ a History They’ve Needed

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*To honor the gender fluidity of Marsha P Johnson, I will be referring to them as they.

 

We study our history, so we know from where we came. To learn about the American Revolution, we study the Founding Fathers, Susan B. Anthony for Woman’s Right, Martin Luther King Junior for the Civil Rights Movement. We are taught those histories. However yet the media and even history books have glossed over the gay rights movement, the one that is still being fought today. Who are our leaders? Where are their stories?

Thanks to director David Frances we have one, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson a documentary released last month on Netflix. It tells the story of Marsha P. Johnson, their life as a transgender person, their activism in the LGBT community, and their mysterious death.

Even as a member of the LGBT community, until this documentary I was unaware of whom Marsha P. Johnson was, this Rosa Parks of the LGBT community. Therefore I was very much a blank slate about what this movie was going to be about. But nothing could prepare me for how emotional, impactful, and eye-opening this movie was going to be. This is a movie that blends both the past and the present, showing those in the community how far we’ve come, and how much work we still need to do.

The documentary uses a mix of never-before-seen footage, rediscovered interviews, and modern times, creating both a mystery that needs to be solved and a wake-up call.  This is especially seen in the opening of the film when we are shown a clip of people marching on the streets of New York , some waving rainbow flags, others holding signs, and others carrying a picture of a black, femme presenting woman, smiling. A Clark Kent type anchor man is heard in the voiceover, using the word “transvestite”, now an insensitive term, informing the viewer that it’s 1992 and Marsha P. Johnson is dead at 42 years old. Police say it’s a suicide.

But Johnson’s friends and members of the LGBT community believe that she was murdered.

This is not your typical documentary. Instead of a linear timeline or an autobiographical story of Johnson, we are given almost an LGBT detective story. An episode worthy of the show Cold Case, for sure. Our protagonist is Victoria Cruz, a transgender activist from the New York City Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Group and now amateur sleuth, about to retire, and her last case will be the 1992 murder of the beloved transgender icon.

While this is a movie about Johnson, we are given the personal backstory about not only Cruz and their personal history of assault, but other gay icons. For example, the movie goes into a side story about the LGBT activist Sylvia Rivera who co-founded STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) with Johnson which was a housing and support program for young trans women of color.

We are also introduced to so many other transgender community members that it almost became overwhelming. One of the drawbacks of this movie was that there wasn’t enough time for everything. The film is only an hour and 45 minutes long and it is so jam-packed with topics and issues and people that the viewer can be completely overwhelmed with both information and emotion. Personally, I feel that Sylvia Rivera could, and should, have their own documentary. Also, I would have been fine with the film being longer which is a rare critique, but with some much to cover, it needed time to slow down.

However, what it may lack in pacing is made up with impact. This film is a bucket of ice-cold water, waking up everyone in the LGBT community. Many people believe that the LGBT community has finally gained equality because they’ve won the right to get married. That’s it right? The war is over? But that is not the case for our trans members in our community who are still suffering today and often getting the brunt of anti-LGBT attacks.

Throughout the documentary we see trans women homeless, in prison, assaulted, and horribly murdered, with no one else to lean on but other LGBT community members who are also vulnerable. These trans women, many of them people of color, are ignored by society, even their fellow LGBT members. This is said best at the most powerful and poignant part of the movie. At the 2016 sentencing of a man who confessed to beating 21-year-old trans woman Islan Nettles to death in Harlem three years early. One activist standing outside of the courthouse goes on a rant about the “privileged gays” who once protested with the transgender people for equal rights and then promptly left them to fend for themselves once they won the right to gay marriage.

“It’s LGB T. It’s LGBT,” the activist cries. It’s painful because it’s true. Transgender and “drag queens” created the LGBT movement, they were the representation of the community. But who was there to represent them when they were being murdered and attacked? Who was there for Marsha P. Johnson?

Going back to the detective drama genre aspect, we go into theories to why Johnson was killed. There’s even with a theory that the mafia did it (Stonewall Inn being own by the Mafia at the time). Again, this movie has a lot of information, with not a lot of time, and at the end, we don’t get an answer. But what we do get are the stories told by POC Transgender woman and the smiling face of Marsha P. Johnson, and that is priceless.

The verdict

As someone who came into this movie not knowing a lot about LGBT history, I was blown away. I learned so much from this movie. It opened my eyes to a lot of subculture and caste systems of the LGBT community of which I wasn’t aware. I loved the old footage they had of Marsha P. Johnson in drag singing (poorly), Cruz in her younger, model days, and other older, historical clips. I felt really emotional watching Cruz getting hung up on over and over again. It affected me in a lot of ways, even if it was overwhelming and confusing at some points. I recommend it to anyone wanting to learn about LGBT history.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Queens.

“The Death and Lift of Marsha P. Johnson” can be watched on Netflix

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Ballin’ on a Budget: Travel Fashion That Won’t Break the Bank

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How many of us are ballers on a budget? We have champagne tastes, but a beer bank account, but we love to travel, and we love to look good while doing it. Luckily, there are ways around our dwindling bank accounts – you can have the closet of your dreams while on the vacation of a lifetime. Read on to discover how we at TravelPRIDE like getting thrifty.

Online Shopping

Online retailer Poshmark is one of our favorite spots for scoring high-end, gently worn fashion at low, low prices. The bonus? You can sell your own previously-loved items to drum up some money for your trip – you can also use the money you earn on Poshmark to purchase additional items on the website.

If you can afford to spend a bit more, head on over to The RealReal, described as “the mother of all high-end resale online shops.” While The RealReal trends towards more high-end pricing, you can definitely find some unique travel items in their sale section. The added bonus is that with fashion, you truly get what you pay for, so if you’re purchasing a piece that’s more expensive, it’s more likely to last longer – an important note for us travellers.

Thrift Stores

We love a good thrifting find – even if we were billionaires, there’s something about scoring a great deal that we can’t get enough of, at home or abroad. Scouring vintage stores, outlets, or wholesale retailers is great prep for your trip. Make sure to check the weather during your trip dates prior to going shopping – you don’t want to necessarily buy a parka if you’re going to Hawaii in December! It may seem like common sense, but it’s a good reminder nonetheless.

If you’re interested in thrifting in the Europe or UK, we recommend the following two favs:

Absolute Vintage in Central London

14 Hanbury St, London E1 6QR, UK

Website

This shop has been around for a while, and yours truly may or may not have scored an awesome vintage baseball tee on her first trip to this little hidden gem in London in 2007. There are plenty of options for guys, gals, and everything in-between. They should have plenty of rain gear for those drearily perfect London days, too.

Chezel in Paris

59 rue Condorcet – 18th Arrond

Website

This shop has amazing vintage, a ton of YSL at reasonable prices, great jewelry, and gorgeous bags and boots. While I did not personally get to hit it up on my last Paris trip, the recommendation was given to me by a famous fashion blogger who I used to work with, who shall remain unnamed!

Yard Sales

Listen, yard sales ain’t what they used to be – with newish apps like Letgo and Nextdoor popping up, you can find free – or practically free – high-end clothing and accessories right in your own backyard. The bonus to Nextdoor is that, since it’s inherently local to where you physically reside, it somehow seems a bit less shady when meeting up with folks to buy or trade goods or services – however, it’s probably still best to meet said folks in a public place first. Looking through craigslist is always an option for estate and garage sales, too, so don’t give up on your old tried-and-true methods to find good gear. The bonus of yard sales is that you can also find great camping or hiking gear to pack on your next excursion! And don’t be afraid of the barter sections – figure out what skillset you can offer in exchange for somewhat free stuff, but again, be wary and use caution.

Happy hunting, and let us know the websites you shop on when you need your fashion fix or are preparing for a trip!

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Amazon is selling a pro-anorexia hoodie during Mental Illness Awareness Week

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It’s Mental Illness Awareness Week, folks, a time for sharing stories, knowledge, and coming together to talk about the importance of respecting mental illness.

Apparently, Amazon UK did not get the memo because they are selling hoodies making a mockery of anorexia, which is a serious mental health issue. The hoodie, in hot pink font, says “Anorexia: like Bulimia except with self-control.”

 

This is, of course, is disgusting and troubling, not only because it trivializes anorexia and bulimia, both of which are serious and life-ending illnesses, but because this isn’t the first time that people have disregarded eating disorders. Most of our culture treats eating disorders like a hollow punch line. In recent years, celebrities like Meghan Trainor said that she “wasn’t strong enough to have an eating disorder,” the late Carrie Fisher called herself a “failed anorexic,” and who could forget the infamous Kate Moss quote “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”?

People are understandably upset about this hoodie, calling for Amazon to ban the sale of the hoodie which is sold by a 3rd party for $25.88. People, many of whom have suffered for years or have lost loved ones to the illness, have spoken out about their disgust for this shirt.

However, other people have commented saying that this shirt is “no big deal” and people need to stop being so “politically correct” and some even find it “funny.”

So why is this shirt a big deal?

Because anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness and causes 12 times more deaths than any other illness among girls ages 15-24, to whom this hoodie is targeted. According to the National Eating Disorder Association 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from eating disorders at some point in their lives and 1 in 5 people with an eating disorder will die prematurely as a result.  

This isn’t a question of political correctness, or not being able to take a “joke.” These are human lives, humans who are dying over an illness that is constantly not treated or undertreated because of the horrible stigma. Because of horrible stereotypes that end lives. I personally never felt stronger, or felt that I had self-control because of my eating disorder. I don’t feel pride in my anorexia, but I will not be ashamed of my struggles and I will always speak out against toxic things such as this. Shirts like these, thoughts like these, are part of the problem. Speaking out is part of the solution.

So maybe I’m being too sensitive, but I think things are too loud to stay silent.

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