LOS ANGELES (March 2022) –Throughout history, Los Angeles has been home to many women who made a significant impact on our nation and our society including Amelia Earhart (aviation pioneer), Hattie McDaniel (the first African American woman to receive an Academy Award) and Sally Field (the first American woman in space).
This Women’s History Month, L.A. is celebrating today’s female leaders including the restaurateurs behind the Regarding Her nonprofit supporting women-owned restaurants, award winning women in film and female curators impacting the art world across the city and beyond. We invite visitors to spend time this month exploring L.A.’s landmarks home to significant moments in the women’s movement, support the work of women in leadership and learn more about women’s history in Los Angeles.
WOMEN’S HISTORY SITES
Hotel Figueroa (Downtown L.A.)
The historical Hotel Figueroa has a rich story deeply rooted in the women’s movement in Los Angeles. Opened in 1926 for women, by women, Hotel Figueroa has been a champion for women in art and creative fields for nearly a century, most recently transforming into an official polling place this past October. The hotel was the largest commercial building funded by women when it originally opened as a safe haven for solo female travellers, who were prohibited from checking into most hotels without a male chaperone in the 1920s. Advertised as “an ideal stopping place for ladies unattended,” Hotel Figueroa was led by the U.S.’ first-ever female hotel managing director, Maude Bouldin. The space served as a meeting place for many womens’ clubs in L.A. and fully embraced its social conscience with press conferences and political rallies against sexism, racism and other social issues to this very day. Now, the hotel is led by another expert female managing director, Connie Wang.
In addition, Hotel Figueroa integrates women artists across the property, including the annual rotating walkable Featured Artist Series Exhibit, the hotel’s guest rooms and meticulously hand-painted elevator banks by local artists such as Gabby B-Vasquez and even the striking building exterior, which features a 14-story high custom Fig motif designed by U.K.-based muralist Bella Gomez. https://www.hotelfigueroa.com/
Downtown L.A. Proper (Downtown L.A.)
Female leadership and perspectives abound at Downtown L.A. Proper, with a history as one of the few private clubs in Los Angeles to welcome women in the 1920s to enjoy a variety of health and fitness activities. Interior design expert Kelly Wearstler transformed the iconic building from its identity as a 1920s California Renaissance Revival to a modern hospitality and cultural centre, melding Californian sensibilities with elements of Spanish, Portuguese, Mexican and Moroccan design including works by local contemporary artists and early 20th century motifs.
Proper’s culinary offerings are led by excellent female chefs, including James Beard award winner Suzanne Goins and restaurateur Caroline Styne who designed the property’s food and beverage program. At the Portuguese-inspired restaurant Caldo Verde, the dishes are harmonious with
Wearstler's design vision, mixing cultural influences through vegetable-driven market fare, small plates and boutique esoteric wines.
citizenM (Downtown L.A.)
The modern hotel citizenM sits on the property that once belonged to Bridget “Biddy” Mason, a nurse, philanthropist and entrepreneur who was one of the first Black Americans to own land in Los Angeles. Born enslaved, Mason eventually became one of the first prominent citizens and landowners in Los Angeles in the 1800s and used her wealth to become a philanthropist donating to numerous charities, feeding and sheltering the poor and visiting prisoners. Mason was also instrumental in founding a traveller’s aid centre and an elementary school for Black children. In celebration of Mason’s impact, artist Laci Jordan created a mural for display in citizenM’s space featuring a quote by Mason encapsulating her legacy: “If you hold your hand closed, nothing good can come of it. The open hand is blessed, for it gives abundance, even as it receives.”https://www.citizenm.com/hotels/united-states/los-angeles/los-angeles-downtown-hotel
Handlebar Bike Tours (Downtown L.A.)
Handlebar Bike Tours takes visitors on riding tours of the city exploring well-known and hidden gem landmarks. These tours incorporate women’s history year-round, with the Historic Core and More Tour featuring philanthropist and landowner Bridget “Biddy '' Mason, architect Julia Morgan’s recently restored Herald Examiner Building and Clara Shortridge Foltz, the first woman to pass the California Bar exam. The Pretty Gritty Arts District Tour features women artists including Starfighter, Ms. Yellow, Carly Ealey, Colette Miller and gallery owner Manuela Wirth. Handlebar’s tours run for 2.5 hours for $45. https://handlebarbiketours.com/
EVENTS & OFFERS
The Academy Museum: Women’s History Month Film Screenings (Mid-Wilshire)
In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will be screening three films by women screenwriters at their state-of-the art theatres:
White Heat (March 6, 7:30pm): James Cagney returned to the gangster genre that first made him a top star with one of his greatest roles, as Cody Jarrett, a mother-obsessed criminal psychopath who inadvertently goes on the run with an undercover cop. Virginia Kellogg received a nomination for Writing (Motion Picture Story) for her contribution to this dark and thrilling ride, directed by Raoul Walsh.
When Harry Met Sally (March 13, 7:30pm): This contemporary classic comedy pondered whether men and women can remain platonic friends, casting Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan as a seemingly ill-matched pair who find their long-time friendship threatened by unexpected romantic feelings. Rob Reiner directed the Oscar-nominated screenplay by Nora Ephron, Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby provide expert support as their wisecracking friends, and Harry Connick Jr. performs the classic songs on the soundtrack.
Thelma & Louise (March 20, 7:30pm): Callie Khouri’s original screenplay, which won the 1991 Academy Award, reinvented both the buddy film and the road movie as it told the story of its eponymous heroines, Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, respectively, who find themselves on the run across the American desert. Davis and Sarandon were both nominated for Best Actress, the most recent instance in Academy Award history two actors from the same film have been nominated in the category. Ridley Scott was nominated for his typically stylish direction, and the ace supporting cast included Harvey Keitel as an unexpectedly sympathetic policeman and Brad Pitt as an especially exciting detour.
Tickets are available at $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for students and children https://www.academymuseum.org/en/series
The Hollywood Roosevelt: Marilyn Monroe Experience The landmark Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was Marilyn Monroe’s home for two years just as her modelling career began to take off. Monroe was staying in one of the vintage 1950s cabanas at the time of her first professional magazine shoot, which took place at the Roosevelt’s famed Tropicana Pool. The hotel invites guests to enjoy the Marilyn Monroe experience in celebration of Women’s History Month, including up to 20% off a premium suite and daily breakfast for two and a welcome gift featuring a vintage postcard of Marilyn’s first photoshoot, a bottle of bubbly, treats from Laduree, two reserved lounge chairs and tickets to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. This package is available to book now until March 31 for stays from February 20 to March 31 with promo code MARILYN22. https://www.thehollywoodroosevelt.com/#/booking/step-1?promo=Marilyn22
Pacific Park: Ferris Wheel Lighting (Santa Monica) The Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel will be lit purple, green, and white on Tuesday, March 8 in recognition of Women’s History Month. The special wheel lighting will be in honor and recognition of the incredible women in all of our lives that foster strength and resilience with grace. The Ferris wheel lights can be seen from dusk until 11:35 PM; enjoy watching the light program online at www.pacpark.com/live
WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP
Restaurateurs: In November 2020, nine female restaurateurs in Los Angeles formed the nonprofit Regarding Her (RE:Her) as a response to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the restaurant industry. Get to know the RE:Her founders and their L.A. restaurants:
Guelaguetza – Bricia Lopez: Located in Koreatown, Guelaguetza is much more than a restaurant - it’s a Oaxacan cultural centre with a performance stage, Mezcaleria and boutique market. Guelaguetza is owned and operated by Bricia Lopez and her siblings, Paulina and Fernando, Jr. Guelaguetza’s Oaxacan cuisine has earned local and national acclaim, including the prestigious James Beard America's Classics Award in 2015.
Guerrilla Tacos – Brittney Valles: Longtime managing partner of Guerrilla Tacos, Brittney Valles became the sole owner when Chef Wes Avila left the business in 2020. Brittney has managed Guerrilla Tacos from its early days as a taco truck to the opening of its brick-and-mortar restaurant in the Arts District.
Rossoblu & Superfine – Dina Samson: Dina Samson describes herself as an “unexpected restaurateur” when she opened her first restaurant, Sotto, alongside husband/chef Steve Samson, in 2011. Following Sotto, the couple headed to Downtown LA with two concepts in the Fashion District: Rossoblu, inspired by memories of summers in Bologna; and Superfine Pizza, which features the best of Neapolitan and New York pizza styles.
Botanica – Heather Sperling: A popular restaurant and market in Silver Lake, Botanica was opened in 2017 by Heather Sperling and her business partner Emily Fiffer. Featuring an all-female management team, Botanica has garnered praise for its vibrant, wholesome cooking and ambitious natural wine program.
Hotville Chicken – Kim Prince: A third generation restaurateur, Kim Prince moved back to Los Angeles from Nashville and launched her Hotville Chicken pop-up in 2016. She collaborated with Greg Dulan (Dulan's Soul Food) to open a brick-and-mortar eatery in 2019. Fans from near and far come to Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw for the Nashville Hot Chicken that's "brined to burn." All Day Baby – Lien Ta: Lien Ta is the co-owner of All Day Baby, a "feel-good restaurant with the soul of a diner" that's located in Silver Lake. All Day Baby illuminates Ta’s childhood ties with Southern food & hospitality, coupled with a touch of inspired SoCal-Mexican flair.
Socalo – Mary Sue Milliken: Mary Sue Milliken is a James Beard and Julia Child Award-winning chef best known for the Mexican-inspired eateries she's opened with her business partner Susan Feniger including Socalo, a California canteen and Mexican pub in Santa Monica.
Gasolina Café – Sandra Cordero: Sandra Cordero opened the Spanish-influenced Gasolina Cafe in 2015. Located on Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills, Gasolina Cafe has become a hub for the community and reflects Sandra's passion for local farmers and their produce, with an unbridled enthusiasm for the food of her homeland.
Love & Salt – Sylvie Gabriele: Helmed by Sylvie Gabriele, Love & Salt has become a stalwart of the South Bay dining scene since its opening in 2014. Sylvie spearheaded the transformation of the former Cafe Pierre space, located steps from the Manhattan Beach Pier, into a modern bistro serving Italian cuisine with SoCal so
The Academy Museum - Jacqueline Stewart, Chief Artistic and Programming Officer: Stewart is a scholar and author leading strategy and planning for the museum’s curatorial, educational, and public programming initiatives, including exhibitions, screenings, symposia, publications, workshops and K-12 programs. She also serves on the curatorial advisory committee for the “Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971” exhibit.
The Broad - Joanne Heyler, Founding Director & Chief Curator: Heyler serves as a director and chief curator at The Broad Art Foundation, committed to making contemporary art accessible to all audiences. She leads the development of museum programming, audience engagement, digital platforms and more. During the creation of the museum back in 2010, Heyler curated the museum’s inaugural installation and assembled a selection of masterworks from the Broad collection as well as set its exhibition plans to establish The Broad’s international profile.
California African American Museum – Taylor Aldridge, Visual Arts Curator and Program Manager:Formerly a writer and independent curator in Detroit, Aldridge has organised CAAM’s 2020 “Enunciated Life” exhibit and the current “LaToya Ruby Frazier: The Last Cruze” exhibit. She previously co-founded ARTS.BLACK, a journal of art criticism for Black perspectives, and is the recipient of the 2016 Andy Warhol Foundation Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant for Short Form Writing.
California African American Museum – Susan Anderson, History Curator and Program Manager:Anderson specialises in lifting up the little known stories of the Black community to paint a fuller picture of California’s history, highlighting the contributions of African Americans in our state. Anderson lectures and writes about this crucial topic, authoring African Americans and the California Dream, a civic history from the Gold Rush to Black Lives Matter.
The Getty Research Institute – LeRonn Brooks, Associate Curator: Specialising in African American collections, Brooks is the Associate Curator for the museum’s Modern and Contemporary Collections. Previously a professor of Africana Studies at Lehman College and a curator for The Racial Imaginary Institute, Brooks brings expertise in African American art,poetry and performance.
The Hammer Museum – Erin Christovale, Associate Curator: Now heading into her fifth year with the institution, Christovale has notably curated The Hammer’s fourth Made in L.A. biennial in 2018 and the current “Ulysses Jenkins: Without Your Interpretation” exhibit. Graduating from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Christovale continues working in film with Black Radical Imagination, an experiential film program co-founded with artist Amir George.
LACMA – Naima Keith, VP of Education and Public Programs: Keith is a respected curator directing LACMA’s educational programming, lectures and gallery discussions. With curatorial experience at esteemed museums such as the Hammer Museum and CAAM, she has organized several celebrated exhibits across the city.
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) – Anna Katz, Curator: Anna Katz is a curator at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), where she most recently organized the first West Coast survey of Swiss video artist Pipilotti Rist. From 2015 to 2017 Katz was the Wendy Stark Curatorial Fellow at MOCA organizing the museum’s public programs. Katz has also authored the first book-length study of sculptor Lee Bontecou and taught art history courses at UCLA, Occidental College, Pratt institute and Pomona College.
The Underground Museum – Meg Onli, Director and Curator: Joining from the Institute of Contemporary Art, Onli co-leads the institution with COO Cristina Pacheco. Drawn by the museum’s curatorial practice established by Noah Davis, Onli aims to apply his ideas of curating across all kinds of art.
THE ORIGINAL FARMER’S MARKET Founded in 1934, the Original Farmer’s Market is a historic Los Angeles landmark offering authentic fare from locally-owned vendors. Many of the unique establishments inside the market are owned and run by women including:
Coffee Corner - Lilian Sears: Salvadorian-born Lilian Sears is the owner behind beloved Market shop Coffee Corner. She first arrived in the U.S. at the age of 17 and worked at Coffee Corner before buying it. The shop boasts a variety of flavoured coffees, frozen coffees, espressos and pastries that keep customers coming back for more.
Du-par’s Restaurant & Bakery - Frances Tario: A Market staple since 1938, Du-par’s Restaurant & Bakery is owned by Frances Tario. The food is made fresh on the premises and the hot cakes have been voted “Best in America” by Esquire Magazine.
Patsy D’Amore’s Pizza - Filomena D’Amore: Filomena D’Amore inherited the pizza shop from her father, Patsy, who founded the shop in 1949 as L.A.’s first-ever stand-alone pizzeria. Everything is made fresh on the premises, including the dough, sauces and salads.