Organized by Chris Tyler
A decade before Stonewall and 3000 miles across the country, one of the first LGBT uprisings against police happened right here in Los Angeles. At 547 South Main Street — located between gay bars Harold’s and the Waldorf in the heart of downtown — stood Cooper’s Donuts. In May of 1959, the popular after-hours hotspot was rocked by furious salvos of flying donuts, scalding coffee, and paper plates when a ragtag crew of queers led by drag queens, trans people, hustlers and perverts revolted against the LAPD’s routine harassment. Despite its relative success, this underdocumented riot remains largely unknown to this day — both within and outside of queer circles.
Commemorating the 60th anniversary of 1959’s Cooper’s Donuts Riot, NO CRUISING is a multi-day event of workshops, a guided walk, performances, an installation and countless discussions exploring queer histories and strategies of resistance to the police. And, of course, a late night rager to bring it all home. NO CRUISING is an antidote to state-sanctioned Pride celebrations, raising awareness around the ongoing policing of queers – especially people of color, trans and non-binary people, and sex workers. The title refers to a 1997 City Ordinance that legitimized increased surveillance of individuals from these same communities.
Give what you can, but know that no one will be turned away for lack of funds. A portion of NO CRUISING’s proceeds will be donated to the California Coalition for Women Prisoners’s #MeTooBehindBars initiative.
Thursday, May 16
- 11AM–1PM: Alternatives to Policing Workshop with the 5C Prison Abolition Collective
- 8:30PM: Pistil, a new work by Sebastian Hernandez
Friday, May 17
- 3–5PM: Bodies in Play Movement Workshop with Andrew Pearson
- 7:30PM: Panel Discussion – Pride, Prisons & the Police State with Ashlee Marie Preston, Rojas and Alex Espinoza, moderated by Commune Magazine’s Addie Tinnell
Saturday, May 18
- 11AM–12PM: Queer Yoga with Grant Saunders
- 12PM: Cruising DTLA Walking Tour with Irina Contreras
- 8PM–LATE: The Happy Organ Closing Party featuring a drag cabaret hosted by Miss Barbie-Q and the latest installment of Kim Anh’s Clit Club. Plus, DJ sets by Deezy and a surprise special guest!
- Rubén Esparza’s Ghosted: Cruising/No Cruising, a new photographic installation on display May 16–18
Chris Tyler is a writer, cultural organizer and performing artist examining the intersections of popular culture, collective action and digital identity. Past work includes Little Red Scare (Bushwig), flesh failure (The Civilians R&D Group) and TRL>>>TOTAL REJECTS LIVE!!! (Public Theater/Under the Radar Festival). He is a co-founder of CITIZENS UNITED, a New York-based performance collective inadvertently formed on Election Night 2016. His style has been called “equal parts hilarious and chilling” (Fusion),“precise-yet-butchered” (Out) and “so cute” (Taylor Swift). AB: Brown University.
Visual designed by Jay Are