Vexing History: A Queer LA Love Story

Lecture, All Ages
Velaslavasay Panorama

1122 W 24th St
Los Angeles, CA 90007

This is actually two stories. The first is the secret gay romance in 1920s Los Angeles between philanthropist W.A. Clark Jr. and socialite Harrison Post—the subject of Liz Brown’s book Twilight Man: Love and Ruin in the Shadows of Hollywood and the Clark Empire. The second is the author’s love for queer L.A. In researching this saga of empire and self-invention, Liz Brown charted a path through LGBTQ+ landmarks past and present — from Pershing Square to the Rinzai-Ji Zen Center to the Mattachine Steps and more, all of which she’ll discuss in this slide lecture.

The author came to this forgotten L.A. history because W.A. Clark Jr. was her great-grand uncle. The son of a copper baron, Clark launched the LA Philharmonic. He was instrumental in the creation of the Hollywood Bowl and he’s buried in the massive mausoleum in Hollywood Forever — the one with its own lake. The looming bronze of Beethoven in Pershing Square? That, too, is a memorial to Clark. But unlike other L.A. founding figures such as Doheny, Huntington, and Getty, Clark isn’t widely known. He had secrets, and the biggest was his lover, Harrison Post. Liz Brown explores their history, its connection to L.A.’s origins, and her own reckoning with queer ancestry.

Seating is first-come-first-serve and subject to capacity. Please know that RSVPs do not guarantee a seat.

Participant bios

Liz Brown is the author of Twilight Man: Love and Ruin in the Shadows of Hollywood and the Clark Empire. Her writing has appeared in Bookforum, Elle Decor, London Review of Books, Los Angeles Times, New York Times Book Review, Slate, T Magazine, and elsewhere.

This program is organized by Liz Brown as part of the 2023 Circa: Queer Histories Festival, presented by One Institute.

  • Anchored by innovative illusion making of panoramic paintings, the Velaslavasay Panorama is dedicated to multi-sensory, immersive experiences with a focus on contemporary artistic adaptations of visual amusements. This artist-run organization creates and exhibits underrepresented forms of art inviting insights into the ethereal, obscure and imagined realms of understanding.