Aloha From Hell!
Art. Turns out its not just coloring books and macaroni necklaces anymore, randomly, its videos too. Call the news.
And while you have them on the phone, let them know curator and queen Brooke Wise is officially guaranteed entry to heaven after damning Los Angeles to the humorous underworld of her hit comedy film festival in collaboration with Sexy Beast LA, Aloha from Hell.
I caught up with THE undead human woman premiering funny films for planned parenthood’s benefit, partnered this year with Comedy Central and some of Milk’s comedy favorites, to learn how the bones of a curators process come full skeleton.
Ok, tell me everything, and let me know if that’s too specific. How did this all come allliiiivveee?
Aloha From Hell started in New York in 2017. I was curating art shows and realized there was so much video art and 4D work that I wanted to show, that either didn’t fit or didn’t work in an exclusive, fine arts context. I asked a friend who worked at Ian Schrager’s just-opened Public Hotel, where I had just curated a pop-up art show a few weeks prior. They were super excited and helped tremendously. I reached out to all video art/ comedy makers that I knew and asked if they had any videos they’d want to throw in or create especially for the festival, and had an amazing response. Because it was in October, I naturally had it be spooky/halloweeny, and named the festival after one of my favorite Cramps songs, “Aloha From Hell.”
Ok, started at the public now we here? Chic as hell. And this year you raised money for Planned Parenthood with Sexy Beast LA, to help keep PP outta the graveyard, spill.
Well, when I first reached out to Sexy Beast LA, it was via Instagram DM and very casual, I was mostly praising them for their work with Planned Parenthood. I got coffee with Kristen and Sonny and discussed what projects I had coming up and if there could be an opportunity to collaborate. I mentioned my film fest which had happened twice at this point, once in NYC and once at the Ace Hotel here in Los Angeles. We all bonded over our love for Planned Parenthood and women’s rights (and of course Halloween themed anything) and decided to collaborate on the third installment. Being able to work with Planned Parenthood is so exciting, and being able to raise money for them in this political climate felt necessary and rewarding- not to mention being able to do so via art and comedy!
I think thats one of my favorite things about being plugged into different parts of the creative world, being able to bring the best talents together for unforgettable experiences. Who all did you enlist for this chaotic evil?
This year’s film fest was definitely the most exciting of the three. Getting to work with Comedy Central was incredible, (they donated 15k to Planned Parenthood- generous AF) and being able to have the film festival at the historic Vista Theatre was a perfect fit, that theatre seems haunted and on-brand! Every year the artists who participate in the festival are insanely talented and this year’s roster was comprised of a lot of incredible artists (SNL newcomer Chloe Fineman, comedian Benny Drama and comedian Lauren Servideo to name a few).
How long have you been using your ‘Wise’ eye in the art world & who are some of your favorite artists you’ve worked with in the past?
I’ve been curating shows and art-related events for just 4 years now and have had some really gratifying and inspiring opportunities. My first few shows were one night only pop-ups in spaces such as the Bowery Hotel in New York and Public Hotel as mentioned earlier. Since 2016 I’ve guest-curated shows for galleries in New York (Sargent’s Daughters), Vancouver (Winsor Gallery) and Los Angeles (Steve Turner), I’ve also put on AFH film fest and Aloha on Paper, a Zine fair sister event to AFH. I’ve had the chance to work with some of my favorite artists such as Thrush Holmes, Misha Kahn, Hein Koh, Ana Kras, Thomas Barger, Katie Stout, Jen Stark, Austin Lee, and some very exciting names in my upcoming show that I’ll be able to release soon enough.
Obsessed. Literally love a secret. But I need the truth on one thing, Art and Comedy- why do you think they’re in bed together so frequently, so much more… together, now more than ever?
I think most of the creative community is intertwined. Art, fashion, comedy, music, I think a successful event combines all creative realms. AFH is such a good example of that, there was so much original music made for the event and the videos shown- Dana Boulos’ video had original music by Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, the AFH trailer had original music by Jackson Phillips of Day Wave. Artist and fashion designer Carly Mark showed an incredible video with insanely impressive costume design. So many art shows aren’t accessible to comedians who make work, it’s so odd, so it’s great to have an event like this that’s accessible to all creators regardless of career level or status. There’s art in comedy and comedy in art, and bridging it all with charity has been an epic experience.
Ok, and lastly, what’s next for our hero, our philanthropist, our fearless leader into fright: Brooke Wise?
I’m working on some upcoming shows in Los Angeles and hopefully Europe soon! Would love to see the reaction to AFH in a different country, maybe a french edition with work by French artists! (subtitles for the English speakers of course). Nothing is set in stone yet, however, I’m excited to see where this goes. Hopefully, the creative / art world can continue to find more opportunities to merge our practice with giving back to the community + charity, especially charities you believe in that others deem “too political” to support publicly!
Images courtesy of Gabriella Talassazan.
Stay tuned to Milk for more Los Angeles art moments.