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Mustache Mondays Is a Testament to the Power of Queer Artistry

Mustache Mondays Is a Testament to the Power of Queer Artistry

Moustache Mondays still
Courtesy of Dorian Wood

This deeply moving documentary is also a love letter to L.A.-based queer nightlife promoter Ignacio "Nacho" Nava Jr.'s life and legacy.

Queer space is sacred space because it's where people all across the LGBTQ+ spectrum can express themselves authentically and without fear -- unless, of course, you don't fit into the mold it caters to, which is all too frequently white and cis-male. It was a desire to find such a place to call home, and where members of the community could assert themselves artistically, that lead Ignacio "Nacho" Nava, Jr., DJ Josh Peace, Danny Gonzales, and Dino Dinco to create Moustache Mondays, a counter-culture queer night infused with unbridled artistic expression and Latin culture.

For 10 years, this roving weekly party ruled the edgy queer nightlife scene in Los Angeles, where outsider artists like Franc Fernandez, Ryan Heffington, and Maluca found a place to share and hone their gifts. And for countless other queer folks who once felt like outcasts because they didn't fit into the predominant queer scene in Los Angeles, it meant finding somewhere that embraced them with open arms

Mustache Mondays (ARTBOUND), which screened at Outfest Fusion, is an illuminating documentary by director Marianne Amelinck that recounts the rise, continuing impact, and ultimately tragic end of the weekly party. It does so through archival footage and interviews with those who were there on the frontlines, witnessing and lending their voices and art to create a new iconoclastic queer scene.

Equal parts queer historical document and intimate portrait, Mustache Mondays successfully inspires emotions akin to a nostalgia for a time and place you've never visited by illuminating this incredible lightning-in-a-bottle moment which sadly burned out when one pillar of its founding quadpod passed away.

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caption="" photo_credit=""]Nava died in 2019 at the age of 42 from pneumonia. The film serves as a celebration of his beautifully queer life, and as a bittersweet reminder of what we all lose when artists are taken from us too soon. It's also a hopeful reminder of the legacy they leave behind. In Nava and Mustache Mondays' case, it's the promise of the amazing, inclusive world future queer voices and artists can create if given the space and community to do so.

Mustache Mondays screened at Outfest Fusion. This review is part of our coverage of the Outfest Fusion 2022.

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