Something good is happening in Glassell Park. On a quiet full moon night, outside the margins of inner city Los Angeles, Big Bud Press HQ is hosting Sweet Nothings, an open house party with traveling creators & independent artists hosting their wares. Outside on the streets young People crowd the entry doors taking photographs and selfies, documenting the energy of the evening. Vintage classic threads adorn their bodies, statements of political orientations and activist affiliations pinned to their lapels, blazers, and coats. In a show of national solidarity and cash support, Big Bud is raising awareness for Planned Parenthood in a night of action, fashion, and flair. With 10% of all profits generated from the sales proceeds, the retailers are expected to share in the wealth with many people across the city, state, and the nation who are committed to seeing Planned Parenthood remain open and funded. Because you know, access to reproductive healthcare is our right to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness.
The getting is especially good on the night of February 11, and the house always wins. A diverse eclecticism of punk rock threads to iconic doo-wop throw-back, the walls & rooms are jam packed with fresh hipsters ready to dip into their pockets to rock the cash bar. First making my way into a back room outfitted with curated vintage stock, I immediately fingered a fine suede coat of impeccable design, cut, and structure. Unlike anything else within the generous racks of Whurl Vintage, the soft suede is a shade of smoke green and tourmaline with snap buttons lining the corset closure. Its divine. Circling and socializing among the evening’s events, organizer Ellen is hyped at the quality of my find, and encourages me to invest in such a piece. At the cost of $40 I can’t help but absolutely agree with her enthusiasm. Alas, it was meant to be. To outfit and accent the fabulous find of suede dreams, I also invested in the simple elegance of a couture Moschino handkerchief scarf from Bumbler Vintage. When the money is guaranteed to be in support of indispensable social services, every last penny counts.
In another front corner of the retail space, Big Bud Press features an especially bright and welcome storefront with vibrant vibes touching every detailed design. Perfectly curated rainbows, rose blossoms, and marvelous marigold embroidered satin bombers invite the touch, while polychromatic cozy acrylic knits beg for warm bodies to snuggle up against on cold winter nights. An avid enamel pin collector, I scour shelves of plenty in search of the perfect pins that will accent my curated sense of personal style. A fair hand holding a single pink rose first catches my artist’s eye. Complimenting an ensemble featuring femme hands with fresh pinks and soft enamel petals, the Nail Salon Neon Pin will join the recent arrival of J. Brager’s Flower Power and Wolf Shadow pins. Beauty compliments beauty, and these bevies look as though they were made to play with one another.
Another enamel pin take home is a UFO beaming down rainbow rays of peaceful delight. Cosmic constellations are set in gold colored metal, with stars shimmering in the backdrop of galaxies far, far away. This unexplained flying phenomenon will be teamed up with Pteroble’s Nightfall Cityscape, Stodium’s Cosmic Orca, and OH NO Rachio’s Rose Gold Constellation Moon Phase enamel pins on the lapels & pockets of my denim. Beam me up Scottie.
To round out these adorable creations, I chose to breathe love in the air with the Smokey Joint pin. Roll up sweet succulent herbs in hemp papers and smoke it, cause this spliff is lit. The take away was fair with three for thirty deals, and there were many more that I wish I could rock the world with. Jupiter planets, Evil Eye radiating positive rainbows, citrus lemonade squeeze, an extra long blue dachshund dog, banana & magic mushroom delights, there is much feast one’s eyes upon. Free gifts with purchase were also included, featuring Big Bud logo pins, and a bevy of stickers featuring their Crazy Daisies, Why & Die. Ah the circle of life. What goes around comes around.
Indeed, Big Bud Press has some good karma generating in the underground collective of emerging young artists and designers. With collaborative efforts from Hannah Nance, Twerkstorian, and Yesterdays, there was an incredible show of community from small business owners showcasing their creative work. A standout favorite was Yesterdays‘ Good Vibes enamel pin, an homage to Magic Wand personal massagers that have been casting waves of sensation on the beaches of Women’s pleasure. Yes, please.
I was especially pleased to meet L.A. based artist, animator, and painter Penelope Gazin, who came out in her finest threads to showcase her unique creative designs. With a macabre sense of dark humor and erotic satire, Penelope’s art features scenes of grotesque horror, sadomasochistic bondage, and alien foreplay. Who could ask for anything more? Gazin’s enamel pins are adorable as they are dark in detail. The Gag Girl pin doesn’t say much, but it would appear she may be tied up at the moment. Slut Profile is green with envy, and eyes that spark unspeakable rage into the hearts of those who look upon her. The Bound Double pin is delightful fun featuring a pair of shackled hands with perfectly painted crimson nails. The devil is in the details with delicate tattoo art that suggests this is not her first rodeo. Looking for a one of kind Valentine design sure to make your Lover melt? Seek no further than Penelope’s curated collection featured on her co-owned and operated website Witchsy.com, an online marketplace for artists creating an uncensored space of provocative craft. Light it up and let the good times roll with a smokin’ bouquet of forever roses in a beautiful Romantic Bong bubbler, sending those magic vibes up to the Goddesses on High. Want to make it a double date? Team up with Big Bud’s Big Buddy pin, a sweet little combo that will make a lasting impression on any green thumb’s heart. And if you’re 110% committed and ready to promise forever, the Gold Lovers Lapel Pin will prove your undying love for one another. Til Death, and the Guillotine, Do Us Part.
Like the Artists who bring them to life, each of these enamel pins offer layers of meaning and depth. Its just a matter of looking into them, asking questions, and allowing your own reflections and interpretations to create meaning. Certainly for a great many matron saints who showed up to support Planned Parenthood and working artists, enamel pins and political pressed buttons still corner a creative place in the do it yourself market. Young people are passionate about their flair, and are unabashedly unafraid to wear their socio-political, sexual, and spiritual beliefs on their sleeves. Its inspiring to be in community among people who organize around fashion and design. At this particular moment in time, we are consciously committed to a fiercely Feminist economy, trading and bartering outside capitalist consumption & corporate greed. Not only are these artists & creators sustainable, but much of the merchandise offered is produced and manufactured in the United States. So when you buy local in Cali, you’re money is going back into the pockets of American Women. And that feels real good to me.
The Rainbow Children
Cover Photo: Big Bud Press Instagram