Cultural Omnivore No. 13

A Listing of What We Love


San Francisco-based photographer, Rachel Lena Esterline has been photographing female sex workers for the last five years. Her exhibit, Heaven is a Strip Club at Benrubi Gallery I New York City documents these years through many images which not only represent the salacious nature we all imagine to know well, but also the humanity behind the sexualized facade.





Photos by Rachel Lena Esterline. Left: #0155 Heroine, 2013-2018. Right: #9913 Sisterhood, 2013-2018.

“I grew up very sheltered. I wasn’t even allowed to listen to secular music. Halloween was a night when we turned off all the lights so kids wouldn’t come knocking on our door. Eventually I performed quintessential acts of teenage rebellion, and broke down the walls built up inside me, the conditioning of my upbringing by both family and society. I had first been to the Gold Club in San Francisco 18 years ago. I was auditioning to be a stripper, and it didn’t end up working out. It wasn’t until 13 years later when I walked back into that same club with a camera in my hands that I felt so comfortable and confident that this was my purpose in life – to tell the stories of these women from the radical position of respect. Capturing the life and hustle of these women has been a life-affirming experience where I have discovered community, ambition, goddess and art.” – Rachel Lena Esterline

Through November 10, Benrubi Gallery, 521 West 26th Street, 2nd Floor, NYC

Book: The Friend by SIGRID NUNEZ
Publisher: Riverhead Books; 1st Edition edition (February 6, 2018)
224 pages

At first reading, this novel is about a woman mourning the loss of her dear friend and mentor who has committed suicide. She’s a writer and academic. Her mentor, also a writer and academic, was a womanizer who leaves behind a rescued Great Dane. The novel follows the drama of the narrator living with the giant canine in a small, rent-stabilized apartment where pets aren’t allowed. Interspersed with the dramatic arc are details packed with references to the lives and work of many writers, complicated, emotional pathos, and philosophical meanderings filled with polite writer-angst. The Friend is an excellent read from a much-underrated writer.

Writer/Director/Star: Edgardo Castro

“The story tells, from an accentuated hyper-realistic aesthetic, the life of Martin, a man in his forties who is desperately lonely and seeks, through sex, some company, to spend that time of which nothing seems to be expected. Under this constant desolation, he finds in cocaine, alcohol and in some other orgy a state of momentary pleasure every night.” – IMDB

Filmed so close to the protagonist that you feel like your voyeuristic tendencies are painfully tested. We follow Martin (Edgardo Castro, also the Director) as he negotiates the world of brothels and nightclubs in Buenos Aires. He faces the nightlife like a defeated voluptuary, somewhat jaded by the monotony of his sexual explorations, yet still hopefully looking forward to confronting his limits.



Cover Photo by El Ruso.