Frida Kahlo is so much more than that tote bag you bought on Olvera Street. A literal Communist, Kahlo was frighteningly progressive for her time and she still empowers people with resounding relevancy.
Frida broke a lot of taboos—not just in her paintings, but as a lifestyle. A family picture from 1926 shows Frida Kahlo dressed in male drag. Occasional-Drag-King Kahlo used her clothing as a way to express her power, her independence and her specific brand of femininity. Her marriage to Diego Rivera was very atypical for the time, and both of them had numerous affairs. Kahlo painted Self Portrait with Cropped Hair in 1940 shortly after she divorced Rivera for sleeping with her sister. In this painting Kahlo is seen wearing men’s clothing with short hair, holding a pair of scissors. Subtle? Yes. Here for this foolishness? She was not.
Though little is known for sure, it has been said that Frida has had affair with Josephine Baker, Georgia O’Keeffe, Chavela Vargas, and a few others. “I only live for you and Diego,” Kahlo told Vargas. It’s been documented that she even had affairs with her husband’s mistresses. The lore of her sexual conquests often puts the power back in her relationship narrative- Kahlo was not one to be thought of a damsel in distress by any stretch.
Relationships aside, Kahlo resided comfortably in the counter culture of the time. Even in her paintings she would accentuate the eyebrows and the mustache to further push the androgyny of her face. It was clear that she refused to commit, even with her stoic facial expression. Duality was a common theme in a lot of her paintings: man/woman, native/contemporary culture, moon/sun, and even herself appearing twice in the same painting. It could be said that her bisexuality was another extension & expression of that kind of juxtaposition.
Frida unapologetically broke all the rules and she refused to conform to society. Though in pain for the majority of her life, she was incredibly strong. This type of "against all odds" attitude is often a key factor in the gay experience and staunchly resonates with counter culture residents--both then and now. And although staunchly against capitalism, she was a master of branding. Think about that the next time you buy Frida socks.
Coffee Tres Leches Cake with Cayenne Popcorn Balls
COFFEE SPONGE CAKE
9 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee powder
2 tbsp boiling water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp of almond extract
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1/2 cup warm milk or heavy cream
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup evaporated milk
8 oz softened cream cheese, room temperature.
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee powder
2 tbsp boiling water
2 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cups of popcorn
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup of butter, melted
1 cup of marshmallows
3/4 cup of light corn syrup
1 tsp of cayenne
Preheat oven to 325F. Prep two 8” round cake pans with parchmont paper on the bottom. Grease the paper, but don’t grease the sides of the pan! Greasing the sides will make the cake cake into itself.
In a mixer, blend eggs for a few minutes and then add the sugar slowly. Blend until it’s doubled in volume. Meanwhile, combine coffee powder and boiling water. One it’s cooled a little bit, add to egg mixture. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add to egg mixture, followed by almond extract. Pour evenly in both pans and bake for about 30 minutes or until done.
Combine milks and coffee into a container with a spout, like a liquid measuring cup.
Once the cakes are cooled, cut each in half lengthwise, so you end up with 4 layers.
Whip room temperature cream cheese until it’s light and fluffy. Slowly add sugar. Mix for a few minutes. Meanwhile, boil water again to mix with the last of the coffee powder. Stir well and think about all the ex lovers who have scorned you. Once the coffee and your emotions have cooled down, add to the frosting mixture. Finally add the chilled heavy cream and whip until it has formed stable peaks.
Now onto the layering. Put one of the layers on cake board. Soak with a quarter of the milk mixture and top with a thin layer of frosting. Repeat until the final layer topped and coat the whole cake! Smooth out the sides or put a design on the sides, the put the cake in the fridge to firm up.
In a small sauce pan, melt the butter, corn syrup, and marshmallows until smooth. Add the cayenne and set aside. Pour oil in a large bottomed skillet and add the kernals and sugar, along with a healthy amount of gel food coloring (we used pink) over high heat. Pop the corn like you normally would, but continue to shake the pan so the sugar doesn’t burn and the coloring spreads as evenly as possible. Once the popcorn has cooled a little bit, pour in the marshmallow mixutre and stir with your hards. You’ll want to form around 7-10 balls to surround the top of the cake. If the popcorn in sticking to your hands too much, wet your palms and then form the popcorn balls. Add to the top of the cake and you’re done!
Then have a cigarette and a good sit. You’ve earned it.