WU TSANG: My name is Wu Tsang.

I was doing this party with some friends called Wildness at a bar called The Silver Platter in Macarthur Park Los Angeles. We did the club for two years and it was a weekly club.

And I was documenting the performances but also becoming very integrated and involved with the community of folks that hung out at the Silver Platter over the course of that time. And I started filming interviews because I was interested in collecting oral histories. The bar had actually opened in 1963. It’s a really special place that’s kind of like a safe space for queer, LGBT, mostly Latina/Latino, and a lot of immigrants from Mexico and Central America.

So in doing the party and filming the performances and organizing the performances and doing these interviews with some of the women who hung out there and some of the owners and people who worked there I at some point realized that I had a feature-length film on my hands. And sort of all along the way expanding the politics of what it meant to be working in that space as both an outsider and as someone who was identifying in certain ways with the community in certain ways. And sharing experience like as queer people or trans people, but also as an outsider and as an artist.

I actually worked with a collaborator, a co-writer, and we invented the Silver Platter as a character in the film, who actually is the main narrator. Who kind of watches over everybody. So the main story line is this little drama, my character is this kind of young, idealistic person who comes—maybe I’m searching for something and I’m finding it at this place and the bar is watching me become a part of the community and sort of observing how I make mistakes. And kind of teaching me lessons and being both warm and—sort of this parental figure that loves me but also puts me in my place when I need to be.

Wu Tsang (b. 1982), Production still from _WILDNESS_, 2012 (in progress). High-definition video, color, sound. © Wu Tsang; courtesy the artist