Ovarian Psycos (The Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival)
Xela de la X, Andi Xoch, Evie
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It’s this ‘gang versus community group’ identity crisis that appears to be at the heart of things.
This intriguing documentary tells the story of a number of Latina women who form the core of a female-centric social collective in East Los Angeles, called Ovarian Psycos. Founded in 2010 by several people, including hip-hop artist and mother Xela de la X, it’s evolved into something of a refuge, a bicycling collective that supports disaffected and abused women and creates a strong communal base, caring for its members. Visual artist Andi Xoch has been a group member since its inception and makes genre-bending toys on the side. New member Evie takes to the group with gusto because of the positive community support and the sense of belonging.
The group partakes in regular social endeavours, some co-ed, some not and embodies largely feminist ideals with an inclusiveness that encompasses transgender individuals as well. Ovarian Psycos also incorporate protests and fundraising into their night time rides through the city and organise regular events such as a protest reaction to escalating violence perpetrated against women, domestically and in the streets.
Xela de la X feels the cumulative weight of an abusive upbringing and of her own parental responsibility when most of her free time is devoted to the group; she considers exiting the group she founded. Other members struggle with alienated family members who simply do not understand. Frustratingly, much of this drama happens off-camera. The filmmakers touch on the ‘Chicano Power’ movement that emerged from L.A. in the late 1960s, which is fascinatingly relevant; however it’s over far too quickly and focus then shifts elsewhere. The group (referred to as a ‘chain gang’ by an La Times article) uses ‘patch’ style skeleton graphics that would inevitably draw comparisons with gang motifs and the ‘safety in numbers’ element, though understandable, is undeniably intimidating as the horde of women cyclists move through the mean streets of East LA. It’s this ‘gang versus community group’ identity crisis that appears to be at the heart of things, as the group loses and gains members, constantly evolving in its mission but never its core feminist ideals.