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Hollywood art figure Anthony Feathers a.k.a. $EX Artiste! passed away on August 11, 2020, the same date he was born 51 year prior (August 11, 1969). Known as the birthday effect, this phenomenon is explained by Hasidic Judaism as a moment “when the person lives his life achieving his fullest potential and completes his mission on earth in the most perfect way possible.”

The son of Harold “Dude” Feathers and Irene Maria Jose in Oklahoma, Anthony was born in Pawnee Nation, and grew up in Cherokee Nation. His high school years were spent on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico.

He was very proud of his Pawnee/Cherokee heritage, all the while fighting against homophobia and forced Jehovah’s Witnesses within his community. When he came to Hollywood in 1986, he retained his native spirit, incorporating it into his art, his way of creating and his life. Anthony was a thoughtfully deep man. Everything he said and did came from the soul.

In August 2005, Anthony met Cristiano Burlacchini at the now-shuttered Spotlight bar on Cahuenga and Selma Avenues (the oldest gay bar in Hollywood, opened in 1963). He was one of its most recognizable regulars and mourned its closing, as the entire LGBTQ community did, back in 2011. After meeting there, the pair were inseparable, eventually moving in together. When marriage equality was finally enacted as law, they became husbands.

$EX Artiste!  self-portrait. (Photo by Anthony Feathers)

Anthony was one of my first patrons when I opened Antebellum Gallery in Hollywood in 2005, gushing over the art and environment. He respected how rare and special my space was and became an honorary “Antebellian” continuously supporting the gallery until it closed on January, 2017. Anthony once said, “Antebellum Gallery is a fetish wonderland, a fantastic and magical place!”

One evening Anthony shyly invited me to his apartment to show me his art. Whimsical and bizarre, organic and fetishistic, it was as special as he was. Not only did he paint and illustrate, but he also created dolls of himself, cake art, crafts, mixed media and photography. Anthony also created all his own clothing and costumes, many solely for an opening’s theme, to wear one night only.

The persona $EX Artiste! was part of anything he created, and I proudly exhibited his artworks under the moniker for many years at my gallery. He was an incredible, underrated artist and he loved Hollywood, despite what it did to him.

We had many nice times together at the gallery, during openings, tea salons and happy hours, at his powder blue apartment at Yucca & Whitley Ave in Hollywood, and at his favorite watering hole, Snow White Cafe on Hollywood Boulevard. The place was a dive and the food was awful, but Anthony loved it because it was one of the few original gems left from the golden era of Hollywood.

He introduced me to Clownalyn Monroe, a real girl who sported Marilyn Monroe clown drag as a stripper. She performed at Antebellum Hollywood numerous times, with Anthony in the audience front and center smiling ear to ear like a proud clownie father. He always championed eccentric talents. He was obsessed with Denise Matthews aka Vanity of Vanity 6, Prince, Joe Dallesandro and Tony Ward, dedicating ample time to explore and eventually meet his idols.

A paralegal for many years with a downtown Los Angeles law firm, the job allowed him to visit the exclusive California Club on many occasions. Once there he would post photos looking resplendent wearing “corporate realness!”

Rick Castro, Jake Prieto, $EX Artiste! and Pete Finland at Antebellum Gallery circa 2011. (Photo by Hugbear)

As the years went by and the political landscape tainted by Trumpworld made life as an artist more difficult, Anthony became deeply affected by the changes in Hollywood and was forced to move. Then Cristiano’s visa was up for renewal and Anthony couldn’t afford to take care of him. Sadly Cristiano was deported back to Brazil on July 15th, 2015. The couple stayed in contact on a daily basis.

This past summer Anthony’s health deteriorated and he was forced into a thirty day hospital stay. Due to diabetes his toe was amputated. He declined rapidly after that and was found unresponsive on his birthday.

Anthony Feathers will live on in the hearts of Cristiano aka “Hugbear,” his beautiful native American family in Oklahoma (including Marilyn Feathers, Leila Feathers, Paula Feathers and Carla Feathers, his many cousins, nieces and nephews) and his friends and fellow artists in Hollywood. His sisters plan to travel to Los Angeles to collect his artworks and belongings. They will have him cremated, and when the travel bans are lifted, they’ll deliver his urn to the love of his life in Brazil so the longtime lovers will finally be re-united.

“Anthony was and will always be the love, the real friend, the partner, the father,” Cristiano says. “I never met anyone so honest with his feelings, so true to himself, so concerning and empathetic with others.”

Rest in peace $EX Artiste! You were a one-of-a-kind person, original in every way and a true Hollywood eccentric. You will be deeply missed. I will always love you for bringing us joy, spirit, whimsy & color into an ever greying world.

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been created to help with Anthony Feathers’ burial expenses. Donate HERE

For more of Rick Castro’s writings and images go to antebellumgallery.blogspot.com/ and instagram.com/castrrick/.

 

LA Weekly