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Event Curator Shows Marijuana’s Feminine Mystique

Katie Partlow wants to show the softer side of cannabis.

As the founder of the Los Angeles events company The Black Dahlia, Partlow is fast building a nationwide reputation as she blends entertainment and information at her weed-centric private parties.

By bringing a cross section of cannabis vendors, activists, and educators into a diverse mix of guests, she aims to stretch the demographics and knowledge of marijuana.

In an abbreviated tea ceremony and yoga session, guests at the recent Mothers event learn about Lit Yoga, the Venice-based cannabis and yoga center. Photography by Efren Beltran

“I take a lot of my own personal experience and interests into consideration when I am developing the concepts,” said Partlow, who uses her performing arts background to curate the entertainment roster.

Previous events have combined cannabis vendors with art, food, live music, sound baths, burlesque, and drag. Her first public event, the summer 2017 Cannabis, Comedy & Cake, featured stand-up comics and a mirrored maze of rooms decorated like oversized wedding cakes in a downtown Los Angeles art gallery.


Photography by Efren Beltran

A Lizzy Tish display offers guests at the Mothers event samples of micro-dose and non-medicated shortbread cookies. Photography by Efren Beltran

Her latest Los Angeles event, called Mothers, was billed as “an interactive journey through the [John] Sowden House, celebrating the beauty, healing properties, and ecological importance of (mother) plants.”

At its heart, the Sunday afternoon party in late May 2018 was a gently subversive, taboo-busting exploration of the ways women, and particularly mothers, can use cannabis products.

Even the setting was full of intrigue. Sitting high on a hill, the John Sowden House was designed  as a neo-Mayan mansion for open-air gatherings in 1926 by architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s son Lloyd Wright. Dan Goldfarb, the founder of the the hemp nutraceuticals company Canna-Pet, bought the home for about $4.7 million recently, in part to establish a “cannabis oasis” where guests can experience pot privately.

Photography by Efren Beltran

Custom-blended teas from Lit Yoga, the Venice-based cannabis and yoga center. Photography by Efren Beltran

Small groups of women of all ages were led through the rooms, most featuring sessions on female-leaning topics and products. Using a vagina puppet, sexuality educator and “cannasexual” Ashley Manta explained how female anatomy and THC such as that in sponsor Quim Rock’s intimate oils, can help women find “our hell-yes energy” and avoid unpleasant effects of intercourse.

Infused edibles, such as Lizzy Tish shortbread tea cookies and Kikoko herbal teas, were available in microdoses, while Kiva Confections displayed its mints and chocolate bars. Guests made flower crowns

— fresh marijuana leaves optional — with The Flower Daddy, or relaxed through an abbreviated tea ceremony and session of Lit Yoga, currently California’s only cannabis-and-yoga studio.

Photography by Efren Beltran

Guests at the Mothers event crafted custom flower crowns, courtesy of The Flower Daddy. Photography by Efren Beltran

Each session illustrated how cannabis fits into a responsible, wellness-focused lifestyle.

“I limit the amount of brands. I don’t want people to consume too much, and if there are too many brands, you lose track of which ones you like,” Partlow said. “I want people to come, mingle with like-minded people, and learn about different brands so they can go to dispensaries and know what products work for them.”

Her creative approach was born of dissatisfaction with pot’s stoner dude culture.

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Published: June 12, 2018

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