Carlos Batts, the Baltimore-born LA transplant who carved a niche as an always-arty erotic photographer and director, and whose work with wife April Flores made the pair like an interracial porno-fabulous Andrew Wyeth and Helga, will be remembered at a pair of ceremonies at Glendale’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park on November 8 and 9.
Batts, 40, died on October 22. Details are few, other than he was found by his wife and he had not been feeling well for about a month. I saw the couple briefly at Catalyst Con in late September. It was after 10 p.m. and we all looked tired.
I first met Carlos and April in 2006. I could tell they were a team, and they had hitched their wagons to each other. I thought they were good people and I admired their relationship. I feel like I’ve always been looking for a partner in crime, and Carlos and April’s connection gave me hope.
I saw them a few times a year after that — at the “Voluptuous Biker Babes” screening at the New Beverly, at April’s Art Vagina opening at Hollywood’s La Luz de Jesus Gallery (in which various artists interpreted her vagina), and Carlos was always there with her, and he’d always be talking Two Projects Ahead.
Recently I compiled a list of the 20 Weirdest Nights of My Life. 10 of them were Weird In A Good Way and 10 of them Weren’t. Carlos was there for one of the Weird In A Good Way nights, and that’s the type of person he was. He had a diversity of people around him, all of whom had something to say, and something interesting to do. It was never, ever dull.
There used to be a time when guys like Carlos made a lot of money. For all the ideas in his head, his hustle at getting them realized, and his love of the work, he didn’t get paid like he might have 20 years ago. He told me once that it was a struggle, but what other option did he have?
The tragedies of Carlos’ passing are many: He was so young, he leaves someone who loves him, he had so much to live for. And you know that he had all this energy to make things happen, which is different from other people who die young or old, leaving projects unstarted. Maybe in a year or so April will share with us all the projects Carlos had in progress. I hope so.
Friends have launched a PayPal campaign to defray hospital and funeral expenses. Log in to PayPal, click on the Send Money tab, and give what you can to CarlosBattsMemorialFund@gmail.com.
Forest Lawn, Glendale is the type of cemetery you would only find in California, and it is fitting that Carlos Batts will be hanging out there with the likes of Michael Jackson, Larry Fine, Billy Barty, Walt Disney, and L. Frank Baum, as well as a whole lot of art, both funky and classical. Atop Forest Lawn stands an illuminated cross that can be seen from most points in Los Angeles. Underneath that is an art gallery that has exhibits like “Album Art of the 1970’s”, so people like me can visit and be eased into the idea of our own mortality. Across the parking lot from the gallery is the church where Batts will be eulogized.
A vigil will be held for Batts at the Church of the Recessional on Friday, November 8, from 6-9 p.m., the same place his funeral will be performed the following afternoon at 2.