Before making any major decisions regarding one of her highly acclaimed California cannabis events, Katie Partlow asks herself one question: “Is this something my mother would come to?”
It should be noted that Partlow’s mother is “pretty cool."
“[Beyond the fact that] she still likes to go out dancing and has a cocktail every now and then, my mom really started opening up to cannabis and all the ways it could be helpful to her when I joined the industry,” says Partlow. “She has arthritis, so I introduced her to topicals, vape pens, micro-dosed edibles... and now she’s sharing all that knowledge with her community of friends and they’re looking to me for more information and education.”
For her part, Partlow is more than happy to deliver – via what Rolling Stone has deemed the “best pot [parties] in California.”
Partlow is the founder of Little Face, a Los Angeles-based event production company that aims to build “inclusive spaces within the cannabis scene” through “innovative cultural events that ... cultivate positivity and allow consumers to learn more about products and healthy consumption.”
In the two or so years that Little Face has been up and running, the company has curated a range of eclectic, cannabis-friendly events for people from all walks of life. The events are held monthly and always offer a unique – but ever-artistic – theme.
Take her ‘Immersion’ party, for example. Hosted by drag queens in dazzling attire and peppered with cannabis products from a range of top-quality brands, the event “showcased the versatility of cannabis” by having guests engage in experiences that highlighted each of their five senses, from a blindfolded dinner to a ‘sound bath.'
There’s also Partlow’s intensely popular cannabis cabarets – featuring LA’s most outstanding burlesque, drag and puppetry performers – or her ‘Comedy, Cake + Cannabis’ series, which fuses edibles, elixirs and extracts with stand-up comedy.
Each of her events is wildly different from the last, but they all have at least one major thing in common: they don’t look anything like your traditional cannabis event.
“When I first moved to LA and started attending different cannabis events, what I saw were these giant rooms with really loud music and a bunch of people so high... that they couldn’t carry on a conversation,” says Partlow, a former ballerina and Latin dancer from Washington.
“I don’t know who is running these outdated events, whether there aren’t any women in charge or they just don’t have any young people in the company helping to inform on modern cannabis culture ... but I just felt like there were a lot of missed opportunities and a lot of misrepresentation of the community.”
A desire to move away from this conventional “stoner bro culture” and create something more inclusive and sophisticated is ultimately what led to the birth of Little Face.
In other words, don’t expect any bikini-clad women or bong-ripping tournaments at one of Partlow’s events. Everything – from which performers are showcased, to how cannabis is actually included in any given event – is carefully curated.
“I want my events to be able to stand on their own with or without cannabis ... which is why I put the focus on the art and the entertainment,” says Partlow.
“If people choose to explore cannabis while taking in the event, it’s there. And it’s there with the intention of being used responsibly and learning more about the product."
“That why I try to limit the brands to five per event and why I make them all non-competitive – meaning there’s maybe one edibles company, one for flower, one for pre-rolls, one for extracts and one for elixirs. That way, you’re not trying five different cookies and then not being able to remember which one gave you the experience you liked best.”
At the core of all of Partlow’s events is a desire to help foster an updated understanding of the ‘typical’ cannabis consumer.
“For me, smoking weed has been a journey of meeting people I otherwise may never have connected with if we hadn’t shared a joint ... My hope is that people from all walks of life come to these events and make connections with each other,” says Partlow, adding that: “a good event is something everyone can come to and feel... warm and respected.”
“I hope these events help cultivate a stronger cannabis community.”