PLANNING MEETINGS, EMAIL CHAINS, WORKSHOPS, EDITORS MEETINGS, SUBMISSION DEADLINES, DESIGN DEADLINES COLLAB COLLAB COLLAB…

A CITYWIDE EFFORT BIRTHS APIARY MAGAZINE‘S 8TH ISSUE

SOFT TARGETS

WITH US AS GUEST EDITORS

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In conjunction with Philadelphia-based DIY postcolonial sci-fi collective METROPOLARITY, the staff of APIARY Magazine are proud to announce that APIARY 8, SOFT TARGETS, HAS OFFICIALLY LANDED!

Thank you to all who came out to our launch party to celebrate the release! This was truly a luminous event, and we could not have pulled it off without your love and support!

If you missed our launch party, you can pick up a copy of APIARY 8 SOFT TARGETS at any of the following locations at this continuously updated list here.

The Apiary crew is busy distributing stacks and stacks of the free magazine all across the city – you can see where in almost real-time via their Instagram here.

Meanwhile, we’re shipping out a copy with any t-shirt purchase from our webshop.

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What’s inside?

In this issue our authors interrogate fear. They recode the technologies of terror and depravity into a language of bravery, beauty, and tenderness. APIARY 8 asks: How do we live freely? How do we prevail against violence? How do we, also, resolve the injustice in our own hearts?

We don’t pretend to have the answers. Instead, we’re letting the visions, poems, stories, and artwork of local Philadelphians speak to our city.

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Here’s a few choice pics of the launch party from July 9th at The Painted Bride in Olde City, by Erin Pitts Photography. The full album with 200+ pics can be viewed here.

 

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Thanks Apiary staff and everyone who wrote, read, showed up and otherwise busted their ass to contribute to this thick slab of magazine!

 

PSSST…

WE’RE STILL WORKING ON THE #SOFTTARGETS METROPOLARITY CUT EDITION…

THIS IS THE WORK OF OUR OWN RASHEEDAH PHILLIPS OF THE AFROFUTURIST AFFAIR AND CAMAE AYEWA OF ROCKERS / MIGHTY PARADOCS / MOOR MOTHER

AKA

BLACK QUANTUM FUTURISM COLLECTIVE

WHO WERE AWARDED A FELLOWSHIP AND WERE RECENTLY ABLE TO OPEN UP

COMMUNITY FUTURES LAB

at 2204 Ridge Avenue in North…

View of Ridge Avenue storefront, Community Futures Lab, Philadelphia (photo by Amanda Sroka)

“Community Futurisms: Time & Memory in North Philly” is a social practice, collaborative art, and ethnographic research project exploring oral histories, memories, alternative temporalities, and futures within the North Philadelphia neighborhood known as Sharswood/Blumberg. The area is currently undergoing a major redevelopment project after years of deep poverty, educational inequality, and high crime. “Community Futurisms” will document the redevelopment of Sharswood/Blumberg, through an multidisciplinary community art project that explores the intersections of futurism, literature, visual remixing, sound, and activism as art.

The goal of the Community Futures Lab is to collect, preserve, and share the Sharswood-Blumberg community’s memories and stories for future generations. We are looking for anyone who has ever lived in the neighborhood, and people who still live in the neighborhood and surrounding areas.

A project of The AfroFuturist Affair/Black Quantum Futurism Collective, supported in large part by A Blade of Grass
http://www.abladeofgrass.org/fellow/black-quantum-futurism/
BQF Collective is inspired by afrofuturism, quantum physics, and african traditions of spatial-temporal consciousness. They weave science fiction realities with african concepts of time, ritual and sound to present innovative works that offer practical ways to escape time loops, oppression vortexes and the digital matrix.

This project is not affiliated with the Philadelphia Housing Authority or the City of Philadelphia

For more info, please contact:
communityfutureslab@gmail.com

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Black Quantum Futurism (BQF), along with the AfroFuturist Affair, both activist-oriented collectives celebrating and disseminating black science fiction culture, has opened a community resource space envisioned as a “time capsule” in Sharswood/Blumberg. The North Philly neighborhood has seen much socioeconomic strife over the years and is now undergoing a $526 million dollar redevelopment project that cleared thousands of residential units via eminent domain. The Community Futures Lab was created in response to this reality and is also asking the neighborhood what potential needs the lab can fulfill, from organizing housing resources workshops and skill-sharing panels to zine brunches and yoga classes. Located next to Temple University, the blocks around the lab are tempting land grabs for thirsty real estate developers — in this case, the Philadelphia Housing Authority — who want to wipe the slate clean of the poverty and inequality that have long plagued the area. But the city neglects to consider the chaos that the displacement of human beings and communities causes to the residents who are uprooted. Personal stakes are ignored and buried under the rubble in the name of profitability.

[…]

Black Quantum Futurism encompasses the work of the lawyer-activist-writer Rasheedah Phillips and musician-designer-photographer Camae Ayewa, as well as the efforts of others who have collaborated with the two artists. Phillips is the founder of the AfroFuturist Affair and published the Black Quantum Futurism manifesto, which proposes a creative and critical vision that values and rewrites black diasporic history through an Afrofuturist lens. She has participated in The Shadows Took Shape, the group exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem that explored Afrofuturist aesthetics, as well as the yearlong Octavia Butler celebration at Clockshop in Los Angeles. Ayewa performs and tours as Moor Mother, a solo music project creating memorial soundscapes and what she calls “slaveship punk,” and cofounded Rockers! Philly, a festival devoted to marginalized artists.

In addition to her artistic practice, Phillips is the managing attorney for the Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, which ties her intimately to the concerns of locals who are left helpless in the state of the current housing crisis. She also attended Temple University for both her BA and JD, and has lived about 10 blocks from Community Futures Lab for the last six years. Phillips says, “utilize me,” and wants her neighbors to know that she has a stake in Sharswood/Blumsberg and intends to facilitate change through civic engagement.

An Afrofuturist Community Center Targets Gentrification

THE GOINGS ON…

CFL has only been open a couple months and has already hosted mulllltiple events and received as many press write-ups. We’ll try to crosspost CFL events here, but the best way to keep up with what’s going on at the Lab is to follow them:::::

@COMMUNITYFUTURESLAB ON INSTAGRAM +

COMMUNITY FUTURES LAB BLOG +

/COMMUNITYFUTURESLAB ON FACEBOOK

 

THE PRESS SO FAR….

PHILLY VOICE | Race Against Time: A North Philly artist aims to document her disappearing community | 16 JUNE 2016

VIBE MAGAZINE | This Artist Collective In Philadelphia Is Documenting Gentrification In The Community | 17 JUNE 2016

GENEROCITY | Rasheedah Phillips’s Community Futures Lab in Sharswood is underway | 17 JUNE 2016

HYPERALLERGIC | An Afrofuturist Community Center Targets Gentrification | 22 JUNE 2016

WHYY | Bharatanatyam, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Afrofuturism (video, 26:49) | 26 JUNE 2016

THE PHILADELPHIA TRIBUNE | Spoken word history project opens in North Philly | 2 JULY 2016

APOLLO MAGAZINE | A whistlestop tour of Philadelphia’s contemporary art spaces | 6 JULY 2016

NODE CENTER | Black Quantum Futurism Theory & Practice | 13 JULY 2016

PHILLYCAM | Around the Corner: Afrofuturist Affair | 20 JULY 2016

HUFFPOST POLITICS LIVE | Rasheedah Phillips tells the truth about gentrification and displacement in Philadelphia, the site of the Democratic convention. | 26 JULY 2016

CENTER FOR THE FUTURE OF MUSEUMS | The Community Futures Lab: Oral Histories, Oral Futures, and Quantum Time | 4 AUGUST 2016

 

WHAT’S COME TO PASS…

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So yeah yo, follow @communityfutureslab on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and if you want to stay abreast of Rasheedah’s many projects, events, and appearances in general, we definitely recommend subscribing to her FUTURE LIGHT CONE newsletter here.

“SCI-FI AS MEMOIR IN THE REALITY OF APOCALYPSE”

(1) #SOFTTARGETS WAS A DAY OF WRITING CRITIQUES + WORKSHOPS + PERFORMANCES ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON AT THE PHILADELPHIA FREE LIBRARY CENTRAL BRANCH.

This was an day-long event held in preparation for the submission deadline to APIARY Magazine’s 8th issue and collaboration with our collective, themed SOFT TARGETS. APIARY is a volunteer-run, freely distributed literary magazine based in and featuring Philadelphia writers. Before METROPOLARITY got started, Ras was one of the fiction editors for the mag. APIARY’s staff has always supported us, and we’ve been meaning to do some sort of collaborative effort ever since. So the SOFT TARGETS issue is a sci-fi one collaboratively edited by us at METROPOLARITY, along with the standing editors at APIARY.

THE DAY CONCLUDED WITH METROPOLARITY SQUAD READING IN THE MAIN BRANCH’S FAMOUS AUDITORIUM. IF YOU MISSED IT, THANK THE COSMOS FOR A LIVESTREAM, M I RITE???? AUDIO IS PROVIDED BY NYFOLT & MOOR MOTHER GODDESS/BLACK QUANTUM FUTURISM CREW

Eighteen says: It was sooooooooooo nice to be at the central branch of the library for this event, and super starry to perform in the famed auditorium. Like a lot of Philadelphians out there, I spent a looot of time in the library growing up (Olney & East Oak Lane branches whut up). Really grateful to APIARY staff and Adam from the Library for making things possible, and very appreciative of everyone who came out to the writing critique session and workshop, and all those who stayed for the performances.

(2) THE LASER LIFE QUEER SCI-FI READING SERIES MARCH EDITION WAS FIRE

ALEX SMITH READS AT LASER LIFE

THE LASER LIFE AT LAVA ZONE
HASHTAG QUEER SCI-FI HASHTAG FUCK GOD HASHTAG FUCK LANDOWNERS HASHTAG UP THE HERETICS
#METROPOLARITY

THANKS TO ALL WHO CAME. THANKS TO JOYCE HATTON FOR THE MOST EXCELLENT DEBUT, MOOR MOTHER GODDESS FOR THE STORM, CHASKA FOR THE PERFECT AUDIO/VISUAL ATMOSPHERE & EVERYONE WHO CAME OUT <3 <3 <3 <3 IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN READING/PERFORMING AT THE NEXT LASER LIFE, CONTACT THEYAREBIRDS AT GEEEEEMAIL.

What nobody seems to have pics of is the powerful trailer for M. Asli Dukan‘s INVISIBLE UNIVERSE documentary on black speculative fiction… but check this out:

INVISIBLE UNIVERSE DOCUMENTARY (FUNDRAISING DEMO) from MIZAN MEDIA PRODUCTIONS on Vimeo.

In 2003, independent filmmaker, M. Asli Dukan, set out to make a documentary about the 150 year history of Black creators in speculative fiction (SF) books and movies. What she didn’t realize at the time was that she was about to document a major movement in the history of speculative fiction. A movement where a growing number of Black creators were becoming an effective force, creating works that had increasing influence on the traditionally, straight, white, cis-male dominated SF industry. However, while these Black creators imagined better futures for Black people within their fictional works of SF, in reality, the everyday, lived experiences of Black people in the United States – e.g., the rise of massive inequality, the prison industrial complex, and police brutality – stood in stark contrast. She began to wonder if these phenomena were related.

Told through the ever-present lens and off-screen narrator voice of the filmmaker, Invisible Universe will explore this question by examining the work of Black creators of SF through the ideology of the emerging Black Lives Matter movement, which addresses the systematic oppression of Black lives. Since she began the documentary, the filmmaker has compiled an extensive interviewee list of Black writers, artists and filmmakers of SF who have been creating works where Black people not only exist in the future, but are powerful shapers of their own realities, whether in magical lands, dystopian settings, or on distant worlds. In addition, she has documented an ever-increasing number of academic, community and arts events dedicated to the work and critical analysis of Black SF, as well as building connections between the creators, thinkers, organizers and fans. In the past decade, the filmmaker has documented the cultural shift around Black SF and its explicit connections to Black liberation. This documentary explores the idea that in a world of capitalist exploitation, anti-Black oppression and state violence, Black creators are speculating about better worlds as a means of resistance and survival.

The documentary will also consider how “Black Speculation” is rooted in the history of “Black Struggle” in the United States by exploring two previous eras of Black creators speculating about Black lives through the genres of SF. The first era occurred during the nadir of African American history in late 19th and early 20th centuries, when slavery, war, lynchings, race riots, disfranchisement and segregation inspired Black writers to pen narratives about international slave rebellions, secret, Black governments and powerful, long lost, African kingdoms. The second era occurred during the 1960’s and early 1970’s, when the work of Black writers of SF seemed to extrapolate on the possible futures that would occur as a result of the successes or failures of the Civil Rights or Black Power struggles. This documentary will explore how this current moment, which the filmmaker considers the third era of Black Speculation, compares and contrasts with the earlier two eras.

This timely documentary includes interviews with Black writers of SF like Samuel R. Delany, the late Octavia E. Butler, Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson and Nnedi Okorafor, actors like Nichelle Nichols and Wesley Snipes, cultural organizers like Rasheedah Phillips and her AfroFuturist Affair, academics/artists like John Jennings and Nettrice Gaskins, social justice workers/artists like adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha, as well as numerous other filmmakers, artists, academics, archivists, and fans. This one-of-a-kind project is essentially an archive of a “Who’s Who” of Black speculative fiction.

Our most precious recurring event, Laser Life, occurred this past Friday, JAN 31 204. We livestreamed the event from our local anarchist community meeting space via Google Hangouts (¬_¬) and the result is below for your viewing pleaaasure.

OPENING W/ALEX SMITH: 3:08

MAGGIE EIGHTEEN: 4:58
RAS MASHRAMANI: 22:45
SHANE JENKINS: 44:44
MARISSA JOHNSON-VALENZUELA 52:40

ALEX ASKS US TO CONTEMPLATE “WHY SCI-FI” & ITS OVERTHROW?: 1:05:00

SUZY SUBWAYS: 1:06:07
R.PHILLIPS: 1:18:56
ALEX SMITH: 1:34:15

THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO CAME THRU & COMES AFTER/BEFORE/NOW

IF YOU WANT TO READ YOUR QUEER INSURRECTIONIST SCI-FI AT THE UPCOMING APRIL LASER LIFE, CONTACT ALEX SMITH AT THEYAREBIRDS(@)GMAIL(.)COM

One of these days we’re going to have enough time out of our day jobs and personal projects and group organizing efforts to write some beefy articles up on this chumpie, but until then we’re going to keep updating you with media from our efforts in the meatspace.

Here’s a bit of backlog coverage from two events, The Apiary Corp & The Dream Oven‘s Come As Your Madness smut reading in September 2013, and the 11th annual Philly Zine Fest in October 2013

Ras Mashramani readily reads a bunch of filth at Little Berlin in the world’s best ambivalent dial-up monotone (this is one of the multitude of reasons she is loved).

Jump ahead a month and here she is reading a piece about cyberspace adolesence and chatroom survival called The Nightspace at Philly Zine Fest 2013 At the Rotunda, October 12th, 2013

R.Phillips (also of the Afrofuturist Affair) reads from Literary Social Vision & Building Benevolent Institutions Part 1 at the same fest. If you like hard SF, do yourself a favor and get turned on here.

“Like newborns to an umbilical cord we remain tethered to institutions all our lives.”

Then she follows up, reading the excerpt “Zero Point” from the tentatively titled Slice Convergence and Non-Local Spaces. She read this at the last Laser Life and everybody’s head exploded (then reassembled by reversing the thermodynamic flow of time)

Don’t miss us. We regularly post about our upcoming events here in our Events Calendar, and more readily at our Surveillance Facebook page.

And feel free to invite us out too 😉

WE’RE FROM THE CITY, WE LIVE ON THE EAST COAST.
WE RECEIVE AN ELECTRONIC REQUEST FOR DISPATCH TO THE MIDWEST
THE FARGO MOORHEAD ZINE FEST?
HAVE ANY OF Y’ALL EVER BEEN TO FARGO BEFORE?
FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA?

take the picture already

Yes, Fargo, North Dakota. To those of us who grew up in those big coastal cities (Philly and LA in our case), Fargo opens up as a charming city—the largest city—in North Dakota, right across the street (or creek or train tracks) from Moorhead, Minnesota and the buffalo plains of the midwest. Downtown Fargo was full of cute cafes, independent boutiques, hip eateries, hip churches, a comic book store, a record shop, a tattoo parlor, an awesome public library, and a strong bicycle culture to boot. We were surprised, when originally Ras was worried about being “a black” in the midwest and I was worried about having to deal with the class rage of interacting with happy-go-lucky privileged white people at every turn. It did indeed seem like an attractive place where a nice sense of chummy and shallow “diversity” can flaunt itself proudly without ever having to be accountable to people who aren’t white, middle class, straight, or men.

main street

But then there’s Joyce Hatton and the Fargo Moorhead Zine Fest (FMZF).

the zine fest in the High Plains Reader!

FMZF flier at the art supply store

gettin caffineaquainted

After I made my first (intentional) zine well, I thought ‘well, what now? Zines are for white punks, so there’s no community for me to share this with.’ And then I found POCZP [the People of Color Zine Project]! I totally fell in love with the online community, and thought ‘wouldn’t it be great if I could have this kind of safe, supportive, openminded community in my physical space, too?’

I decided a zine fest was the way to go, so I started making that happen. I had no idea how to do it, but I just started taking steps that seemed to make sense. My idea of zines being for white people didn’t just happen, it grew out of misinformation about zines, and zine fests that weren’t diverse, so I thought really hard about what I wanted for FMZF.

The goal was that FMZF be a diverse event, meaning: people of many different races, ethnicities, cultures, religions, genders, sexuality, and classes have knowledge of the event, feel comfortable attending FMZF, and have had an opportunity to make a zine prior to and/or during the event so that each person feels zines are accessible to them and therefore feel included.
My goals for working with POCZP are to:

1) to build community in Fargo-Moorhead, share POC zines, and create safe spaces for POC and allies to have an honest, open sharing of ideas and experiences.

2) find ways effectively and easily share the POCZP’s mission and zine making with physically, emotionally, or ideologically isolated POC in rural areas and small towns in the Midwest.

So the work of FMZF fits in perfectly with that! And the reason those are my goals is because that’s what I want in my own life, and wished that I’d had when I was younger. I think that helps me to be effective and passionate because I’m truly working to fulfill needs lacking in my own life. All workshops and activities have been free and open to children because I’m also very passionate about using zines to validate and empower children.

The idea of me having a POC-led event talking about ways we can empower ourselves and each other was terrifying to me at first, due to a mix of safety concerns, internalized racism, and who knows what else. But with the help of Daniela Capistrano, the founder of the POC Zine Project, I found the courage to do it! And many thanks to Metropolarity! It was awesome getting to know Eighteen and Ras. They really helped make FMZF wonderful!

time for the zine fest!!

Fliers were all over the Fargo-Moorhead area, there was a write-up in the local alt weekly, the High Plains Reader, and there had been a number of small workshops leading up to the fest itself. Come Saturday, we found ourselves setting up in the basement of a Unitarian church, wondering who and what was to come. Aside from the tablers, there were to be performances and workshops by Spring Ma, Unedited Media, Quese IMC, and a screening of REZ by director Dominique DeLeon followed by a Q&A. That plus our own workshop on the particular way our humble science fiction collective has manifested movement building through speculative imagination. Joyce had gone to great lengths to bring together a lot of excellent crews under one roof…

It was a humble space with modest attendance, and perhaps you cannot tell from these words and images, but a deep and important well of life-sustaining exchange was discovered that day. Trust.

young Spring plays her first set of guzheng tunes

Young Spring Ma brought her dad and her guzheng and lent a mindful ambiance to the day, performing three sets in her most excellent princess attire.

anti-oppression info

rad librarian Becca

Rad librarian Becca with her own zines, in part with the MSUM Women’s Center.

queer american literature

The money shot from Becca’s How I Learned About My Visual Impairment

burrow and the "don't diss my ability" collab zine

Burrow and the Don’t Dis My Ability collaboration zine she put together, which came in a large print format as well.

"don't diss my ability" zine in large format

Unedited Media

Unedited Media spoke about their formation as a collective during Occupy Wall Street and their introduction to media documentation and representation. They shared how they ended up in the midwest, documenting resistance events (against struggles primarily affecting native communities which the rest of the country would otherwise think was ancient history), and how they make media respecting the people involved in a given struggle, not simply just vying for the most shockworthy or attractive shot.

what they do

Sept 2nd, 2013 Blockade of Illegal Activity in White Clay. from Uneditedmedia on Vimeo.

Idle No More Keystone XL tar sands pipeline blockade

WE WON'T BE SILENT THEY WON'T DEFINE US

The feminist librarian crew of the Women’s Center of Minnesota State University Moorhead repped with a zine library and open, intersectional mindsets. We heard quite a few of their anecdotes that made clear “feminist” is still a very dirty word out that way. Their binders full of zines were really worth going through…

from que(e)ry issue 1

HO’ING AROUND spread out of Womanimalistic #1

and this highly #relevant gem from the 90s

GQ Joyce

Joyce with her excellent zines on overcoming cancer, seeking sobriety, safety, strength, dignity, and community. And the illustrations! Did you know? She’s the midwest coordinator for the POC Zine Project. 😀

cause it's just great

Spring Ma’s formidable cuteness displayed itself on all levels

things for the kids

The fest was a kid/family friendly event, so we brought a few things just for them and covered up any cuss words they don’t need to be knowing just yet.

picking through the youth appropriate buttons

Metropolarity table spread

We brought along work from Suzy Subways, Annie Mok, Patrokolos, and other neighbors that had print materials to send along.

all that's left & arkdust zines

You can get our zines here and here, by the way. 🙂

what do we think of when we hear sci-fi

Starting the workshop with ‘what do we think of when we hear the word sci-fi?’

Quese IMC & Joyce during the workshop

Quese IMC and Joyce discussing intentions for the Quantum Time Capsule mini workshop we held (which we personally experienced firsthand at the Rockers BBQ thanks to our boo, the AfroFuturist Affair).

collecting quantum time capsule intentions

interactions

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Quese IMC makes the circle

Quese IMC came and made a circle and one could say that he spoke of the undeniable history of violence against native people, against peoples, and cycles of violence, cycles of learning. One could also say that he came to be heard and came to hear us, and in the circle there was humility, and in humility, paths to healing. I would later write that he gave us some medicine.

Marcus “Quese IMC” Frejo is an award winning indigenous hiphop artist. His music has been in film and animation, both major and independent. He has performed with the likes of Run DMC, Ludacris, Knarles Barkley, Atmosphere, The Pharcyde, Kumbia Kings, DJ Grandmasterflash, Petey Pablo, Clipse, Poor Righteous Teachers, Mos Def and Tinariwen, just to name a few. Quese IMC is one of the founding members of the world-famous group, Culture Shock Camp. He truly loves the artform of hip-hop expression and uses this instrument to bring forth awareness, consciousness and change within people and communities, not by force but by invitation. This invite consists of building bridges with the people and aligning ones ideas and spirit so that true spiritual change can be moved about through the power of word, music, art and connection.

Quese IMC was born in Oklahoma and is from the Wolf band of Pawnee and Bear clan of Seminole Indigenous People. He also has roots from Silao, Guanajuato. Quese IMC has been writing, performing hiphop since the age of 7. He continues to work with and within indigenous communities across the country, as well as inner-city youth programs, high schools, universities, youth conferences, multi-cultural impact building and cultural exchanges. Quese IMC also works with programs geared towards suicide prevention on and off reservation communities.

REZ screening by Dominique DeLeon

The zine fest officially ended at 5pm and shifted to a screening of Dominique DeLeon’s short film and graduate thesis at NYU, REZ, “a film meant to honor a late friend but also shed some light on the plight of the 7th generation.” [more]

Daniel Nightbird is an Ojibwe teen living on the Leech Lake reservation who’s taking care of his young sister alone. Down to his last dollar, when he’s suddenly evicted it sets in motion a desperate search for a safe place on the Rez, which is harder to come by than even he imagined.

Rez Teaser Trailer from Special Boy Films on Vimeo.

Apparently, his board of reviewers did not quite believe that native peoples living on a reservation might dress in certain attires, act in certain ways, or experience certain struggles, and questioned the legitimacy of the narrative as depicted in the film. Upon sharing this anecdote with the lot of us, we all scoffed and shook our heads. Is it really so difficult to believe that struggle out of oppression needs to look a certain way for it to be real? You could say this is exactly why events like FMZF need to take place.

REZ director Dominique DeLeon speaking

on what kind of films he wants to be in in the future

The screening closed with a Q&A with DeLeon, as well as REZ’s lead actor, Al Seaboy. When I asked what kinds of films he wants to be in going forward, he said he wanted to be in works about real people, real stories, like REZ.

packing up

And in the quiet of the early evening, we packed up, said our farewells, and started to make our post-fest dinner plans.

goodbye FMZF 2013!

end to a weekend group photo

Being in Fargo and meeting with the people at the zine fest gave me a lot of much-needed perspective. Being raised in a mixed, blue collar family and living in a city like Philly, it’s always been easy for me personally to run my mouth against people who come from financial privilege, white middle Amerikkka, the liberal white middle class, oblivious whiteness, period. So it was humbling to interact with a white community that is surrounded by nothing but white supremacist culture & unquestioned colonialist narratives, yet are somehow able to see that there is a problem with it (by listening to the people saying THERE IS A PROBLEM!) and working to change their attitudes, perspectives, and power structures for oppressed people out that way. Respect. This is to say nothing of the awe and uplifting, sustaining feelings I had to be around Joyce and the fruits of her labor in creating something out of nothing — an intersection point for people of color, a place for sharing, listening, visibility, and empowerment.

(Also, tumblr & internet networks & empowerment through media is strong at work. People make fun of tumblr activism but I think they forget a time before internet networks were an easily accessible reality.)

Later I wrote in my journal, “Quese said that his jewelry wasn’t his. He just carried it with him, and it became a part of him over time. And later it would go on to be a part of someone else. Exchange of information. New contexts. New meanings. New stories. New worlds. Thanks, Fargo. Thanks, Joyce.”

<3 eighteen


If you’re in the Fargo-Moorhead area and want to get hooked up with a solid crew, why not introduce yourself to the FMZF Auxiliary Programs squad?

See the entire photoset from our trip to Fargo here.

THE FRIDAY EVENING THE WOMB THE LASER LIFE ASSEMBLY AT THE ANARCHIST ORGANIZING SPACE IN WEST PHILADELPHIA
WE’RE SORRY YOU MISSED IT
HERE IS THE RECAP IN OUR SHORT BLIPS AND CLIPS
WE EVEN HAD CHURCH SPACE ORGAN THANKS TO SHANE JENKINS


RAS MASHRAMANI // NIGHT SPACE [coming soon]

[INSERT NON-EXISTENT FOOTAGE OF MAGGIE EIGHTEEN READING HERE]


R. PHILLIPS // THE AFROFUTURIST AFFAIR


KATIE ZALL // AND AREN’T YOU LUCKY HER WHOLE STORY IS ONLINE 4FREE RIGHT HERE


CAMAE DEFSTAR // MOOR MOTHER GODDESS


ALEX SMITH // HERALD ACTUATOR

When [R. Phillips] was done reading at LASER LIFE last night, I understood something so wholly, and completely, so finally, that can never not be true. That, beyond the colloquial euphemism of what Laser Life, sci-fi, and the speculative mean to me, that to say that one is “living sci-fi”, is for me inevitably and completely true. Her story and it’s heart rending, “gone to glory” climax made me realize that it is not only possible to live science fiction, but for me, it’s mandatory. It’s all there is, it’s all I know. Thanks, Rasheedah, for validating, confirming, making me believe.


If you are sad you missed this momentous and life-affirming gathering, it might behoove you to stay abreast of our events via our Facebook page.

We’re very busy this October and November. . .

The following was performed at the 3rd annual ROCKERS BBQ weekend. Consider it a part of our episode, the SPACE INVADERS :: Gentrification x Community issue of our Journal of Speculative Vision & Critical Liberation Technologies. Video by Kaos Blac. Feature image by House of Hayes.

So, I opened a customer’s check book, and inside, there was a pamphlet about god. My boyfriend had visited me at work, kissed me on the cheek and dashed off to an adventure on his own. It made my day. I think the three-top sitting at D4 saw this. After I dropped the food at their table, they asked me to pray with them. I declined. Fortunately, as the note they’d written on their check said, “God cares. Even for sinners such as you” . In a saner, more just universe (one with leprechauns in the Senate, one with were-dragon ballerinas as Septa train operators, one with talking lucky squirrels that spin acid jazz and jungle dub plates at barmitzphas), I would bring them back their change mixed in with shredded pieces of the Jesus pamphlet. I’d leave them a note as well. This is what it would say:

“The grid shapes us, molds us, makes us uniformly square. The binary assault on our senses has dulled us. We are trapped, thinking that our sexuality stems from some kind of intrinsic pre-determined genetic code, or that it can even be unlearned. We are all existing on levels of love, on a cosmic string that stretches across and over galaxies like electrical wires. When I lay down and kiss my boyfriend at night, I’m crossing the streams of countless eons of information, of pre-cybernetic memory, the ancient kind of memory that tells me that “I exist”. So, no matter what you write *now* on this little receipt, I’m giving you, in return, a sort of inter-dimensional banjee girl effect. I am kissing your son and husband passionately, deeply on the mouth, even now, just by writing this. I do appreciate your prayers, because I recognize that it is essential to humanity to create stories and dreams that explain the science of the world, that reassures us of our place, even as granular as it is, within the multiverse, but I also recognize that just as essential is our notion to be connected in grander ways to each other, that our holes are there for traversal and transmission and communication, and that we are portals, always and forever. So, yes, I am eternally in need of God, but only so much that god is creation and sex and fervor and life.“

(And yes, I could write all of this in-between serving customers and waiting on my other tables; sure, i’m *that* good. Plus, I keep a cache of “verbal beat down” tucked into my brain for just such occasions so it was all a matter of channeling, really)

Even in this reality, where ever “this reality” currently is, where we danced on top of DHL trucks at bonfires. Where we filled our baskets with the cosmic dawn, with the tools of the culling, marched over the horizon and struck a blow at the sun. Even here we are flying things, vast and unicorn, radiating in free effervescent thought chroma, bursts of the burgeoning universe lilting over radiant nebula, cloud and ash. We are baristas and shamans at the desks of the apparitions, the waitstaff in white gloves on the yachts of freedom ghosts with our time cards stamped until eternity.

My hands are gold and steel, wrapped up time machines. I push the button and black goo pours out in delicious crema. I stare at it as it coalesces into a filthy golden ring, a soul sapping halo of procured anti-vitamins, a sun-sucking ember extracted from a plant three thousand miles, one hundred leather straps on the back, an ocean of dead black bodies buried at sea, away. And then I pour it into the cup.

“Hello?” The pregnant white woman is holding her purse, her lips curled up in a half crescent of desire and thirst. She sees my black skin first, ignores the beading droplets of sweat coagulating on my brow. I think of the nights where we set fire to a rib shack, where we etched “death to gentrifiers” on the windows of the newest Wendy’s on Lancaster avenue, where we pricked our ankles on barbed wire and left bloody DNA tattoos on the walls of art museums. I think of the night sky opening up, afterglow sparking, ebullient rush of the wind, the party doors swinging wide and androgynous avatars announcing to the world, this is the land of the freaks and warriors and we’re taking things back, we’re busting out, we’re clearing this world, swollen on the fruit, still starved for the meat.

I wrote so many things down in those days, on the back of Spider-Man comic books, on napkins and napkin holders, on pieces of trash stuck and corroding on the side of the curb. I wrote of taking the artifacts out of the glass cases and putting them back into the ground- the sacred ground. I wrote of the ground.

“I’ll be with you in a moment,” I say, as I stir the pure brown down into the creamy liquid mass of the white white milk. Ah, an easy metaphor, I think, a clear and beautiful piece of hyperbole, consisting of the life blood of yuppiedom. I can set this thing on the counter, watch its pale beige swirl inundate the glass, cascade over the clear, nameless, not-there ice cubes, as it turns into the perfect mix of the people of the planet, of the people of Philadelphia, this great city of love, of understanding.

But this isn’t an 11th grade essay or a melting pot narrative. I’m standing behind a counter with a uniform on, the blackest beacon in a white universe, easily Google-able, so simple it is to Yelp my non- name: the star artist in this cappuccino and iced americano crazed continuum is ______. You can type my form into the entry for the café, it’s simple, and they will know who you are talking about. It’s not like we’re standing in a bodega in South Philadelphia or a five and dime in Kensington or a donut shop under the L at Girard. We’re here where the encroaching horizon of academia clashes with the shrinking border of hunger and death pangs. It’s real simple: I’m the black guy that works there.

“Are you ready for me?” she asks, as I stand staring her into her crisp blue eyes. She held her smart phone, tethered to her hand like a cyborg arm connected with nano machines. I could not tell where she ended and the iPhone began.

She is not ready to order. She is just there.

And so they all list into being, like a star-studded wikipage unraveling, falling into life and birthed in a line. They all want something from me, every inch of my black body, all that I can muster for them. They want everything except my story. A cop. A minister. A priest. A man in a Duke Lacrosse t shirt. An elderly woman with a tripod cane. A seeing eye dog. A boy in ripped jeans with a handlebar mustache. Another cop. A man with a souvenir paint brush from Milan. A woman wearing a dress made of kente cloth. A punk rocker.

I sat on the stoop outside of the café, watching children play in a puddle, the water rising and falling with their every excited splash. A police car came tearing through the intersection, slowed down when it passed the kids, rolled it’s window down. A white man in the back seat peered out plaintively, shook his head at the children then mouthed something to the cop driving and the squad car sped on.

When I’m emptying the trash, I am still a super-hero flying through the air, talking to dwarf stars and dreaming in quasars. When I’m picking up used napkins off of tables, I’m still a griot mystic, weaving light constructs from tiny threads of reality. When I’m making your coffee…

I saw the pregnant white woman on the 34 trolley. She got on at 36th street. I could feel the air sucked out of of the car from the vacuum created by the many men and women rising to give up their seat. I felt the searing heat of x-ray eyes, as the air got thinner, hotter, at 40th street station, where a black woman with three kids, weighed down with grocery bags got on. The look of disdain from the same passengers was hot enough to bake vampire flesh. I kept reading my comic book, stitched into my aisle seat.

When we reached 48th street, the sea of color had dispersed. The swirling yellow and porcelain white, the garish garments and cargo pants and Birkenstocks had disappeared. The announcer stopped announcing the street numbers. There was just us: monolithic, vast, black, and unicorn.

We realized that we should attempt to broadcast this past Laser Life (26 APR 2013), queer empowered sci-fi reading series, via Google Hangout, which permits audio and video chat in the nostalgic format of a chatroom. But on top of that, we soon discovered the frightening option to turn that Hangout into a live YouTube stream. Eighteen tested out the possibilities and the following was produced and posted to their YouTube channel in a matter of moments the evening prior:

So that when it was time for Friday night’s delights to occur, we were successfully live…

The lineup is as follows:
Alex Smith (Laser Life founder) opens.
R. Phillips of the Afrofuturist Affair at 8:21
Shane Jenkins at 19:50
Maggie Eighteen at 32:18
Alex Smith’s A R K D U S T intro & closing piece at 50:00


See past LASER LIFE videos here.
Get your very own copy of Alex’s A R K D U S T, send an inquiry to theyarebirds@hotmail.com

laser life is a queer sci-fi reading series. this april 26th, 2013.

THE ACTUATOR, THE NEXUS. ALEX SMITH’S LASER LIFE QUEER SCI-FI READING SERIES MAKES ITS SPRING RETURN.

featuring:

special guest: POLYMER MONOCHROME, aka Paul Walker of SGNLS in his sci-fi reading debut!! We are ecstatic to hear this new/old voice.

Alex Smith/ARKDUST:
“Close your eyes little starry Captain, little man of cosmos, you’re almost there, becoming. A lotus flower will appear at the crest of your every step, through cracks in the dust and piss strewn sidewalks and in the mire of the still damp tarmac leading to the place you call home. Light this stick, it’s a candle, and yes, though it’s just a figment or a symbol of your dreams, it’s something you can hold on to, it’s something you can use to see in the dark. Can you see it? Behind the flame? On another plane, a figure, spiraling coming closer to and standing grand in space and lacking light? Is it sentient? Is it you?”

Maggie Eighteen/ALL THAT’S LEFT
“Not soon after they became immersed in the virtual place between both their connections, the in-between place where they released tension, the wi-fuck, they called it. Where his female-bodied Captain had parts from a male one, and he, so used to being the aggressive masculine archetype in person, was on his hands and knees, willingly at the mercy of whatever humiliation or obedient bark she could dish out. She would work him mercilessly. The world was scary, and tonight he wanted to cry. ”

Shane Jenkins/RAZED BY WOLVES
“And then the moon was blotted out. Hundreds of crows, maybe thousands, swirled up over the forest, cawing and shrieking. The noise was deafening, the sky a whirr of angry feathers. All at once, they descended upon Kevin. He struggled, but the griffin’s wings kept him from moving. The crows picked away at Kevin bit by bit, and flew away with small parts of him. A bit of skin here, an eyeball there, a piece of tongue. In three minutes, there was no trace of Kevin, as they even flew away with his bones.”

Ras Mashramani/THE NIGHT SPACE
“”Honey, it would be good for you,” her mother squeezes her shoulder–the first time in months, “It would help us all out. Then you can get back to being you, a good girl.”
While Melinda throws all of her hoodies and sweats into a duffel bag, she wonders what that makes her now, after she was taken. She checks her Facebook one last time, and browses YouTube. Absentmindedly, she googles her name. She googles Kensington 6. She googles abductions and inseminations. In one youtube video, there is a girl from the Midwest bragging about her insemination, spitting at the webcam. Melinda thinks, then, that it’s time to go to bed.”

R. Phillips/AFRO-FUTURIST AFFAIR
By day, R. Phillips is a public interest attorney at a nonprofit legal organization, assisting low-income members of the community. Against the backdrop of night, Phillips explores the fine line between fiction and reality, xperiments with time order, reverses cause & effect, turns black holes inside out to create worlds, and rearranges the cosmos to foster favorable astrological conditions for her alternate selves. She is the mother to her teen, Iyonna, and the creator of The AfroFuturist Affair, a community for Philadelphia Afrofuturists. She plans to release an experimental novel called Recurrence Plot in late 2012/early 2013, should we survive the turning of the Mayan calendar. You may also catch her ruminating from time to time and space to space on her blog AstroMythoLosophy

LOCATION: A-Space Anarchist Community Center // 4722 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19143
TIME: 6:45PM, Friday April 26th, 2013
FACEBOOK RSVP

See videos from past Laser Life gatherings here.

pre-party looks

WE WALKED AROUND THE BIG BOX STORE FOR PARTY SUPPLIES KIND TO OUR WORKING WALLETS, AFTER A DINNER STOP AT RUBY BUFFET, WHERE THE NEON LIGHTING AND TENDER PIANO MUSIC (THE LIKES OF HEARD IN MANY DORAMAとか) REFRESHED OUR CASUAL TENSION. TWO SCIENCE FICTION WRITERS. TOO WEIRD REALITY FICTION.

THE PARTY THE PARTY WE GOT LIGHTS FOR THE PARTY. WE GOT DJS TO COME WORK THE PARTY. WE GOT PUNCH. WE GOT CREW. WE GOT CHICKEN. RAS MADE JERK FOR PHILLIPS’ BIRTHDAY, AND AFTER SETTING UP THE QR CODE BACKDROP IN THE TIME CAPSULE STATION, SHE SAID ‘IT’S GOOD WITH BREAD’. CAUSE OF THE SPICE… AND SHE WAS RIGHT.

LATER I ATE A MANGO POORLY. USED IT AS A PROP FOR THE CHRISTENING PHOTOS IN OUR PARTY OUTFITS, AND TRIED TO SINK MY GHOST ALL THE WAY INTO MY BODY SO THAT I WOULDN’T BE AWKWARD, SO REMOVED & USED TO MEDIATION.

A WALL CAST 90S HYPE WILLIAMS VIDEOS (WE THANK PM_JAWN FOR THAT), AOL CHATROOM SCREENCASTS, EARLY INTERNET ADS, PS1 RHYTHM GAME BATTLES (HEY BUST A GROOVE), SONIC THE HEDGEHOG BONUS LEVELS, AND EPISODES OF AMP.

GLOW STICKS EVERYWHERE.

AKIRA IN THE LOUNGE.

COLLECTED DOOR CASH IN A NEON SPORTS BRA FROM FIVE BELOW AND A PROSTHETIC SOFT DICK WHILE REEZY AND MORRISON WORKED THE MIDDLE. BLACK PANTHER (BATMAN?) WITH A CAMERA CAPTURED HUMANS ON THE LOOSE.

BABES DRESSED ALL IN ONE COLOR.

PLATONIC GRINDING.

CREWS AND SOLID GOLD HOMIES WITH SOLID GOLD INSTAGRAM NAILS AND COMIC CON DRILL ARMS.

THE WHOLE MILKY WAY WAS THERE.

WE WEPT WE WEPT WE DREAMT.


The above cascade of words was taken from my tumblr.
Related, official party photos on our Facebook.
Related, at obscure3rdworldcountry
Related, at boredandmoist
And from one of the DJs:
testimonial jawn

Come to our next party.

April 3rd, 2013 saw the Philadelphia stop of Imogen Binnie‘s NEVADA book tour, where Metropolarity crew was honored to read some intimate and non-SF type ish for the people. This was the most packed I’ve ever seen the A-Space, my neighborhood’s conveniently crucial anarchist community space. It’s a big deal when Topside Press puts out your book and you happen to be a witty and excellent trans author writing Very Important Fiction for people who don’t get to have much of anything in media reflecting their experiences.

To say the least, the atmosphere and audience was on some electric vibrating atoms in space tip, and everyone read the best stuff. Once again, all we have to show for it is my shoddy cellphone camera (footage of my opening reading is conspicuously absent *ahem* anyone else obsessively taking videophone footage out there???). ANYWAY, if you wish to peep the past, move on to the videos below. And thank Smoot for throwing it all together. And Imogen for writing a badass novel. And everyone for coming and being attentive.

Ras Mashramani read achingly beautiful moments from the realities of girlhood and other normalized traumas.

Then Red Durkin brought the deliciously enunciated laughs for all and let us know why she is professionally a comedian.

Alex Smith stepped up next with a reality you need to know. Rating: VERY FUCKING GOOD.

Then the author herself, Imogen Binnie, stepped to the plate and read several excellent selections from NEVADA. We understand why she is published.

After, we all partied quietly, as one can sometimes easily do on a chilly spring evening in West Philadelphia — with spirits & jazz cigarettes and stew and candy around a backyard fire. Oh, and some people went to Dahlak Paradise (bar). ^_~