“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.

Hello! Your new friends at ANDROMEDA SKY (Danni, Leah, and Alex) would like to welcome you to our debut ritual! Yes, our “band” is embarking on our first journey and we’d like for you to attend! This is it!

**SGNLS**
cosmic space time mind tunnels, alternative universes, dystopio-future***a furious mesh-mash of tangled wires, dislodge connections***if Orwell and Moroder did compositions for the Sex Pistols
http://www.toomodernworld.com/

**Good Night Stars Good Night Air**
real transient dreams, space star gazing planetarium psychedelia**if wind swept wisps made dance music remixes for Tangerine Dream

**Andromeda Sky**
debut outing for stellar witches**confusing transcendental noise and shambolic tectonics**if Massive Attack and Starhawk went to church with Sonic Youth

**Teenage Bigfoot**
all gnarled out wolf-mangle of urban sea pirates**skateboard shanties for the spike and claw sects
Teenagebigfoot.bandcamp.com

**Joyce Hatton**
interdimensional myriad mind-spaces fluctuating in heartbeat time**casual dream poet , primordial goddess of the universe

**April Anderson**
the eye

“The earth owes me nothing. I owe the earth”– Vinnie Paz

Hello! Your new friends at ANDROMEDA SKY (Danni, Leah, and Alex) would like to welcome you to our debut ritual! Yes, our “band” is embarking on our first journey and we’d like for you to attend! This is it!

**SGNLS**
cosmic space time mind tunnels, alternative universes, dystopio-future***a furious mesh-mash of tangled wires, dislodge connections***if Orwell and Moroder did compositions for the Sex Pistols
http://www.toomodernworld.com/

**Good Night Stars Good Night Air**
real transient dreams, space star gazing planetarium psychedelia**if wind swept wisps made dance music remixes for Tangerine Dream

**Andromeda Sky**
debut outing for stellar witches**confusing transcendental noise and shambolic tectonics**if Massive Attack and Starhawk went to church with Sonic Youth

**Teenage Bigfoot**
all gnarled out wolf-mangle of urban sea pirates**skateboard shanties for the spike and claw sects
Teenagebigfoot.bandcamp.com

**Joyce Hatton**
interdimensional myriad mind-spaces fluctuating in heartbeat time**casual dream poet , primordial goddess of the universe

**April Anderson**
the eye

“The earth owes me nothing. I owe the earth”– Vinnie Paz

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

fargo-moorhead-zine-fest-weekend-day-two-115

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.