**what is this is**

**queer sci-fi reading**

OUR CHURCH

The LASER LIFE series of readings is designed to expose the quantumly quantative, psycho-spiritual, panoramic truth of the speculative, to make real the shaman’s holler, the mystic’s clamour, the soothsayer’s griot-speak– all that was falsely remembered as unreal. Laser Life is a tour beyond the stilted cis-hetero-white-male gaze of normative “science fiction” that plagues the shelves of your local bookstore and Goodreads “to read” lists. It is hoped that Laser Life does not serve as tokenistic or anomalous within the ranks of science fiction, but that the inclusion of our marginalized voices be viewed as not only empowering, necessary or revolutionary, but as intrinsic.

Laser Life is everything, and everything in its place: the nook of all that is possible for us to view: the whole of the universe.

**what is this is**

**queer sci-fi reading**

The LASER LIFE series of readings is designed to expose the quantumly quantative, psycho-spiritual, panoramic truth of the speculative, to make real the shaman’s holler, the mystic’s clamour, the soothsayer’s griot-speak– all that was falsely remembered as unreal. Laser Life is a tour beyond the stilted cis-hetero-white-male gaze of normative “science fiction” that plagues the shelves of your local bookstore and Goodreads “to read” lists. It is hoped that Laser Life does not serve as tokenistic or anomalous within the ranks of science fiction, but that the inclusion of our marginalized voices be viewed as not only empowering, necessary or revolutionary, but as intrinsic.

Laser Life is everything, and everything in its place: the nook of all that is possible for us to view: the whole of the universe.

 

Featuring:
Metropolarity
Joyce Hatton
Chaska
Asli Dukan

Flier by Oskar Castro

Your queer sci-fi reading, where members of the LGBT community express their visions, projections, wars, romances, speculations, fears, battles, and dreams in glorious, mystifying tales inspired by the griots of old, informing the future. It is called LASER LIFE.

LASER LIFE

they shredded their anti-manifestos and their futurist-hate manuals and their tracts and lit them on fire. the ash rained down for days and days; the edicts spewed against them were heavy and voluminous. but they soon celebrated on the salt-like dust of their detractors words, stomping a mad ritual with leaden, though tattered, boot, soon returning speckling confetti of the Grand Nayser back to the earth.

they hooked up wires to their souls and downloaded spirits, uploaded ancient lwa, and disc-burned orishas into their retinas. “scan this”, they told them in their jack-boot and hazmat suits. they watched the thing of it all become the dance, the word become the deed, and launched themselves, defiantly, into deepest, darkest void, into space itself, piloting a starship through time.

their life was lived in laser

Your queer sci-fi reading, where members of the LGBT community express their visions, projections, wars, romances, speculations, fears, battles, and dreams in glorious, mystifying tales inspired by the griots of old, informing the future. It is called LASER LIFE.

featuring Imogen Binnie , critically acclaimed writer of the powerful, darkly comedic novel of trans discovery, “NEVADA”.

Pauline Darkstar of nervy and kinetic prog-punk band SGNLS, providing his strange wordscape.

as well as readings from the Laser Life founders:
Maggie Eighteen
Ras Mashramani
Rasheedah Phillips
Shane Jenkins
Alex Smith

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. . .

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

The following is an interview excerpt reproduced from Cluster Magazine (with permission) with Philly resident cyborg, Maggie Eighteen, author of All That’s Left. Originally posted March 30, 2012.

by Cluster Mag Editor-in-Chief Max Pearl.

Number Eighteen constructs a world where the distinctions between the technological and the organic appear absurd, where prosthetics and body-modification have made almost every body a cyborg.

All That’s Left is a sci-fi zine that follows a group of friends living borg lives in the hood, surviving as high-tech foot soldiers in the urban periphery while the ruling classes party it up in sequestered communities called ‘the domes.’ And borders between the technological and the organic are not the only permeable, shifting boundaries. Characters in this post-apocalyptic drama perform gender according to mood and immersive, web-based sex allows users to grow organs or lose them mid-act. It becomes clear that while All That’s Left is a sci-fi narrative, its pessimistic prophecies and its utopian dreams are in some ways real for us already. The wealth gap is fucked, global warming is here, and with the amount of time we spend attached to our smartphones, we’re pretty much already cyborgs.

The zine itself was printed on dumpstered paper dug out from around the Penn campus in West Philadelphia- ‘the domes,’ anyone? The stories themselves are also available in audio form on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.

Cluster Mag interviewed Eighteen about what it means to be part machine, whether we spend too much time on the internet, and when exactly sex is going to catch up with technology.

Cluster Mag: So in All That’s Left, you set the story in these peripheral, militarized slums controlled by gangs and armies of genderqueer cyborgs. What other narratives, genres, or bodies of work inspired and informed you in building this world?

Number Eighteen: Wow! Well, there are dozens of information flows that inform my fantasy dystopia, but in the zine I mention 1990s cyberpunk anime as being an inspiration. I feel like anyone who is a fan of Ghost in the Shell can find obvious influences in my stories. But also there are the worlds of GUNNM (Battle Angel Alita in the U.S.), Appleseed (another Masamune Shirow creation), and Akira (duh) that serve up such gorgeously detailed world settings, technological relationships, and dystopian states. I get frustrated when people—especially sci-fi fans—haven’t given those series the time of day. They’re classics of anime for a reason.

The visual sci-fi of the 80s, 90s, and early 00s (my formative years) are also deep with futurevision; They Live, The Big O, No Escape, Demolition Man, etc—these pulpy “low art” productions are passed over for their perceived campiness, and yet all these series are about power and the oppressed in dystopias of “terminal capitalism” and corporate domination by old straight white motherfuckers who still think their “hard work” is what got them to where they are today. What do you think the #Occupy shit and every other social justice movement is about right now? Humans are humans are humans, and motherfuckers say that money is god, that God founded this country, and that white is right. Fuck that. You know who every villainous motherfucker is in all these series always is? An old white corporate guy.

Continue Reading . . .


Eighteen will be reading at this month’s Laser Life OCT 19, along with other friends of METROPOLARITY: Ras Mashramani, Shane Jenkins, and Alex Smith, Laser Life’s founder and curator.

The Laser Life, founded and curated by Alex Smith, is held every other month at the A-Space in West Philadelphia. It’s more special than you know, unless of course, you have been before. It offers a platform for queer speculative fiction writers, poets, performers, and shamans, drawing a packed house every time without fail. Often, Facebook event-goers have shown up fashionably late only to discover they have made folly—the Laser Life starts on time and ends early. The Laser Life leaves you with the feeling of having watched a deeply compelling film in the theater. The Laser Life makes you feel aimless, celebratory, wild, and you empty out on to Baltimore Avenue amidst strangers and friends with no real plans but to enjoy the evening. You feel elevated.

To date, we have only filmed, sparingly, what goes on with with our cell phones . . .

The next Laser Life is this October 19th. [Facebook event]

More on the enigmatic Alex Smith can be found here.

FRIDAY OCT 19 • 7PM •  THE A-SPACE 

A reading series dedicated to giving voice to the swirl of diversity that exists in the known and unknown universe, LASER LIFE is a queer empowered reading series that serves as a gateway to the dreaming. At its core, it’s a reading of science and speculative fiction and fantasy, with the intensity of a sweaty, West Philly poetry slam on mind-altering, homemade drugs. Through a hum of chaos, this series takes the othering (read: exoticizing) aspects of our experiences and renders them in lush tapestry, placing at center stage the marginalized and forgotten. Transgendered youth battling storm troopers in dystopian futures. Pan-sexual trolls stealing into the boudoir of African princes. Ghosts of orphans hand-in-hand traversing the multi-verse. What happens when the downtrodden, exploited and ignored are suddenly given the keys to the Millennium Falcon? When those who litter the background of a crowded bazaar become more than just peppering for the scenery of the journey of the so-called every-man?

THE LASER LIFE answers those questions, but also challenges audiences to ask more. Channeling Octavia Butler, Sam Delaney and the dollar bin at the comic book shop, the assembled are some of the most talented writers, both published and unpublished, in the Philadelphia area. As empires fall and our old planet crumbles, these writers are opening portals to theirs—braver, newer and out of this world.

M. CRAIG is a freak, a queer, and a punk who writes for freaks, queers, and punks. she likes to take real things and real issues and change them, make them the same but different so it’s easier to get at the truth in them. she makes ordinary things magical and shows the magic in ordinary things. The Narrows is her first novel and she’s currently working diligently in the slums of Brooklyn, NY to scribble out its sequel. http://http://narrowsthenovel.com/

ALTHEA BAIRD
althea baird is a video, performance, & collage artist using their work for shapeshifting and geometry:: prisms of + portals to memory, identity, violence, healing, speculation and prophesy.
http://spiritweaponteeth.tumblr.com/

RAS MASHRAMANI
Ras Mashramani hovers in a digital cloud over Philadelphia, waiting. Her work can be viewed at New Wave Vomit, >kill author, and on her blog, motherWAP.blogspot.com. She is a staff member for APIARY magazine and has completed an erotica project with Carolyn DeCarlo which can be found at notupbut.tumblr.com

ALEX SMITH (writer, poet, dj, anarchist, host and curator of LASER LIFE)

SHANE JENKINS (writer and musician responsible for the Razed By Wolves project, forging new cosmology)

MAGGIE EIGHTEEN (Not everyone is good at their body. Not everyone has the skills, the specs, or the access. This is all that’s left. Post-binary dystopian smut stories. For cyborgs by cyborgs. http://cyborgmemoirs.com/left)