Friday, 26 March 2010

research with fury

Oh Keri Smith, I love you so

i heart katy

Lady Monsters
New work by Katy Horan
Exhibition runs March 20–April 22, 2010

Opening night:
Saturday, March 20, 2010
at Domy Books, Austin
913 E Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78702, USA

"In my current work, I create fantastical characters rooted in traditional ideas of femininity. To create these characters, I combine subconscious imagery with external references that include archetypes from folklore and history, storybook illustration, Renaissance portraiture and decorative elements of historical dress. The image is familiar, but mysterious. This invites both the viewer’s imagination and knowledge of feminine imagery and narrative to inform the work."

More info on Domy's site

sad sad demise

I'm trying to remember the year it was - probably 2002 - I treated myself to an international subscription to Venus zine; I loved the female artists they covered, the fact they gave column inches and backing to bands and artists who really deserved the exposure and support, I loved the music ideas they introduced to my head, the good interviews and reviews that made me sit up and take notice, and much more - The general fact that it existed in the way it did was really inspiring to my feminist-self-publishing sensibilities. It really was a great magazine. After that year though, things went a bit downhill, it as a magazine meant less to me and said much less to me - I figured it was because it had served its purpose to my earlier self, or something. On reflection, it was more than that, bigger changes had taken place within the actual zine - in the substance of the zine. But for that year it was my favourite (maga)zine.

Cue this recent news:

'Feminism is “an old-fashioned concept” and “doesn’t seem relevant," according to Sarah Beardsley, the 47-year-old publisher of Venus magazine, which she recently purchased from the two real estate agents who had themselves purchased the magazine only a few years earlier from its founder, Amy Schroeder.
As reported by the Chicago Reader, Beardsley’s solution for saving the zine seems to leave any association with the dreaded F-word behind.
“She told me she's not a feminist and feminism is what hindered the magazine in the past,” one unnamed source told the Reader. Instead, Beardsley plans to focus her newly purchased mag on, in her words, “an extended community of people who want to be part of—movement's too strong a word, but cause—something people believe in, an aesthetic being built from the ground up.” Hmm. A community of people who want to be part of a cause that people believe in? Nah, feminism is nothing like that.
The magazine, which began life as a zine focused on women in music, had ceased publication last September, and has just released its first issue under Beardsley. Whether the new, feminism-free version of the troubled mag will succeed remains to be seen. And if it does, what would that say about feminism?'

(via: Bust (incidently, Bust is another magazine that seems to now subscribe to the 'cute sweaters and nice neckalces' [Thanks, Lex!] school of thought when it comes to feminist publishing... yeah, yeah, enough knitting and crochet already... how about having something to say for yourselves again)

Pissing on someones grave (Amy Schroeder's Venus) isn't cool, and neither is being so bafflingly confused about the nature of community, movements, and feminism.

As Sabrina Chapadjiev wrote to me today: 'What a way to demoralize something that actually meant a lot to people. But you know what this means, ladies. . .it means that they're turning it over to us. . .'

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just about the best thing i have seen today

Okay, so it was exhibited last year, so I'm already waaay behind and playing catch up, but I love this:

David Fullarton's contribution is an installation in the offices of Houston radio station 90.1 KPFT entitled "What I do at work when I'm supposed to be working." It consists of a number of small works made entirely from office supplies, which are pinned up randomly around the office, in amongst the notices, flyers and memos that were already existing in the environment.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

terrific american exhibitions a go-go in April/May


Bright Forest: Paintings and Prints by Sarah Utter + a Mecca Normal show
Land gallery will present Bright Forest: Paintings and Prints by Olympia, Washington, artist Sarah Utter. Utter is an artist, designer and musician (from the bands Bangs and Western Hymn)

Utter will be showing brand-new work and some from the past several years that hasn’t been seen outside the Puget Sound. She paints mostly birds, along with foxes and squirrels and will be showing archival giclee prints from her 2009 calendar. Her artwork highlights a love of the natural world, bright colors, and layers of pattern inspired by printmaking and textiles.

Mecca Normal will perform “Blue Sky and Branches”—a new piece written for Utter’s art opening at Land on April 30. Vocalist Jean Smith wanted to do something “vaguely collaborative” for the event—a response to themes in Utter’s artwork. Most recently, their songs have been about Smith’s dating adventures, but as she told Utter, “Unless the critters in your paintings have been doing more online dating than I suspect, there isn’t a real connection between your art and our music.”

Land is located at 3925 North Mississippi Avenue, Portland, Oregon;
Come and help us celebrate Sarah Utter's work on Friday, April 30 from 6–9pm. Her show will be on display from April 30 to May 23.
Vancouver duo Mecca Normal will give a special live performance at the opening party between 8-9pm.

More info: on facebook

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Dignidad Rebelde, Artists in the Struggle: Creating Radical Graphics

Dignidad Rebelde is a graphic arts collaboration between Oakland-based activist-artists Jesus Barraza and Melanie Cervantes. Their art is a reflection of community struggles, dreams and visions. Following principles of Xicanismo and Zapatismo, they create art that translates the stories of everyday people in struggle into images that they can be put back into the hands of the communities who inspired them. Jesus and Melanie will be presenting a slideshow of their work contextualizing their work in the history of social movements and the graphic arts traditions that have served those movements.
Thursday, 08 April 2010 19:00 - 21:00
Modern Times Bookstore, 888 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA

More info: on facebook

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The Black Dot Museum: "Political Artists from Vancouver" Northern Exhibit

The Black Dot Museum: Political Artists From Vancouver

In May 2010, David Lester and Jean Smith (Mecca Normal) co-curate a month-long, group art exhibit at Northern -- an all-ages project in Olympia, Washington. The show includes art by Lester and Smith, along with Brian Roche and Gord Hill. Mecca Normal plays the May 1 opening.

More info: on facebook

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Shouts from the Wall

Leeway's Spring 2010 exhibit, "Shouts from the Wall," features fifty limited-edition prints, posters, and apparel, covering issues of current national and global interest created by Favianna Rodriguez, Jesus Barraza, and Melanie Cervantes, members of Taller Tupac Amaru; Beth Pulcinella (LTA '09, ACG '08) co-founder of RECLAIM; and bex (LTA '09). EXHIBIT RUNS March 25-June 25, 2010

Opening night: Saturday, 27 March 2010 18:00 - 20:30
Leeway Foundation, 1315 Walnut Street, Suite 832, Philadelphia, PA

Favianna and Jesus will give an artist talk on Saturday March 27, 2010 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm at the Leeway office (1315 Walnut Street, Suite 832). An opening reception will follow their talk from 7:30pm to 8:30pm.
RSVP for the Artist Talk and reception by emailing or by calling (215) 545-4078

More info: on facebook

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Tuesday, 23 March 2010

uk tour schedule for angola 3 movie

Via PM Press: London! Black Panther Robert King is in town, be sure to check out the screening of the new Angola 3 movie and the following panels...and buy King's book at

See Angloa 3 News for full details on UK screenings of the following film...


WEDNESDAY 24th March 2010
LONDON Ritzy Brixton

Moderator: Polly Toynbee
Panellists: Vadim Jean, Robert King
Screening Time: 7pm

THURSDAY 25th March 2010
LONDON Curzon Soho

Moderator: Terry Waite CBE
Panellists: Vadim Jean, Robert King, Clare Algar, Executive Director, Reprieve
Screening Time: 6.30pm

FRIDAY 26th March 2010
LONDON Screen On the Green - Islington

Moderator: TBC
Panellists: Vadim Jean,Robert King
Screening Time: 6.30pm

Sunday 28th March 2010
LONDON Picturehouse Clapham

Moderator: TBC
Panellists: Vadim Jean, Robert King
Screening Time: 3.30pm

Monday 29th March 2010
CAMBRIDGE Picturehouse

Moderator: TBC
Panellists: Vadim Jean, Robert King
Screening Time: 6.30pm
Tuesday 30th March 2010

LONDON Amnesty - The Human Rights Action Centre
Moderator: Intro By Kate Allen
Panellists: Vadim Jean, Robert King, Sam Roddick
Screening Time: 6.30pm

Tuesday 31st March 2010
LONDON Lexi Cinema Kensal Rise

Moderator: TBC
Panellists: Vadim Jean, Robert King
Screening Time: TBC

WEDNESDAY 1st April 2010

Moderator: TBC
Panellists: Vadim Jean, Robert King
Screening Time: TBC

Recent Guardian article here: The Guardian

exploring attitudes towards breasts

From my inbox...

From Corin:

I am currently undertaking an MA in Gender Studies at the University of Leeds and am looking for people to take part in my dissertation research.

My research project is called ‘Queer Breasts’. The intention of my research project is to explore attitudes towards breasts among queer, female-identified people and the impact this has on experiences of queer female embodiment. I will be drawing on existing narratives of the female body in literature on cosmetic surgery and in trans theory. Traditional accounts of cosmetic surgery have typically focused on heterosexual women, thus creating narratives of a specifically gendered, female body. My interest in researching queer, female-identified participants is to explore attitudes towards breasts outside of a heteronormative context.

The first part of my research is a short, emailed questionnaire. From the returned questionnaires I will be selecting a small cross-section of participants for follow up interviews. You are not committing yourself to anything by completing the questionnaire.

I am looking for participants who self-identify as queer and female, and are willing to talk about their breasts with me and attitudes towards cosmetic surgery. This does not mean you have to identify specifically as a woman, have had any cosmetic surgery, or currently have breasts to take part. If you consider yourself queer and female-bodied then please feel free to participate.

You will need to have an email address.

You will also potentially need to be available for interview within the next three months either in Leeds or London.

If you know anyone else who may be interested in participating please invite them to the group.

If you would like to complete a questionnaire, or have any questions or comments, please email me:

I will be collecting questionnaires until Monday 12th April, 2010.

Facebook group for more info

i am completely in love with this video

Bugger, I can't get it to embed...

It's that part where she talks about the feeling of stuffy and that she's not really supposed to breathe around art, and then walking outside. I love Swoon's work so hard.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

immediate gratification of distraction

"I can’t speak for other artists but staying focused can be one of the most difficult things for me these days. Other people’s images, ideas and perspectives can scatter my concentration and the internet has created a culture where turning on the computer can become a habit that fills the place of creativity with the immediate gratification of distraction."

So very true.
India Richer (whose work has featured in Colouring Outside The Lines... swoon!)

artists & media workers for social change

“In making art, I think about sharing a narrative, and touching people so much that they want to do something.”

Great interview with Favianna Rodriguez. She and her work blows me away.

Monday, 15 March 2010

collectivity can lift barriers to getting our voices out there

Last month I spoke with Debi Withers for an inteview about self-publishing and empowerment. That interview/conversation has developed into an article that Debi wrote, Adventures In Self-Publishing accessible now on The F Word website.

I'll post links to the actual interview we did when it's uploaded on to a different website (hopefully).

The interview references Debi's workshop, Self-Publishing and Liberation that's going to take place this Saturday at the Women's Library, London.
All the info on this important workshop can be found at

Debi says the following about the plans for Saturday:
"I will be exploring the issue of self-publishing, the histories of feminist publishing and collective working practices in an upcoming workshop at the Women’s Library on Saturday, 20 March, called Self-Publishing and Liberation. The workshop is going to consist of a mixture of practical information, creative exercises and historical testimony focusing on the subject of self-publishing. The workshop has three aims: firstly, to arm people with the knowledge they need to self-publish in various forms. Second, to create space for exploring ideas about what kind of publications attendees would like to read, write and publish. Thirdly, to include historical testimony about the topic of women’s publishing networks in the WLM, highlighting the importance of collective working. This is to create an opportunity to connect with an important legacy of culture making from the movement, and be inspired by the actions and working practices of previous generations of feminists. The workshop aims to shake things up a bit and get people dreaming, acting and researching the diverse histories of feminist publishing."

Thursday, 11 March 2010

a matter of life and death

From my inbox...

A Matter of Life and Death: LGBTI Rights in Uganda
Sunday 21st March in Manchester

David Kato, LGBTI activist from Uganda and member of SMUG will talk about his experiences as an activist in the context of recent legislation threatening the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality", the campaign in Uganda to stop the new law as well as international efforts for decriminalisation. To be followed by questions/discussion.

David is on a short tour of the UK and this is his only Manchester date.

David will be joined by Sokari Ekine, activist, writer and founder of a site documenting social justice issues in Africa and the diaspora with a focus on LGBTI rights, gender-based violence, militarism as well as literature and popular culture.

Delicious cheap food and cafe available from 12.30pm.

2-4pm Sunday 21st March,
LGBT Centre, 49-51 Sidney Street, Manchester (Behind 8th Day Co-op off Oxford Rd)

The event is free but voluntary contributions towards travel expenses of participants gratefully received.

The venue is wheelchair accessible and all on the ground floor. If you have any queries please contact

This event is brought to you by Manchester Queer Reading Group. For more info or to hear about other events, subscribe to our list

Friday, 5 March 2010


From Margaret Atwood:
'You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You've been backstage. You've seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a ­romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.'

From Jessica Hopper:
'I woke up in at four am last night and my brain was on fire with writing. It is hard to know if it was salient at all. I kept thinking, as I always do, if I get up and write this all out, then tomorrow I will automatically wake up at this same time and perhaps there will be nothing to write down. And then I lay there for a while debating "what if this is the best idea I have ever had and I lose it to the annals of slumber?"'

From Marc Johns:

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

self-publishing and empowerment

Debi Withers just shared a link with me to a pdf copy of her newly published booklet: Self-Publishing and Empowerment: A Resource for Community Groups.

You can download the pdf of the booklet here: or visit her website to request a hard-copy of the booklet.

The booklet covers the main forms of self-publishing that are currently available at a low-budget cost: zines, blogs and Print-on-Demand publishing.
The booklet is a mixture of practical information, inspiring profiles of individuals, groups and projects, workshop guides and resources. It contains contributions from Melanie Maddison, Red Chidgey, Melissa Steiner, April L. Hamilton, Deseronto Archives and the Remebering Oilve Collective.

Seriously, reading this booklet today has filled me with an immense amount of energy, inspiration and excitement. I think it's a really useful and important activist resource that holds so much potential for empowering more people with the skills of self-publishing within community settings.
Thank you Debi for making this resource available.

gup shup

from my inbox...

Gup Shup – From Textile to Tote

gallery II | 8 March – 23 April 2010

A collaboration between Cath Braid, Rolla Khadduri and women’s embroidery collectives in Chitral, Pakistan

Gallery II and the University of Bradford are pleased and very excited to present the work of this amazing creative enterprise project from the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan on its first UK outing.

OFFICIAL LAUNCH… 5 – 7pm, Monday 8 March 2010. International Women’s Day.

Everyone Welcome!! FREE

Chai & Chat with Cath Braid… 4 – 5pm, Monday 8 March *BOOKING ESSENTIAL

Seminar with Cath Braid… 3 – 5pm, Tuesday 9 March * BOOKING ESSENTIAL

Talks are FREE. To book your place, contact Rachel Kaye: 01274 235495 or email

“Gup Shup” is a landmark collaboration. Rather than seeking to preserve craft in its pure traditional form, this project introduces creative strategies to develop new images that seem true to the lives of their makers. But what seems most striking about his project is the sheer quality of the work itself, both in its craftsmanship and deft arrangement of ordinary elements.

This project seems quite transparent about the experience of the women it is meant to support. Apart for the creative challenges that they enjoyed, there seemed also benefits in the money and recognition that their work brings.

The Gup Shup project has been developed by Cath Braid, designer for social enterprise- Polly&Me and Rolla Khadduri- Development consultant.

‘Gup Shup’ (meaning chit chat in Urdu and Hindi) is a collaborative body of work from the female artisans of Chitral and Polly&Me. The exhibition comprises of large contemporary textiles depicting the artisans’ daily life and their translation into totes for women the world over to carry. For Rolla, this project is ‘an opportunity to give women the space to tell their own stories’. Rolla worked with Cath on running the workshops, probing the women about their stories, and recording their tales to appear at the back of each textile. The process begins with story-telling, dealing with everyday themes such as family life and through exploring the graphic world around them, particularly in packaging of products from the market. Their creative exercises also include making collages of photographs of their children. These then form the basis of the embroideries and their subsequent translation into funky designer bags. All work is available to buy and the profits go back to the women’s collectives.

Polly&me was developed by Cath Braid, an Australian and graduate of Central St Martins, who originally started work in northern Pakistan with Kirsten Ainsworth as part of the clothing label Caravana. Cath has been working in Chitral since 2003. Polly&Me works with a partner Mogh Ltd, the first publicly traded company in Chitral, set up by the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme. Shareholders in MOGH Ltd are the Chitrali women who embroider, the Chitrali men who weave, local artisans and craftspeople, including those who work in the honey production, set up and supported by the Hashoo Foundation.

Chitral is in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan and lies nested within the mountain range of the Hindu Kush.

Gallery II

Open Mon – Fri, 11am – 5pm, Thurs ‘til 6pm

For further info tel: 01274 235495

Gallery II, Chesham Building, University of Bradford BD7 1DP