I believe I've just now recovered from the weekend's thrills
(and I'll recap that fabulousness soon), and now it's time for more fun! That's What She Said!
is happening tonight and tomorrow night. Check out the website here
, or read on for details - That's What She Said! is a variety show that features awesome women. This show will include comedy, music and more, with performers including Blythe Baldwin, comedian Just Morgan, and the Hermana Sisters! Who are the Hermana Sisters? Well, I'm glad you let me pretend you asked. The Hermana Sisters are a comedy duo made up of my good friend, comedian Elaine Gavin, and myself.
We've been working together to not only make ourselves and others laugh, but also to explore the appreciation of female comedians (as well as other comedians commonly overlooked), and to illuminate the ways that wild and raunchy comedy can avoid being triggering and offensive.
Can we do it? Come out tonight or tomorrow night, at 8 pm at The Garage in San Francisco, to find out!And here's a reminder for CUAV's Fall Wellness Wednesdays - Queer and trans survivors of violence can stop the CUAV office today from 4 - 8 pm
for support, dinner, and a group art activity. Visit www.cuav.org
for more information about Wellness Wednesdays.
I need to have some fun.
I've been stressing out way too much recently - almost enough to forget that I actually love my life and everything that keeps me busy in it. So tonight, some of my hard work will pay off, and I'll get to remember to have some fun. Tonight is Lit Crawl, the final night of Litquake, so in a matter of hours San Francisco's Mission District will be filled with those who love words. We'll gather in bars, bookstores, laundromats and alleys, share stories and poems and laughter, and yes, dammit, we're going to have some fun. Here's where you can find a full map and schedule for Lit Crawl (you'll need one!).
Street art in the Mission
Photos by Maisha Z. Johnson
For me, a night like this feels necessary not only for the chance for a much-needed fun break, but also because of the necessity of voices. With about 450 readers sharing their words tonight, paths will cross, folks will hear one another, and there will be intersections of roads that may not meet on any other night but this one. There will be a variety of readings to choose from, and on my personal journey through the Crawl, I'll be looking for readings that push beyond that damn d-word to embrace a true diversity of voices.
"To all indigenous people made prisoners in their own land"
That was the idea behind Matrices
, the event that I'll be a part of tonight. Not merely diversity in its (often short-sighted) usual sense, but integrated diversity
, to include all intersections. I'm so excited for this launch, which will happen during Phase 1 of LitCrawl, at 6 pm at Public Works. Where else can you find an integration of unique voices? This is
just a sampling.For Phase 2, at 7:15 pm, check out Cipactli: Raza Studies Journal of Art and Literature
or Sunday Stories presents…Brown People Don’t Read?
Phase 3, at 8:30 pm, includes Lamda Literary Foundation Presents
and The World Cries Out for Revolution
. Check out this video on Laura Goode's "Sister Mischief,"
an interracial, gay hip-hop story. Laura Goode will be reading during Phase 3's The Rumpus Presents
. And there are many more events to choose from! Will you be at LitCrawl? How will you choose? Maybe our paths will cross.
You may know that I call myself an activist, and I believe in speaking up to create change. You may have also noticed that there are a number of activists speaking up throughout the country in a growing demonstration
. So, have I been a part of #Occupy Wall Street? The simple answer is no, not yet.
I have to be honest - my initial impression of this movement to occupy Wall Street and other financial centers throughout the country was not good. Sure, I agree with their goals
– setting aside, temporarily, the fact that there is no official list
of stated goals. Word is that the protesters are against corporate greed, social and economic inequality, inadequate healthcare and education, and more, and they’re calling for the kind of social change that I would stand behind. So why haven’t I joined the demonstrations?
Well, first of all, I’ve been skeptical about this broad approach to creating change. I understand that all of these causes are interrelated, and to address one requires acknowledgement of the others, but I tend to believe that an action requires a stated goal and some kind of focus in order to effectively create change. “The end of corporate greed” seems too vague
to me to state as an achievable goal.
Then again, the protesters may have a myriad of demands, but they seem to be having no trouble making them known. And rather than fizzle out due to a lack of focus, the demonstrations seem to be growing
in size and influence. Was I wrong about them?
As an activist, I think it’s time to at least pay attention to what’s happening, to take note of what’s working and what’s still falling short. Clearly, one good thing is that at least the protesters are being heard. The demonstration is spreading, to more people and more cities, to everyone from celebrities to unions, and hopefully that means that somebody’s listening.
Will this create change, though? Perhaps only time will tell. One of my concerns is that the protesters’ declaration that “We Are the 99%”
of those who are struggling dismisses the fact that there are some who don’t feel included
in this movement. Protesters are speaking up about economic inequalities, so are they also addressing the racial and gender inequalities
that contribute to these conditions
? Some people of color say no
. Many of the protesters have suggested that their feelings are “universal,” but as Kai Wright points out in this brilliant essa
y, “The problem with a universal framework is that what is dominant also gets called universal.” And without awareness
of this, even those working toward the same purpose as I am can fail to see
my perspective on the issue.
For me personally, one positive thing about observing all of this is that it’s given me a chance to step back and reexamine my feelings about approaches to activism. When considering art as activism, are stated goals and achievable demands required for a piece to be effective? Or is it enough to inspire hope and call for change, opening the door for whatever form that change may take?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. For now, I’m going to keep reflecting, keep embodying activism as it works for me, standing in solidarity with those who are demonstrating, and hoping for this action to develop into tangible justice for all.
exciting new venture that I'm involved with. The queer and trans anti-violence organization CUAV (Community United Against Violence
) has new drop-in hours for Fall Wellness Wednesdays. LGBTQ survivors of violence can come to find support and to build community through shared meals and art activities. The first Wellness Wednesday is tonight! From 4-8 pm, at the CUAV office. I'll be leading a writing activity. I'm so grateful for a new space for creating healing through community building and art!
It's October, which feels to me like a turning point, at least for Bay Area writers. This time last year, I was relatively new to this blogging business, and I shared my giddiness
in anticipation of my first event as a featured reader
, taking place during Litquake 2010. Now, it's almost time for Litquake 2011, and it feels only right to take a moment to pause. To reflect on the past year, and to look forward to the next chapter in my life as a working writer, or something like it. For a review of the last year, see the archives. It's funny to me that I now have many of my experiences from over a year of my life
chronicled in blog form. For the next chapter, read on. There are many exciting events coming up, to launch the New Writers' Year. I'm realizing how much I've missed blogging over the last few busy weeks
, so that's one thing for me to look forward to - blogging regularly again. Here are a few more:
- Introducing Matrices at LitCrawl Phase 1, October 15, 6 pm. That's right, it's time for Litquake, San Francisco's Literary Festival. LitCrawl takes place on the final night. Start your journey on this literary crawl through the bars, laundromats and alleys of the Mission at Public Works, to witness the launch of Matrices Press.
- What is Matrices Press? It's a new project and publication, based on a longing to hear from those dynamic voices that are silenced too often. I've been helping Rajshree Chauhan, editor of Matrices: Origins, a publication launching during Litquake. Matrices: Origins features the work of myself and others, and we're accepting submissions for another anthology, to be published in 2012. Check out the details here!
- That's What She Said! October 19 & 20, 8 pm.I've teamed up with my good friend, improv genius and actress Elaine Gavin, and our amazingly awkward comedy duo will be featured at this variety show of women doing comedy, poetry, music and more. Join us at The Garage, and look out for future performances!
- Saturday Night Special, an East Bay Open Mic, October 29, 7 pm. I'm the featured reader at this special Halloween edition of Saturday Night Special! You have the option of participating as well - not only by dressing up and competing in the costume contest, but also by reading in the open mic! Or, you can just come to hang out, of course. Join us at Nick's Lounge in Berkeley. Got any ideas for literary costumes for me? Send them my way!
You can always stay updated on what's coming up by visiting my events page
. As you can see, I'll have a lot to write about, so come back often for the next year of blogging. Happy Writers' New Year! What are your resolutions?