Moving on the Wires: This Week’s News and Posts

“Invisible Man” by Hank Willis Thomas Source: T Magazine

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*”Newly Discovered Octavia Butler Stories to be Published in June!:” “Two newly-discovered Octavia Butler stories are coming out this summer! “A Necessary Being” and “Childfinder” will be compiled in a single volume titled Unexpected Stories. The ebook will be released by Open Road Media on June 24, and will feature an introduction from Walter Mosley, who previously praised the author’s novel Kindred as ‘everything the literature of science fiction can be.’ ABC News, quoting Open Road Media, reports:

‘A Necessary Being” tells of how the leaders of two ancient tribes “must broker a delicate peace to ensure that their peoples are to survive.” In “Childfinder,” a young woman “locates children with budding psionic powers and teaches them to protect themselves from society.'”

*A new reading series at the University of Chicago called Speculating Darkly, or The Folk Surreal Future, began today with Duriel E. Harris and Francine J. Harris. Based on poet Roger Reeves essays on Poetry Foundation, the series “features emerging African Diaspora writers from the Midwest who focus on the black fantastic, the grotesque, the Afro-surreal, the Gothic, the speculative, and science fiction” and the other readings will be on May 18, June 8 and June 22.

*Nicola Vassell-curated Black Eye exhibition show featuring artists like Hank Willis Thomas, Wangechi Mutu, Sanford Biggers, Nick Cave, Jacolby Satterwhite, Steve McQueen and Kerry James Marshall opened at 57 Walker Street in New York City. According to T Magazine, the exhibition has a wounded/disabled-shaman theme (think of the prophetic caul over the eye myth): “Vassell’s show implies double entendre; it speaks to both the wounds left by racism and the freedoms afforded by seeing from the perspective of black experience. “A black eye is our true tool — it’s the thing a lot of us rely heavily on for this art world to even exist,” she explains. “But at the same time, a black eye is the document of having been bruised.”

*Aja Monet will be performing and releasing the e-book of her latest work, Inner-City Chants & Cyborg Ciphers, on May 30th and 31st at Kraine Theatre in New York City. Click the link above for tickets and here is the description: She creates an intimate and magical space to explore her creative visions as a poet, performer, and voice. An evening full of collaborations with inner-self and outer bodies. Her vulnerable poems about inner-city upbringing take form and context in her exploration as a woman in the realm of cyber consciousness. This is her manifesto of sorts, an offering to ashe.  The future as it pulls from the past. Welcome.”

From “Dynasty of the Magi”

*”In Conversation with Long Hidden Editors Rose Fox and Daniel José Older” on Tor: “We need to talk about diversity,” has been the conversation starter in SF/F as of late. But the best fiction, as the saying goes, shows, not tells. The anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, edited by Rose Fox and Daniel José Older, reveals representation as more than a tally-count concerning diversity, and highlights how the act of reading across difference can be an intensely immersive experience.”

*”A tribute to Sun Ra, curated by King Britt and Kate Watson-Wallace featuring Vernon Reid and Tendai Maraire of Shabazz Palaces” on The Key: “A tribute to the jazz musician Sun Ra curated by King Britt and choreographer/visual artist Kate Watson-Wallace will take place at Fringe Arts on Friday, June 6. The event is a live improvisational “re-contextualization” of Sun Ra’s music featuring Tendai Maraire of Shabazz Palaces on percussion, Vernon Reid of Living Color on guitar, King Britt on beats and electronics, Anthony Tidd on bass, vocalist Imani Izuri, and Marlo Reynolds on keyboards. Live video will be provided by Jason Senk and “movement” by Jaamil Olawale Kosoko of Philadiction Movement. The event, says King Britt, is the first of several that “music/multidimensional events” that the Fringe is presenting in its new space.”

*”Why Sun Ra Is Dominating Chicago’s Culture Scene” on Chicago Magazine: Sun Ra’s influence on six Chicago artists’ upcoming works.

*Be on the lookout for Poetcode’s upcoming combined e-book and online game, Dynasty of the Magi with art from Mshindo Kuumba. Follow their progress here.

*New trailer for Halle Berry series, Extant.

*Ajani Brown, a professor of Africana Studies at San Diego University, plans to teach Afrofuturism classes: “I enjoy the academic freedom most. Afro-Futurism is a burgeoning field of study that I’m excited to spear head at SDSU. I proposed and developed a class called Afro-Futurism for the Africana studies department, which will be offered next spring semester. We will explore science fiction and fantasy in film, literature, comics and music, as viewed through a black cultural lens. I will be giving a lecture on the topic at San Diego Comic Fest in October.”

*Interview with “performance artist, potter, object maker, educator, urban planner, and innovator,” Theaster Gates on Architectural Record: “RECORD talked with Gates in Detroit, where he participated in the second annual Culture Lab Detroit, a conference that engages design and entrepreneurial talent to bring awareness to and stimulate development in the Motor City. On May 1, Gates will present the 10th annual Lewis Mumford Lecture at The City College of New York.”

This answer he gave is my favorite: “Isn’t the social always a part of art and architecture? So then the word social must be a code. We must be saying certain things when we use the word. Are we saying Shigeru thinks about certain communities? Is there a relationship between the word social and the idea of poverty and of destitution? Isn’t architecture always responding in some part to that? Aren’t artists always thinking about what’s happening outside of their studios and isn’t that part of the thing that informs what they make? The trap that I’m trying to avoid is the constricting of our vocations. I think about transformation—the transformation of material, the transformation of space. And I can’t think about material or spatial transformation without thinking about people. There are times I think about specific people or specific groups of people. And there are times when the outside, because our boxes are so narrow, they see a brother working in the hood they immediately call that community development. We have to find whatever grounding we can—political, cultural, artistic—to recognize the place we have in the city. Our cities need to be critiqued, and I’m looking for ways to do that without protest, but by design, by contributing. And that for me is where I want to root a portion of my artistic practice.”

*”Erykah Badu slammed for performing at King Mswati III’s birthday party:” I have to admit, I am disappointed by Badu’s responses here. Not a good look.

*”Considering An Investigation Into The Fascinating Life Of Sarah Rector As A Feature Film…:” on Shadow and Act.

*Black Science Fiction post on Life Sun.

New Music:

Dom JonesWingspan. Album release party on May 18th. Here is a track from the album that I previously posted, “The Morning Galaxy:”

Meshell N’degeocello‘s “Conviction” from her upcoming album, Comet, Come to Me, which will be released on June 3.

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