Hey everyone! I know I haven’t been on my blog for a while (I have been busy working on a few community projects in Queens and doing some needed self-care for the summer, too), but I wanted to share some good news! My poem, “Celestial Mary (Galilean Daughter),” was published this month in Apex Magazine! Thank you to Sheree Renee Thomas for including me in this special Zodiac issue of the magazine. You can read the poem here and make sure to buy a copy of the issue!
Susan Varo is a local Queens visual artist who is also the author of the speculative science fiction book called The Happening. In the Fall of 1983, she began writing The Happening inspired by thoughts and visions she had about the future and a world in the midst of constant technological advancement. It wasn’t until 2017 that she finally published the book.
Always a lover of “science fiction, the universe, and mysteries,” writing this book was a way for her to tap into what she calls a “strange foresight;” “the future [had] presented itself to her.” In the interview below, Varo talks about her work as a visual artist and what inspires her art and writing of The Happening.
1) Tell the readers about yourself as an artist.
I am a visual artist and I reside in Corona, New York. I primarily create my artwork from my home studio. I began drawing from the age of eight and it has been my passion ever since.
2) What are some major themes that you explore in your art?
Some of the major themes I love to explore in my art are people, places, moments in time and the feelings and inspiration that I derive from all of it. My artwork consists of portraiture, landscape and still life.
3) Which came first in your life: visual art or writing? How do the two interact with each other in your artistic practice?
Continue reading Space:Queens Interview with Susan Varo
Black Superheroes + Black Leadership + The Responsibility of Building Societies in World-Changing Times
Last week I had the privilege to see three films — of course, Black Panther, Canadian filmmaker Sharon Lewis’ Brown Girl Begins inspired by Nalo Hopkinson’s book, Brown Girl in the Ring, and Martinique-based filmmaker Khris Burton’s S0.CI3.TY.
Continue reading M.G. Reviews: Black Panther + Brown Girl Begins + S0.CI3.TY (SPOILERS!)
Happy Black History Month, or Black Futures Month, depending on who you ask! 2018 is off to a great start for Futuristically Ancient! See the news below:
*The Afrikan Poetry Theatre is hosting Past, Present and Futurism at the Museum of the Moving Image on February 24th from 2pm-6pm. The day includes film screenings, such as the Ethiopian sci-fi film Crumbs, and a panel discussion, “Afro-futurism: The History & Future of Black Science Fiction,” featuring graphic artist Tim Fielder, filmmaker Mike Sargent, filmmaker M. Asli Dukan and yours truly! Also a special award will be presented to Octavia Butler! RSVP here!
Continue reading Moving on the Wires: Museum of Moving Image + Brown Girl Begins + More!
Happy New Year to you all! I hope 2018 will be a year full of blessings for everyone and thank you for staying with me on this journey!
I’m looking forward to a year filled with magic and to start, next Tuesday at 8pm, I will be on the radio show Exceptional Scribble with Francine Elizabeth Natal (Sage the Poet). The topic will be: “Fiction Poetry with an infusion of Ancient African relics; celebrating culture to promote self-esteem.” You can listen to the show and call in to ask questions here. I hope you are able to join us!
Theme song for 2018: “Black Girl Magic” (song by Dale Novella and video directed by Briannah Hagger) Enjoy!
With everything happening in the news that frightens me about the future of this country and world, I turn back again to the importance of the archive, storytelling and truth-telling for marginalized communities. Last month, I went to archivist and writer Joyce LeeAnn and researcher and writer Akeema-Zane’s workshop In the Middle of Things: The Poetics of Archival Praxis, which was part of Pioneer Works’ series Fact Craft.
Continue reading The M(N)STRY: Activating the Archive Through Poetics
Etymology of Legacy: late 14c., legacie, “body of persons sent on a mission,” from Medieval Latin legatia, from Latin legatus“ambassador, envoy, deputy,” noun use of past participle of legare “send with a commission, appoint as deputy, appoint by a last will” (see legate).
Can the archive be our arsenal and the archivist our warrior in this current war on memory and information? As ambassadors of the black archive, what stories are we sending out and leaving behind? Going in October and last month to the Weeksville Center’s The Legacy Project and their events centered around black archival work and memory reinforced that for me. The Legacy Project is “a continuum of James Weeks’ self-determining actions.” James Weeks, a freedman, purchased land in Brooklyn during the pre-Civil War era and with that land created what became the second largest known independent Black community in the U.S. Under threat of being forgotten, “in 1968, a small group of community activists rediscovered these four dilapidated houses that were rare residential remnants of historic Weeksville. Its rediscovery led to the restoration of the Hunterfly Road Houses, and the formalization of the Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford-Stuyvesant History, later known as Weeksville Heritage Center.” “The Legacy Project will continue this evolution through activating WHC’s archives, building annual public programs, public training workshops, and an internship program for students of color” interested in archival work.
Continue reading The M(N)STRY: The Legacy of Black Arkives