I have been working as a teaching artist on the Heritage Project as part of the Black HerStory Archives initiative through Black Women's BluePrint.  Big thanks to the Girls for Gender Equity Urban Leaders Academy at MS-61 for opening the door of the afterschool program to this project. 

The young folks learned about the stories and accomplishments of different figures in Black History; Mae Jemison, Sojourner Truth, Angela Davis, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr, Marcus Garvey and Shirly Chisholm.  Then, they were asked to spend their week reacting to their lives with these figures in mind; sort of like "What Would Angela Davis Do?"  They returned from this experience full of stories;  one girl went so far as to wear her mother's Shirley Chisholm-like dresses, and a boy came back with an essay about Mae Jemison he'd written of his own volition.

The next step of the project was to create a collage based on these experiences and thoughts; this is where I came in and had the opportunity to work with a number of incredible students .  The students divided into groups by which figure spoke most deeply to them, and they assembled collages based on photos of the figure and themselves, as well as quotes and their own thoughts.  During the collage-making process, students were asked to identify traits they saw in these figures that they also saw in themselves and their peers, and to explain situations where they saw these qualities in action.


Some new sketchbook scans

So I've been bananas lately, in between work, murals, guest teaching, organizing, and moving.  Sadly I haven't had a ton of time to paint or build, but thanks to the advice of a friend, I've spent more time drawing in my sketchbook on the train.  So here are a few little cartoony sketches that have come of that as of late.  None of them are masterpieces but I don't believe in that bullshit propaganda that they teach you at art school "Don't show anything unless it's amazing!!".  That's some market-based capitalist bullshit - I say, show most stuff, even the not-so-great stuff.  Challenge the concept of genius.  Democratize art.  Share your thoughts.

Apparently, in my self portraits, I am a muppet with 4 fingers on each hand.

Not every frog is a prince.
Yesterday, a substantially large crowd gathered at City Hall to march down to the canyons, chanting, "Wall Street!  Fuck you!" and rail against the budget cuts.

Sadly, I forgot my good camera so flicks are slim, which is particularly unfortunate because this was one of the illest marches I've been to in a while.  The energy on the street was tough, despite the pigpens and cop escorts, and the class conscious rhetoric of the speeches and signs was more confrontational than I've seen in a minute.

Fight Fight Fight!  Education is a Right!

Is it just me, or do you feel something afoot?  Fists up, people.

5 PTZ-- Keep the Lights on

So. The developers are trying to turn 5 PTZ, the graff Mecca in LIC, Queens, into a bunch of condos and a shopping mall for rich people who could afford to live anywhere else.

Why they gotta try to steal everything, man?

Folks came out in force to support 5 PTZ this past Wednesday evening despite the unseasonable slush.

If you love the culture, you must support it's institutions.  This is not going down without a fight.

I propose CD if necessary.  But, sign the petition to support 5 PTZ at least for now.

Hip Hop's not dead.

Cortes Live painting

The crowd watching the amazing live performances by emcee's, dj's and other musical acts.

Cortes and the prolific, incredible Marthalicia get down.

Crystal Clarity brings fire.  As usual.

A little Dirty Jer-Z represent with the classic Artifact's "Wrong side of the Tracks", one of my teen anthems.
Hit up the Left Forum today.  
Kristin and Marvin talk past a bored Billy at the Socialist Party USA table in the exhibition room.

New friends Juan and Zach have a very serious conversation over soup.

The highlight, besides meeting lots of passionate and intellectually stimulating new people and reconnecting with old faces, was sitting in on the panel "Loneliness and American Capitalism" with Harriet Fraad, Tess Fraad-Wolf, and Roger Salerno.

Roger Salerno, Tess Fraad-Wolf, and Harriet Fraad at their panel, "Loneliness and American Capitalism"

Fraad discussed how since the flattening of the male wage, particularly the white male wage, in the 1970's,  paired with outsourcing, led to increased debt, depression, disassociation, despair and a compound sense of inadequacy.  Since networth is confused for self worth, we've seen social roles dramatically shift and loneliness explode.  In 1970, the US was the most egalitarian nation in the Western industrialized world; now we are the least.  Unemployment has hit male dominated fields, particularly "macho" work such as construction, particularly hard.  In 1974, only 40% of American mothers worked outside of the home; now 70% do.  However, unemployed men still do significantly less housework than their employed wives, and women bear the brunt of emotional labor both within and outside the home.  Women are increasingly choosing to stay single, and are initiating the majority of divorces.  Men are in limbo and don't know how to be equal partners.

Fraad-Wolf followed up by explaining that because the economy is now more amenable to women than men, gender roles are being radically redefined.  The increase of women in college and middle management are some examples of how traditionally female traits such as better communication skills are more useful now in the white collar economy.  We've seen an increase in the portrayal of the perpetually adolescent male in pop culture.  After interviewing 48 women about their intimate relationships and dating life, she reported some phenomenon that particularly interested me, as a newly minted initiate into the dating world.   Women increasingly bemoan the dating game and mating rituals, often finding that men don't ever want to make plans, or that they too quickly initiate inappropriate sexual conversation and advances, often as early as the first date - something I have found to be surprisingly true in my own experience.  She discussed the mainstreaming of porn which is viewed massively by men and women, and how this huge industry is resulting in addictions and dramatically changing our intimate interactions, including an association of anonymity and arousal, sexual attention deficit disorder, an increase in men faking orgasms, and the development of neurological attachments to porn.  In effect, Fraad-Wolf explained, people are increasingly dating porn instead of one another.

Roger Salerno finished off the panel by expounding on the consumption of both love and loneliness as commodities, and how we are becoming more and more like our machines in this increasingly socially networked and socially isolating age.

There was a great article by Dr. Harriet Fraad recently in the Guardian called "Profiting from Mental Ill-Health".

In less political news, today is the Spring Equinox (Hurray!) and I spent a wonderful day yesterday with two of my closest friends celebrating the last day of winter in Prospect Park and Coney Island.

Watching this dad with these two adorable kids dressed as superheroes running around made my ovaries do somersaults.

This swan was mad brolick.

Nadia hooked up the ill post-Prospect Park couscous and zuchinni.  Yuuummmm.

Perigree Full Moon in Virgo at Coney Island.

Nothing brightens up a long ass train ride like bubbles and my grrl Clarity.


So excited to see how the seeds I've planted begin to sprout....and to watch those in my community bloom as well.

Also- would highly recommend you check out this video of a production done recently by some writer friends of mine in Australia, Poser and Take of New Rock Cru.  Watching this made me itch to put up the practice wall I build every spring. Gotta get my skills up...I'm getting rusty.

This is my song to say good-bye to winter.  Sofia Jannok is a Sami singer who incorporates pop and yoik (traditional Sami singing, not completely dissimilar to yodeling).  The lyrics to this song roughly translate to, "In Sárevuomi, the earmarked reindeer took off".

And here's my song to say, "Hello, Spring!  Girl, you look GOOD since the last time I saw you!".  Nina Simone covering the Beatles?  It doesn't get much better than this.  Well....actually...maybe it would be better if the images in this weren't so ridiculous.  But just close your eyes.  It's great.

And this song goes out to all the folks struggling with the gender dynamics influenced by the social conditions described above.  "Don't be a hard rock when you really are a gem-Baby girl, respect is just a minimum.......Don't think I haven't been through the same predicament.....Money taking, heart breaking- now you wonder why women hate men -The sneaky silent men, the punk domestic violence men -The quick to shoot the semen stop acting like boys and be men..."   
The moon waxing near the East River.

I am preparing for yet another major transition, and the astronomical timing couldn't be more encouraging.  Tonight is not only a full moon in Virgo, but it's also a super moon - meaning the moon is orbiting more closely to earth, and appears larger on the horizon. It has an affect on tides, and so this evening you will find me on the beach with a journal and sketchbook.  Then, tomorrow is the Spring Equinox, bringing the balance of day and night and new growth.

In two weeks, I will be leaving my humble sanctuary at the Dismantler here in the interstitial areas of Boro Park/Kensington.  I've enjoyed my time here, particularly the long walks past closed shops on Sabbath in the Hasidic Neighborhood, the daily prayers broadcast from the nearby mosque, the smell of cars being painted in the autobody shop below me, and the evenings lounging on the roof watching seagulls cluster together on warehouses.   This was a good place for me for the time I was here, and I hope whoever takes my little yellow room finds it as useful a cocoon as I did.

The Dismantler.
I am fascinated by numbers and patterns; it was not lost on me when I moved here that my building number and street number both were numerologically rooted in the number 9, a trinity of trinities, rich in symbolism through a number of different ideological and spiritual traditions.

The lab.

There is something so calming about this small stretch on the walk home.

Came across this yesterday in Park Slope of all places.

Everything is about to change. Again. I am seduced by cycles. I am humbled by the undulating rhythms, nearly imperceptible but ever present. Never believe anything is meaningless. Never believe you are too big. Never believe you are so small.

Everything has its purpose.

The world is changing. Constant rearranging. Reveal, Obscure, Expose, Veil.

Hot Chip "We Are Looking for a Lot of Love" Lyrics: "Everytime that we walk the streets/I try my best to keep up with the beat/You're everything that I never could keep/I hear the sound and it starts to repeat."