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Arts & Culture Committee

Newsletter – Arts & Culture Newsletter, Summer 2014

WHAT ARTS & CULTURE IS UP TO

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A&C’s 2nd annual Arts & Activism community forum on June 16th was a great evening of performance from Professor Louie, and riveting fun and challenging talk from our panelists: Brooke McGowen, Professor Louie, and George Emilio Sanchez.

And if you missed our 2013 forum featiruing Spritchild, Megan Trevino, and Karen Malpede, you can see it here.

LOCAL NEWS AND A&C ARTISTS

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Jeffrey B. Perry, who hosted an evening with A&C at WORD Bookstore in January, will be presenting his amazing lecture series on The Invention of the White Race, at the Brooklyn Commons through August.

Seeger Fest in New York City and beyond! The event is ‘a five-day festival of free events, takes place this July 17-21 in New York City and the Hudson Valley and held to honor and commemorate the lives of revered folk musician Pete Seeger and his wife, Toshi Seeger. The events will consist of concerts, film screenings, a memorial service, sing-a-longs, and a photo exhibit.’

Anya Skidan, who has contributed a song to A&C’s NSA Listening Party album, has released her beautiful new EP, Butterfly King.

Brooklyn Community Foundation has launched Brooklyn Insights, using audio, video and photography to collect stories from the people of Brooklyn. Currently they are featuring the stories of East New York’s Bangladeshi community.

La Casa Azul Bookstore is collecting donated books July 10-August 10. The book drive is ‘for children who were apprehended and detained at the Mexico-US border and are currently in deportation proceedings in the New York City area.’

 

OPPORTUNITIES FOR ARTISTS

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The Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) has announced October 2014 as the Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, leading to nationwide demonstrations October 22. SMIN has issued a Call To Artists and is currently seeking artistic contributions for the campaign, from amateur as well as professional artists.

ArtRage Gallery has announced a call to artists for a juried exhibition, September 6-October 18. The gallery ‘exhibits progressive art that inspires resistance and promotes social awareness, supports social justice, challenges preconceptions, and encourages cultural change.’Trans_ is collecting proposals until August 1. Trans_ ‘is the first anthology to collect the voices and experiences of trans people speaking to how the Internet has impacted our lives and how we have impacted the Internet.

Want to know how to make a short documentary? #docchat, PBS and others worked together to create this video guide.

Want to make your own deodorant that’s not full of dementia-causing aluminum? Mix: 1/4 cup corn starch + 1/4 cup baking soda + 8 tablespoons coconut oil + any essential oil you prefer. Pour into an empty applicator and keep in fridge. Even during these hot summer months, it offers the same or better sweat-protection with none of the dementia!

A&C NEWS USA & BEYOND

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‘I think more and more young artists are genuinely interested in making art that connects to a community.’ So says a student in this article from Sarah Nicole Prickett, Who Are The People That Get To Make This Thing We Call Art. The piece touches on themes addressed at A&C Arts & Activism forum.

Labor NotesFight For Health Care Justice Moves To States recounts one organizer’s testimony that ‘Our most powerful organizing tool was to get people to tell their own stories about the injustices of the for-profit health care system.’

OneStruggle.net is trying to raise awareness about the conditions for Haitian workers. ‘The conditions for Haitian sweatshop workers are among the harshest and most abusive in the world. … As artists and writers, we raise awareness and help shape public opinion about social and political issues.’ The statement was signed by 90 artists worldwide.

In The Common Core and its Discontents, Owen Davis reminds us of how dramatic the changes in arts-funding have been in recent years for the most marginalized people among us. ‘In the era of accountability, black and Latino students have lost more arts and music than their white peers. According to Americas for Arts, less than a third of black and Latino children now receive a full arts education, and the number is slipping.’

Philadelphia City Paper interviewed Mary Dewitt, a Philladelphia artist who has ‘been visiting seven women serving life without parole in Pennsylvania since the late ’80s, all while painting their portraits and recording their thoughts.’

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG) ‘have created a traveling poster exhibition highlighting diverse historical boycott movements’ called Boycott! The Art of Economic Activism, which ‘features 58 posters from than 20 boycotts, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, United Farm Workers‘ grape and lettuce boycott,’ and others.

Think GMO and non-GMO foods are the same? Some independent scientists have conducted a study that shows otherwise.

A recent article about Chuco’s Justice Center in LA is very encouraging, describing it as ‘a radical art space’ that ‘teaches artists & activists to “use direct action organizing, advocacy, political education and activist arts to mobilize youth, and their allies … to bring about change.”‘

Media Diversified’s great interview with writer Bill Campbell, “Popular culture” is no longer a “marketplace of ideas.” It’s a cartel.

The Beethoven Festival in Chicago, as Ellen McSweeney writes, reveals how little we value our artists, like the musicians the festival has failed to pay for last years’ performances, and tries to answer, ‘Why were the wronged musicians and their friends still so quiet? And, come to think of it, why did we maintain silence for nine months as we awaited sums of money that, to us, make or break our ability to pay the rent?’

Great article about POC Activists Leading the Gathering Resistance to Standardized Tests. ‘In the name of closing the achievement gap, entire communities of color in cities around the country have seen classrooms converted to test prep centers, where the time spent on studying strategies for eliminating wrong answer choices has pushed out inquiry, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, the arts, and culturally relevant pedagogy.’

An awesome activist in Chile, Francisco Tapia, destroyed $500 million worth of student debt papers.

As reported in Gawker, after a school in Iowa banned Sherman Alexie’s novel Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, some students bought copies of the book to hand out for free to any students who wanted to read it. Some parents thought they were McCarthy and called the cops. But the books continue to be distributed. Hell yes.

One of us recently read a book about the industrial disaster in Bhopal, India in 1984, and came across these amazing lyrics by Mr. Balli Singh Cheema:
With flaming torches we march / with flaming torches in our hands / we march / we the people of Bhopal / now we will conquer darkness / we the people of Bhopal / the huts ask and the farms ask us too / how long we will be oppressed / we the people of Bhopal / every obstacle screams as we kick it out of our way / we make music with our shackles / we the people of Bhopal / see friends, the morning looking pale in these times / we will fill it with the colour red / we the people of Bhopal / knowing that you cannot get anything without struggle / we are fighting a battle / we the people of Bhopal / we have tied our shrouds on our heads / and we hold swords in our hands / we have come out to look for our enemies / we the people of Bhopal
Bhopal will now come alive in every corner of the world / and we will continue with our battle / we the people of Bhopal.

 

In London, P21 Gallery is showing Palestinian photographer Rawan Serhan’s work that ‘depicts families – and particularly women – in the Palestinian village of Biteen.’

And just in case none of us weren’t in the know, this is bitter but also good to be acknowledged: Expensive cities are killing creativity.

MEDIA TO CHECK OUT

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Brooklyn Movement Center‘s podcast – BMC Third Rail – is released the first Friday of the month, dealing with local topics and social justice issues. Check it!

Wonderful 44 seconds from the Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) and middle school protesters. ‘Are you keeper of the mountain?’

Luc Roderique has released Union Solidarity Rap. So fun to hear awesome music that supports working people – all of us!

Need a dummy number to give out to creeps and don’t want to keep using H&H’s? Check out the bell hooks hotline number, which sends back an instructional feminist response from hooks when the number is contacted.

Women in the Zapatista Movement is a short video for educators and students that offers a clear introduction to women’s participation in the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico.’

Subcomandante Marcos recently issued his final communication as Zapatista spokesperson, heralding the groups’ efforts at change. ‘Instead of constructing barracks, improving our weapons, and building walls and trenches, we built schools, hospitals and health centers… We chose to construct life.’

Brooklyn For Peace has been a grassroots organization that has survived for 30 years, only able to do so because of volunteer labor and supporters. This piece by @DarkMatterRage on why folks who are able should donate to grassroots activist organizations should is an awesome reminder.

Awesome music from March Against Monsanto protesters.

From Latino USA, Environmental Racism in San Diego, a short podcast about ‘Barrio Logan’s multicolor murals at Chicano Park tell the story of the Chicano struggle’ in San Diego.From Public Radio International (PRI), check out this interview with artist and cultural organizer Favianna Rodriguez about art in the immigrants’ rights movement, and Arts & Activism.

Short video about the life of a courtroom artist. While POCHO’s Lalo Alcarez explains How to draw a cartoon character.

From podcast Reality Cast, ‘talking to a playwright who went undercover in the anti-choice movement.

Rapper Frank Waln of the Rosebud Sioux tribe in South Dakota, wrote ‘Oil For Blood‘ in opposition to the KXL-pipeline. ‘Oil for blood / Making you rich, you soil my love.’

WHAT WE’RE READING

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From Nicole Aschoff at Jacobin: ‘If we’re going to get through this crisis and end up better off on the other side, we need to tell different stories, new stories, stories that don’t glorify docility and subservience, stories that don’t, as C. Wright Mills once said, confuse personal troubles with public issues. What better place to start than Detroit? Not the Detroit of corporate propaganda, but the Detroit that fights, the Detroit of the sit-down strikes and the Battle of the Overpass. We can draw inspiration and learn lessons from Madison, Chicago, Immokalee, and New York, and any place people speak truth to power. These stories define us. These are the stories we should tell.’

From Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby: ‘Queen of France was already showing lights scattered like teardrops from a sky pierced to weeping by the blade tip of an early star.’ So beautiful. And: ‘…Michael was a purveyor of exotics, a typical anthropologist; a cultural orphan who sought other cultures he could love without risk or pain.’

An interview with Noam Chomsky answering questions from high school age students had the famous intellectual asked ‘Do you think comedy and humor can be useful in politicizing people in radical directions?’ He responded, ‘Sure, it’s done all the time. Way back in history, the court jester was the one person who was given some latitude to satirize and criticize – and it probably opened minds to an extent. … Questioning authority is often done effectively through ridicule, mockery, lampooning, satire, that is a very effective device, and a perfectly legitimate one.’

 

SUPPORT ARTS & CULTURE

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You can support Brooklyn For Peace’s Arts & Culture Committee by:- joining us. Our Committee is always looking to grow.

You can contribute in a number of ways, just email us and tell us your ideas or ask us questions.

- donating to Brooklyn For Peace

- come to our events and support our affiliated artists!

 
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