Category Archives: storytelling

Within a Dream World: A Look at Women Without Men

By Guest Contributor Azra, cross-posted from Muslimah Media Watch

Women Without Men, directed by Shirin Neshat, looks at the visually evocative and at times interspersing lives of four women in Iran in the early 1950s.  It is a time of political unrest, as Prime Minister Mossadegh faced increasing opposition from US and British-backed movements.  The film explores the women’s relationships with men and their understanding of sexuality, friendship, faith, and political involvement.  It is based on Shahrnush Parsipur’s Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran, first published in 1989.

The film is beautifully shot.  Neshat’s background in photography is clearly apparent, as each scene could easily exist as a series of photographs.  The colors of the film are rich.  At times I was reminded of Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, not only for the beautiful cinematography, but also for its similar (albeit far more understated) use of magical realism during a time of stark political change.  I found myself wondering about how both films use female protagonists and the setting of a natural space to drive their narrative, leaving male characters in the background of their experience.

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Interview With Cree/Metis Poet Marilyn Dumont

By Guest Contributor Jorge Antonio Vallejos, cross-posted from Black Coffee Poet

Marilyn Dumont’s first collection, A Really Good Brown Girl, won the 1997 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award presented by the League of Canadian Poets. This collection is now in its twelfth printing, selections from it are widely anthologized in secondary and post-secondary literary texts, and it is a course text in twenty-three post-secondary institutions in Canada and the U.S.

Her second collection, green girl dreams Mountains, won the 2001 Stephan G. Stephansson Award from the Writer’s Guild of Alberta. Her third collection, that tongued belonging, was awarded the 2007 McNally Robinson Aboriginal Poetry Book of the Year and the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year.

Marilyn has been the Writer-in-Residence at the Edmonton Public Library, the University of Alberta, the University of Toronto-Massey College, Windsor University, and Grant MacEwan College. She has also been faculty at the Banff Centre in Literary Arts and since 2009, she has taught in the Aboriginal Emerging Writers Program at the Banff Centre.  In 2009 Marilyn published her first novella, entitled Stray Dog Moccasins.

She is on-leave from Athabasca University while fulfilling the role of Writer in Residence at Brandon University and working on her fourth poetry manuscript in which she explores Métis history, politics and identity through the life and times of her ancestor, Gabriel Dumont. Marilyn serves as a board member on the Public Lending Rights Commission of Canada.

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Culturelicious: Interview with Queer Latina Poet Janet Romero-Leiva

By Guest Contributor Jorge Antonio Vallejos, cross-posted from Black Coffee Poet

Janet Romero-Leiva is a queer feminist Latina visual artist and writer whose explores immigrant displacement, denied aboriginality, queer and of colour existence, living and loving in dos lenguas, and the continuous intersection of identities that shape who she is and how she moves in this world. Janet immigrated to canada at the age of 7 and has since been trying to find her footing between america of the north and america of the south. she loves smoothies, cartwheeling and can often be found reading children’s books at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore.

BCP: Why did you start writing poetry?

JR: It was by accident, I didn’t really know that is what I was doing…but I started writing because I felt a need to express and somehow release things  I was trying to make sense out of – like my queerness, my feminism, my latinidad, my indigeneity, my experience of being an immigrant child.

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Dark Victorian Fairytale Science Fiction: An Interview with Psyche Corporation

By Guest Contributor Ay-leen the Peacemaker, cross-posted from Beyond Victoriana

In exploring the range of music that has been classified under the steampunk umbrella, Psyche Corporation would be on the more Gothic side of the spectrum.  The one-woman musical singer behind the band, Psyche Chimère possesses a versatile voice, and her music ranges as far as the imaginative topics she sings about. At turns Psyche Corporation moves from evocative and theatrical, as with“Part of Her Design” or “Beast”; to the darkwave dance beats of “Institute” or “The Crime”; to whimsical but edgy storytelling like in “The Ceiling” and “Wonderland.” (You can listen to her music on her MySpace, Reverbnation, or

Psyche Corporation’s music, however, has struck a chord with the steampunk community, and she has performed at steampunk events around the country, including The Steampunk World’s Fair in New Jersey, Dorian’s Parlor in Philadelphia, the Steampunk Salon run by the Brooklyn Indie Mart, and in conjunction with Steampunk Canada & the Toronto Steampunk Society for Canada’s Fan Expo. Psyche Corporation’s next steampunk performance will be at The Anachronism at Webster Hall in New York City on November 21st.

Just in time for Halloween, however, Psyche Chimère stopped by the blog to talk about her darkly-tinged music and her career as a musician in the steampunk community.

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Time Traveling in Seattle: Digital Futures, Racial Pasts

by Latoya Peterson

Last weekend, I keynoted at the Washington State Association for Multicultural Education. I was asked to talk a bit about the role of technology in the classroom and multicultural education. They asked what educators should know about how technology impacts the classroom.

After thinking on it, I decided on the core message for the talk: a lot of the issues in technology are the same old problems, wrapped in new packaging.

I opened with a discussion of the changing nature of technology and how it influences children, and then explain how some people are still locked out. Here is the slide deck from the talk:

I’ll be adding rough notes to go along with it soon.

Since I tell a lot of stories in the talk, consider the deck to be a rough outline.

After that, I hosted a break out session on video games and teaching, here are the slides from that:

And created a monster resources page, which is still in process.

The presentation went over well, as both people comfortable and uncomfortable with technology found out new and interesting ways to think about how we discuss and frame technology, and why more people aren’t fully participating in the digital revolution. But the really interesting things started to happen after the talk was complete, and I was given a racial landmark tour of Seattle. Continue reading

Young, Gifted, Gay and Black: The Tounges Untied Remix

by Latoya Peterson

Queer youth suicides have started to receive a lot of media attention, but still, far too many members of our community swallow their pain in silence.

Over on, fledgling filmmaker John Dargan explores what life after Marlon Riggs’ seminal 1989 film Tongues Untied, and the shifting landscape for those on their own journeys nearly a decade later.

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There is no transcript available, but here is the summary:

Inspired by the work of Marlon Riggs young filmmaker John Dargan decides to make a homage to Rigg’s critically acclaimed “Tongues Untied.” Dargan explores the contemporary face of voguing; the power behind identity and self-expression, the connection between safe spaces and the true robustness of spirit that comes to these young men with the beat of every up tempo mix they vogue to. In “Tongues Untied: Still In Vogue” we explore current young African American gay youth and their passions and personal struggles in society similar to Riggs original intention in his 1989 documentary.

Gil Scott-Heron Hits A Nerve With New Video

By Guest Contributor Naima-Ramos Chapman, cross-posted from Colorlines

In their new music video for “New York is Killing Me,” Gil Scott-Heron and director Chris Cunningham turn popular characterizations of the Big Apple completely on their heads. The video, which was presented at the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown Manhattan last week, has one simple message: it can be a cold, brutal place. But as a legendary artist, Heron’s bitter break up letter with the city has prompted some of hip-hop’s leading players to openly challenge its evils.

In this case, it’s a matter of cleverly mixed mediums that get the message across. Heron’s raspy vocals blend well with Cunningham’s visuals of alternating shots of the city, all in constant, dizzying motion. Subway tunnels, bridges, extreme aerial long shots of the city cloaked in darkness create a menacing mood for viewers. They easily conjure up feelings of destitution and grittiness for a city that over the past twenty years has become largely represented as the entertainment capital of the world.

When I first heard the track, I immediately thought of all the other highly-touted New York anthems. There’s Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” and the recent Jay-Z-Alicia Keys collaboration “Empire State of Mind.” Those types of love letters contrast sharply with Heron’s gritty city journal. This is not a song about a glitz and glam New York whose “streets will inspire you.” According to Heron, it’s a lonely, cold, and bare city. For a die-hard New Yorker like myself, the song is a hard pill to swallow but once it goes down, it’s difficult not to sober up and realize how much this city’s inhabitants are hurting.

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Boo, Hiss: True Blood Recap “Evil is Going On” S03E12

Hosted by Thea Lim, with Tami Winfrey Harris, Latoya Peterson, Andrea Plaid and Joseph Lamour


Thea: Well. Colour me disappointed. Laffy and Jesus get all of 5 seconds in the season finale, the cliffhangers have solely to do with the unkillable Bill and Sookie (wow, I wonder what is going to happen to them. yawn.), Alcide gets neither action nor a chance to take off his shirt, Nan is totally unchanged by Russell’s TV appearance, Godric comes back as a hippie hologram, AND Tara leaves the show?…Wait, maybe Tara leaving the show isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe she’ll move to some new parish with good storylines.

Latoya: I’m still blown that they set it up so Tara leaves. W.T.F. I remember clearly saying “Tara and Laffy go to New Orleans” not Tara gets a new cute ‘do and rides off into the sunset. Now, I’m not saying it doesn’t make sense. It’s been about three months of non-stop drama, murder, and mayhem. But I’m mad Tara might get the chop. Unless something takes out her car on the way out of Bon Temps, which could also happen.

Andrea: Thea, you will be the life of me!:-) I wholeheartedly agree with ya: I felt Sookie disappearing into Faerieville *improved* the show. Bill and Sophie….didn’t give a shit. I hope that ends with their driving stakes into each other’s hearts. Laffy and Jesus: the witch confession was interesting, but then that suggests what a couple of readers said in earlier threads about Jesus manipulating Laffy via his visions so Laffy would be dependent on him. Then again, it could become an interesting lover/apprenticeship entanglement that might be fascinating to watch.

Thea: I did love Laffy’s “so you’re a witch who’s a nurse who’s a dude?” line.

Andrea: That was a moment, but I also want to get some clarity on the gendered meaning of “witch.” ::Flashes big “W” in the sky:: Hey, Winn, would you mind offering some understanding about that for me, pretty please with your favorite topping on it? :-)

But my fave moment is Tara riding out of town with her fab-ass car and new ‘do. Roll on, sistahgurl, roll on…


Tara Cuts Her Hair: A Reality Check

Thea: It’s true. That was a good moment. What did y’all think of the haircut scene? Did one of the writers watch Good Hair and then write a memo saying “Black ladies like hair. Must write hair scene for Tara.” Oh, I have just out-cynical-ed even myself.

Andrea: Not at all, Big T. (May I call you Big T, Thea?) I liked the scene a lot. I dig your analysis about the racialization of the scene, but I didn’t quite read it that way. At first, I read it as an engendered scene, of “look at the woman cutting her hair to change her life,” which seems to be a leitmotif of women’s transformation stories in literature, mythologies, and pop culture. However I had to check that idea because hair-cutting seems to symbolize, in both spiritual and secular traditions, a letting go, a movement towards transforming one’s life for people of various genders. And, as much as I loved Tara’s fresh braids for three seasons, I really dig her natural lush ‘do, which is rare to see a dark-skinned Black woman rock in moving pictures.

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