Life seems pretty bleak post-November 9, and even moreso when you consider that 2016 has been declared the “deadliest year on record” for transgender individuals in America, with 24 trans people– predominantly women of color– murdered so far.
This week, GLAAD’s Transgender Awareness Week continues, culminating on Sunday with the Transgender Day of Awareness. Founded in 1998 by a trans advocate in honor of trans woman Rita Hester’s memory, TDOR has been commemorated every year by vigils and other community-based events. Here are several goings-on this week, fun and solemn alike, that are either directly affiliated with Trans Awareness Week or serve to spotlight and lift up trans and queer individuals or groups.
The Base, Bushwick’s anarchist hub. (Photo: Karissa Gall)
It was difficult to ignore the fluttering signs at last week’s Bushwick Community Plan meeting. Sure, they were black-and-white, only about as big as two sheets of computer paper and just as flimsy, but there were tons of them. As City Council members Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Espinal touted their community-driven alternative to developer-led change, almost everyone sitting in front of them seemed to be holding a flyer reading: “EVICT THE RICH.” The rallying cry may have been more Mao Tse-tung than #BushwickBerners, but the Brooklyn Solidarity Network (BSN) couldn’t have been more serious.
Brazil’s meteoric rise as a success-story of the developing world—its shooting-star status as one of the BRIC states—imploded just before the global community turned its eyes to the country during the 2014 world cup. Rioting in the streets, vehement protest art, and police crackdowns went underreported, as the soccer frenzy kicked in. We Don’t Like Samba, which unofficially premiered recently at the Fusion Festival, tracks the protest movement that began in June 2013, after the costs for public transportation rose. That mass movement has inspired hundreds of other, smaller demonstrations: workers on wildcat strikes, women protesting the Papal visit, residents combating urbanization projects. “We are not samba dancers” say the striking garbage workers known as “Garis” in one interview. “We are rebels”.
I almost wish that we could take this one at face value, and learn in earnest how to combat the shadowy organization that is (obviously!) slowly infiltrating the upper echelons of government, business and media in order to implement a new world order through a complex system of signs and symbols. Sadly, that’s not the case. Despite what you might have heard about the nefarious Illuminati connections of Jay-Z, Beyonce, Obama, and Kim Kardashian, The Base is not here to help us take the mofos down. Instead, the leftist community organization believes that “Illuminati theory helps oppressed people to explain our experiences in the hood.” So they’ve put together a pamphlet redirecting attention to ways in which citizens can tackle the very real issues of oppression and exploitation. Come along, and channel your abundant conspiracy theory energy into thinking about social change.
Since everyone cool/loaded has left the city for a summer get-away and you’re still here, what better way to pass these lazy days than by learning to battle the Illuminati, showing off your mad fanboy language skillz or getting acquainted with Emperor Augustus.
Thursday August 21
Julie Schumacher + Ethan Rutherford Dear Committee Members, Julie Schumacher’s eighth novel, is an epistolary satire of academia that has been earning—as the title of a Slate review puts it, “Strongest possible endorsement.” Made up of letters of recommendation written by a beleaguered literature professor (whose promising career in fiction is now just a fading memory), the book is a bitingly witty portrait of a dying English department and the embittered man who dwells in its decomposing innards. More →
Learn about the rise and fall and rise of hallucinogenic mushrooms, the fight for tenant rights in Poland, and re-appreciate the street art you no longer notice, with this week’s worthy readings and talks.
Thursday, August 14
Mmmmmmmushrooms (Photo courtesy of Flickr)
Psychedelic drugs reaching a hallucination-drenched, kaleidoscopically patterned saturation point in the 1960s and 70s, during the zenith of American and European counterculture movements. Sadly, peak-mushroom was unsustainable. More →
This week’s talks and readings: some heavy stuff, ending in laughs.
Wednesday, July 30
The Gatekeepers Screening
When The Gatekeepers was first released in 2012, NY Times film critic A.O. Scott recognized the Israeli documentary’s import. “It is hard,” he wrote, “to imagine a movie about the Middle East that could be more timely, more painfully urgent, more challenging to conventional wisdom on all sides of the conflict.” Several years later, as the war in Gaza stretches into its third week with no signs of abating, that urgency has if anything only become more pronounced. More →
In 1994, with the signing of NAFTA, the Zapatistas—a revolutionary leftist group—emerged in Chiapas, under the aegis of Subcomandante Marcos. Chiapas is an impoverished agrarian region in southeastern Mexico, and the anti-capitalist movement’s base is made up of indigenous people eager to thwart the state’s military, paramilitary and corporate incursions into the mountainous region. Join activists fromLa Universidad de La Tierra en Oaxaca (University of the Earth) and the collective Veredas Autonomous (Autonomous Trails) for a discussion of the history and future of social struggles, in Mexico and across the world.
Upcoming talks and readings. Because sometimes, you just want to watch C-3P0 soliloquize in Early Modern English.
Thursday, June 26
Nathan Deuel and Friday was the Bomb
In 2008 Nathan Deuel, Village Voice and Rolling Stone editor, moved with his wife Kelly McEvers (a foreign correspondent) to Saudi Arabia. The couple’s first child had just been born when the Arab Spring erupted. McEvers was posted in Baghdad, while Deuel took his young daughter first to Istanbul and then Beirut. Friday was the Bomb: Five Years in the Middle East is Deuel’s first book, and an account of his time spent in the volatile region. Deuel will be reading from the memoir, taking questions, and signing copies. 7pm, WORD Bookstore (126 Franklin St, Greenpoint), Facebook RSVP requested but not required, FREE More →
Occupy Wall Street’s glory days of regular police spats and national front page news coverage are behind us (unless you watch The Newsroom — hello, Tompkins Square Park!), but at least some members of the movement have remained active agitators. Former Occupiers Khalil Robinson, who has primarily worked at teaching and aiding undocumented immigrants, and Elysa Lozano, an artist and political activist, have triumphed over a failed Kickstarter and months of delay in order to open The Base, which they’ve described on their website as “a sociopolitical space in Bushwick, Brooklyn, committed to the dissemination of radical-left ideas and organizing.” So far, their organizing has consisted of holding free Spanish classes and boxing lessons, but they are officially inaugurating their new space tonight with a panel called “Where Do Social Movements Go From Here?” More →