AN INDEPENDENT ARTS & CULTURE GUIDE Art By: Tomo Singh
Unite the Fight!
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ing... c u d o r t In ton Podcast s o B t i L Its
Sidestreet Capo: The Trench Translator
From the streets of Roxbury, specifically Humboldt Ave., it’s more than muzik for Sidestreet Capo. Being only 22 years old, he’s gone through enough for two lifetimes. Kicking off last year with “Better Now” after spending time behind bars, Capo has never shied away from merging street life and music; and whether you’ve lived in the trenches yourself or have watched from afar, you cannot only relate to his pain, but have no choice but to understand it. Inspired by Tupac, Styles P and Jadakiss, it’s evident that Sidestreet learned a long time ago how to move in the jungle, while still speaking his truth. “I’m looking to inspire kids and teens in the ghetto, people in the jail systems, and just everybody struggling,” Capo tells Boston Compass. Since the release of “Better Now,” Sidestreet Capo has gone off to release over six singles since the start of the pandemic, last March. Collaborating with Shooterz Muzik Machine labelmates, 8 Zipp, Mulah Mitch, and KT Cuatro (free him), the message has always been consistent – don’t f*ck with him or his team and unless you’re for this life, stay out the way. “Everybody got a heart, till they get they chest pumped/ I’m a Sidestreet n**** that’ll f*** the ‘jects up,” he spits on “Yessuh.” Dropping his first music video in 2017, Capo has certainly made an impact alongside his labelmates in a short amount of time. With his debut album set to drop some point this year, it’ll be exciting to see what he’ll deliver. Be sure to check out his latest single, “Cameras In Jurassic” out now and follow him via socials: @sidestreetcapo. #Dededede —Tahisha Charles (@miixtapechiick)
We’d like to start Black History Month off by recommending that community activists and leaders read Roots to Power: A Manual of Grassroots Organization by Lee Staples. One point made in this book that sparked consciousness within is how imperative it is that as many organizations as possible communicate with one another. Historically, according to this manual, many movements lacked the strategic documentation readily available as reference of which techniques worked and which could be improved upon for the next revolution. For example, a call to action that is aligned with the message and often mentioned throughout a protest is a very powerful tool. We encourage studying the strategies of past movements as well as the movements of our opponents to improve upon what we are doing and gauge the results of these refortified actions. Imagine the influential conversation possible when as many of the organizations that lead actions get together as one. Admittedly, organizing one massive action has many challenges. However, a conversation alone can clarify differences and similarities in ideals and methods, create the possibility of collaboration, sharing of intelligence, pooling of resources, assessment of community needs with research, and highlight which political candidates align with our greater mission. WHBoston is committed to making this happen for our city. FOLLOW @whatshappening_boston on IG for the latest “HAPPS” within our city. — Amyas McKnight & Dayanara Mendez, WHBoston
THIS PAPER IS AN ONGOING PROJECT OF BRAIN ARTS ORGANIZATION, INC., A 501(C)(3) NONPROFIT. PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING TO, VOLUNTEERING OR OTHERWISE SUPPORTING US: BRAIN-ARTS.ORG
Podcasts weren’t a thing in Boston back in 2015; when our platform was created, it was to give creatives and people with something to say a safe space to be heard, to give their opinions and not be judged for them. Our podcast is another way of having therapeutic conversations. Exchanging opinions and indulging in one another’s conversations is an experience that we take for granted. We hope to leave people feeling like they’ve learned something, all while understanding who we are individually and collectively. ItsLitBoston isn’t just for Boston but for all communities; together we can all find our purpose and learn to understand one another in order to reach greater heights. Sam is drawn to podcasts for the conversations. It’s therapy without even knowing it. Learning and gaining wisdom from someone’s experiences are great things. Wholesome Mike brings balance to the trio with his knowledge of that which Sam and Sho could care less about. He’s the podcast’s Wikipedia, and whenever the fellas start going too crazy, he’s the voice of reason that brings it back to earth. I am Sho and I love podcasting because it allows me to step away from myself and experience others whom I normally wouldn’t be around. I may seem standoffish, but I’m an open book once the mic comes on. ItsLitBoston is the first podcast to win Best Music Podcast from the Boston Music Awards in 2019, and we don’t see ourselves slowing down anytime soon. — Shola ‘Sho’ Muyide Jr. LAYOUT DESIGN:
Phoebe Delmonte: p.1,4,& 5 Hannah Blauner: p.2 & 3 Adrian Alvarez: p.6 & 8 Julia Baroni: p.7
THIS PROGRAM IS SUPPORTED IN PART BY A GRANT FROM THE BOSTON CULTURAL COUNCIL, A LOCAL AGENCY WHICH IS FUNDED BY THE MASSACHUSETTS CULTURAL COUNCIL, AS ADMINSTRATED BY THE MAYOR'S OFFICE OF ARTS + CULTURE
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
BCN readers! Hello! Zup! I have very exciting news for you. Even after two incredible milestones reached in 2020—expanding to 8 pages and hiring the first ever BCN paid staff members—we continue to fight against the current Covid hellstorm harder than ever. We now have official BCN Boxes on the streets of Boston! Maybe you already knew that because you snagged this rag from one already, but we are just so overjoyed we must keep sharing this news. At the end of January, we placed 5 boxes around the neighborhoods of Boston: Fields Corner, Dorchester across from DAP | Nubian Square, Roxbury outside Dudley Cafe | Downtown Boston outside the Old State House | Allston outside Twin Donuts | Jamaica Plain outside the Stonybrook T stop. With these boxes the BCN is available for free
24/7 to all. You are probably wondering...what about Cambridge? Somerville? Brookline? Each city has its own process to get street boxes so give us a moment, we are working on it! Find a box, take a selfie with it, post it on IG and tag us @bostoncompass for a chance to win free BCN merch! Ready for another big announcement..? We are also proud to present the first ever BCN email newsletter. This baby will be hitting your inbox twice a month with updates from our print and online blog teams about new writers, columns, artists, and events to keep you updated and in the zone on all things local! Scan the adjacent QR code to sign up!
Light glints off my HyperScope®. I know it glints because every morning, 42 minutes and 17 seconds after sunrise, when the old red sun burns through the smog and streams past the skeletal towers of the Drowned Port to my post on top of the hill, I can look down the barrel of my Justice & Understanding Delivery Device® (Judd, for short) to see a fleck of reflected golden light in my field of view, quivering on concrete to the time of my breath. Quickly, I’ll scan for a floater on the porch of their houseboat, or a yuppie waiting to catch a pod. I’ll toggle Judd - and the fleck of light with it - up and down, and flash the poor bastard, let ‘em know I’m watching. Like clockwork, they’ll look around for the source and find it: the shining scope on the hill. They’ll look up at me, and I’ll look into someone’s eyes for the first and last time that day. The scope’s software will kick in, instantly scanning their face and pulling up their criminal history, credit score, and location predictions for the day. Their face will soften - from mild annoyance to a blank look of resignation. With calculated disinterest, they’ll turn away, sit a little straighter, and pull their collar up a little higher around their neck. It’s always the highlight of my 16-hour shift. I thought being a Panopticom Judge&Jury® would be a little less lonely. All the squad camaraderie of law enforcement, with none of the draconian anti-brutality regulations. The truth is, all I do is watch. The checklist and protocols I would need to satisfy to actually fire Judd are such a pain, I always just end up
reporting any violent crimes I witness. I’m not even sure what would happen if I did pull the trigger. Judd is certainly big enough to pack a punch, but the actual type of punch is the topic of much gossip and myth within the J&J forums. Some say it spits antimatter, erasing from existence whatever is contained within the crosshairs. Some say it calls an orbital strike, spitting a leaden rod from a low-orbit Panopticom satellite to obliterate everything in a ten-mile radius. I have a suspicion that nothing would happen. That Judd - its brushed metal and obsidian carbon bulk and its watchful, networked shining HyperScope® upon a hill - are all for show. There has to be some use, though. I’m nestled up to a whole lot of expensive tech, and my heads-up display sure likes to keep me busy. Every 15 minutes, scan a face. Every 30 minutes, watch the Viaduct, allow the HyperScope to analyze traffic patterns. Every hour, swing Judd around to watch the horizon, switch the polarized filter to maximum and scan oncoming weather patterns. Every five minutes, almost automatically, I brush my hand along the thick ethernet cable plugged into the back of Judd. Confirm it’s buzzing, confirm there is a steady stream of data flowing to god-knows-where. Now get back to work. Look back through the HyperScope®. Keep Pop music constantly evolves. Ever since watching. Observe, and protect. the term’s conception, “pop” has been used to describe anything from radio hits to bedroom indie. Since the rise of label PC www.meandmy.systems Music, artists like 100 gecs and Charli XCX insta @_____________m.e_____________ have been pioneers of the aptly dubbed “hyperpop,” music that borrows traditional pop conventions and song structures and blends them with modern trends like autotune, lightning-fast tempos, and blownout bass. In Boston, hyperpop has attracted an audience, but hasn’t fostered many artists that have gotten off the ground. I sat down with local up-and-comers Slimeater (Claire Montgomery) and Replicator (Justin Tu) and discussed Claire’s upcoming debut project, a full-length album produced by Dylan Brady and Spencer Hawk, a.k.a. Gupi. According to Justin, Brady began sending Claire beats for her own use after hearing a track she had made for fun. Soon after, she played a Slimeater set with Gupi during Square Garden, the Minecraft music festival this past spring, headlined by 100 gecs. “It was a big opportunity, we basically just took a bunch of songs that were semi-finished and other remixes that Spencer had made and… boom.” Right away, Square Garden
SHANNON FULLER @GREENDINO.CO
------------------------------- KEVIN DACEY
SMART ASS PHONES As I prepare for maternity leave and with it, a break from this beloved column so that new and exciting alternative voices can shine in the noble pages of the Compass, I thought a fitting topic to tackle this month would be the ultimate vehicle for corporate control: smartphones. In a little over a decade, smartphones have gone from being an unprecedented novelty—a technology that, while useful and powerful, was still non-essential to everyday life—to being nearly as central to our existence as the roads we drive on. The average American checks their smartphone 96 times a day, or once every ten minutes. It’s easy to see how this technology came to dominate our lives. Smartphones have reduced the banal hassles of pre-smartphone life to mere algorithms resolved through a simple click—hailing a taxi, looking up a restaurant in the phone book, reading the news, ordering a product. Some might argue that, in certain circumstances, these efficiencies have even been life-saving. So it might come as a surprise to many that for years now, I have been trying to opt out of them. Why would I ever wish to absolve myself of something so grand and powerful? Something that promises to make my life so much easier and more efficient? Because the conveniences offered by the smartphone come at a price. As outlined in horrifying detail through the documentary The Social Dilemma, smartphones and the corporations to whom they provide a portal into our lives prey on our biological vulnerabilities. Every move we make is monitored and capitalized upon, creating a constant feedback loop in which data about us is funneled to profit-seeking corporations, who use that information to further command our attention. In many instances, applications and features are designed to be deliberately addictive, not to enhance our lives, but to enslave them—to the extent that many of the people responsible for unleashing these technologies upon us, knowing what they’re capable of, absolutely forbid their own children from using them until a certain age. If you’ve heard of the term “attention economy,” this is it. But in addition to being worryingly invasive, there is also something frighteningly totalitarian about smartphones. The analogy is often made to the automobile, which, in its need to be accommodated in the form of roads and infrastructure, was cemented as a permanent staple of American life. Today, for swathes of Americans living in suburban housing developments (whose design presumes access to a vehicle), life
without a car is simply impossible. This has had its advantages, but environmentally and socially, we pay a steep price, which may eventually prove ruinous. Now, especially with Covid, which has forcefully deepened our dependence on big tech, society is similarly adapting to new technology in ways that presume every man, woman, and even child has access to smartphone technology. Boarding a plane, purchasing a cup of coffee. These may soon be activities that one cannot, for various reasons, participate in without a smartphone. And even without factoring in the environmental considerations that come with every human owning a device that requires the extraction of rare Earth elements to produce, there’s something that I find deeply unsettling about the growing inability to opt out without major impediments to one’s daily life. I know this because I’ve tried, and it is shockingly difficult. Being somewhat of a Luddite, I have resented the constant upgrades from my iPhone for years. At some point, I could sense they weren’t about us or improving our lives, and instead, about the corporations themselves and their insatiable need to grow. Where I was good with the iPhone 5, Apple just released the 12. It’s like a race to a finish line that keeps shuttling farther and farther away. In the last several years, I have sought a way out through “dumb phones,” the antagonistic term we use to describe devices with cellular mobile technology without the computing features of a smartphone—i.e. a phone that calls and texts, but that’s about it. In May 2018, for $50, I purchased a flip phone for the first time since they were a cutting edge technology. In July, not feeling the user interface, I “upgraded” to a Nokia 3310—a reinvention of the cult classic (it even has Snake!) for $60. Later, for $100, I tried the far more obscure yet very sturdy Sonim XP5—a favorite of construction workers everywhere. But the phones of old—the flip and the 3310—no longer operate well in the current technological climate. The Nokia couldn’t even make calls well, and since it is incapable of receiving group texts, I found myself bombarded by group texts that appeared as blanks, from friends and family who all have smartphones. As for the Sonim, it didn’t even work with my carrier and I returned it shortly after. Generally speaking, in an ocean of smartphone uniformity, these experiments have always been destined for failure. There are some aspects of life you can work around: purchasing maps, or a Garmin for your car to help with directions. But at the end of the day, we are living in a one-directional society. Even city parking, unless you happen to have a stash of quarters (which you don’t because let’s not forget, cash is obsolete), now depends upon parking apps. With the car, as now with the smartphone, not only has society reached and conceded to a point of no return, but also to a point of all or nothing.
------------------------------ KARINE VANN
SLIMEATER X REPLICATOR
attendees uploaded the set to SoundCloud and YouTube, cementing Slimeater into the hyperpop canon before even releasing any finished material. The duo’s songwriting process is simple; listen to the beat and write punchy lines with infectious melodies that stick in your head. “We just sit there on our phones and come up with lyrics about raving,” Justin said, “it’s funny, sometimes they don’t make any sense, but I feel like this new style of music doesn’t have the same constraints that a modern Top 40 hit would have.” The goal of the record is a wide range of sound. A prevailing element of hyperpop is unpredictability, with artists almost competing to see who can incorporate a more erratic sound or idea. “I’m trying not to be defined by one genre,” Claire said. To combat this, the record’s influences vary from Eurodance to 2000’s emo to trance and hardstyle. Justin stated, “[Brady] is a song factory—he’ll send ten different voice memos to Claire that are all completely different genres.” The currently untitled Slimeater record is out on Dog Show Records this spring. Shoutouts: Gupi, Dylan Brady, BDO
-------------------- JAMES AMMIRATO
WHEN THE SUN MEETS THE MOON
The seed of a flower, the beginning, the start of something—cannot be changed. The roots that sprout from the seed can only begin to grow bigger, stronger while it begins to transform through its lively stages. The path of this transformation does not narrow—it widens. If I plant two different types of seeds next to each other in the same garden, they both will serve the purpose of sprouting, of growing bigger and stronger, and allowing themselves to transform through their lively stages. It’s fascinating how nature continues to mirror the current stages of humanity, not even the current stages but overall the symmetry of seed to final. When there is love between two humans, we intertwine like brownish-green rainforest vines. Wrapped like the two fingers, the significance of peace. This kind of magnetic frequency is real when I allow it to exist naturally. Although, when I walk over to the circle of hatred some flowers keep their saturated colors and some fade away to death. What purpose is there to serve when I’m around this kind of vibration? It only allows me to realize that there’s a problem that hasn’t been resolved yet and, in fact, this problem is emotional—it’s mental. It doesn’t serve me at all to dwell in the negative frequencies of the fourth-dimensional world, not here, not anywhere. I can’t change where I came from, in these boroughs of beauty or as the white supremacist would like to label it “the minority region,” stand
products created from circumstances. Lord knows we’ve waited for him, the creator of all seeds. Lord knows we’ve called and cried when the sun is out—and the same thing while the moon hangs above our crooked rooftops. I’ve recognized the variations that exist within the range of flowers, the negro catalog. Some filled with love, some filled with hate and I simply understand all of their reasonings because I too have been there, I know what it’s like to feel that way. As a young little boy, I lived in the shelter on Mass Avenue with my single mother and we lived through the pain of what it meant to be Black and down. I understand them for their hate; I understand them for the love they choose to produce and build movements and organizations out of. That is the kind of seed one intends to plant in this world’s lovely garden. If you’re testing my love, my peace, there is no way of knowing when and how, but God knows what sort of ancestors he is willing to implement within his children to respond back. One bad flower will not intertwine with one good flower; it just doesn’t work that way. Day and night, that is 24 hours of my life. I see the sun, and I see the moon—both actively existing in the utmost amazing, natural ways that I know of. I wonder how they feel about us down here.
----------------------- QADIR SHABAZZ
SURVEIL & CONTROL
The militarization of the US police was on full display again this summer, an ever evolving performance that did not fail to deliver on its threat of violence. While armored vehicles, assault rifles and riot gear are all overt symbols of extravagant police budgets, less obvious is the expansive surveillance software now routine to policing. Tech companies fell over themselves to tweet that they stand against racial injustice, IRL these corporations produce and distribute the invasive surveillance software that enables and empowers our racist police state. Amazon’s privatized home surveillance network Ring has over 1300 police partnerships across the country. One of its features is the Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal, an interactive map that allows cops to request camera footage directly from citizens without a warrant. The associated crime reporting app Neighbors encourages users to upload and share security footage. These products create an online neighborhood watch that reinforce racial biases and embolden consumers to act as cops. Users of the app determine who is suspicious, reported, and harassed for simply going about their lives in their own communities. These products have capitalized off racist suburban paranoia and profit from bolstering white vigilantes, a real terror that Black Americans still face. Data mining firm Palantir Technologies started as an intelligence gathering platform during the Iraq War and now sells software to law enforcement, offering cops military grade surveillance capabilities. A joint LAPD Palantir program used predictive policing to evaluate information about past offenders and assign them scores based on risk assessments. One risk assessment that could land someone on the Chronic Offenders List was being gang
affiliated. Gang databases like the Chronic Offenders List are notoriously riddled with unverified and false information, encourage and normalize racial profiling, and permit the police to stalk, harass and brutalize communities of color. It recently broke that a popular Islamic prayer app Muslim Pro downloaded upwards of 98 million times had been tracking its users location information. Their warrantless collection of cellphone data was linked to a supply chain of defense contractors as well as the US military. Tracking people through an innocuous prayer app is disturbing, but unfortunately fits with our country’s long subjugation of the Muslim community to profiling and discriminatory monitoring. Not only are these data supply chains used to surveil the movements of an entire populace, they provide powerful location information that the US military clearly has a stake in. Like the tech they sell, deals between big tech and the police are sleek, secret and lucrative. Police often purchase this technology through funding from private police foundations and unions as well as donations from financial institutions, oil companies and other facets of corporate America who have a mutual interest in maintaining “public order” and white supremacy to protect profits. By avoiding the use of public budgets departments bypass public oversight and city council approval, preventing transparency, accountability, and hiding the true scope of big data policing. Where there is private money and profit involved, corruption prevails and public interest is always sacrificed. In the era of surveillance capitalism, data is capital and those most vulnerable are for sale to the highest bidder.
-------------------------------- GRACE RAIH
MURALS FOR ALL THE PEOPLE’S MFA
One thing I miss about mingling in indoor public spaces without serious risk of contracting a severe respiratory illness is browsing art museums. If you enjoy visual art or learning about its history, the concentration of so many creative endeavors in a single space makes for a wonderful visiting experience. The quality and value of art is far from objective, however. The most prominent museums are very wealthy institutions run by people with highly influential or specialized backgrounds. As a consequence, the art displayed is necessarily limited by its proximity to these influential institutions and people. I offer a solution to those who want to see some artwork that is A) created by people perhaps closer to you in social sphere and location and B) viewable without running the risk of contracting Covid-19! A two-in-one deal here, folks, and it is absolutely free: view some of the spectacular street art and outdoor art pieces right here in Boston. The following projects, from murals to some smaller pieces are concentrated in the Roxbury-Dorchester area. 1. “Home”, by Rixy (insta: @Rixyfz OR rixyfz.com) Rixy’s Home is a large-scale mural right off of Field’s corner. It is a bright and fluorescent piece meant to represent the diverse community that shares Dorchester- and many of those community members were encouraged to sign their names on the piece alongside the artist, reinforcing the message. 2. Mattapan community fridge design, by Tori DelValle (insta: @thirteen.vic) Community fridges are not a new phenomenon, but they have been flourishing since the beginning of the pandemic. These fridges are maintained and supplied by volunteers for anyone who wants or needs food free of charge. Some volunteers contribute with their artistic abilities as well. Tori DelValle contributed in this way to the Mattapan community fridge off at 1290 Blue
Hill Avenue. It is a lovely piece aesthetically, and part of a greater mission too. Most if not all of the Boston community fridges incorporate art as well, so be sure to visit them too! 3. Unnamed, by YN_Prop (insta: @ artbyprop) This small piece is a shoulder-high wall at the corner of Cobden and Washington street Dorchester, decked out in art on both sides (food for thought: do walls call their artistic paint jobs “drip”?). It mixes several elements of graffiti with a soft landscape. It is pleasing to the eye as jazz is pleasing to the ear. 4. “El Barrio commision”, by Mar (Insta: @aoasupply OR Aoasupply.com) This piece commissioned by the “El Barrio Mexican Grill on Dorchester Avenue which emulates the intricate structure of the Mayan calendar. The first rendition was removed for renovation, but the current mural, which is nearing completion, is one of several pieces Mar has done in the area, including the relatively recent “Black Lives Matter” installation which dominates Washington Street at Nubian Square. He collaborated on the El Barrio piece with another local artist, Super Sobak. 5. “Breathe Life”, by Rob Gibbs (insta: @ problak OR problak.com) A personal favorite of mine, this impressive mural can be found in the courtyard of the Roxbury Technical Vocational school off of Malcom X Boulevard- visit outside school hours, if you please. Gibbs is a founder of the Artists for Humanity Nonprofit, and is a member of the MFA’s Community Mural initiative. Raised in Boston during an era when graffiti and street art were often mischaracterized as vandalism, Gibb’s Breathe Life serves to dignify an often scorned medium, and more importantly, serve as a product of the people of Roxbury.
--------- RORY LAMBERT-WRIGHT
Happenings MORE AT BRAIN-ARTS.ORG!
ADVOCACY Build Greater Boston: “BUILD’s mission is to use entrepreneurship to ignite the potential of youth from underresourced communities and propel them to high school, college & career success” More info: buildinboston.org
MUSIC & AUDIO Celebrity Series Boston Virtual Live Performances: Castle of Out Skins 2/4, Alyssa Wang 2/11, and Quartet Kalos 2/25. More info at: celebrityseries.org ONCE Virtual Venue Presents: Idler Wheel, Senseless, and Optimism. Live on Youtube on 2/6 @8pm.
ARTivism Initiative. “The ARTivism Initiative projects are ongoing and theme-based. They encourage individuals to think critically about our world through the arts.” More information about guidelines for submitting to their projects can be found at artivisminitiative.org
LFOD + The ARTery present: The State of New England Hiphop. If you missed this panel discussion from January 7th featuring Brandie Blaze, CAEV, Brandon Matthews, and Jessica Richards the entire conversation is now available online at www.lfod.life/stateofnehh
New England Justice for Our Neighbors “NEJFON is recognized as an effective justice-oriented resource for providing hospitable, compassionate and high-quality, legal services for immigrants”. Consider volunteering for NEJFON. Learn more at www.newenglandjfon. org/advocacy
Sonorium. Ever check out the sick, recurring, Salem based experimental music expose known only as Sonorium?! Well you can see their past live performances online and stay informed on upcoming virtual performances. Videos on Youtube and more info at www.sonorium.net
Mass Action Against Police Brutality A campaign to prosecute the police and jail those who are guilty; open all past cases of police brutality; end the harassment of victims and witnesses. Visit www.maapb. org for info on actions/protests in the Boston area. Power to the People “Our mission is to empower black community by acknowledging the importance of supporting Black owned businesses & returning power back to the people.” Meets at DAP every Sunday at 4pm, follow and support @__pttp. Follow Voices of Liberation for regular information and advocacy for housing equity in greater Boston. They host meetings, summits, and actions to engage the public in this important cause! Follow Survivor Theatre Project for online events and opportunities that support women, queer, and POC voices. More info on IG @survivortheatreproject Center for Teen Empowerment encouraging and advocating for youth involvement in social change and political movements specifically for low income and POC in greater Boston www.teenempowerment.org Freedom Fighters Coalition is a community organization responsible for many of the recent protests and counter protests. Follow them to find out about actions in Greater Boston and volunteer opportunities. @ffcof2020 on Instagram. Black Minds Matter: “One Heart, One Mind, One Soul, One Sound. Through mental freedom we will achieve freedom for all.” Important community events found at @blackmindsmatter2020 Follow @unofficialcommittee “An open community for activists, designers, and artists who create solutions for positive social change.” www.unofficialcommittee.com
Follow Bummer City Historical Society to sign up for their monthly open mics (currently online), virtual performances, live music, and more! “The Bummer City Historical Society & Civic Engagement Coalition is a Boston-based community of DIY artists and organizers trying to develop intentional, inclusive, civically engaged communities throughout the Greater Boston area” 2/4 - open mic featuring Ava Sophia 2/18 - open mic featuring Beany Tuesday More info at bummercityhistoricalsociety.com Bridgeside Cypher just wrapped up an amazing year of live performances and virtual competitions. Check out their archive of recorded cyphers and additional content at thebridgeside.com Check out local radical, artist, musician, and educator Noemi “Saafyr” Paz! She regularly hosts events and is scheduling virtual performances and opportunities soon! Visit saafyrexpress.com/ to learn more. Boston Stream Party! Virtual shows, readings, musings, music, and more. Check them out @BostonStreamParty for updates and announcements including upcoming events. BAGLY (Boston Area Gay and Lesbian Youth) Virtual Open Mic! 2/10 7-9pm on Zoom zoom.us/j/927719211 @bagly_inc Follow Community Music Center of Boston! CMCB is an arts education nonprofit founded in 1910, with a mission to transform lives by providing equitable access to excellent music education and arts experiences. www.cmcb.org Boston Lyric Opera present BLO Street Stage! “BLO Street Stage is a mobile performance space bringing beautiful live music to your neighborhood. Join us in-person for an outdoor performance near you!” For more information, check out blo.org Lunch is Ova! on Spark FM with DJ WhySham: Every Tuesday/Thursday from 1-3pm www.sparkfmonline.com/
Feel it Speak it: Boston’s only monthly open mic movement dedicated to voices & experiences of the LGBTQ+ communities of color every Thursday. Open mic sign up: tinyurl.com/fisivirtual @feelit_speakit The OOZE New England’s only party dedicated and catering to all the rad underground genres of electronic music and internet subculture. Check out @kerrydabrunette on IG for info and updates. Did you know that Modern Party Art hosts Open Mic Night every Wednesday 6:30-9:30pm EST? From beginners to people who do this for a living...the stage is yours! Reserve your seat by buying tickets in advance. 20 person limit during Covid. Follow @modernpartyart for more! Virtual First Fridays Open Mic: All ages and talents welcome! Sign up here! https://bit.ly/ FF-OpenMic-Signup
VIDEO & FILM Girl Haus Cinema has announced a new online screening in January 2021! Follow them for updates or visit grrlhauscinema.com/ online-screenings ShowPlace ICON is host to a redefined movie experience with cutting-edge digital and theatre technology. Check out their website for events. www.ShowPlaceICON.com @showplaceiconboston Weird Local Virtual Film Festival #4 airs February 6th at 8pm. Search “Weird Local Productions” on Youtube to find this whacky marathon of local films streaming straight to you home-zone. On IG @weirdlocalfilmfestival
VISUAL & ART Kingston Gallery Exhibition: “Inside Outside” by Vaughn Stills. 1/20 - 2/28 “The fundamental concept of this work, expressed in the title “Inside Outside” is a juxtaposition of the highly cultivated versus wild, untamed natural world.” - Stills Social distanced opening reception: 2/5 @7pm Zoom talk: 2/10 @7pm register at: kingstongallery.com Kingston Gallery Exhibition: “Solastalgia” by Rhonda Smith. 1/20 - 2/28 “[Solastalgia] is the pain experienced when there is recognition that the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault (physical desolation). It is manifest in an attack on one’s sense of place, in the erosion of the sense of belonging (identity) to a particular place and a feeling of distress (psychological desolation) about its transformation.” - Glenn Albrecht Social distanced opening reception: 2/5 @5pm Zoom talk: 2/3 @7pm register at: kingstongallery.com New Exhibition: “Lovers, Muggers, and Thieves” @ Praise Shadows Art Gallery. Opening 2/4 with a zoom interview between artist Duke Riley and curator Jen Mergel. Opens on February 4, 2021 and will present drawings, mosaics, and video by Riley. The show
will also feature the premiere of original scrimshaws made from found discarded plastic, and after their debut at Praise Shadows, they will be on view as part of a major U.S. museum exhibition in 2022” praiseshadows.com/exhibitions/ duke-riley S.O.M. Vibes Studio grand opening! Saturday 2/13! Come check out the new storefront in Attleboro! “S.O.M Vibes Art Studio is an expressive visual arts center that focuses on creating a positive mind frame by self reflection through art and music.” More info at: somvibesstudiollc.com CALL FOR WORK: Aviary Gallery is currently seeking work for our weekly online exhibition features on a rolling basis. All mediums are accepted, so long as the work can be represented by high quality images. More info at aviarygallery.com Pao Arts Center presents: Wen-hao Tien - “Home on Our Backs” Virtual Opening on 2/4 @6pm. “Join Pao Arts Center Artistin-Residence, Wen-hao Tien and Ben Sloat, multimedia artist, Assistant Professor, and Director of the MFA in Visual Arts at Lesley University for a conversation on Tien’s newest exhibition at Pao Arts Center” More info and registration: paoartscenter.org Boston CyberArts presents: In the Future Everything Will be Perfect by Anne Spalter. “In the Future Everything Will be Perfect includes a series of interactive work that can be accessed through Cyberarts’ windows featuring rotating abstract crystal balls in a sea of kaleidoscopic color. On view in the windows of Boston Cyberarts Gallery 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.” Fully Immersive 3D Virtual Gallery! Unbound Visual Arts that lets you walk through a fully immersive 3D virtual gallery space and learn more about the various artworks on display. unboundvisualarts.org Now + There Public Art Accelerator Forum. Did you miss this amazing public art forum in October? Over 100 local artists, community partners, city officials, historians, and those curious about public art came together for two days of conversation and learning. You can now view all the content online! nowandthere.org To Each Era Its Art. To Art, It’s Freedom. Art installation by Jose Dávila and guest-curated by Pedro Alonso. Now open in Central Wharf Park! “To Each Era gives Boston a platform for public-making in a time of physical distancing. We may have installed the materials, but it’s your interactions, perceptions, and questions that make it art.” @now_and_there Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0 interactive art installation by Esrawe + Cadena at the Seaport Common through 3/14/21 @seaportbos will make a donation to Habitat for Humanity for every tag on Instagram
LITERARY ART & NEWS MEDIA Check out the Papercut Zine Library virtual library! They are “a free, volunteer-run browsing
library with a collection of 16,000+ zines & independent media”. www.papercutzinelibrary.com/ Boston ABG: Asian Book Group. Join the Boston Asian Book Group! We meet monthly in Kendall Square. Like our page to be notified about our next meeting! www.facebook.com/bostonabg Take-a-Zine, Leave-aZine Project looks to plant community-run book stands in Boston to foster the trade of zines, art books, and printed matter. Follow on IG @takeazine or email email@example.com to find a stand or get involved!
PERFORMANCE ART Narrative Storytelling: “Exploration in Growth and Resilience” facilitated by C-A of Survivor’s Theatre Project. 2/20 from 12:30-3pm. For more info and to sign up for the zoom, email firstname.lastname@example.org Check out Artists’ Theater of Boston! They produce “thoughtful, evocative work that challenges systemic injustices facing our communities through the collaborative process of making theater”. Online opportunities and performances can found at artiststheater.org Free programming through New Rep Theatre including a monthly script reading book club and “Quarantine Creatives” - short online plays based on community members’ experiences during COVID. More info at newrep.org/free-programming HOME Poetry Series - January Edition HOME consists of a featured reader and brief open mic every first Friday, followed by a writing workshop the following Saturday morning. The series is curated by Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola and hosted by Anthony Febo. The poetry reading and open mic will be on February 5, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. boston.gov/poetry. Midway or the Highway Open Mic! On Zoom! Find us on Facebook for the address. All are welcome when Angela Sawyer & Dave Robinson host some of the city’s most talented comedians, musicians, and weirdos too! If you’re feeling brave, put your name in the bucket and get a moment onstage under the lights. Every Monday night! Check out The Comedy Studio! Comedians from Boston and beyond. All events can be streamed on their website, as well as a weekly podcast Tuesdays at 8 PM. thecomedystudio.com The Black Comedy Explosion: Wednesday nights at Slades Bar and Grill starting at 7pm. Join us as we bring you some of today’s funniest comedians from BET Comic View, HBO DEF Comedy Jam, and more, with both national and local acts. sladesbarandgrill.com @slades.boston Artisanal Comedy: Weekly version of the popular monthly comedy showcase, bringing you unique, smart, hilarious comedians from across the
country. 9pm EST, every 1st, 3rd & 4th Wednesday. More info @bethanyvandelft Keep the Light On is presented by the Boston Circus Guild 1/162/5/21 Proceeds go to the Boston Circus Guild Performer Relief Fund to help BCG artists affected by COVID. Tickets $10, allows 48 hours to stream ondemand thebostoncalendar.com Coleslaw’s Corner: Science in Drag 2/11/21 @7:30pm In this new series, drag performer Coleslaw speaks with experts, scientists, or researchers about current science and technology. Free virtual program through the Museum of Science pre-register at: mos.org
COMMUNITY Boston Ujima Project Citywide Assembly: A weeklong event featuring meetings on a variety of community topics including transnational organizing, citywide assembly, neighborhood workshops, and conversations with activists, community leaders, Black and queer artists, and much more. Sunday 2/14 - Monday 2/22. More info @ www.ujimaboston.com Register on Eventbrite! Agbo Ile/The Poetics & Potentialities of Community Centered Art & Design - facilitated by Mobolaji Otuyelu. 2/3 @7:15pm From Boston Ujima Project: “This quarter we are joined by Mobolaji Otuyelu. Some of you all know her through our cofacilitating of recent African Film learning pod and the film festival just experienced together” Program signup: tinyurl.com/ bostonujimaprojectzoom “The Purpose of Power: We Are All Trayvon” 2/9 @6pm “The Boston Public Library welcomes author Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, for an online conversation moderated by BPL President David Leonard. This program is part of both the Lowell Lecture Series sponsored by the Lowell Institute and the BPL’s Repairing America Series”. bpl.bibliocommons.com/events “How to Use the Disruptive Energy of a Pandemic to Make Your Business Thrive” 2/25 @6pm “The Boston Public Library welcomes physician, communication expert, and author Dr. Neha Sangwan for an online conversation moderated by BPL President David Leonard. This program is presented as part of the BPL’s Repairing America Series.” bpl.bibliocommons.com/events Boston Democratic Socialists of America: Chill With Comrades in person and online! Find events on FB and on their website including February meetings that tackle discussions and actions surrounding rent control, prison abolition, immigration, mutual aid, community building, and more. Email mentalhealth@bostondsa. org with any questions. Want to get involved volunteering for local nonprofits but aren’t sure how? Check out One Brick at www.onebrick. org/ to get involved! “One Brick is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is a community of volunteers that support other
local nonprofits by creating a friendly and social atmosphere around volunteering. They build community through volunteering!” BAGLY Weekly’s Meetings Including POC affinity groups, Trans/Non-Binary groups, and groups around preventing stigma around STI’s and HIV, and more! www.bagly.org/calendar Boston GLASS operates Drop-In Community Centers for LGBTQ+ youth of color between the ages of 13–25! GLASS provides a continuum of services to LGBTQ+ youth of color and their allies in the Greater Boston and Greater Framingham areas and also provides education and consultation to other providers and community organizations. Women Explore Lecture and Discussion Forum: Women Explore provides lecture series within a feminist learning community for women, to connect with the sacred dimensions of their experience and to support and encourage each other in the world community. womenexplore.org Community Fridges! There’s a bunch of these popping up all around the city! Free food for all! Run by volunteers! Check Out @bostoncommunityfridge @dotcommunityfridge @allstoncommunityfridge @matcommunityfridge @cambridgecommunityfridge 826 Boston is a nonprofit youth writing and publishing organization dedicated to empowering traditionally underserved students ages 6-18 to find their voices, tell their stories, and gain communication skills to succeed in school and in life. Fall 2020 programming will be all digital. www.826boston.org Boston LGBTQIA+ Artists Association is revamping with a new director and a new website! They just put out a survey asking what LGBTQIA+ artists in Boston would like to see happen with this new organization. Find it at www.blaa.us Massachusetts Historical Society presents: “Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights” 2/1/21 @ 5:30pm Gretchen Sorin discusses how automobiles presented opportunities for Black families to resist oppression and evade dangers of racist society. masshist.org/calendar “Black History & Racism in America: Where do we go from here?” 2/3 @7pm Take a look at Black History that you never learned about in school beginning in 1619 through the present with NAACP board member Michael Curry. youtube.com/ watch?v=HwLRtaNb8YE Massachusetts Historical Society presents:“Higher Laws: Black and White Transcendentalists and the Fight Against Slavery” 2/4 @5:30pm This talk by Peter Wirzbicki focuses on the antislavery activists and Transcendentalists whose work influenced later activist movements. Online program,
As the pandemic progresses, creatives are getting more creative and laying the seeds for a fruitful spring and summer. As Covid turned the 2020-2021 season on its head, most shows were canceled or moved to warmer months for outdoor performances. Many companies have turned to technology to create new mediums for their work. Local leaders like the Arlekin Players are embracing digital theatre for the long haul, having just fundraised for their (Zero Gravity) Virtual Theatre Lab, where they can continue to experiment with combining live theatre, cinematography, and even video games for a new experience that is globally accessible. Other companies are looking back by recording audio or filmed versions of past productions to be streamed later this year. This is a great way to share their work with a wider audience without the dangers and expense of rehearsing during a pandemic. Company One is filming Hype Man: A Break Beat Play with the original 2018 cast, while the Huntington Theatre is broadcasting an audio version of their 2016 hit Tiger Style on the radio and online (info below). In the last 10 years, audio plays have made a comeback due to the popularity of podcasts, harkening back to radio plays of the pre-tv ‘30s and ‘40s. Over the past year, even more have emerged. In Boston, the Huntington took the lead last spring with their Dream Boston series of short, commissioned audio plays from local playwrights. This year the Lyric Stage company debuted the first two of six short audio plays as part of their Walking Plays series streaming online (info below). The theatre community’s dexterity through this crisis has been impressive and by default has enabled companies to grow their audiences globally by going online. Below are some highlights this February but check out our full listings online at Brain-arts.org/blog. Tips? Email TheatrescapeBoston@gmail.com —CEEK Ongoing Walking Plays series Check out the first two short audio plays in this new series from the Lyric Stage Co featuring playwrights David Valdes and Ginger Lazarus. WHERE: LyricStage.com register for free at: masshist.org/calendar “Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter” 2/17 @6pm “William Monroe Trotter (1872–1934), though still virtually unknown to the wider public, was an unlikely American hero. With the stylistic verve of a newspaperman and the unwavering fearlessness of an emancipator, he galvanized black working-class citizens to wield their political power despite the violent racism of post-Reconstruction America.” bpl.bibliocommons.com/events “The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation” 2/23/21 @6pm “Join the Boston Public Library in partnership with the Museum of African American History (MAAH), the State Library of Massachusetts, and American Ancestors/New England Historic Genealogical Society (AA/NEHGS) for an online conversation with Anna Malaika Tubbs, author of The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation. This program is part of the BPL’s Repairing America Series.” bpl.bibliocommons.com/events The Allston-Brighton Winter Market is being held virtually through 2/14/21 Browse local art, services, handmade goods, gifts, and more all online. edportal.harvard.edu/virtualwinter-market
2/6, 6 pm Tiger Style on GBH at 89.7FM The Huntington Theatre’s 2016 show is back and has gone all-audio for its radio debut. This hilarious confrontation of Asian stereotypes and family by Mike Lew will also be streaming via podcast in four half-hour episodes. WHERE: Huntingtontheatre.org
2/9-2/22 Julie @ Arts Emerson A passionate take on Strindberg’s classic play Miss Julie by Brazilian theatre director Christiane Jatahy. A layered work using multimedia to entrance the audience. In Portuguese with English Subtitles. WHERE: Pick-your-price tickets at ArtsEmerson.org
Partners for Youth with Disabilities needs volunteers for our Mentor Match program! If you are over 18 and live in the Boston area you are eligible. No previous experience working with youth with disabilities necessary. Interested? Reach out to email@example.com
Throw Out That Dead Plant
r Art u o Y e Se ! Here?
sen adri d your an@ w brai ork to n-ar ts.o rg
Hi plant babes. We all have that one plant that we keep watering thinking “it’ll come back!” It’s not coming back. Unless it’s a fern, oxalis, or other plant that might have rhizomes that go dormant for a season, your plant is a goner. And when you toss it you’ll be making room for a SHINY NEW PLANT which is pretty much all any of us wants, right?! Here’s how to make sure that honey needs a compost burial:
There’s no new life anywhere on the plant. No green leaves, nothing.
If you scrape a branch, it’s not green underneath.
You already looked up whether it might go dormant — it doesn’t.
The whole thing is brittle and snaps when you bend it.
5 The roots are brown and rotting and sad.
Your plant fits this criteria? Toss like it’s Trump! Maybe there’s a few green pieces at the ends but the roots are gone? Try propagating the ends in water and see if they root! Sometimes that’s the only way to save a plant. Good luck and happy plant shopping ;)
by Abigail Neale @lavender_ menace_press
my country tis of thee, late land of slavery,
land where my father's pride
I love thy rocks and rills
my native country thee
of thee I sing.
land of the slave set free, thy fame I love.
slept where my mother died,
and o'er thy hate which chills,
Poetry Comix by Ryan M Valentine
from every mountain side let freedom ring!
my heart with purpose thrills, "My Country 'Tis Of Thee"(excerpt)" by W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963)
ke The Boston s ma u 0% p l He Compass is 10 ing! n h ru t ree s nt i lu vo th
Amplify new vo ices!
to rise above.
Email to learn how
tear this poster out and put it on a wall! -
By Tomo Singh
STATING THE STATE OF THE STATE OF THE ART ARTS
KAlAmu e. KietA • KAlAmueKietA.com
“I do collage-based illustrative storytelling.”
“You get to create a world that doesn’t exist until you conceive of it and commit to putting it on paper.”
“Since I was very young I’ve relied on things I find to create new things out of....Half of the pieces I’ve done are on cardboard.”
“Alchemy is about changing something from what it is to something completely different — art is the same way.”
“Art can reach so far without saying a word and all you need are your creativity and your tools.”
“The technical skills I developed for my creativity are marketable skills. I got into woodworking for my own creative interest and now I’ve gotten tons of jobs doing carpentry.”
“I try to find balance....I keep true to what I believe in, stay free and keep evolving.” “Time is the biggest constraint we have in our human existence.” “Write down your ideas. Ideas are like food — your body takes what it needs and shits out the rest.”
“Creative minds tend to be whimsical and airy but if you have structure behind your projects you’ll get them done much faster.”
“In such a small city you’ll know a lot of people in a short time if you put yourself out there. Knowing people opens a lot of doors.”
"Tagging Reality" /
Roger Maranan /
neil horsKy • horsKyProjects.com
Viscous Verses. A fool's journey through the subculture
Naomi Westwater starts her morning with a sunrise walk on the beach. It’s intentional. It sets the tone for the day. And like everything else she does, it’s spiritual. “I do certain things to nurture my physical being. I stretch in the mornings, and I eat foods that make me feel good,” Westwater tells me over Zoom. “But everything else I'm doing to nourish the spiritual part of me: consuming art, making art, getting in touch with nature.” In addition to writing the monthly tarot column for the Boston Compass, she’s a singer-songwriter and producer. She’s currently working on an EP called “Feelings” which explores the personal and political, tackling topics ranging from climate change to endometriosis. Westwater’s spirituality is active and grounded in lived experience. She denounces the ways racism and capitalism seep into spirituality, and suggests that new practitioners seek nonhierarchical leaders and teachers who they trust, in addition to finding their own way by exploring what aspects of their identity they can bring into their rituals. “You don't have to go out and copy a practice that is not from your own culture to have a spiritual moment,” says Westwater. “I really encourage people to kind of do things that they would already want to be doing.”
I see myself As I view myself In series In honeybee instances The rabbit now An afternoon dead Once stood Myself in its Pollen silhouette I am eating at myself Without discrimination But horrible specificity Like the State Like this damn state
She rejects the idea that people need an intermediary to access their inner truth, and says the hierarchy in religion that places certain people closer to God allows oppressors to hoard access to power and wealth. “I am trying to think about spirituality more as a circle, with an understanding that you can tap in at any time.” She stresses that you don’t need to buy anything or be somewhere in particular to have a spiritual moment. It can be as simple as intentionally lighting a candle, or mindfully sipping your coffee. Or in her case, making music. Her songs are not religious and are typically not explicitly spiritual, but they often evoke a connection to the numinous in things large and small. At the end of this month, she’s helping fellow songwriters connect spiritually as a means of tapping into their own endless well of creativity in her upcoming retreat, “Song and Sanctuary.” Mornings will start with light movement and spiritual check-in, followed by songwriting and creativity workshops later in the day. In the evenings, artists will have an opportunity to share and get feedback on their work. Participants don’t need to identify as a member of any religion or even as “spiritual.” Westwater says it’s about artists gathering together at a time when community is hard to come by. The rest is personal. “It’s all about intention. Anything can be spiritual, just like anything can be art.” “Song & Sanctuary” is a three day, virtual retreat (Feb. 26-28). For more information visit www. naomiwestwater.com
Like this, in an entirely damned state I see myself.
Curtis Emery is a queer poet from Massachusetts. His work is published in, among others, Dirt Child, Conjunctions, Reality Beach, ELDERLY, Infinite Scroll, pastsimple, and is translated into German with the Berlin publication, Kathedrale19. His work also appears in LIBERTINES IN THE ANTE-ROOM OF LOVE: Poets On Punk [Jet Tone Press 2019] & DEVOURING THE GREEN: fear of a human planet: a cyborg / eco poetry anthology [Jaded Ibis Press 2015]. Viscous Verses is edited by Raquel Balboni and Ben Mazer artandlettersmagazine.squarespace.com
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