Punk Fest & Zine Fair Recap

Holy shit!

My sister and I have been dreaming about the opportunity to host an event for a few years now. A community of Black womxn moshing for Black joy and Black lives. Beautiful brown bodies moving to crazy metal music under the bright heat of a summer day. Having fun without a care in the world, even if the sensation only lasted for a few brief moments.

#Blkgrlswurld’s first ever Punk Fest was an amazing event as I personally witnessed the coming together of all these womxn having different effects on people. I watched skeptical faces at the Punks of Color Panel suddenly realize that there was substance and cultural value to what panelists were sharing through personal stories. I watched young womxn curious about live metal shows seeking guidance on how to safely attend local shows. I witnessed femme musicians watching each other’s performances and museum visitors becoming inspired by the Free Black Women’s Library.

Nothing gets us more excited than creating C-O-M-M-U-N-I-T-Y.

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BlkGrl Book Tour Recap

I’ve been a zinester since 2014, toting my lil hand made books around to DIY events. We table and vend with fellow artists, often feeling like Lucy with her Psychiatric Help Stand, sharing with any who will listen the content of our books with passion and understanding. Some folks really don’t understand it, while some really do. It’s a great space to share what you truly love, because somebody out there, even if its only 2-3 people, cares just as much about talking avocados as you do.

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Events on the tour:
Paper Jazz Fest, Brooklyn NYC
Betty Zine Fest, Newark NJ
Boston Art Book Fair, Boston MA
Not Just A Boys Club Fest, Teaneck NJ
Punx of Color 4, Brooklyn NYC

The BlkGrl book tour was my first attempt at following a dedicated schedule of events in locations outside of Manhattan, to help spread the #Blkgrlswurld message as far outside of NYC as possible. Black girls love metal and punk rock too! It challenged me to create a traveling system to affordably leave the city and arrive at any venue with a pop up shop out of a single bag I could carry on my own. (This is NYC, I don’t have a car ok?) Traveling on buses, trains and taxis to these other places tested my dedication to the project. Was I willing to get up at 6am for my zines? Here are some things I learned about being on the road with our lil books.

Punx of Color are everywhere.

Here at #Blkgrlswurld we aren’t always a certain an event or venue we attend is appropriate for our project. When tabling events like the Boston Art Book Fair, this became a critical question. Our $3 coloring books standing next to $75 high quality art catalogs? Likely a sign that our intended audience wont be strolling through this event. But they did anyway. There was not much diversity at that fair, but when a few Black youth did stop by we had great conversations about music and a few sales. Never underestimate who will take interest in your work.

Some people will never understand us, and that’s ok.

We stepped into new spaces and venues – that means local audiences are new to our work and what we’re about. Metal is not a widely understood musical form, so that alone was confusing to some along with the layer of being femme and Black. *Shrugs* All of these adventures help me determine what events to do next year.

Taking a stand empowers those around you.

Our focus has always been on young folks between ages 17-25 with little pocket money, that are curious about new music. Especially if they identify as outsiders, geeks or weirdos. That will always be the community we represent and sharing with these kids a safe space to express themselves can save lives.

I encourage everyone to start a zine, a blog, a fan club. Every time an awkward Black girl who doesn’t feel like she belongs any damn where stumbles across an artwork or photograph of women who look just like her, I feel a little better. Let’s all strive to create content that represents who we are and make sure its accessible. As I sat at these events with my little table, I met a number of fans this way. Women who had been searching for something to relate to, and see themselves in. Some that found us had already collected our items at previous events or online – they continue to comeback because of community. We are out here, together at shows, festivals and record fairs.

I fucking love Metal.

From Boston to New Jersey we did our best to keep our schedule loose, giving us a chance to meet more people and explore the visited cities. But the true connection to all these stops became the metal music blasting out of my headphones. At one point I wondered, is this really what I’m about? Hells yeah! Leaping off a megabus in platform towering boots, chewing bubble gum in band tees and dark glasses while the music blasts on in my ears. My favorite albums energized me to keep going, to keep traveling and to keep celebrating this scene and the women who support it. We know we don blend it with the people around us and that’s ok. I know where to go to spend time with my peeps, hopefully our books help that happen too.

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#Blkgrlswurld featured in Tom Tom Magazine :D

Yassss! Tom Tom is a magazine for female drummers and musicians, and we’ve been featured in their 31st issue! It’s based in NYC and it does so much great work inspiring women musicians and kicking serious ass in the rock scene. We are so honored they took an interest in our Black Girls Dreaming Coloring Book and chose to feature a review of that work by writer, Lola Johnson. Thank you Tom Tom Mag 😀

You can order their latest issue Online HERE

Print versions are available across the nation in shops like Barnes and Nobel. Check out more of the funky femme talent they’ve been dishing at http://tomtommag.com/

The Acacia Strain Deliver A Properly Heavy Summer

If you ever catch us on Instagram, you’ll know we’ve been headbanging at the heaviest NYC metal shows all summer. Much of it having to do with saying goodbye to our fav venue, Webster Hall, set to close for the next 18 months and less likely to book heavy music when it reopens. Another safe haven for new metalbands lost to corporate takeovers, grr.

I’d been patiently waiting for east coast band, The Acacia Strain to finish up the Vans Warped Tour this year and bring on the jams to NYC, when I heard about a new album they were dropping in late June. Yassss. Idunno what it is about doomy metalcore music, but what I like most about their style are the playful moments in their songs when the time signatures get screwy and unpredictable. This doesn’t happen as often as say, a composition from The Dillinger Escape Plan, but I enjoy the surprise when Acacia Strain explores this.

 

I found their newest album, Gravebloom to be their most polished project so far. A quality to the recording and mastering that leaves previous works like Coma Witch sounding more scratchy unfinished somehow. Not that there’s anything wrong witha rougher sound but, its nice to hear an artist tightening up their craft and focusing on the best elements of their songwriting.

Nothing trumps hearing their songs live, but Gravebloom has some great moments – enough to be added to our #blkgrlswurld Spotify playlist.

Songs we enjoyed from this album include, “Bitter Pill”, “Abyssal Depths”, and “Cold Gloom.” They each have a churning heaviness in their rhythm, the sort that makes you wanna stomp around the mosh pit like some 100ft Godzilla…or you know, in your living room wearing pajamas while growling at your cat. For me, this sort of metal is cathartic, calming and allows me to rest. I realize others have more stimulating reactions, lol- the point is, The Acacia Strain’s latest work is quite satisfying and a great soundtrack for our summer in this big ‘ol city.

I look forward to catching them touring this live.

##blkgrlswurld

Music, Zines & Riso Machines

Phew! We spent the 1st four months of this year printing and editing new work and now we’re ready to share it with you \m/ this is the 1st year my sibs and I have Really dug deeply into the purpose of the zine and what inspires us to keep it going. Up until this season, we’d usually only focus on the project 2-3 times a year for a few weeks, collecting drawings and writings from our sketchbooks and building something collaborative.  In January we heard about a Zine making/small press course at the School of Visual Arts and jumped in with both feet!

So What is a Risograph?

Well, you could term it one of those things that’s so mundane, its cool again. Risograph is a brand of digital duplicators manufactured from Japan since the 1980s. Intended for high volume office printing like Xerox machine were, they have mainly been marketed to law firms and city offices where 1000s of text heavy pages are printed daily.

Printmakers and designers have warmed up to these machines due to their archival ink quality and soft textures that can occur from the rice paper master (A fine stencil the ink passes through) the machine creates to duplicate files. With soy based inks and rice paper stencils, its quite the toxic free endeavor in comparison to the intense chemicals, varnishes and alcohols many of us have been managing in traditional printmaking processes.

The average riso machine usually only holds 2 ink colors at a time, so 4 color printing requires registering your prints and switching out ink tanks. At times its hard to imagine business folk in suits actually get this manual in an office but thats still its main function. LOL!

During my season at the SVA Riso Lab, I printed on various weights of paper and sticker sheets. Overall I found the process of editioning with these machines really fast and efficient, but at the same time lacking the monotype flexibility I’m able to accomplish during a screenprinting session. I gotta admit I missed getting a little dirty in the shop, but that’s my printmaker side I guess. Working with these machines in a clean environment created a medicinal setting. Where’s the screen emulsion, litho stone sander and liquid screen filler?

In dedicating a good few months to developing the zine at the School of Visual Arts Riso Lab, projects were difficult at times, and we uncovered the best parts of zine making. The Music! Our zine will always be a way to share our excitement for heavy music, we live it and breathe it from the way we dress, to the things we read, write and of course stream on our stereos. We are proud punks of color who cant help but talk your ear off about the latest bands and albums and we hope our readers get as geeked about this stuff as we do. For as long we rock to this music and mosh out at shows, there will be  zine. *See you in the pit!*

Upcoming Events Featuring Our Books:

#SummoningtheArchive Print Fest @ NYU |  Saturday, May 13th from 2-5pm at 20 Cooper Square. Details

BABZ Fair ( Bushwick Art Book & Zine Fair) | Friday, June 2, 7–9PM: by invitation only
Saturday, June 3, 1–7PM: free & open to the public
Sunday, June 4, 1–7PM: free & open to the public

Where:
Knockdown Center
52-19 Flushing Ave
Queens, New York 11378

 

Blkgrlswurld Autumn Edition 4.3 Now Online

She’s finally arrived, the latest edition can be found at the link below. This season’s book features artwork by Trifecta Studios and a short story we crafted during November’s National Novel Writing Month.

Later this week on Dec. 15th, we’ll be reading from the book & performing a bit of music in Brooklyn at Pioneer Works Book Shop. Details in the poster below.

See you in the pit! \m/

Edition 4.3 | December 2016 | View PDF Here


 

Pushing Through The Pain for Trivium

When you’re as passionate about live music as I am, having an invisible illness can really put a damper on getting out to shows. That’s why it’s such a special moment when I find a band that’s worth the pain and hustle it can take to stand for hours in a hot and sweaty club theater surrounded by the moshing energy I enjoy.

I’ve been collecting Trivium albums since early 2005 and this Irving Plaza show was my first chance at seeing them live. I arrived early enough to catch some of Sabaton’s set and patiently waited for Trivium to begin. Slowly approaching my 30’s its become more difficult to stand still for hours in converse sneakers without getting a leg cramp. I’m all oooooold and shit w/ autoimmune drama 😦 ugh…Anyways,  after 30 minutes of standing around for band set up, the lights suddenly went low and the crowd started freaking out; prepping for circle pits etc. when I immediately I got one of the most painful Charlie Horses I’ve ever had. Shiiiiiiit..

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As one of my fav bands began to play, I stood there in excruciating pain trying to decide if walking towards the exit would make the injury worse. I attempted standing on one leg as still as possible in a sea of moshers (all that shoving helped prop me up) to wait and see if the pain would subside. Luckily after about 15 minutes, I was able to stand again and remember that I was at a fucking Trivium show for a reason. I looked at the crowd, looked at the band, peered back at the crowd again and decided to stay – they sounded Really good live and eventually i was able to leave the show without limping through east village.

I’m glad I stayed for the show because they were worth it, and if it had been any other band my ass would’ve immediately been in an Uber to home. These guys make me want to practice my mandolin more than ever and strive to be a better artist. \m/