hello again + 2020 !!

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hello out there my beauties– !! {freddie mercury said this and i literally cannot, ever, stop beginning blog posts or emails like this..} here is what i wrote to end 2019:

there are not enough words or photos to describe the decade– so i’m not even going to attempt. so many dreams made real. blessings of falling in love. even greater blessings of owning my truth in ways i never thought i would. traveling to places i never thought i’d see. reconnecting with the land, performing my own words + stories, trusting my voice enough to sing + my body enough to dance, returning to theatre, creating my first art installations, sharpie scrawling my words everywhere i went. finally having a room of my own– then moving more times than is probably healthy. reclaiming my own story, alchemizing my trauma, healing my own lineage, brushing up against death, carrying only the firelight of my heart into the deepest darkness + most harrowing threats. i am so grateful for all the people i met, all the places i shared myself + my work, the journeys that have contributed to my ultimate healing, the 4 books i self-published, the tons of shows i curated + hosted all over the city. but really. i have seen the bottom of the bottom. and the heighest fucking heights. i love my family + all those who never lost hope in me, and for me. i am my own greatest gift at the closing of this decade. my own Legend. my own Hero. where we go from here is all of my own choosing. and i couldn’t be happier– to be the sacred firekeeper for my own utterly unique + magickal blaze of a Life.

happy new year, everyone.
may you never give up on yourself.
may you remember what it feels like to wildly dream.

///

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and with that– may i reintroduce mySelf… 

i have been creating art– writing, drawing, book-making, singing, dancing, imagining my own worlds– for as long as i can remember, expressly to make sense of my vivid mental and emotional landscapes, quite literally to survive my everyday traversal of them {map-making comes in handy}, and to bridge deeper connections to my fellow spirits + humanimals.

i started my professional career as an arts journalist + editor and grew to (re)discover my passionate sensitivity for community organizing, holding and facilitating space, and of course returning to my lifelong love of multi/cross-disciplinary performance.

my work is based at the core in communion via the written and spoken word and its theatrical vocalities– four full-length books of poetry + prose and countless live performances charged with immersive imagery, myth + spiritual dynamism; thunderously edgy, honest + rooted in reverence to the natural world.

my practice also extends always into the public sphere– to ephemeral poetry graffiti, whimsical + ritualistic art installations, and lovingly curated gatherings of creative souls, from intimate to massive, dedicated to the expression, experimentation, evolution, and enjoyment of all– both in my longtime independent practice in venues across queens + NYC, and since late 2016, as director of public programs at LIC’s socrates sculpture park {where i grew up playing + exploring, two blocks from my childhood home}.

i am first and foremost a torchbearer, alchemical storyteller, and servant of the people– in addition to a very proud queens, NYC native + descendent of southern italian immigrants {polignano a mare!}. art is my lifeblood and lifeline, and an absolute necessity for the survival turned thrival of these challenging + transformative times we all are called to navigate– both bravely + vulnerably, both inwardly + outwardly.

///

what’s. up. NEXT:

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i’m so grateful to be included in the second southeast queens biennial exhibition– the thematic timing couldn’t be better, as i’m literally currently processing, healing + moving onward from many {more} big life changes + moves throughout 2019 that are finally ending in 2020. i’m considering the grander arc of my story in three {four?!} dimensions in this show, with two installations in these two jamaica, queens venues + hopefully some performance too. thank you so much to molaundo + margaret for this opportunity to share new work in new ways. i’m always so enlivened by the challenge + invitation to express myself in ways that are not solely paper + voice, the viscerality of the physical. {coming soon} “IN THE BEGINNING WAS A HERO SEEKING HOME”

2020 Southeast Queens Biennial – WRITING HOME:
Literacy. Identity. Environment.

Curators: Margaret Rose Vendryes & Molaundo Jones
Dates: February 14 – April 17, 2020
Press Reception with Curators: February 21, 2020 at 1PM starting at York College Fine Arts Gallery and at 2:30PM continuing to the Miller Gallery at the Jamaica Arts Center
Programming: March 27- York College Fine Arts Gallery, 6-9PM / April 16- Miller Gallery, 6-9PM

Opening on Valentine’s Day, the second Southeast Queens Biennial will be a nine-week group exhibition at the York College Fine Arts Gallery and the Miller Gallery at the Jamaica Arts Center. Molaundo Jones and Margaret Rose Vendryes, the curators who are also visual artists, have invited ten Queens-based artists to address literacy, identity, and environment with work that investigates how their creative practice contributes to the life of the borough. Statistics document the remarkable ethnic and cultural diversity of Queens, but relay little about what is it like to live/work/play within culture-fluid communities that are still becoming “home” for many of its residents. Through painting, book arts, installation, photography, doll arts, performance, and interactive constructions, the 2020 SEQ Biennial artists reveal what can be “read,” in more ways than one, through the visual arts. Definitions of literacy, identity, and environment, remain open-ended as these Queens artists compliment, and complicate, NYC life through visual narratives that are like WRITING HOME.

For participating artists, location details, and general RSVP, visit: www.seqbiennial.com

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ABOVE: cut outs of all the places i’ve lived after leaving 25 years spent in my same family home in astoria/long island city. it’s been a wild ride, to say the least. “i did it for Love” …

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more in the hopper from me, from the 2020 season at socrates sculpture park, new collabs + evolutions of the very interesting shapes my work is stretching towards taking. i hope to use this site more often + not have everything lost on facebook + instagram {although it’s worth watching on instagram .. hahah}. i’m feeling a Moment of edging + discovery and i’m hoping to have more of these conversations + discussions in Person, soon. the last piece i wrote felt like physically feeling my way into the darkness– using my instinct instead of my eyes.

i was very unexpectedly not able to have a formal book launch for my latest, THE BOOK OF LEGEND back in september, so it feels as of now incompletely introduced, in a way– but as the universe always does– it has its own plans. i still think it’s learning how to take up space, how to howl from its gut, its Own Name.. and i’ll let it lead me there, and to you.

here’s to what’s Out There– and In Here, of course, too–

XO

a.

17.

hello, my friends and loves and wild kindreds. here we are.

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i wrote this at the end of 2016:

many things have happened to me this year, i have caused many things to happen this year. some of the greatest triumphs, some of the deepest lows. this is what i learned: each day we are asked to hold a candle up against the things and people we love, in order to truly see them. to remember how to see them. but it is a definitive action, a powerful choice. an interaction, not passive. this is how the light works. sometimes our habitual or learned choice is darkness. we cannot always resemble the decisiveness of fire or the horizon or blades of grass. or soaking rain. we must make a choice, a conscious choice. for what we want to be, what we want to bring. to choose to heed or ignore the question posed to us, everyday. because whether or not we listen, the question is always there. will you hold up your candle to see things as they are? things and people worth fighting for. you, yourself, worth fighting for. it takes action. and i wish your body and soul recognition of that eternal, inherent movement, and the power in it. that no matter how much we recede into the darkness- hide, seethe, recoil, hurt. there is always potential to return the pendulum swing, call back the eternal question. back to the light. #happynewyear

**

what else?

the debut of reliquary: the body was my last performance of 2016 (you can read the full piece HERE), with amazing fotos by geo geller below…

it was something totally different for me, edges i need to continue pushing and playing with.

i cried when this was over and i cried into the mirror before it started. everything screamed in my head not to trust. i was more nervous than i can remember being for a performance in so, so long. i released the deepest and darkest. the cracked doorways and red sheets. it was done. and i just lost myself inside it. i seldom memorize my work, get stuck on perfection or fear of forgetting words, and just forget what’s possible in the visceral. this is what’s possible. to just give it, fully. and let it go. thank you with my whole heart to edjo wheeler & LIC-A and everyone who watched me debut ‘reliquary: the body.’ everyone who was moved. it was beyond me. i know that through everything, i just have to continue pushing. #thankyou

this is the video by bill hopkins which i feel so lucky to have…

and this

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1.1.17 first day of the world:

some days you ride with the current. swiftly, effortlessly. the earth seems peopled with feelings, with presence. walking alone is not walking alone. it is not being afraid. not feeling the passage of time. i remember, now, walking this bridge under delicate slice of crescent moon, cars roaring. how it felt to walk the woods alone. stand on the edge of the road at night. sit in the field, watch vultures circling. i fear again and again i will be robbed of myself. but it is just a matter of slipping back into the stream. nothing gained, nothing lost. resuming, pulse of the infinite. onward, and on.

**

find me, here [upcoming events]

including- something very close to my heart:

HOW WE CREATE/HOW WE COPE:
intersections of art & mental health/mental illness

Friday, February 10th, 6:30-8:30pm
at Queens Council on the Arts’ LAB space in Astoria [Facebook invite]

Queens native and poet/curator Audrey Dimola hosts a panel and performance evening aiming for safe space, honest talk, and open presentations about the too-often stigmatized topic of mental illness, particularly in connection to the creative experience. Throughout our cultural history, many of the legendary artists we know today grappled in this way- yet it becomes a passing line in their bio, a tragic footnote; and their brilliant work remains. In the present day, an increasing number of individuals of all ages are struggling in similar fashion, frequently in silence and shame, for fear of judgment and unanswered questions. How much of how we suffer makes us who we are and results in the art we create? How much of these feelings are the natural experience of the artist, and when is it time to seek help? What do those forms of help look like? A variety of local featured artists will present their stories, poetry, music, visual art, and more, in addition to facilitated discussion, Q&A, and sharing of resources/experiences on these topics. All are welcome, your voice is encouraged.

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1 is the year of completion,

(with gratitude for you always)

XO

a.

for the times it arrives like a thunderbolt.

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yes, there were many joyful things mixed with the blood. – clarice lispector.

sometimes all we can offer are the words. sometimes all we have are the words. and for that i am grateful. this came to me like a wild mother, like a hand of profound power and gentle grace. she is what is comforting me in this moment of uncertainty- all deep breaths and strangeness. below is only a portion of this piece- my hand wouldn’t stop moving. i know this will play a part in annunciation, my third offering to the world- this word that has been following me around in different forms, different adventures, different creatures- since the summer. a friend and fellow poetess told me that doing the polar bear plunge is “good for the guides.” i had no idea how right she was. the door to this opened when i tried to start writing about myself in a loving way.. no coincidence. this is as much for you as it is for me.

**

the eyes that have been wearing glasses since childhood but only so the heart can see clearer. in the mists of the night, the reflected deer soul crossing your path. i am going to make a work of striking, strange oneness. like reality percepted itself. HEART that loves to the point of ruin, stands in the fire city, recreates it from mud and ash again, not blinking. not asking for anything, but THIS, always this. earth city, mud city, the hand palms and feet soles that bless the wounds and suck the energy from sky, air, ground, trees, dirt- drink it desperately like GOOD MEDICINE- the only kind left- the body you once extricated, criticized, now crashed to wholeness by the perfect sea- i am salt and longing, fragmented light still twinkling with magic so ancient from before i was born this way- it constantly tells me i’m okay and some days i feel pure enough to believe it, my hand going to pins and needles as i write this, my body born again in the shock of aliveness, perfect frigid waters, crying and laughing, howling, this is how we were born- and some days i feel wild enough to believe it. near to the wild heart i am cleansed by my own blood spilled, i want to look at it in my hands, know i died for something- gasping, gaping, the way an open wound breathes open mouthed just before healing- twinkling, i had never felt my lungs before, i had never heard my heart before- I AM. like she before me and all the animals i am still a cave painting swirling wind, fur and belief- fossilized in crouched cocoon i can feel myself at the river’s edge- I COME FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE and that place has healed me. make enough space in between your bones and ache for the incantation to begin, this is how we turn salt to sinew, memory to surrender to what is greater, wordless- i am always edging the notion between words and sleep, stretching like fingers towards the whole damn world’s oblivion, even jesus the christ had to leave to come back, you always wander to return, RENEWED. bless this heart, these hands, these teeth that love too purely, salt in the fierceness, the wound, the truth, the library- all i can do is scribble at the doorways in my head, i will unlock them all with heart fire the way a blaze never asks permission, it just comes to return and then leaves as if it never left, this is eternity in the flesh- can you feel it? burning boats and bridges, sweet algae climbing on the sides of memory, grasping, drinking, gulping the marrow- i will stay close to the lupine heart, i will be rock and moss and teeth and shadow- i will be the sunburst on the water, i will sing with eyes electric, i will stand at helm of fearful generator but in GREATNESS- I AM.

XO

a.

this will be my winter.

brothers & sisters, happy holidays & happy new year!

this year has been an insane one for me but i’m ending it on a high note. we made magic, pushed ourselves further, adventured to places we never thought we’d be. and 2016 will be about ANNUNCIATION. speaking my name into the world. healing. owning my identity and solidifying it.

this will be a winter of hibernation- focus, patience, dedication, and strengthening of bonds. TELL SOMEONE YOU LOVE THEM TODAY! & if you’re in queens tag along for these fine events below, my last of 2015. grateful for each & every one of you.

for all that we are & all that we will be-

yours always,

XO

a.

Wed 12/9/15 7pm – Featured reader at The Inspired Word NYC’s first ever Women Poets of the Q4, at Q4 Hotel in LIC [Facebook] this is my 1st feature in awhile and fixin’ to be a visceral one.. come & also add your voice in the open mic after!

Thurs 12/10/15 7pm – Hosting Boundless Tales, longest running reading series in Queens! Astoria Bookshop [More info] if you’re a writer, also submit your work to be considered for our 2016 readings!

Sun 12/13/15 1-5pm – Warming Up Winter Holiday Market at Queens Museum [Facebook] my first market EVER! i’ll be selling alongside my beautiful sister & art partner in crime, omi plufs. come see us for paintings, prints, 3D poetry crafts, typewriter poems & more.. plus other great stuff going on at the museum!

Tue 12/15/15 7:30pm – Featured reader at Risk of Discovery show (workshop, open mic & featured readers) at Astoria Coffee [Facebook] i FINALLY get to RISK IT!

Wed 12/16/15 7pm – Hosting Inspired Word NYC’s Wednesday night open mic at the Q4 Hotel in LIC [More info] come see what all the inspired word hype is about!

PS! the global #UseYourAnd ad i did for gillette venus this year is up for a youtube ad of the year award! crazy! just want to give thanks again for that incredible experience. you never know what life has in store~*

PPS…