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  1. Mentor Meditation: The Book of the Dead
    Workshop led by Emily Brandt

    Dates: Thursdays, March 22-April 19, 2018 (5 weeks)
    Times: 7:00-9:15pm
    Capacity: 12 participants
    Cost: sliding scale, $125-250 total ($25-50/session)
    Registration deadline: March 20th
    Register here

    Rukeyser writes: “The men and the water are never idle / have definitions.”

    In this 5 week course, we will explore Muriel Rukeyser’s The Book of the Dead via obsessive reading, re-reading, imitating, resisting, meditating, and discussing. While discussion will of course center around Rukeyser’s craft and content, it will also allow us to track our relationship to a single text as it deepens, shifts, and inspires. The reading practices undertaken here aim to challenge and provoke our creative practices. To that end, we’ll spend class time generating and workshopping poems that grow out of our shared reading and meditation on Rukeyser’s work.

    Rukeyser wrote The Book of the Dead in response to one of America’s worst industrial catastrophes, the Hawks Nest Tunnel disaster in Appalachia. How does this text, written in the spirit of 1930s radicalism, read in our present catastrophic socio-political climate? And how does an intentional practice of re-examining its various parts and their methodologies contribute to our understanding of the whole, and by extension, our understanding of our own creative practice.

    As part of a stimuli-cleanse (or durational performance piece), participants are invited to immersively read only The Book of the Dead and related criticism, repeatedly, over the course of the 5 weeks.

    During the first week, we’ll read The Book of the Dead in its entirety and discuss the scope of her project as well as some of its criticism. As the course progresses, we’ll revisit individual poems and excerpts. For instance, one week we may examine her inclusion of court documents in text, and another week we may examine the caesura in her tercets. All exploration is intended to deepen our relationship to this text as a means of galvanizing our own work.

    Emily Brandt is a poet, editor, and educator. She’s the author of three chapbooks, including Sleeptalk or Not At All (Horse Less Press). Her poems have appeared in Gigantic Sequins, LitHub, The Recluse, The Offing, Apogee, Washington Square Review, and other journals, and were recently anthologized in Inheriting the War (W.W. Norton). She earned her MFA from New York University where she facilitated the Veterans Writing Workshop for veterans of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She’s been in residence at Saltonstall Arts Colony and was a 2016 Emerging Poets Fellow at Poets House. Emily is a co-founding editor of No, Dear and Web Acquisitions Editor for VIDA.


  2. SLIME TIME: exploring feminist aesthetics and new materialism
    A one-day workshop led by Megan Toye

    Date: Saturday, April 8

    Time: 12:30-4:30pm
    Cost: $25 (includes materials and supplies)
    Capacity: 10 participants
    Registration deadline: April 6th
    Register here.

    This one-day workshop, 4-hour workshop, will take up the phenomenon of slime creation within pre-teen girl culture. Prolific on Instagram and YouTube, girls aged 8-12 have begun making heterogeneous forms of ‘slime’ by combining beauty products such as shower gel, shaving cream, and eye contact solution mixed with Elmer’s glue and borax. Once the base slime is created, the girls add extra objects/accessories to their slime to customize it, such as plastic pearls, tiny Styrofoam balls, glitter and food coloring, all of which help to establish a variety of textures (each characterized as either ‘buttery’ ‘fluffy’ and/or ‘crunchy,’ respectively) and smells (often sweet and associated with food and/or drink). A multi-million dollar industry has formed around these household creations: YouTuber Karina Garcia, for example, has retired her parents and has bought a six-bedroom home with the money made from corporate advertisements on her slime videos (The New York Times). In slime culture, domestic beauty products, normally regulated to the ‘feminine’ sphere, are radically re-imagined and re-materialized. The association of ‘slime’ with grossness, disgust and filth is re-signified by young girls to connote beauty, fun, and creativity. 

    Participants will take up the phenomenon of slime creation by making a variety of forms of slime themselves. We will discuss what slime is and how it potentially functions culturally and politically by looking at a number of texts read in the workshop. Topics for discussion include: 

    - Feminist aesthetic philosophy
    - New materialism 
    - The abject and politics of abjection
    - Psychology of disgust, repulsion
    - Affect theory and ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response)
    - Haptic / embodied spectatorship in visual culture
    - Cripistemologies and critical disability studies
    - Why now? the emergence of slime within current political context 

    Cost of workshop is $25 and includes all the materials necessary to make up to two batches of slime (2 cups of glue, 10 oz can of shaving cream, 4 oz bottle of contact solution, baking soda, corn starch and access to multiple accessories such as food coloring, glitter, beads)


    Megan Toye is a PhD candidate in Art History and Visual Culture at York University in Toronto, Canada. Megan specializes in the history of feminist conceptual art, and is currently writing on the Downtown New York scene in the late 70s. She has been published in Drain Magazine, the Journal of Curatorial Studies and Studies in Visual Arts and Communication: An International Journal. She has curated numerous exhibitions over the past 5 years in the Toronto area and has presented her research at multiple international conferences, including the Canadian Philosophical Association, the International Communication Association and the 10th annual Media Art Histories conference. She has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, Max Stern Art History Award, Media@McGill Grant and the Ontario Graduate Scholarship.

  3. Getting Real with Money 
    (a 2-Part Workshop for Writers and Artists)
    Led by Beth Pickens 

    Dates: Saturday, April 14 (Part 1) and Sunday, April 15 (Part 2)

    Times: 1:30-4:30pm (each day)
    Capacity: 20 participants 
    Cost: $75 total
    Register here.

    Capitalism got you down? Does money make you panic? Do you avoid bills or hide mail? Does the phrase ‘Roth IRA’ confound you? Are you convinced everybody learned how to be an adult with money except you? Time to do something different in this judgment-free environment where you will confront feelings and fears while gaining some practical personal finance skills.

    • In Part 1 we will dive into your emotional experience of money and personal finance. You will examine your family’s financial legacy and identify its impact on your present. Examining fear, shame, and guilt, we will use the power of a group experience to disrupt emotional cycles trapping you in money anxieties. You will learn some fundamental exercises to manage the feelings that come up when you think about money.

    • Part 2 focuses on practical skills including gathering data about your financial picture, creating a realistic budget, steps for moving out of debt, increasing earned income, and establishing achievable, personalized goals for the near future.

    Beth Pickens is a Los Angeles-based consultant for artists and arts organizations. Her book Your Art Will Save Your Life (Feminist Press) comes out April 2018. She provides career consultation, grant writing, fundraising, and financial, project and strategic planning services for clients throughout the US. Pickens integrates person-centered Rogerian therapy training, financial management and fundraising, feminist analysis and capitalist critique, and goal-oriented actions to move her clients in the direction of their ambitions. She specializes in supporting queer and trans artists, women, and artists of color.

    She earned her M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Before relocating to Los Angeles in 2014, Pickens was based in San Francisco where she served as Senior Program Manager at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Managing Director of both RADAR Productions and the Queer Cultural Center.