Archive for November, 2007

8th Annual MUSICAL NIGHT IN AFRICA – A Dance for Peace

Posted in Events on November 22, 2007 by skyeviewtraveler

Don’t Miss the 8th Annual
– A Dance for Peace –

with Three Bands, featuring Master Musicians from
colorful costumes and compelling dance rhythms.
* * * * * * * *
The Original
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BABÁ KEN andthe
(Experimental, Deep-Down Afro-beat)
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
(Bring Your Favorite Percussion Instrument!)
* * * * * * * *
(Rare Cuts from
* * * * * * * *
Live at
1317 San Pablo Avenue at Gilman in Berkeley
Admission $15 – Students with ID $10
* * * * * * * *

About this year’s theme, “A Dance for Peace,” BabáKen says, “In Africa, music and dance delight the spirits of our ancestors, unite the living community, and express social protest. We ask the spirits to empower our hopes for peace on Earth.”

Babá Ken Okulolo, one of the few popular African musicians with deep roots in Nigerian musical history, voted Best Bassist five times by the Nigerian Journalists’ Assocation,
was first seen in the U.S. touring with King Sunny Ade. Soji Odukogbe was long-time lead guitarist for the late Fela Kuti. Talking drummer Rasaki Aladokun headed the acclaimed percussion section of King Sunny Ade’s African Beats. Percussionist Nii Armah, a founder of Ghana’s Hedzoleh Soundz, toured for many years with Hugh Masekela.


Conversation With Lisbet Tellefesen, Sister Comrade Co-Producer

Posted in Culture on November 18, 2007 by skyeviewtraveler

“The images of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker as lesbian icons tend to be static. I wanted to show images of them as real people.”


Lisbet and Skyediver. Oakland, CA


USATwo days after my return from Paris, Lisbet Tellefesen–a Sister Comrade co-producer and a long-time friend–dropped by my office for post event chitchat. Lisbet came with exciting news including follow up projects, forthcoming uploads on the Sister Comrade web site, and an amazing collection of archival photographs of Pat Parker and Audre Lorde.

I am here to tell you, by the end of our conversation I was a big jumble of emotions. The behind the scene organizing, the reunion of lesbian warrior women, the rare archival images of Pat and Audre, and reading the feedback from young Black lesbians profoundly impacted by the event left me feeling quite full and very excited.

I got goose bumps looking at the Sister Comrade event photographs including an image of Melanie DeMore, Jewelle Gomez, Vicki Randle, Linda Tillery, and Mary Watkins. They were all original members (w/exception of DeMore) of “The Varied Voices of Black Women” showcase that toured the country in 1978. Their reunion marked the 30th anniversary of the debut of “Movement In Black”.

Over 18 years ago when Pat Parker crossed-over to the place of the ancestors, Lisbet was given the keys to Pat’s house and access to all her personal effects including over 20 years of correspondence. Though she discovered a rich treasure trove of correspondence she agreed to use her access to the material for archival and research purposes only. It wasn’t until last year when she was asked to consider co-producing a tribute to Audre Lorde did she began reflecting on the letters as a potential focus for the Sister Comrade tribute.

The images of Audre Lorde as lesbian icon tend to be static. Lisbet told me that she wanted to show images of Audre and Pat that brought them to life. During her visit to my office, she showed me jpegs of some of the images shown at the tribute event. The photos depicts Audre and Pat in all manner of daily life including one cool picture of Audre Lorde washing her car in a swimsuit top and shorts, post mastectomy, with a license plate that read “Poet 1”.

VIEW FROM A GRAIN OF SAND (film – San Francisco)

Posted in Events on November 15, 2007 by skyeviewtraveler

MadCat Women’s International Film Festival co-presents

12:00 noon, Sunday, November 18th, Roxie Theater, San Francisco
Admission: $9
Director: Meena Nanji
Country: USA (2006)
Running Time: 80 min, Color / B&W, DV
English, Dari, Pashto with English subtitles

Three remarkable Afghan refugee women (a doctor, a teacher and a women’s rights activist), consider the effects of the past 30 years of Afghan. Since 2001, international media interest in Afghani women living under the Taliban has fallen, and with it, public knowledge of the current situation they face. What are their lives like now? Have they gained any real rights or do they still live in fear and repression?

Shot over a three-year period in the sprawling refugee camps of north-western Pakistan and in the war-torn city of Kabul, this film also highlights the work of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), a group that was often the only witness of that country’s brutality against women.

Introduced by Prof. Angana Chatterji, California Insitute of Integral Studies. There will be a discussion following the film.

MadCat Women’s International Film Festival
575 Pierce St., #606
San Francisco, CA 94117

P. 415 436-9523

Dispatch #11 – New Questions for Feminists (Paris, France)

Posted in Dispatches on November 15, 2007 by skyeviewtraveler


My introduction to French feminist writers in the mid-1980s began as a personal search for alternative feminist perspectives to white American feminist writing. Interestingly, my quest led me to the metaphorical kitchen table of women of color feminist discourse and activism. This eventually led to my initiation into Black lesbian feminist activism.

The seemingly outrageousness of the French writers resonated deep within me. I recall being utterly amazed and excited by the rawness in language and passion in their written debates. In other words, there wasn’t anything polite about these women’s writing. And, at that time, I remember how in public discussions dominated by white feminists, women of color were perceived as being disruptive, inarticulate and unprofessional whenever the issue of racism within the movement was raised.

To be clear, in my mind, the French feminist writers I read weren’t exactly in the vanguard of addressing these issues. As I developed my own understanding of feminist issues in the context of women of color, I found some of the writings to be way off the mark and deeply problematic. Still, the passion in those writings resonated in my belly and I was relieved to learn that white American women did not hold a monopoly on feminist theory.

Little did I know that nearly 25 years later, I would be a regular visitor to Paris and connecting with a new breed of French feminist lesbian theorists. These sisters are keen on examining transnational feminism and all the social political baggage that comes with it.

On November 10th, I attended a symposium organized by Nouevelle Questions Feminists (NQF) and Columbia University in Paris. The symposium topic was: The interlocking/intersection of sexism and racism in France and the USA today. My French proficiency is barely functional; however, with the interpreting assistance of my Paris buddies, I was able to attend the event until nearly the end. There weren’t any groundbreaking pronouncements or papers that caused my ears to perk up or take copious notes. 

Click image to see the list of topics.

The significance of the event was more on a personal level, the circling back to my early days as a budding feminist and reflecting on the tremendous contributions of women of color to feminist theory and praxis. There were moments in the symposium when I felt like it was déjà vu women’s movement circa 1980s as regards the invisibility and marginalization of women of color participants. I mean really is it necessary in 2007 to have a separate indigenous women’s panel? Is it not possible for immigrant and indigenous women to speak for themselves at the same table with white French feminists speaking on behalf of the very same group of women? I kept thinking about Donna Kate Rushin’s remarks about women of color scholars being the little helpers or maids in the footnotes of white feminist scholarly works.

In my mind, the new feminist question is: how will white French lesbian feminists move forward so as not to repeat the mistakes of their foremothers? How will the complexities of racism within and outside their political movements be addressed.


As an outsider, my perspective is limited and colored by my own experience with racism in the American women’s movement. I certainly do not possess the experience and knowledge of the complex cultural and transnational issues that white and WOC feminists in France must sort out so that everyone will have a place at the kitchen table. I feel privileged to be a witness.Afterwards, I took an evening stroll along the always seductive River Seine to decompress from an eventful day.

Chant peace.

nfq_cover_4.JPGPhoto Album

Dispatch #10 – Cineaffable: Paris International Lesbian and Feminist Film Festival

Posted in Dispatches on November 11, 2007 by skyeviewtraveler


Being visible is about letting others see us. It is also about seeing ourselves, being aware of our strength and using it. We don’t have to ask for the right to exist if we are already here! We are what we show ourselves to be, alone or in a couple, in private places or public places and in our thousands…

The festival is a crossroad of ideas, a catalyst. Together we make it happen: festival goers and organizers, we put on a great show. The festival is a stage, a huge stage where lesbians are at the centre of the universe.

Every year we organize this women-only festival. A festival of films by women film-makers, films for lesbians and films by lesbians. The festival is an annual rendezvous, an empowering moment when we show images of lesbians and feminist perspectives, when we engage in debates, put on an art exhibition, enjoy an opening gala concert and have a party.

–From Cineffable Website


Cineaffable is an excellent case study in effective lesbian cultural arts organizing and programming. For nearly 20 years, a collective of dedicated volunteers working with a relatively limited budget and staff resources has consistently produced a world-class international film festival in one of the most exciting cities in the world. From my perspective as an outsider, the logistical aspect of pulling off this event is nothing short of brilliant and highly commendable.

Festival participants are treated to a full program including film screenings, debates, live performance, visual art exhibits and soirées. I am here to tell you French dykes know how to mobilize political gatherings, protest demonstrations and throw down a good party! I am convinced the French propensity for infusing passion in these types of undertakings is what distinguishes their brand of organizing.

cineaffable_7.JPGWhen I first attended Cineaffable in 2005, I was very impressed by the scope of the programming and the fabulous event venues. My heart was warmed by the graciousness of the women I met; I was pleased to reunite with some of them on this trip. This year’s festival was equally impressive and high energy. When I arrived in Paris, I immediately dropped off my luggage at the hotel then headed to the magnificent baroque style Le Trianon theatre to join the fun.

First time visitors to Paris and solo travelers in particular will find the film festival to be a good travel bargain. The convenience of having the festival located in an arrondissement popular with visitors, easily accessible by metro and jam-packed with five days of activities can’t be beat.

Caption: $500 (USD) = 311 euros. Ouch!

Mark you calendar for the festival’s 20th anniversary celebration in 2008. Start planning now for next year. Whether it will be your maiden or return trip to Paris, make it a point to come. It is very likely that you will find me too in the embrace of my mistress, Paris.

J’aime Paris!

Cineaffable Photo Album 


Upcoming in Skyeview
Headed to warm and sunny Porto, Portugal for a few days then back to Paris for this weekend’s colloquim on sexism and racism.

Journées d’études organisées par NQF
Le 10 novembre 2007
L’imbrication du sexisme et du racisme
en France et aux USA aujourd’hui

Colloque organisé par Nouvelles Questions féministes
et l’Université Columbia à Paris, Reid Hall.

Upcoming in Skyeview . . .

Posted in Culture on November 3, 2007 by skyeviewtraveler


Initially, I was distressed to discover I had a schedule conflict that would prevent me from attending Sister Comrade a tribute to ancestors Pat Parker and Audre Lorde in Oakland. A nice consolation for me is that while in Paris I will attend the Cineaffable Festival. My festival pick is the Hommage à Prathiba Parmar.

Stay tuned for my dispatch.

Cineaffable: Paris International Lesbian & Feminist Film Festival