STAFF POST: Akande X on 'Nature' by Jeffrey Cheung

Each week, our newest employee, Akande X, picks a book or zine or something from the store and uses it as a jumping off point for a short piece of nonfiction, a poem, or an essay. We'll release these on a roughly weekly basis whenever Akande's working. We hope you enjoy!


Nature, a zine by Jeffrey Cheung
In this piece I wanted to utilize the same style Jeffery uses in his illustrations- simple abstractions from daily life. These are the observations I had of a trip to Washington, D.C.

Boy, they had all of us fooled. In between the legs of the dead man Lincoln and by George Washington's penis (tell me that’s not a huge white penis) sprouting like a monumental deathly lilac out of the ground.

A painfully beautiful Yoruba woman studying medicine talked to me about Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche.

They say Washington, D.C. is built after ancient Egypt.

A Trump youth who threw himself down the steps of the Lincoln memorial four at a time, his parents were not in sight.

A short black man struck a conversation with me and my grandmother during a festival. He told us how this street was once the parade grounds for the Masons, then the Klan, then the gentrifiers. We can see those pictures on Howard’s campus.

I saw the president speak. Nothing much to say there (keep shufflin!).

A young Asian woman had trouble finding which platform to board the blue train on. In retrospect, I did not see a lot of Asians there.

Walking through Washington D.C. is a Marxist wet dream.

The Mecca is all that it is said to be.

Pick up a copy of Nature at the shop (as well as tons more of Jeffrey's zines). Find more of Jeffrey Cheung's work here!

Wolfman Resident Check-in #1: Patricia Sazani

As part of our newly revamped Wolfman Residency Program, we ask our artist residents to write a short check-in during their time here, reflecting on what they're doing, or just sort of thinking through their project. Here's the first in the series from our current resident, Patricia Sazani (and holy business, it's great!). Stay tuned for more updates on the project and for the release of Patricia's publication very soon!

By Patricia Sazani

Five Fridays in residence at E.M. Wolfman and I have filled almost an entire notebook with writings and drawings about the Binders: a fictional sect of Christianity re-colonizing a future California, made empty by environmental disaster and radiation poisoning.

As the Binders settle in their fertile river valley, they are faced with the riveting question: How will we teach our children?? What educational philosophies are in line with our extremist beliefs?

I am working on a textbook— a guide for teachers. Lesson plans, definitions, histories, prompts and exercises for students. Central to the Binder religion are the figures of instruments (a term borrowed from the Shakers), people that receive gifts (again, Shakers) from God in the form of poetry, song, dance, drawing.

But how do you teach this? How do you teach receptiveness to religious visions? Is it a muscle you can strengthen? I’ve been rereading my Baltimore Catechism: Are worksheets a good idea? (Answer: No, they are not.)

What’s been really fruitful is trying to imagine what the needs of Binder teachers would be: How to distinguish between a false and true vision. How to offer emotional and physical support to a fellow instrument after she’s received a gift and she’s just completely and spiritually exhausted.

Or, a truly frustrating task: How do you explain the subtle semiotic categories of Charles Sanders Peirce, on which the teachings of the religion are loosely based? (Why is Secondness desirable? What does it mean to live between things? How to understand Firstness when “every description of Firstness must be false to it”? How can a sign be hollow?)

I began a daily exercise at the start of the residency: Using a deck of flashcards I made a couple months ago, I pick at random a line from Binder scripture. I then reflect on and write about and expand upon the line— the way I imagine Binder priests and instruments spend their days. This is the card I pulled today: Chapter 3, Verse 8 of Mother Corita’s Sacred Categories:

(It’s a good one because I’m writing today about the Binders’ obsession with path-making, and realized paths can be this kind of bridge.)

Stay tuned for more thoughts from the Binder universe!

To Get a Letter, Send a Letter: The Soundtrack

This is so rad! In conjunction with Hope Amico's new show in the back gallery, Oakland's Crimewave produced a rad soundtrack you can listen to while checking out the show. There's headphones, and a little walkman, and you can walk around or write your own letter—and, it's really a magical experience of dreamy swirling ambient awesomeness. We recommend you come by to get the full effect. But, for those of you who can't come by, or maybe you just want to continue the party on your own time, the audio is below. Thanks to Crimewave for this fully excellent thing!