Jamilah King

Super stories



FILM It’s film festival season, which means one thing: stories. Lots of them. And not just the ones that happen on film, but all the ones that happen before, during, and after the tapes get mastered and the crowds go home. While this is certainly true of all films, it’s especially true for the Queer Women of Color Film Festival, held annually at Brava Theater Center in the Mission.

Each year the festival premieres 25 short films made by and for women of color, who travel from across the Bay Area, and sometimes the state, to a small workshop in the Sunset District and learn the ins and outs of video production. The end results are nuanced, gripping, and often hilarious stories of how amazing, awkward, and complex love can be. So even though the festival’s yearly themes may be heavy — last year’s focused on immigration, this year’s celebrates queer indigenous communities — crowds pack the theatre, enjoy free food, and see that there’s more than enough to smile about.

This year’s festival brought a variety of movies. In Ferment Me My Heart, one Korean Canadian woman used animation to explore her love-hate relationship with kimchi and what it tastes like to be an outsider. Home is Where My Mother Is showed that all ain’t pretty in the world of queer families, as one woman confronted her lesbian mother over a traumatic interracial relationship. Bulldagger Women and Sissy Men paid homage to the Harlem Renaissance’s queer characters. A mother and daughter bonded over basketball in Hoops, and Passing Through Like Water followed three generations of Iranian women as they navigated how to deal with change and one another.

The festival also included a sacred ceremony for indigenous queer communities, and related films that unearthed the lessons of Cherokee elders and explored what Proposition 8 means to native women. If you missed out, you still have a chance to see some highlights when “F**king Traditional Values: Queer Women of Color Shorts” screens at Frameline.


Sun/20, 4:15 p.m., $8

Victoria Theatre

2961 16th St.

(415) 863-7576




Funkonnection 5


PREVIEW A few months ago, I came across the popular blog Stuff White People Like, and loved it. Finally, there was a piece of online real estate dedicated to dissecting the bizarre interests of white people. I grew up amid the city’s "we’re so liberal!" facade that included Mumia rallies downtown, peace festivals in Golden Gate Park, and rainbow flags in the Castro District. But every facet of this liberal oasis was laced with the irony of a skyrocketing housing market, a growing black exodus, and a media that spoke of poor folks only in terms of symptoms of neglect — drugs, violence, and hopelessness. To come across a blog that explicitly pokes fun at the ironies of white privilege was, like, hella tight. Then I found out it was authored by a white comedian based in Los Angeles who recently inked a book deal with Random House, purportedly for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now, I’m all for getting paid, but I’m also pretty sure that some version of Stuff Black People Like has been a part of the American fabric since day one. Yet the makers of cultural icons pre-fad status often don’t get recognized. Funk music and fried chicken also can be included in that category. So for better or worse, Mighty is hosting Funkonnection 5, a night of funk music, dress-up, and free fried chicken.

FUNKONNECTION 5 With Fort Knox 5, Thunderball, Mat the Alien, and Vinyl Ritchie. Fri/16, 10 p.m., $15. Mighty, 119 Utah, SF. (415) 626-7001, www.mighty119.com

Afrolicious Anniversary


PREVIEW One of my favorite movie moments involves a big-ass cup of orange soda. It’s the opening scene of Undercover Brother (2002), when an Afro-clad Eddie Griffin navigates his drop top, burnt orange Caddy with one hand while holding his Big Gulp cup of orange soda in the other. He’s driving with the confident swag of someone who cruises the strip, filled with fruit-inspired sugar water, often. Mid-cruise, he swerves to avoid hitting something and loses control of the car. Or does he? While the car spirals in the middle of the intersection and he strong-arms the steering wheel to regain control, he holds up the orange soda to avoid any spillage. The camera pans to the miraculous survival of the soda — and the rest is history. You might wonder: what does this have to do with the one-year anniversary of Afrolicious at the Elbo Room? Nothing. Except that when I think of things that are Afrolicious and still surviving, I think of that scene, and that cup of orange soda. Alas, the weekly get-down of the African diaspora’s plethora of musical innovations is celebrating a full year of existence. Headlining the celebration is Miami’s popular Spam All Stars, whose live sets kick off the two-night party. The band is joined by DJs Pleasuremaker and Señor Oz, and their live percussionists. Celebrate birth, revival, and the joys of springtime in the city at Afrolicious. Too bad the Elbo Room doesn’t have orange soda.

AFROLICIOUS ANNIVERSARY With Spam All Stars. Thurs/8 and Fri/9, 10 p.m.–2 a.m., $10. Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, SF. (415) 552-7788, www.elbo.com

Superlist: Youth record labels


› superlists@sfbg.com

Youth record labels are fast becoming one of the most innovative and effective ways to combine job development, skills training, and music production for many working-class youth of color. At these programs, there are no holier-than-thou "back when I was a kid" lectures from out-of-touch old fogies. Instead, kids study DJ’ing under DJ Quest and get stage-presence tips from Zion I. Teens also take an active role in the creation, production, and management of their projects and think about their work as something larger than simply entertainment. From beat-making classes to benefit concerts for immigrant rights, young folks are helping lead the cry for transformation at every level of society — all to an intricately produced soundtrack. What follows are the heavy-hitting youth record labels in the Bay.

The DJ Project (440 Potrero, SF; 415-487-6700, info@thedjproject.com) is a youth entrepreneurship program built on the foundations of hip-hop and community empowerment. As part of Horizons Unlimited, the DJ Project offers classes in DJ’ing, music production, and promotions taught by some of the Bay’s finest independent hip-hop artists. Aside from simply making hip-hop, young artists discuss how such forces as racism, love, homophobia, and anger inform their lyrics. After they record their first CD, the students learn graphic design skills in order to create their own cover art. Recently, the project produced the film Grind & Glory (2007), which showcased local young hip-hop artists competing for a chance to play at the annual hip-hop festival Rock the Bells.

Youth Movement Records (368 24th St., Oakl.; 510-832-4212, contact@youthmovementrecords.org) is one of the more popular youth record labels around. Their program offers classes such as music production and entertainment law and boasts a stellar success rate, with over 90 percent of its graduates earning their high school diplomas. Already, YMR acts have toured the country in support of Amnesty International. The program features tutelage from folks such as Zion I and Brotha Los of Company of Prophets.

Bay Unity Music Project (BUMP) Records (1611 Telegraph, Oakl.; 510-836-1056, bump@bavc.org), a Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) program, is a youth-run record label that gives its participants hands-on experience with music making. BUMP Beats is an introductory music production and composition program geared toward youth with little or no previous experience. Students get the opportunity to perform and distribute their work with local Bay Area promoters.

Cov Records (220 Harrison, Oakl.; 510-625-7800, www.myspace.com/covrecords) is a community-based music and production center serving young adults in Oakland between the ages of 13 and 25. As a project of the Covenant House community center and homeless shelter, Cov Records has produced documentaries, offered classes in video and music production, and teamed up with the Stop the Violence campaign to organize Turf Unity shows, which get young folks from rival neighborhoods to create art together.

“Speaking Fierce”


PREVIEW The first time I discovered feminism wasn’t just for white women who ate organic produce, I was eavesdropping on one of my mom’s phone calls. She was going off about some ex-boyfriend and a few "lazy-ass mothafuckas" before declaring that neither her mother, nor her mother’s mother, nor her mother’s mother’s mother had taken any bullshit and she didn’t plan to break the chain now. Put in those terms, my 10-year-old brain started to think that the word feminism might just apply to every woman I knew who had the nerve to survive in my Fillmore neighborhood. Years later, I picked up Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism (Seal Press, 2002), coedited by Daisy Hernandez and Bushra Rehman, and read about how other women my age were piecing together their own narratives of empowerment. Nowadays, Brooklyn-born Rehman is probably best known for writing on-the-road adventure stories about runaway Desi girls. She’s featured in this evening of art, spoken word, humor, and music in celebration of International Women’s Day. The night also includes performances by Bay Area soul diva Jennifer Johns and poetry collective Climbing PoeTree. Aside from celebrating stories of creative resistance, the event supports the Women of Color Resource Center, which works with war vets and teaches media production to low-income women of color in Oakland.

"SPEAKING FIERCE" Thurs/6, 7–9 p.m., $10–$25 (no one turned away for lack of funds). First Congregational Church, 2501 Harrison, Oakl.; (510) 444-2700, ext. 305, www.coloredgirls.org

Life during wartime


Engaging, even experiential, Chicago 10 eschews a traditional documentary approach to capture the playful exuberance of the yippie generation. Through animation and rare video footage, producer-director Brett Morgen brings Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and their experiences of the infamous Chicago 7 trial to life, in turn allowing them to bring a message of resistance that transcends decades. I recently spoke with Morgen.

SFBG What inspired you to make this film?

BRETT MORGEN There was political inspiration and then there was filmic inspiration.

We conceived of the film around 2002, when the US had just invaded Afghanistan and they were talking about going into Iraq. It didn’t seem like there were that many people out protesting. Greg Carter, the producer, came to me and asked what I thought about making a film on the Chicago 7 because those guys were like rock stars, they totally inspired him when he was young.

I told him I grew up in the ’80s, with the weight of the ’60s on my shoulders. My generation was constantly being told that we’d never be as passionate or as vibrant or as impactful. So I said, "I don’t want to make a film with that holier-than-thou attitude. If we’re going to make a film about this period, ultimately to reintroduce it to generations of Americans who haven’t been exposed to this story, let’s do it in the language of the youth movement today."

The world doesn’t need another movie about ’68 scored by Buffalo Springfield and music that’s really the soundtrack to our parents’ lives. This [film] isn’t a history lesson; this isn’t a movie that’s even about ’68. It’s really a fable for all times: there’s a war, there’s opposition to a war, and there’s a government that’s trying to silence the opposition.


Opens Fri/29 at Shattuck Cinemas