Posted By Sandra Alland

I have some beefs about the treatment of artists by editors, organisers, and ahem, other artists. No one's perfect, but if you're still doing this shite after years at the job, it's time to rethink your tactics.

1. Advice for Event Organisers

Planning an event is no easy feat. We can't always afford to pay the big bucks, especially after renting a venue, printing posters and facing the uncertainty of an audience. But here's a few ideas for next time you host something...

a/We don't ask the kitchen staff to volunteer, why do we ask artists? If you're charging money at the door, you damn well better pay your artists something. At the very least pay them a split of the door (if you think you can't afford it then find a free venue so you can). If a split of the door is less than 10 quid, don't pay yourself.

b/Don't guilt poor artists into performing for free for the "love" of it.

c/If you're charging not only the audience but also the poets competing in your poetry slam, there damn well better be hefty cash prizes. Shit from the Pound Shop and a cheaply engraved plaque do not count.

d/If you're going to pay your artists in drinks, don't. Pay them whatever drinks would cost. Many people don't drink, or at least not when they're onstage. And as the wonderful Naila Keleta Mae says, "Try paying your landlord with a bottle of Colt 40."

e/Don't say you're going to pay a "fee", then pay 10 quid between 3 artists who have travelled from another city. £50 is the lowest amount that can qualify as a real fee. £3.33 is not a fee.

f/Don't ask people to perform for free and then tell them their friends cannot take their photo or video but that you will take their photo and video to use as you want to promote further shows of your own.

g/Don't discuss the order of events in front of an artist in terms of when is a crap time to "go" (i.e. 2nd in a line-up of 6) then tell that person a few minutes later that they'll be reading 2nd "because it's great to follow the first act with a high-energy performer".

h/Don't tell an artist they have 30 minutes, then cut them to 15 a day before the show, then 8 right before they go on. Also, don't tell artists they have 8 minutes, then read your own work for 30.

2. Advice for Publishers

If you publish a magazine or journal, you'll have to reject people. Writers and visual artists are generally quite used to it, so don't panic. However, certain behaviours annoy even the thickest-skinned among us...

a/Don't advertise your editorial services when rejecting someone.

b/Don't ask the person you rejected to become a subscriber and don't automatically add them to your mailing lists.

c/Don't send form letters to people you know, or at the very least add a personal yet professional touch. Especially don't ask someone you know to send more work then send them the same form letter again.

d/Inform people directly if you're rejecting them. Don't send them a link to a page that has the names of the people who've been accepted; it's kinda like having to go to the list on the wall in high school to see if you made the team or got the part. It encourages nasty feelings... You know who you are.

Posted By Sandra Alland

The new issue of Matrix is out! And there's an online component that features a short film by me and two recordings by Zorras from our CD, We Apologise For Any Inconvenience. Click here to visit Matrix New Feminisms Online.

In other news, there's a trans forum in Edinburgh this weekend sponsored by Scottish Transgender Alliance. Information here.


Posted By Sandra Alland

Oh me oh my I have so many films and books and magazines to tell you about. I'll have to go through them a wee bit at a time, so as not to tire either of us out... First off, a few Canadian gems you should get your hands on if you can:

1. By a wonderful twist of coincidence, my dear friend B bought me a new art magazine at my favourtie Toronto bookshop, This Ain't the Rosedale Library, from my old friend and co-worker, James Gunn, without realising that James is an Editorial Director of the magazine! It was so great to read One Hour Empire... one of those moments when you realise your friend has been hiding his immense talents from you. OHE is a wondeful mixture of visual art, poetry, fiction, political, philosophical & personal essays, and interviews. It's actually hard to pick favourites out of this issue, it's so jam-packed with fascinating gems. I was particularly blissed to see the article by Amanda Delaney on Dr. Steven Kurtz and Critical Art Ensemble ("Challenging the Culture of Fear"), as it discusses the frightening loss of civil liberties in the current "terror" climate through detailing the horrific story of Kurtz's arrest and the confiscation of his work because of its political content. Perhaps most importantly, the article shows us Kurtz's refusal to capitulate, and gives hope for artists who are working in situations of censorship and oppression. Other contributors include bill bissett, Lisa Jarnot, Maria Legault (who has some very fascinating and funny things to say about how the French are situated in Canada), Vid Ingelevics, and Lydia Perovic (who writes eloquently about the fluidity of identity, a piece that spoke to me as a Canadian living elsewhere and for the first time being confronted with my "Canadianness," among other things...)

2. I know poetry gets ignored a lot, and queer activist poetry more so, but it's still surprising that we haven't seen much press about the stunning new book by Toronto's (oops, Guelph's) Tara-Michelle Ziniuk. Her poems and prose-poems are divine; she melds political commentary with personal experience in a striking manner. Somewhere To Run From is Ziniuk's break-up book ... but what makes it extraordinary is that it not only grieves the dissolution and pain of personal relationships, but also her divorce from certain aspects of Toronto's activist community (and from Toronto altogether). She examines difficult subjects with precision and wit, but without coming to any easy answers about blame. Particularly haunting are Ziniuk's assessments of her Jewish heritage through the lens of the horrors of Palestine, and also of her isolation from the very people she used to fight alongside, like Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. Here in these meaty poems you'll find a complex analysis of war, class and love, and a poetic and personal bravery we don't often see.





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