Posted By Sandra Alland

I want you to order these fantastic new zines published by Nine and You will not be sorry.

The first is Sex Industry Apologist. This zine contains Nine's bang-on critiques of media representations of sex work, and of the crap attitudes of mainstream feminists and other sex work abolitionists. The zine is also chock-full of Nine's brilliant reflections on her experiences working at a project for sex workers -- ranging from racism in sex work to the necessity for a sense of humour in a world full of assholes. Nine has a sweet knack for making her argument in a convincing way, without leaning to extremism or forgetting to allow for people's distinct situations in life. Plus she's damn funny.

The second zine is The Collected Scathings of Ioana Poprowka. Poprowka is a pseudonymic queer trans woman who wrote for Scotland's The Skinny for two years. Her "scathings" (which are remarkably lacking in the bitterness one might expect from that word) cover such topics as trans representation in the media and pop culture, passing, the separation of trans identity from sexuality, and the right to change your gender on official documents. I was especially pleased to see Poprowka's excellent critique of Edinburgh Festival's Ladyboys of Bangkok and the "cloying stench of the freakish" in the way the show is presented to the public... that show's marketing has always left me feeling a bit sick. Poprowka writes about difficult (and sometimes enraging) topics with balance and an admirable thoughtfulness. She also switches between personal essays and media critiques with ease and skill.

Nine will be reading from Poprowka's work at the next  Cachín Cachán Cachunga, 16 February at The Street in Edinburgh.


Posted By Sandra Alland

"Scottish-Canadian poet Sandra Alland and musician Y. Josephine have a more experimental take on spoken word performance than your average word-spitter. Having emerged from the Edinburgh queer cabaret scene a few years ago, Zorras deliver their musical stories bilingually, mixing text, sound poetry, percussion, guitar, megaphones, singing and projected visual images. Though I'd wager their live performance is more true to their artistic vision than an audio recording, they are still interesting on CD, mixing it up between more musical numbers like the guitar-folk 'Nest' and more radio-dramatized pieces like 'Here's To Wang." I personally love the 'In the Details' spoken interludes, humorous musings on the idiosyncrasies of the Bulgarian language." - Curve Magazine, Feburary 2010

In other news, Cachín Cachán Cachunga is Tuesday at 7:30pm at The Street. Don't miss Alison Smith and Penny Stenhouse. Also Zorras and Lily, and a few filmic and musical surprises!


Posted By Sandra Alland

Hi all -

I put together this demo of Zorras' performances, photos and recordings from the past two years. It should be up soon, if youtube ever processes it... (is the internet getting slower and slower in general, or is it just the bloody UK!?)

With thanks to Ariadna Battich, Teo Vlad and Evi Tsiligaridou. And love always to Y.

Enjoy... Zorras Demo 2010.


ps when will this snow stop????????

Posted By Sandra Alland

Zorras play Noisy Nights on Monday 7 December at 8pm at the Traverse Theatre bar on Lothian Road. Free admission to this cool night of new music experiments, with a focus on composition.

In less fun news, my experience working for GoMA and Culture and Sport Glasgow (and without my knowledge Glasgow City Council) has (among other things) confirmed for me the notion that the government should never ever ever have any direct involvement with the arts. Funding for the arts is of course necessary, but politicians should not have any direct say about the actual commissioning, production or dissemination of art. It's a slippery slope when it comes to freedom of speech and freedom of expression. As soon as you let them decide one thing, suddenly they are deciding everything -- not only limiting artists and art itself, but also limiting what the general public can and can't see, or the way in which they see it. For many people (including queers and trans and disabled folk) this is a scary thing in a prejudiced world. Just plain icky.


Posted By Sandra Alland

Thanks to the lovely man on the bench, the even lovelier man with the cape, the stupidity of those who wish to hurt those I love, and the sweetest friends a person could have. Thanks also to A in London, who is always there. Sometimes there is strange justice, sometimes you survive something you think will destroy you, and sometimes gifts arrive from unexpected places.

I know this all sounds obtuse, dear reader, but in some of our lives there are things you can't say for legal reasons. The main lesson of 2008 and 2009? Poetry and metaphor have more uses than I imagined... So beware, forces of evil, because books are coming and you shall pay dearly, if only in your hearts.

In other news, Zorras brought the house down at GFest, a lovely queer festival in London. The Cochrane Theatre was a fantastic venue... it was especially fab to see Ariadna Battich's beautiful videos on the big big screen.

In still other news,my first major art show, b)other, opens this Wednesday (to the public on Thursday) at Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art. For info on b)other and the collective I've been collaborating with, read a wee article in The Skinny.

And then I must sleep until January, forgive me if I'm not often here. Sadly the end of this chapter has not yet arrived, we've just been given a moment's pause to clean our glasses... xox

Posted By Sandra Alland

Friday the 30th was Screen Bandita's exciting The Eruption of Kilauea and Other Treasures! What a fantastic night of screenings of 16mm film projects with live music (and poems and stories) from Zorras, Raise Your Hem, Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo and Will Pickvance! Special thanks to Tim the Sound Guy. More info here!

In other news, as some of you know, I'm currently an artist-in-residence at GoMA and Trongate 103. In July I founded a collective called b)other, and together we've created a zine called A Spot of b)other (plus a lot of other things). See here for a preview in The Skinny!

An exhibition of our work (A Spot of b)other: LBGTI Deaf and Disabled Cultures) starts at GoMA on 25 November, but next week I have an Open Studio at Trongate 103 in Glasgow.

Sandra Alland Open Studio, with members of the b)other collective
Thursday 5 November
Trongate 103 Visting Artist Studio
(located at 103 Trongate, Glasgow)
3-5pm and 6-9pm

You can drop by, see the work we've been doing and chat with the artists. Also, we will have refreshments! Also, in the evening the rest of Trongate 103 (a fantastic new arts space with many galleries) will also have an open house. Please invite your friends and family!

b)other is Sandra Alland, Stuart Crawford, Nathan Gale, Y Josephine, Jennie Kermode, Rebeca Pla, Alison Smith, Penny Stenhouse and Kristiane Taylor.

You can also have a sneak-peak at my documentary about LGBTI immigrants to Scotland... featuring Nine, Janet, Y Josephine, Kika O and Rebeca Pla.

Other than that I'm out of commission for a while, maybe be back in late November...

Posted By Sandra Alland

Cachin Cachan Cachunga was fantastic, as per usual (despite some technical difficulties at The Street, as per usual!). Highlights were the second-ever reading by zinester Nine (which was both funny and moving), an intensely powerful film by Kristiane Taylor, bellydance by Lily, and assisted film curation by the fantastic Screen Bandita. Thanks to everyone for coming out. We're taking a break until December or January to deal with the harsh realities of life... we'll let you know when we're back.

In more depressing news, I watched an episode of Panorama that focused on racism in the UK. It was devastating. Two Asian reporters went undercover for eight weeks in South Mead, an estate in Bristol (similar to many housing estates in the UK). They were harassed every single time they left their home. With hidden cameras, the reporters managed to record the horrific attacks. The man was punched and told to walk on the road so a car would kill him. Children and teens threw bottles and cans of Coke at the woman, and threw rocks and balloons full of water at the back of her head from close range. Men mooned her and threatened her. An 11-year-old told her he had a gun and to hand over her purse, said he would cut her throat next time he saw her, then threatened her with a brick. Both reporters were called "Taliban" and "smelly Paki", and told "Go away, Iraq is that way". It was constant and horrifying, and nearly drove the reporters (who were both born in the UK and had never experienced such treatment) to nervous breakdowns in two short months. I was especially freaked by the behaviour of the children.

Currently the racist British Nationalist Party holds 100 seats in Britain, and recently won two seats in the European parliament. They are being permitted to take part if public debate as if they are a legitimate political party, and are screaming about freedom of speech and the "oppression of the white indigenous majority" in Britain. This is serious shit. Last year, there were 20000 more (reported) incidents of racial assault in the UK than the previous year. The propaganda of the BNP is hate speech, pure and simple... it incites people to violence, and also targets and takes advantage of the poor and uneducated.


Posted By Sandra Alland

A lot of things were stolen from me this summer, the least of which was my wallet. Strangely, it arrived in the post the other day (minus my credit cards and the small amount of money I had, of course). But thanks to the thief who left my driver's license and other important things behind... you're kinder than some.

Tomorrow is Cachin Cachan Cachunga! at The Street, 2 Picardy Place. Featuring Nine, Kristiane Taylor, Lily, Zorras and some serious and silly films about freedom of speech. More info here.

In other news, I read an article in the Observer about government research into racism in the UK -- the results are not very surprising, but it's good to see them published. When applying for jobs, people of Asian and African descent have to apply for almost twice as many jobs as their white British counterparts (even with the exact same British education and experience) before receiving an interview. I have to say I have found the racism here (coupled with nationalist fervour, whether British, English or Scottish) to be extremely virulent and very very disturbing... the things people say and do are disgusting.

In more positive news, there is an exciting new small press in our midst. It's called tree house press and has just released its first two publications, both of which are stellar. Snapshots of the Boy by Shaun Levin and the long-awaited Joshua Tales by Andra Simons are available from Please check them out, they are gorgeous.




Posted By Sandra Alland

Ladyfest Edinburgh put on a grand show at The Bowery on Saturday, thanks to them for a superb adventure. And special thanks to the newest Zorra, Ariadna Battich, for all her amazing video and technical work. We would be so fucked without you, Ari! And we'd be having less fun too...

Yesterday I passed by GoMA and checked out the exhibit they've mounted in the space where Dani Marti's work was meant to be (see previous entries for info on the cancellation of Marti's show). The first balcony has been used to highlight all GoMA's social justice work in the past (which to me seems a bit like they are protesting too much that they do good work with marginalised communities). The second balcony is slightly more interesting... it features newspaper articles about the Sh[OUT] exhibition, as well as responses from GoMA, artists, curators, gallery visitors and (other) LGBTI community members. I was impressed that GoMA presented the statements of people who were accusing them (or more specifically Culture and Sport Glasgow and City Council) of censorship and homophobia. However, the information still seems quite biased towards the gallery, as well as incomplete or inaccurate in places. GoMA maintains that Marti's work was never censored, but the reasons for rejecting his work keep changing, and in the end seem quite flimsy. Also, I still cannot grasp why a major gallery would care so much about, or even think about reacting to, what The Daily Mail says. This is the paper that yesterday said refugees are riding a "gravy train" and wasting millions of taxpayers' pounds. If something is queer or trans, they are going to find a way to make it into "porn at the cost of taxpayers." A better strategy is to target positive publicity from papers with a brain and a conscience. But this has not really happened, and from what I understand from Sh[OUT] participants, they were told their shows would be promoted LESS, in order to avoid controversy...argh. Hopefully things will improve, but it seems there is no real dialogue continuing between GoMA and the LBGTI advisory committee to Sh[OUT].

Here are two recent updates in The Guardian regarding the situation: and

In other news, I saw El Nino Pez (The Fish Child), the newest film by stellar Argentine filmmaker Lucia Peunzo (creator of the amazing XXY). See both films if you can. Puenzo is an amazing director (and writer), and both films also feature the stunning actress, Ines Efron. El Nino Pez is the unlikely love story between a middle-class Argentinian girl and the native Paraguayan girl hired as her housekeeper. It's stunning.


Posted By Sandra Alland

Zorras had a fantastic show at Bar Wotever in London! Thanks to Ingo, to the ever-lovely A for putting us up, and to all those lovely strangers who bought our CDs!

This Saturday at 8pm, we play Ladyfest at The Bowery. It's listed under Ladyfest's Big Gig.

In other news, my short film, Slippery, will be screened at London's GayWise Festival on 14 November. And Zorras play the same festival 21 November! Info here.




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