Upcoming Events

MEME CULTURE AND COMICS

A one-day symposium in three parts
on Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Come to any or all! Co-presented by Rain Taxi and the University of Minnesota Department of Art, with support from The Imagine Fund.

Social media and digital culture have altered how we communicate. This symposium focuses on the proliferation of meme-making in recent years and sets meme culture as an open, participatory phenomenon in conversation with comics, an age-old and ageless art form. Both forms combine text and image, but each has a distinct relationships to seriality: comics tend toward narrative while memes operate both as single images and as part of larger viral events. Both forms also cultivate relationships to humor and irreverence, often steeped in political parody and caricature. But while memes circulate online, the roots of comics include robust DIY practices that have morphed into graphic novels and formally accomplished artist books.

Our one-day symposium includes a workshop that invites creators of all types to sharpen their stories; a panel discussion with comics practitioners, publishers, and critics, and a keynote talk featuring an acclaimed cartoonist who has been exploring creative relevance and practices in our hyper-accelerated age. Our goal is to probe the creative interstitial spaces that might open in conversation with comics and memes, and to speculate about the communicative and creative possibilities the two might share despite their distinct histories and current circulations.


Our Three-Part Symposium includes:

The XY Story Formula

A Workshop for Creators with Jessica Abel

When you're telling a story, do you get stuck in the weeds? Are you unclear what the point really is, or how to get other people to understand why you're so excited about it? Whether you're working with a traditional character-based story or with something more abstract and idea-based, the workshop will help you clear the cobwebs so that your ideas arrive intact in the minds of your audience. Participants should come in ready with a concept for a story—a pitch, an idea, a first draft—and get ready for some magic to happen!

Time: 1:30-3:00 pm
Location: Regis Center for Art West, Rm W123
418 21st Avenue South, Mipls.

Free to attend, but must RSVP here to reserve a spot


Meme Culture and Comics

a conversation with Shannon Wright, Blue Delliquanti, and Greg Hunter, moderated by Caitlin Skaalrud

What do comics and memes have in common? As forms that tell stories with minimal means and play with text and image, both comics and memes have roots in DIY culture and an appetite for whimsy, satire, and visual puns. To explore the field of comics and memes in the digital age, join us for a conversation with cartoonists, illustrators, storytellers, and a publisher as they put their heads together to make sense of current trends and speculate on future directions of comics in the digital age.

Time: 4:00-5:30 pm
Location: Moon Palace Books
3032 Minnehaha Ave, Mpls.

Free, but RSVP here if attending for a chance to win prizes!


Artist Talk with Jessica Abel

in conversation with Rain Taxi Editor Eric Lorberer

Having broken ground as one of the most acclaimed “alternative” cartoonists of the ’90s, Jessica Abel has remained a comics creator (her latest graphic novel is Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars) but has also championed comics and creativity in broader ways: she’s written books about the storytelling secrets of radio, edited The Best American Comics, coauthored two comprehensive manuals on creating comics, and has done a lot of writing as well as individual and group coaching to help creative people take full control of their lives. Join us for an artist talk and moderated conversation as we explore her work as it has evolved from the era of comics as a specialized hobby to our full blown meme culture.

Time: 7 pm
Location: Parkway Theater
4818 Chicago Ave, Mpls

Free, but RSVP here if attending for a chance to win prizes!


PARTICIPANT BIOS

Cartoonist, author, and educator Jessica Abel is the author of the graphic novel La Perdida (winner of the the 2002 “Best New Series” Harvey Award), Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars, as well as two collections of stories from her omnibus comic book Artbabe. She and her husband, the cartoonist Matt Madden, were series editors for The Best American Comics from 2007 to 2013. Together they’ve authored two textbooks about making comics, Drawing Words & Writing Pictures and Mastering Comics. Her book (and podcast), Out on the Wire, is about how the best radio producers in the world use story to keep us listening. Jessica is the chair of the illustration program at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Both at PAFA and through her creativity-focused blog, newsletter, podcast, and talks, Jessica helps creative people with big ideas to get past procrastination and anxiety, and get on with the business of making their potentially transcendent, game-changing creative work real in the world.

Blue Delliquanti is a comic artist and writer based in Minneapolis. Since 2012, Blue has drawn and serialized the Prism Award-winning science fiction O Human Star. Blue is also the co-creator of the graphic novel Meal (with Soleil Ho), and The 'Stan (with David Axe and Kevin Knodell) as well as short comics for anthologies ranging from Beyond to FTL, Y'All. Blue enjoys stories about robots, queer families, food, and bugs.

Greg Hunter is a comics critic and graphic novel editor based in Minneapolis. He is a frequent contributor to the Comics Journal website and a member of its Eisner-winning 2017-2018 roster. He has also written about comics for sites such as LARB and The Rumpus. He serves as Editorial Director of Graphic Universe, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group devoted to graphic novels for developing, middle grade, and young adult readers. Recent editorial works include the North American edition of Nie Jun's My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder, a 2019 Batchelder Honor Book, and the Life on Earth series, a YA trilogy by acclaimed cartoonist MariNaomi.

Caitlin Skaalrud is a Minneapolis cartoonist, comics educator, and self-publisher behind Talk Weird Press. She was a recipient of a 2012 Xeric Self-Publishing Grant for her first graphic novel Sea Change: A Choose-Your-Own-Way Story, which she hand-printed on 1960's AB Dick printing press in a frozen garage. She has published with local imprints Uncivilized Books and La Mano 21, as well as several anthologies, including Dirty Diamonds and Warmer: A Collection Comics About Climate Change. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Minnesota.

Shannon Wright is an illustrator and cartoonist from Virginia whose work tends to explore social issues like race and gender through a slice-of-life lens. In her spare time, she makes personal and original stories invoking nostalgia rooted from her own childhood and the life around her. Her work has been published in The New York Times, TIME Magazine, Mother Jones, The Guardian, and many other places; her first illustrated picture book, My Mommy Medicine, is out now.

ANDRI SNÆR MAGNASON

Sunday, May 5, 3:00 pm
Target Performance Hall at Open Book
1011 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis
FREE and open to the public!

Click Here to download a PDF poster for this event

RSVP here to be entered in our prize raffle!

Join us for a conversation with one of Iceland’s most
acclaimed authors, co-presented with our friends from Taste of Iceland. Reception to follow!

Described by Rebecca Solnit as “the love child of Chomsky and Lewis Carroll,” Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason will appear in conversation with Rain Taxi editor Eric Lorberer to discuss his wide ranging work, which includes supermarket poetry, science fiction, writings for youth, and critical essays. Magnason is one of Iceland's leading literary voices — his novel LoveStar won Le Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire in France and a Philip K. Dick Citation of Excellence in the United States, and other works have garnered numerous awards and acclaim. His work has been translated into fourteen languages, and his latest book to appear in English translation is The Casket of Time, newly released by Restless Books. Magnason was the second runner-up in Iceland’s 2016 presidential election, and is currently the chairman of Reykjavík, Unesco City of Literature.

More about the book:

An entrancing adventure for today’s troubled planet, The Casket of Time is a fantastical tale of time travel and environmental calamity. While suitable for readers aged 10 and up, the book is "an intimate epic that floats effortlessly between genres as diverse as fairy tale and political commentary, science fiction and social realism” (Bjarke Ingels). The Casket of Time tells the story of teenage Sigrun, who is sick of all the apocalyptic news about the “situation” (and her parents’ obsession with it). Sigrun’s family—along with everyone else—decides to hibernate in their TimeBoxes®, hoping for someone else to fix the world’s problems, but when Sigrun’s TimeBox® opens too early, she discovers an abandoned city overrun by wilderness and joins a band of kids who are helping to fix the world. Translated from the Icelandic by Björg Arnadóttir and Andrew Cauthery, this is a riveting novel for our times!

“[A] beautiful and haunting Snow White–inspired tale…. a literary fantasy with environmentalist themes that will find fans among thoughtful young readers. — Eleanor Roth, Booklist

“The power of story animates a tale that communicates—but is not overpowered by—urgent messages.” —Kirkus Reviews

More about the author:

Andri Snær Magnason has written novels, poetry, plays, short stories, essays, and films. His children’s book The Story of the Blue Planet was the first children’s book to receive the Icelandic Literary Award and has been published or performed in 35 countries; it also received the Janusz Korczak Honorary Award in Poland 2000. Magnason has been active in the fight for preserving the environment in Iceland. His book Dreamland: A Self Help Manual for a Frightened Nation has sold more than 20,000 copies in Iceland, and he co directed a feature-length documentary film based on the book. His most recent book, The Casket of Time, has now been published in about 10 languages and was nominated as the best fantasy book in Finland 2016, along with books by Ursula K. Le Guin and David Mitchell. He lives in Reykjavík with his wife Margrét, four children, and a dog.

CHERRÍE MORAGA

Thursday, May 2, 7pm
Mission Room at The Hook & Ladder Theater
3010 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis
FREE and open to the public!

Click Here to download a PDF poster for this event

RSVP here to be entered in our prize raffle!

From the celebrated editor of This Bridge Called My Back, Cherríe Moraga charts her own coming-of-age in her new memoir.

Native Country of the Heart is, at its core, a mother-daughter story. The mother, Elvira, was hired out as a child by her own father to pick cotton in California’s Imperial Valley. The daughter, Cherríe, is a brilliant, pioneering, queer Xicana feminist. The story of these two women, and of their people, is woven together in an intimate memoir of critical reflection and deep personal revelation. As Moraga charts her mother’s journey—from impressionable young girl to battle-tested matriarch to old woman—she traces her own self-discovery of her gender-queer body and Lesbian identity, as well as her passion for activism. As her mother’s memory fails, Moraga is driven to unearth forgotten remnants of a U.S. Mexican diaspora, its indigenous origins, and an American story of cultural loss. Poetically wrought and filled with insight into intergenerational trauma, Native Country of the Heart is a reckoning with white American history and a piercing love letter from a fearless daughter to the mother she will never lose.

Listen to a new interview with Cherríe Moraga on the NPR program "Latino USA."

At this special Twin Cities event, Moraga will be in conversation with local author Alexis Pauline Gumbs. Self described as a “queer black troublemaker,” Gumbs is a writer, scholar, and activist who currently teaches at the University of Minnesota. This conversation is not to be missed!

“I love Native Country of the Heart’s forthright blending of a bio of Moraga’s intriguing powerhouse mom, Elvira, with Moraga’s own queer evolution. And that the intimate facts of Cherríe Moraga’s family history get embedded alongside such valuable public secrets as the mass deportation of Mexican workers during the depression so that dust bowl farmers could have their jobs. This book is a coup.”
—Eileen Myles, author of Afterglow

“A beautiful, painful, funny, heartening and heartfelt immersion in the life of one of the leading voices of Latino/a literature, our very own Cherríe Moraga. Part elegy, part history and part testimonio rife with storytelling, Native Country of the Heart, like all of Moraga’s work, charts the unmapped and unspoken territories of body, mind, heart and soul and refuses to be confined by any border or genre…. in this moving and brave book she gives us all a reckoning our country needs now.”
—Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies

“This is a great book. In telling her mother’s life-story Cherríe Moraga ruthlessly examines her own heart and the deep complications of growing up mixed race and lesbian in a racist culture. But she also lays bare the spiritual core that strengthens and sustains her. The heart, the soul, familia and tribe, the native country is as narrow as the space between clenched fingers and as wide as the sightlines to the horizon.”
—Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cherríe Moraga is a writer and cultural activist whose work serves to disrupt the dominant narratives of gender, race, sexuality, feminism, indigeneity, and literature in the United States. A co-founder of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, Moraga co-edited the highly influential volume This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color in 1981. After twenty years as an Artist-in-Residence in Theater at Stanford University, Moraga was appointed a professor in the Department of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2018, where, with her artistic partner Celia Herrera Rodríguez, she instituted Las Maestras Center for Xicana Indigenous Thought and Art Practice. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Theatre Playwriting Fellowship Award and a United States Artist Rockefeller Fellowship for Literature.

CAROLYN FORCHÉ

Friday, April 26, 7:00pm
Plymouth Congregational Church
1900 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis
FREE and open to the public!
Co-sponsored by Literary Witnesses and Rain Taxi

RSVP here to be entered in our prize raffle!

Join us to hear the powerful story of a poet who
becomes an activist through a trial by fire.

What You Have Heard is True is a devastating, lyrical, and visionary memoir about a young woman’s brave choice to engage with horror in order to help others. Written by one of the most gifted poets of her generation, this is the story of a woman’s radical act of empathy.

Carolyn Forché is twenty-seven when a mysterious stranger appears on her doorstep. She’s heard rumors about who he might be—a lone wolf, a communist, a CIA operative, a sharpshooter, a revolutionary, a small coffee farmer—but no one seems to know for certain. Captivated for reasons she doesn’t fully understand, she travels with him to El Salvador and becomes enmeshed in something beyond her comprehension. Together they meet with high-ranking military officers, impoverished farm workers, and clergy desperately trying to assist the poor and keep the peace. Pursued by death squads and sheltering in safe houses, the two forge a rich friendship, as Forché attempts to make sense of what she’s experiencing and establish a moral foothold amidst profound suffering. This is the powerful story of a poet’s experience in a country on the verge of war, and a journey toward social conscience in a perilous time.

“In this searing, vital memoir, Carolyn Forché at last reveals the dark stories behind her famous early poems: she brings alive the brutality, complexity and idealism of El Salvador in the late 1970s, a time of revolution that echoes all too painfully in the present. What You Have Heard Is True, a riveting and essential account of a young woman’s political and human awakening, is as beautiful as it is painful to read.”
—Claire Messud, author of The Burning Girl

“This luminous book stands beside the memoirs of Pablo Neruda and Czeslaw Milosz in its account of a poets education, the struggle of a great artist to be worthy of her gifts. Carolyn Forché's prose is shamanic: it sees both the surface of things and their inner workings, it animates the inanimate world.”
—Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

“Carolyn Forché asks us not only to hear, but to see, the scale of human and moral devastation in El Salvador. For those of us who are citizens and residents of the United States, Forché’s powerful, moving, and disturbing memoir also demands that we recognize our country’s responsibility for the atrocities committed by the El Salvadoran military. As is the case with her poetry, Forché’s nonfiction asserts the need for truth—in our politics, in our writing, in our witnessing.”
—Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer

About the Author

Carolyn Forché is an American poet, editor, translator, and activist. Her books of poetry are Blue Hour, The Angel of History, The Country Between Us, and Gathering the Tribes. In 2013, Forché received the Academy of American Poets Fellowship given for distinguished poetic achievement. In 2017, she became one of the first two poets to receive the Windham-Campbell Prize. She is a University Professor at Georgetown University. Forché lives in Maryland with her husband, the photographer Harry Mattison.