Posts Tagged ‘gothic funk nation’

Response to the Crisis in Haiti.

January 22nd, 2010 by Connor

The Gothic Funk Nation offers its deepest sympathies to all of those who have been displaced, injured, and lost in the tragic earthquake in Haiti.  We encourage all past and present participants in Gothic Funk Projects to contribute to relief efforts.

The mainstream media, focusing on the enormity of the catastrophe, has neglected to acquaint Americans with the remarkable and often tragic history of this near neighbor.  With a population of over ten million, Haiti is one of the most densely populated nations in the world.    The arrival of Columbus marks Haiti’s entrance into modern history.  He brought with him European policy tantamount to genocide and diseases that sparked epidemics in the native population.

In 1791, responding in part to the rhetoric of freedom espoused by revolutions creating the (slavery-promoting) republics of France and the United States, slaves in Saint-Domingue, Hispanola, rose up in rebellion.  The movement later expanded throughout the island and successfully rebuffed takeover attempts by the British, the Spaniards, and the French.  Haiti, whose name is taken from its indigenous Taíno inhabitants, became (and remains) the only nation in the world to have been established through a slave revolution.  The history of Haiti has involved frequent intervention and occupation by major world powers, including the United States, as well as dictatorships, extreme poverty, and frequent natural disasters.

However, Haiti has also given the world a unique and special perspective which is enduring and valuable to the Gothic Funk Nation specifically.  Half of our ideas, “funk,” are derived from the French usage of the word fumus, or “smoke.”  This complex and ancient word acquired many of its present connotations (aesthetic, sensory, and sexual) through the work of musicians like James Brown and Little Richard.  The traditions of the African Diaspora, as carried over to Caribbean and American slave communities, inspired these artists.  Faith traditions such as Vodou and Santería are highly developed in Haiti and the scope of their influence cannot be denied.  These traditions not only form the dynamic foundations of American funk, but their affinity for the uncanny and the organic has impacted two centuries of southern gothic stylings.

The best conversations about Gothic Funk talk about a convergence between the spiritual and physical worlds, the possibility of progress through faith and ambitious humility, the paradox of human existence, and the preciousness and fragility of a living community.  Our collective and cultural debt to Haiti should never be underestimated.

It is with all seriousness that we encourage you, once more, to make a donation to relief efforts in Haiti.

Your donation may be paid to the American Red Cross:

Thank you for your consideration.

The Gothic Funk Nation Steering Committee

Changes at the Gothic Funk Nation

January 19th, 2010 by Connor

Dear Citizen,

The last year has been a busy one for the Gothic Funk Nation.

  • We’ve seen two changes in venue (to Andersonville’s “Hopleaf”) for our Tuesday Funk reading series as it’s gotten bigger and better, and now averages about fifty attendees per reading.  The last installment featured Marlon Carey, J-L Deher-Lesaint, Kristin Lueke, Arlene Malinowski, and Megan Stielstra.
  • The creation and launch of our arts journal, The Paramanu Pentaquark (Issue #3 in production) has been featured in publications such as the Chicago Sun-Times, Centerstage Chicago, and Papua New Guinea Gossip, and has published dozens of musicians, writers, and artists from Hawaii to Manchester.
  • A change in venue for the National Address reading circle / workshop to the Barista in Wicker Park.  Several artists have brought their novels-, songs-, poems-, and ideas-in-progress to these welcoming and constructive sessions.
  • We’ve thrown a variety of successful parties, from an absinthy magazine launch last February, to our lakeside Mutiny on the Bounty last August, to the more recent mystery of the Kaleidoscope (complete with midnight cemetery damps).
  • While there’s been heavy involvement by longtime members, we’ve seen some new faces as well.  Dion Mindykowski made the long trek from Michigan to read at the journal launch, Maggie Kast, William Shunn and others have become regular and eagerly anticipated readers at Tuesday Funk, and Richard Whaling and Elizabeth Moylan have upped their involvement, giving us a much needed adrenaline boost just as we’ve lost several active members to parenthood and the magnetism of foreign capitals.

Because we’ve been more busy of late, and because many leaders in this group have been going through major life changes (from having a child to purchasing a house) we’re taking a look at what can stay the same and what has to change.  We ultimately decided to form a steering committee of five members who will:
– ensure that Gothic Funk projects are in communication with each other
– so far as is desirable, set agendas for the Nation as a whole and articulate this
– coordinate efforts to throw parties and cross-promote across different projects
– keep open lines of communication between participants and attendees
– explore and pursue a rigorous understanding of the words “gothic funk” in a contemporary context

I am happy to announce that we have finished assembling this committee as follows:

CONNOR COYNE, representative from The Paramanu Pentaquark arts journal
SKYLAR MORAN, representative from National Address reading circle
ELIZABETH MOYLAN, member-at-large
AMBER STAAB, member-at-large
REINHARDT SUAREZ, representative from Tuesday Funk reading series

We will send you updates from time to time about the choices we make and developments in the Nation, and will also be resuming monthly Announcement emails starting this February.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to write me at:

Best wishes,

Connor Coyne
The Gothic Funk Nation Steering Committee