SteamFunk, CyberFunk, Afrofuterism, Oh My! Our Top Reasons to Funk it Up at BLACKTASTICON 2018!

Posted on: Jun 13th, 2018 By:

by Melanie Crew
Managing Editor

BLACKTASTICON 2018 shouts “Welcome to the Future!” as co-founders Kool Kat Balogun Ojetade and Milton Davis bring you, Atlanta’s top-notch spec-lit convention (formerly The State of Black Science Fiction Con), this  Saturday and Sunday (June 16-17) at GA Tech’s Ferst Center. This event is chock full of Afro-futurism, steamfunk, cyberfunk, dieselfunk, sword and soul, rococoa, Afrikan martial arts, and then some! Come see why we think you should come on out and celebrate the diverse and ultra relevant voices of current Black writers, artists, filmmakers, and creators of all kinds delivering some of the most dynamic and ground-breaking speculative fiction today!

1) THE MAHOGANY MASQUERADE. Get your steamfunk, dieselfunk, Afrofuturism fix as BLACKTASTICON kicks off the weekend with a night of funktastic shenanigans! Get gussied up cosplay-style (or don’t, your choice) and boogie down to the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture & History Friday, June 15 from 6-9pm!

2) PATTERNMASTER: THE LEGACY OF OCTAVIA BUTLER. Multi prestigious award-winning (Hugo and Nebula Awards to name a few) “Grand Dame of Science Fiction”, Octavia Butler’s life and legacy is the sole focus of this much-anticipated event. Come celebrate one of the most influential Black Science Fiction writers with poet and author Linda D. Addison, Guest of Honor/author Sheree Renee Thomas, Guest of Honor/artist John Jennings, author Troy L. Wiggins and author/screenwriter Kenesha Williams, Saturday at 12pm.

3) WOMEN IN BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION. The WBSF panel, a.k.a. “2016’s most popular panel” (standing room only!) returns and with good reason. Explore the roots of Black Women in Speculative Fiction while celebrating the Black women authors, publishers and more with one helluva line-up featuring author/publisher Kool Kat Nicole Givens Kurtz, poet/author Linda D. Addison, author Sheree Renee Thomas, author Valjeanne Jeffers, author/screenwriter Kenesha Williams and author Christine Taylor-Butler, moderated by Kool Kat and BLACKTASTICON co-creator Balogun Ojetade, Saturday at 4:30pm!

4) THE RENAISSANCE: FROM HARLEM TO SATURDAY MORNINGS. Who doesn’t love comics, cartoons and animation? Roosevelt Pitts Jr., a thirty-plus year comic book industry vet and creator of PURGE, hosts this riveting exploration of the Black independent comic book scene, along with Guest of Honor/artist Mshindo Kuumba and Author Heru. Get ready to dig deep into the industry’s checkered past of Black representation in the animated medium and the exciting future that awaits generations to come, Saturday at 4:30pm!

5) FROM BLACK PANTHERS TO THE BLACK PANTHER. If you missed the historic event this past March, now’s your chance to experience a powerful discussion on the history, impact, importance and need for Creative Resistance and Heroic Black Imagery in film, fiction and artwork. Join authors, activists, actors and Hip Hop icons along with hosts and BLACKTASTICON co-creators Balogun Ojetade and Milton Davis, Saturday at 2pm!

6) LINDA D. ADDISON. Guest of Honor, Linda Addison is a poet and writer of horror, fantasy and science fiction. She is the first African-American winner of the HWA Bram Stoker Award, which she won four times for her collections CONSUMED, REDUCED TO BEAUTIFUL GREY ASHES (2001); BEING FULL OF LIGHT, INSUBSTANTIAL (2007); HOW TO RECOGNIZE A DEMON HAS BECOME YOUR FRIEND (2011); and FOUR ELEMENTS (2014). She was also recently announced the winner of the HWA Lifetime Achievement Award.

7) FROM ROMANCE TO THE VAMPIRE HUNTRESS. Celebrate the life and legacy of author L.A. Banks, known for creating diverse perspectives in horror, sci-fi, fantasy and romance. She was also involved in the creation of the popular television series, TRUE BLOOD. Catch this riveting panel discussion of the life and continuing influence of Banks with author K. Ceres Wright, author B. Sharise Moore, Diane Williams, author Stafford Battle and William Jones, Saturday at 3pm.

Linda D. Addison

8) IRON-AUTHUR. Let the wild rumpus start! Witness five authors compete for the title of IRON-AUTHOR, in the vein of IRON-CHEF (5 authors. 5 rounds. 5 minutes. 5 stories). Authors will have a chance to turn five Mystery Ingredient Words into a Science Fiction, Horror, or Fantasy short story in less than five minutes per round. Who will reign supreme? Get competitive on Saturday at 12pm!

Blacktasticon main con hours are Sat. June 16 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sun. June 17 from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. For more info, visit the BLACKTASTICON official website here.

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Kool Kat of the Week: The B-52s Fred Schneider Dons Shiny Spandex and Dances This Mess Around at Discoween Fri. Oct. 28

Posted on: Oct 26th, 2011 By:

In the late ‘70s/early ‘80s, The B-52s turned disco on its head with sci-fi new wave numbers that were sure to get you twisting and twirling faster-than-the-speed-of-light. So it’s hard to imagine a more phenomenal host for Discoween, this Friday’s ‘70s inspired Halloween party at Paris on Ponce, than vocalist Fred Schneider. Indeed all the pre-buzz suggests an outrageous extravaganza worthy of the gregarious glitter-glam era, amplified by seasonal tricks and treats, including ‘70s dance hits spun by DJ Vickie Powell, Hustle dance lessons by Go-Go Ghoul Dancers, female impersonators selling ‘70s fashions, costume and dance contests for iPad prizes (OK, did you really want to win an old-school Atari?), a photo booth to record your ‘70s awesomeness, Bad Taste but good tasting ‘70s snacks provided  by Dennis Dean Catering, a raffle with period-authentic prizes including a vintage ‘70s Gucci purse and a framed photo of Elton John in the ‘70s taken by famed photographer Kate Simon, and much more.

Best of all, you don’t have to feel any shame when partying like it’s 1979, because all proceeds go to Canine Companions for Independence, a global nonprofit that provides highly trained service dogs to people with disabilities. Discoween was conceived by Fred’s friend and lifelong animal lover Cathleen (Cathy) Smith-Bresciani, who recently founded the Violet Trust to sponsor training of CCI’s service dogs. Known for throwing fashionably fun charitable fetes, she also chaired the 2010 and 2011 official after-parties for Jeffrey Fashion Cares and Fred Schneider’s Spring Thang benefiting PALS and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Tickets (age 21 & up) are $60 in advance ($75 at door) and can be purchased at the Website for Dixie Dog Wear, Cathy’s online pet accessories boutique which donates 100% its profits to various charities.

Designer Jason Wu, Cathleen Smith, Fred Schneider and Violet - a CCI service dog in training. Photo courtesy of Caren West PR.

ATLRetro caught up with Fred for a fabulous pre-peek at Discoween, his personal love of ‘70s dance music, how he got involved and what’s up next for the B-52s and his sensational side project The Superions, which he playfully described to another blogger as “the most exciting group to hit the music scene since Elvis or Lady Gaga.” At ATLRetro, we have no doubt that’s true, Fred!

ATLRetro: Why will Discoween be Atlanta’s best Retro-inspired Halloween party this year?

Fred Schneider: Any party Cathy Smith throws is the best. Ask anyone. And DJ Vicki and I know how to get people shakin’!!

What will you be doing as host of the party? Are you performing? Or Emceeing?
I’ll be doing a little of everything. I’m not performing, but the disco glitter dancers make their debut! And I’ll screen the Superions’ BATBABY mini-movie

Paris on Ponce is a very unique and cool venue. Do you shop there yourself (in which case what was your coolest Paris on Ponce purchase?) And how will that location play into the fun?

Yes, I’ve shopped there. Got a great 1931 modern designer furniture book. The venue for the party already looks like something from TRUE BLOOD!

What disco finest will you be pulling out of your closet, and any tips for putting together the ultimate outrageous ’70s disco costume?
I’m shopping tomorrow for an outfit! Anything shiny spandex is a must. Especially if it’s unflattering!

How did you get involved and why are you so passionate about Canine Companions for Independence?
My good friend Cathy Smith named a dog and is sponsoring one. I also do a line of dog cookies for her Dixie Dogwear [called] Fred Schneider’s Dogstars.

The B-52s were New Wave, which some people think of as anti-disco, but yet you were absolutely danceable. Did the band owe anything to the disco sound?
I love new wave disco. There’s lots of disco music we all liked.

What else are you and the B-52s up to now? Any recordings, other upcoming Atlanta appearances, eclectic hobbies, passionate causes?
The B-52s have a new live CD, WITH THE WILD CROWD, we taped in Athens. A DVD will come out later. One dream would be to play our 35th anniversary show at the Fox next year. My side project, The Superions, have a single and mini-movie out now, BATBABY. Our Xmas CD, DESTINATION…CHRISTMAS comes out again to save the holidays!

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