Thursday, November 6, 2008

Me Neither

If you look closely, you can see the Obama sticker in the right corner. Oh, it feels good to be alive.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

There are many reasons

why I love New York City and this is one of them:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Life gets in the way

Marisha, Staten Island Ferry July 2008

I have been behind on blogging for a veritable laundry list of reasons, none of which I feel like listing now. Mostly all I can think about is how my partner was assaulted and mugged one block away from our house this morning. I haven't slept and I'm pissed off and inarticulate. We should be going to the self-defense class for women and transfolks which is being held within walking distance from our home today (the irony is not lost on us), but I am stuck at work and Mik, understandably so, doesn't feel like leaving the house today. Anyhow, if your female or trans and in Brooklyn you should check out The Center for Anti-Violence Education. They even offer free classes for survivors of violence. I've been meaning to sign-up for classes and I will definitely be doing so when the next cycle begins.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

vapid nauseating white girl shit

Much has been written about a recent unfortunate New York Times Magazine cover story. My favorite is an article on by Rebecca Traister. After forcing myself to read the aforementioned NYT article that shall go unnamed, I just feel incredibly queasy. In all fairness, I thought I should read it before criticizing it, but I don't want to waste any more time even thinking about it when my copy of the new revised and expanded edition of That's Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation is sitting right here in front of me begging to be read.
I just can't believe how bad that article was and I am mortally offended that the NYT saw fit to grant her ten full pages to spew that nonsense. Oh, and to make matters queasier, she actually studied at Eugene Lang College, an institution that I am proud to have recently graduated from with a concentration in Creative Nonfiction and a minor in Poetry. I don't know who she studied with, but I assure you that none of that would have flown with my senior work advisor, Pulitzer prize-winning critic, journalist, author and personal hero of mine, Margo Jefferson.

I will say this though, before I return to cleansing myself with radical queerness: When I took these pictures of myself, I meant them as an illustration of my greatest fears and a critique of the options/representations of women in media and the arts. Looking pretty and destroyed passed out on rumpled sheets, an unused camera lifeless around my neck, I called them my "photowhore" pictures. I don't think anyone got it.

With young women posing for pictures like this, is it any wonder that my critique didn't register?
photo of Emily Gould by Elinor Carucci

E.T.A: I would like to start a conversation that situates such self-involved tripe as Gould's within the sphere of normative whiteness. While critiques have been multiple and various, I have yet to see one that explores this. It is a definitive aspect of white privilege to be able to make work that is essentially about nothing other than the small petty exploits of one person.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Very Cool

Recordings of selected presentations from:
are available online here at WBEZ Chicago Public Radio's Chicago Amplified, a web-based audio archive of diverse educational events recorded throughout the Chicago region.


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Yes, yes, I know

I have been all about the lateness in terms of this blog. Between hanging my senior show, writing my thesis (89 pages, bitches.), graduating, trying to find a job, continuing to write and work on my show, compiling and co-editing a Lyrics on Lockdown workbook, obsessing over how to make the last few workshops at Rikers really count whilst also trying to figure out a way to keep going to Island Academy over the summer, I have allowed this blog to languish and neglected to give updates where updates are due.

Thus I take a break from writing searching obsessing to give you a little something.

First of all, the Race Sex Power conference was amazing and I met spoke with so many brilliant folks (and one fucker - but what's life without at least one, right?) Even though I did not get to see Renee Cox's presentation thanks to the folks at American Airlines (you cancel how many flights and now you wanna charge people to check bags? What?) I did get to indulge in my kind of celeb spotting.

This pic made the papers, digitally speaking at least. I also have this conference to thank for my new favorite author, Achy Obejas. She read this story that gave me tingles like no author has in a minute. Right now I am loving We came all the way from Cuba so you could dress like this? I really want to start gushing about how fabulous everyone was but I have only nine minutes left of my allotted blogging timeslot before I go back to writing searching obsessing and I still haven't gushed about how amazing Zami like me was. 

Sooooo.. Zami like me was fabulous and inspiring and it was like taking a cool drink and suddenly realizing how you were dying of thirst. So many wonderful queer women of color and allies in a room supporting one another and sharing art and cultural critique and discussion -it was like heaven. Mad mad props to Cleo N. LaMothe for conceiving the CipHer and making sure it came to fruition. 
The first day we saw a screening of Black. Womyn. Conversations..  a documentary by film by tiona m. and then had a talk back lead by professor Kaila Story where I also got to meet the badass ladies from Queer Black Cinema.
The second day I got to share the stage with spoken word poet Charan P., 3X. A. LADY CREW, singer/songwriter/poet Amelia and my friend Jade Foster who writes terrific poetry.

I am two minutes late so I leave you with this:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sean Bell & Lyrics on Lockdown

Some of you know that I have been participating in a class this year that uses poetry, hip hop and spoken word to create critical literacy. This semester we have been working with high school students that are locked up on Rikers Island. This Friday, we are scheduled to have a release party for the anthology of student writing and lesson plans from the last four years of Lyrics on Lockdown. We originally planned to just perform poetry but with Sean Bell's murderers acquitted on all counts, we feel that we need to address this and use Friday as an opportunity to organize. Folks have been throwing out a lot of ideas and if anyone knows about other folks organizing a response please let me know and I will post it here and pass the word along.
So far, I have heard that Reverend Al Sharpton is organizing a march, Kevin Powell is organizing folks in Brooklyn. Also, this event sounds pretty dope and I will definitely be there whether I perform or not:


***please forward this far and wide***

When: Saturday May 3rd, 2008
Time: 7 PM sharp - 10 PM
Where: The Brecht Forum
451 West Street (near West Side Highway)

*This will be a Free Event and All Performances are Voluntary. First come bases, once we have all 50 Artists the list will end.

***If you are interested please submit your name, contact info and a brief description of the work you would like to perform to or call Gabreilla Calleder: 917-325-1699

That's all I have for now, I will post more information as it becomes available.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

They're In!

My promo cards came in and I will be spending my Saturday night addressing them all. So if you would like your very own copy shipped right to your door step, send your snail mail address to amorganphoto(at)mac(dot)com

P.S. Use that address for spam or forwards or anything unrelated to photo and I will put a curse on both your houses.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Are You White? Do You Love Black People? Ever Wonder if They Love You?

I am in the middle of writing my memoir and am doing some fact checking, which just caused me to stumble upon this: I had to post it because it is possibly the best website since


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

So many things!

First of all, this Saturday and Sunday I will be a part of:

Zami Like Me: Queer Womyn of Color CipHER

Celebrating HER and all of her she'ness.

Does our sexual or racial identity compel an activist intersection with such a horrifying status quo or not? Is it sexual or racial identity that will catapult each of us into creative agency for social change? I would say, I hope so. – June Jordan

Put on by The CipHER Project and co-sponsored by the New School Women of Color Organization and OPEN, the gay/straight alliance at The New School, Zami Like Me is a social, political, activist, artistic, educational and entertainment two day event that will serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, non-conforming, and two-spirited women of color and allies in celebration of our multiple identities, works and talents. It will be a two day women's cipHER, a sharing space of skill, wit, talent and gifts that will run full circle, 360 degrees, with love and support. In reaching out to the New School community as well as the outside community, I hope to bring in artists (in many forms) and academics, youth and elders, to join in this two-day event to educate and learn about the issues that are prevalent to these women. This event will be on Saturday, April 19th and Sunday, April 20th.

[Please join us Saturday April 19 from 5:30-9 pm and Sunday April 20 from 6-9pm.]



black.womyn.:conversations with lesbians of african descent by tiona.m.

I Look Up to the Sky Now, created by Barbara M. Bickart and 11 young queer activists.

Like a Boy, Like a Girl by Ash. S. Tai and Cleopatra N. LaMothe





LIVE ART BY THE AGYTATORS! Come get your photo taken by the Agytators -who have been featured in various media such as Ladies Lotto, Scheme magazine, and worked with famous photographer Kareem Black!
$5 to $10 suggested donation will be requested at the door. All proceeds are going to the Audre Lorde Project and the Youth Enrichment Services (YES) at the LGBTQ Center. NO ONE WILL BE TURNED AWAY BECAUSE OF MONEY. There will also be a raffle for a gift bag of goodies!

File these under events not starring me, but still badass:

"On Friday, The Cotton Ponys will be joining a whole bunch of feminist lady performers that will be playing music and acting and maybe balancing things on their heads or catching things in their vagina in support of ladies around the world. Please note: we will be playing 60% of our show for the ladies and 40% for the baby seals. We won't tell you which part is for ladies and which part is for the baby seals but you might get the hint when we start throwing dead fish into the audience. But remember, friends, it's only a metaphor.
Please come support the battle against dry skin and dead baby seals. There will be women there!"
FRIDAY, 4/18
We play at 7:45, Don't Be Late!
ABC No Rio (156 Rivington btw Suffolk + Clinton)
F Train to Second Ave.
5 Dollars.
The Ever-Improving Official Fan Site
Feminist Event Website
Hot Pics of the Performers Found Here


Pratt Institute will host activist, writer, philosopher, and teacher Angela Davis as Scholar in Residence for Spring 2008 on Tuesday, April 22 and Wednesday, April 23. As part of her residency, Davis will participate in a series of events that are free and open to the public. Davis will give a keynote address titled “Identifying Racism in the Era of Neoliberalism” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22 following a 5 p.m. screening of The Farm: Angola. On April 23 Davis will participate in roundtable discussion “Urban Artists and the Politics of Visibility” with New York-based artists Dread Scott, Hank Willis Thomas, Alain “KET” MaridueƱa, and Amy Sananman. All events are to be held in Memorial Auditorium on Pratt’s Brooklyn Campus. Davis was associated with the Blank Panther Party and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Educated at the Frankfurt School, Davis first came to national attention when she was placed on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Ten Most Wanted List on false charges, driven underground, arrested, and incarcerated for 16 months. While in prison, she wrote brilliant articles and became the focus of the international solidarity movement —the “Free Angela Davis” campaign—
which brought about her acquittal. Davis ran for U.S. Vice President under the Communist Party ticket in 1980, and in 1997 helped found Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to dismantling the prison-industrial complex. Today, she holds the University of California Presidential Chair in African American and Feminist Studies in the History of Consciousness Department at the Santa Cruz campus. She is the author of eight acclaimed books, including The Autobiography of Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete?, and AbolitionDemocracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons, and Torture. Her residency is sponsored by the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the Department of English and Humanities; and the Initiative for Art, Community, and Social Change with support from the Office of the Provost, the Critical and Visual Studies Program, and the Pratt Film Society.

Monday, April 14, 2008

phew. (or you get what you pay for)

I went to my site just now to discover that only random parts of it are loading,(apparently too many people were trying to access it, which figures since I handed out so many business cards this weekend) so I called godaddy and upgraded my hosting account. Now everything seems to be going swimmingly - except for that hideous banner which indicates (falsely) that I am still hosting my site for free. Ah, well. One thing at a time.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

It's up!

Now if only I could figure out how to get rid of that ugly ad on top - I just don't have time to call godaddy again right now. I'm off to the Race Sex Power conference in Chicago!

Monday, April 7, 2008

weekend wrap up

art as interruption in public space, art as resistance

friendship and the many uses of a hanger

oh yeah, and I am one year older

(last photo by Mik)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I Heart Drag

Congratulations to Mik (above photo by Marisa Manning - thank you Marisa!) for making his stunning NYC debut at Outpost Lounge. (Which is also the venue for Translimbo, another wonderfully queer and creative event that happens tonight and the first Thursday of every month.)
And big up to Switch N' Play for putting it down as well and hosting the event.

A good time was had by all. For those of you who missed out, never fear there will be many more opportunities to partake. We didn't invite everyone because it was Mik's f
irst NYC performance and all, but now that he has rediscovered his fabulousness, you can look forward to having your inboxes flooded.

And in completely unrelated news this is just funnyGrammie and Mik share a moment...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

New Work

Untitled, I AM A MAN, series

Untitled, I AM A MAN, series

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York

Mik and I had a wonderful evening last night at the awards where I was once again reminded of why we do what we do. I was so proud to sit by my partner who has been doing an outstanding job, as the Transgender Advocate Fellow for GLAAD, protecting and promoting representations of trans folks in the media. Sometimes I think it's selfish of me to pursue a life in the arts and then I remember why I felt inspired to take the pictures I take and tell the stories I tell - I didn't feel like the communities I was a part of were being represented in the complex and beautiful light that they should be. The majority of people probably take it for granted that they see themselves in entertainment and popular media portrayed in a way that doesn't degrade or exploit them. I've never had that luxury. If you're reading this blog, I probably don't have to tell you that if you don't see yourself anywhere, then it's hard to be yourself. That's why this David Wojnarowicz quote will always be my favorite. And I firmly believe that those alternate histories that we are trying to preserve should have their rightful place with the rest of history told with the same dignity and the same care.

It was so fascinating to sit there and listen to speeches that echoed the same sentiments as my mentor and friend Sekou Seundiata; allowing people to tell their own stories and change through personal narrative. He was another person that reaffirmed my belief in the power of story to change the world. Representation is such a powerful thing and it never ceases to amaze me. If you look at the way black americana proliferated after the abolishment of chattel slavery and the ways in which marginalized populations continue to be portrayed - so that they can remain on the margins- you can see that false representation is the first tool of control, of separation and of fear.

Despite the fact that my main passion is to express all the places I call home in their complexity, I sometimes forget the urgency of this work. But when I look into the eyes of parents whose child was murdered just because he was gay or see the teenage boys confined at Rikers - all Black and Latino except for two, I am completely overcome and overwhelmed by the violence that is caused by these overlapping and interlocking systems of oppression of which racist, anti-queer, anti-trans imagery is very much a part.

More on my visits to Rikers and how this all fits together coming soon...

Thursday, March 6, 2008


When I see things like this, it really makes me want to change my name. Seriously. What's a girl to do? This is just plain embarrassing. And I'm not exactly excited about this either.

Having said that, I am really attached to my name. My father used to tell me the story of how we came to be called Morgan. When my paternal ancestor was brought from Africa he was sold to a man named Oliver who could not control my ancestor's unruly spirit and sharp tongue. It was henceforth said that it is a proud family tradition to be outspoken and unbroken. Thus the myth of the Morgan Mouth was born. My father was so pleased of my passionate creativity and command of language that he said I, too, possess the Morgan Mouth. I am so honored to carry that tradition that I would never want to change my last name. But sometimes I wonder about that pesky first name. I don't know...could I get away with having only one name?

decisions, decisions

Untitled, I AM A MAN, series

After much deliberation and many misunderstandings, I have decided that I will be exhibiting a selection of images of Mik in the Parsons Senior show, which opens May 6th st Calumet Gallery(22 west 22nd street), and I will be showing selections from my I AM A MAN, series at Zami Like Me:Queer Womyn of Color CipHER. The latter happens on April 19th and 20th and I will also (along with many other badass sisters) be performing Sunday night so mark your calendars.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

still shaking it

These are sad times for photographers and I know I'm not alone in this. It looks like Polaroid as we know it is over for the second time. Sources say that Polaroid instant film will be available through next year, but being the skeptic I am I ordered $300 worth online in a panic as soon as I noticed both B and H and Adorama were either sold out of my preferred kinds or back ordered.

Although production has ceased for my beloved instant film, there is still a possibility that it could rise again, but I'm not counting on it. I'm thinking its time to go shopping for a fridge so I can start really storing up.

Tears actually came to my eyes when I first heard about all this. I never really thought about how attached I am to instant Polaroid film until now. I just took it for granted that it would always be around. The first camera I had that was all mine was a Polaroid. It was a present from my father for my seventh birthday. I still have many of those images and I still shoot with that camera (see above evidence). As my nostalgia progresses and I return to CT to shoot and go through boxes of old photos, you can all look forward to seeing scans of these in the near future.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

When critiques are good

Simone Douglas guest taught my Senior Seminar class last week and had a lot of insightful things to say about the work I've been doing on my family. I was afraid that I would have to spend too much time explaining my work to someone who had never seen it before, but to the contrary she picked up on deeper themes in a way I don't think anyone else looking at them has. She understood the reasons behind my compositional choices and saw poetry in them. Moreover, she saw the subtleties in what I've been trying to say about the subject and the environment, the way I've made rooms into landscapes. Refreshing for once not to merely hear, so why are you photographing your family? Yawn. But she didn't just saturate me with praise - she gave me things to look for and strengths to emphasize in terms of making the compositional choices more apparent and developing them as a theme throughout. I will definitely be contacting her again as the work progresses.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Let everything we say be real. Let everything we do be funky. - S. Sundiata

This past week has been insanely busy. I was preparing for three performances whilst playing catch up with classes after having spent the better part of the previous ten days incapacitated with the flu. Yet I accomplished everything that I set out to do culminating with Friday's performances at La Mama which couldn't have gone better.

Thursday myself and a group of students from Eugene Lang College accompanied by Kym Ragusa went to Bucknell University to pay tribute to the work of Sekou Sundiata, specifically the 51st (dream) state. Originally, Sekou was scheduled to appear but even in light of his untimely passing the events went as scheduled. I can only credit this to the incredible impact Sekou, his work and his teaching had on everyone who has been exposed to it. We performed the documentary theater piece that was based upon our experiences being in the year long class with Sekou and I performed the piece I wrote in his honor. The response was incredible and the discussion afterwards went on for almost two hours before we had to leave the space.

Every time we get together to honor Sekou and continue his work I feel a little bit better, which is not to say that his absence feels normal now because it certainly does not. I haven't even picked up my final paper because I'm not quite ready to face the fact that I would have to pick it up from someone who is not him. It feels so weird now but comforting in a way - I meet to discuss my senior work in his office like I'd always imagined I would do but instead I meet with Margo Jefferson, who is an amazing writer and instructor but still - it saddens me that it was Sekou's death that cause us to be working together. I cheer myself with thoughts that it was his suggestion that I meet Margo and take one of her classes. He thought we'd work well together and he was very correct.

I never took a portrait of Sekou Sundiata because
I thought you had to belong to something
Thought I didn’t have what it took
To capture
To expose
Thought my lens could never hold
This man who held so much
I mean how could I capture
That range-
The slight knowing smile
To the wide grin
The contemplative
The body that never acknowledged weakness
The eyes always busy
Always whirring even when the mouth was still
Sekou said that Baldwin never blinked
But neither did you Sekou
I’m convinced
You saw things
No one else could see
You certainly saw them in me
(That semester I was down and no one noticed but you
stopping me in the hall – Amanda, I haven’t heard
your voice all day… I wanted to cry. I was choking, but
when you said that I felt a little more alive.)

and your voice
like molasses pouring over velvet
deep and sweet
but before you even opened your mouth
Abiodoun called you the smoothest brother out there

The last time I saw you
After 4 years of wanting
to take your picture
I finally asked
And we laughed as you said
Many folks don’t realize
I need a little extra light
for this skin
and you said
But I trust you

Yes its true
Dark skin
Absorbs more light
But Sekou reflected more
Than I’ve ever seen
And with him gone
The whole world seems a bit dimmer
Yet he left little lights behind
In all of us
So many
Snapshots in my mind
And I’m trying so hard
To let this little light shine
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
let it shine
let it shine
let it shine
Everywhere I go
I’m gonna let it shine
Everywhere I go
I’m gonna let it shine
let it shine
let it shine
let it shine

Even when he said

I get tired of educating whiteness
It seemed he had more patience
Than god from where I stood
Answering question
After question
After question
After question
After question
After question
After question
After question
After question
And more answers for questions unasked
And unseen

I sit in his office now
Like I always have
But its empty
I look over my shoulder
Where his favorite picture once hung
The Audubon Ballroom
Right after Malcolm was shot
He’d always point to that picture
Its quiet power
Here it is
He’d say
This seemingly ordinary picture
Of an empty room
A few chairs overturned
But when you know what happened here
It takes on this whole other significance

It feels like that now
Quiet and sudden
The very last thing he said to me
If you don’t publish I’m gonna haunt you
And I hugged him and said please do
I’m tempted to stop this poem right now
Just so I can see him again
I hope he comes by
But you know Sekou
He never was one to live by appointment

All of a sudden…
Like death came and jacked him
In the middle of the dance
The curtain was still up
When somebody cut the house lights
And I never got to give him
The standing ovation I meant to
Just some poems and stories
And a picture of someone who is not him

You’d think I would have learned the first time –
I never got to make a portrait of my father either
Before I was ready
He was gone quicker than the 911 call
He dialed with his last gasp
On the living room floor
I never told Sekou this –
But I used to imagine he was my grandfather
Not old enough but still
a storyteller like all the men
On my father’s side
He could command a room with a whisper
Spin stories around you
Till you forget where you stand
I like to think they’re there now
Sitting around some ancient fire
Dad and his brothers
And Sekou
Their faces warmed by the
Flickering light that licks
Their eyes and cheekbones
Sekou chuckles
And Uncle Donald laughs his wheezy laugh
From around his pipe
Because there’s no cancer
At this spot
And Coltrane is there too
Blowing in the background
While they spit
Endlessly into the night
Which feels brighter than the brightest day
As the words keep coming
Keep coming
Keep coming
Keep coming
Keep coming
Keep coming…

Probably the best part of Thursday besides the opportunity to get together again with some of the folks who were in the 51st (dream) state class, was talking to Kym. We emailed a bit right after Sekou died but this was the first time I have seen her since she was sitting beside Sekou teaching the class. We are both experiencing some delayed grieving - since she was sick and I was out of town for a lot of the summer- his passing still has this surreal quality. We promised to get together and she said she would read my memoir and be sure to send me Sekou's wife's address so I can send her something. As much as it hurts to lose such a friend and mentor - I can only imagine how it must feel to lose this man if he was your life partner.

I felt like I was channeling more of Sekou - I like to think of him as my guardian angel of writing and performing - on Friday night. My friend Trae put on a show called Women of Color Self-Portraits: a Black HERstory event and she invited me to contribute. I read a portion of my memoir in progress and people really dug it. I had to pause many times to wait for the laughter to die down and I got so many compliments after I got off stage. It was such an incredible and much needed feeling. Doing work about yourself is a delicate thing. If it doesn't resonate its just mental masturbation. Seeing so many folks connect with my work gives me the motivation to continue. That combined with Sekou's emphasis on making work that is grounded in the personal narrative gets me so excited to work on autobiographical writing. We spent the first semester of his class working on these personal essays that forced us to consider our American citizenship and our relationship to history. It was making the personal historical, if you will, and it definitely felt like important work.

I read somewhere recently that I poem isn't done until you've shared it. I have to agree. Something happens to words when you say them out loud and even more so in front of an audience. After the Women of Color Self-Portraits, I performed two poems as a part of Bryonn Bain's Spoken Word Poetry Class. One was brand spankin' new and the other is a monologue I have been refining for a few months now that I did at our show at the Nuyorican in December. After several months, I finally feel like I have my performance of that piece exactly where I want it to be and I can't wait for more opportunities to work on the rest.

In other news, I designed an independent study in autobiographical dramatic monologue with Bryonn through which I am constructing my one-woman-show. We begin workshopping this week.

What can I say but YAY!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

In progress...

Please pardon appearances as major changes are underway.

Also - especially for those of you who either missed or showed up late
(ahem) for my last performance, you have a chance to make it up to yourself as I will be at La Mama Fri Feb 8th at 10 pm. It will be a mix of old and new so do yourself a favor and come on through!