Kick-Off Party

BlackStar Film Festival
Philadelphia, PA
Vox Populi
Philadelphia, PA

Presenters: BlackStar Film Festival and Vox Populi

Let us welcome you to Philadelphia and mark the beginning of the Convening with an evening of music and community!

Featuring performances by artist, activist, and poet Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela—who will do a live remix of her "conceptual reggaeton" album *No Otro Lado*—musician and educator Alex Shaw (Intercultural Journeys), and DJ Precolumbian.

Food will be available on-site for cash purchase, and a bar in the space will provide for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage needs, alike.

Travel to Christ Church Neighborhood House is on your own, and is a venue accessible by public transit from much of the city.

About the Artists:

Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas and, though she’s also paid some sort of rent in Lawrence, Detroit, D.C., Laramie, Havana and the Mexican state of Chiapas, a collective house in Philadelphia has long been home. Her art has been supported by many rad people and projects including Lambda Literary, VONA/Voices, The Leeway Foundation, Organize Your Own: The Politics and Poetics of Self-Determination Movements (Soberscove 2016), American Poetry Review, The Baffler, Gulf Coast, and Aster(ix). She is the founder of Thread Makes Blanket press and teaches at Community College of Philadelphia. Marissa recently released a full-length "conceptual reggaeton" album, No Otro Lado, that posits that the U.S. and Mexico are essentially one country with a border that is used to justify oppression.

Alex Shaw is a percussionist, composer, curator, and arts educator specializing in Brazilian music traditions. Alex directed the 11-piece Brazilian ensemble, Alô Brasil, and was a lead member of Philadelphia's award-winning Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra for 14 years. He has accompanied numerous professional and collegiate dance companies, has held faculty positions at University of the Arts, Swarthmore College, and Temple University, and has taught and performed at hundreds of schools, organizations, and institutions throughout the mid-Atlantic region. His current artistic interests are focused on intercultural and interdisciplinary collaborations, sound installations, and composing for film, dance, and theater productions. Alex is the Artistic Director for Intercultural Journeys and has served as a teaching artist and board member for LiveConnections since 2008. He is the recipient of Arts International’s Artist Exploration Fund (2004), the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts (2007), the Emerging Legacy Award at the UPenn MLK Commemorative Symposium for Social Justice (2012), and Rutgers Future Scholars Service Award (2016). Alex holds a BA from Swarthmore College and an MFA from the World Percussion program at California Institute of the Arts.

Precolumbian is a Philadelphia-based DJ, musician and cultural creator. She is co-founder of queer experimental club night Seltzer. Her work was honored with the 2013 Leeway Transformation Award and has been featured in The Fader, NPR, MTV, Remezcla, and Fact Magazine. Recent notable performances include: iBomba Boiler Room, Red Bull Radio, Pride Toronto, Rolling Stone Latino at The Latin Grammys, and The Baltimore Museum of Art.

You can download our flyer pdf here.