Rebecca Migdal at Small Press Expo This Weekend!

Meet artist Rebecca Migdal at Small Press Expo 2012 this weekend in Bethesda, Maryland!

Rebecca will be at table C13A on Saturday, September 15 from 11am to 7pm and Sunday, September 16 from 12pm to 6pm.

Stop by Rebecca’s table to say hi, peruse and purchase from her selection of beautiful illustrations, comics, cards, and more!

Pussy Riot Forever

Below are excerpts form an ongoing conversation on Facebook about Pussy Riot and their scandalous past, complete with links to some rather shocking videos of actions they have done previous to the rather tame incident that led to their arrest and conviction. I make a case for freedom of speech and the use of shocking statements to draw attention to social injustice. (The image above is by Henry Darger. )

You can view the entire conversation here.

Commenter “Мира Андонова” (name in Russian text):
Below is a little more of the best hits of ‘Pussy Riot’ aka the radicalized, anarchist so-called ‘Art Group’ Voina (WAR) that the Western Press has been fawning over so much. You do not need to read Russian to understand the photos and videos.

Previous acts of ‘protest’ of VOINA/Pussy RIot include a pregnant orgy in a biology museum, spraying cops with jars of their own urine, throwing molotov
cocktails at police cars, arson, overturning police cars (with the cops inside), masturbating with a chicken carcass in a grocery store then leaving without paying for it still up her vagina, throwing live homeless cats up against the walls of a McDonalds, spray painting a giant penis on a bridge, rolling around naked in front of pre-school covered in cockroaches, etc. etc…
‘Freedom of speech’ – does not extend to desecrating religious centers of worship, inciting religious hatred, or public sexual perversity in any country. What would the Westerners reactions be if such radicals broke into and desecrated St Paul’s, the Vatican, Mecca, or the holy sites of Buddhism, Shinto, Hinduism, or Native American Shamanism with their anti-religious and ‘political protest’, I wonder?

The lyrics of the ‘song’ this newly branded ‘rock protest group’ sang upon their intrusion into the Jesus the Savior Cathedral (and another church several days earlier) violating the quiet religious practice and rituals of the believers – was not merely a ‘political protest’, the lyrics were also a clear and unambiguous hateful attack against the Church and meant to be offensive to the Orthodox faithful. This is not a ‘protest’ – this is a HATE CRIME. It is absurd to crime to claim that desecrating a church and spewing hate and profanities at believers inside that church is part of freedoms of speech or protest.

When previous ‘protests’ were held in the street – as they have numerous time before, including illegally without a permit (required for such protests in the US and UK as well) in Red Square itself – nothing was done – they were not arrested, charged, or touched by the police. But to intrude upon the believers in their house of worship with their offensive attacks – crosses the line from protest to Hate Crime
We have rights to religious freedom in Russia that guarantee that worshippers have the right to practice their religion in their own house of worship without fear of attack or persecution, or the violation and desecration of that house of worship. This is especially sensitive in Russia – where there is a very real recent history of persecution of religious belief by non-believers, including the dynamiting and destruction of the very same Church – Jesus the Savior Cathedral – where this intrusion took place, which has only recently been rebuilt.

When anti-Semites have conducted similar attacks against Jewish believers in their Synagogues, they are rightly regarded as ‘Hate Crimes’ – does Russian Orthodoxy and it’s hundreds of millions of believers worldwide not deserve the same protections and considerations?
Liberals seem to have the most amazing tolerance for intolerance and hatred towards the religious. It is rabid and radical secularism and liberalism run amok, and become a messianic, totalitarian, jihadistic, and fundamentalist (anti-) ‘religion’ all its own…

In my opinion – and it is an opinion shared by the majority of the Russian population – this crime against the Orthodox Church should not go unpunished if only to deter future such hate crimes but also to educate those responsible on why what they did was wrong. Rather than a term of imprisonment, I think a lengthy period of community service and a public apology to the offended institution – the Orthodox Church and its believers would be most appropriate.

** Warning – most of these photos and videos are Very Very NSFW and may be offensive!!***…

RM: What you say only proves that if Pussy Riot had intended to project hatred for the church they were well aware of the means to do so, but in fact their performance was carefully gauged and quite restrained. Using profanities in a place of worship should not result in a jail sentence under any circumstances, and no true Christian would advocate for these young women’s imprisonment. You say that you do not, yet your attitude is one that justifies the criminalization of their protest.
So I ask you: if this political and artistic statement fell under the category of hate crime, who are the victims? Some priests and old ladies had their prayers interrupted by a loud noise and bad words. OHHH NOOOOO!!! Some sanctimonious people who think questioning authority is bad were annoyed and offended! But nobody was beaten or harmed or terrorized or prevented from engaging in their faith. If anything lots of folks were called upon to consider a new way of applying their faith toward a good cause, and holding their religious leaders accountable for their political affiliations. That is not hateful, it is a wake-up call.
“Freedom of religion” is also being used by the “Right” here in the USA to justify all sorts of misogynous nonsense, on behalf of mainstream moralities that oppress dissent and stand in the way of progressive change. Those who are bullied, repressed and imprisoned for criticizing the powerful are the real victims of hate crime, not the powerful and their mindless minions who indulge in gestures of affront to conceal their own cowardice and collusion.
Next point: asserting guilt by association with or implication in past events does not hold up to scrutiny. These women were not on trial for those Voina actions you cite, and which they may or may not have had anything to do with, they were obviously on trial for being a little too effective at social protest.
What shocks me much more than anything Pussy Riot or Voina has ever done is the brutal aggression and suppression of dissent practiced every day by superpowers like Russia, China and the US. Now THAT is violent, criminal and offensive.

RM: I think the “orgy” in the biology museum is kinda cute. It would be helpful to be able to read the banner, but I still get the point: mating is a loving and creative act and is far more natural and positive than killing, but it is far less
acceptable to depict it in the media. We live in a culture that creates an icon of violence and hate, which we identity with masculinity and male power, but reviles the open expression of sexuality, which we identify with the feminine and female power.
Anyway I still fail to see how the (very different) church stunt is hate-filled or should be punished. Even if it was mocking and angry in tone, even if it accused religion of promoting misogyny, what about it promoted hatred? It’s one thing to say that going into the house of worship of an oppressed minority and mocking their religion is a hate crime. But when somebody who lives inside of a mainstream culture, criticizes the mainstream view, can that be considered crossing a line into hate crime, unless it openly promotes violence against individuals who profess that view, something of which I see no evidence? And isn’t the Orthodox church the mainstream religion in Russia? Wasn’t it at one time the state religion? Hate crime laws by definition are meant to protect minorities against being crushed and terrorized by the majority. There’s a point at which the majority has to suck it up and take criticism from its own misfits, and not get all “now I will crush you” about it– that is, if we live in a civilized society.

ES: There is 183 million in russia so should all of them who have objections have sex in public do who knows what with chickens, since the museum orgy 4 years ago what has changed..There is alot of wrongs in the world, 34 miner have been shot in south africa for striking, in bahrain someone was just jailed for 3 years for acts against the government, how many people do you think are in jail in USA being held without charged? If someone walked into a prayer in mosque singing and dancing they wouldn’t make it out! These girl that wear mask because they don’t want anyone to know who tey are but are happy to have public sex for the camera knew very will what they where doing. The final link above did you watch that, what is the point of disrupting a sunday service in this way, there are children in these services, what about these church goes right, or maybe they don’t have any, WAS PUTIN ELECTED BY VOTE, YES OR NO?… this civilized society? Do you really think these acts by pussy riots are going to change politics or anything in russia? in 18 mths these girls will leave jail, do playboy, interviews collect alot of money from all over and continue doing more ‘shock’ actions! Putin was elected by vote, glass boxes where used during the elections, yes thee was questionable points,yet in the hole this man was elected, objections are fine, breaking all the rules of society to no end are anothER! I don’t know about Kirill’s spiritual pornography, maybe you could give me a link, i live in nyc, where alot isn’t right there is total corruption everywhere!

JR: E.S, you mention the miners in S.A…. did you see that they have demonstrated in SUPPORT of Pussy Riot? They understand what those women are doing, as so many who are marginalized and subject to oppression understand. It’s the comfortable conformists who benefit from oppression who don’t.

RM: E.S., shocking people is a tactic. These artists understood that they were doing something sensational and appalling, and that was their purpose. Their actions have been intentional, carefully planned, and have achieved their objective in a wildly successful manner. It is incredibly difficult to shock people any more, but they did it. They got your attention, and they got the world’s attention, for the issues they wanted to call the world’s attention to. Without money, and without hurting anyone, they created a global media sensation and were able to present their ideas to the public. They did the impossible in the only possible way. When you ask “should all (Russians) who have objections have sex in public?” you speak as if their stunts were intended to be participatory, not to shock everyone in order to gain publicity for their cause. Obviously most people would never have the courage to do what they did, so your question is pointless. If they had done ordinary things that everyone would have done, it would not have worked.
Why do protestors get arrested? Because they know that the only way to get media attention drawn to the issues that the powerful are making every effort to conceal and ignore, is by forcing the authorities to act, and thus creating a news story. The underlying brutality of the system is revealed, and at the same time a forum for the issues that the protestors are concerned with appears in the media where none existed before.
Your reaction is natural. Having your attention rudely claimed is much more unpleasant than watching the hypnotic light show that we call culture. Just remember that if Pussy Riot were well behaved young artists called the Women’s Association for Feminism and Politics, nobody would ever have heard of them and it would be business as usual. Pussy Riot knew they had to do something drastic to get your attention, and mine. You don’t like what they did, but these artists are not sordid drunks or drug addicts, they are not mental incompetents. And they are not entertainers creating scandal to sell lipstick and disco beats. They are idealistic young people with a clear purpose. You say it doesn’t help anything to have rude remarks made about them and that this distracts from their message, but being vilified is an unavoidable aspect of courting this kind of publicity. The truth remains that Pussy Riot have embarrassed Putin on the global stage and drawn attention to the lapses in human rights that characterize his regime, and this is something that, believe me, has not happened before, certainly not in the United States. Anyone who supports human rights should applaud Pussy Riot and support them now.

E.S.: Ok RM ‘underlying brutality of the system is revealed’ SO?? is anything going to change! has it since the shock museum orgy? This underly brutality is everywhere, Mannlin is stll in jail in USA uncharged isn’t he, and so on and so on!!
i find it difficult to accept the continual sex acts, that achieve nothing but belittle russia woman..Do tell me what the woman in the above link is achieving trying to have sex with someone during mass, where a small child sees. Jacob do you really believe that everyone understands what these woman are doing? When inna cut down the cross are you tell me she was thinking about what she was doing! Most poeple don’t there just going with the flow and this time next week you won’t even remember these post. What did the chicken achieve?

RM: E.S., we are having this conversation, aren’t we? That is what has changed. Communication has been achieved, and communication is a powerful thing.
“Put away Putin” was the message and millions of people have now heard that message. It’s that simple: in human culture, communication is everything, it is what sets us apart from the brutes. It is the basis for all our activities. You can’t expect to see the results of that message in a day. But it exists in the world, and that is far better than it not existing. The fact that such a simple statement angered so many people is proof that it needed to be said.
BTW Bradley Manning, to whom I suppose you are referring, has indeed been charged and his court martial will begin next month. But his purpose has already been achieved. Of course we care what happens to him, but by making the Collateral Murder video public he has already changed to course of history. The US would still be occupying Iraq but for Manning and Assange. That is one result of communication.
Who can predict the long term effects of the increased awareness the actions of Pussy Riot have achieved? But if you doubt that inserting a message into the media stream has any effect then you aren’t paying attention to the priorities that those who have great power are spending a huge part of their resources upon. There’s a reason why they want to control the content and direction of the conversation. Before deeds come words and before words, thoughts. But words (and art and music) can change thoughts, and therefore they do have a profound effect on the course of public life.
Think about a world without freedom of expression, without Chekhov or Kerouac or Brecht. All great art was shocking, was an assault to public mores, when it was created. We cannot always point to a direct result of the works of great artists, but we do know for certain that a world without them would be poorer, less filled with imagination and compassion, and lacking in genuine, thoughtful awareness. You may look around you and see a world that is deeply flawed and say, “what’s the point? This person who is trying to change things is accomplishing nothing except to offend the ordinary man or woman and create negative publicity.” (Have you any idea how many people in history have said the same thing, and how inevitably their narrow views have been demolished by progress?) But great souls look around at that same world and say, “what can I do to make things better, if only by a tiny bit?” And without them, without their courage and ingenuity, we would be right to despair.
Usually the answers that creative and daring people come up with, to try and solve the problems of the world, are surprising and disturbing and maybe they don’t even seem to make sense to most people.  But we know for certain, when we see the sweep of history, that it is only these surprising answers, these shocking and forbidden truths, that have the power to shift the tides of culture, and that a world without unconventional thinkers and artists would be a world where justice is far rarer than it is today. All too often the conventional majority in society is eager punish or kill the messenger, realizing too late that he or she was telling us exactly what we needed to hear. I say thank goodness for these brave souls. Thank goodness for Pussy Riot!

Amazilla vs Barnes Kong Animated Book Trailer: Event This Weekend!

Barnes Kong is on a rampage! The simian chain bookstore monster could go on stomping on independent bookstores and kidnapping dead authors forever, but the fearsome Amazilla has other plans: he wants in on the action. As the two battle with their laser e-readers, they destroy every public institution in sight. Can the Rebel Bookseller save the day, rescue Emily Dickinson and bring back a community of books?


The animated book trailer for

Directed by Rebecca Migdal
Nere Kapiteni, animator

Meet the author and filmmakers at the
Premiere showing of
the Rebel Bookseller trailer:

Friday, June 15th, 7:00pm-9:00pm
Word Up Community Bookshop
4157 Broadway @ 176 Street,
Washington Heights, NYC

“Creative….Two rapacious villains…
seek to destroy the spirit of literature,
as embodied by Emily Dickinson.”

-Alexander Nazaryan, Pageviews, New York Daily News

“Action-packed” -Jason Boog, GalleyCat, Media Bistro

“The giants, crushed under their own weight, will die,
leaving the market to the independents….

More a rallying cry… than a social essay.”
-Nicolas Gary,

“The video that wars on Jeff Bezos…
Watch it and share it!”


SUPERMOM UNVEILED: An Art Show That Takes A Frank Look at Women’s Experiences of Motherhood

an art exhibition that takes a frank look
at women’s experiences of motherhood,
this weekend in Pioneer Valley.

11 Market Street,
Northampton MA 01060

Opening Reception
Friday, June 15th, 5:00-9:00pm

Meet and Greet the Artists
Saturday, June 16th, 3:00pm

Art on View
June 8th-June 17th


For private viewing and open hours,
contact 413-813-5384

This show is supported by the Northampton Arts Council


Graphic Canon Release Event at Rubin Museum – Wednesday May 23

Seven Stories Press Book Launch for
The Graphic Canon Volume 1: From The Epic of Gilgamesh to Shakespeare to Dangerous Liaisons
Wednesday, May 23rd at 7pm at The Rubin Museum of Art

Come early at 6pm and join Graphic Canon contributors Peter Kuper, Valerie Schrag, Shawn Cheng, Fred van Lent, Rebecca Migdal, Sandy Jimenez, and Brendan Leach  for a pre-program book signing in the café followed by a presentation and discussion of The Graphic Canon in the theater with artists Molly Crabapple, Sanya Glisic and Gareth Hinds and editor Russ Kick.
$12 ticket includes pre-program tour of the comics exhibition Hero, Villain, Yeti: Tibet in Comics and a book signing with the editor and artists after the program.
Called the “graphic publishing literary event of the year” (Publishers Weekly) and “gloriously ambitious” (Booklist), THE GRAPHIC CANON is the work of Russ Kick, a bestselling author/anthologist who embarked on a colossal project to bring classic literature of the world together with legendary graphic artists and illustrators. There are more than 150 illustrators represented and 200 literary works over three volumes—many newly commissioned, some hard to find—in the most ambitious collection of graphic literature to date. Volume 1: From The Epic of Gilgamesh to Shakespeare to Dangerous Liaisons takes us on a visual tour from the earliest literature through the end of the 1700s.
For more information and to buy tickets please click here.
The Rubin Museum of Art is located at 150 W. 17 St., NYC 10011

Groovy posters and original art @MoCCA Fest!

Curvy, Cock Robin, World War 3 Illustrated and Jenny Devildoll are all in da house!
We are gonna fire up MoCCA Fest at the Lexington Armory this Saturday and Sunday with this awesome display of books, posters, buttons, cards and even original art. Come by and say hi! :)

Why Are We Even Talking About This?

The supposed “controversy” over women’s access to birth control is really starting to irritate me.

OBVIOUSLY Medical practitioners and Hospitals, whether religiously sponsored or not, whether non-profit or not, ought to offer all their patients information about all their medical benefits, and ought to be required to make those legal benefits available to the patients if they want them. Moral judgment of the patient’s life choices has no place in the sphere of medical treatment. To suggest otherwise is medieval and bizarre.

The truth is that though the Repubs know they can’t win the birth control debate, they CAN, amazingly, get enough of their base to believe this is an important religious rights issue, to stir up pointless controversy, which accomplishes several things:

1) It shifts the entire conversation about women further to the right, making abortion seem more radical.

2) It tries to gloss over and countervail against the fact that Obama did something right and popular that most American would agree with.

And above all,

3) The furor, like all sensationalist political gambits, serves mainly as a smokescreen concealing the real Republican agenda which is, as it has been for the past century, to permit huge corporations and their wealthy leaders to continue picking the pockets of the average American at will, while raping the world economy and the environment, with impunity– and with the ultimate purpose of a few obscenely wealthy white men being allowed to rule the world, just like in the bad old days.

So my advice is not to dignify this absurd debate over access to birth control with an emotional response, but instead to pay attention to the man behind the curtain, who is surely up to no good even as we speak.

Feminist Zinefest!

Hey I’ll be tabling at this amazingly cool zinefest February 25th at the Brooklyn Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue, from 1-6 pm. Come down and check it out!

Season’s Greetings!

“Letter Dove”,  Gocco silkscreen print on fine paper, is one of our new line of handmade and limited edition greeting cards (featuring designs by Sylvan Migdal, Nere Kapiteni and myself).

Now available at Word Up Bookstore in Washington Heights!

“Occupy” Show at Taber Gallery, and Rebutting an OWS Detractor

Bugink Avocado took this shot of my piece (left) and one of Pronoblem’s prints at the Taber Gallery opening last night at Holyoke Community College.

Speaking of Occupy, I have been asked to post the following rebuttal on my blog so it can be linked to.

Even as OWS protesters were being brutally forced from their tents, their possessions confiscated, and a library of over 5000 books tossed into a dumpster, Penn State Prof Dennis Jett was publishing an editorial in the Kansas City Star accusing the OWS of being a mob that will fail to bring change.

Although Jett spent most of the op-ed lambasting the Tea Party, he had little to say about OWS that was anything but pessimistic:

“The Occupy Everywhere crowd is also eventually going to be equally disappointed with their inability to bring about change. They refuse to have leaders, agendas or proposals, other than for the top one percent to be more generous with the bottom 99 percent.

“Fat chance. If Ronald Reagan accomplished anything it was to make greed a virtue and government a vice in the eyes of many. The rich think they have earned their status and will never believe they have too much or even enough. They don’t believe in any government program that redistributes income. Occupying the public square and only using shame to bring about change is not going to work. It would be like going to Las Vegas and demonstrating in favor of good taste, moderation and the arts. A few laughs will be the only result.”

My comment:

Dear Mr Jett,

I agree with you about the Tea Party. But your jaundiced view of the OWS movement is, in my opinion, sadly misinformed.

Those who say that the OWS movement has no platform, no agendas or proposals are parroting the movement’s detractors who, at least in the so called “mainstream media”, have distorted and ignored its message.

I have been to Zuccotti Park, and I have in my possession a fine pamphlet that I acquired there, entitled “The Declaration of the Occupation of New York City (by the NYC General Assembly)”, a publication which quite clearly and definitively states the concerns and intentions of the group. The fact that this statement was reached by consensus makes it similar to the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, documents that were drafted by a group of citizens who eschewed a hierarchical process, having come together as equals to create a consensus regarding the future of their infant state.

The movement’s inclusiveness and compassion may make it look messy and chaotic from the outside, but the strength of the movement comes from these qualities. Arrest one and a hundred more will take her place. This is because the movement’s leaders are all of us: thinking caring human beings who understand that freedom means nothing without accountability, and who are willing to work hard to make the world better for everyone, not just a few. And although there have predictably been a few incidents on the fringes, many caused by self-avowed right-wing provocateurs trying to sabotage the movement*, what’s truly extraordinary is how gentle and genuinely thoughtful the OWS protests have been, at least from the side of these unarmed, peace-loving citizens themselves.

The important work being done by the protesters in the Occupy movement is already having an effect. In a time when a small percentage of the wealthiest citizens feel entitled to dictate the conversation in the public forum, and silence the voices of the majority of Americans, OWS has succeeded in making it into the spotlight. We the 99% have succeeded in giving voice to points of view that have previously been left out of the conversation entirely, and in so doing, have already managed to shift that conversation toward the real center of the debate. People are angry because the political debate in this country has been arbitrarily moved toward the right. It is a conversation between the middle of the road and the far right extreme, but the voice of the left has been ignored. How can a meaningful compromise ever be reached if so many of the speakers are gagged?

Your job, if I may say so, is to take the trouble to find out what OWS members agree upon and what their concerns are, and report this. You have in fact identified one of the primary tenets of the movement in your article, although you present it as a personal viewpoint: the repeal of Citizens United is of course a major rallying cry at OWS.

So before accusing OWS of being useless, think about the fact that your own voice is being amplified by ours, and that our voice is in return being picked up and amplified by yours– whether you are aware of it or not.

I am convinced that the tactics of OWS are not only effective, they are necessary, and they are working.

RIP People’s Library at Zuccotti Park. Long Live Free Speech!

*1. Conservatives trying to sabotage the 99% movement (Thom Hartmann,  ‘Over the weekend – an assistant editor with the right-wing magazine “The American Spectator” – bragged that he infiltrated a group of protestors as they marched to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum on Saturday and that he was at the forefront of provoking the police to respond violently.  The group was protesting  the museum’s unmanned drone exhibition – and were pepper sprayed after a confrontation with museum security.   Patrick Howley – the right-wing editor whose only intention was – as he put it in an article he published later – “to mock and undermine” the movement, was one of the first to taunt and confront the Museum’s police.’

2. And on Daily Censored, HurricaneDean debunks the “OWS are anti-semitic” myth: ‘Well, I searched YouTube for a video clip of the “Hitler Banker” sign and found the guy shouting anti-Semitic comments amongst the OWS protesters. What Greenwood doesn’t say in his comment is that the OWS protesters had surrounded the Hitler Banker guy and were holding up handmade signs that read “He’s Not With Us”,with arrows pointing to the Hitler Banker guy. But what is more telling is, if you listen closely, you can hear all the actual OWS protesters are telling the Hitler Banker guy to “Go Away” and “Nobody wants your hate” I found stories about the Hitler Banker guy on a half dozen website and not one commented on or included the audio of the actually OWS protesters shouting out “Nobody wants your hate.” ‘

3.Occupy Oakland is being endangered by right wing vandals and violent rioters (Occupy Oakland site 11/3).
‘Those black-clad masked young men are copying tactics from Rome and Washington D.C. Defense against “dark arts” provocateurs has to begin with a thorough commitment to non-violence….

‘This sabotage is likely arranged and paid for by the same parties who flew James O’Keefe and Joseph Basel around the country pumping up the early Tea Party rallies and then carried on with the false videos attacking ACORN plus false-ID burglary to enter a Senator’s office.’