July 24th, 2013 § 10 Comments
Annie Jane Cotten lives in southern West Virginia and works with the RAMPS Campaign, Mountain Justice, and other groups fighting extractive industries on a local, regional, and national level. Annie makes and sells homemade remedies and loves hanging out with plants in her spare time. She was born and raised in the Deep South, an experience that has strongly informed her life.
Trigger Warning: This interview mentions sexual assault.
What is your name? Does it have a specific meaning?
My name is Annie Jane Cotten and it has a ton of personal meaning. I was born premature and I spent a lot of time in the hospital as a baby. My mom wanted to name me, but she was still in recovery. My father named me. Apparently, I lived in the hospital for so long that they called me Little Orphan Annie. So that’s where Annie comes from.
Jane is my maternal aunt’s middle name, as well as my maternal great-grandmother’s middle name. The Jane was a very intentional taking of that matrilineal heritage on my part.
Cotten is actually my mom’s maiden name, which is both about continuing the tradition of my mom’s family and honoring my mom,with whom I have an incredibly strong bond. It was also my brother’s last name. The Cotten family is the family I was raised within.
July 11th, 2013 § Leave a Comment
What is your name? Does it have a specific meaning?
My name is bex. The significance for me is that it originated from my birth name. I was raised Jewish, so my birth name was given to me from my great-grandmother. While I don’t identify religiously as Jewish I think there’s something really great about the tradition of keeping ancestors alive through names. I like that aspect of my name, although it’s not necessarily that close to my birth name.
I wanted to keep my chosen name sort of related to that. But my chosen name is sort of gender neutral and plural, which I like.
March 31st, 2013 § 1 Comment
Cindy Crabb writes the seminal perzine Doris and runs the Doris Distro. She also edited the zines Support and Learning Good Consent. Cindy lives in rural southeast Ohio, where she just turned forty-three!
When I was fifteen, I purchased a copy of Doris at the Plan-It X tour stop in Brooklyn. It was the first zine I ever read and it exposed me to perzines, DIY punk culture and radical history (Doris was also the first place I heard about Asheville, NC- where I now happen to live!). When Cindy agreed to do an interview for this project, I jumped at the chance to ask her about zine culture & naming.
(As a heads up, Cindy talks briefly about sexualized violence in this interview.)
March 21st, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Sparrow is an Asheville, North Carolina based musician, dancer, mom and activist. She recently released her first solo album, Set Sail.
In this interview, Sparrow and I talk about names as they pertain to forest defense culture, the bellydance community and the punk/old time music scenes.
What is your name? Does it have a specific meaning?
My name is Sparrow. It’s a bird name. I took it when I first started traveling. I’ve always really hated my birth name and tried to change it early on. A sparrow is a plain song bird and I’ve always really liked to sing. What it means to me has kind of transformed over the years because, at first, it was more of an activist name and something to go by so that my legal name wouldn’t be known by everybody that I was working with. It was part of the culture of traveling to take on a different name. Now that I’m a little bit older, it has become more of a stage name or a performance name. It’s also just my regular name, but it’s been useful in that way, unintentionally.
March 1st, 2013 § 2 Comments
In the room off of the hospice lobby, the one across from the tank of screeching songbirds, you tell me that you were a carpenter. I loved taking ugly things, just plain wooden boards, and turning them in to something beautiful. You spit out your words in a soft bawlmerese, tears resting on the angles of your sunken cheekbones.
While you were sleeping, your sister showed me photographs of your work: Paul never started with a plan, he would make it up as he went along. It would always turn out beautifully; it was amazing.
A month later, after the memorial, your mother will tell me about the time you re-did the floors in her house: Paul caused us so much trouble for so many years and it was like he was trying to make up for it. He spent months laying down that floor, day in and day out.
I give you the little copper spork I forged and you hang it around your neck. You keep it there until you are too sick to wear it. At the memorial, your family drapes it around the box of ashes.
February 19th, 2013 § Leave a Comment
For the past several months, my friend and occasional collaborator Noel’le Longhaul (whose excellent Auto- & Pseudo- interview you can read here) has been co-editing an art and literature zine called Loom. The first issue, which was released in early February, is now online.
Loom describes itself as:
- The first appearance of an object seen in darkness or fog, esp. at sea.
- To indistinctly see the presence of something massive, imminent, and threatening.
- An apparatus for making fabric by weaving yarn or thread.
- An annual and independent literary and arts journal dedicated to celebrating moments of solace, transcendence, ecstatic revelation, and tranquility amidst chaos and collapse. It is dedicated to encouraging and aggregating moments of honesty addressing the fragility and temporality of existence while affirming our deep connection to the worlds beyond or beneath the phenomenal one.
- A soapbox for people to fearlessly say their last words to each other and the universe.
- A tiny room full of tinier doorways into the wilderness.
- A collection of maps penned by people staring up into the same night sky, and naming their own constellations.
I have a piece in this issue. You can read it here.
Cover art by Elizabeth Roberge
February 1st, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Luka Miro is a poet and technology developer who lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. Their work focuses on building technology resources and teaching people how to use computers and the internet to build movements of radical resistance. They also just published and toured with a refreshingly clear-voiced collection of poetry, Cane Break.
In this interview, Luka talks about phonetics, naming in queer and anarchist cultures, that little thing called the Internet and how the names of streets and parks and plazas tell the deep and layered history of New Orleans.
January 17th, 2013 § Leave a Comment
A month or two ago, a friend came through town and donated this zine to the zine library at my work. I read it and found it to be one of the most spot-on treatments of how rape is handled and mishandled in anarchist subcultures. It critically examines tendencies towards focusing more emotional energy on the perpetrator than on the survivor, trends of rape apologism and how perpetrators have manipulated their processes in the past. It is a hard but extremely worthwhile read (trigger warning: deals with sexual assault & perpetrators, does not use specific or graphic language).
The folks at Words to Fire Press, who put Betrayal out, sent me a reading-version .pdf and encouraged me to spread it widely. I’ve uploaded that .pdf. They don’t yet have a printable .pdf, but encouraged me to make one. I don’t have those skills, so if there are any folx out there with InDesign know-how who want to throw a bit of time and effort in to making an amazing zine more widely accessible, do it (just use the text from the reading version and go wild!).
The link is below:
Read, share, print, respond, write, fight and let’s end this bulllllsssshiiiittt!
January 14th, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Hexe Fey lives in Seattle, where he is a social worker, sex worker and street medic.
In this interview, Hexe talks about a bajillion things, including sex work, street medic’ing, witches, German fetishizing of indigenous North American culture and a tricksy little thing called the hexadecimal. You should read it- you’ll learn a thing or ten. I sure did.
What is your name and does it have a specific meaning?
My name is Hexe. It’s a German word that means witch. It’s pronounced Hex-a or Hex-ay, depending on where in Germany you’re at.
Is there a story about how you came to take on the name?
For a really long time I went by a different nickname that was very silly. At a certain point, I needed to evolve beyond it as a person. I was looking around for something that made sense because I feel like choosing names is really powerful. I spent a bunch of time in Berlin and there’s a lot of taking back and energy and power around witches and the word hexe in general which I thought was really cool.
When I started thinking about a name to pick I thought, I really like Hexe because depending on your background every single person is going to interpret it differently. Programmers automatically think of hexadecimal and some people just think of witches and spells.
January 3rd, 2013 § Leave a Comment
It has been reported in the press that Luke O’Donovan, 19, went on a “stabbing rampage” at a New Year’s Eve party in Reynoldstown, a neighborhood in Atlanta, GA. This is not accurate. The events that occurred were the result of Luke O’Donovan desperately defending himself against a clear act of queer-bashing that included Luke being stabbed in the back.
Some facts of the situation remain unclear, but the events that have been reported thus far are inaccurate. Narratives have described Luke O’Donovan, 19, as having returned to a house party that he had been kicked out of. The reports state that Luke returned with a knife and stabbed one person, and then 4 others who attempted to subdue Luke.
As multiple witnesses have testified and will testify, Luke was never kicked out of the party and did not leave. He remained at the house where the party was occurring up until the incident. This basic fact, and the fact that it has been misrepresented, changes the story as it has been reported thus far. Luke is being portrayed as having gone on a nearly unfounded “stabbing rampage” comparable to recent mass killings. This is false. Luke did not go to the party intending to initiate conflict with anyone. Just fifteen minutes before the fight, Luke was present in the living room of the house, having a pleasant and friendly conversation with other people at the party.