Monthly Archive for February, 2015

science fiction TV watch list

out of pure selfish need i asked my network for recommendations of the best sci-fi television shows. i got tons of great responses! below i am sharing the list.

for each show i am including:
a link for more info
where it originally aired if i noticed it
where you can watch it
and (to help discern what’s exciting right now) i noted how many people recommended it.
i also said a few words about the shows i love (and bolded those i vouch for)…
as well as adding some of the key quotes from the recommendations!

(basically i geeked completely out in a true virgo nerd explosion)

i’ll keep adding to it as new recommendations come in. i am especially looking for shows with people of color, women, queer, disabled and different-from-mainstream protagonists.

The List

12 monkeys [SyFy; Yidio or Amazon]

The 100 [netflix]
“kind of terrible, but high production value and interesting colonial themes, but the 2nd season is super violent.”

Agents of SHIELD [Marvel!, netflix] x2

Agent Carter [Marvel, hulu] x3

Alias [netflix] x2

Alien Nation [netflix]

Almost Human [amazon]

Alphas [SyFy; netflix]

Battle of the Planets (animated) [netflix]

Battlestar Galactica x14 [BBCAmerica]
“exceptional b/c of the exploration of religion and faith from an AI’s perspective”
special credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njr3aFpTMyQ One More Episode of BSG

Beauty and the Beast [netflix]
“at least the first two seasons, the Hapa main character kicks ass. Yes, she does way too much for the white boy super soldier with PTSD, aka “the beast,” but she still kicks ass.”

Being Human [UK and US on netflix] x2

Black Mirror x11 [netflix]
“It’s science fiction that’s only about 2-5 years ahead of us, if that. And terrifying.”

Cleopatra 2525 [discs orderable from Netflix]
“but only because Gina Torres is so fine”

Continuum [netflix]
“includes a great corporate-controlled dystopian future”

Cosmos x2 [netflix]

Cowboy Bebop [hulu] (anime) x3

Dark Angel x2

Defiance [hulu]

Defying Gravity x2
(full season on youtube?)

i LOVED the first several episodes of this show and then it got cancelled – rumor has it the rest is online, i am looking for it!

Doctor Who [netflix] x4

Dollhouse [netflix] (from joss whedon!) x4

Earth 2
“great sci fi camp”

Extant [discs for order on netflix] x3
“Halle Berry plays the lead, has a creepy robot child, use a night light after watching it, lol”

Face Off [youtube]

The Fades [BBC; discs for order on netflix]

Farscape [netflix]

Firefly! [netflix] x10

this really is one of the best, most coherent and exciting shows that’s ever existed.
“one of the best ever” “the best!”

The Flash [hulu] x2
“dorky/like eating a lot of Nerds candy and getting a sugar high”

Fringe [netflix] x11
marvelous and weird and intense and love story and awesome.

Futurama (animated adult) [netflix]

FutureStatesTV [http://futurestates.tv/]

“check out Pia, has an all desi cast and almost all desi crew
also check out the Silver Sling episode”

“a platform of independent films. They are stand alone short films (15-30min) but all with a common theme of imagining the US in the future

Ghost in the Shell series (anime, including Arise) [netfix] x2

stunning storytelling

Gotham [hulu]

Harsh Realm [youtube]

Helix [netflix]

Hemlock Grove [Netflix]

Heroes [netflix] x4

Highlander [netflix]

Jeremiah [hulu] x3
“some interesting episodes”

Jericho [netflix]

Legend of the Seeker [hulu]

Les Revenants/The Returned [netflix] x3
“french zombie show”

Lost [netflix]

this show made me realize there’s not enough sci-fi happening on gorgeous deserted islands. the mystery was relaxing in all that sand and sea.

Lost Girl [netflix] x3

“was super into it, till I noticed they killed off literally every POC character and/or showed
them as animalistic, got sad, had to stop watching”

The Misfits [hulu] x5
“british version”

Mork and Mindy [can order discs on netflix]
“ha”

Orphan Black [amazon] x9

yeah this show is great – everything i could say about it would be a spoiler, but i can’t stop watching.
“best acting ever”

The Outer Limits [netflix] x2
original and new

Quantum Leap [netflix] x2

Red Dwarf [hulu]

Rick and Morty [netflix]
hilarious adult swim sci fi cartoon

Roswell [netflix]
“season 1”

Sanctuary [Sy-Fy; kind of on hulu?]

Sleepy Hollow [hulu] x2
“my fav myth growing up and they’ve added magic, American history and an interestingly cheeky reading of several founding fathers”

Stargate (Original, Universe, Atlantis) [hulu] x6

Stargate the movie was one of the first sci-fi things I ever loved, and the shows were satisfying, if a little corny and hyper-militarized.

Star Trek x3 (Original, Voyager, Enterprise!, Deep Space Nine) [hulu]

raised by a trekkie :)
“you can never go wrong”

Star Wars Clone Wars [netflix]

The Strain [FX; can order discs from netflix] x2
“Viva Guillermo del Toro!”

Strange Luck [youtube]

Supernatural [netflix]

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles x3 [discs for order on netflix]
“Second season especially is some of the best scifi I’ve ever watched. Great exploration of AI, consciousness, and morality.”

Torchwood [netflix] x2
“super high cheese factor” “spinoff from dr who”

Tomorrow People [netflix]

Twin Peaks [netflix] x2

V (old and new) [discs for order on netflix]

i preferred the original, though i liked the sexy creepy lead in the reboot.

Warehouse 13 [hulu] x2

X-files [netflix] x2

(and i was passed along this additional reference of Popular Mechanic’s top 50 Sci-Fi shows if you’re still looking for more)

#blacklivesmatter freedom song

a couple of months ago i was on a piece of special and haunted land in north carolina with BOLD. i was facilitating our national gathering, where we had a lot to look back on and look forward to – #blacklivesmatter was born of three BOLD participants and as we vision the future there is not only the terror of the ongoing and escalating violence against black and brown communities, but in this moment the joy of movement, of having thousands in the streets together, of feeling like justice is possible.

that saturday morning i woke up from a dream in which i was in a massive crowd marching, dancing, singing and blowing brass band horns to a song i had never heard before. i sang it into my phone, and then i couldn’t stop singing and humming it as i got ready. freedom song, freedom song, i got to sing my freedom song – i love my people oh i love us so. i got my freedom and i won’t let go.

then i went into the morning session where sister-doctor alexis pauline gumbs led us in a practice of chanting in small groups using the words of brilliant black feminist ancestors. my group worked with the words of harriet tubman, ‘my people are free’. as with many of the words passed down from tubman, this declaration is futuristic, complex. but as we chanted it, it became – oh – so tender, so simple, so clear that that was the truth that everything tries to make us forget. we wept and rocked and laughed together, and i can still the way each of the women in my circle co-created the opening we felt.

that evening the rest of the song came – black lives matter. black lives matter. black lives matter to me. your life matters, my life matters, black lives matter to me!

i recorded the whole thing wearing my #blacklivesmatter hoodie, my uniform for the latter half of 2014. i sent it to the BLM team for feedback and they posted it. one of the people who saw it, another brilliant black woman in the lineage of harriet tubman, is phaedra ellis-lamkins. because of her, with the help of the black lives matter team (patrisse, alicia, opal and damon), and the recording support of invincible – the song now has an incredible video full of the moments that inspired this song.

here is the video.

my next dream to sing it at a march with a brass band, dancing.

winter thoughts

That feeling when I finally have the right tool to properly scrape off the car, and my serious winter gloves, and Russian hat, and weatherproof boots, and it starts to snow. Bring it.

Today I saw the snow coming, a sky full of swollen greyish gold cloud that was almost too thick to drive through. I checked my phone in the clear cold, and when I looked up the snow was moving in every direction around me.

When I hibernate I produce less dirty laundry.

I’d like to schedule a sci fi event here, but it’s too cold.

*looks up tickets to warm places*

No. Stay put, hibernate.

*looking at shopping list*

Do I really need any of this stuff enough to leave the house?

*looks up delivery options for toilet paper*

Ooh! Just this once. One season.

*sitting in car looking at gas tank needle*

I wish there were indoor gas stations. Or like heat lamps that could safely be attached to gas thingies. It’s not at empty yet anyway.

I wonder if space heater plus humidifier equals Bali?

Oh tea! I totally forgot how awesome tea is. I wonder if I can order tea online.

I should write a rhyme to the tune of ‘it was a good day‘ but with the words today was a cold day.

Just waking up trying hard not to curse God
I’m not sure but bed frost feels kinda odd
Too chilly for stray dogs, ice fog
I miss my momma’s winter cooking, pure hog

And so on.

Winter hibernation is a beautiful thing! Yoga, somatics, meditation, tarot, burning sage and incense and frankincense, clearing inbox, cooking, catching up on laundry, writing. I’m like a bear if bears were hella active all winter.

If I don’t shave and get a haircut soon I could be mistaken for a bear. And all my hair looks beautiful to me, because it looks like warmth.

After maybe a decade of longing for a bathtub, I finally have a working tub. Now I sit in the hot water wondering: are baths environmentally hateful? I promise myself to take as few as I can and relish every moment.

In winter it’s possible to spend a whole day feeling feelings.

I chose to leave California. I missed seasons, I missed this way that water piles up on the earth after everything has stripped and slowly melts into her like an unrushed lover, how going through this extreme cold makes spring so delectable. I chose to live here and stay here. This is my empowered choice.

Do I know how to make warm choices?

People keep dying when I am in the midst of making plans to spend more time with them. All this longing is sharper in the winter.

Go for a walk. Just go outside.

Tomorrow.

*after visiting Grace* I love putting a smile on Grace’s face. She’s the only person I sing for shamelessly. Well, her and children.

If I angle the space heater directly at my face is that unhealthy?

I wonder if I can get every meeting to happen by phone or at my house. Is that wrong?

If the gig is in a warm place I’m giving them a discount.

I am meant to fly south. Where are my wings?

trust the people

‘if you do not trust the people, they will become untrustworthy.’ – lao tzu, tao te ching

i am writing from biloxi mississippi where i am co-facilitating a gathering of activists coming together around extreme energy extraction – organizing around the processes and impacts of a society run on coal, oil, natural gas, uranium. we had an amazing gathering, and it inspires me so much to put the emergent strategy approach in action.

one of the primary principles of emergent strategy is trusting the people.

often, facilitation seems to do the opposite of this. we sit with the organizers of a gathering and try to figure out ahead of time every single necessary conversation we want to see happen, and then create an agenda that imposes our priorities on the people who we have invited to gather, ostensibly because they are the experts and front line thinkers on the issue. then, a few hours or days into the gathering, we are harried and desperate because the people have realized what we are up to, or simply aren’t feeling heard, and/or we have missed something crucial that is at the center of the gathering. there emerges a sense of facilitators and participants working against each other, instead of everyone working in collaboration to meet the goals.

i have been experimenting with what it means to ‘trust the people’ in practice.

i’ve been facilitating for a while, and although i know that the common wisdom is that every meeting has a flow of ‘form, storm, norm’ – the group comes together, then explodes in opposition to what is happening and creates what they need, and then a norm emerges where there is a sense of accomplishment and deepening into their united identity – i have often wondered if there was another option, one that would save us time, resources, stress, division and energy.

it’s happening. none of the meetings i have facilitated this past year have had a significant storm component. facilitate means to make it easy, and i feel like finally it is happening, it is getting easier for the participants and for me and my cofacilitators.

here are some of the practices for trusting the people in practice.

1. goal setting.

why are we meeting? what can this group uniquely accomplish?…i have to thank taj james for this clarifying question. there are always a ton of relevant conversations that could happen, but there is usually a very small set of conversations that this particular group, at this particular moment in history, can have and move forward, given their capacity, resources, time, focus and beliefs.

the organizers should have this question at the center of their planning for the event. i also find that it helps to survey the group of invitees to sharpen the goals.

2. invite the right people.

we invite people to meetings for a lot of the wrong reasons – obligation, guilt, representation…even love. the questions to ask when shaping the invite list are ‘who is directly impacted by this issue?’ and ‘who can move this work forward?’

inviting the right people means we aren’t wasting time by renegotiating the goals nonstop throughout the meeting, and/or managing the dissonance that occurs (righteously in my opinion) when a participant who shouldn’t be at the meeting tries to make it worth their time by derailing the process of advancing the stated goals.

now, right people doesn’t mean easy people – conflict and difference are often an important part of advancing the work, bringing the real issues into the room. trust is built when the right people are in the right room, and can bring their opinions and work into a container that advances their individual and collective goals.

the right facilitators are also key. i love co-facilitating with people more creative and meticulous than me. inca mohamed, hannah strange, autumn brown, raquel lavina, kavitha rao, jodie tonita, anasa troutman, alicia garza, the generative somatics teaching body, many more – this is a time of brilliant facilitation!

3. individual participant articulation.

there are real language barriers, both literal and cultural, that mean we often think we are hearing each other, but really we have no clue about what others are saying. we all have filters, only some of which we are aware of.

in a gathering, this can create the utmost confusion. folks are using different cultural references, different touch points and acronyms, coming from widely different experiences and passions – even if what they are saying is similar, they can’t hear and understand each other.

giving everyone room to say what they want to prioritize and discuss, and then synthesizing that set of topics as a group, grows the common tongue of the participants, and allows for genuine clarity to happen in the dance of organizing all of the desires into a manageable number of conversations. my friend allen gunn taught me a way to do this with post its and a blank wall, and i just keep iterating off of that exercise to create self-generated agendas.

when trying to determine which articulation to prioritize, go with that of the most impacted people in the room – it is usually the most relevant, and often the clearest and most accessible.

4. a living agenda.

develop a spacious adaptible agenda where the participants can shape the meeting. again, our tendency is to fill up every minute from the beginning to the end of the day with formal session time, creating schedules that are hard to change when new information comes along. not to mention, these agendas sometimes underestimate how long conversations may actually take.

most conversations need at least 1.5 hours to adequately cover orienting around the content, identifying what is needed and identifying clear next steps. and that’s conservative. a meaningful full group conversation for thirty people or more needs roughly a minute person participant. underscheduling means that energy will start to build up looking for release.

folks are so used to not being heard. so used to not getting their needs met. when folks feel heard, the time starts to expand as people move past expressing and start to be able to listen.

it is a beautiful thing to give people space and time, but within the agenda also point continuously towards collaboration. in the u.s., which is where i do most of my facilitation, there is a socialized tendency towards competition – ‘my idea is the best and i am just here to sell it!’. well…no thank you. what can we do together from our passions?

collaboration can only be built on relationships and shared vision. relationships have to be respectful (‘oh i totally see why you are here and why i would want to work with you’) and real (‘what you just said offended/disrespected me, and i can tell you about it because i want us to grow!’). and shared vision doesn’t mean a ten point shared utopia – it means you can generally state that you are moving in the same direction.

the spacious agenda often leads to ending the meeting early, or right on time. try it! it’s magical.

5. listen with love!

the participants absolutely mean to be listening to each other, but their own agendas might fill up their ears with misunderstandings or frustrations. your work as a facilitator is to listen to the needs of the group, help the participants to be clear to and with each other, and make sure you actually understand what folks in the room need.

listen to the feedback you request, and to the other feedback that flows in from the edges, the participants who need something more. my confession here is that i have, at times, grown annoyed with those participants who tend more towards deconstruction, anxiety or frustration…they are the ones often less able to state clearly what they want. however if i can drop in and set my annoyance aside, those folks are sometimes trying to get at the heart of the matter, or name the root schism in the room – the thing that is unnamed because it hard to name. taking time to hear the participants in the margins of the agenda can actually help get the event on point. and i can’t count the number of times a disgruntled participant was actually just misunderstanding something that, when clarified, made them a star participant.

6. know when to say yes and when to say no.

yes to those things that deepen the gathering – cultural grounding, local welcome, clarifying questions, learning in real time, suggestions to slow down. no to manipulative efforts to quiet others, pontification, ignorance. yes to singing, bio breaks (bathroom, fresh air, snacks, self care), ending early (when the group has run out of energy for the day), talent shows, parties and efforts to synthesize. no to judgment, delays, circular conversations and people who are rejecting the process.

7. what you gonna do?

my friend gibran rivera once articulated a question to me: ‘what is the next most elegant step?’ oh i love this question. too often we come up with plans that don’t take into account the fog on the horizon. then we go off and the work doesn’t happen, perhaps can’t happen, and then we feel demoralized because our energy doesn’t flow into action. an elegant step is one that acknowledges what is known and unknown, and what the capacity of this group actually is. an elegant step allows humility, allows people to say ‘actually we need to do some research’ or ‘actually we need to talk to some folks not in this room’ or ‘actually we need a full day to build this plan out into something realistic and attainable’.

in any conversation – and i would say in any moment in life – there is a next elegant step – one that is possible and strategic based on who is taking it and where they are trying to go. find it and you cannot fail.

as with all things, these practices are emerging as i learn them. feel free to add on. love y’all, and let’s keep learning to do our movement work better and better.