Awardees of the 2021 Serena Toxicat Creative Arts Fund

Congratulations to the winners of the Serena Kefira Leclerc Memorial Creative Arts Fund, and Happy Birthday to our dearest Serena Toxicat ❤



James Leon will be awarded $125 for “The Life of a Cat.” He intends to book studio time at Kitten Robot Studios and record a song with his band, Epiphany’s Terror, that will be featured in a film that he wrote the screenplay for, “Serena: Aquari-Cat Mistress.” The song Epiphany’s Terror will be doing is a reworking of Al Stewart’s “The Year of the Cat” retitled as “The Life of a Cat.” James is a long-time friend of Serena’s. They worked on music and film projects together and she appears in his debut film, “Dropping like Flies.” She was initially involved in the conceptualizing of “Serena” Aquari-Cat Mistress.”

Charlena Verrette will be awarded $75 to purchase a microphone and a sound interface for her computer system. She will honor Serena Toxicat with musical projects, video projects and live streaming video for her Industrial Dance music project “Children are the Devil.” Charlena performed burlesque shows with Serena and modeled in her fashion shows many times over the past four years. She says she feels Serena is guiding her in her journey as a transitioning transwoman.

Sierra Bloomer & Winter Mycelium will be awarded a joint award totalling $75, for creating a vegan leather collection for “Whipped and Chained,” their queer-owned fetish ware and chainmail company, that honors Serena Toxicat and her commitment to animals and a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle as well as her place in the kink/leather community by making a line of handcrafted animal-free leather line that vegans can wear. Sierra has modeled with Serena, and both “Whipped and Chained” and Sierra and Winter’s death rock band “Mystic Priestess” have been inspired by Serena’s multifaceted career.

Robert Nisbet will be awarded $75 to assist in with creation of a musical composition honoring Serena Toxicat. The son of Serena’s dear friend Brenda Wood, Robert is a young man who grew up knowing the wonderfully gifted and kindhearted Serena. As a musician she encouraged and mentored him, and his musical composition will honor her memory, mentorship, and contributions to the future and the next generation of artist.

All of these people have been inspired by Serena’s tremendous contribution to her communities – Gothic, Leather & Fetish, Disability Rights Advocacy, Animal Rights Advocacy, Vegan & Vegetarian, Neo-Pagan, ED Survivor, Adoptee, Homeless Communities and Marginally Housed… multitalented, collaborative artist, author, designer, singer, songwriter, burlesque performer, model, and actress… the beloved and loving Serena Toxicat.

Thanks to DeTraci Regula, Jenna Church, and a third anonymous donor for the funding.

Happy Birthday, Serena ❤ Or I should say, Happy Bird Day Two Mews ❤

Serena Toxicat Creative Art Fund

DeTraci Regula of Isis Oasis Sanctuary generously offered two grants in Serena Toxicat‘s name, which consists of a $100 award for the top selection as well as two smaller $50 awards. This award is for creative people who were friends and associates of Serena or inspired by her in some way. She asked me, Sumiko Saulson of Iconoclast Productions to oversee the grant application and selection process. As many of you know, Serena was closely associated with organizations as a volunteer, and as an artist and performer. But this is an ad hoc private endowment and not through either non-profit.

Those on the selection committee may not apply.

Applications must be received no later than Midnight, February 5, 2021.

To Apply.

1. Write a paragraph or three (100 to 250 words describing what you intend to use the money for. It should be a creative project such as a book, a play, a music CD, an audio file that is downloadable, a video, a film, an art book, a poetry chapbook, a comic book. A creative event (online, please – we have a pandemic!) such as a DJ Music Dance Party, an online book reading, an online group poetry reading, a burlesque performance, etc. The project can be a solo or group project. Winner MUST put the words “Funded by the Serena Toxicat Creative Arts Grant” or similar on their project which MUST be finished within a year of receiving the funds. Project doesn’t have to be about Serena.

2. Let us know what your personal or community connection to Serena is, even if you only admired her from afar by attending a concert she was at. Take up to 100 words to do that.

3. Please take up to 100 words to explain anything about how $100 or $50 would especially be helpful to you, such as if you have a fixed income or financial stressors or other considerations you want us to take into account when deciding.

Email these things to me at sumikoska@yahoo.com by NO LATER THAN midnight on February 5.

The winners will be announced on February 6 (Serena’s Birthday).

Title of the email should say “Serena Toxicat Creative Arts Grant” please. I will email you that I received it, please contact me if you DO NOT receive a confirmation that I received it.

We’re giving $100 to the top proposal/applicant for the Serena Toxicat Creative Arts Fund, and $50 to two of the runner ups. But I have been thinking that, while we have currently got a backer who offered $200 (DeTraci) to kick this off/honor Serena’s name, that if anyone else wants to donate $50 to a creative artist in need, in honor of Serena’s birthday, maybe we could give the award to more than two runners up? If you think that you would like to do that, let me know, and I can credit you or keep your name anonymous (you let me know). I’m having the donors Venmo the donation to the winners, so that’s how it would work, you could just sent it to one of the applicants. If you are interested in being a donor, let me know.

Wickedly Abled Tour

Barclays Coffee and Tea Company
Saturday, January 18, 2020
8976 Tampa Ave, Northridge, CA 91324

Expressions Gallery
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
7 PM – 9 PM
2035 Ashby Ave, Berkeley, California 94703

Convention Appearances
The Outer Dark Symposium on the Greater Weird 2020
Friday March 27 and Saturday March 28, 2020
4215 Thurman Rd, Conley, Georgia 30288

I am also trying to get a reading/signing scheduled for Thursday, March 26 in near by Decatur,Georgia but it is not yet confirmed.

Readersfest Writers’ Conference
July 17-19, 2020
UW/Tacoma, Phillips Hall, Tacoma, WA

Remembering our Elders

Carolyn Saulson, Founder and President

mom black renaissance

Carolyn Saulson (Feb. 24, 1948 – Jan. 14, 2019) passed away after a long battle with cancer at the age of 70. A resident of Berkeley, California, she was the board president and a founder of Iconoclast Productions, a Bay Area media arts non-profit serving the Black community.

She attended Berkeley City College, had an AA in Psychology, and attended Cal State Dominguez. She’d been diagnosed with multiple myeloma Aug. 10, 2009. It is a rare blood cancer that predominantly affects African Americans. Carolyn was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in Los Angeles, California. She’d been a Bay Area resident since 1987.

She leaves behind two children, Sumiko Saulson and Scott Saulson, and three grandchildren, Franchesca Saulson, Elisabetta Maria Saulson and Joshua Andrakin; sisters Yvonne Matthews, Gloria Matthews, Glenna Matthews, and a brother, Stephen Matthews, as well as a number of nieces, nephews and cousins including Tim Smith, Toni Matthews, Coco Matthews, Damon Pascal, Loren M. Jordan, Marilyn Meeks, Crystal Anthony, Christopher Anthony, Keda Matthews, Rae Rae Matthews, Dashenae Matthews, Antoine Matthews, Gina Lee Shansey, Angie Martinez, Crystal Terrell, Elizabeth Saulson, Mike Saulson, and Brian Saulson. She was predeceased by her brother James Matthews, parents Eleanor Matthews nee Lynch and Leon Matthews, her ex-husband Robert Allen Saulson and his siblings Donald Saulson, Charlene Martinez and James Saulson.

Carolyn was a community leader in both the African American and the Disabilities Rights Advocacy Community. She was a founder of the Iconoclast San Francisco Black Independent Film Festival and the African American Multimedia Conference. She was a proud member of WryCrips Disabled Women’s Reading Theater and the African American Historical and Cultural Society. She volunteered at the African American Art and Culture Complex between 1987 and 2005. She was a San Francisco Juneteenth Festival board member throughout the ‘90s.

She co-authored a Black Who’s Who directory with Joyce Durant for the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) in the late 1970s and was a published professional poet. She was also the author of several plays and the novella and graphic novel “Living a Lie.” She was the lead singer for the band Stagefright, a family band where she sang with her son Scott and daughter Sumiko.

She was on a radio program with Mickey McMeel in Los Angeles in the 1970s, exposing psychiatric abuses with the Citizens Commission on Human Rights. She had a television program, Stagefright, a variety show with local talent that aired in San Francisco, Berkeley, Vallejo, Dayton, Ohio, New York City, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Detroit and Toronto between 1993 and 2016.

Carolyn was a Baptist and a member of Greater Faith Baptist Church.

Board Members

Bobbie Webb

Pastor JR Richardson

Reverend Eugene Lumpkin

Sharen Hewitt

Robert Saulson

Harry Silver

Volunteers

Gregory Hug

Natalya Fay

Black Celebration – new this Halloween!

Iconoclast Productions is proud to announce a collection of essays, articles and interviews by and with African American authors on the subject of Black representation in horror. The book includes work by Paula D. Ashe, Valjeanne Jeffers, Crystal Connor, Linda D. Addison, James Goodridge, Balogun Ojetade, Nicole Kurtz and Sumiko Saulson.  The book will be released on October 31.

A collection of articles, essays and interviews with and by African American horror writers on black representation in horror, horror diversity, reviews of African American horror films, horror novels, weird fiction, dark fantasy and more.

“This essential collection captures thought-provoking essays (ex. Southern Gothic Horror, Magical Realism & Horror in Toni Morrison Novels, The Inimitable Tony Todd, Black Horror Films of the 30’s and 40’s, etc.), fascinating reviews, and insightful interviews written by horror authors from African Diaspora. You could search for each piece or buy this exceptional book and have all the remarkable work at your fingertips.”

–Linda D. Addison, award-winning author of “How to Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend” and HWA Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

Available on Smashwords for Pre-Release

Available on Amazon for Pre-Release

Black Celebration front

Here is a list of the essays and interviews in the book as it currently stands:

  • The State Of Speculative Fiction: Why Race Matters
  • Genesis – The First Black Horror Writers/Storytellers
  • An Interview With L.C. Cruell
  • Black Horror Films Of The 30s And 40s
  • The Inimitable Tony Todd
  • Black Creators In Horror Comics
  • My Life My Horror: On The Dearth Of Black Characters In Horror Movies
  • Living Among Legends
  • Black Occultist Rollo Ahmed
  • Movie Review: Pooka (2018)
  • Haunted Hickory Hill
  • Gagool To Akasha: Black Characters In Horror Fiction
  • A Forgotten Catalysis: Son Of Ingagi
  • Movie Review: Sorry To Bother You (2018)
  • Review Of Chesya Burke’s Strange Crimes In Little Africa
  • Black Herman
  • Sycorax’s Daughters Stoker Nominated
  • Sycorax’s Daughters Gives Black Women In Horror A Voice
  • Fierce. Fearless. Female.
  • The Sounds Of Horror In Black American Music
  • Movie Review: Voodoo Black Exorcist
  • Why Television Needs Damali Richards, L.A. Bank’s Bad Ass Black Vampire Slayer
  • Horror Blackademic Is A Real Thing
  • Black Magic Women Highlights Horror By Black Women
  • Oh, Susannah: How The Dark Tower’s Explores Black Woman Stereotypes
  • How Wesley Snipes And Blade Saved The Marvel Movie Franchise
  • Interview With Dr. Kinitra D. Brooks, Horror Scholar
  • Maman Dragonne
  • African American Folklore, Magical Realism And Horror In Toni Morrison Novels
  • Review Of Dawn By Alex Fernandez
  • Interview With Dawn Filmmaker Alex Fernandez
  • Sugar Hill: A Blaxploitation Gem
  • Linda D. Addison Wins HWA Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Interview With Linda D. Addison
  • Sister My Sister: An Open Love Letter To Abby And Jenny Mills From Sleepy Hollow
  • Warmth: An Unforgettable Journey
  • Review Of Spook Lights: Southern Gothic Horror By Eden Royce
  • Southern Women’s Influence On The Weird

Resurrecting the African American Multimedia Conference

Resurrecting the old African American Multimedia Conference (1996 – 2009) is bringing a big nostalgic tear to my eye. I can’t believe how far we have come, and how far we still have to go in terms of narrowing the digital divide. Between honoring my mother Carolyn Saulson who we lost this January and the new column in the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper it is all coming together so fast now.

Here are a bunch of photos from Back in the Day portraying us between 1996 and 2001 in our Hey Day. I can’t believe Kevin E Myrick is on our board of directors now. I feel like our elders Carolyn SaulsonBobbie WebbDoris Rowe, and Sharen Hewitt are looking down on us from above along with my dad Robert Saulson, holding us steady as the new generation ascends to our place on the throne as the Black Kings and Queens we are.

London Breed is the Mayor of San Francisco and Kamala Harris is running for President but it seems like just yesterday we were all a bunch of knuckleheads running around San Francisco. I got called a Johnny Come Lately because I am from Los Angeles and my mom started to work at Cultural Odyssey with Rhodessa Jones and Idris Ackamoor in 1987 when I was 19 years old. Thomas Simpson told me yesterday “I remember you running around here with your mom when you were this high” and I kind of laughed because everyone though I was like 13 but I was already 19! Little did they know.

Now I am an award-winning, bestselling author, author of Black Magic Women, an anthology of black women in horror including our convention’s Guest of Honor horror writer, podcastter, convention runner and film festival organizer Crystal Connor. Crystal is organizing Beyond Us: Black Minds in Horror a film festival. She is going to be working with HorrorAddicts.net and Emerian Rich on a Black History Month Black Film Festival Black Convention Pod Cast!

All of the kids from the Cultural Center are all grown up and we are back making it happen! Craig SamuelsHugh E MCSimon SmithHasonji HasanDavey D CookEdwin Hagler, and more. Don’t call it a comeback! Cause we been here for years.

Elisabetta SaulsonScott Saulson, Franki Saulson and Joshua Andrakinknow that the legacy of Carolyn Saulson lives on!

African American Multimedia Conference is back!

After 3 years writing arts and entertainment pieces for the Examiner.com as an Arts and Culture reporter for the Oakland Art Scene, I am now writing serious investigative reporting for the award-winning Black Newspaper the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper. The Examiner.com was an online extension of the Hearst newspaper owned that allowed people to report nationally from cities that didn’t have their own print edition of the Examiner. I learned how to write for an online news blog there. But the pieces I wrote were non-controversial, arts-centered, and uplifting works that centered on how creative the Bay Area is.

SF Board of Directors 1997 tech committee

I went anywhere where there were Oakland artists, including to all of the local fairs and festivals and conventions. I had to adhere to their journalistic standards and link all kinds of reference materials. To this day, I am affected by the experience.

Now I work at Search Magazine – a local neighborhood style paper like the Sunseter – writing those kinds of uplifting feel good pieces – and writing much more seriously political works for the SF BayView. Both papers are black owned, but have a multicultural editorial staff. It amazes me how much I am a part of the black writing world, from the black owned Mocha Memoirs Press, LLC that published Black Magic Women and where I do proofreading work for their horror division, to the Black Women in Horror project. I am touched and honored.

That is why it is very important to me to restart the African American Multimedia Conference in San Francisco and give back to the community once more.

black renaissance kay davey miki

Iconoclast Productions is a grassroots San Francisco Bay Area based community media arts non profit organization, producers of the African American Multimedia Conference and the Iconoclast Black Independent Film Festival. We were established March 19, 1993. Our programs included computer literacy workshops, plays, and our public access television program Stagefright, which was on Access stations in San Francisco, Vallejo, Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Dayton Ohio, and New York NY from 1993 to the present, although it is only on in Vallejo as of this writing. It ran in Vallejo and Berkeley up until 2017. It was  a variety show that included community issues and local artist and entertainers. It focused on the African American community and the disabled community, including the homeless, as artists. Because our band Stagefright was a crossover multiethnic black-centered Goth band, we worked with a lot of disabled goth artists, many of whom were queer.

Courtland Creek Adopt A Spot 2019

Photos from 2019 Earth Day Effort

Courtland Creek Adopt A Spot 2018

Photos from 2018 Earth Day Effort

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