African American Multimedia Conference is back!

After 3 years writing arts and entertainment pieces for the 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 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.

Keep it Lit! Help Support Marcus Books!

Marcus Books just launched a crowdfunding blitz (found here: to raise $1,000,000 dollars to keep Marcus Books in the Jimbo’s Bop City building for generations to come! Here is their message to you:

A Message from Karen, Greg, and Tamiko Johnson (Marcus Books Proprietors)


Marcus Books opened its doors 54 years ago on Fillmore Street in San Francisco’s historic jazz district. It’s the oldest black book store in the country. It has been located in the historic Jimbo’s Bop City building since 1981. A family owned business, Marcus Books is more than just a book store. It is a gathering place. It is a center for Black culture. But more importantly, Marcus Books is a community. Over the years, it has hosted authors such as Rosa Parks, Toni Morrison, Harry Belafonte, Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Amiri Baraka, Bill Cosby, Iyanla Vanzant, and many many more.

The Bop City building was once home to the one of the most innovative Jazz clubs in the country and now Marcus Books is threatened with the prospect of moving out. The Marcus Books community is waging a campaign to ensure that this does not happen, and you can help. The building was sold last year and the new owners are offering the store an opportunity to buy the historic landmark site. So far, we’ve raised more than half of our full 2.6 million dollar goal, but we need you to get us to the finish.

Forward this link far and wide — to your friends, throughout your networks, and to the media:

Here is a sample FB post: Marcus Books, the oldest black book store in the country, is located in the historic Jimbo’s Bop City building in San Francisco (once one of the most innovative jazz clubs in the country). Donate to keep Marcus Books in the Jimbo’s Bop City building! Keep it Lit!

And a sample tweet: Keep it Lit! Support Marcus Books in SF! Nation’s oldest black book store needs your help.

Thank you for your support!

Karen, Greg, and Tamiko Johnson (Marcus Books Proprietors)

Keeping Up with Iconoclast (September 2013 Newsletter)

Catching Up with Iconoclast Productions

African American Media Arts Association at City College of San Francisco

Carolyn Saulson and Andres Wemiz at CCSF Multimedia Arts Gallery
Carolyn Saulson and Andres Wemiz at CCSF Multimedia Arts Gallery

City College of San Francisco is home to the African American Media Arts Association, which is supported by Iconoclast Productions. As many of you already know, City College of San Francisco has been in danger of losing its accreditation over the past couple of years. According to the San Francisco Examiner, CCSF may have another opportunity to save its accreditation.

Despite its woes, City College of San Francisco has managed to teach and graduate students from many different backgrounds, and it especially offers opportunity to low income students. Iconoclast Productions supports CCSF and acknowledges its valuable media arts programs, and its wonderful broadcast arts programs. We hope to see the accreditation of CCSF restored so that it can continue to provide affordable arts and media arts courses to the public.

Iconoclast Productions would also like to acknowledge two of our former AAMAA members who have graduated from CCSF and gone on to state colleges: Deeann Mathews, who went on to San Francisco State three years ago, and Andres Wemiz, who started at San Jose State this fall.

Art at Courtland Creek Park in Oakland

Since our last newsletter, we have been excited by the progress that has been made regarding Courtland Creek Park. Roberto Costa and his crew of mosaic tile artists have completed three sides to the trash can at the corner of San Carlos and Courtland, and Sumiko Saulson of Iconoclast Productions has painted the fourth side. Consulting with the newly reactivated Friend of Courtland Creek Park organization and with representatives from Iconoclast, and from the NCPC 27x Beat Melrose High Hopes, Mr. Costa decided to create a work that would honor the Key System Streetcars that once went down Courtland.

Saturday, September 21, 2013 is Creek to Bay Day.

Iconoclast Productions is looking for volunteers to meet at 1 pm at the corner of Courtland and San Carlos, to repaint the sculpture created by Walter Hood nearly 20 years ago on that corner. The tall, gray sculpture has carvings in the side that represent the various maps for the street car lines. Over the years, graffiti on the statue has been repaired with gray paint that is a darker color than the monument itself. The goal is to paint it all a uniform shade of gray.

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