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 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


Gregory Hug

Natalya Fay

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 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!

Pruda Bass releases his fifth Reggae album, Love Love Love

Longtime Iconoclast client Prudah Bass has a new album out!

Iconoclast Newsletter

prudahArticle by Sumiko Saulson,

Image Courtesy of Pruda Bass

June 1, 2016 marked the release of Oakland reggae artist Pruda Bass’ fifth solo album, “Love Love Love.” Born into a musical family learning piano, Pruda first learned to play the electric bass guitar in 1988. The following year he started playing with Grammy nominated Emmit Powell and The Gospel Elites.

“That’s like my Pruda Bass musical journey in service date, where I put both feet in the music vehicle, and got on board,” said Pruda

He toured with the band for the next eleven years. They played in France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Istanbul, Finland, Holland, the United States, and Canada. They even performed at the Sydney Australian Opera House.

“A real fantastic voyage is a way to sum up this ongoing journey, indeed, I share with aspiring artists. Follow the dream achieve it,” said Pruda

In 1984…

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60 Black Women in Horror

60 Black Women in Horror

“60 Black Women in Horror Fiction” is available as a free eBook on Smashwords:

February is African American History Month here in the United States. It is also Women in Horror Month (WiHM). In 2013, as an Ambassador for Women in Horror Month. This list of black women who write horror was compiled at the intersection of the two. The booklet also includes interviews with nine of the women. The eBook version includes a bonus: an essay, and four short stories not found in the paperback.

The electronic (eBook) edition contains the following bonus materials: four short stories, and an essay, not found in the paperback.

A shorter book that only includes the list and interviews is available as a paperback for $5.50:

The Interviews

Linda Addison

Darlene BlackBWIH

Valjeanne Jeffers

Jemiah Jefferson

Briana Lawrence

Nnedi Okorafor

A.L. Peck

Eden Royce

Sumiko Saulson

L. Marie Wood

The Lists (with Bios)

Twenty Women in Black Horror Writing (List One)

Twenty One More Women in Black Horror Writing (List Two)

19 More Black Women in Horror Fiction (List Three)

The Full List (Alphabetical)

Listing with webpage links

1.      Linda D. Addison

2.      Pheare Alexander

3.      Angela C. Allen

4.      Paula D. Ashe

5.      L.A. Banks

6.      Darlene Black

7.      Chesya Burke

8.      Claudia Mair Burney

9.      Octavia Butler

10. Patricia E. Canterbury

11. Pearl Cleage

12. Crystal Connor

13. Arielle Crowell

14. Joy M. Copeland

15. L.M. Davis

16. Lexi Davis

17. Tananarive Due

18. Janiera Eldridge

19. Ann Fields

20. Robin Green

21. Dicey Grenor

22. Jewelle Gomez

23. Virginia Hamilton

24. Donna Hill

25. Allison Hobbs

26. Lawana Holland-Moore

27. Akua Lezli Hope

28. Nalo Hopkinson

29. Zora Neale Hurston

30. Monica Jackson

31. Tish Jackson

32. Valjeanne Jeffers

33. Jemiah Jefferson

34. N.K. Jemisin

35. Alaya Dawn Johnson

36. Tenea Johnson

37. A.D. Koboah

38. Faye McCray

39. Melinda Michelle

40. Donna Monday

41. Toni Morrison

42. Pam Noles

43. Nnedi Okorafor

44. Helen Oyeyemi

45. Ama Patterson

46. A.L. Peck

47. Dia Reeves

48. Evie Rhodes

49. Jill Robinson

50. Leone Ross

51. Eden Royce

52. Kiini Ibura Salaam

53. Anna Sanders

54. Sumiko Saulson

55. Nisi Shawl

56. Cherene Sherrard-Johnson

57. Sheree R. Thomas

58. L. Marie Wood

59. Zane

60. Ibi Zoboi

Two ways to win: 60 Black Women in Horror [paperback]

Iconoclast Productions is proud to be involved with “60 Black Women in Horror” as its publisher. Enter to win a paperback copy of the book.

Sumiko Saulson

60 Black Women in Horror is available as a free eBook via Smashwords and over the next two months, will roll out to other distributors including Barnes & Noble and Amazon. It will soon be available for free on Goodreads. The eBook contains bonus materials consisting of an essay and four short stories that are not in the print edition. The print edition is currently available for $5.50 on Createspace.  It will be rolling out to other distribution points over the next several weeks.

Giveaway on Goodreads

Win a free, signed copy of the paperback edition of 60 Black Women in Horror on Goodreads! You will need a Goodreads account to enter. You don’t have to “like” my author page there, but as long as you’re there of course I would appreciate it if you did.

Click here to enter to win:

60 Black Women in HorrorIncludes:

60 Black Women in Horror…

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