interview

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    One year after the groundbreaking New York Times exposé about Harvey Weinstein, Amanda Palmer and Welsh songwriter Jasmine Power have released a powerful video accompaniment to their protest song, “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now.” The totally crowdfunded video (all profits are being donated to #TimesUp) is a female tour de force, directed by Noemie Lafrance, shot with an all-woman cast and crew, and featuring sixty women artists. It’s NSFW—shots include full-nudity and implicit assault. It’s a tough but essential watch. Shots of solemn, white Oxford-clad women alternate with anguished dance. As the final shot expands to a full choir, the sorrow—and defiance—is palpable. BUST spoke with Palmer about #MeToo and the difficult, but necessary, process of making this vision a reality.

    “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now” features the work of more than 60 women and the video concludes with a choir; why was it important to have such a strong collective, female presence?

    This moment in time and the progress that we are just beginning to grasp is so clearly about the power of the collective. So while we could have choreographed a video with five killer professional dancers, the sheer force of the number wouldn't have been an ingredient. It's also always important for me to include my community in what I make. This story isn't just my story—it's theirs. I come from a punk and performance art background, and it's always important to me that we all create together. I believe that everybody should be involved in making art, not just the so-called "professionals." So a lot of the women you see in the video have literally never been in front of a camera before, much less naked and raging in front of a camera. And there's something innately powerful about giving all these women a chance to be on the other side of the screen. It reflects what's been happening in the #MeToo era in general: women at every level are grabbing back the narrative, and the very platforms in which that narrative gets told.

    So, the video was totally crowdfunded—how does that interact with the video’s narrative or themes?
     
    The fact that this video was crowdfunded is essential. People are so used to seeing content appearing on their screens that they don't often think about where the funding comes from, and most musicians are still very loathe to express how the art-sausage gets made. Every time you see an expensive video, that money had to come from somewhere, and videos themselves don't earn any money. No major label would have ever funded this project. I was on a major label for many years and I have friends who still have to do battle in giant boardrooms to convince a bunch of men that their ideas are worthwhile. I don't want to work in conditions like that—it's why I went indie ten years ago. I would also never let corporate dollars fund a piece of work like this. I mean, I'm from the '80s and '90s and still believe that selling out is real. I think that having Dove Soap or Mac Cosmetics fund art like this literally undercuts the point of the art.

    Feminist art has to be able to exist in a liberated playing field without boundaries, without permissions, without dudes up in marketing telling you that your work is too this, too that, or "off brand." Fuck that. That's the sort of idiocy that trapped us in this mess in the first place. So if you're not independently wealthy, and there's no money coming from labels, and there's no money coming in from sponsorship, the only answer left is crowdfunding. The media is in a strange freefall right now, and people are so hungry for truth and authenticity in art and storytelling. This is why you're seeing people starting to flock to journalists and writers and musicians on platforms like patreon. I've been working on building my patreon for over three years, and I now have 12,000 people giving me about $3-4 a month so that I can make the art I want to make without having to answer to a higher power, and more importantly, without having to rely on the mainstream media to push my work into the world. And that feels like a revolutionary act right now. 

    Rape is (to say the least) a difficult topic to depict, and even imply, in a music video. Can you tell me about the process of translating that topic into visuals?

    Noemie [Lafrance, the music video director] and I discussed this at length and so carefully when we laid out the plans for the choreography, cast and crew. One of the most important things you'll notice is that Weinstein himself isn't represented in the video. Nor is a rape depicted. The song was written as an argument in a woman's head: Jasmine's voice and my voice are pitted against one another as if two sides of a woman's brain—"escape right now and deal with the consequences" versus "just lie back and let's get this over with." So many women I know have had to deal with that inner, crazy-making decision at one point or another. It was such a difficult thing to write about, especially with a specific title like that: these weren't our experiences, and we were using Weinstein as a springboard to a much larger conversation. I actually leaked the title of the song to my patreon blog before it came out and I got a text from one of my feminist journalist friends—Laurie Penny—saying, basically: "Eek - don't call your song 'Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now,' it's not your story to tell, Amanda. Be really careful and don't get yourself into a typical kerfuffle." And I challenged her and said: "Listen, when Weinstein is on the cover of every newspaper and his name is now synonymous with #MeToo, I think we're at the point of fair use." And she said: "Don't." And I said: "What if I just emailed Rose McGowan and asked her permission?" and Laurie said, "Wow. That's fair, I guess."

    So I wrote to Rose McGowan—whose book I had just finished reading, which played no small part in the inspiration for this song—and sent her the track and the lyrics. I asked for her blessing to use the title. And she told me that the song made her heart race and cry, and to go ahead and use the title. And I have to say, that whole exchange gave me so much hope for feminism. Laurie calling me out, my reaching out to Rose, all of us discussing the etiquette of story, respect and ownership together. Like feminism itself: it's always going to be messy as fuck, and nobody is ever going to agree completely, but we have to keep working together to keep this fire burning. Otherwise we are going to perish in the flames of in-fighting and useless battles over the nuances of language and consent while the patriarchy just marches along and crushes our chances.

    The song was originally released in May as a response to Weinstein’s crimes, but the video arrived in the midst of Kavanaugh’s confirmation. How do you think the timing has affected the conversation surrounding “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now”? 

    Oh my god, it was too poetically painful. The video release date was set for the 5th of October, which was the one year anniversary of the New York Times article on Weinstein, but as fate would have it, that was also when the hearing and the vote for Kavanaugh was going down. I hadn't planned to do a screening for the video—I've never done that—but I just happened to be in L.A. that week making a record and I said: fuck it, I really want to get everybody together in one room. Every artist and woman I know right now is just in a state of shock, being on the internet just wasn't enough. So I booked a theater and a few hundred people got to huddle in the dark and watch it together. And we did what needs doing right now: we talked. We wept. People got up and grabbed the mic and shared stories. A six-foot tall man wept in my arms while he told me about his assault and how people find it so hard to believe because he's such a huge dude. Making art and gathering people together is what I do. It felt like the strongest response I could possibly have to Kavanaugh: to get women in a room and share our stories. 

    How has the process of filming this video personally changed you?

    I've been making art and music videos like this for so many years and it wasn't until Trump was elected that I started proactively using my Patreon money to hire crews with more women. the "Mother" video that I shot was with a female director and a crew that was predominately women, plus a lot of them brought their kids, and I was like: holy shit, it's actually incredible when you have a film set that's run by women, there's just a completely different energy. And with the Weinstein video, Noemie and I committed to a cast and crew that was almost entirely female as well. And I can't quite describe the feeling in that room, but it was alchemical. As if we were harnessing something really massive and giving a pointed message to the universe with the act of making this video. And every woman on that set commented on it, and felt it. That video wasn't just about the product we were making, it was about the act of communion that birthed it. I think it fundamentally changed every woman in the building. We left feeling like we had a posse, we had hope, we had a voice. I said to the whole cast while we were rehearsing: even if the footage all gets lost in the river tonight: the point of this video has been archived. Because we're all here, we're all feeling this, and we're going to take this feeling back out into the world tomorrow. 

    What’s the change—big or small—you hope to provoke in viewers?

    I've already read some comment from women who said that the video provided them a real catharsis. That's the ultimate purpose of this work. And if just one person found a sense of camaraderie or healing as a result of this video, that's enough for me. 

    Top photo: Youtube / Amanda Palmer

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     In BUST's Fashion Nation series, we talk to women about their personal style. 

    Janeth Gonda
    BUST Event Planner and Musician
    Brooklyn, NY

     

    Tell me about this outfit.

    This is one of my favorite shirts. I love how sexy it is, revealing yet mysterious. I really like how much it makes me feel like a woman. I’m just starting to become in tune with my body, my age, and my womanhood.

    How would you describe your personal style?

    Definitely gothic and sleek. I like to wear a lot of lace, a lot of straps. Pretty much everything I wear is black, but also comfortable. I have to be able to feel comfortable in what I’m wearing, which makes me feel confident.

    How has your personal style evolved?

    My fashion over the last few years has just gotten a lot sexier. For a long time, I don’t think I really felt like I could be so bold or sexy. It is only recently that I realized I can, and as I’ve grown into more of a woman, my fashion sense has grown up, too.

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    What do you wear when you hit the stage with your band, Espejismo?

    It depends on the show, really. I actually have a handmade belly dancing outfit that I wear a lot, but if we’re playing more of our heavier songs, I’m usually wearing high boots with black pants, something that makes me feel like I’m in command.

    Do you have any go-to places to shop around Brooklyn?

    I like affordable things. I have a lot of luck with thrift stores like Beacon’s Closet. Most of my favorite clothes are actually from Colombia, where I’m from. I really love the style that they have in Bogotá, and you can get really high-quality things at a fraction of the price you’d find here. If it looks good and it feels good, then I like it.

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    Copy Janeth's wild style with these badass buys:

    Faux Leather Satchel, $27.90, forever21.com

    Life II Necklace, from $130, ktferriscreations.com

    NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in “initiator”, $9 for a set of 3 colors, ulta.com

    Super High Waist Denim Skinnies in Black, $29.99, fashionnova.com

    Alexis Buttoned Up Bodysuit, $19.99, fashionnova.com

    Mossimo Supply Co. Women’s Brianna Platform Booties, $37.99, target.com

    By Lydia Wang

    Photographed by Seher Sikandar

    Hair and makeup: T. Cooper/crowdMGMT using ECRU New York

    This article originally appeared in the February/March 2018 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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    Jason Mantzoukas is a real human. This may seem like an odd thing to say about a hilarious actor, but it’s necessary. The son of a Greek immigrant father and Greek-American mom, Mantzoukas, 46, has built an incredible résumé by playing a variety of funny dirtbags and sexy weirdos. He’s so good at disappearing into his characters, in fact, that fans sometimes forget that he’s pretending.

    This is particularly true when it comes to his stint as Rafi on FX’s The League,where the Massachusetts native was tasked with playing a maniac obsessed with feces, criminality, and his own sister. “The compliment I take from it is, nobody ever says, ‘Oh shit, Jason Mantzoukas!’ Or, ‘Oh shit, the actor who played Rafi,’ he says. “They are like, ‘Rafi is here!’ As if to say, ‘There’s a bear here.’ You know what I mean? They think that I’m an actual monster that is where they are.” The downside of this kind of fame, is that fans often try to get physical, grabbing him from behind on the street or yanking at him at a bar. To de-escalate, Mantzoukas says, “I respectfully ask people not to touch me. I go very low voice. I go very quiet.”

    Mantzoukas began performing in high school theater productions and Boston-area punk bands before studying improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City. (He now performs at the Los Angeles branch at least twice a week). And aside from Rafi, he’s currently known for co-hosting the popular film podcast How Did This Get Made?, as well as his roles on the TV comedies No Activity, Big Mouth, The Good Place, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He also did one episode of the Gilmore Girls series revival, “because I begged them,” he says of the show, which he’s loved for years. When I ask if he got to visit the iconic Stars Hollow gazebo, he looks mildly pained. “I shot on location somewhere else,” he sighs. “Don’t get me started.”

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    Speaking of girls, Mantzoukas has a distinct appeal among female fans. But when they gush about him online, they often sound kind of surprised by their attraction. Mantzoukas characterizes his usual flirty feedback aptly: “It sounds crazy and I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but, I think Jason Mantzoukas might be sexy?” He seems to find it amusing, not insulting, because if there’s anyone who knows that Jason Mantzoukas plays a lot of scuzzy guys, it’s Jason Mantzoukas.

    Now poised to transition to more film roles after positive reviews for his 2018 indie flick The Long Dumb Road, Mantzoukas will soon appear in John Wick: Chapter 3, where he plays a character named “Tick Tock Man.” It’s all very hush-hush, but one thing is certain—somebody will write a thinkpiece about how they kind of want to make out with Tick Tock Man. And he’s sure to take it all in stride. Because the real Jason Mantzoukas is proof that the good guy occasionally does win. Although he may have to play some not-so-good-guys along the way. 

    By Sara Benincasa
    Photographed by Gizelle Hernandez
    Groomer: Carola Gonzalez // Stylist: Jasmine Betancourt // Location: Black Cat L.A.

    This piece originally appeared in the January/February 2019 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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    Crescendos cascading in your ears, shrills of keys playing, ensemble of drum beats and eerie vocals rack up in your brain. No, you’re not on acid and listening to your popcorn ceiling telling you that you need to go vegan: you’re listening to Real Clothes’s Precaution.

    A Black queer musician based in Brooklyn, New York, Nico Fox, also known as Real Clothes (and a Leo) delivers a hauntingly beautiful album in the midst of a world riddled with a global pandemic and surviving extreme police brutality and violence. The album dropped August 7, with seven tracks including “Lazaretto,” “A Brief Moment of Silence for the Dead,” and “Taiping Rebellion,” all featuring beautiful arpeggio releases and sensational tempos. Named under the genres of avant-garde, dark pop, new wave goth and folk electronic, Precaution delivers Fox's present-day makeup: feeling the loss of lives, the effects of being Black in 2020, and understanding where our minds go when we are feeling trapped in our homes.

    Influenced by EBM Industrial, Bulgarian choir, and world music, Fox started Precaution last November during a pre-COVID-19 era. “It lived in the back folder on my hard drive. Once COVID-19 hit and everything got a lot slower... there's so many Netflix shows and video games you can do,” Fox explained over Zoom. “I started to revisit instrumental music. Being depressed and that I can’t sleep, I wanted to put these ideas in audio form.” 

    The album’s themes revolve around the effects of quarantine and what happens both being inside and stepping outside. Fox describes “Lazaretto” as being about someone stuck in their house and unable to get out. Meanwhile, “Parable of the Choir,” the second track off of Precaution, revolves around exes texting in the middle of the night (cues horror music). “I took some of the ideas from my last album and had an idea of a woman empowered by magic. And the focus was that we are all alone at this time and we are reaching out to people we shouldn't be reaching out to” said Fox.

    Another song featured on Precaution holds a very powerful meaning. A melancholic soft tremble of piano with choir harmonies gently swaying in the background is one of the more solemn tracks off Precaution.

    “The song is 'A Brief Moment Of Silence For The Dead.' And it's a brief piano piece that I came up with, the only song I've ever done like that. 170,000 people are dead. We haven't any day of remembrance or any reactions from it,” Fox said. She mentions the inspiration came while walking through Greenwood cemetery. “I was thinking and having silence for that. I feel like once a month we should have an hour of silence for the dead. The album itself is upbeat, but I wanted this to break it up and be more quiet. I didn't want to sing on it, I wanted it to be a place of reflection.”

    Black culture has been one of the most influential forces in this country, whether it be from language, music, food, fashion, politics — you name it. But as we have seen throughout centuries and centuries, the erasure of Black and Brown people’s creativity, accomplishments, and contributions go both unnoticed and is ongoing. And if it is celebrated, it is a palatable version that is only perceived through the white gaze. Fox says there is an idea of Blackness as a monolith within the music industry.

    “Blackness commodified as culture by pop media, U.S. culture and it is a global issue. You can only be marketed and seen as one thing,” Fox explains. “Look at the Grammys, if you don't fall under certain categories, you are not going to be there.”

    Fox gives a shout-out to the Internet, noting that it allows her to put her music online and people can access it. But still, the music industry is continuously promoting an inherently capitalist idea of art and productivity. And, of course, whiteness.

    Being an artist is only recognized through both productivity and/or privilege. And what Nico also calls gatekeeping. “Like, where is the gauge for what is considered good or marketable? And I have a lot of frustration with that,” she said. “I think there is this focus especially with white music executives/labels where there is this commercialization of music. No focus on creativity. What I'm saying is there is this idea that if you can't make money off art then it’s not valid or worth being promoted, it's not worth being seen.”

    In turn, this album is significant for Fox. The title is referring to the fact that our current situation is “something we could have taken precaution for.”

    “I felt like I had to create something that encapsulated how I was feeling. And when COVID-19 hit New York, I felt I had to finish it now. It is very important to me, I want to put that in a piece, here and now,” Fox explained. “And I see a lot of artists both independent and mainstream are making music as a form of escapism, and I'm here for that. You know, I love that but I'm thinking about the people who are here and now and can’t escape it, like myself and need to process it here.”

    Precaution is a powerful testimony, a musically lush trill that combines poetry and sound that evokes resonance, somber and play. Nico Fox’s experimental avant-garde music is a great way to tap into a melodic collective, especially during these unprecedented times.

    You can stream Precaution on Spotify, Apple Music/iTunes, Tidal, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and Pandora. Check out the animation trailer teasers here. To keep up with Nico, follow her on Instagram @realclothes.wav and visit her websiteDonate to mutual aid orgs in NYC here.

    Top photo courtesy of Nico Fox

     

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     The idea of having a film made about yourself, narcissist or not, sounds great in theory. You get to watch a ninety-plus minute, romanticized version of you played by a better-looking actor or actress on screen and see how you’re perceived by others, which most have always wondered about— at least, I do.

    Yet, the 2019 film Hustlers' real-life protagonist Samantha Barbash, played by Jennifer Lopez, is unhappy with the way she was portrayed and is now suing the actresses production company for $40 million dollars. Maybe unhappy is an understatement.

    Hustlers was inspired by the Jessica Pressler New York Magazine article about “A modern Robin Hood story: the strippers who stole from (mostly) rich, (usually) disgusting men and gave to, well, themselves.” As the title suggests, strippers, who were led by Barbash, often drugged their clients and stole from them while they were unconscious and inebriated. These clients also happened to work on Wall Street, meaning it wasn’t just a couple of hundred dollars; it was estimated that the group stole around $200,000. Barbash was eventually convicted and pled guilty to the charges which included assault, conspiracy, and grand larceny, resulting in five years probation.

    But, despite Pressler’s article and coverage in the media, Barbash feels the way her story was told is inaccurate, particularly in the film. In an interview for Vanity Fair, Barbash mentions the aspects that stood out to her, from Lopez’s mannerism to concocting drug mixtures with her daughter- which never happened. Further, these depictions jarred Barbash, “I’m actually offended by that. That’s attacking my character. I’m a mother. My son is grown. But I’m still a mother,” she said.

    Barbash was asked to contribute to the making of Hustlers but declined due to the compensation. “I’m a businesswoman. J. Lo doesn’t work for free. Why would I? At the end of the day, I have bags that are worth more than what they wanted to pay me,” she said.

    The film did well among critics and in figures, grossing over $33 million the first weekend of its release. After numerous people asking if Barbash had watched Hustlers as well as its popularity she figured she’d go and see it for herself and was somewhat disappointed. So much so, that she filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Nuyorican Productions for exploiting her image and proceeding to use it anyway, without any waivers being signed by Barbash. She is seeking $40 million dollars in total, half for compensation and the other for punitive damages.

    “Defendants did not take caution to protect the rights of Ms. Barbash by creating a fictionalized character, or by creating a composite of characters to render JLO’s character a new fictitious one; rather they engaged in a systematic effort to make it well-known that JLO was playing Ms. Barbash,” the lawsuit reads, reported by Page Six. It also includes halting producing copies of the film.

    It’s a gray area because although the film didn’t have consent from Barbash to tell her story, it was public interest and it’s not the first occurrence of the media using someone’s identity for profit. Still, in this age, anyone can become an unwanted viral meme overnight, be catfished, have multiple "finstas" and have our Google searches and likes saved to an unknown database. The internet has skewed the concept of identity and will continue to.

    Image Courtesy of TMZ via YouTube

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    Meet Sarah Potter: curator, Tarot reader, and color magic practitioner from Brooklyn, New York City. Known for her insightful tarot readings, Sarah Potter (@iamsarahpotter) also is not just a magic woman, she's also a well-known artistic director.

    BUST sat down with Ms. Potter to discuss her career, Tarot, art, and magic. She will be teaming up with Kristen Sollee (@kristenkorvette) for a wonderful workshop titled “Sex & Color Magic: Riding the Rainbow" at the BUST School For Creative Living in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on Sunday, December 9. 

    You’re a curator, Tarot reader, and color magic practitioner. How do all these different things work together in your craft?

    I am totally stimulated by visuals. All three of these facets of my work all feed my "metaphoric well" of inspiration. As a curator, I create experiential exhibitions that explore the ideas of modern-day mysticism and allow viewers to feel the impact of the visual arts on all of their senses. As a Tarot reader, I respond to the visuals of the deck I use with my clients as I intuitively follow the guidance of the story coming through. Through my Color Magic workshops, I give students the tools to use color intuitively in their own lives to evoke specific intentions to positively imp at their own lives. We can use the power of color to change everything, flip our perspectives, and majorly manifest all of our desires. All three of my business are about following your intuition and face to face connection. I want you to FEEL SOMETHING. We need that so badly, right now. Social media is so wonderful and connective, but it can have the opposite effect, too. I want to get people out of their homes, put their screens down, and feel some real connections together. This is one of the main reasons of why I host so many exhibitions, workshops, and lectures in the physical realm and offline.

    When did you discover your interest in magic and tarot?

    Magic has always been a part of my life. My mom is a very spiritual person and encouraged the development of my intuition from a very early age. I was drawn to witchcraft and Tarot at the same time. I was 12, an age where our power is beginning to awaken and we start to question everything. This is the age in so many cultures and religions where we start to see "rites of adulthood," and it is a time when I feel like a lot of witches feel their call. Honestly, I was completely drawn to the visuals of the covers of the witch books in the spirituality section of Barnes and Noble. (The late '90s had a very interesting aesthetic language going on!) I saw stacks of Tarot decks at this store called East Meets West in the local mall (one of those shops that sold candles and incense and Grateful Dead stuff and dragon sculptures...I have no idea why I was in there at 12). I remember being totally entranced and fixated by all of the imagery of the different decks and purchased myself the Rider-Waite Tarot deck because there was something to intoxicating & powerful about that Magician on the cover of the box. I am still using that deck for readings! My interest in Tarot led me to an interest in witchcraft, so I picked up two books: Silver Ravenwolf's To Ride a Silver Broomstick (with cover art looked like something that would be airbrushed on the side of a purple van, I mean this in the most glamorous way possible) and Helping Yourself with White Witchcraft by Al G Manning. These were pretty crone-y books to pick up as a 12-year-old, but magic is potent and I believe we are drawn to what we need. It has stayed with me ever since. 

    What is Color Magic?

    Color Magic is the practice of using the full color spectrum with specific intention to invoke a magical response. Each color has its own vibration and ability to evoke a specific mood or feeling. Through my Color Magic workshops and lectures, I give people the tools to intentionally use color in their own lives to affect their moods, project who they are to the outside world, and manifest all of their desires. Color is so empowering, and I want everyone to feel that, especially for women and femme-identifying people. Society has conditioned women to not ask for what they want, to not show desire: desire for sex, for money, to conquer our biggest goals and highest aspirations. That has always been the "typically masculine" way of living. I am so over that, and now we are seeing that society is so over that way of thinking. Things are finally starting to change. I want the magic of color to embolden everyone to go after everything they want in this lifetime! It sounds like a lofty goal, right? What does wearing a certain color or painting my bedroom or my nails a certain shade have to do with getting paid the rate I deserve??! I swear, it is all connected. Color can truly be the first step in changing your mindset to bring in everything you have ever wanted. I have been teaching this workshop for over a year now, and I love when past participants come back to me with updates on how color has positively impacted their lives since they started using Color Magic. It's just the best.

    What color best represents you?

    I love so many colors for their specific intentions, but overall, my favorite color is pink. I love the duality of this potent color. Think about a sweet baby pink versus a vibrant magenta or fuchsia. They both make you feel so differently, right? I think every shade of pink is such a power color. It's the most punk color on the spectrum, a true shaker-upper, and beyond that, it's just such a happy color. Pink is the color of love, and more importantly, self-love. We show others how to treat us, and if we treat ourselves badly, how do we expect others to not do the same? Set the standard, and set it very high! We could all use a little more pink in our lives.

     
     
     
     
     
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    O M G guys December is shaping up to be filled with so many fun events!! ✨I am so psyched to let you know that @kristenkorvette and I will be offering our wildly popular, super fun & informative workshop “Sex & Color Magic : Riding the Rainbow” as part of @bust_magazine ‘s School for Creative Living at the #bustcraftacular in Brooklyn!! ✨?✨This workshop is one of my absolute favorites to teach because I get to team up with Kristen (author of one of my fave books “Witches, Sluts, Feminists” & forthcoming #catcallbook plus she’s majorly magical and such a good friend ?) Because this is a special occasion & we all deserve a holiday treat right now, we are able to offer this class at a discounted rate! ? How sweet is that?! Our workshop is at 4 PM on Sunday, December 9 & tickets may be purchased a la cart or as part of an all access pass! Check out the full schedule because there are so many amazing panels, lectures & classes being offered! ? Reserve your ticket now via the link in my bio as space is limited ✨??? I am SO excited!! Let me know if you’ll be joining us ?

    A post shared by Sarah Potter (@iamsarahpotter) on

    You’re doing an event with Kristen Sollee at the BUST Craftacular—tell me about your event.

    Earlier this year, Kristen and I teamed up to create our workshop "Sex & Color Magic: Riding the Rainbow," an introductory class to explore sensual synesthesia and the intersection of sex magic and color magic. We go over the connection between color, sex, and witchcraft with a combination of history and practical application. We will be offering this workshop as part of the BUST School for Creative Living at the BUST Craftacular event on December 9 at the Brooklyn Expo Center. I love working with Kristen and I love this class so much. We also have a really fun activity portion of the workshop, so everyone gets to leave with a little something they create with us.

    You’re also a Tarot reader. When did you start reading cards?

    I started reading cards when I was 12 years old when I got that Rider-Waite deck from the mall. I have always been a weirdo, but I am very lucky in the fact that I have always been surrounded by other weirdos. My best friend was also a little witch and her mother read cards, so she taught us all about Tarot and how to to do readings. We were doing readings that were very pertinent to middle school girls: who has a crush on us? (I mean, let's be real, the most popular questions clients come to me with is regarding their love life. We never grow out of that, and why should we?) We would hustle our classmates in gym class and do readings for a few dollars. (I have always been an entrepreneur). We definitely got into trouble for that, but if you aren't shaking things up, then are you even doing anything? I have been reading ever since.

    As I got older, I became pretty shy about my spirituality and kept it more private, but I continued to use that same deck to help me with all of my decision-making. Magic has always been a part of my life, and a few years ago, after a series of events, I did not want to keep it so secretive. I started talking about it more—how I use my magical practice in my art world business and how it truly encompasses every part of what I do. I was scared that people wouldn't take me seriously or view me as a woo-woo lady on another planet with her head in the clouds. I think it is incredibly important to face your fears, though, and I was blown away by the response. People seemed to respect me more, and my business grew as I was more in touch with my true self. I feel very lucky and privileged to be a woman who is openly a witch and run successful businesses based on that notion.

    How long have you been reading Tarot cards?

    Over two decades now, can you believe it? And I am always still learning. I love hearing other readers' perspectives on different cards, and I am always seeking new books to read and research so I can be the sharpest I can be for my clients. I want everyone to leave a session with closure on whatever they are seeking.

    What Tarot card resonates the most with you?

    When I was a teenager, my card was the Three of Swords. Three of Swords?! Who chooses that card?? An emotional teenager totally in her feelings and listening to way too much emo music in the early 2000s. The Three of Swords is the card of heartbreak, the card of utter sorrow and emotional pain. I identified with that card up until a few years ago. After a series of events and my own "awakening," I began a new path to change everything in my life. I had fallen away from my intuition and needs to rebuild a path with my own Divine Feminine. In that moment, I consciously chose to separate myself from the card of emotional pain, and chose a new card, The High Priestess, as my identifier. I love this card so much. The High Priestess is the card of our intuition, the agent of both the conscious and subconscious realms, the keeper of secrets. She reminds me that I hold my own power, and that my own intuition is so powerful and I should allow it to guide me in every aspect of my life: work, personal, the people I surround myself with, and the readings I give to my clients. She symbolizes the Divine Feminine, duality, and our subconscious. She is the ultimate symbol of what being a woman means to me: accepting your shadow side, trusting your instincts, and reveling in your own power. It is okay to feel instead of to think. Isn't she just so amazing and incredible? There is a reason she is the card of so many witches and mystics.

    Tell me about your love affair with the Tarot.

    I love Tarot so much, I could talk about it all day and all night. Everything is in there. Every story, every feeling, every explanation. Those archetypes hit on everything. Every magical babe has their thing, and Tarot is just the language I resonate with. When I start shuffling those cards and laying them out, I am always confident that whatever my client is questioning, it will be revealed right here. It is literally "all in the cards." And you can't hide from it what it is going to say to you. One of my favorite stories to share is that I was doing a reading for one of my closest friends, and a younger man kept showing up in the cards. I was like, who is this young, promiscuous man??!  I had no idea who this guy was, but I kept revealing more and more information, and it turns out that it was a much-younger secret boyfriend she had not told me about yet. And guess what, he was cheating on her, and they were currently having an argument about it. The cards bring it out! She always uses that story to recommend me to other people, and we always laugh about it because you really can't hide anything from me and those cards.

    I get a lot of first-timers, which I LOVE, and often people tell me they are a little scared. Am I going to tell you that you are going to die? That's literally the first thing everyone asks me when they are scared—and guess what, guys, we are all going to die, but that's probably not going to come out in our readings. Sometimes I have to deliver some difficult messages, but I always do it with sensitivity.

    Tarot is something I feel completely confident in, and I want to share that love with everyone. I take this work very seriously. It's part of the reason I maintain my health and sleep schedule and stay 100 for my clients. A lot of people ask me if I am drained by clients and readings, and honestly, it energizes me. I can do four back-to-back hour-long private sessions and bounce out of the studio to dinner with friends afterwards. This business has brought a new balance and better boundaries into my life. It is so wonderful. I love connecting with clients through this language and being able to offer a new perspective or illuminate what is happening in the shadows for them. Nothing makes me feel better than when clients tell me that changes they have made in their lives after our sessions. I swear, it often happens within hours. We all deserve to live our best lives, and if our Tarot sessions together can be the catalyst, what's better than that? 

    How can people get in touch with you?

    I love connecting with people on social media, especially on Instagram (@iamsarahpotter). I start every day with a daily card pull and intuitive reading for all of my followers which I post on my Story. For a personal reading, send me an email TarotWithSarahPotter@gmail.com. I offer my clients private sessions in their homes or via FaceTime / Skype, and I also have sessions at my studio within Black Iris Tattoo in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. I love being a part of the Black Iris family, which is so much more than a tattoo studio. All of the artists are incredible; there is a little metaphysical shop up front, and they host weekly community workshops about astrology, magick, and so much more.

    Photo courtesy Sarah Potter

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