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MF GALAXY

MF GALAXY is a weekly podcast powered by four mighty engines: * Writers on writing: the craft and the business * Pop culture including TV, movies, graphic novels, and more * Progressive politics, activism, and social enterprise * Africentric change-makers, histories, cultures, art, and more! Mixing brand-new interviews with classic conversations (from my archive of 23 years in broadcasting) with famous and dynamic figures in the arts, Hollywood, and politics, MF GALAXY will take you to places you've never been before, and deliver fresh insights on the places you've been.
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Now displaying: July, 2017
Jul 19, 2017

Super Sikh! That's right. He's a Sikh. And he's a secret agent. He's a Punjabi 007 who fights for girls' education and loves the music of Elvis Presley, while holding down a fake I.T. job to convince his parents that he's not risking his life for truth, justice, and the five Ks of the Sikh religion.

Super Sikh is the co-creation of Supreet Singh Manchanda, artist Amit Tayal, and writer Eileen Kaur Alden. While Alden was working on a career in screenwriting, her friend Manchanda approached her about creating a family-friendly Sikh action hero for comic books. They went to Kickstarter looking for $5000 to create their first issue. They got more than $22,000 in pledges, and in 2015 began publishing. Now they're up to issue number four and their fans love the comic enough that several issues have gone into reprints.

The comic has done more than thrill readers with great stories and inspire Sikh kids. Background research for the comic and its title character led its writer, Eileen Kaur Alden, to change her life in one of the most profound ways possible.

On June 17, 2017, I spoke with Alden by Skype. You'll be able to hear her dog yipping in the background of her Oakland home. We discussed:

  • Her work in various creative fields including filmmaking before she began making comics
  • Why Super Sikh loves Elvis but isn't an Elvis impersonator
  • The potential to turn Super Sikh into a movie
  • The degree to which the Super Sikh comic will be historical or political
  • How real-life atrocities in Pakistan mirrored events she'd just written in the comic
  • How readers, especially Sikh readers, have reacted to the comic, and what she hopes they'll do now that Super Sikh is in print.

 

supersikhcomics.com

facebook.com/supersikhcomic

kickstarter.com/projects/eileenalden/super-sikh

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Jul 19, 2017

A few months back I shared with you a panel convened by comix creator, TV writer, documentarian, and filmmaker Brandon Easton from the 2016 San Diego Comic Con Writers' Journey panel full of the specific how-to advice become a professional writer in comics, TV, and film.

In today's episode of MF GALAXY, Brandon Easton is back from the 2015 WonderCon Anaheim Writers' Journey Panel, and this time with actor, television writer, and comix writer Erika Alexander, with screenwriter and comix creator Tony Puryear, with comix critic and writer Hannibal Tabu, and with author, television writer, and indie filmmaker Marc Scott Zicree.

In today's episode of MF GALAXY, they discuss:

  • The single most important procedural and psychological step to take as a writer
  • The value of job-shadowing Rod Serling from beyond the grave
  • How and where you can find the right mentor and why you must
  • Where to find the awful and excellent scripts you need to read
  • The importance of writing your bio right, and
  • The surprising early failure of one of the most successful writers in US history

Many thanks to DeWayne Copeland who recorded the video for this conversation. You can find the complete video online at MFGALAXY.org and a link to Copeland's work, which includes my MF GALAXY conversation with him about his superhero web TV series CV Nation.

Thanks also to Brandon Easton for permission to use the audio; check my many conversations with him in the show archive, and watch for his upcoming film DDX: Department of Disclosure debuting August 18, 2017, starring Anthony Montgomery from Star Trek: Enterprise and Rene Rosado from Major Crimes.

 

Brandon Easton Twitter

Brandon Easton IMDb

Creative Screenwriting.com

Fools' Crusade blog

WonderCon 2015 Writers' Journey panel

Erika Alexander's & Tony Puryear's Concrete Park

Hannibal Tabu.com

Marc Scott Zicree IMDb

Marc Scott Zicree's crowdfunded Space Command

DeWayne Copeland's CV Nation

MF GALAXY interview with DeWayne Copeland on CV Nation

 

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Jul 11, 2017

How many times have you seen pictures of so-called development workers, who heroically and selflessly leave their privileged homes in the West to travel to any one of 54 countries on the African continent—although they’ll usually just say “Africa” as if it were a country?

They go to build houses or schools or work in a clinic, sometimes saying that they’re there to “save” people or even “save Africa,” all one billion of us, despite what is usually zero knowledge of any of the continent’s 3000 or more languages, more than 5000 years of civilisations and ancient literatures, its countless cultures, religions, and philosophies, or its contemporary arts, industry, and politics.

They also usually do not question why, in the case of the often barely-qualified “voluntourists” who build houses or schools, it is better for them to give airlines and hotels hundreds or even thousands of dollars than it is to pay local citizens of those countries to do the work their countries need. Nor do they ask the effects of spending tens of thousands of dollars to pay the salaries of foreign doctors, while also transporting, housing, and feeding them, instead of paying doctors from those countries so they can serve the communities that produced them.

But, so long as they pose for photos holding one of our babies and surrounding themselves with our children so they look like saints in shining skin, everything’s great, right?

Those are some of the concerns that Dr. Geoffrey Anguyo shared with me. He wasn’t interested in being sucked down the brain drain to grab the riches of practicing medicine abroad. He wanted to build his community, and so he created and headed the Kigezi Healthcare Foundation, KIHEFO, in Uganda.

Years ago he was touring Canada to raise awareness about and funds for his organisation which holistically assists people in Uganda’s Kigezi highlands to address hunger, HIV-AIDS, and entrepreneurship. I met him during that tour in Edmonton on June 1, 2011, and we spoke at the office of Change for Children which sponsors KIHEFO’s work. We discussed a range of topics, including:

  • How his childhood led him to study medicine and serve Uganda’s most needy citizens
  • How Uganda’s medical establishment is failing the people it’s supposed to serve
  • Why medical organisations must educate people and fight poverty if they’re going to win the fight against disease
  • The high personal profits some people get from the not-for-profit sector, and the high price that sector exacts on countries such as Uganda
  • Why international funders will fight aids but ignore malaria
  • Why Uganda needs investment and access to capital instead of aid, and
  • How investing in KIHEFO can earn you money while funding KIHEFO’s medical work, in other words, how getting paid is better than giving aid.

He began by explaining how he rose from deprivation to become a doctor for his nation. 

 

facebook.com/KIHEFO

kihefoblog.wordpress.com

twitter.com/KIHEFO

kihefo.org

kigezitours.com

 

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Jul 4, 2017

If you’re an expert on parenting, chances are you’re not a parent. And if you are a parent and you think you’re an expert, you’re probably not an expert either. Being a parent means constant worrying about getting it wrong and wondering if you’ll ever get it right. But at least that’s better than being totally sure you’re right because that’s a really bad sign.

That being said, a few things are starting to become clearer in the 21st century, and one is that trying too hard to be the perfect parent is counter-productive. And another is that if your goal is trophy children instead of happy children with the every-expanding wisdom to chart their own course, your kids probably won’t be happy or able to chart their own course.

Canadian author Carl Honore hit the big time with his 2004 book In Praise of Slow, arguing that people need to, well, chill out. In 2008 he released Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting. While he was born in Scotland he spent much of his childhood in Edmonton, and that’s where I met him way back in 2008 when Under Pressure was a brand-new book, Facebook was only four years old, YouTube was only three, and my first daughter was not yet two. He discussed his views on:

  • Why kids shouldn’t be outsourced to gadgets, and what toys should and should not do for kids
  • What it takes to create well-rounded and creative children
  • Why he agrees with George Lucas about education
  • Just how widespread over-scheduling is
  • How much time children need per day to be free of adult-structured and screen-focused activities
  • How to tell if you’re trying to turn your children into trophies, and
  • Why he disapproves of the movement to teach sign language to babies who can hear

 

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