John Sims
Thursday, October 4, 2018, 7:00 p.m., City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco

Multi-media conceptual artist, writer and activist visits City Lights to celebrate the release of his video poem chapbook, A Blazing Grace and the AfroDixieRemixes: The San Francisco Session

Joined by Terry Blackhawk, Sylvia L. Blalock, Drew Dellinger, Tongo Eisen-Martin , and Prentice Powell

The AfroDixie music project confronts the song "Dixie" - the anthem of the Confederacy subversively by remixing, remapping and cross-appropriation with a collection of 14 tracks of Dixie in the many genres of black music: Spiritual, Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Funk Calypso, Samba, Soul, R&B, House, Hip Hop. To critically engage this project with both historical and current social- political-cultural themes, the artist has been hosting listening sessions around the country, inviting poets, artists, scholars, activist and community members to respond to the music. This session has visited Martha's Vineyard Film Center, Detroit Institute of Arts and the Bowery Poetry Club. Special guest poets/writers and performers in the Bay Area will be invited to respond to the various tracks.

This sound performance is a part of the artist's 16-year multi-media project, Recoloration Proclamation, a 16 yearmultimedia project which explores the complexity of identity, cultural appropriation/remixing, white supremacy, visual terrorism in the context of Confederate iconography and African-American culture. This system of works features recolored Confederate flags, a noose hanging installation in Gettysburg, a 13 southern states Confederate flag funeral, videos, site specific performances, a play, a documentary film, the music project AfroDixieRemixes, the annual Burn and Bury Confederate Flag Memorial and most recently the outside performance and Kennedy Museum exhibition of The Proper Way to Hang to a Confederate Flag at Ohio University.  For more context, review John Sims' CNN Op-Ed piece, Don't Resurrect the Confederacy - de-zombify it. 

The City Lights event will feature, as an opening act video poems from the text of Sims' limited edition artist chapbook, Blazing Grace produced especially for this event. The event is also in conjunction with the group exhibition, "Reinterpretation as Resistance: Artists Questioning Normative Iconography" which includes various element of John Sims' RecolorationProclamation. The show is curated by Aaron Wilder at The Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery at San José State University, October 2-November 2, 2018. 

For more info this music, see the infomercial, liner notes, music video, participating musicians. To preview the music tracks go to

John Sims, a Detroit native, is a multi-media conceptual artist, writer and activist creating projects spanning the areas of installation, text, music, film, performance and large scale activism. His main projects are informed by mathematics, the politics of sacred symbols/anniversaries and the agency of poetry. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal,   CNN, NBC News, USA Today, NPR,The Guardian, ThinkProgress, Al Jazeera,  Art in America, Sculpture, BOMB, Science News, Nature and Scientific American. He has written for CNN, Al Jazeera, The Huffington Post, Guernica Magazine, and The Rumpus.

Terry Blackhawk is the founding Director Emerita (1995-2015) of Detroit's acclaimed InsideOut Literary Arts Project, Dr. Terry Blackhawk is a Kresge Arts in Detroit Literary Fellow.  She won the Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize and is the author of seven poetry collections, including Escape Artist, which received the John Ciardi Poetry Prize from BkMk Press. (

Sylvia L. Blalock is a San Francisco native, a singer, writer, spoken word artist. She is the author of "Uprising: a book of poetry" and the host of "Poetry In the Raw" on

Drew Dellinger is a writer, teacher, and speaker living in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is author of Love Letter to the Milky Way and his work has recently appeared in The New York Times,, and Kosmos Quarterly.  @drewdellinger

Originally from San Francisco, Tongo Eisen-Martin is a poet, movement worker and educator. His book titled, "Someone's Dead Already" was nominated for a California Book Award. His latest book "Heaven Is All Goodbyes" was published by the City Lights Pocket Poets series, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and won a California Book Award and an American Book Award.

Prentice Powell is an Oakland native spoken word artist and actor. He has appeared multiple times on the Arsenion Hall show,  five seasons of TV One’sVerses and Flow and most recently in the film Kings: The Short Film.