Up-and-coming short film aims to shed light on contrasting conceptions of race in Brazil and the United States in Camila Franco Ribeiro Gomide’s Directorial Debut.

Promotional image from the film’s Seed and Spark Campaign, courtesy of the artists involved.

Brazilian-born Sound Mixer and aspiring debut Director Camila Franco Ribeiro Gomide, alongside representatives from Boob Sweat and Lexicon Media Productions, recently sat down with Muse Factory for a chat about their upcoming short film Cu Cus Clã and their fundraising efforts to get the film off the ground.

“Cu Cus Clã,” sort of play-on-words based on a Brazilian mispronunciation of “Ku Klux Klan,” tells the story of a young Brazilian man who comes to the…


A portrait of Collier from the set of Beard Game Commandments. Photo courtesy of Ameni Nagas (IG: portraitsbyameni)

The artist recently released a music video titled “Beard Game Commandments in an effort to promote beard oil and Baltimore’s local economy.

Baltimore-based Performance and Teaching artist Jamaal “Black Root” Collier released a music video in late 2020 titled Beard Game Commandments. The song is based on Notorious B.I.G’s hip hop classic The Ten Crack Commandments but with a self-care twist due to Collier’s desire to help local businesses, many of which sell products related to self-care and fashion.

As the title might suggest, the song is about beards and how to groom them. In fact, during the production of…


The author just released The Immigrant Girl’s Garden and has her eyes set on her next project titled Fereydoon and the Serpent King.

An illustration featured in Tamaddon’s book Yalda Night, courtesy of the author’s Instragram.

Children’s Book Author and Illustrator Anahita Tamaddon describes herself as a “cultural nomad.” Tamaddon was born in Soviet-Tajikistan and hails from the country’s capital, Dushanbe. Like several other former-Soviet nations, Tajikistan experienced a civil war in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse. In October of 1992, Tamaddon left her native home as a refugee at the age of 17 and has called Berkeley, California home ever since. Tamaddon also holds a Ph.D. …


Written by Ilona Nakshun and Lera Nakshun

Ponder’s work was featured in Greek Myths, a recently-published anthology of ancient Greek stories by Jean Menzies.

Katie Ponder’s illustration of Pandora featured in Greek Myths by Jean Menzies. Image credit: Katie Ponder and Mendola Artists

London-based illustrator Katie Ponder’s artwork reimagines vintage imagery for modern audiences. Ponder’s work, with its lifelike contrasting textures and static posturing, is heavily influenced by art deco, theatre, and a taste for the gothic. Her characters, unmoving in their statuesque poses, seem frozen in time — furthering playing up the nostalgia of her old school theatre references. Despite the two-dimensional visuals that make up her artwork, Ponder is very much influenced by music and dance.


The Periwinkle Planet offers up an exciting new world, the foundation for an intricate magic system, social commentary, and more.

“Two ancient Asucross,” an illustration by Danielle Battle. Image courtesy of the artist.

The Periwinkle Planet is a new online zine created by the Dream Drafters, a duo consisting of artist, graphic designer, and illustrator Danielle Battle and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s science writer Amy Klarup. The publication features short stories, lore, and poetry written by Klarup, centered on the native populations of the fictional lands of Gora, the titular periwinkle planet the duo dreamed up together.

“It’s always been a dream to create a zine like this,” Battle said in a…


Musician Loolwa Khazzoom sits down to discuss her new song “Cancer is My Engine,” her musical reawakening, and that time she chased Yemeni-Israeli superstar Ofra Haza

Iraqis in Pajamas, left to right: Sean Sebastian, Loolwa Khazzoom and Robbie Morsehead (photo courtesy of Iraqis in Pajamas and photographer Ettie Wahl)

Loolwa Khazzoom, the frontwoman of the band Iraqis in Pajamas, is a woman of complexity. Her first name Loolwa means “a pearl in a million” in the Iraqi Judaeo-Arabic language of her ancestors. Khazzoom was brought up by an American Jewish mother and an Iraqi Jewish father in California, and her unique heritage has shaped much of her identity growing up.

“I was born a musician. I started singing before I started talking,” Khazzoom told me in our conversation. As we talked on Zoom over the complexities of growing up with Middle Eastern ancestry in America, I noticed the familiar…


Painter Victoria Garcia talks Green New Deal, the fashion industry, and the healing power of art.

Spring Awakening (2019), oil and gold leaf on canvas

Victoria Garcia’s main sources of inspiration come from many places. Nature, mythology, and history, specifically Japanese, Greek, and Mexican, all play a role in shaping her artistic approach. Throughout her creative journey, she’s also been heavily influenced by the Art Nouveau and Impressionist movements.

“Their stylization of natural forms, use of bright, bold colors and the way these artists were able to make present everyday objects, like a lamp or a landscape, in a way that transformed them from something mundane to something memorable…


An Edinburgh painter learns the fame of Italian megastar Adriano Celentano in a comedy of fortunate circumstances.

Mould’s paintings of artists: Frida (left) and Vincent (right), 2020, acrylics on board, courtesy of artist

Like the lyrics of Marry Poppins’ “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Prisencolinensinainciusol,” the name of Adriano Celentano’s 1972 hit single, is a nonsensical word. To an English speaker, this is obvious, but when you put together catchy rhythms, a killer ballet, and a fake American accent, “Prisencolinensinainciusol” starts to sound a little bit like English, and that is the point.

On November 26, 2020, Edinburgh-based artist Harry Mould posted the following tweet, highlighting Celentano and wife Claudia Mori’s music video for the single.

As Mould mentioned…


Illustration by Kazakhstani artist Erden Zikibay

Due to the release of the highly-publicized film Borat 2 or Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, many Kazakh people are annoyed. As a former Soviet minority, I am trying to justify to myself that Borat 2 is okay to laugh at and enjoy and also support the Kazakh people, many of whom feel invisible when their voices of concern regarding negative blowback and stereotypes aren’t heard in the media.

“I chose Kazakhstan because it was a place that almost nobody in the U.S. knew anything about, which…


Photo by Tiffany Tertipes on Unsplash

So here’s the thing. I noticed a trend in the rhetoric of many Democratic politicians, liberal media outlets, friends, and coworkers when they talk about basically anybody who isn’t white. When discussing politics, social disparities, and economic strife, the aforementioned groups often use the term “Black and Brown individuals” to, uhh, I dunno…lump in a bunch of very different people into one all-encompassing label. If this doesn’t sound problematic to you, let me explain.

Yes, America has a long and ugly history of racism, chattel slavery, the Civil War, Jim Crow, and the legacy of these tremendous stains on the…

Lera Nakshun

@lerachkajan Culture, Art, Lifestyle valeriyanakshun.com

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