events at red emma's

@ Red Emma's

Historically, artists have inspired the change makers of every era - Aaron Maybin is such an artist. Coming of age in a city that was preparing to erupt as he found himself as a man, as a father, and as an artist - his environment helped to help him figure out how to define himself. This is the true meaning of Art Activism and Art Activism: The Workbook- First he found his voice...then he discovered it was a journey others could take with him and still discover themselves. This collection of paintings, sketches, poems, essays, and music are the audio and visual toolbox to this era we are in now.


@ Red Emma's

Commune is a popular magazine for a new era of revolution. The old political orientations are dead: the center cannot hold. While others offer social democratic fantasy from a past that cannot return, we bring you instead the future, a magazine of politics and culture that knows what so many already intuitively recognize: capitalism can’t be made more tolerable, couldn’t be saved even if we wanted to, and won’t be voted away. We take our inspiration from the movements of our time, publishing writing that reflects and clarifies the creative intelligence at work within them. The answers are in the streets.

Join editors Chloe Watlington and Shyam Khanna from Commune for a discussion of political horizons and pushing beyond them, and how a radical magazine can best advance that process.

@ Red Emma's

February—a month that brings both the mind-numbing hero worship this country falls prey to, as well as the celebration of a people of color who have survived oppression on both sides of the Atlantic. Poetry can helps us navigate this period and stay strong in the Struggle! Join us for an open mic of justice, conscious thought, spirituality, fam, real life—whatever advances the village! In the tradition of Emma Goldman’s “Mother Earth” magazine, come drop some rad “fiyah” on us, or contribute just with your presence and energy! [By the way: it’s a non-erotic venue, so rather than a love/erotica evening, we focus this night on justice and other matters of life. And, almost needless to say, leave the misogyny, homophobia and other unnecessary ish outside!]

@ Red Emma's

Launch party for the new edition of the University of Baltimore's Literary Journal, Welter.

@ Red Emma's

Thread Coffee and Red Emma's are bringing your a joint happy hour! Come through for cocktail and cafe specials featuring Thread coffee, hear about what Thread is up to this year, and revel in the cooperative coffee camaraderie! 

@ Red Emma's

America’s premier health care journalist looks at the VA

U.S. military conflicts abroad have left nine million Americans dependent on the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) for medical care. Their “wounds of war” are treated by the largest hospital system in the country—one that has come under fire from critics in the White House, on Capitol Hill, and in the nation’s media. The resulting public debate about the future of veterans’ health care has pitted VHA patients and their care-givers against politicians and policy-makers who believe that former military personnel would be better served by private health care providers.

This high stakes controversy led Suzanne Gordon, award-winning health care journalist and author, to seek insight from veterans and their families, VHA staff and administrators, advocates for veterans, and proponents of privatization. Gordon spent five years closely observing the VHA’s treatment of patients suffering from service related injuries, physical and mental.

In Wounds of War, Gordon describes how the VHA—tasked with a challenging patient population—does a better job than private sector institutions offering primary and geriatric care, mental health and home care services, and support for patients nearing the end of life. The VHA, Gordon argues, is an integrated health care system worthy of wider emulation, rather than piece-meal dismantling for the benefit of private contractors. In the unusual culture of solidarity between patients and providers that the VHA has fostered, the author finds a working model for higher quality health care and a much-needed alternative to the practice of for-profit medicine.

@ Red Emma's

When millions of people took to the streets for the 2017 Women’s Marches, there was an unmistakable air of uprising, a sense that these marches were launching a powerful new movement to resist a dangerous presidency. But the work that protests do often can’t be seen in the moment. It feels empowering to march, and record numbers of Americans have joined anti-Trump demonstrations, but when and why does marching matter? What exactly do protests do, and how do they help movements win?

In this original and richly illustrated account, organizer and journalist L.A. Kauffman delves into the history of America’s major demonstrations, beginning with the legendary 1963 March on Washington, to reveal the ways protests work and how their character has shifted over time. Using the signs that demonstrators carry as clues to how protests are organized, Kauffman explores the nuanced relationship between the way movements are made and the impact they have. How to Read a Protest sheds new light on the catalytic power of collective action and the decentralized, bottom-up, women-led model for organizing that has transformed what movements look like and what they can accomplish.

@ Red Emma's

In preparation for the culminating display of the Monument Quilt on the National Mall, join FORCE at Red Emma's for a series of happy hours! Connect with the FORCE team and learn how to sign up to volunteer, or just join us to raise a glass to fighting rape culture.

@ Red Emma's

“To say this collection is transgressive, provocative, and brilliant is simply to tell you the truth.” —Roxane Gay, author of Hunger and Bad Feminist

In these eight piercing explorations on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom—award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed—embraces her venerated role as a purveyor of wit, wisdom, and Black Twitter snark about all that is right and much that is wrong with this thing we call society.

Ideas and identity fuse effortlessly in this vibrant collection that on bookshelves is just as at home alongside Rebecca Solnit and bell hooks as it is beside Jeff Chang and Janet Mock. It also fills an important void on those very shelves: a modern black American feminist voice waxing poetic on self and society, serving up a healthy portion of clever prose and southern aphorisms as she covers everything from Saturday Night Live, LinkedIn, and BBQ Becky to sexual violence, infant mortality, and Trump rallies. Thick speaks fearlessly to a range of topics and is far more genre-bending than a typical compendium of personal essays.

An intrepid intellectual force hailed by the likes of Trevor Noah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Oprah, Tressie McMillan Cottom is “among America’s most bracing thinkers on race, gender, and capitalism of our time” (Rebecca Traister). This stunning debut collection—in all its intersectional glory—mines for meaning in places many of us miss, and reveals precisely how the political, the social, and the personal are almost always one and the same.

@ Red Emma's

In conversation with Todd Shepard, JHU scholar of imperialism and sexuality.


The Amphitheater of the Dead is a lightly science-fictionalized memoir by the French thinker Guy Hocquenghem, written in the last months of his life with the intention of prolonging it. “Writing saves,” he writes. “Each time that I started work on a book, I knew I would get to the end. That’s the challenge that I launch with this one, one more time.” From May to the end of June 1988, Hocquenghem worked on this last book, writing in pen from his bed until complications from AIDS developed into paralysis and “his hand no longer responded to commands from his brain,” as his comrade Roland Surzur writes in the preface. He did not get to the end.


Set in 2018, the novel dramatizes the task of living with death, imagining a future of chronic deferral remarkable for depictions of AIDS at the time. The mild futurism (in thirty years, not much has visibly changed beyond bioluminescent houseplants) primarily functions as a way for Hocquenghem to reflect on his midcentury life, though reading it in the actual 2018 brings out surprising juxtapositions and resonances with the present. Hocquenghem’s personal trajectory was singular at the time: he forged a new way of relating to homosexuality in France through his thought, writing and political activity, but in retrospect he feels shockingly familiar. We can see now how the course of his life formed the template for many contemporary queer lives.


Guy Hocquenghem's first book Le Désir homosexuel appeared in 1972, and he produced journalism, films, magazines, and novels until his death in August of 1988. He is considered one of the forebears of queer theory.


Max Fox is a writer and translator, an editor of the New Inquiry, and a founding editor of Pinko Magazine. He lives in Philadelphia.

Join Dave Eberhardt (author of For All the Saints: A Protest Primer) and Brendan Walsh and Willa Bickham of Viva House (and authors of The Long Loneliness in Baltimore) for an evening celebrating the intersections of faith and resistance.

@ Red Emma's

In this lush compendium illustrated with full-color images, the author of The Burlesque Handbook chronicles the history of one of the world’s most beloved fashion patterns—leopard print—celebrating its beauty and place in couture, and the women who have dared to wear it.

In nature, the distinctive markings on big cats served as camouflage, helping them to blend into their surroundings when hunting prey. Unlike these magnificent predators, humans have donned this distinctive animal pattern to be noticed; leopard print demands an audience. Jo Weldon, an expert in the world of burlesque, reveals how this sexy, playful, decadent, and vibrant pattern once reserved for royalty came into vogue and became a staple of fashion.

With the revolution in technology and the rise of mass production in the early 1900s, textiles could be produced quickly and inexpensively, transforming every industry. Couture experienced a creative awakening: colors, prints, and patterns never seen before became ubiquitous. A greater freedom of choice in ready-to-wear clothing gave women the opportunity to express themselves in new styles. From its inception in textile, leopard print—long used as a symbol of a warrior’s power or a ruler’s wealth—became a sensation, adopted by daring trendsetters and members of the avant-garde, including film stars and celebrities such as Carole Lombard and Josephine Baker, who walked her pet Cheetah, Chiquita, on a diamond-encrusted leash. The desire for leopard print continues today as Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and other stars flaunt their feline-inspired spots on film and stage, the catwalk and the red carpet.

With a lively narrative, informative sidebars, and stunning images, Fierce is a must have collection for designers and fashionistas of all kinds.

In Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, Saidiya Hartman examines the revolution of black intimate life that unfolded in Philadelphia and New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. Free love, common-law and transient marriages, serial partners, cohabitation outside of wedlock, queer relations, and single motherhood were among the sweeping changes that altered the character of everyday life and challenged traditional Victorian beliefs about courtship, love, and marriage. Hartman narrates the story of this radical social transformation against the grain of the prevailing century-old argument about the crisis of the black family.

In wrestling with the question of what a free life is, many young black women created forms of intimacy and kinship that were indifferent to the dictates of respectability and outside the bounds of law. They cleaved to and cast off lovers, exchanged sex to subsist, and revised the meaning of marriage. Longing and desire fueled their experiments in how to live. They refused to labor like slaves or to accept degrading conditions of work.

Beautifully written and deeply researched, Wayward Lives recreates the experience of young urban black women who desired an existence qualitatively different than the one that had been scripted for them—domestic service, second-class citizenship, and respectable poverty—and whose intimate revolution was apprehended as crime and pathology. For the first time, young black women are credited with shaping a cultural movement that transformed the urban landscape. Through a melding of history and literary imagination, Wayward Lives recovers their radical aspirations and insurgent desires.

@ Red Emma's

Join us for a presentation and discussion with radical climate sociologist and carbon geographer Daniel Aldana Cohen on the meaning of a Green New Deal—why it matters for Left strategy, and how urban social movements can organize towards it.

Many prominent and well-known figures greatly impacted the civil rights movement, but one of the most influential and unsung leaders of that period was Gloria Richardson. As the leader of the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee (CNAC), a multifaceted liberation campaign formed to target segregation and racial inequality in Cambridge, Maryland, Richardson advocated for economic justice and tactics beyond nonviolent demonstrations. Her philosophies and strategies—including her belief that black people had a right to self–defense—were adopted, often without credit, by a number of civil rights and black power leaders and activists.

The Struggle Is Eternal: Gloria Richardson and Black Liberation explores the largely forgotten but deeply significant life of this central figure and her determination to improve the lives of black people. Using a wide range of source materials, including interviews with Richardson and her personal papers, as well as interviews with dozens of her friends, relatives, and civil rights colleagues, Joseph R. Fitzgerald presents an all-encompassing narrative. From Richardson’s childhood in Baltimore, when her parents taught her the importance of racial pride, through the next eight decades, Fitzgerald relates a detailed and compelling story of her life. He reveals how Richardson’s human rights activism extended far beyond Cambridge and how her leadership style and vision for liberation were embraced by the younger activists of the black power movement, who would carry the struggle on throughout the late 1960s and into the 1970s.

Joining author Joseph R. Fitzgerald will be Dion Banks & Kisha Petticolas of the Eastern Shore Network for Change, to situate Gloria Richardson's life and work within the continuing struggle for racial equity and justice on Maryland's Eastern Shore.