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an "advent calendar" of curses and accompanying spellbook reimagining justice inside the empire. featuring original art and text.
an "advent calendar" of curses and accompanying spellbook reimagining justice inside the empire. featuring original art and text.
an "advent calendar" of curses and accompanying spellbook reimagining justice inside the empire. featuring original art and text.
130 backers pledged $15,006 to help bring this project to life.

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AALR Book of Curses

$15,006

130

What is a curse in a broken world? A kind of intervention, a magic, other language that intervenes where existing language is not enough--or part of the problem.

Continuing the work of the AALR Tarot Cards, the AALR BOOK of CURSES is a hybrid, formally dynamic piece of magic and literature, one that opens up how we understand justice, engage injustice, and who gets to decide what counts as each—especially in the era of 45.

To call a curse a curse, to name it a malediction, is to accept an assailant’s eye view of history. It is to look from the vantage point of power upon a challenge to the status quo as necessarily immoral--when that challenge is often the only recourse of the disempowered in a world designed to keep them that way.

The curse, reimagined in this fashion, is justice inside the empire.

Draft of curse glyphs, by Matt Huynh
Draft of curse glyphs, by Matt Huynh

Help us curse colonialism, the English language, elephant poachers, Asian fetishists, white chefs of "ethnic" cuisine, immigrants who close doors behind them, prison guards, abusive partners, killers of hope, those who keep silent, and more! Our BOOK of CURSES includes an "advent calendar," pictured below, so we can count down to next Lunar New Year together, opening each new box to find a curse with illustrated glyph and instructions. In our accompanying spellbook are literary elaborations on each of the curses--essays, poems, fiction, graphic narrative--along with tissue paper to tear out, trace the glyph onto, and burn to release the curse into the world.

Calendar mock-up by Matt Huynh
Calendar mock-up by Matt Huynh


Help us curse into being a new era of justice.

Curses by Li-Young Lee, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Kazim Ali, Monique Truong, Rajiv Mohabir, Brandon Shimoda, RO Kwon, Sally Wen Mao, Ed Lin, Mimi Thi Nguyen, Johanna Hedva, Kai Cheng Thom, Hiromi Itō + Jeffrey Angles, Shailja Patel, Ronak Kapadia, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Regie Cabico, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Shawna Yang Ryan, Brandon Som, Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay, Khaty Xiong, and Nayomi Munaweera, with illustration by Matt Huynh.

All money raised will go to artist payments, printing, and distribution costs. The total cost of the project is approximately $30,000. AALR will commit $15,000 from its operating budget and will need to raise the remaining half. We hope that you will contribute what you can to see this project and its visions for justice come to life.


REWARDS

We are offering a variety of rewards based on the work from this project and a previous project, Open in Emergency: A Special Issue on Asian American Mental Health!

* Tarot Prints: all cards from the Asian American Tarot are available in 5"x7" prints and most are available in 8"x10" ((front and back will be printed on two separate 5"x7" or 8"x10" cards) 

* Glyph Prints: all of the glyphs illustrated by Matt Huynh that accompany the curses in the BOOK of CURSES are available as 5"x7" prints 

* Limited Edition Original Glyph Ink Drawings: 5 original ink drawings by Matt Huynh, available in PEACH, FAMILY TREE, ELEPHANT SKULL, HEART, and SEVERED HAND glyphs.

Limited edition original ink drawings by Matt Huynh
Limited edition original ink drawings by Matt Huynh

* BOOK of CURSES: preorder the BOOK of CURSES! Includes calendar, spellbook, and paper for burning!

* AALR Asian American Tarot: get the full 23-card AALR Asian American Tarot deck along with the BOOK of CURSES!

* AALR x Tommy WARES collaboration t-shirts: AALR is excited to collaborate with Tommy WARES, an ethical apparel company that works with artists to fund social impact investment projects. Their shirts are union-made in the USA out of 70% organic viscose bamboo and 30% organic cotton. As a thank-you for supporting responsible sourcing, Tommy WARES also donates to have a tree planted for every shirt sold. AALR and Tommy WARES have co-designed the following shirts, some of which you can customize further:

  • BOOK OF CURSES: JUSTICE INSIDE THE EMPIRE 
  • THE POINT OF RACISM IS TO KILL US. BUT WE'RE STILL HERE 
  • WHITE FEMINISM IS A HELLUVA DRUG 
  • MERITOCRACY IS A HELLUVA DRUG 
  • [fill in the blank] IS A HELLUVA DRUG 
  • KILLING JOY SINCE [fill in year of birth] 
  • [curse glyph of your choice]
  • [3-card spread of AALR tarot cards of your choice]
Mock-ups of Tshirt designs. Final shirts may vary from images.
Mock-ups of Tshirt designs. Final shirts may vary from images.

* Personalized Reward Package! Kickstarter lets you choose only ONE reward option (per email address) so please first look through to see if there is an existing option that fits you. If there is a combination that you want but don’t see, message us so we can try to set something up for you. If we’re able to arrange something for you, you can use the “Personalized Reward Package” option to make the agreed-upon contribution, and we’ll keep a note in our records of the rewards you want.


SUBMIT YOUR OWN CURSE FOR THE PROJECT! 

We have saved two spots in the calendar and spellbook for guest-contributors! SUBMIT YOUR CURSES HERE!!! Two curses will be chosen from submissions to be included in the issue. Submission deadline is March 11th.

Risks and challenges

The Book of Curses is almost complete, waiting now on final submissions, printing, and collating! We have two different presses completing the project: one printing the calendar, one printing the spellbook and collating the two pieces together. We don't foresee any major issues with completion, only some possible minor delays because of logistics between presses.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    PERSONALIZED REWARD PACKAGE

    Look below to find a reward you like. If you don't see the combo that you want, message us and we can personalize a reward package for you combining various options below! We'll let you know how much you should contribute and then you can use this reward option to make your contribution.

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    5"x7" tarot print

    get a 5"x7" print of an AALR Tarot Card of your choice (front and back printed on two separate 5"x7" cards)

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    8"x10" glyph print

    8"x10" print of Book of Curses glyph of your choice

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    8"x10" tarot print

    8"x10" print of an AALR Tarot Card of your choice (front and back printed on two separate 8"x10" cards)

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    AALR back issue bundle (3 issues)

    collector's item vol. 1 issue 1! plus vol. 3 issue 2 and vol. 5 issue 2. featuring work by Alexander Chee, Paisley Rekdal, David Henry Hwang, Garrett Hongo, Janine Joseph, Ocean Vuong, and Rajiv Mohabir

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    custom AALR x TommyWARES t-shirts

    get a special AALR x TommyWARES collaboration hand-pressed t-shirt! text/image options:
    * BOOK OF CURSES: JUSTICE INSIDE THE EMPIRE
    * THE POINT OF RACISM IS TO KILL US. (BUT WE'RE STILL HERE)
    * WHITE FEMINISM IS A HELLUVA DRUG
    * MERITOCRACY IS A HELLUVA DRUG
    * [fill in the blank] IS A HELLUVA DRUG
    * KILLING JOY SINCE [fill in birth year]
    * [curse glyph of choice]
    * [3-card spread of AALR tarot cards of your choice]

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    AALR Book of Curses

    preorder the Book of Curses! includes calendar, spellbook, and tissue paper for burning.

    PLUS your name listed in issue and online

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    Book of Curses PLUS Asian American Tarot

    preorder the Book of Curses (calendar, spellbook, paper for burning)

    PLUS full 23-card AALR Asian American Tarot deck

    PLUS your name listed in issue and online

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    16 backers
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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    Book of Curses PLUS TommyWARES t-shirt

    preorder the Book of Curses (calendar, spellbook, burning paper)

    PLUS a special AALR x TommyWARES collaboration hand-pressed t-shirt! text/image options:
    * BOOK OF CURSES: JUSTICE INSIDE THE EMPIRE
    * THE POINT OF RACISM IS TO KILL US. (BUT WE'RE STILL HERE)
    * WHITE FEMINISM IS A HELLUVA DRUG
    * MERITOCRACY IS A HELLUVA DRUG
    * [fill in the blank] IS A HELLUVA DRUG
    * KILLING JOY SINCE [fill in birth year]
    * [curse glyph of your choice]
    * [3-card spread of AALR tarot cards of your choice]

    PLUS your name listed in issue and online

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    15 backers
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    Book of Curses PLUS broadside of curse

    broadside printed with text and glyph of curse of your choice

    PLUS the Book of Curses (calendar, spellbook, paper for burning)

    PLUS your name listed in issue and online

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    Book of Curses + AALR Box Set

    preorder the Book of Curses (calendar, spellbook, paper for burning)

    PLUS AALR deluxe box set of 8 of our favorite issues, over 1600 pages of Asian American literary magic!!! Featuring work by Chang-rae Lee, Karen Tei Yamashita, Monique Truong, Maxine Hong Kingston, Ocean Vuong, Kazim Ali, Bao Phi, Anida Yoeu Ali, Afaa Michael Weaver, Hiromi Ito, Anna Kazumi Stahl, Prageeta Sharma, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Cathy Linh Che, and many others.

    PLUS your name listed in issue and online

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    Tarot reading by Mimi + Book of Curses

    get a personal tarot reading by Mimi Khúc, guest editor of Open in Emergency

    PLUS the Book of Curses (calendar, spellbook, paper for burning)

    PLUS your name listed in issue and online

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    Reward no longer available 5 backers
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    personalized curse by AALR editors

    get a personalized curse written by the editors of AALR!

    PLUS the Book of Curses (calendar, spellbook, paper for burning)

    PLUS your name listed in issue and online

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    ltd edition original PEACH glyph drawing

    get a limited edition original ink drawing by Matt Huynh of the PEACH glyph (curse between wives+husbands written by Hiromi Itō+Jeffrey Angles)! (approx 12"x9.5")

    PLUS the Book of Curses (calendar, spellbook, paper for burning)

    PLUS your name listed in issue and online

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    ltd edition original TREE glyph drawing

    get a limited edition original ink drawing by Matt Huynh of the FAMILY TREE glyph (curse of being cast out of a genealogy, written by Shawna Yang Ryan)! (approx 6"x9.5")

    PLUS the Book of Curses (calendar, spellbook, paper for burning)

    PLUS your name listed in issue and online

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    ltd edition original HEART glyph drawing

    get a limited edition original ink drawing by Matt Huynh of the HEART glyph (curse of true love, written by Kai Cheng Thom)! (approx 6"x9.5")

    PLUS the Book of Curses (calendar, spellbook, paper for burning)

    PLUS your name listed in issue and online

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    ltd ed. original HAND glyph drawing

    get a limited edition original ink drawing by Matt Huynh of the SEVERED HAND glyph (curse of the return of hands severed, written by Shailja Patel)! (approx 12"x9.5")

    PLUS the Book of Curses (calendar, spellbook, paper for burning)

    PLUS your name listed in issue and online

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    ltd ed. original ELEPHANT glyph drawing

    get a limited edition original ink drawing by Matt Huynh of the ELEPHANT SKULL glyph (curse of the return of slaughtered elephant parts, written by Aimee Nezhukumatathil)! (approx 12"x9.5")

    PLUS the Book of Curses (calendar, spellbook, paper for burning)

    PLUS your name listed in issue and online

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    Caregiver-level Sponsor

    preorder the Book of Curses (calendar, spellbook, paper for burning)

    PLUS listing in issue and online as Caregiver-level sponsor

    PLUS personalized thank-you note from the AALR editorial team

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    Friend-level Sponsor

    preorder the Book of Curses (calendar, spellbook, paper for burning)

    PLUS listing in issue and online as Friend-level sponsor

    PLUS personalized thank-you note from the AALR editorial team

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    Patron-level Sponsor

    preorder the Book of Curses (calendar, spellbook, paper for burning)

    PLUS listing in issue and online as Patron-level sponsor

    PLUS personalized thank-you note from the AALR editorial team

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    Benefactor-level Sponsor

    preorder the Book of Curses (calendar, spellbook, paper for burning)

    PLUS listing in issue and online as Benefactor-level sponsor

    PLUS personalized thank-you note from the AALR editorial team

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Funding period

- (30 days)