I recently had the awareness-expanding pleasure of attending a Sister Spit performance (Michelle Tea, OMG)! In performance-mode were outstanding poets, writers, performance artists and basically super fantastic humans including: Silas Howard, Nicole J. Georges, Annie Danger, Len Plass and more more more!
A featured local poet, Moe Bowstern, humourously and poignantly conveyed the challenge of working in rural Alaska and negotiating the task of taking up space in a masculine homosocial environment. Space that preferably isn’t linked to being naked in a bedroom, or fishing boat, as her story would have it. Being intoxicated by gender-power, but knowing its costs and responsibilities, she kinda blew my mind.
Poet Laureate Lenelle Moise performed quite a few pieces, causing me to be somewhat heartbroken when it was clear that her set was done. What is it about yelling in feminist spaces that makes you feel sooo rockin’ good? I think we all know the answer. But sometimes it’s worth marvelling at. Her poetry blends the often forcedly-separated experiences of being queer, black and a woman and offers repeated moments of awakening: sharing in the realization that these “exotic” fruits that were a staple of your childhood diet found their way to the dinner tables of other feminists; that accented grannies and aunties were the standard and measure of culturally appropriate femininity back then, and in every continued minute of interaction since. Tell me your story, yes give me something to chant, and watch, just watch, as community builds and strengthens.
Elisha Lim’s shy approach to a discussion of the various butches she’s met, loved, lost and held so dearly is one of the highlights of the show. Her book, 100 Butches, is complete with hand-written tales accompanied by an authentic Lim drawing of each of her memorialized muses. Each butch is canonized, numbered, yes, but celebrated. From admiring androgyny to loving the way someone can lean (in that “I could watch this for hours” way conveyed ever so eloquently by Angela Chase on obsession Jordan Catalano). Lim’s re-imaginings of the perfections and flaws of those she’s desired and been changed by can make an audience go “uhhhhhhh.”
Sister Spit: The Next Generation is currently on tour all over the doggone place showcasing some local talent along the way and offering up brilliant feminist storytelling.