Speaking freely

 Sister Spit in Jamaica Plain
By MEGAN BELL  |  November 6, 2007
Michelle Tea

“Spoken-word” performance has faded somewhat from the public eye since the end of the 1990s, but the creative spirit and DIY ethic of those events remains alive and well, especially in promoter Aliza Shapiro, whose Truth Serum Productions hosted “Sister Spit: The Legendary All-Girl Spoken-Word Roadshow” at Spontaneous Celebrations in Jamaica Plain Sunday night. Sister Spit co-founder, curator, and MC for the evening, novelist, memoirist, and “literary organizer” Michelle Tea, chose the girls for the 31-day, 31-show cross-country marathon in a cramped-looking van — and if the claustrophobic space and rigorous tour schedule was getting to anyone, you wouldn’t know it from their humor and high energy.

Tea, a Chelsea native who now lives in San Francisco, picked women from various disciplines: slam poets, ’zinesters, novelists, performance, visual, and video artists. Dexter Flowers, creator of the ’zine Maybe It Was Something You Ate, shared memories of the moment she realized she was gay: she was watching a butched-out adaptation of Cinderella with her feminist mother. Meliza Banales read from her poetry collection Say It with Your Whole Mouth, a fitting title — not only did she begin by recounting her first threesome, but she fired out all the dirty details with impassioned rhythmic intensity while keeping the mood light. Tara Jepsen, who also fronts a band called Lesbians, read from her novel-in-progress Like a Dog — an excerpt about a boy she had a crush on in high school, culminating in a road trip to the Midwest Marijuana Festival in Wisconsin. The closer, Australian visual artist Texta Queen, donned a red ensemble, a blue cape, and a belt of magic markers to present half-nude portraits of her friends and their “superpowers” — specifically the ability to drive a car, stand up, and dance while in stiletto heels. According to Tea, Sister Spit probably won’t return for another year and a half. The ladies will probably need that much time to recuperate from the month in that van.

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  Topics: Books , Media, Books, Michelle Tea
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