July 1997

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Great expectorations

San Francisco's Sister Spit heads east

by Louise Rafkin

[Sister Spit] Beware, Beantown. The 1997 Sister Spit Rambling Road Show -- the coolest (and cutest) line-up of talented, tattooed, pierced, and purple-pigtailed performance artists the Bay Area has to offer -- is headed your way. Don't say I didn't warn you.

In early July, 10 dykes who cut their literary teeth on the spoken-word stage at California's Coco Club crowded into a couple of groovy vans and began tooling around the country, slinging their savvy poetry in bars and coffeehouses as far afield as Tucson, Houston, and Buffalo. Three weeks, countless cups of coffee, and an indeterminate number of pee-stops later, this queer performance show is about to stop in our little town.

On July 25, the spitters will storm Upstairs at Ryles to deliver what might well be the funkiest literary slam (no small distinction) that Boston/Cambridge has ever seen. Michelle Tea, Sini Anderson, Harriet Dodge, Samuel Topiary, and Cherrie "Duke" Bombardier (fresh from her victory as 1997's Mr. Drag King of San Francisco) are budding literary luminaries whose names might not yet be familiar east of the Rockies -- but they will be.

This gang will be joined by several other all-star spitters who have been performing for years at the weekly Sister Spit open mic, first organized by Anderson and Tea in the Bay Area in 1994. Voted the "best place to hear silver-tongued she-devils" by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Sister Spit events have a reputation as the destination of choice for cutting-edge poetry, hard-hitting dyke musings, and raw, energized theatrical offerings. (Lynn Breedlove, of Tribe 8, once wheeled a dead pig on stage and smeared its blood over the face of a submissive straight guy.) Slam topics will cover the usual: politics, gender-bending, love and loss, sex, sex, and even more sex.

Also participating in this All-American line-up is performance-poetry veteran (and former presidential candidate) Eileen Myles, who will be launching her most recent book, School of Fish (Black Sparrow Press, 1997). The widely published Myles is best known for her edgy, burning accounts of New York's lesbian life and her wry, original cultural commentary -- some of which appears in the magazine Art in America.

If you miss the spit-sisters in Boston, you can catch them in Provincetown, where the girls will dish at the Iguana Grill on July 27.

P.S. They've promised: no pigs.

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