Sister Spit 1997 Tour Diary Flashback #2!

In honor of the SISTER SPIT 2014 FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN, I present another offering from the 1997 Sister Spit Tour Diary!  This entry was written from a CYBER CAFE by one of the Valencia directors Samuael Topiary!!!

DAY 4 or 5, from topiary

Hello and hope you are well. We are now on day 4 or is it 5? Driving all night through major heat and find ourselves in Tuscon.

After nice opening shows in Santa Cruz and LA, we really hit our stride in Las Vegas, out-performing ourselves to a rowdy and diverse Vegas crowd of locals, a mix of heckling straight men and appreciative dykes and many others in between. Our most excellent and talented host Dave had hooked us up w/ free rooms at the illustrious Stardust Casino and even got us a grant from the Nevada State Council on the Arts. The free “ass juice” the bar kept doling out definitely heightened the energy. Heckling was raised to a new level. And believe it or not, we even did a second set!
I think it’s safe to report that we all had a blast in Vegas especially after Ali treated some of us to her expert slot machine techniques.

It’s fucking hot as hell here in Tucson and we’re all a bit punchy now after driving all night from Vegas to Tucson. Am writing you from the cyber cafe next to the Hotel Congress.

Hit a traffic jam in the middle of the desert on the road from Vegas to here at about 3 am. We wondered about the alien abduction possibilities, but it turns out there was a murder…. probably by human hands, though. The landscape is surreal here.

I lost $3 to the nickel slots. It’s very hot in the van. We have to drive at night and sleep by day. Wish we had more time in Tucson, it seem so interesting, picturesque.

The tour is really starting to get rolling now. I can feel us as a show gelling, getting the hang of it, getting funnier and easier and less precious with each other. The traveling is harsh, though.

PLEASE HELP SUPPORT THE SISTER SPIT TRADITION!  We are asking for help from the community to keep this tour going.  Consider contributing to our FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN and please SHARE! 

#FBF: A PAGE FROM THE SISTER SPIT 1997 DIARY

In honor of the SISTER SPIT 2014 FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN we’ve dug deep into the Sister Spit archives for some must-see-gems from the vault.  So today, for your #FBF viewing pleasure, I present DAY 33 of the Sister Spit Tour Diary 1997, written by Michelle Tea.

Below is it exactly as it appeared on the ’97 website:


DAY 33, michelle

Greetings from the illegal insides of the Budget Cargo Van!

I’m bouncing & rocking all over the place as the van zooms out of Cleveland and on towards Detroit. This whole part of the country – particularly the east coast (is this still the east coast?) – has been such a crazy whirlwind.

Philadelphia was a great all-ages show at the new gay center, we each got to do one piece written by someone else on the tour, something we’d been talking about doing for a while. It was pretty hysterical, the big highlights were Ali doing Sini, complete with the trademark yellow glasses; Sini doing Eileen’s ‘Merk’ in pure Sini fashion – very loud, with a couple “Fucking”s thrown in. And Eileen doing Tara aka ‘Pantena’ was completely insane, performed in some kind of weird snooty british accent, wearing a feather boa, doing Pantena’s strange yoga-ish moves on the floor. I was a little afraid our gigantic in-joke performance would bore & alienate the audience, but they really liked it.

After Phili was New York, where all the girls were split apart, staying at different houses and it felt more like a weird vacation than the tour. I saw Rod Stewert eating breakfast, he looked really bad but I still got excited seeing him. I went to see the Cindy Sherman show at MoMA, it was sponsored by Madonna, who Eileen believes should sponsor next year’s Roadshow. So if anyone knows how to get in touch with Maddy, please let me know. And did anyone read her goodbye to Versace in Time? What a fucking idiot! I’m so sorry she won’t get to stay in his villa & be pampered anymore, this must be a really hard time for her. But I still would like her to kick down some cash to our traveling all-girl literary revolution.

ANYWAY, NYC was rad, a little show at Rising Cafe in Brooklyn, and a sold-out house at P.S.122, a show Topiary & Eileen put together from the road, a very tricky thing. It was a great night. Next was Boston, another sold-out, people turned away at the door, standing-room-only show – can you deal with all these people coming out for poetry!!! It’s pretty fucking incredible.

Boston was wall-to-wall excellent girls, and there were a bunch of moms & assorted family members in attendance, including my own. It was the first time she ever heard me read, actually it was the first spoken word event, lesbian event, weirdo event, whatever event for my mom, and I think she held up pretty well & even enjoyed herself, though she was also slightly disturbed.  It’s good to periodically disturb your mother, don’t you think? Ali’s mom stole the show, joining her daughter on stage to read her lines from Ali’s piece “The Story of Slutty.” She made all kinds of great exasperated mom faces while Ali read about being 15 years old smoking pot in a changing stall with a 27-year-old floosie.

Next was fantastic Provincetown, by far the hardest place for us to leave. Well, it was hard getting out of New York, but that was because Cherie took the wrong train and got lost in Queens for 2 hours. But Provincetown was fabulous! Another packed show, where we were joined by local poet Kathe Izzo, the lady responsible for the terrific event. Kim Silver & Annie Sprinkle opened their homes to us vagabonds, and Annie taught Ali a new boob trick – how to light matches off her nipples. She nearly got arrested on Commercial Street one night lighting up her tits for our entertainment. You’d think the cops in P-Town would have more of a sense of humor. A bunch of girls went whale-watching and had very spiritual experiences watching the humungous mammals flip around and wave their fins. Cherie, who used to live in P-Town, took us across the breakwater to her secret swimming hole, and we swam with the crabs & minnows, and I held a couple starfish and as you could guess that was pretty cool. We got some good illegal tattoos from Cherie’s friend Chris – tattoos are still illegal in Massachusets, and you still can’t buy booze on Sundays either. Coming into town right as we were leaving was Club Casanova – a very swanky & hilarious drag king show from New York City. We got to catch their act the night we left, Mo B. Dick, Dred, Will Doher and Labio, Fabio younger brother. Cherie & Sash hopped onstage and sang a country song as a pair of incestuous brothers recently kicked off the Garth Brooks tour for their forbidden love. Finally we tore ourselves away from Provincetown. It was very hard.

Back in the van for an overnight 15-hour drive to Buffalo, we haven’t had to haul ass like that since Texas! We were like a bunch of 7-11 hot dogs on one of those rotating hotdog warmers, all of us lined up & sleeping in the back of the Budget. In Buffalo we were welcomed into the House of Kate, who not only put most of us up in her huge & excellent house, but also kept us thoroughly entertained. Our show at Hallwalls was great and very, very bittersweet because it was the final show of the original Sister Spit line-up. Marci & Ali have since returned to their lives in San Francisco & New York, and Eileen is off writing in the woods at a writer’s colony in upstate New York. I don’t have to tell you that we miss them a lot. Marci was a really good, solid, sensitive & stable girl to have on the tour. Ali is not exactly stable, but her constant humor & sweetness even in the tensest of situations, is sorely missed. Plus, Sash has lost her drink…

(……oops!!!!…here’s where michelle ran out of batteries … we’ll get the rest of the story soon!)

BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE SISTER SPIT 2014 FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN! 

Dr. Michelle Tea on Literary Ladies

 

Dr. Tea Explains It All

We at RADAR Productions can’t get it together to film everything we do but thank god it’s 2011 and everyone has a phone/videorecorder/canopener/sweatervest.

 

 

Keeping Bookstores Alive, One Purchase At A Time

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Hello, Readers! And by that I mean readers of books, real books, the kind made with paper. I know you utilize many other vehicles for text, like this here computer or your kindle or your phones or whatev, but I am presuming that if you’re reading this blog you probably have some sort of romantic – if not practical – attachment to books. I like books for a billion reasons – I like the intimacy of holding one close to my body, I like the tactile sensation of turning pages, I like purchasing clever little bookmarks (a sort of book-accessory), I like fonts, I like cover art, I like the intense history of the book and feeling like part of that tradition – that’s the romance of it. I like when a book has a musty, bookish smell, it smells like history. As a writer I like books cause – as pointed out to me by wise Dave Eggers – it gives writers something to sign! OMG, that hadn’t occurred to me – in a robotic future when all books are downloaded onto Kindles, how do I sign my ‘books’? And where, if bookstores kicked the bucket, do I go to read from my books? And listen to other people read from theirs? Books are the center of an ecosystems financial, cultural and emotional. Bookstores serve so many purposes – they’re respites of calm intelligence, sometimes even beauty; a place to cruise for smart people; places that employ nerds; places that provide free, smart entertainment in the form of literary readings.

In Ann Arbor Sister Spit performed in a black box theater, the Sh/Aut Bar, which is part of a cluster of queer businesses ringed around a courtyard that I’ve come to call The Homoplex. It’s run by two excellent gays, Keith and Martin (see Keith above), and one of the businesses is Common Language, the last queer bookstore standing in Michigan. More than any other indie bookstore, the queer and feminist ones are dropping like flies, and I have mixed feelings about this – many of them aren’t serving a literary community, and so they’re going to tank. But with queer writers burdened by the various phobias that keep readers from pulling their books off the shelves, the distribution woes of their small presses and the brutal purchase-and-return policies of the chain bookstores, queer bookstores are often some of the few places where you can find books by writers you want to read. Common Language in Ann Arbor is the first place I laid eyes on Leah Lakshmi-Piepezna Samarsina’s Consensual Genocide, and it’s where I learned that Barbara Hammer had written a memoir – and that Feminist Press had published it.

 

Still Life in Minneapolis Hotel I: Nightwood

After our show in Ann Arbor we invited the audience across the courtyard to go book shopping with Sister Spit! Everyone bought something. I was psyched to see former Spit-er Rhiannon Argo’s The Creamsickle on the shelves! I grabbed a copy of one of Rhiannon’s most beloved novels, Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood, which I have managed to never, ever read. I’m excited! So far I’ve only read Jeanette Winterson’s forward, which reminded me how much I love her and reminded me also that I want to re-read The Passion now that I’ve been to Venice (and also now that I’m sober and not Reading Under the Influence, thereby missing a lot of everything). Beth Pickens actually bought Jeanette Winters’ Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, which is so super good. Ali Liebegott decided to investigate Patricia Highsmith and bought The Talented Mister Ripley, and Blake Nelson bought this book about how famous male philosophers all had batshit crazy love lives.

Boswell Book Company is a great and spacious bookstore in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where Sister Spit performed even though it was the owner, Daniel’s, fiftieth birthday! He is such a lover of literature and caretaker of literary types that he just couldn’t allow a bunch of writers to rumble through town with nowhere to read their work! After the show we all went shopping. Bookseller Stacey recommended Sin in the Second City about the famous Everleigh sisters who both ran brothels in in Chicago back in the day, thus coining the phrase ‘to get laid’ (formerly, ‘to get Everleighed’). It looks awesome, but I am so burnt out on any and all sex work lit I decided to take the advice of the many people who told me I must read the YA series The Hunger Games and grab the first installment. I’ve been bullied into reading YA fantasy series, with varying results. Would it be an annoyance, like Harry Potter, or utterly life-changing, like His Dark Materials?

Still Life in Milwaukee Hotel II: Hunger Games

 

For sure His Dark Materials! Hunger Games is, in the slang parlance of the high school students Myriam Gurba teach, vicious! I am so deeply hooked on the awesome girl hunter-gatherer with the great name, Katniss, and am excited to watch as she kills a tragic group of poor kids forced by a horrible, classist nation to murder one another for everyone’s entertainment. I love stories where incredibly dark societies dole out horrid fates by lottery. So chilling! My heart and stomach have knotted together a bunch and no one has even died yet. Myriam Gurba walked out with a copy of Virginie Despentes’ King King Theory, which Blake Nelson was reading earlier in the van and ooing and aahing over it a whole bunch.

It is impossible to find a photo of Orca Books in Olympia where it’s not raining. I’m just saying. Anyway – I love Orca! While I was shopping, the two booksellers, a man and a woman, were trading the latest gossip about the counter-demonstrations awesome locals have been mobilizing against the krazy kristians harassing the Planned Parenthood. The fun-loving feminists have countered with tamborines, guitar amps, amazing signs and the sort of playful enthusiasm one sees at block parties. Way to go, Oly!


I’ve been waiting for A Visit From the Goon Squad to come out in paperback, and was so excited to see it sitting on a table at Orca! I’d just finished an advance reader’s copy of Jennifer Natalya Fink;s 13 Fugues, and was wondering what sort of powerful female literature would be able to follow that spooky, sweaty little book, and Jennifer Egan is perfect! Because, Jennifer Egan is perfect. I grabbed her book Look at Me while on The Sex Workers’ Art Show Tour years ago – sidebar/tangent: I LOVE being on tour because back at home it’s really hard to justify buying books, what with my five bookshelves of unread books taunting and mocking me all day But on tour, on tour one must buy books, to occupy one’s mind during seven-hour drives, to show one’s tourmates what cultured taste in literature one has, and to lend one’s support to these precious independent bookstores! Anyway, Look at Me is so meta and brilliant that it leaves you in total awe of Jennifer Fink’s mind and makes me feels angry inside that she isn’t as massively famous and lauded and read and awarded as all the many Jonathans that rule our country’s literary world. And I’m using Jonathan as a metaphor here. Wait, am I? I don’t know, it’s like one in the morning here in Wisconsin, where I’m typing this. What I mean is, you don’t have to be a Jonathan to be a Jonathan. You can be a Ben or a Michael or a David, and many other names as well. But you can’t be a Jennifer. Cursed world of men ruling everything! Anyway, her book The Keep is a creepy masterpiece as well, and Welcome to the Goon Squad is so fun to read, as you discover it’s structure as you go, and the way she reveals the characters’ destinies, casually and unexpectedly dropped into the prose like little landmines, it’s unexpectedly heartbreaking and made me feel sad about the passage of time and life, but it was a smart, okay sadness, like yeah. I also bought a nautical postcard.

At Carmichael’s Bookstore in Louisville, Kentucky I wondered, What can I get that will extend the excellent high I’m on after reading Welcome to the Goon Squad? I felt committed to picking up another lady writer, it’s just what I wanted to keep grooving on. Alas, it was really hard to find something! Annoyingly hard! I mean yes there was a lot of, not chick-lit per se but, like, whatever the chick lit readers read after they’ve stopped dating and settle down and have a couple kids. Not to knock it, man – pick your poison, I’m glad everyone is reading. I almost bought a cool-looking book by an Irish guy about everyone being drunk in Dublin, but it wasn’t the right moment. I passed a stack of the wonderful Lynne Tillman’s new book, published by the brand new Red Lemonade press, the new publishing project of Soft Skull’s (RIP) Richard Nash, but a copy is getting sent to me, yes! Then I saw a book that had caught my eye – wait, am I BORING YOU GUYS TO FUCKING DEATH RIGHT NOW OR WHAT? This blog seems long. Anyway, I found a bitchin selection – The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich, who I am setting out to be besties with right after I get off this endless tour! It’s a burst of energized gloom, a stream-of-altered-consciousness about a teenaged girl who is sort of running with or getting dragged along by a gang of crusty train-hopping meth heads who may be vampires. Lots of bad things are happening on every page but it’s blurred like a nightmare or a hallucination but the narrator’s voice cuts jagged through it, some heart of hers all gnarled under bad, bad times and she’s looking for a girl she lost who is maybe dead or a ghost or maybe is with her the whole time, or imagined – ? Who cares! It’s like a David Lynch movie, you just climb onto the ride and try not to think too much. Super good. I also grabbed the British fashion magazine Lula, which Beth Pickens, who is currently reading it in the bed next to mine, has declared ‘The nest magazine in the world.’ She also observed that ‘If you live in London it’s like you’re living in Absolutely Fabulous.’ I also bought a New Yorker with a 12-page essay by Jonathan Franzen about how he got so bored by his awesome life that he was feeling suicidal and had to take off to some Robinson Crusoe-type island and scatter David Foster Wallace’s ashes. Which had me vacillating between pure rage and also a boredom strong enough to bring on, yes, thoughts of self-annihilation. Anyway, tonight is Sister Spit’s final show in Chicago, where we will finally roll Myriam Gurba on stage inside her enormous suitcase! I’ve been dying to do this for weeks! Good night.

 

100,000 Words

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Ever since tour hit the east coast it has been a whirlwind! I’ve taken copious notes in the van, interviewed people about their reading materials, and snapped a billion pictures, but have had no time to post! I’m stealing a minute as folks climb ladders and drill holes into the ceiling to hang a screen for our show at Rachel’s Cafe in Bloomington, Indiana – one of our best shows last year and I’m so excited to be here again. It’s done nothing but rain rain rain rain rain everywhere we’ve gone nationwide (Canada, too!), but when we pulled into Virginia a few days ago we were greated by sweet, Southern sun. And to go with it we stopped at a Waffle House for some sweet Southern tea to wash it all down with.

 

Smothered + Covered, ya'll

Sunshine inspres stretching and lite yoga!

Queers in Louisville know how to PARTY! Meaning, they rent a karaoke machine, make a fruit punch and put out a bowl of potato chips! Yeah! Let me tell you all right now that Louisville is like the Portland of the South but better cause it isn’t killing your heart with rain and clouds all day long. The rent is cheap, the old buildings are beautiful and have porches, there are lovely dogwood trees all over the place and the Ohio river is middy and mighty and fills the town with strong water vibrations! If you need to move someplace, move there.

 

This cheap house came with a jacuzzi. For reals.

Beth sang a Hebrew song, Mari did Duran Duran.

Blissed out.

So wholesome!

Our show at the Red Barn on campus.

Disco Moose

We almost stayed the night in a strange dormitory that was formerly a clinic. Luckily Tour Manager Beth Pickens went to her Magic Computer and found us dirt cheap rooms at a joint on the river that had glass elevators and chandeliers and shit like that!

Our show at Bard College was at this space called The Smog which is an old mechanic station for students to fix their VW Bugs in the 60s when it was fashionable to have a Bug and to fix them yourself. Now it is a sort of bombed-out garage with heavy graffiti that hosts shows and skateboarding and whippit-huffing.

I’m so serious! Why else would there just be an empty whipped cream can tossed on the ground amidst beer bottles and cigarette butts? This is what I missed by not going to college – better literary contacts and safe, rural places to huff nitrous. Damn it.

Kirk found the whipped cream can while scouring the forest looking for bits of the earth to make an altar with! That’s nice.

Yony Leyser’s camera is always on, even when you think it’s not! And if the camera isn’t on the voice recorder is – always! What will happen when the documentary comes out and everyone sees what horrible people we are?!?!

 

Amos looks like a total thug.

This dog Stella lives in an antique store in Northhampton, Massachusetts. Not only is she dripping with pearls, she’s got a fabulous pedicure.

I’m so jealous! I need a pedicure bad, Marys! Okay I think our show is starting! Come see us tomorrow (Wednesday) in Ann Arbor!

 

 

 

Sister Spit Hot Topics, plus Terror in the Skies!

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Earthlings, I blog from the sky, aboard a Virgin America flight bound for JFK, surrounded by my Sister Spit comrades. This is sort of the first time Sister Spit has ever flown on a plane – I say sort of because the terrible yet exciting Sister Spit EuroTrash tour of 2009 did survive a flight aboard EasyJet, the Greyhound Bus of the European skies. There is a reason why the flights cost a dollar. I would rather stow away on a tugboat then fly that nightmare again. And speaking of nightmares – we just experienced the WORST TURBULANCE OF OUR LIVES aboard this craft! I am not being dramatic. Tour Manager Beth Pickens clutched my hand on one side and Ali Liebegott’s on the other and hyperventilated madly as the plane rumbled and dipped and rumble-dipped and shook and shook and dipped once more. With the hand that was not being crushed by Pickens’ powerful grip I typed out a farewell email because it suddenly seemed deeply possible and tragically perfect that we would all go down together like Pasty Cline and Buddy Holly, or the entire Polish government. Amos Mac gchatted me, ‘Turbulance, Mary!’ MariNaomi did breathing exercises and shuffled her iPod because she was afraid of dying to an Eric Clapton song. Myriam Gurba was chanting  please god please god please please please please please in her head. Ali whimpered and Kirk Read cackled a rueful, perhaps ironic cackle. Blake Nelson looked around to see if, in their fright, anyone had abandoned a New Yorker he might read. Anyway, things have so calmed down that the black coffee I ordered an hour ago has arrived, delivered by a bubbly and apologetic stewardess who seemed totally unfazed by our near-death experience. So I will return to our regularly scheduled blog post – what we talk about when we talk about things in the van. As follows:

Fibromyalgia.

Adopting cats from shelters.

Drinking during 90s Sister Spit tours.

Kirk Read’s High School lunches. Why it’s not cool to work for free. A boy Myriam Gurba went to High School with who had such a deep dip in his sternum he would eat Captain Crunch from it. Vestigial tails. What you would do if you had one year left to live.

Euthanasia.

Stalkers. Outhouse urban legends. Noteworthy Sister Spit bar fights. What we will eat when we get to Whole Foods. Analyzing the rhetoric of the Bargain Food Mart signage in Watsonville, California.

Oh no guess what? Now I’m at our hotel and I have realized I left my notebook on the PLANE! I no longer have the complete record of what was discussed in the van! To make up for it I leave you with these exclusive, as yet unpublished photos from my digital camera:

Red Bull + pop corn = tour dinner

Big in Arcata

Souvenir shopping in Redwood country – rabbit pelt, burl postcard, cedar bookmark.

Are we having fun? Does a Radical Faerie pee in the woods?

 

 

 

The Merchant is In.

In another lifetime, I would’ve been a shopkeeper. Maybe I would have owned a perfumery.

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Or a haberdashery.

 

There’s something very satisfying about setting up wares and helping the people find the items they want or didn’t even know they wanted. My dad was a car salesman for many years and I inherited his sales gene. I was a top-selling Brownie of the dreaded addictive Girl Scout cookies. Family lore reports that I walked around my father’s Dodge dealership with my broken left arm in a giant cast, sidled up to a poor schlep at his sales desk, plunked the cast down mournfully and asked if they wanted to order some cookies. I remember receiving a large, glittery iron-on patch for my success.

So it makes sense that my favorite moment at each Sister Spit show is arranging the merch table and staffing it all night for excited art-loving audiences. It’s SO FUN to explain Ali Liebegott’s The IHOP Papers, talk about Blake Nelson’s work in Sassy magazine, leaf through Amos Mac’s Original Plumbing issues with a fan, help someone choose which of Michelle Tea’s volumes to purchase, ring up sales of MariNaomi’s popular Kiss & Tell graphic novel, sling Kirk Read’s memoir How I Learned to Snap and answer obsessive fans’ question “Who was that teacher from Long Beach? She was incredible.”

 

That’s Myriam Gurba, I answer. Isn’t she terrifing?
And then they buy everything she wrote, on the spot.

I’m not going to go on a tear about Steve Jobs AGAIN but let’s just say it’s been several weeks and I STILL do not have a goddamn iPad 2 because every Apple store across the country sells about  three a day and those machines go to jerky lurkers who immediately sell the thing on ebay for 150% it’s price. GRR. But we do have on this tour an iTouch which allows me to run credit cards using a little thing called The Square.  This means a LOT more merchandise gets sold meaning artists make more of a living. So excellent! Sister Spit’s leaped into the digital age!
Okay, Pacific Northwest. We’re off to explore more of your beautiful cities and delight in your gastronomic cultures.

Olympia, see you in a few short hours!! Riot Burl!

 

Cool School + Haunted Ship!

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Okay first, Pasadena City College is sort of beautiful. The campus is like totally art deco, but a little modern too, and it totally works and makes you feel glamorous. While sipping a coffee outside before the Queer Alliance meeting a young man walked by in an ascot and fedora and what not, and I was like, Nice outfit! and he solemnly stopped and thanked me with a sincere tip of his hat. I love this school! A bunch of Sister Spit performers crashed the Queer Alliance meeting and talked about being writers. Ali Liebegott wrote an amazing reading list on the dry erase board, with books by Denis Johnson, James Baldwin, Anne Carson, Mei Ng and more. She’ll be posting it here sometime.

MariNaomi can’t let a writing surface go untagged with cute little animals. Speaking of cute, know who was cute? The entire queer student body of Pasadena City College!

Pomp & Circumstance

Now I wanna sniff some glue!

This backpack belongs to a wild Smiths fanatic named Jocelyn. We might go to the LA Smiths convention together! Would that not be amazing or what?

After leaving Pasadena City College we stopped for some froyo and drove to our next stop, Long Beach, where we were spending the night on the Queen Mary, a perfectly preserved 1936 steamer ship! The folks running the boat really hype the possibility of it being haunted, with ghost tours and all that, but I did pick up anything ghostly on my midnight stroll of the giant vessel, just lots of beauteous wooden paneling and olde tyme-y fixtures and art deco elevators. Sister Spit tours are very riches to rags to riches to rags regarding accommodations. Even though we spent the night in retro nautical luxury just a few nights ago, today we are in a sketchballs motel by the Santa Cruz boardwalk with suspicious carpeting and depressing ambiance. Let’s flash back to when times were better:

Good evening, we’re sleeping on a magnificent ship.

I felt classier walking across a floor that looked like this.

Mary, I can’t believe we stayed on the Queen Mary! Mary!

Okay there’s a lot more beauty to show you but I gots to go! I’m on tour!

 

 

 

 

 

How to be Devoted OR I’d Like You to Meet Some of our Fans

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I once followed Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians up and down the coast of California I was so obsessed.  When I met Edie Brickell I passed out in a parking lot, face down.  This is a tamer anecdote of devotion.

I first met Lizzie at our show in LA at the Echo. I’d gone next door to get a bite to eat and when I came back, our tour manager, Beth Pickens said, “A fan just came by and said she almost came to the show tonight dressed as Faggot Dinosaur.” (See earlier posts to understand Faggot Dinosaur reference.)

Wow, I thought. That’s devotion.

Well, last night Lizzie and her friend Ari came to our show at USC!  So great to see repeat fans, especially when they’re as great and cute as Lizzie and Ari.

Ari & Lizzie clean out our merch table

I Think We’re Alone Now

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Oh my god I had no idea that Sister Spit was staying directly across the street from The Palms, Los Angeles’ oldest lez bar! After carrying merch through the USC campus in the midst of an apocalyptic downpour and gorging on the free pizza our host Emily Hella-Tyrannosaurus provided, we needed to blow off  little steam! Sister Spit has Mandatory Fun scheduled into our routines because if something fun doesn’t happen about every four days or so people get all weird and tense brimming with ennui without even realizing it.

This was our bartender, Patti Smith! For realz. Both Patti and Smith are not the rarest of names so certainly there must be oodles of women named Patti Smith out there. When MariNaomi asked Patti what her favorite drink to make was, she replied, “Thirteen Days in a Crack House! It has eight different liquors in it and you can’t taste any of it. It just tastes like peach.” Mari demurred and ordered a Manhattan. The rest of us got Shirley Temples.

The bar was pretty much totally empty and the DJ was playing Madness and Tiffany and Madonna against a backdrop of amazing old videos from Nitzer Eb and T. Rex and The Stooges. So a sort of cognitive dissonance ruled the dance floor, where I wanted to be dancing to what I was looking at but instead I was dancing to the Human League. It was still fun, tho.

Blake Nelson does a cool shuffle on the dance floor while tour manager Beth Pickens loses her mind behind him.

Kirk Read lipsynchs into an air microphone

Dance casualty.

By night Rita works the door at The Palms, but by day she teaches writing to to kids! Her class is called ‘No Spelling, No Grammar, No Punctuation’. I love that class! Says Rita, ‘You got to teach them to get to what’s in here (touches her noggin) and here (touches her heart). Their English teacher can teach them the other stuff.” Love her!

Tonight we perform at Viento y Agua in Long Beach, with our special guest Shira Tarrent. And we are sleeping on a HAUNTED BOAT, the Queen Mary! Mary!

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