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RADAR’s Artistic Director Michelle Tea founded RADAR Productions in 2003. In 1994, she co-founded the legendary and long-running Sister Spit all-female open mics; from 1997 to 2000, Tea conducted several national tours by Sister Spit that called attention to the City’s emerging lesbian artists, who performed to sold-out houses across America. Tea has published four memoirs, including the award-winning Valencia, recently adapted into a feature length film shot by 21 independent filmmakers as an epic, collaborative film-arts project; the novel Rose of No Man’s Land, and the poetry collection The Beautiful. She has edited anthologies on topics such female working-class experience (Without a Net), personal narrative (Pills, Thrills, Chills and Heartache), feminist explorations of fashion (It’s So You), and young queer-female literature (Baby, Remember My Name). Her writing has been selected for the collections Best Music Writing, Best American Non-Required Reading, The Outlaw Bible of American Essays, Best American Erotica, The Aunt Lute Anthology of US Women Writers, and many others. Her first YA novel Mermaid in Chelsea Creek was published in 2013 by McSweeney’s.
She has written for publications such as The Believer, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, The San Francisco Weekly, Bitch Magazine, Nerve and others. She writes regular columns for xoJane.com and The Bold Italic. She has been presented with a Goldie Award from the San Francisco Bay Guardian, a Lambda Literary Award, and the prestigious Rona Jaffe Foundation award for exceptional female writers at the start of their careers. In 2006 both the Guardian and the Weekly’s readers polls named her the Bay Area’s Best Writer. Her work has been translated into Italian, Slovenian, Austrian-German, Japanese, Swedish and Spanish (Peru); translations of her work into French and Polish are forthcoming. The San Francisco Arts Commission recently awarded Tea her fifth Individual Artist Commission and she also received an Artistic Innovation Award from Center for Cultural Innovation.
In addition to her prolific literary output, Tea has curated/or emceed more than 1000 Bay Area spoken word events over the past twenty years that have enabled emerging LGBT writers and performers to reach audiences of a significant size. She is founder and of Sister Spit: Next Generation, a queer multimedia literary performance tour that travels the United States and Canada, bringing 6-8 queer artists to audiences exceeding 5,000 annually. As RADAR’s Artistic Director, Tea curates a monthly reading series at the San Francisco Public Library as well other Bay Area venues. She oversees the annual writers’ retreat, served as Executive Producer of the Valencia: The Movie (an experimental film version of her award-winning novel), and is Editor of Sister Spit Press, an imprint of City Lights Press which publishes 2-3 titles annually.