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Holy goddess, Sister Spit has been trying to get Dorothy Allison in The Van for over a decade, starting back in the punq roq 90s when performers slept in the bathtubs of strangers and brought their dogs on tour and the van broke down every hour on the hour and those in charge were drunk. Can you blame her for not coming? Now that we stay in hotels rather than the ferret-infested government housing of cigarette-smoking pregnant women (true story) and perform mainly in the halls of higher learning rather than the basements of sushi restaurants (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and can guarantee that the tour’s leaders will not be missing overnight due to falling into the gay cocaine underground of Asheville, North Carolina, because they (me) are sober  – well, let’s just say that Growing Up has its perks, and one of them is Sister Spit’s shit it so together that we are finally able to bring Dorothy Allison around the U.S. in the style she deserves, right in time for the 20th Anniversary of Bastard Out of Carolina.

Dorothy Allison has been one of my favorite, most revered writers and readers since reading Bastard Out of Carolina in the early 90s, and then getting to see her read from her work shortly after moving to San Francisco. If you have not read this book you are missing out on a real classic of contemporary fiction, not to mention a queer, feminist and working-class masterpiece. (It was adapted by Showtime starring a baby Jena Malone as young Bone!) Dorothy Allison writes with guts and passion and sass, she pulls you deep into her story in like an expert seducer until her world is your world and you are utterly borne away on her narrative. Basically, she is fucking amazing. And to hear her read her work is a wonder, as her storytelling abilities are as dope as her writing. I’ve seen Dorothy Allison cry during a reading, I’ve seen her crack up,and I’ve seen the audience sit there with their mouth gaped open, falling in love the way you fall in love with someone who can charm you with a story – an ugly story or a pretty story, or an ugly pretty story. So basically, all of us in the Sister Spit Van are preparing to fall in love with Dorothy, and you, our beloved audience, are about to fall in love with her (or, fall in love with her all over again), and to get you started here is this little interview, beginning with the first three questions Sister Spit has always asked our performers, beginning with our first tour in 1997.

Michelle Tea: What is your zodiac sign?

Dorothy Allison: Aries—five houses Aries—so somewhat spontaneous.

MT: What is your favorite road snack?

DA: Dry roasted nuts and diet ginger ale. Now and then some peanut M&M’s.

MT: Your first concert?

DA: It was a stadium show–either the J. Giles Band in Tampa, Florida, 1971–or the Allman Brothers. There certainly were a lot of long guitar solos. I was underage, illegal, stoned, and with this girl who knew exactly what she was doing. We were wrapped in a red plaid blanket and so busy with each other, I think we missed most of the concert. I have kept the blanket and it makes me grin to see it.

MT: What will you be doing on Sister Spit?

DA: God knows…I’ll bring a bunch of stuff and see how it goes.

MT: What is your favorite state in the US?

DA: California, followed closely by North Carolina.

MT: Your favorite US city?

DA: San Francisco for friends and the view off the hills, and New York City for walking and walking and memories I haven’t yet made over into stories.

MT: Where haven’t you been that you’re excited to visit on Sister Spit?

DA: Somehow I have missed out on getting to Tucson—really looking forward to it.

MT: What book/s will you be bringing to read in the van?

DA: Whatever I find near my desk when I pack, and the copy of ‘Oliver Twist’ I have on my iphone.

MT: Have you been on tour before? What was it like?

DA: I have been going round the country for years and years. Best may have been the tour I did for Trash in 1988 when I slept on the guest couch or floor of every little bookstore owner across the country, and intimidated poor Linda at Charis books in Atlanta when I showed up in my leather chaps and black lace blouse. I was sweaty, but determined. She was nervous, but charmed.  Then we started talking about books we loved, and became friends—which is when I learned that Charis Feminist bookstore had started out as a Christian women’s bookstore. “My sweet God!” I said. And ‘Exactly,” Linda replied.

MT: What was your most recent road trip?

DA: My son and I drove up to Ukiah to see a man about a dog. More fun was when my girlfriend and I went down to Santa Cruz on the motorcycle before we traded it for some electrical work on the house.

MT: How do you prepare for a performance?

DA: I hyperventilate and try not to run away.

See Dorothy Allison with Sister Spit April 1st – April 15th.

Catch the San Francisco Kickoff Show April 1st at 2:00pm at the San Francisco Public Library – all ages and FREE!

For complete tour dates, go here:

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