Thursday, March 31, 2011


So we drove to Olympia and had what seemed like a week there. It rained. It felt like Eugene. Wet. Cold. Grimey kids in the street with dogs on ropes. We stayed in a cheerful hotel called The Governor where the people all seemed to hesitate for a moment before addressing us in their cheerful hotel tones.

(PICTURED: Amos Mac, publisher of Original Plumbing Magazine.)

The show was at the Voyeur. Very nice staff. They fed us. They had cool shit on the stereo (Flipper "Sex Bomb Baby") and unrelated 80s videos playing on various broken TVs.

Audience was rain-soaked. Standing in the back of the club it felt like a not very responsive crowd but when I got to the front and stood at the mic I found myself surrounded on all sides by a carpet of floor-sitting queer kids, I realized how full it was... and though they didn't say much, they were weirdly attentive and there was a lot of love in that room. Magical even though quiet and subdued. I read from GIRL, the relatively subdued Chapter 17 about Cybil playing soccer. Not trying for anything. And it kind of worked. Reminds me of my music days. Some days the audience doesn't want a show... they just want the music ....

Afterward sitting around in the dining area, watching college-aged Olympians drinking Rainer Beer and shooting the shit and being cute and young ... not a care in the world.

We make fun of the gold mining pioneer look that is popular out west right now. Much of what we see is somehow related to McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

Then into the van and up to Seattle. Checked into the Roosevelt Hotel which is nice... then up to Hugo House for the gig. Oh the cute Seattle-ites. The show shaped up nicely. Hugo house was cool. Nice literary folk running things. Girl at the front desk, NOT wearing low rise jeans but some other kind that sat way high up her waist, and looked AWESOME. Not that I spend my days looking at girl's jeans or anything. But I hate low rise, always have .... and am eager for next thing.

Then the show started and we suddenly realized we had THE PERFECT AUDIENCE. Don't know why. They loved EVERYTHING WE DID. We were standing around in the back, looking at each other with bewilderment, what had we done to deserve this? Everyone KILLED. We could do no wrong. People were laughing, making out, crazed screaming at the stage. By the time we were done people were exhausted, wrung out, high on life. The best show yet, it was called. And it was!

As a people watcher and youth culture watcher it was also one of the best shows too. Loved the people. The cute dykes. The old-timey young dudes with their bushy beards. Imagining what it would be like to be young and to have moved to Seattle, from Bumfuck, USA. Wearing weird shit. Drinking coffee. Talking about poetry. The BIG CITY! Great fun.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


So we survived SANTA CRUZ but just barely. Naturally, some raver, satan worshipping, drunk twenty-somethings ended up in our hotel, THE TORCHLITE, (avoid) so there was some problems there. Nothing KIRK READ couldn't handle though.

So then we packed up our crap and got the hell out of there and went to beautiful ARCATA California, home of Humboldt State College, where we performed for a movie theater full of locals. This is the legendary POT BELT part of the country. I don't know where the buckle is or where exactly the belt part goes, but Humboldt county is famous for it's pot and the hotel smelled of pot and the town smelled of pot and the people we all met all appeared to be high. It was weird small town-esque. But nice.

I started having some sort of physical reaction as we continued north toward Portland. The cold the damp the rain the sadness of the sky, I just couldn't take it and started having seasonal disorder depression almost as soon as we drove over the border. And of course whenever I see woolen wearing older men get out of their mudsplattered pickups I think it is my dad for a second who has passed away but lives on in the black earth of the oregon woods....

But then we did our Holocene show and it was GREAT. Packed room, as per usual. Kirk started us off dressed as an insane leopard. Everyone was killing it, as the crowd was right with us ...

And then my favorite part of the night: NICOLE GEORGES! (pictured) I love her stuff so much. She just IS something, she represents something, I can't say exactly what, our times, our world, Portland, whatever, and then besides doing that, her writing is so sharp and fun and dead on, her cartoons at the show were of her doing substitute teaching and her interactions with stoner boys and bimbo high school girls were so fucking funny and right. I was in heaven. She could have gone on and on.

Now on up to Legendary OLYMPIA, today .... one of the fun things about SISTER SPIT is it kind of vibes you up. Like since it's mostly women, and people with extra amazing radar (Michelle Tea) it makes you extra sensitive to weird IN THE AIR shit, that you might not be picking up on ... is any of this making sense .... just to say that hitting olympia on this tour will not be like stopping there for a cup of coffee....and it is sort of world historic anyway, as the two great focal points of a certian kind of nineties youth cultural flowering ... or whatever you want to call it ... DC being the other place ....hmmmmmm .... we'll see.....

Saturday, March 26, 2011


So we drove home from "The Sac", and then did a big show at ELBO ROOM, which was killer.

Then back on the road and down to LA to Pasadena City College. It is becoming clear there is no predicting which gigs are going to be amazing and which are going to be merely good and fun.

At PCC we were late. We called ahead to tell them and they were very worried about us, and we got the idea right then that this was going to be a special show.

As we drove around looking for the proper parking lot, we spotted some queer students jumping up and down on the corner waving at us. Then they ran down the sidewalk wildly pointing us into the proper parking lot, sacrificing themselves for the good of the others, since now they would have to run all the way back to the student center. It was a profound act of personal bravery and selflessness.

Inside the PCC crowd was huge to bursting and very into it and great energy. Simon our brilliant and oh-so-British liaison guided us through various obstacles with his sharp wit and impeccable organizational skills.

They were so EXCITED to have us there. I was deeply moved by it all.

We then hit USC the next night, it was a terrible rain storm which I think dampened the crowd a bit, also it was a huge room so despite having a respectable turnout it felt a little defuse.

I did have a fun moment asking a USC student what the essential nature of USC was and without blinking she offered something like: "It's a school of privileged entitled white kids spending four years partying on their parent's credit cards ..." I love it when people say stuff like that. I hated everything when I was in college. Including my college.

The following afternoon we went back to PCC to hang with the queer alliance which I skipped, which was a total mistake as the PCC kids were just so into shit and I should have known not to miss this but I did but they gave me one of their awesome t-shirts anyway ....

Then we drove to LONG BEACH and checked into the the Queen Mary and had a great gig at a coffee shop in Long Beach where Gerbz is from and so she had a big crowd and sold a million of her cool new chapbooks that Kevin Sampsell sent down from Portland. (I love it when my old friends are the publishers of my new friends. We're all one big family it turns out, unlike what I thought in college when I thought the world was evil, and my only chance for survival was to destroy everything)

The Long Beach gig was in a great homey coffee-shop that was awesome and PACKED and everyone sold a lot of crap at the merch table. How did my band survive without a merch table back in the eighties? It's where you make all you money apparently.

Kirk Read read his response to Myriam Gurba's wildly popular new piece: "I Would Be a Better Lesbian If:" with his own: "I Would Be a Better Queer if:" Kirk often writes amazing poems on the spot, and performs them like ten minutes later. It is fun to see him furiously pounding something out at the last second....

Some GIRL fans cornered me and got me to sign a VERY OLD copy of GIRL. "I've read it many, many times," the fan said. The cover was literally about to fall off. That was really nice.

Then a night of hi jinks running around the Queen Mary which was great retro fun and seriously impressive as a physical object. We build miraculously tiny things now, (microchips or whatever), in those days they built miraculously HUGE things.

Then a long drive through the endless END TIMES style rain storms hitting the west coast. And tonight a big show at BOOKSTORE SANTA CRUZ. Gonna be good I think ....

Monday, March 21, 2011


On DAY 4, we hit the Echo in LA. This is a big cool rock club on the East Side that always has good bands.

Weird to arrive in a city that I supposedly live in but which looked very alien and new to me. LA has such a strange otherworldly vibe to it. I still don't understand it. I am so not a Californian ....

BUT THE SHOW. IT WAS GREAT. The other Spit veterans said it was the best LA show Sister Spit has ever done, and it did indeed rock. There were some great guest performers, Raquel Gutierrez and Amber Benson, plus we were all especially good for some reason. Michelle Tea read from Rent Girl which I am now reading in it's entirety--you know a reading is good when you go running for the book ...

The next day we hid out in our hotel, as it was freaking out outside weather-wise... then we cruised up to Sacramento in an unbelievable monsoon, where a theater full of locals braved the weather and came out to see us. So impressive how SISTER SPIT draws no matter what. The place was nearly full!

I read from DESTROY ALL CARS and cracked myself up, being a little giddy from the long van ride, but the crowd seemed to enjoy my lack of professionalism.

Then back in the van and cruised home in the wee hours of the night. Amos Mac had the genius idea to get a hot chocolate out of a rest area vending machine. Vending Machine Hot Chocolate is the best!!!! I will remember to get one myself in the future.

Tonight, (in a couple hours) is the Elbo Room in the mission. This is where Lauren Cerand and I saw our first SISTER SPIT show last year, and it KILLED. Hopefully we will be worthy of that show! Anyway, it is ground zero for Sister Spit. Right in their backyard. Should be a great crowd ....

Thanks to Mari Naomi for the picture! And her awesome livejournal diary is here

Saturday, March 19, 2011


The LA Times, (my hometown paper now, I guess, though who reads papers?), gave RECOVERY ROAD a great review today, see the whole review here.

Here's the beginning:

We live in a society filled with temptation, where drugs and alcohol are illegal for minors but still easy to obtain. They're so readily available, in fact, that 11 million American youths need treatment for substance abuse, according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Yet few teen addicts get the help they need. And those who do are likely to relapse before they truly recover.

It's these hard truths that are tackled in two new books for young adults, each of which handles the subject slightly differently. Blake Nelson's "Recovery Road" is a fictional account of 16-year-old "Mad Dog Maddie," whose rap sheet includes drinking alcohol, downing OxyContin, smoking hash, snorting coke, stealing a car, getting arrested and being thrown out of her home and sent to a halfway house.


This is the awesome, super adorable ROCK PAPER SCISSORS collective we did our show in tonight.

When I enter places like this I feel like I am entering a humble monastary of perfect girl essence. They had sewing machines, and fabricy stuff and textures and on the wall a great photo piece of local kids in various degrees of hanging out....and everyone present is (and becomes upon entering) super gentle and kind and polite and I always feel like I am some sort of peasant in the face of such cultural excellence and generosity, and I seem always in such places to have a little moment of grace of: "wow, look where I am."

There was a whole upstairs with a shockingly huge library of zines including my favorite COMETBUS where Aaron discusses the ways that Portland resembles a bad mood.... What was I thinking not doing some serious Cometbus reading before I even came down to the bay area? Someday there will be high schools in the East Bay named COMETBUS. Not in our lifetime maybe ... but someday ....

But I digress.

RSP was great and it was of course, packed, cute sister spit girls piled up on the staircase, sitting on the floor, packed on the couch. Really a great audience. Myriam "Gerbz" Gurba was especially good tonight. I had a little panic about what I was going to read, I am going to have to figure this out ahead of time in the future.

Babbled about skinheads when I went on. Like what is the contemporary equivalent. Is there any subculture that is scary and bullyish now? Except like oil companies...?

Riding back in the van someone mentioned the west coast might be evacuated while we are back east, my brain commences to spiral into disaster ....

BACK in SF, I had to help load some PA equipment into a sex club which had nicely lent it to us. That was fun for me, having never walked through the showers of a gay sex club carrying a PA speaker before. Ah, the bucket list slowly fills!

Anyway, good night, good gig, everyone in good spirits. Off to LA first thing tomorrow!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Thanks to a generous grant from someone Sister Spit Tour hit San Jose for the first time in it's history. We were told this might be a smaller than usual turnout, but it wasn't that bad. Also the art space we were in had a show up by Jamie Hernandez of LOVE AND ROCKETS fame that was fun to look at.

It wasn't packed but the performances were awesome and my sister and nephew Misha got to come and meet everyone.

Afterward we cruised the deserted streets of San Jose, which is apparently unpopulated for the most part. An interesting concept for a city: no people. We found a VOODOO DONUTS rip off called PSYCHO DONUTS, or maybe it's vice versa, where I had a joke donut of some sort which I did not particularly enjoy.

Oh well, another day, another ten dollar per diem ....


The Sister Spit tour is underway. First stop last night was Mills College, in Oakland, pictured here some time ago, because I didn't bring my stupid camera because I brought a FLIP camera because everyone keeps telling me that everyone loves video but I don't, because I don't have time to look at it, and I especially don't have time to film it.

Anyway, so we rolled into Mills and asked some super-cute hipster girls (who were hanging around the parking lot like fashion JDs) where the student center was. We found it. It was classic beautiful college-style dark wooded room, the likes of which you don't even notice when you're a student but later in life you think: wasn't I supposed to end up in beautiful dark wooded rooms? What happened to me?

Then we ate. In the cafeteria I couldn't figure out how to order because I don't know anything about food, and colleges have gotten pretty sophisticated about that stuff I've noticed. Really. I couldn't figure out how to order SPAGHETTI with red sauce.

[Note to college kids: It's kind of up to you to save the world from Global Self-Destruction, so maybe a little less time foodying and a little more time reinventing human society? Thank you.]

So then the show commenced and it was the first time the 8 performers all got to see exactly what the others did. It was great. People were GOOD. And FUNNY. I was laughing my ass off the whole time!!

The room was packed. And it was a big room. This is apparently normal for Sister Spit ....

Afterward, we loaded out and drove off into the night, chatting happily and watching San Francisco glitter beneath us as we crossed back into "the city" as I seem to recall bay area people call downtown.

Then I got to wake up this morning surrounded by Michelle Tea's amazing book collection and found the ADDERALL DIARIES which I have been meaning to read for ages and so spent the morning with that.

To hell with beautiful dark wooded rooms. I have a dream life now!

Monday, March 14, 2011



Some Press here.

Full schedule here.

Coming up immediately:

Wednesday, March 16
7pm, Free
Mills College, Lisser Theater
5000 MacArthur Blvd
Oakland CA
With special guest Tara Jepsen + Kirya Traber!

Thursday, March 17
7pm, $5-$10
Movimiento de Arte 6 Cultura Latino Americana
510 South 1st St.
San Jose, CA

Friday, March 18
8pm, $10
Rock Paper Scissors Collective
2278 Telegraph
Oakland, CA

Saturday, March 19
Doors 6pm, $5
The Echo
1822 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
With special guests HBO producer/writer Jill Soloway (TINY LADIES IN SHINY PANTS) + performance artist/filmmaker Zackary Drucker + writer/performance artist Raquel Gutierrez (Butchlalis de Panochtitlan) + Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Amber Benson (DEATH'S DAUGHTER, CAT'S CLAW)!
Post-show party at Stories down the street!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


The illustrious Horn Review gave RECOVERY ROAD a STARRED REVIEW in it's new issue. For you non-kids book people that's really good.

And fun too, as when I was in fourth grade, some teachers got together and got me hooked up with HORN REVIEW as a kid reviewer because I liked to read. So they sent me a book called ... I think ... JULIA OF THE WOLVES which I tried to read and instantly got distracted from because there was a dirt-clod fight raging across the street that I had to be part of, or something else ...

But here is the Horn Review popping up again in my life ....

[STAR] Recovery Road
by Blake Nelson
High School Scholastic 310 pp.
3/11 978-0-545-10729-7 $17.99
Narrator Maddie, full of anger and loathing, is sixteen and in rehab when she meets Stewart, a cute boy with whom she feels an immediate connection. Maddie and Stewart try to connect after rehab, but circumstances keep them apart. Nevertheless, they maintain a close friendship and provide each other support in the difficult process of recovering from addiction ...jonathan hunt

There is more but as a kindly reader has pointed out, it gives the rest of the book away! So check it out!