The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday April 2nd

Touring Lesbians Speak Powerfully

A group of self-proclaimed "baby poets, tired old whores and delinquent divas" brought its brand of radical performance art to UNC on Sunday afternoon with the Wasted Motel spoken word tour.

The San Francisco-based tour features radical lesbian poets, filmmakers, authors and musicians. It was organized by Michelle Tea, founder of the acclaimed all-girl spoken-word roadshow Sister Spit.

Along with Shar Rednour, Jackie Strano and Kassy Kayiatos, Tea delivered candid perspectives on living and loving as a lesbian for an audience of about 75 at Hanes Art Center.

Tea, who received a 1999 Rona Jaffe Award for promising female writers, read from short stories about lesbian prostitutes. She has published two novels, "The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America" and "Valencia."

Rednour, a former youth minister and self-declared "Femmepress," read from her latest book, "The Femme's Guide to the Universe." She gave humorous accounts of growing up in the South and being queer in San Francisco, as well as tips for spotting psychosis in potential lovers. "You've gotta have brains, or muscle, or at least a knife in your cleavage, because the world isn't as squeaky clean as it is on TV," she said.

Kayiatos, the former teen poetry slam champion of San Francisco, delivered several pieces in her hard-hitting, rapid-fire, hip-hop style of spoken word. "It's a thrill for me to adequately express my verbal aggression," she chanted in "A Lesson in Language."

Kayiatos' poetry has been broadcast on National Public Radio, and she is featured in a documentary on teen poetry slams, "Poetic License," which will air both in theaters and on PBS this spring.

Strano, founder of the lesbian hard rock band the Hail Marys, read from poetry and short stories featuring accounts of a San Francisco overtaken by suburbanites in sports utility vehicles with its old inhabitants cast out into the "new Bohemian diaspora."

"I've been writing a lot about what's been going on in San Francisco," Strano said. "The fact that I've been living there for the last 15 years, and it's really starting to change - it's really not so artist-friendly anymore."

The event was sponsored by Internationalist Books, a nonprofit, community-owned radical bookstore at 405 W. Franklin St.

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