A fascinating group of literary spitfires will roll into town on Saturday as part of the touring Sister Spit show.
The free performance is a sort of literary variety show, said Sister Spit co-founder and host Michelle Tea. "It's not like a serene reading."
The six performers include Erin Markey, who does one-woman musicals; Dorothy Allison, who will read from the 20th-anniversary edition of her book Bastard Out of Carolina; and Brontez Purnell, creator of the zine Fag School. Tea describes Purnell as shocking without meaning to be shocking, "which is the only way to be shocking."
Also on hand will be slam-poet Kit Yan and Cassie J. Sneider, who is "super into metal and rock 'n' roll" and will talk about her life experiences, Tea said.
"She has an eye for really capturing the weirdness of life and being able to portray her participation in it with all of this pathos and humor," Tea said. "So many of the people I bring on Sister Spit have this knack of really embracing the sad absurdity of life without draining its hopefulness."
Tea founded Sister Spit in 1994 with a friend as an all-girl open-mic group. Sister Spit's first tour was in 1997, and the group toured off and on for about 10 years. Since 2009, Sister Spit has toured once a year.
Tea said Tucson is a great city for this show because of its strong literary and writing communities, including the presence of the UA Poetry Center.
"There's also a great queer community in Tucson," Tea said. "Arizona has been really gnarly lately, and I think it's awesome to get to bring our show to the ... people in the liberal cities. I love that we get to go there and bring our support and our cheer."
Kit Yan said he leans on his personal experiences to write about sex, love and heartbreak.
"It's all comedic and serious stories from my family and being trans," he said. "And being Asian American, being an immigrant, coming from a family of immigrants, the working-class—and food service."
This is his first tour with Sister Spit. He also has toured alone, with a band called Good Asian Drivers, and with the Tranny Roadshow.
"I genuinely love meeting new people, so it's wonderful to get to connect with folks and hear stories from different places and perspectives," he said.
He said Sister Spit has something for everyone to enjoy.
"This particular tour has people from lots of different genres and folks who are known with different audiences all in the van together, all on the same bill," he said. "This is going to be a pretty broadly and well-received show."