Lyndell Montgomery at Sister Spit Northampton   Volume 2: Full Throttle, September 2003.

Photo by Bunty Burgin

About Sister Spit

Sister Spit Northampton

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below you will find answers to the most commonly asked Sister Spit-related questions. The most recent questions (and their answers) are at the top.

Last updated February 27th, 2005 by Naomi Graychase.

Who organizes Sister Spit Northampton?

Sister Spit Northampton was conceived of by Antara and Naomi Graychase in February of 2003. Shortly thereafter, Antara moved to Vermont, but Naomi stayed in Northampton and brought SSN to fruition. It was inspired by the original Sister Spit, which was created ten years earlier in San Francisco by Michelle Tea and Sini Anderson. SSN was born with their blesesing, and Michelle Tea flew east to christen our first event, and has since performed at one other SSN, and hosted a writing workshop.

Naomi organized and hosted the events from Feb. 2003-Feb 2005. Starting with the April 2005 event, the torch has been passed to Sister Spit's next leader, Jessica Nappa-Siegel.

Who is Jessica Nappa-Siegel?

Jessica Nappa-Siegel is a local poet, feminist and activist. She attended eleven of the first twelve Sister Spits from start to finish and volunteered for almost all of them--she even brought her mom, who adopted a phrase Naomi has attempted to popularize when she said of the event, "That rocks my pussy."

Through Sister Spit Northampton, Jessica discovered her own poetic voice and began writing and performing for the first time. She has since gone on to perform publicly at many venues. She has been invited on stage by Alix Olson, and she recently won the Martial Poetry slam in Brattleboro, VT.

You can expect Jessica and Sister Spit Northampton to continue to bring you the very best of independent poetry, spoken word, literature, music and performance art in 2005--and beyond. Events will continue to be presented with integrity and a feminist spirit that honors Sister Spit's roots.

I've never been to Sister Spit. I'm thinking about reading at the next event. Are there limits on how long our poems can be? How many do we need to bring? Is there a theme?

You are allowed one poem or song, which is not to exceed five minutes in length. If you do haiku, you can do two. Sister Spit is a feminist event, so generally readers do work that could be considered feminist or queer-positive, but you can do anything you like. In 2004, we hosted one queer-specific event. And our January 2005 event is themed around the Inauguration. But any sort of material is still welcome.

I'm bilingual and I'd like to do two pieces during the open mic, one in each language. Is that possible?

Yes. If you want to do one piece in each language, you are welcome to do so. Please make a note on the sign-up sheet so your hostess will know.

Where is the Smith College Field House?

The Smith College Field House is located on the Smith College campus behind the riding stables and next to the tennis courts. For more information, please visit our Directions page.

How can I get booked?

Jessica Nappa-Siegel handles all Sister Spit booking. If you are an artist or artist's representative, you may contact her at sisterspitnorthampton@earthlink.net. Events generally happen once per month and combine poetry/spoken word, and music. Our current venue has a decent PA and provides a sound guy. Sister Spit Northampton does not make guarantees or enter into contracts. Sister Spit is a feminist event and only books independent acts. Acts which include men or trannies are welcome, so long as they also include women.

Can I play at Spit if I'm a dude?

Yes. And no. If you have lived all or part of your life as a woman, you can definitely perform as a featured act or participate in the open mic. If you are a woman and your act includes dudes, those dudes are also very welcome. Mary Ann Farley, Jennifer Greer, Anne Heaton and Dana Shellmire all performed last year as featured acts at Sister Spit and each of them was accompanied by a man-born-a-man (MBAM). Our stage has also been home to FTM trannies and one queer boy who was part of Michelle Tea and Sara Seinberg's extravaganza. If you're a straight, white guy doing a solo act, I'm afraid you'll have to find another mic. But we'd LOVE to have you in the audience.

Who has performed at Sister Spit Northampton?

The following independent artists graced our stage at ten events between June 2003 and July 2004:

Michelle Tea (2x)
Sara Seinberg (2x)
Evelyn Harris (3x)
Arjuna Greist (3x)
Naomi Graychase (12x)
Tanya Rubins (5x)
Ember Swift (Ember Swift, Lyndell Montgomery, Cheryl Reed)
Susan Stinson
Mary Ann Farley (with Jagoda)
Lenelle Moise (2x)
Anne Heaton (with Frank Marotta, Jr.)
Jerree Small
Letta Neely
Jened (2x)
Edie Carey
Trina Hamlin (2x)
Katastrophe
Pamela Means
Chris Pureka
Jennifer Greer (with Brian)
Antara
Alison Smith (2x)
Dana Shellmire
Peter Pizzi
Meg Hutchinson
Meghant Toohey
Ginger Morawski

 

Why was Sister Spit on hiatus?

SSN was on hiatus for three reasons:

1) Naomi needed a break from planning, hosting and organizing the events. She is nearly finished with her first book (a collection of essays) and she needed to put her energy into her own art for a while, instead of into making the art of others possible. She also needed to address some financial concerns.

2) Sister Spit's venue, Harry's/The Elevens, came under new ownership and its new owners were concerned about the expenses the club incurred when hosting Sister Spit events.

3) Attendance dropped by 2/3.

What did Sister Spit have to do with Naomi's bankruptcy?

Not as much as the collapse of the dot-com economy in San Francisco.

Was the July 11th, 2004 event the last Sister Spit Northampton event?

No. Our next event is January 20th, 2005. We do not have a complete 2005 schedule yet. To keep up to date on Sister Spit news, join the e-mail list by sending an e-mail to graychase at gmail.com with the word subscribe in the subject line. SSN respects your privacy and will never sell or give away its mailing list.

Is Sister Spit Northampton a nonprofit organization?

Yes. We receive our 501(c)3 status through our fiscal sponsor, The Fund for Women Artists.

Why don't you apply for grant money?

SSN applied for one grant in 2004, but was not selected. If you are skilled at grant research or writing, and are willing to volunteer your time to this project, please send an e-mail to graychase at gmail.com

Why don't you move the event to Easthampton?

There are two reasons for this:

1) We are Sister Spit Northampton. We want to create and sustain community and art in Northampton. So, it's important to me that we not be forced to leave Northampton.

2) There are two fantastic nonprofit performance spaces in Easthampton, PACE and Flywheel. When we first conceived of SSN, Antara and I decided to approach PACE because we felt that our mission and theirs shared a common devotion to community-building and the fostering of independent art. However, they did not respond to the proposal we hand-delivered to them. Consequently, Harry's/The Elevens became our venue, and it has been very supportive. Because of PACE's location, and because of its lack of interest in Sister Spit, we do not see a partnership in our future.

Flywheel does wonderful things, and if it were interested, Sister Spit would consider collaborating with them, but for now, our home is in Northampton.

Why isn't Smith College involved?

Our January 2005 event will be our first event held on the Smith College campus. Naomi was able to secure the venue because of her status as an alumna. However, the space is small and has no PA system. Naomi has contacted Ellen Dore Watson of the Smith Poetry Center, and hopes that at some point Smith College and Sister Spit Northampton can work together more extensively. If you are in a position of power at Smith and would like to facilitate a cooperative endeavor, please contact Naomi directly at graychase at gmail.com.

What can I do to help?

There are lots of things you can do:

1) Donate money. You can make a contribution here. Or contact Naomi directly via e-mail at graychase at gmail.com.

2) Show up.

3) Help with the Web site. We lost our Web site, www.sisterspitnorthampton.com, due to lack of funds. Our site needs a re-design. I can maintain it, but having an effective, sexy site that's easy to navigate would help us a lot. We also need money to pay a hosting service. If you can help us with this, please write to graychase at gmail.com.

4) Buy merch. T-shirts, tank tops and stickers will be for sale at every event. If you would like to buy a t-shirt or tank top right now, please send Naomi an e-mail at graychase at gmail.com or visit the online store. (The selection at events is different than the selection online.)

5)Help spread the word. PR efforts from those skilled at drafting press releases, etc. are welcome, as well as simple things like designing and distributing flyers. If you'd like to volunteer, please join the mailing list by writing to graychase at gmail.com.

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