Audre Lorde, Franny Choi’s Mom, and Gandalf The White’s Powers combined. An interview with our October Spoken Word feature!


1.     Favorite junk food?
Does bourbon count as junk food?
2.      Name a writer you admire, or have learned a lot from?
I learn something new every time Laura Brown-Lavoie gets on stage. Seriously, she’s been low-key smashing the dominant paradigm since we were in the spoken word collective together in college. Probably before that
3.      What is your favorite song? What are you listening to right now?  
I’ve been listening to a lot Esperanza Spalding and Milo & Otis.

4.      What’s your biggest struggle – artistic, work or otherwise?
I think both in my literary work and in the rest of my life, my racial, class, gender, and queer identities have been a constant point of struggle and growth. I don’t mean “struggle” in a bad sense — more as a question I keep returning to, whose answer is constantly changing. I think it will be a lifelong struggle to figure out how to speak about these identities in my work and where I belong within artist and activist communities. And like, what it means when I look in the mirror and this person is looking back.

5.      When did you decide to be a writer, what made you decide that?
When I was in the fourth grade, I got a poem published in one of those scam things — remember those? Those huge books that would publish any poem you submitted and then you had to buy the book? As a fourth grader, I was like, “This obviously sucks but also feels… kinda good…”

6.      Aliens or Terminator 2?

Whoa. T2 is the Choi Family movie night movie. So.

Who would you go on an adventure with, Storm from the X-Men or Gandalf from LOTRs?
I’d go with Gandalf the White (not Grey), except I feel like Gandalf always has his own hidden agenda and is like not telling you shit. Just, “Yeah ok, let’s go through the mines. It’s cool. Don’t worry about it.”

8.      What is your favorite spot to perform in the Bay Area? The world?
I think the New Shit Show is pretty darn cool. Probably my favorite shows so far ever have been at Wash U and Wesleyan. Those guys really know how to pack a house.

9.      If someone said, “I want to do what you do,” what would you warn them about? What would you tell them?
Get a good toiletries bag. Make work plans for yourself. I HOPE YOU LIKE PAYING TAXES.

10.   Do you have a favorite role model?                         

Probably some combination of my mom and Audre Lorde. With their powers combined… damn.

11.   What writer should we be reading right now!?
Aracelis Girmay. GO.

12.   Do you go to Burning Man? If yes, why? If no, why?
Do they even allow POC there?

13.   What’s wrong with the literary world today?
Probably just capitalism at it again, right?

14.   What is your funniest memory?
Oh gosh… they’re mostly just memories of my friends and me being ratchet in college.

15.   What would you like to see happen in your lifetime?
More restorative, community-based solutions to the criminal justice system, the defunding of prisons, the dismantling of borders, and an Arrested Development revival that doesn’t make me want to barf.

16.   How do you get in the mood, when you write? Do you have any rituals? Favorite writing blanket? Superstitions?
When I’m starting to feel stuck, I turn up music really loudly, close my eyes, and just word vomit onto the page.

17.   If you could perform with any celebrity, who one would it be? What about a famous artist, who is not a celebrity, who would it be?
Beyonce, except I would feel 100% inadequate doing anything in her presence. I would love to collaborate with Favianna Rodriguez.
18.   Historical figure you would want to be in a YouTube video with?
Assata Shakur.

19.   What are you most proud of?           
            My little siblings.

20.   What are some of your favorite smells?

Check out Franny Choi and her amazing stuff here!

Don’t miss The San Francisco Queer Open Mic this October 25th at Modern Times Bookstore, in the heart of the Mission!

Also that night, musical guest ENTIRELY TALIA!!

Go click going on the Facebook invite here!

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