Intercourse 2002: a Sex and Gender Spoken Word Recipe for Revolution
Nomy Lamm
May 25
Hollywood Theater

It's rare that one artist can venture into more than one medium and still stay sharp, but somehow Nomy Lamm has done it. She's working on her first book, has written a fantastic play/musical collaboration with The Need (the Transfused), used to author a zine called My Body is Fucking Beautiful, was named one of Ms. Magazine's Women of the Year, and is now recording a CD, scheduled to come out in the fall on Yo Yo Recordings. She advocates for fat rights, amputee rights, and queer rights. She's also incredibly articulate. In short, she's amazing.

What are you going to be reading in this performance?

It's a piece of fiction out of the book I've been working on--It's a chapter about a character named Balebusta, and another character named Phelix. They're both queer people and have disabilities, there's a sex scene between them...

What do you feel is significant about it?

One thing about fiction is that it's creating these other people and this other life, and it's interesting in a different way than first person writing. Since writing The Transfused, I've felt really limited by trying to write just from first-person experience. There's a character who's getting a cutting that has to do with name and pronoun change. Little things like that, about fiction, have to do with showing rather than telling.

In your work redefining gender and beauty, would you say that you're throwing the idea of aesthetics out the window, or just trying to redefine them?

That question comes up a lot because I'm a fat activist, and people are always thinking that we should just ignore that people are fat, pretend like we don't notice it or something. That's insulting. Of course beauty matters, especially because so much of my work is based on art and beauty, but everyone has their own perspective, and that's what's amazing--being able to look at each other's work and throwing out the idea that there's one truth or one way for people to be.

Where do you find the most resistance to your work?

After I wrote The Transfused, this waiter came up to me in Olympia, and said, "I saw The Transfused three times and it totally changed the way I think about things, because I'm married and I have a kid"--you know, total Sesame Street stuff--and it was so cool to affect someone like that. I think a lot of people in the straight and conservative community want that.

But one place I do see resistance is in the feminist/lesbian separatist community. I really appreciate and respect the older women who have done a lot of work before us, and I don't mean to be undermining them, but they have so much invested in their identity as women and as that being really separate from men. In a lot of the younger queer community, it's not so clearly defined.

What keeps you motivated?

I have really good people in my life. Plus, I just really like to learn, and experience things, and I naturally tend to process things through art. That is a good cycle, because no matter what's going on, I can usually create art out of it, and that keeps me going. The global situation right now is really dismal, and as an activist that can be really hard, but I just try to create balance in my life, and still appreciate the things that are beautiful.