When: 8 p.m. Oct. 9
Where: McKenny Union Ballroom, Eastern Michigan University
Alix Olson’s spoken word fiercely conquers issues that most won’t discuss. As a folk poet, Olson has appeared twice as a headliner for HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam” and she was penned the “word warrior” by The Progressive magazine. With numerous accolades, including the 2004 OutMusician of the Year award from OutMusic, Olson took a break from moving to a new place in New York City to discuss coming out, getting the hots for Michael Moore and her message for all queers.
Between The Lines: What does National Coming Out Day mean to you?
Alix Olson: Gratitude for the queers that battled before us, contemplation of the struggles that still lie ahead, celebration of how powerful and good-looking our community is!
BTL: What’s the message you want to convey to queer youth?
AO: Don’t be afraid of each other, laugh together, operate like we’re an alternative think tank in the world.
BTL: How was it sharing a stage with Michael Moore?
AO: Michael Moore attacks the powers-that-be with a cleverly balanced elixir of levity and brevity. I very much admire the man and sharing the stage with him was a joy. He was also shy, and I developed a little crush on him!
BTL: What was it like opening for the Indigo Girls?
AO: They have been sheros for a long time, so it was kind of surreal. Like many feminists my age, “Closer to Fine” was our anthem in high school. But they could not be lovelier, more humble people, and that’s a heartwarming – and sometimes-rare thing – to have individuals you politically admire be equally wonderful in person.
BTL: What was it like working on the documentary “Left Lane: On the Road”?
AO: Our goal for the project was honestly to document our artistic life for the past couple of years for ourselves and our supporters. Some of it is pretty silly behind-the-scenes stuff and I cringe a bit when it seems too narcissistic. But I’m really happy that we have a bunch of poems documented live. I think it’s difficult for spoken word to translate to CDs, so this medium is the next best thing to live performance. We never expected the overwhelming response it has received in the international film community. It has premiered in over twenty countries’ LGBT film festivals, most recently South Africa and Israel, and we have had the opportunity to travel significantly with the film to festivals.
BTL: How do you interpret your “controversial” label?
AO: I would love for my views to be non-controversial in my lifetime. A lot of work will need to be done first. I do think almost anything middle-of-the-road is incredibly boring. This world is so vivid. It begs for us to thrive in challenge.