There is a memorial event at The Lizard Lounge on February 18. Info is here.
with the anniversary of lisa's death coming up, this page has been getting lots of hits.
in the coming days i'll be posting info about memorial events that are happening. if you are involved in one please send concise details to aliza @ truthserum .org (but close the gaps) and i'll get the posted asap.
last year on the 12th of February 2006, during a blizzard, many of us were gathered at the Milky Way in JP for a show I put together for my birthday. Thalia and Heather played and a bunch of others performed also. I drove a couple of people home and was passing MIT on Mass Ave, thinking about how blessed I was that i got to hang out with such talented and brilliant people and that they'd come out in a snow storm for me. The moon was out, the street was all white with huge snow banks and everything was strangely bright when an owl came flying down the street at me and then landed in a tree next to Building 1. I was so blown away I pulled my car over, got out and walked to the tree to find out what was up. I'd never seen an owl in flight before and wasn't sure I wasn't having a late night "vision". (here's where I admit that I often talk to animals out loud...some coeds thought I was nuts until I pointed the owl out in the tree.) I thought this must be some indication of something for my year to come, or the year passed, so when I got home I researched what owls represent and found that they are thought to be the bringers of knowledge, carriers of the spirit, messengers of death... The next day, the 13th, I learned that Lisa had died. I love that her owl lives next to MIT. The nest is still there.
if you have thoughts you'd like to have added to this page, i'd be happy to upload them here. just send them along.
best, aliza shapiro
The time has come.
Sunday May 28, 2006 2-8pm.
Memorial for a Poet Warrior.
Lisa King Memorial/Celebration
The Cantab Lounge 738 Mass Ave. Central Square Cambridge
free and open to the public.
Produced by: FOLK (friends of lisa king)
Lisa King died in February 2006 at 45. In honor of her life, spirit and contributions to our world, and as a way for her community to mourn her loss, people from across the country will gather, where Lisa would probably want us to, IN A BAR.
Lisa King was a poet, writer, spoken word artist, national slam poetry champion, ground-breaker and trailblazer in beginnings the slam poetry/spoken word movement of the early 90's, punk renegade, activist, rabble rouser, butch dyke, creative, passionate, inspirational force.
King grew up working class in the Boston area, her sexuality not being acceptable to her family, she left home at 15 and worked hard to fight injustice in the world around her (especially in regard to queer rights, AIDS, and animal treatment) while trying to make her own art and encourage her friends to do the same. King's work and life were recorded and she was included in a few documentaries. (Slam Nation and Scent uVa Butch to name two.) King self published a chapbook called Eyes Blinking Backward in 1996. She joined notable national acts (Lynnee Breedlove of Tribe8, Sini Anderson of Sister Spit, and Juba Kalampka of Deep Dickollection) on the east coast dates of a spoken word tour called Tribe Spit Deep.
So moving were King's words that when Joan Jett heard her read at the first poetry reading Jett had been to, they locked eyes and a close friendship began. King's work touched many with the same strength. Through her writing she spoke to and for many people.
King was inspired by poets, musicians and activists and in turn, inspired them. This created a very rich community of people who are feeling her loss very strongly.
Over 40 people are planning to contribute in person, via tape, video, time effort... You are invited to contribute anything you'd like throughout the course of the day. There are open slots in the planned schedule for this purpose. Slated to contribute: Lisa's Mom, Lisa's cousin, Michelle, Gary Hicks, Adam Stone, Ryk McIntyre, Amatul Hannan, Richard Cambridge, Nancy Asch/Beth Heinberg, Emanuel Xavier (taped), Gunner Scott, Jaclyn Friedman, Lucky 57, Sara Seinberg, Cheryl B, Regina, Deb McKee, Ren Jender, Margo Lynch, Michael Brown, Yvette Leaphart, Aliza Shapiro, Simone Beaubien, Patricia Smith, Thalia Zedek, Zilla McCue, Jessica Rose, Melissa Goodman, Brian Comiskey, Joan Jett (taped), Paula Stacia (slideshow)...
please spread the word about this event far and wide and please include a link to www.truthserum.org/lisaking so people can read more.
see you there.
sad news. lisa king (poet, writer, spoken word artist, slam champion, punk renegade, creative passionate inspirational force...) died 02.13.2006.
Services have been held, but there is still a guest book for condolences there. (I'll grab those and add them to this site when they come down.)
lisa had been living in the boston area for the last couple of years after a long time in nyc/brooklyn. she had been struggling with chronic pain and other health issues for years. lisa had come back to the area to focus on herself, her health and reconnecting with her family, and was close with only a few folks here. she died suddenly, but peacefully from a heart attack on 2006.02.13. (reported by her mother) lisa was trying to live as best she could with her chronic pain, to get stronger and healthier and get the care she needed. an amazing feat considering just filling the paperwork for free-care and dealing with doctors in MA is enough to drive you nuts.
needless to say, she'll be missed.
lisa's two cats, Stan and Stella, have found a great new home with rusty's friend, jen who lost her two cats last year. They are living in an old farmhouse near where lisa's brother works in Billerica and are being taken good hear of. Lisa's friends and family are relieved that they have a new home. Stan and Stella were so important to her.
if you'd like to send your thoughts, or photos, i'd be happy to put them up. please send them as .jpg files to aliza @ truthserum .org (but close the spaces) and i'll get them up as soon a i can. there are some photos at the bottom of this page. SCROLL DOWN.
john put up a bunch of photos up at his flickr site.
link to a clip of Lisa from the outtakes of Slam Nation
boston's ren jender includes some of lisa's slam history and sound clips, etc here.
Article from The Boston Globe from Thursday February 23, 2006
Article from Bay Windows from Thursday February 23, 2006
Wess "Mongo" Jolley sent these links for a podcast her piece "Bring 'Em Back" on the IndieFeed Performance Poetry Channel: Subscribe via iTunes
Subscribe via an aggregator such as Juice or iPodder (paste this link into your aggregator): http://feeds.feedburner.com/IndiefeedPerformancePoetry Or, if you want to just download one show at a time, you can do that through our site: http://performancepoetry.indiefeed.com/
these are some messages i've gotten from people about Lisa King.
From Thalia Zedek 2006.02.17
-Dear Aliza , thank you so much for the site. I would like to work with some other people on having a memorial for her somewhere. Maybe we could make a book of poetry of hers and read from it and play her favorite CD's. I am still a little numb from shock. I've been talking to her brother everyday, and have only now been able to cry a little. Lisa was an incredible person and a great friend to me, and I'm so sad and it's so hard for me to believe that she didn't make it. Even through the rough times of these last few years I would always find myself visualizing her out on the other side of it, and the incredible poetry and wisdom that would come to her as a result of all the pain that she'd had to suffer. (Maybe you could) see if anyone wants to work on a memorial service for her... Thank you Aliza, Love, Thalia
From Nancy Asch 2006.02.18
Aliza, Thank you for doing this. You truly are a community builder and big hearted person and I am very grateful that you are taking the time, have the energy, and the skills to provide a place for all of us who were in and out of Lisa's life to go to and share our feelings and thoughts.
I have so many stories and memories of so much time shared with Lisa .The trips to Port Clyde, to Ptown, long philosophical conversations, marathon parties, dramas with girls, dramas with boys, arguments, fun, all the gigs at Jacques, Ryles, Cantab, Middle East, with her poetry and our music, her wonderful live performances, and my favorite line of all her poems put together:
"No one stops for ambulances anymore!" which is something Beth and I quote on a monthly basis still.
Mostly, I feel sad, shocked and know she was a part of my family, as are so many of you out there reading this…and I feel lucky to be a part of it. Keep rockin'
i feel weird receiving praise for doing this. it's not about me, but thank you. and i'll deflect and thank cybercom.net for hosting my site for free and allowing me to extend this site to others. they are a small local company and do good work.- aliza
From Sue Metro 2006.02.18 (photo labled with SM)
Here's one of my faves - and a scene that was repeated for several summers. Friends sunning on the rocks in Maine. Lisa, beer in hand, looking for seals in the distance (or maybe the rest of our beer was floating away - though I doubt it because she looks happy!). Some happy days and fun nights to remember.
Thanks, Sue Metro
From Erica Liss 2006.02.18 (photos are labled with EL)
I rarely saw Lisa in recent years, but loved her always. Lisa was amazing, and I'm reeling from the news of her death.
Erica Liss Oakland, CA
From Urvashi Vaid 2006.02.18
...Nancy sent me the news and the link. It is just so sad and hard to lose Lisa. She was a great poet, a caring woman, and such an optimistic person, always full of positive energy over the many years that I knew her. I'll always remember Lisa's smile, her mellowing with age, being at rock clubs with her, her love of the ladies, and her sense of political purpose.
Take care, Urvashi
From PS Fournier 2006.02.18
I am absolutely devastated by our loss.
Since I found about her passing on friday, I have been foraging through my many images of her and have put together a slideshow of the times we shared. I realize alot is lost in compressing it for the web but I feel it is worth sharing with the many people whose lives were touched by her.
I have just taken a wee break from looking at some very old video I have of her. I had filmed her first performance at the 'Wood, Skin & Bones' mixed media show in Boston many moons ago and was surprised to find a rare bit of history. In preparation for her first performance I had persuaded her to let me tape her reciting some of her poems to better prepare herself. And there she is so gorgeously young and confident with the late night train and people going by on the street below her in the Brookline apartment she shared with Toby and Thalia. Chilling, marvelous and sad. I just, just don't know what else to say. I miss her terribly and regret not telling her how she meant to me. May she live forever in all our hearts.
Paula Stacia Fournier
From Patti Hudson 2006.02.20
a couple days ago, my girlfriends birthday, we decide to go for a ride to New Hampshire for a few hours...was driving on the j-way when fulani called to ask if i had heard yet....i didnt believe her...was under the tunnel on storrow by the time it sunk in that what fulani was saying was true.....we hung up, then paula called, zakim bridge, rusty says we should turn around and go home....no, despite driving at 50 mps w/ tears streaming down face lisa would want us to keep going, keep going. we drove up to Derry and sat for a while at Robert Frost's Farm while the dog ran through the snow.
Lisa King was a total comrade. She was a girl who was hurt at a really young age but who took steps at a really young age to take care of herself, to protect and preserve what she knew was golden inside her, to continue her path to become a true human being. which she did become. she found a true tribe; paula and nancy and toby and john and debbie and sue and judy and thalia--those people were the family i found her with in the early 1980's. how many christmas's did she spend with debbie and sue? how many summer vacations with toby in maine? how many sunday afternoons at judy's house? those people were amazingly tight. bonds made from living together, laughing together, having fights, making up, learning and figuring out life together, loving and being excited and moved by certain music, art and political thoughts and actions. giving each other grace to grow by, to be.
awesome to read here that paul stacia filmed her for her first reading at smitty's "wood, skin and bones" event at TT the Bears, a kind of comical disaster of an event but for Lisa--- Lisa wrote a piece, her first piece ever--and it was a masterpiece, called "SNUFF TV". we had not thought of her yet as a poet, she had not thought of herself as a poet, yet. we were all, including her i think, were completely stunned. her Snuff TV piece was so great. and she read it publicly like a pro--this is years before Slam Poetry...
i have some footage here i shot of her in the spring of 2002; we went to the house in dorchester where she grew up...she points things out, the 2nd floor where her grandfather lived, the hill where the kids sniffed glue and ran from the cops, the theater she saw her first movie at (Cinderella) the "gang fights" her and her pals used to have...and a recurring dream she has about stepping out on to the deck of her family's porch and having it collapse from under her.-and, a piece of trash we pick up in front of the house, a folded piece of paper we unfold ---its a page torn from a book, the title of the page is "Love Poems".
I spent a lot of time with Lisa the year of her back operation. She was scared and we were scared for her. Felice and Debbie working on insurance issues and social worker stuff, coming into the apt with bags of groceries and cat food, driving her to the hospital and doctors, watering the plants, picking up mail and medicines, emptying the kitty litter box, washing sheets and laundry, calling her job for her, Toby coming down from MA to take care of her, bringing with him a blender to make her smoothies....(she telling me over and over again that Toby was her brother, "he's not like a brother hudson, he is my brother"--but then true to Lisa fashion bickering with him the min he gets there over this triva thing and that, driving him, for the umpteenth time, totally nuts, crazy) (thank god he cleaned the apt from top to bottom before he left making it easier for us asthmatics to breath inside and spend longer nights with her)
Felice getting in the bed with her to rub the pain out of her nerve pinched legs and back....Debbie at t he hospital pulling the nurse aside to apologize after Lisa snapped at the nurse ---this after the nurse said to lisa "you have such beautiful skin" (!)
Lisa; cranky and loving, laughing and arguing, being funny, being poignant, looking for a fight, looking for love... i'll never forget the Sylvia Juncosa night back in the mid 1980's---a story for another time. but a typical dichotomy. her dicrotic heart.
somewhat recently she came to my rescue when she and I went to the Midway Bar here in JP...i was wearing my cowboy hat that night, some drunken 20 something girl was standing outside the bar and sort of lunged at me as we approached the door...Lisa shook her cane at the girl and muttered angry pissed off words at the kid. The bouncer explained to us that some other girl, also in a cowboy hat, had flirted with the girls date that night and the girl tried to start a bar room brawl ...... he threw her out. the lunge at me, apparently, was a case of mistaken identity...(how many girls in boston wearing cowboy hats in March?) Lisa wasnt feeling well that night so we left shortly after arriving. The same drunken girl was still outside the door, but this time she threw a punch towards me. Without missing a beat Lisa jumps between me and the girl waving her cane, yelling "Come on Punk-ass-bitch, ya wanna hit Hudson, come on come on!" I grab Lisa from behind and pull her away, "Lisa man, dont! you have a bad back remember?!!!!"
How many stories of Lisa laughing at herself, at some predicament we found ourselves in, her ability to be pissed and angry and loving all at the same time. Defending her friends....
Lisa seemed to recover after her back surgery....for almost a year things seemed like they were goin to be okay.... I have emails from her all excited again about writing some new work, about getting into that grove again...she wrote to me after pride 2003 that she ran into a mutual friend of ours, one that seemed on the brink of being lost to drugs but made a remarkable recovery. Lisa wrote, "Seeing her made me SO happy! I really thought we'd lose her at some point. Wow, we've all been on such a trip! But we made it, some did not and for them our lives should be cherished"
I dont know what happened...she moved back to boston sometime late 2003, early 2004 ....something happened to her where she was hurt all over again, this time there was no rebounding...I saw her a few times and I could tell we were loosing her....her spirit was different. the fight was going out of her, maybe her heart was giving out even back then....being with her the last 2 years was confusing. and heart breaking. so many people, for so many years, reaching in and pulling her from the brink, and she doing the same for us too, rooting us on. there was such a good fight in her. I missed her these past 2 years but it felt like we were waiting for her...Like Thalia, I cant even phathom how much I am goin to miss her now. totally painful. Yesterday a friend of mine who surfs the local butch-fem sites told me she and Lisa met on line and were thinking of meeting in person...thats made me feel better, a sign of life. thats the old Lisa we all knew and loved. She did love the ladies, for sure. That one piece of news has made me feel that maybe Lisa was on her way back to us, but her heart gave out before she let the rest of us know....
In March of 2003 I told her about this really cool chruch in NYC, a prayer's church, where you could sort of feel prayers being worked out between the people and God...she thanked me for telling her about it, said wrote "Funny you mentioning that because i've been thinking about wanting to go to church lately!!"
Having some serious health issues of my own that year, Lisa wrote to me "You'll be OK Patti, I'm going to pray to the universe for your health, its funny but it really works. My new mantra: universal love dissolves and dissipates every wrong condition in my mind, body and affairs. universal love is the Most Powerful chemical in the universe and dissolves everything which is not of itself. try it. its very calming to focus on Love being the Most Powerful thing in the universe. and remember, I love you a lot!!! King"
From Emily Scott 2006.02.20
Hi -- I knew Lisa for an all-too-brief moment, when we worked at the same place in Boston in the 90s. She was fierce and passionate, perceptive and smart. Very strong, very funny too. It's easy to picture her smile, and very to hard to grasp her death. I helped her put together her chapbook Eyes Blinking Backward, and I still have all the files on my computer. I'd be happy to arrange a reprinting for a memorial event, or to help with putting together a new collection, just let me know. -- Emily Scott
this is amazing news! thank you emily. i'd love to be able to put Eyes Blinking Backward up on line for everyone to read. we'll check in with her family and plans for publishing her work before we follow through with this. -aliza
i finally have some thoughts together, Aliza Shapiro 02.20.2006: Lisa King was raw and emotional and full of strength of intellect and character. she was someone i admired from the day i met, and not only because she was so hot, confident in who she was, and so scruffily suave. by the way she connected with her friends, you could tell that she was good people. solid and fierce. i always thought, 'man, i wish i got to hang out with her more.' the times i did get to spend with her were great, sometimes challenging, sometimes incredibly inspiring, and unfortunately always separated by long periods off each others' radar screens. reconnecting was always easy and nice, but then also a little bittersweet. lisa had been back in boston for the last couple of years. she told me she was focusing on herself and not hanging out with many people. i hoped for a break in that seclusion and let her know i'd look forward to catching up again. unfortunately, that break never happened, and while lisa was getting her health on a positive track, her huge heart gave out. the loss of her potential is immense and painful and will be felt even by those who only get to know her in the wake of her death.
From Kimberly Smith 02.22.2006
Well. Patti Hudson called me today to tell me about Lisa. I havent seen Lisa in about 15 years. But I swear as I sit and look at all the photos I can clearly hear her voice. So much time has passed and shit has happened to us all. And I wonder how I'm still standing and she is not. Just 2 weeks ago I found a pic of me, Lisa, and Sue Metro in the Port Clyde kitchen, being fun and stupid....so long ago for me....Toby, Nancy, Sue, Judy, Hudson, Paula, Thalia and Lisa of course. My life, as the others, has turned in other directions, but I honestly wish I could have a more recent view of Lisa's life in retrospect. This news truly saddens me. At least in my head I can still hear her laugh. Peace.
From Rebecca Shertzer 02.26.2006
Thank you for creating a space for all of us to come together
My heart is aching
Full and empty
And goes out to all of us
When i got the news all i wanted to do was to hear her voice ranting again!
I have been numb and raw,
Staring off into space
filing through pictures, video clips
writing, and writing
and in my studio
since I heard
I am full of memories and of all of us
How and what we have shared
and how I was and continue to be inspired
by Lisa and this amazing group of people
“Writing about lost friends”
Beautiful courageous heart
Beer on the beach
Bar b q’s at Judy’s
Lisa Toby Thalia
In the sun
Pressed against the cold night
Crooked wily smile
Running on edges
Lisa could rock the house
So much struggle
So much love
Life is so fragile
We are so fragile
Ashes and snow
Much love Becka
From Jean Macadam
lisa-the ratt, manray, ground zero, tt's, 1270, indigo, green st, the middle east, school st, beacon st, rides down to ny stayiing with paul, the chelsea hotel, the sid and nancy incident, cato, the space, nights quickly turning into morning, sharing every emotion, rides on the bike to newburyport, gay pride, memories i am the keeper of. i will always love you, jeanie mcadam
From Tina Spangler 2006.03.09
Thank you Thalia for finding me and telling me the devastating news. I've read the messages for Lisa on the funeral home website and on truth serum. I'm overwhelmed and feel so bad that for the past three weeks I didn't know. And so I'm emailing you all -- friends of Lisa's I've known, and family I didn't know -- because I needed to reach out. Aliza, I'm also sending you some photos separately I hope you'll post on truth serum.
Lisa and I met in Boston in 1996 when she was working at Typo Tech. Billy Ruane introduced us. What started as a friendship soon turned into a romance. She won my heart with her openness, vulnerability, and suaveness. We had an intense love affair for almost 3 years, during which time we lived together on Wendell St in Cambridge and then moved to 11th St in Brooklyn. One thing about living with Lisa that always sticks in my mind is she loved to have fresh cut flowers in the apartment. We always had a vase of bright colored flowers. That's one thing she loved about living in Brooklyn, there were abundant flower markets on almost every corner. We rescued a stray kitten together off the mean streets of Brooklyn. (We liked to say they were mean streets, but truth is we lived in Park Slope, a pretty upscale neighborhood.) Our cat, Chloe, who is 8 now, is still with me today. She's sitting on my lap as I'm typing this. I'm so happy to hear that Stanley and Stella have found a good home. Lisa lived for those cats.
I truly loved Lisa. And while our relationship ultimately didn't last, our friendship did. We remained Park Slope neighbors and friends. Going to the flea market, for a walk in Prospect Park, or just over to each other's apartments to catch up. I always wanted her to find another love. And I realize now that she did. Her friendship with Joan meant so much to her. She said Joan was like a long lost sister she never knew she had. She said they were so similar and knowing Joan helped complete something in Lisa. Similarly when she reconnected with her mother and brothers – she was able to put something at peace within herself and seemed genuinely comforted to have her family back in her life.
I only just found out about Lisa's passing yesterday, March 8, when Thalia tracked me down. I lost touch with a lot of you – Toby, John, Nancy and Beth, Thalia, Patti, Debbie, Paula. And I'm sorry I was so difficult to reach for so many weeks. I feel so bad that I wasn't at the services for Lisa. Speaking for the first time to Lisa's brother Sean and mom lastnight made me feel closer to Lisa. Thank you Sean and Eileen for taking so much time to talk to me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I feel overwhelmed with grief right now.
The last time Lisa and I spoke was in December, three months ago. We talked for hours, and she told me she still loved me and it was still hard for her. But she wanted me to be happy and knew that I was. I wished the same for her and told her she deserved to be happy. She'd endured more pain than anyone should. We talked about her visiting the country house I'm building up in the Catskills. Instead, this spring I'll be planting a tree in Lisa's memory. A flowering tree.
I found some poems and cards from Lisa this morning. One ended like this:
"For the first time I am not afraid of LOVE.
You opened me, took my heart and gave it back to me
I'll miss you so much Lisa. I love you.
2006.05.04 joanna karlinsky email@example.com
the shock of the calls from Thalia & Erica were so stunning it took me two weeks to cry this long to start grieving. Unlike the rest of the writers on the memorial page I only saw Lisa once in the last 17 years. When she asked me to save her & move her out to SF after NYC had gotten her down. I couldn't do it, I had finally fallen out of love. You see, Lisa was my first big, true love. And I pined away over her for years - going so far as to tell other lovers I would leave them for Lisa in a heartbeat. I have great memories of clubbing in the 80's & living with her in Dorcester, hosting parties where everyone raided my girlie closet & dressed up while Lisa M.C.'ed...and swimming in Walden Pond with Debbie N.......and fighting about everything...........I have missed her all these years and will continue missing her....... It doesn't look like I'll be able to make the memorial as I am moving from Oakland back into San Francisco that week-end. PLease pass my love & e-mail to all the old timers.......
all correspondence: email mail @ truthserum . org (but close the spaces...this is to reduce spam).