Formed in 1994 by poets Michelle Tea and Sini Anderson, Sister Spit began as a weekly, girls-only open mic in San Francisco, at the height of the spoken word boom of the '90s. Named "Best Place to Hear Silver-Tongued She-Devils" by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Sister Spit was one of the most popular events for queer women and Bay Area poets of all genders to attend, featuring writers such as Mary Gaitskill, Eileen Myles and Beth Lisick, as well as hundreds of up-and-coming and emerging writers. By 1997, Sister Spit took their show on the road, staging their cabaret-style literary performance in bars, art galleries, LGBT community centers, theaters, bookstores, and even discos to perform before enthusiastic audiences everywhere. In 2007, Sister Spit relaunched after a briefly quiet couple of years, with Tea leading the roadshow on the Sister Spit: The Next Generation tours.
Sister Spit: The Next Generation brought a group of queer-centric, feminist, irreverent artists across the U.S. and Canada, and occasionally through Europe, performing mainly at universities and art centers for a month on the road. With performers such as Nicole J. Georges, Cristy Road, Eileen Myles, Beth Lisick, Blake Nelson, Justin Vivian Bond and Ariel Schrag as part of their line-ups, Sister Spit: The Next Generation was no longer a girls-only event, reflecting changes in gender identity and sexual orientation and remaining as provocative, hilarious, politicized, soulful and risk-taking as ever.
Now, the genre-busting radicals of Sister Spit are getting published, and sheltered under a particularly auspicious umbrella!
In 2015, City Lights published its first-ever book for children through its City Lights/Sister Spit imprint, Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future! by Kate Schatz with illustrations by Miriam Klein Stahl. The book became a New York Times Bestseller.