Alix Olson is an internationally touring spoken word artist-activist. One part peace vigil, one part protest rally, and one part joyful raucous concert, Alix ignites audiences everywhere she performs. Howard Zinn (historian/activist) calls Alix “an ingenious poet, a brilliant performer, a funny person, a serious thinker. Quite simply, extraordinary.”
Since winning 1998’s National Poetry Slam with her New York City team and 1999’s OutWrite LGBT Slam, Alix has toured worldwide, edited Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution (Seal Press), co-authored Burning Down the House (Soft Skull Press), self-published two books of poetry, produced two spoken word albums and the award-winning feature documentary Left Lane, and has had her work placed in dozens of anthologies and compilations. Alix has also been a monthly columnist for InsideOut Magazine and a contributing writer to Velvet Park Magazine. Her most recent chapter about the intersection of art and political theory will appear in Agitation with a Smile (Paradigm, forthcoming 2012).
Olson’s innumerable stage, broadcast, radio and print appearances include twice headlining HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam,” and television performances on Oxygen, CNN, MindTV and In the Life. Her radio appearances include nationally syndicated Air America, WXPN’s World Cafe, This Way Out, Progressive Radio, Sirius Radio’s Planet Q and internationally on Holland National Radio and Australia National Radio.
Gracing the covers of Ms. Magazine, Curve, and Velvet Park, Alix and her work have also been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time Out, The Progressive, The Advocate, Girlfriends Magazine, The Advocate, OUT Magazine, Poets and Writers, Woman Rock, Venus, Lesbian News, Gay and Lesbian Times, Nervy Girl, Salon.com, the Lesbian Review of Books, and hundreds of regional newspapers and magazines.
Alix was voted OutMusician of the Year (OutMusic) for most significant contributions to the artist-activist field, and was a triple nominee for the 2002 OUTMusic Awards. In 2003, Alix (along with Margaret Cho and Nobuko Oyabu) received the “Visionary Award” from the DC Rape Crisis Center for her “exceptional commitment to the promotion of social justice.” Past honorees include Gloria Steinem, Tori Amos, Patricia Ireland and Sarah Jones. Olson has also received a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship and a Barbara Deming grant.
From Australia’s Woodford Folk Festival to NYC’s Lincoln Center, Alix has toured nationally and internationally over two-hundred days a year, regularly headlining clubs, theaters, Pride events, arts festivals, colleges and conferences throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada, South Africa, and Australia. In 2004, Alix performed for one million people at the Washington, D.C. March for Women’s Lives.
Her documentary Left Lane: On the Road with Alix Olson has been featured at international film festivals in New Zealand, Canada, Sweden, Ireland, Israel, France, Australia, Germany, and Hungary, as well as in over twenty film festivals in the U.S., including the Alter Magazine and Puffin Foundation Festivals. Left Lane has been the recipient of five awards for Favorite Audience Feature and Favorite Documentary including the Paris Feminist Film Festival.
Alix was raised in Bethlehem, PA, attended college at Wesleyan University and resides in Northampton, MA. She is currently at work on her third spoken word album Protagonist and is pursuing her PhD in Political Theory and Feminist Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
For reviews of Alix’s work, please see Press/Media quotes:
The New York Times says Alix is “fueling the never-ending struggle to promote independent thought. Igniting and inspiring audiences wherever she may travel, Olson uses her witty and sympathetic voice to highlight a grassroots struggle against intolerance that is as entertaining as it is poignant,” while TimeOut New York calls her “a mesmerizing firebrand, a joyful dyke-feminist preacher.”
Of her live performances, The Progressive Magazine calls Alix “an electrifying performer who seduces the audience with wit and energy, spinning tales of life on the road between her fiery poems. A sharpshooter with theatrical flair, Olson oozes both love and rage.”