Vol. 15, Ed. 6 February 9 – February 15 2006

By Brandon Seifert

Cute with intent to kill

A slew of New Fest documentaries proves that homo life is still far from homogeneous

Brandon Seifert photo
Slam poet Alix Olson on stage in Fairbanks

This one time, Alix Olson told her Fairbanks audience, she was trying to turn a bad breakup into a great slam poem, but she wasn’t sure how to paraphrase her theme. “What’s a metaphor for ‘Fuck you?’”

The crowd in UAF’s Salisbury Theatre on Saturday, February 4, learned the answer: Alix Olson herself. Olson is a sweet smile and an emphatic middle finger at sexism, homophobia, the Bush administration and everything else she finds unjust.

The Fairbanks show started with several openers, including a quick pair of songs by Matt Hopper to plug his show at The Pub later that night, as well as the fake-out introduction of Fairbanks’ Alex Olesen, a tall, bearded redhead who then introduced the similarly named headliner. Olson’s show was a mix of slam poetry from her two albums, and stories about her adventures, loves and creative process.

Olson follows Mary Poppins’ suggestion about a spoonful of sugar. She approaches radical feminism and gay rights bluntly but sweetly, making the inequalities of American society easier to swallow by coating them in cute looks, a sweet and sexy voice, and a charming stage presence. She tells her stories quickly, like she’s nervous, excited and shy. Then she delivers a poem with unshakeable, captivating confidence.

At the root of activism, Olson told the audience, there’s anger, and there’s caring. “If you didn’t care,” she said, “you wouldn’t ever be pissed off.”

Alix Olson is a radical. She’s also rad.