Magazine article Herizons

The Chelsea Whistle

Magazine article Herizons

The Chelsea Whistle

Article excerpt

by Michelle Tea


Review by T.L. Cowan

"A girl could go crazy just trying to stick to her own story when everything around her conspired to knock the past away."

--Michelle Tea, The Chelsea Whistle

I first encountered Michelle Tea when she performed in Vancouver in 1998 (or was it 1999?) with the all-girl spoken-word circus, Sister Spit. I was blown away by all of the performances that night, but Tea's in particular stuck with me. On stage, she is raw and raunchy--it's kind of like she is performing with a couple of her internal organs sticking out of her gut.

The Chelsea Whistle does the same thing. It makes you feel as if you are looking at the inside, at something that maybe isn't normally exposed. The Chelsea Whistle is a kind of prequel to Tea's earlier Valencia (Seal Press, 2000). It is a story about her childhood (Valencia is a story of 20-something Tea), told with the same attention to the little details of working class life, the same humour that will make you both cringe and guffaw with recognition at the same time. …

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