Calm Walk With Jane Handel
Jane Handel Interview
By Allen Whitman
Jane Handel sits composed on a low sofa, knees pressed together and long
dark hair tied back in a quiet ponytail. In a long coat and nondescript
black clothing she would blend in with people on the bus or at a cafe in
downtown San Francisco, where she makes her home. But any eye for
detail will see tears etched into her face. Black, permanent, the tattoos
weep even when she smiles. Her voice is soft and her speech is clear. Here
is a woman who thinks clearly and, by her own definition, knows her
Jane Handel is performing tonight at the behest of her friend Lydia Lunch.
She does not perform usually; she might even consider it a necessary evil, a
way to get outside of her head and the very private world she lives in.
Though an author of at least three books Swimming On Dry Land: The
Memories Of An Ascetic Libertine, Fragment, Silver
Dagger (all self-published by her company: "Spiderwoman Press"),
numerous articles in trade papers and stories published in various
anthologies, she allows time for her other selves: she paints, is a
photographer and sculpts. Her sculpture is not like "Michaelangelo
chipping away at marble," she says, " more like three dimensional pieces
made of different objects.
When asked to describe her favorite thing to do Jane Handel takes this
writer on a verbal walk over the beaches of Kauai, in Hawaii. She
describes the sun and the sea and the picture of the tropical landscape
unfolds. The soft breeze lifts your hair and the sand turns under your bare
feet. Then we are back in the downstairs dressing room at Slim's, in San
Francisco, a rather self-absorbed rock-under-glass club in the notorious
"soma" area, near the water. Ridiculous signs hang on the walls. "NO
STAGE DIVING", "NO HEAD SURFING" What is head surfing?
Tonight Jane Handel will read from a story published in an anthology
called "First Person Sexual" (published by Down There Press). Audience
members will stare, rapt, and hang on every word; it is unlikely that any
one will headsurf to Jane Handel.
Jane Handel prefers a private connection with her muse to the public
connection with an audience. That subtle voice springing out of every
artist's heart, gentle and insistent, is a rare gift and you'll have to listen
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