Sunday, January 15, 2012

In Her Court: Getting to Know Elissa Ball.

Eaze, E-Ball, Ebb, Ebola--call her what you will, she will always be the effervescent and ever-buoyant ELISSA BALL. 

Elissa is a poet, a performer, a comic, and activist of many kinds. She is a regular contributor to arts and culture website Flavorpill, a soon-to-be-PUBLISHED poet, and even an ordained minister, if you are looking to get married and all.

She is also very active in the cyber community, and you can check out her hilarious tweets here. And some other nuggets here. Oh, and here

With more energy and enthusiasm than anyone I have ever met, this woman is bright, beautiful, and radical. And did I mention she is only 4'11?!

Here are some photos of Elissa/Kunt Kuntroll in Cairo duds! 
(see something you like? All clothes and accessories can be found in-store at Cairo!)

Here are more photos from our shoot!

You are writing a book of love poems. How would you describe love?
            Love is misunderstood. Folks tend to think of the Hollywood, “hetero-monogamous-Valentine’s-Day” type of love. The type of love that sustains human beings is a more universal love, whether it is from family or friends, or just being kind to people you don’t know. That’s the sort of love that saves people. Not jealousy fueled, possessive, bickering couple “love”…

Tell me about your poems. What inspires you?
            I draw a lot of inspiration from music—which is poetry I suppose. And of course other poets. Also larger-than-life figures in culture. On Facebook I have this album called Strong Female Leads, where I draw a lot of personality and essence from strong females. Like Mrs Flax from Mermaids—tap her energy when I need to create a poetry persona. The person in your poem is never really you, you know? —you’re inventing a voice and persona.

You spend A LOT of time in coffee shops writing. Do you have a favorite?
            Yeah. Fuel in Montlake! They are the best!

Tell me about your hobbies in witchery, please. 
            Well, I read tarot and I work with crystals and sage and energy.

You got witchy on the I Can’t Believe I’m a Loser podcast…
Yeah! Paul wanted me on to get ‘woo-woo’. I’m heavy into ghosts and psychic phenomenon and dream symbolism. He said to bring my tarot cards and crystals and I was a little nervous. I really like reading for people. I usually do it for barter, like “buy me some ice cream and I’ll read your tarot”. I like being able to give people clarity when they feel like they really need it, like when they’ve lost a partner or lost a job or need some clarity on what to do in a situation. Feels good to use this hobby to help my community.

Tell me about your necklace, since you say it’s your favorite.
            Ah! It’s a pink Swiss Army Knife that my dad bought me when I was eight. He gave me the “knife safety talk” before he took it out of the box. But I like it because it has a Barbie pink plastic exterior with very powerful contents.

Tell me about your performance persona. 
            Sometimes I perform as Kunt Kuntroll. The spelling of the name is a play on sexist Internet trolls. (Someone who, for example, makes comments on an article just to be a bully.) It makes women feel like they can’t make comments online. And sometimes I perform as Elissa Ball if it’s a more button up, adult reading situation. I also alter my content depending on who I am performing as. Kunt Kuntroll is more radical and IN YOUR FACE.

Where are your favorite places to perform spoken word?
            Bellingham is reliably a super enthusiastic crowd. They are really receptive to whatever you offer them. Healthy Times! May it rest in peace. I also dig skuzzy bars.

Do you have any collections?
            I have a gem collection, I have a few records. AND GIRL, so many clothes. I have two garment racks, plus a closet. What I wear is kind of an artistic hobby- it’s a way I express myself, like with color therapy.

Where do you find inspiration for your ever insightful facebook updates?
            (giggle) I treat my Facebook page as a personal zine—I think it comes from years of making zines and just being a writer and cultivating a particular persona. I think of Facebook as a performance art as well. Even on days when I feel like shit, if I can come with one pun to share with the online world I feel satisfied. I know how much joy I take from other people’s content.

Where did you go to school?
            I went to both Fairhaven School and Evergreen State College. It’s where fairies and go to school! At least—that’s what it looks like.

Which action hero do you wish you were?
I feel like Kunt Kuntroll is my action hero persona. She is ready to take on whatever, without caring whether or not she gets called a c--t. When you call yourself that first, just put it out there, you take away power from sexist people (or trolls) who can't handle powerful women. 

What are you listening to right now?
Bruteheart, which reminds me a lot of Quixotic from Olympia. The old favorites like the Smiths, and the new Stickers EP! I am also really into Wild Flag. Its Carrie Brownstein’s (Sleater-Kinney, Portlandia, NPR) new project. I am really excited about this band. Carrie is definitely a Renaissance woman and totally limitless. 

What is most exciting for you in 2012?
My book, The Punks Are Writing Love Songs!  I feel like I've been in a relationship with the manuscript for 16 months. In that time, I've had to turn away hang-outs, wedding invitations, vacations, just to finish the book . . . and then revise, edit, and re-revise. 
I'm excited to have something solid in my hand that I can smell and touch and show to all those wonderful people I had to blow off in order to do my solitary writer grrrl thing. I can't wait to go, "Look! This is what I've been making with my laptop during those bazillion hours. I've been writing poems that, I hope, will make human beings feel less alone."

Tell me about the One Haiku A Day Project! Which was your favorite?
Here’s one:
Black Cape
Woman runs out of
the salon with foils in her
hair, pays her meter.

Want more? 
Elissa is MCing an alternative variety show that she put together at Columbia City Theater on JANUARY 26TH. "It's an anti-frat-boy variety show."
And on JANUARY 28TH she will transform into Kunt Kuntroll to perform at Hollow Earth with The Sissy Collective "a new group of performers that are radical and queer! Yeah! I will definitely be Kunt Kuntroll for that."   

No comments: