Too much slam for a man

Apr 112007
Authors: Margaret Canty

The female-dominated crowd that gathered in Lory Student Center’s Sunken Lounge Wednesday night proved CSU is far from the stereotypical agricultural school.

Gay students’ cheers outnumbered the straight students’ when welcomed by poet Andrea Gibson’s joke, “you had to be queer to get in,” and who cut the air with pointedly pro-lesbian lyrics.

The attentive crowd filled the entire commons area, overflowing into Subway seating and gathering on the floor to hear the two lesbian performers, hosted by CSU as part of this week’s Transgender Bisexual Gay and Lesbian Awareness Days events.

The co-chairs of T’BGLAD, senior restaurant and resort management major DJ Lawrence, and senior psychology major Clare Jensen, asked slam poet Andrea Gibson and singer/songwriter Chris Pureka to perform after receiving a recommendation from women’s studies at CSU.

“The message behind their art combines perspectives of queer activities and feminism,” said Lawrence. “They bring another perspective by using art as expression.”

Gibson sees her reason for coming as much simpler.

“We’re here because we’re queer,” she said, adding with a smile, “and proud of it.”

Pureka, who is originally from Massachusetts, opened with a soulful acoustic set, sharing humorous stories between songs, lightening the emotional mood her lyrics set.

Her soft speaking gave way to a powerful singing voice, echoing out from her petite frame casually dressed in work boots and jeans, topped short brown hair, causing her to get mistake for a man numerous times.

“I write from a personal place and it’s very introspective,” said Pureka before the show. “I don’t really have a certain message and I’m not political. I write because it’s therapeutic.”

The silence of the crowd was only broken with rapid applause between songs.

Once Gibson took the stage, the atmosphere completely changed. Her outgoing personality, matching her spiky hair and comfort on stage, put the audience at ease, and left them roaring with laughter, shouting and responding to Gibson’s witty, quick words.

Her poems ranged from criticisms of the war to lesbian love ballads and everything in between, including lyrics about boobs and tampons.

“I write because I enjoy writing and I enjoy performing, too,” Gibson said when asked about her inspirations. “My poems are like a conversation. They’re meant to start conversations.”

Gibson, originally from Maine, currently lives in Boulder where she performs regularly with a feminist group, Vox Feminista. A former pre-school teacher, Gibson is planning to perform full time and tour the east coast in May.

Both artists brought in fans, including tech crewmember Shannon Rierden, a junior speech communications major and Andrea Gibson fan.

“She speaks with such conviction, and it’s really amazing stuff,” she said. “She raises awareness in a welcoming environment.”

Staff writer Marge Canty can be reached at

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