My first memory of what I like to call the Beth Lisick Experience: I walk into the Make-Out Room, and it's packed, and I can't hear what the person onstage is saying because everyone's laughing so hard. Finally, the audience pauses for breath, and I begin to understand that the cute lady up front is telling a story about earnestly trying (and failing) to be gay. I rapidly merge with the giggling crowd. What an Experience; I now know that the celebrated author, poet, comedian, musician, and gal-about-town was reading "My Way or the Bi-Way," one of the stories in her new book, Everybody Into the Pool.
It's not really a memoir, Lisick says, drawing a distinction between a collection of funny stories about her life and the more formal autobiographical work. Her publishers aren't up on such fine literary lines, apparently, and the collection is being marketed as a narrative about how a nice normal girl got all mixed up in chronicling the fabulous Bay Area underground scene. But contrary to current salacious expectations of what might appear in a memoir, says Lisick, "There's no rehab, there's no therapy. I'm kind of a square. I'm not some hip lady running around San Francisco just doing anything and everything that comes my way." This is not exactly true, of course. She most definitely is a lady running around San Francisco, and square has been hip since Huey Lewis made it so.
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The real point, she says, is that "it shouldn't be weird to have a drag king for a baby sitter. With all the co-opting of underground culture, why is anything even considered weird anymore?" More important, possibly, is the fact that in spite of the huge popularity of comedic male authors like David Sedaris, "I haven't seen many women humorists who aren't writing about their periods, or getting pregnant, or weddings, or dating men, or shopping," Lisick says. "None of that is in my book." Natch. None of "that" is part of the Beth Lisick Experience.