Friday, May 11, 2012
Warning image and name of a deceased person .... Vale Lisa Bellear. Photo: Antoinette Braybrook May 2 was the birthday of black poet and razzle dazzle woman, photographic historian, teacher, agitator, comedienne, writer,out lesbian ... and instigator and co-writer (with John Harding and Gary Foley) of the amazing street theatre work The Dirty Mile, staged at various times by Ilbijerri Theatre Company in and around Gertrude Street Fitzroy. She was a friend of mine and like thousands more, I miss her. She died far too early unexpectedly in bed in her sleep at 45. The other day I found something I wrote about her and thought I'd put it up here... Title also links to an obituary I wrote just after she died (July 6 2006). 'I only met Lisa Bellear a few brief years before she died. She featured at a gig I ran for Overload Poetry festival at St Kilda's Linden Gallery, which had previously exhibited her photography. There were two great things about this. One, I got to drive car-less Lisa from her home in the People's Republic of Moreland (Brunswick) to the gig, and get to know her, and two, she was very good. She had a nose for tokenism balanced by an appetite for poetry and performance. Her presence was warm, with bear-like qualities - both cuddly and terrifying at the same time. A mate of hers called her 'the general' and I could get with that - you know, if you were lacklustre with words she would be onto it like a dingo onto a pizzly wether (sick sheep), cutting out the crap. She'd tell you the blackfella point of view and a bit of the history, and you'd know the scars were still a bit raw. Then she'd crack a wicked take on it and raw would become roar - she'd be a woman laughing with another woman in a little car cutting across the Yarra on the way back home after a gig.'