Tara Jepsen has been a source of queer art inspiration for literally decades, beginning with her poetry chapbooks, Sister Spit tours and one-woman-shows in the ’90s; morphing into the long-running Carole & Mitzi comedy duet with her writing partner Beth Lisick, which spawned several live shows, short films and the web series Rods and Cones; then leading to a stand-up comedy presence that is unafraid to talk about poop, vaginas, and how she has not yet become a lesbian ceramicist like so many of her peers.
When Tara became a late-life skateboarder in her 30s she took up the cause of women, queers, and people of color in skate culture, organizing, gathering, writing about it, and creating, with artist Miriam Klein Stahl, Pave the Way, the queer skateboard company whose deck is now in the Smithsonian.
Tara recently published her first novel, Like a Dog, on Sister Spit / City Lights Books. It follows the external ramblings and internal rantings of a female not unlike herself — perverse, vulnerable, outraged, hilarious — as she skateboards abandoned pools, tries to soothe rocky family relations, and finds herself.
Once a month Tara and I book a comedy show at someone’s house, and a bunch of strangers show up and we all drink La Croix and laugh. If you’re in LA, find us on your computer and we’ll give you the address! For now, hang out with her below!
What is the most uncanny thing that you have ever experienced?
Dreaming about my brother crazy realistically after he died!
What is in your bag right now?
I clean that baby out regularly, but right now there are sunglasses, my glasses, a wallet, a selection of lip moisturizers and lipsticks, and a pack of tissues. #SNORE
Please share the 15th picture on your cell phone.
How are you like or not like your sun sign?
I’m a Scorpio and definitely very emotional!! I’m compulsively honest, and that is not considered a Scorpio trait (blame my Taurus rising).
What is the last book you read? Song you listened to? Show or movie you watched?
I read Myriam Gurba’s Mean, watched Marcella on Netflix, and listened to Neko Case’s new album!!
What was the last meal you cooked?
I made an amazing cod chowder with kale and potatoes. I think about it constantly.
Where would you like to go on vacation right now?
Palm Springs, always. Pie in the sky: Galápagos, baby!
Tell me about getting to meet someone you idolize or admire.
I was at a party and running around in my bikini. I went to the bathroom and was walking back out to the swimming pool, and decided to abruptly turn and make a weird pose at whoever was walking in the front door. I turned my knees out and bent them and pointed at my vagina. I looked up and Kim Gordon was entering. OOPS. I walked away.
What are you like when you’re sick?
Like a dying person in a soap opera. I feel I will never be well again and all hope is lost.
What are you obsessed with or inspired by right now?
I’m obsessed with face creams and inspired by MAXINE FUCKING WATERS!!!
What are you upset about right now?
Everything this so-called “President” and the rest of the GOP are doing.
What is the most recent dream you remember?
I showed the interior landscape of my vagina to someone on my swim team (recurring theme, apparently).
Who are your queer ancestors?
Sandy Stone and James Baldwin.
What is your dream project?
Washing baby elephants every day, making any funded project with Beth Lisick.
What are you doing this weekend?
Skating pools in the Bay Area with Bob Lake and some other friends!!