HARRIS, Gail




Author Tags: Poetry

Born in Victoria in 1956, Gail Harris was raised in Victoria, attended University of Victoria and moved to England in 1984. A performance artist, she appeared in her own seven-minute, 16 mm film "as an evangelical reincarnation of Cleopatra" in Men: A Passion Playground, directed by Victoria-raised director Atom Egoyan. It was released in 1985 by Gale Warning Productions. She operated a turn-of-the-century bed and breakfast called Lilac House across from the Ross Bay Cemetery with her partner Clint Hutzulak, publisher and editor of artdog press. The cemetery inspired her second book, Lady ambivalence and her small, secret mansion (artdog press, 1988). This, in turn, gave rise to a 40-minute theatrical interpretation of the book that premiered in Victoria in 1988. Her first book was The blue silk underwear of the incredible Miss Rainwater (Coach House, 1986).

[BCBW 2003] "Poetry"


Lady ambivalence and her small, secret mansion
article



WHEREAS MANY WRITERS HAVE awkward relationships with their publishers, some small press authors such as Victoria performance artist Gail Harris enjoy intimate relations with their publishing houses by living in them.

Gail Harris and her publisher Clint Hutzulak operate Lilac House, a turn-of the-century Victoria mansion converted into a Bed & Breakfast inn. The historic house, built by Raymond Baulkins in 1892, doubles as the headquarters for art dog press co-founded by Hutzulak, Harris and Philip Willey in 1987.

Harris, 32, has used the house as the catalyst for her second book, Lady ambivalence and her small, secret mansion ($9.95 artdog press, 252 Memorial Crescent, Victoria, V8S 3J2). Complete with 19th century photos, her poetry collection imagines a menagerie of ghosts from the Ross Bay Cemetery located directly across the street from Lilac House.

"Contrary to the popular beliefs of realtors," she writes, "houses are extremely fussy about picking their owners, and not. vice versa." Harris' first book is The blue silk underwear of the incredible Miss Rainwater (Coach House 1986). She has also produced a theatrical poetry film, Men: A Passion Playground. "Harris is the female Einstein of sex relations," critic Mary de Michele has effused, "she postulates for women the relativity of men to their lives."

Lady ambivalence and her small, secret mansion was premiered as a 40-minute performance piece in May of 1988 as part of Theatre B.C.'s Main stage Festival. The un-capitalized art dog press has previously published a first novel by visual artist/writer Philip Willey called Last Chance. Both books were designed 'in-house' with input from the authors.

[Summer/BCBW 1989]