San Francisco Chronicle, 8 Nov 2001
Kris Kovick, 50, author, cartoonist, activistRay Delgado, Chronicle Staff Writer
Author, cartoonist and community activist Kris Kovick died Oct. 26 in her Bernal Heights home after an eight-year struggle with breast cancer. She was 50.
Born in Fresno and raised in Wilsonia (Tulare County), Kovick began a life of gender-bending and performing in public when she was sent to the principal in kindergarten for impersonating Elvis. She later became known as a gay and women's rights organizer at California State University at Fresno in the 1970s.
After five years in Seattle, Kovick moved to San Francisco in 1980, and became heavily involved in the Bernal Heights community.
The first woman to enter the printing trade union in the Pacific Northwest, Kovick worked as an etcher and scanner operator for 25 years.
Kovick was well known across the country as a cartoonist, humor writer, journalist in local gay newspapers, performance artist and spoken-word producer, and mentor. She is widely credited with founding the women's spoken- word scene in San Francisco, hosting a monthly show at Red Dora's Bearded Lady Cafe from 1991 to 1993. Her cartoons and writing have been published in dozens of periodicals, zines, anthologies and humor books.
One of Kovick's better known works is titled "What I Love About Lesbian Politics Is Arguing With People I Agree With," a collection of essays and cartoons. She toured with Sister Spit, the performing all-girl word circus, and last year founded San Francisco in Exile Live at the Jon Sims Center (www.SFinExile.org), an online audio archive of bimonthly queer spoken-word performances.
Kovick was widely known in her neighborhood as the "Mayor of Norwich Street" and "Uncle Kris," and she was devoted to cleaning up nearby Precita Park so that children would have a clean place to play.
Kovick is survived by her yellow Labrador, Sam; ex-wife Dr. Clare Bright; girlfriend Sara Moore; chosen family Karen Browne, Ajila Hart, Mark Lammers, Erika Lopez; brothers Laura and Ginger; and many friends. Donations in her memory can be made to the Jon Sims Center for the Arts, 1519 Mission St., San Francisco, 94103.
Kovick's friends request that inquiries about a memorial and stories, pictures and poems about her be sent to email@example.com.