Front Range Flannel



Tara Jepsen and Bob Lake, photo by Taylor DeHart. 

Tara Jepsen is a comedian, writer, and actor living in Los Angeles. She’s been performing with the queer cabaret, Sister Spit, alongside Michelle Tea and Ali Liebegott since 1998. At the age of 36, Jepsen began skateboarding and in what follows, she discusses her experience, shitty meth motels, and a gentle giant longshoreman named Glenn.

I think a lot about what kind of person I want to be. At forty-one, I am haunted by the idea of turning eighty years old, remembering the people or events that led to pain and obsessive thinking, and wondering what the big deal was. I want that presence of mind now. Things go up and down and there I am, the string from the loose tooth of birth tied to the doorknob of death, perpetually wincing in anticipation of the invisible hand slamming the door. Best to give in and know some things will feel great, some like garbage, and that most of my feelings will (sadly) be captured by baby animals in the photo attachments of a sentimental email forwarded by my dad.

I don’t admire how some people age. I see a lot of fear and conservatism trickling into formerly risk-taking, open-minded friends. I want to see more resilient spirits who never lose interest in life outside their minds, homes and families. But most of all, I want to feel alive. I want experiences largely untouched by precedent, as well as some that are highly curated (snorkeling in Fiji whilst staying in a beach bungalow someday sounds good).

So at 36, I started skating with a group of women in San Francisco. We cruised along the Embarcadero, learning to balance on our boards and foot-push. Two months in, a friend brought me to the Novato skatepark, and I found that skating bowls was exactly what I wanted to do with my life. Before, I would say I was happy thirty-five percent of the time. Now that I skate, I would say it’s a solid ninety percent. You don’t have to be a Shaklee vitamin sales supervisor to know that those are some solid numbers.

I hated being the least skilled skater at a park, so I pushed myself to keep learning and trying things I was scared of. I fell all the time and bruised my limbs to an astonishing degree. Oddly, this did not distress me. I felt overjoyed.

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Remember Beast of the East at Utopia skatepark?  I was there.

The sunshine in my office on a snowy day

(Source: Spotify)

Looking to get funky?

(Source: Spotify)

Full Ian MacKaye talk at the Library of Congress on the topic of archiving, skateboarding, punk rock, Regan breaking the indian curse, and more.  So good.