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By Rory L. Aronsky | January 24, 2006

There are actors, cable news personalities, writers, and singers nationally known. Then there are people only known in their cities, people to hold on to in this age of Walmartification, where everything seems to be changing to be more accessible, more mainstream, and much more convenient, too easy as if to block out actual thought processes. Kris Kovick, who died of breast cancer in 2002 was one of those people, a woman for San Francisco who did more than just live there. She was a lesbian, a cartoonist, a humorist, a writer, a voice for those who wanted to be heard, but either wanted to remain inside themselves or just watch the scene from the sidewalk. It’s said that a city shapes a person, and Kovick certainly found freedom in San Francisco, to speak without inhibition, to become an important part of a community of creativity. Watching her in interviews, it’s exactly like watching someone speed down the hills of San Francisco on a motorcycle. They do it to get somewhere (Kris connected with a lot of people), but there’s a complete lack of wondering whether it should be done. It has to be done. It must be done.

I’ll only know Kovick through these ten minutes. I know there are other films on the Internet, on video, on DVD that are tapping me hard on the shoulder. “See me, watch me, NOW!” But in Kovick, there is an everlasting reminder that we need to be who we are, as often as life allows us. She was a prankster, among other self-appointed positions, and tells a story about what may have been a prank, where she invited twins who were joined at the head to the local cafe. One hated folk music, and the other was a folk singer. She’s better at telling it from there. Another unique moment from Kovick is her revelation on what she likes about dying. Filmmaker Silas Howard did right by bringing Kris to other people. Some people would admire Kovick for having “spunk”. I admire her simply for being free, for being herself. Too often, many movies promote being yourself, but only in the way the character lives, as if you must be a cheerleader or love grunge rock or be a successful businessperson to find your way. Kovick simply lived and that was good enough. We need more of that.

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