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Please keep fellow Toriphile Kristi Martel in your thoughts.

Updated Wed, Aug 27, 2003 - 9:52am ET

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Kristi Martel recently lost her partner Littlebird (Amy Nuara) and could use some support during this rough time.

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The following information about Kristi is from Lisa071573 (sufisdance):

Please keep fellow Toriphile Kristi Martel in your thoughts. Kristi is a signer-songwriter from Oakland, CA that I'm a fan of and she and I met a few years ago when she was down in San Diego playing some gigs and she stayed at my apartment. Kristi and I have gotten to know each other pretty well and have become good friends over the last two years. Kristi's partner Littlebird (Amy Nuara) was also a singer-songwriter and I saw them perform together a bunch of times over the last few years. Littlebird was a sweet person with a beautiful voice. I didn't know her too well, only in passing as Kristi's partner in life and music.

Kristi and I saw each other the weekend of the Tori concert here in San Diego. We talked about how Kristi will be playing the upcoming Tori Amos Tribute/RAINN Benefit in North Carolina in April and we discussed which Tori songs we thought Kristi should pick to cover. We went to the Tori show together and Kristi met some of my Tori buddies. Kristi returned home on Sunday and a week later Littlebird was found dead and everything had gone to hell.

Littlebird's family came into Kristi's home and treated her like a roommate and not like Littlebird's love and partner. They took Littlebird's belongings away without asking Kristi what she might want of her dead girlfriend's things. Littlebird's family didn't want Kristi to go to "Amy's" funeral back in Virginia. Littlebird's church didn't want Kristi to speak at a service they were having. It's been very rough on Kristi and she could really use some support right now.

If you'd like to send Kristi a sympathy e-mail, her e-mail address is You can also check out her website at Littlebird was Kristi's life partner and was the one bringing home the rent, so Kristi could also use some financial support right now. You can help by purchasing one of Kristi's cds at or you can send a donation (in lieu of flowers) via paypal to

Lisa071573 (sufisdance)

Below is from Kristi's diary on her website:

August 26, 2003
Dear friends and fans,

I have the saddest and hardest news. My partner Littlebird is dead. These past three weeks have been the most painful of my life. I had to file a missing persons report. I worried beyond belief for three days. I went to see my life partner's body once found. I had to protect myself from her family and friends. I had to watch them go through my and Littlebird's home to claim things of hers that she had shared with me. I had to create my own memorial service because I was not entirely welcomed at the service in her hometown or the one in her church. And I am trying to get past all that drama to get to my own grief and healing.

I planned a memorial service for this past Saturday. It was beautiful. It was at Lands End, overlooking the place where she was found. Joe McMurray, a pastor at Littlebird's church (MCC SF) facilitated the service beautifully. We sang "Come By Here" while leaving offerings for Littlebird. I sang Lauryn Hill's version of Corinthians. Joe read about Elijah and Elisha (2 Kings 2:1-15). I asked my friend to read a chapter from "The Little Prince" about taming the fox. I sang a song Littlebird wrote about her and me. I told the truth about our relationship and her life. Joe called those "words of love." :) We listened to people share memories of Littlebird. I sang Tuck and Patti's "Tears of Joy" to my littlebird and everybody else all the while watched by two ravens that were building their nest throughout the service... I want to share with you my truth about Littlebird, as I did at the service, because I believe it is very very important to break silence and to tell the truth. So here goes.

My life partner, music partner, touring mate, soulmate, playmate, lover, and friend, Littlebird, was born in North Carolina and grew up in Richmond, Virginia. She always felt she was in the wrong body; she felt like a boy and felt horribly judged for acting how she felt. She was forced to wear dresses and go to cotillion to learn very gendered partnered dances. Her way of protecting her true self was to hide. The things she most loved she'd enjoy by herself in her room, reading, or by herself outside, climbing trees and rocks and buildings. She loved puppies but never got to fulfill her dream of having one. She loved fantasy, especially Elfquest, Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin. She was very talented at drawing and began drawing her own comic books starting in middle school. She always felt alone, somehow socially and spiritually misplaced. She sought friendship and acceptance in an evangelist church youth group and in a Christian house church, but still faced condemnation for her androgyny and queerness. She hid her feelings of love for women and decided she wanted to work for Disney.

She went to Rhode Island School of Design. She loved art school, started writing songs and playing open mics, and had secret romances. By the time she finished school she realized she loved the art of animation more than the commercial realities of Disney, and also that she wanted to be more open about who she was. So she moved to San Francisco to find herself a queer home and freelance animation work. She found so much healing at MCC and in the queer haven of SF. She had her first fully out relationship. She sang in MCC's gospel choir for many years, shared in more romances, drummed with Moonsisters and Carolyn Brandy, did various freelance animation work, and wrote more and more songs about relationships, spirit, nature, and loneliness...

She kept her worlds very separate, still hiding parts of herself in each world. She even had different names in different worlds because she never felt "Amy" fit. She was h'amy, h'amyjane, speedracer, peterpan, dave the gnome... I met her as Littlebird. Littlebird was her chosen name, a metaphor for her habit of hiding herself up in a tree, alone with the things she most loved. She thought it was a temporary name, one she'd grow out of when she healed that part of herself.

She and I met through our music. We had both donated songs to the Rose Street Raw Compilation CD. We played a bunch of shows together to promote the CD. The first time I noticed my crush on Littlebird, she was hanging out with friends in the back of a venue, playing guitar for them even though someone was on stage performing at that very moment. I thought she was so rude and aloof! Later I saw that more as a protective detachment covering up her shyness and social awkwardness.

Littlebird suffered from depression since her childhood. Once during our relationship, she was so depressed she lay on the floor under her desk crying and not responding to me. We had bought tickets to see Sweet Honey in the Rock that night. I insisted she come with me. I got her dressed, got our tickets, got her some tissues, drove us there, held her hand all the way. I kept getting in the way of her depression like that, always trying to show her healing and love.

Just before she died, I was away on business. She missed me so much that I came home that Sunday to a beautiful welcome home picture she'd drawn and hung on the front door. Her depression seemed to have lifted. She was really happy to be singing at MCC's evening services. She was so excited as she was about to start a fantastic dog-training program. She was excited to be closer to her east coast friends and family, as we'd planned to move in November. When I got home we had two beautiful days of talking, finalizing our moving plans, connecting, and affirming each other and us.

On that Tuesday she left happy, for a meeting she'd been attending weekly, that had been helping her with her depression. She came back shaken and crying. The meeting had focused on honesty and it seemed pivotal for her, like she was on the edge of letting go of all her secrets. She seemed on the brink of her healing. I felt she was about to be herself, her whole self without hiding. But she looked terrified. Over and over she said she didn't want to hurt me. She seemed to fear that her true self would be hurtful. The next morning she seemed out of her body. I think she'd already decided to leave. I went out for two hours and when I came back she was gone, missing for 3 days until friends found her body on the shore at Lands End. I knew she'd be there because she'd told me of this favorite place of hers. I think she knew I'd have done anything to stop her from leaving. I think that's why she never showed me Lands End. She shared her suicidal impulses with other people; with me she shared her longing for connection and healing. I believe she was on the edge of truly being herself and that she chose to fly away instead of living. She was so beautiful and so much in pain and didn't know how to keep living. She was right there and then walked away.


so... I have been running around trying to protect myself from the vultures. I have been dealing with the business of death. And I am just now starting to come down off that race to actually feel all my pain about her death. I've cancelled a couple of shows that I didn't get to let you know about and I have a show coming up this Friday, my frist since Littlebird's death, that I intend to play. It will be hard, but I do need to get back to my life in small steps.

I wanted to share with you the obit I wrote. The one her family wrote didn't mention me and made it sound like her mother's husband was actually her husband, so I decided to write a new one:

NUARA, Amy Caroline / LITTLEBIRD - Age 30, was found dead just south of Lands End in San Francisco on Friday August 8, 2003. Littlebird grew up in Richmond VA and moved to San Francisco after studying animation at Rhode Island School of Design. She was an accomplished singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, animator, cartoonist and writer who loved playing games and climbing trees and cliffs. She is survived by her life partner, Kristi Martel; her cats, Solly and Sadie; her MCC friends; and her Richmond VA relatives. A memorial service will be held to honor her life on Saturday August 23, 2003 at 11am. Meet at the parking lot near Lands End/ Merrie Way, SF. Please bring biodegradable offerings for the alter.

Also, there is a guestbook for Amy Caroline Nuara here.

Thanks for everyone who has been praying for me and sending me light and love and presents. I really really appreciate all the support. I hope Littlebird is feeling it too.

love and light,

Posted by: Mikewhy

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