This video is from 1986, after DYKE A Quarterly had ceased publishing. But Alix...well, she's Alix. Being radical and funny at the same time. And the message is as true in 2011 as it was in 1986 as it was in 1976 and earlier.
This video is from 1986, after DYKE A Quarterly had ceased publishing. But Alix...well, she's Alix. Being radical and funny at the same time. And the message is as true in 2011 as it was in 1986 as it was in 1976 and earlier.
Alix Dobkin singing. With a nice assortment of pictures. Uploaded from youTube.
TEXT OF ADS in gray, indended. Commentary follows.
Living With Lesbians
Women’s Wax Works A002
An Uncommon Musical Adventure with Alix Dobkin & Friends
Living With Lesbians was the second album from Alix Dobkin. Like her first album, Lavender Jane Loves Women, this one had two versions of a cover. This was the first. Most women found it threatening although we were really just raking apples at the farm. Pictured are left to right, Mary, Smokey, Alix, Penny House and Liza Cowan. Photo by Ginger Legato. Design by Aenjai Graphics.
This album has been blogged about a lot, mostly showing how awful, funny, wierd, it is. Worst record album cover etc. We loved it, but the people spoke and we listened. We made a new cover for the next pressing.
Of course, there were always Dykes who loved the first cover, as well as the second. See QueerMusicHeritage
Also Lavender Jane Loves Women
Women’s Wax Works A001
$6 Each (includes postage) Make check payable to
Project No. 1 Preston Hollow NY 123469
Lavender Jane Loves Women was Alix's groundbreaking first album. Never before in the history of the world had there been an album made entirely by women. The musicians, the engineer, even the vinyl pressers were women (although the vinyl pressing company was male owned - the only part of the whole process for which we couldn't find a woman - owned company. But the actual pressers were women. We met them. And, equally important, the album was conceived for an audience of women. Also groundbreaking.
For the first pressing, the abums were shipped to us in plain white sleeves. We had a work party where half a dozen women came over to our apartment and sat around the living room rubber cementing the 12x12 printed paper of the cover art, which was a drawing by Alix. I'm sure there was lots of food, probably a joint or two passed around and lots of good laughs and hard work. Now that's a collector's item.
The second cover came a few years later. Design by LIza Cowan, photo using Mita 900-D copier and cut-out heart. Liza's hand. I don't remember why we changed the art.
Alix released her memoir, My Red Blood, in the Spring of 2010. The last chapters chronicle the time leading up to the release of Lavender Jane Loves Women. Published by Alyson Books you can buy it from them if your local bookstore doesn't carry it. Alyson Books
Limited supply available:
The Flying Lesbians
German record album
Send $6 to : Project #1
Preston Hollow, NY 12469
You can read about them HERE
When band members Monika Jaekel and Monica Savier came to the States, they stayed with us. Later, Alix toured Europe with them.
Feminist Books and Periodicals
9 East 5th Street
Tempe AZ 85201
One of the many women's bookstores that peppered the landscape in the 1970's Womansplace no longer exists. Any information about it is welcome. Just drop a line in the comment box.
A women’s press collective for 3 ½ years- formerly Mother Jones Press
‘wimmin printing for wimmin
design layout offset printing binding sipping
write or call for an estimate
mail to: c/o WIT Inc P.O.. Box 745, Northampton MA
Deliver to: 19 Hawley St. Northampton MA, Rear Building
LONG TIME COMING
CANADIAN LESBIAN FEMINIST NEWSPAPER
BOX 128 STATION G, MONTREAL P.Q.
SUBS: $5 YR INDIVIDUALS
$10 YR INSTITUTIONS 5O c SAMPLE COPY
I asked asked the CLGA- Canadian Lesbian and Gay archives if they had some infromation on Long Time Coming. They had a response for me within hours. Archivist RULE! Thanks to Elizabeth Bailey at CLGA and Michelle Schwartz who supplied the following information:
From Never Going Back by Tom Warner, page 83
"A few months after its founding, some members of Montreal Gay Women began publishing Long Time Coming, the first regularly produced publication exclusively for lesbians in Canada. Long Time Coming found a receptive readership that stretched across North America. But, in testament to the times, none of the women involved allowed her real name to be published. In all, Long Time Coming produced approximately twenty issues from June 1973 until it folded in 1976."
The citation given for this is: Laura Yaros, "Long Time Coming: Long Time Gone," Amazones d'Hier: Lesbiennes d'Aujourd'hui, vol. 5, March 1988.
From Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada: A Selected Chronology, 1964-1975 by Don McLeod, page 130
"July, 1973. Montreal. The first issue of Long Time Coming was published by Montreal Gay Women. Edited by Jackie Manthorne, this was the first lesbian journal published in Canada. Long Time COming contained news, poetry, opinion pieces, book reviews, advertisements, and listings. It ceased publication in April-May 1976, after twenty issues."
The citation given for this:
Margaret Fulford, ed. The Canadian Women's Movement, 1960-1990: A Guide to Archival Resources/Le mouvement de femmes, 1960-199: guide de resources archivistiques (Toronto: Canadian Women's Movement Archives/ECW Press, 1992), Entry 618.
Don McLeod's book is available for free as a pdf from the University of Toronto website.
For more on White Mare Buttons see HERE
Ads for Alix Dobkin's album, Living With Lesbians, graphics by Aenjai press. Linda Shear's album, A Lesbian Portrait. Ad for Sherry, Carpenter Consultant.
The Lesbian Tide, a magazine from Los Angeles, really hated us! Here's their review of Issue No. 1:
Dyke purports to be a separatist magazine reporting "analysis, communication and news" of Lesbian culture. What it is in fact is a vehicle for the personal ramblings of its two editors (high-school diary style) and a mishmash of politically naive thinking they call Dyke Separatism.
Separatism, as espoused by Dyke, is a luxury item for the privileged few. For those that can afford it, the best I can say is "Gee whiz, you lucky dykes sure do have a great life". For the rest of us, its crucial lack of awareness of lesbian and women's oppression is classist, ignorant and infuriating. Two examples of this are chronicled in the section called "California Diary."
One is an incident where the two right-on dykes ask a stewardess if she wouldn't be more comfortable in pants, instead of her mini-skirt uniform, and are surprised at her taking offense. She's probably be most comfortable being independently wealthy and quitting that oppressive job where she has to grovel to travelers all day long for crumby money. The issue of pants does not exactly speak to her oppression, since she can't control PSA's requiring stewardesses to dress like sex objects, nor change the fact that she needs the job to survive. How'd they miss the point?
We were both angry and highly amused by this review. Puzzled too. How could the author not get that the one of the things that made the stewardesses job oppressive was that she was forced to wear hot pants? Meanwhile, unbeknownst to The Lesbian Tide, stewardesses themselves were claiming their own power, organizing and changing the rules
Another interesting misuse of separatism is their report of visiting a local feminist bookstore and finding a man (of all things) shopping there. They harass him and finally make him leave. What that accomplished was that it lost the bookstore some money. Six women's livelihoods depend on that bookstore, and in these pre "Lesbian Nation" times men's money has the same buying power as women's. The bookstore is glad to rip it off and re-filter it into alternative jobs for women.
Well, as a retailer myself, now, I don't think I'd appreciate my customers harassing other customers, which is certainly what we were doing, as reported in "California Diary." It was interesting, though, that the author felt that selling things to men was "ripping them off" but selling the same things to a woman was not a ripoff. Interesting attitude for a retailer.
The worst part of the critique, however, was that the author failed to mention that she was a co-owner of Sisterhood Bookstore. Because we believed so strongly in situated knowledge and transparency, this kind of false - if implied- claim to objectivity really stunned us.
Here's our (rather hot headed) response, which they probably published, or published some of. Click on the thumbnail image and the bigger page will pop up. You can double click to enlarge even more.
Abridged text in grey italics, comments in black. Click to enlarge page to read it in full.
What The Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear
By Liza Cowan
When I was co-editing COWRIE I wrote a series called, “What The Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear.” The quotations her are taken from that series.
“Women have been forced to dress as objects since the invention of patriarchy. Do you object to my saying that women are forced to wear certain clothing? I know some women will say that no one Is forced to wear anything. If women go along with these social/fashion customs, there are just stupid. But this is not true. If you don’t dress the way you are supposed to, you are a social outcast. If you function in mainstream culture you may be fired from your job, kicked out of school, ridiculed by our ‘peers’ and family. It takes great courage to defy your class and sex taboos.” (February 1974)
Sometimes I forget how different we’re looking these days. My eye has become so accustomed to our short cropped hair, baggy work trousers, vests, boots ad our direct stares. The other day Alix and I went up to town to pick up Adrian at school. It was the first time we had been there since school opened. Adrian usually comes and goes on the school bus. Her class wasn’t quite finished when we arrived, so we hung out in the hall. Several classes were on their way to the cafeteria, and every kid in that hall stared at us as if we had three eyes, and they were not merely curious. Lots of them were hostile, especially the little boys.
Ordinarily we would have let the boys know that it was past due time for them to be castrated. Especially me. I hate little boys and I love to make scenes. However, we were in Adrian’s school. She’s five years old and has no choice about where to live or go to school. We know how heavy the other children in that rural public school could make it for her. At least in the city there are bound to be other children whose parents are weird, but here in the country everyone is pretty much the same except for the Lesbians, and Adrian is the only child in our Dyke community. Clearly nobody in that school had ever seen the likes of us, two stompin’ Dykes, trained in the streets of New York City. So we had to act like “Mommie and Aunt Liza” (or whoever I was saying I was that day.) We were wearing the wrong costumes to play that part. It’s way past time when we might want to pass at Adrian’s school. We’d never be able to pull it off, anyway. The last time we put on Ladies clothes Alix looked like Jan Morris. I guess our solution at school is to keep a low profile and hope for the best.
The following is commentary by Liza Cowan, written for this archive in 2011
Thirty five years later, I'm amazed by how much has changed yet so much has stayed the same.
When I wrote these essays in the mid seventies, I didn't have the vocabulary to write cultural theory about clothing. I hadn't been to college yet, but more than that, cultural studies didn't really enter the academy until the late seventies. The idea of reading clothing as text was barely developed, and an interest in clothing was considered feminine i.e. devalued. It's no wonder that my theory was simultaneously rudimentary and passionate. That said, I'm proud that my colleagues and I understood that examining clothing in the context of power was a worthy endeavor. We believed the feminist credo: the personal is political. Our readers, for the most part, found our interest in clothing superficial, classist and apolitical.
From Our Right To Love, Ginny Vida, Ed. 1978
"This visually enticing quarterly magazine abuses valuable news space by filling it with trite meanderings on such superficial subjects as dyke fashions and interior decorating. Lacking political analysis(even of dyke separatism) or the talents to express the written word, DYKE, fortunately still a baby in the lesbian publishing world, unfortuneately displays the temperment of a spoiled brat"
These days there are some excellent blogs about clothing and theory. For example, see Worn Out, a scholarly and beautiful blog. Universities offer cross disciplinary classes and conferences on the politics of fashion. We wer just ahead of our time.
Daily Life Of a little Dyke family in rural New York circa 1975
Alix Dobkin, her daughter, Adrian, and I were living on a farm in the tiny hamlet of Preston Hollow, Schoharie County, New York. Partly back-to-the-land, partly Lesbian Separatist, we had moved there from New York City in 1974 with another Lesbian couple. There were a few other Lesbians who lived somewhat nearby. Penny lived there in the summers. We were the only Dykes with a child. We were the only Jews. None of our neighbors were even divorced. We were in a new territory without much of a map. We were terrified that our neighbors would be vicious. The first time it snowed I cried. We had never lived outside of New York City.
We did try to be good neighbors; we kept our place tidy, waved to folks on the road and chatted with people at the hamlet's one market and post office. It turned out that the neighbors liked us well enough. They thought we were strange, but likable. They cared less that we were Lesbians, and more that we kept our property tidy and we were friendly, so word got out that we were OK. Or OK enough for them to be neighborly. We were Lesbians, but we were their Lesbians. Some became friends.
At age five, Alix's daughter Adrian was in kindergarten. Maybe first grade. She took the bus from Preston Hollow to Middleburg every day. It was a 45 minute ride. None of the other parents knew usexcept by town gossip. Sociable by nature, Adrian nevertheless only made friends with a few of the children who lived down the road.
Adrian remembers that her teachers singled her out to be mean to, and the other children, but for a few, were not allowd to play with her. But it wasn't only the rural parents - the ones from the city could be just as bad. It was, in fact, a city friend's mom who was the most homophobic and vile to little Adrian, who came home one after one weekend in the city with her Dad, crying, "Andrea's mom says we can't play anymore because you are hobos."
"Hobos. Andrea's mom says you're hobos and I can't play with Andrea?"
"Do you know what a Hobo is?
"No, but she thinks you're bad."
It took us a few minutes but we figured out that we were homos. Homos. We explained to Adrian that homo was a word for same sex couples like us. And that Andrea's mom was an idiot. But our theories and explanations didn't make Adrian's life any easier for her. She longed to be treated as if she were normal. Her moms were happliy not normal. All The choices were fraught with consequences.
In a year or so Adrian moved to New York city with her dad, then subesequently they moved to Woodstock, NY an hour's drive south of us, soon followed by Alix, then by me. We had separated as a family, but only in the traditional heteronormative sense. In the Lesbian sense we remained very much an enlarged and engaged family. And Woodstock was full of weirdos: artists, hippies, musicians...so being a Hobo wasn't such a big deal.
Adrian grew up into a wonderful woman: smart, talented, kind, beautiful. She has a terrific family; a husband, three gorgeous kids, doting Grandmas Alix and Nancy down the road, and a bevy of faithful long - term friends. She's the best.
The comment about little boys: I was being dramatic. I hated how boys were raised with the assumption of gender power and it showed all over their bodies, their posture, their clothing, their play. Castration? We lived in farm country, and it was an easy metaphor. It was a castration of the Phallus=symbolic in the Lacanian, theoretical sense, not the actual body. Castration in fact? No. Of course not. I was angry - not delusional.
Excerpted Text below in grey. For full text see above. Click to enlarge and make them more readable.
April 26, 1975
Penny flies to San Francisco to see Janet who is there working on a film…
May 1, 1975
Liza and Alix fly to Los Angeles. Met at airport by Norma NY…
May 2, Friday
Penny and Janet drive to LA with Deborah Hoffman and Joan Bobkoff. We all meet at the Lesbian History Exploration…we settle into our bunk…which we share with other New Yorkers, Moregan Zale, Majoie Canton, Joan Bobkoff, Deborah Hoffman, Karen and Jan Oxenberg.
We have dinner and a meeting with all 150 women who have come for the weekend. The Exploration collective tells us that we are to break into small groups to CR about Lesbian history. Penny objects to this attempt to structure our experience but everyone looks daggers at her, so she shuts up….
May 3, Saturday
…Alix sings songs arranged chronologically to show the development of her Lesbian consciousness. Then we listen to Judy Grahn read her poetry, She is fabulous. Lunch. Liza and Alix go to a workshop where a woman presents a Marxist analysis of Lesbian oppression. They argue with her….Alix talks music with Margie Adam. Liza meets another of her pen pals Chocolate. Dinner. Liza gets dressed up in her beautiful green velour suit that Moregan Zale had just finished making. Liza presents her slide show, What The Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear.’” An historical examination of Lesbian clothing from 1900 to the present. Margie Canton does a comedy routine. Then we see a part of Jan Oxenberg's very funny movie, A Comedy In Six Unnatural Acts. We go indoors and listen to two women tell us about the bar scene and the Army in the 1950’s.
May 4, Sunday
At the end of the Exploration we all gather around in a circle to sing songs but nobody knows what to sing. Alix finally leads us in “Beware Young Ladies”. Snip
…we drive to Lee’s office, where she works as a professional feminist, then to Sisterhood Bookstore. A man comes in and starts to look at books. Liza and Penny decide to make him feel unwelcome. He is looking at books on a revolving rack. Liza and Penny surround him, and Liza spins the rack around fast. He pretends nothing is happening. Eventually we force him to leave. The woman in charge of the store calls us fascists and we leave. Later we meet Simone of Sisterhood books, who is more in agreement with our politics. W go to The Feminist Wicca and meet Z Budapest, who tells us a few stories about her recent arrest. Nancy Toder and Alice Bloch, who had been on the planning collective for the Lesbian History Exploration meet us at The Wicca. They take us to their house for dinner. We all get along so well that they invite us to stay with them starting the next night.
Tuesday, May 6
…We drive to Hollywood and all around Beverly Hills. Penny buys two maps of the stars homes. …Liza and Alix go to Jan Oxenberg’s for dinner and then on to KPFK to do a live radio show, Lesbian Sisters, with Jan.
We go to the Santa Monica Women’s Center. Jan Aura, Amy, Phranc (who had just cut her hair short) Judy Dlugacz and others come by. We have a discussion about separatism and women’s music. Janet joins us and we drive to visit Liza’s brother and sister –in-law.
..Alice and Nancy drive Alix and Liza to the train station to take the train to San Diego for Alix’s concert. …snip…after the concert we go to Las Hermanas, the women’s coffeehouse; we are impressed by the décor; mural of women, big wooden bookcases and pillows on the floor. It is very friendly and casual…
May 10, Saturday
Train back to LA…rest up for Alix’s concert. Janet comes back from here sister’s and we all get dressed up.
The concert is at Metropolitan Church, a Gay church in downtown LA. It looks like a converted movie palace, with red plush all over the seats and stage. The walls are gold speckled stucco. The concert, produced by Marion for Macaroon Productions, is fabulous. The sound engineered by Margot McFedries is rich and clear. Everyone is dressed to the teeth, and six women have had their hair cropped short since The Exploration. Alix gives a wonderful performance and many women say they are thrilled to hear such overt Lesbian music
After the concert there is a party upstairs with dancing and punch. Alix leaves with Meg Christian, Margie Adam, Cris Williamson and Ginny Berson. They go back to Olivia records house to play music. Janet, Liza, Penny, Nancy and Alice go home.
May 11, Sunday
…Liza, Alix and Penny are flying to San Francisco…snip…On the airplane the stewardesses are wearing orange hotpants and high heels. We ask them if they wouldn’t be more comfortable in pants? They say no and seem offended.
At the San Francisco airport we are met by Ellen Broidy and Ilsa Perse, who, along with Natalie Landou, are producing all of Alix’s Bay Area performances….snip…They tell us about the controversy at the Full Moon, a woman’s coffee house where a large part of the collective have quit for political reasons, and a debate is raging. Alix has two dates to perform there. We go out to dinner and then to the Baccanaal, a women’s bar in Berkeley, where Alix is playing. The show is great and we have a good time. The sound, by Joan Bobkoff, is excellent, and the women are tough looking and gorgeous.
….at noon we go to KPFA to be interviewed by Karen. Meet Ellen, then we go to ICI A Woman’s Place Bookstore, and see an old school chum of Liza and Penny’s who is working at the bookstore and is a Lesbian.
We visit the Women’s Press Collective which shares space with the bookstore, and we talk to Wendy Cadden and Judy Grahan. Wendy explains how she is learning color separation and shows us a project, a cover for a 45 record. ..snip…in the evening Liza shows her slide, “What The Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear” at The Women’s Skills Center.
Wendy Cadden at the press. Photo by Willyce Kim
May 13th, Tuesday
….we go to The Full Moon where Alix is playing. The Free Box Collective (the women who quit The Full Moon) is handing out copies of its statement. We stop to talk with them. Inside, The Full Moon is packed with Bay Area women, but we hear many women won’t come because of the controversy We like The Full Moon, and we think it is attractive.
May 15th, Thursday
In the morning Laurie from Seattle interviews us for the Lesbian Feminist Radio Collective. Afterward we drive to Oakland where Penny buys a pair of Red Wing hiking boots. Then out to a house in the Berekely Hills where we meet Syreeta and Linda. We have a wonderful fresh salmon for dinner. We are late so we have a mad drive through the hills of Berkely, Penny and Liza in Syreeta’s 1959 Mercedes Benz; Alix, Ellen, Ilsa and Linda following in Ilsa’s car. Alix sings at Bishops, a people’s coffee house in Oakland given over to women for the evening. Joan Bobkoff engineered the sound, as she had for all the performances.
Red Wing Boot, drawing by LIza Cowan 1975
May, 16th, Friday
We fly home to New York. Janet meets us at the airport with flowers.