How a writer-musician-teacher-parking lot attendant spends her time

in front of tv

I haven’t written a blog post in a few months. Lest you think I’ve been slumped in front of the TV with a box of bonbons by my side, here’s an update, numbered for convenience. I’m all about convenience, unless it’s a microwave burrito from Seven-Eleven. (Does anyone actually eat those?) Continue reading

Posted in music, Music business, Music instruction, Playing the guitar, Playing the ukulele, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

There’s something about the women: women’s music book

Therese Edell photo

Photo by Toni Armstrong Jr.

Back in 1977, I attended a Therese Edell concert. I’d never heard of her but my friend Lois asked if I was going and I couldn’t think of a reason to say no. I knew I was in the right place as I sat in that darkened community college theater surrounded by a couple hundred women, listening to Therese caress each song in that resonant alto voice. I was a newly out young lesbian. She was One of Us, at a time when there were few women in mainstream music, aside from a small number of  singer-songwriters who went on about their men. Around that time, I discovered Lesbian Concentrate, a compilation LP from Olivia that featured Cris Williamson, Meg Christian, and so many more soon to be a part of the soundtrack to my coming out as a lesbian and a feminist. I journeyed days to attend festivals, I stood in line with my well-worn albums to meet my favorite musicians, and I became stronger. So did thousands of you. Continue reading

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Great gifts for your favorite musician

ukulele kid

Whether it’s your six year old who just started the ukulele or your wife who loves to drum, there are lots of great gifts for the musician in your life. (And Mom, if you’re reading this, I don’t want any of these things, unless you can get me a guitar lesson with Bonnie Raitt.)

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Music fan gift guide

Does your sister go to all the concerts at the local hipster joint? Is your Mom hard to buy for but loves her classical music station? Has your sweetie mentioned his favorite bands at least twice a day? Well, HINT, get them something a music lover would adore and because I know every damn thing, I’m going to help you out.  Continue reading

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I Love Rock N Roll – Ottawa Girls Rock Camp 2015

Campers and volunteers.

Campers and volunteers.

I don’t even own an electric guitar. Why did I volunteer to teach guitar at a girls’ rock camp? I make my living teaching music and some of my students are rockers. Over the years I’ve learned to mash through power chords and scales. Plus, I’m a feminist and that’s what we do – support girls and women. This is a music camp, sure, but it’s also a vehicle for empowering girls and I’m all about that.

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Posted in Music instruction, Playing the guitar, Women's Music | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Preserving women’s culture of the eighties and nineties through Jo-Ed videos

womens musicI first met Pat Jones and Donna Eddins in 1990 at the Gulf Coast Women’s Music Festival in Mississippi. They were videotaping the event and would I give them permission to record my set? This was before everyone and their sister had phones with video or even home camcorders, so of course I said yes. Over that long weekend I got to know them better and when they offered me a place to stay my next time through their hometown of Memphis, I didn’t hesitate. I loved their warm and direct manner. Neither suffered fools gladly and they worked tirelessly as LGBT activists — my kind of people. They taped festivals and other events with professional grade equipment, produced concerts, and did an LGBT radio show, all in the deep south. Here’s Pat talking about bringing comic Robin Tyler to Memphis in 1980. She also mentions Meristem, the women’s bookstore that existed there in the nineties.

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By the Time I Got to Wombstock

Bonnie MorrisThis week’s post is by guest blogger Bonnie Morris. She’s the author of several books including the groundbreaking Eden Built by Eves, a women’s studies professor at George Washington, and an in-demand speaker at conferences.   This is an excerpt from her upcoming book The Disappearing L: erasure of lesbian spaces and culture, due out in 2016 from SUNY Press.


I rushed off, journal in hand, to camp out at my first women’s music festival just after I turned twenty. I’d read about Michigan in the copy of off our backs passed around at my young lesbian support group: since 1976, the rural Wombstock had been hosting thousands of women annually during its August week of concerts on private woodland. Rumor and stereotype abounded: supposedly, one would encounter naked Amazon separatists, political correctness at breakfast, sex in the ferns, holistic mystery food served out of barrels, mandatory recycling workshifts, Perseid meteor showers, voyeuristic raccoons, and meeting a new girlfriend named Lynx or Oak—as well as the best sound stages and production values in Lesbian Nation. I entered this community in its sixth year, August 1981, the last time the festival met on the “old land” near Hesperia. Getting there involved eighteen hours of road trip on a privately chartered Greyhound bus with sixty other defiant lesbian activists. If the journal entry I wrote after my first lesbian concert radiated euphoria, a blearier vibe characterized my writing as I headed to the Midwest that week.  Continue reading

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