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
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.)
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
This 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