TOPIC: Lesbian Businesses Feed

The Future Is Female - the button

The future is female liza cowan design liza cowan archives liza cowan photo
the future is female, 1974

 

Labyris Books was the first feminist bookstore in NYC. It was owned by Jane Lurie and Marizel Rios, fresh from their experiences at the takeover of the 5th Street Women's building. The slogan of the store was "the future is female" and in 1974 they asked me, Liza Cowan, to make this button for them. At the time, I was running a feminist button business, White Mare Buttons. It's hard to believe that I still have a bunch of these left...but I do. They are great, don't you think? And the slogan is just as fresh today as it was in 1974.

  Flier for Labyris Books new york city from The New Women's Survival Catalog 1973 liza cowan ephemera collections

I have a limited quantity of mint-condition, vintage buttons available  at my online store. 
www.smallequals.com

All sales help support the DYKE, A Quarterly Annotated Online Archive. 


Letters Between Barbara Grier and Liza Cowan

 

DYKE a quarterly letter between barbara grier and liza cowanLetter. Barbara Grier and Liza Cowan. 1975/6

December 24, 1975

Dear Barbara,

Thanks for sending Tangents. I've xeroxed 2 copies for my White Mare files. We here at 3 Maple Farm liked the book "Beebo Brinker" the best of al the Beebo books. And we named our 4 wheel drive Ford Beebo Bronco.

Alix and I would love to share a flier for your mailing - her for her new album "Living With Lesbians" and for "Lavender Jane Loves Women" and me for DYKE. Is this OK & how light is light enough. What pound paper?

Happy New Year,

Liza Cowan

1/2/76

Dear Liza....Honey, will you forgive me if I cannot tell form this note from you what I even said to you and I cannot find a copy of the letter...I am back up to 300 or more letters each week and with 80 miles a day trip and the ful time job...I am kinda out of it...also, have been working out the 300 contracts (memorandum of agreement) that must be completed by the writers whose work is being reprinted in the three LADDER anthologies that DIANA PRESS will be publishing soon..and theworld is a JUMBLE. ..Please either QUOTE back to me my statements OR return my letter WITH THIS NOTE TOO PLEASE...and I'll quickly shoot a reply to you...I don't know a damned thing about weitht of paper but I will send you a sample...as soon as your letter gets back to me I'll have my samples for you...they are on the way from Reno...I ran out here of the one that is perfect for a sample (right weight and size)...But yes, OF COURSE you can share a flier...with Alix....whose music I have of course...anyone else whose wok is pertinent...(that is the only requirement)

 

It was as the publisher of Naiad Press, that she had asked me to contribue an adversising mailer for a packet she would be sending out. I don't remember the context of the mailing. But we did meet up later that year in Los Angeles at The Lesbian History Exploration.

Read more about Barbara Grier :

obitituary by Tracy Baim from Windy City Times

Victoria Brownsworth: In Remeberance Of Barbara Grier in Lambda Literary Review.

Obituary, NY Times

 wikipedia

 Tangents Covers

DYKE A Quarterly flier 1976
Leaflet for DYKE A Quarterly 1976




 

tangents magazine 1966
Tangents Magazine 1966. Cover by Rolf Berlinsen

Barbara had two articles in this issue, as Gene Damon. Reader At Large and Together-Toward a Common Goal

 

Beebo62Beebo Brinker by Ann Bannon. Original cover. 1962. 

 

Beebo Brinker Naiad
Beebo Brinker, Naiad edition. 1983

 

Elana dykewomon riverfinger womon naiad press 1992
Elana Dykewomon, Riverfinger women, Naiad Press

NAIADPr press event 2012
Naiad Press Event, 2012.  source

 


DYKE A Quarterly No. 2, 1976. Rated XX: Recorded Women's Music. Review by Liza Cowan

 

This article is long and I plan to transcribe and write commentary on the whole thing. I will be adding more in bits, as I get them done. So stay tuned and check back. And, as always, feel free to chime in.-Liza


Dyke a quarterly, No 2,  rated xx, recorded women's music, rounder records, mountain moving day, virgo rising

Dyke a quarterly, no 2, p 26, 27,rate it xx, women's music, virgo rising, olivia records, meg christian
DYKE A Quarterly, no. 2 pp 28, 29, women's music, olivia records, meg christian, cris williamson, casse culverRated XX: Recorded Women's Music. 1976. Review by Liza Cowan. Click to enlarge images.

Introduction 1

This article is about my reactions to all the women’s music released on records and tapes to date. I define women’s music as music that is made by, for and about women. What this means, in effect is that women’s music is Lesbian Music. I am always offended to see women’s records for sale in straight stores. I have seen them in movement and “peoples” stores all over the country, and I don’t think they have any business being there. I do not want men to even set their beady little eyes on our culture; the thought of them actually buying or listening to women’s music is nauseating to me; and they most certainly should not be allowed to make money from women’s music. I have also heard stories about musicians from the women’s music community telling the patriarchal press about women’s music, and telling mixed audiences about women’s private business. I consider this to be a breach of confidence. The only women I know who limit their music distribution are Alix Dobkin and Linda Shear. Alix sells Lavender Jane Loves Women in women’s and gay stores only. Living With Lesbians sells in women’s stores only.

 This article has been very hard for me to write because I am writing about so many different women, there is so much to say, and I have had to write about the things that I did not like about each record. There has been a movement dictum that we are not to criticize our ‘sisters’ and if someone does criticize it is called ‘trashing’ and everybody gets mad. I think this is absurd. When Alix writes a song I give her word by word criticism. If something is not clear, or inaccurate, or sounds wrong, I tell her. I think about what se has written, and I respond to it. When I am writing I always go to Alix for her to criticize my work. She tells me which parts are confusing or awkward, or suggests words. If I don’t know how to express something we discuss it until I can get a clear idea of what I want to say. We depend on each other for this. It has not always been easy. Sometimes it hurts, and I want to say, “It’s my writing, butt out!” but later I usually find that what she has said is true. She feels the same about my criticisms of her work. Penny, Smokey, and Mary also criticize our work, and each others’ work. The more we do it, the easier it gets.

Please keep in mind when you are reading this, that for each song or record that I dislike, there are women who love it, and equally, that each one I like has women who don’t like it. There are as many ways to perceive these records and tapes as there are women to listen to them.

 I hope you all get a chance to buy or listen to all of these records and tapes. They are our culture and our history.

 

Electra rewired 1972 cassette tape aircheckAircheck, Electra Rewired, WBAI 1972, Liza Cowan

Introduction 2

I discovered the women’s liberation movement in 1970. That same year I started to do feminist radio on WBAI in NYC. I worked on a program called Electra Rewired which was a weekly live feminist show. At first there were three women working on it, and my job was to find music. Sometimes I would ransack the station record library to find women composers. Pauline Oliveros and Ruth Crawford Seeger are two I remember playing. We would play Joan Baez, Judy Collins and other folkies. A year later I was doing the show alone. I played The Marvelletes, Carole King, Dionne Warwicke, Alice Coltrane, Dusty Springfield, Joy of Cooking, Billie Holliday, Carol Hall, Mary Welles, Denise LaSalle, Laura Nyro. The closest I could find to feminist lyrics was in songs like Natural Woman and Respect as sung by Aretha Franklin and Mama Didn’t Lie sung by Jan Bradley. “The greatest passion in this man’s world is making eyes at every young girl. To have one is how they get their kicks, but not me, because I know their tricks.” Another one was the Honeycones; The Day That I lost You, “you know, men are full of schemes, they’re masters of getting control of our minds and making us dependent on them.” Too bad that in this song she “found identity with someone else”. One of my favorite songs to play on the radio was I Hate Men from the Broadway musical Kiss Me Kate. At this time the only song I’d heard written by a feminist was Tired Of Fuckers Fucking Over Me by Bev Grant, which I could not play over and over on the radio. It was during these years that I first became conscious of the sexism in the lyrics of rock songs.

Mountain Moving Day, the new haven women's liberation rock band, the chicago women's liberation rock band, rounder recordsMountain Moving Day, Rounder Records, Chicago Women's Liberation Rock Band, Chicago Women's Liberation Rock Band, 1972

Mountain Moving Day

In 1972 the Chicago Women’s Liberation rock Band and the New Haven Women’s Liberation Rock Band released their joint album, Mountain Moving Day. Each group recorded one side of the album. In the pamphlet enclosed in the record they say, “We didn’t want to write the female counterpart of songs like Under My thumb, Back Street Girl, It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World, where men say to us, “you’re beneath contempt and we will celebrate your degradation.” As performers  we didn’t want to get off by trashing the people we played for, and we didn’t want to have a star backed up by a squad of secondary musicians. But what did we want, anyway? We knew that we wanted t make music that would embody the radical, feminist, humanitarian vision we shared. And the lyrics were the obvious place to begin. The field was wide open. Most of the rock songs that woman have sung till now were about the pain men cause u – the pain that’s supposed to define us a women. We didn’t want to deny that tradition (women struggled hard for the right to sing even that much) but we wanted to sing about how the pain doesn’t have to be there – how we fight and struggle and love to make it all change…”

 For some reason, I never heard this record until last week. As soon as I heard it I fell for it. It is full of turn-of-the-decade sisterhood energy, and, although I didn’t hear it at the time, it clearly brings back all the feelings I had when I realized how thrilling it was to be a woman on the verge of changing my life and my consciousness. In So Fine by the NHWLRB, Judy Miller says, “Now I want to say something about how we got to feel so fine. We haven’t always been this strong, and we’re not as strong now as we

Re gonna be. I takes a lot of work and it takes a lot of pain, too. We used to think that women really were inferior. We used to think we were only good for: pleasing me, having babies, doing housework, having shit jobs, doing volunteer work, and –you know- sex! We didn’t know that women could get together and” play rock music, fix our cars, give abortions, love our sisters, stay single, choose our own lifesyle and – you know – say No!” the WWLRB is really powerful in its lyrics and the way they are spoken and sung. From Secretary by Sherry Jenkins: “Get up/Downtown? Think Ill talk to Alice she may understand? No Trust/Big Bust/ Wonder if the new girls lives along/ men’s eyes/fantasize/Jodi wants to tell the boss to get off/Elevators/See you later’s / Tell all the girls, noon in the lunchroom/ And maybe we’ll all wear pants tomorrow.” The whole album is beautiful, strong, moving and funny. It is excellently engineered by Susan Jenks. The musicians and the arrangements are also excellent. The album was produced and distributed by Rounder Records, which is, or was then, mostly men. It is, to me, the musical equivalent to the book, Sisterhood Is Powerful.

 

 

 


SIDE TRIP: The Great American Lesbian Art Show. Los Angeles, 1980. Liza Cowan's Journal

In 1979 The Woman’s Building in LA hosted and sponsored GALAS, The Great American Lesbian Art Show. In addition to the invitational show at the Woman’s building, GALAS was structured to include independent Lesbian art shows in communities all over the United States. One of the shows was in Saugerties, NY, curated by Susun Weed, Billie Potts, Liza Cowan and probably some others.

As part of GALAS,  The Woman’s Building hosted Amazon Ambosia, an event produced by Terry Wolverton and Bia Lowe. I, Liza Cowan, was invited as one of the two guest artists. DYKE A Quarterly had recently folded. This is an excerpt from the journal I kept during my trip to LA for the event.

 

Amazon Ambrosia, Great American Lesbian Art Show, Liza Cowan, Harmony Hammond, Terry Wolverton, The Women's building, 1980
Newspaper notice for GALAS, Amazon Ambrosia, Los Angeles 1980


Monday, Jan 28, Los Angeles

At Terry Wolverton and Bia Lowe’s house

It’s raining this morning and the house is quiet. It’s nine a.m. Yesterday’s event, Amazon Ambrosia, was a huge success. There were about fifty women there at The Woman’s Building for the art sharing. Janet [Meyers] was there which made the event real for me. There were some other New Yorkers, too. Judy Reif who used to be lovers with Fran Winant, who now (Judy) lives in San Diego. Harmony Hammond was the other guest of honor. She has a wonderful haircut, and is, or seems to be, a warm, smart and interesting woman. She had a cold and seemed to be feeling a little out of it. So we all sat around in a huge circle. Terry spoke for a while about GALAS [the great American Lesbian Art Show], then we went around the room and everybody introduced herself. That was good. I had been sort of nervous about my presentation till I knew who everyone was. It made us all somewhat equally exposed. So then I gave my presentation. I spoke about Electra [my radio show on WBAI-FM, Electra Rewired], about COWRIE [magazine] and DYKE and the buttons    [White Mare buttons] and the Archive [white mare archive] and then I showed my portfolio. I explained how to make projector pictures and resist pictures. I explained how my art isn’t ARTY, just homey art, that it is a form of journal keeping for me, but as with all my work, I am quite willing to share the intimate details of my life. I spoke about breaking up with Alix [Dobkin], everybody gasped when I said we’d been monog for 6 ½ years. I showed my self portraits + my cards for Alix and Deb, and talked about the cards. I had a wonderful time. Just wind me up and let me speak. I could have gone on and on, but I only had a half hour so I didn’t even finish showing my portfolio. I showed the Amazons [Amazons On Parade series of paintings done with Susun Weed and Billie Potts] but I didn’t get a chance to show My Golden Pamela, which is one of my faves. Anyway, women seemed to like my presentation. I knew that if I went and was me, exposed myself, told stories, etc. that they would dig it.

Amazons on parade mural .jpeg
Amazons On Parade. Paint on butcher paper. Liza Cowan, Susun Weed, Billie Potts. 1979. Hanging in the living room at 3 Maple Farm, Preston Hollow, NY.

How not to? The feedback was: they loved the cards. “thank you for sharing (big word here) yourself so intimately” “thanx for telling technique” “I really identified with the breaking up experience” “you were charming” I love to be charming. It’s one of my better acts. Not an act, really. A facet.

 We had a one hour break to eat vegetables + cheese, then we danced which was fun. Everybody was dancing in couples but I managed to make it into a circle + more free form. I don’t mind couple dancing but I don’t like it when it’s all there is, esp on a big bright dance floor with only 6 or 8 women dancing. Terry + Bia made a good tape.

  Slide show at amazon ambrosia drawing by liza cowanAfter dancing we all sat down and watched slides + listened to the artists talk. Oh yeah! Before the break Harmony showed slides of work by Lesbian Artists mainly from NY but from some other places too. Some of it was really exciting and it was good to see so much Lesbian art all at once.

 Nancy Fried + Clsuf were my favorite artists. Nancy does wonderful little sculptures – pictures of domestic details of her life + the lives of friends. She’s a Philadelphia Jew + very warm + funny. Her lover Clsuf makes buttons, cards + graphics. I like her work very much. It’s much like my own. Also I like Bia’s work. She showed her portfolio at the end.

 The event was over at six. We cleaned up, went out to dinner then went to Terry + Bia’s spirituality group... I participated fully, of course, but we were all exhausted. Terry was absolutely frazzled.

 For Sat Jan 26

We did errands in the morning, Terry, Bia + I.  Then at two we went to a very nice apartment for a tea party honoring and showing the work of Nancy Fried. It was a most elegant party. All the girls were quite dressed up. The music was calm. Stevie Wonder, “The Secret Life Of Plants” and a woman actually playing flute, live, in the apt. Women sat around and stood around and yapped. I wore my purple skirt, green shirt, orange tights and my new Lady shoes. There were a zillion sweets to eat. Harmony was there in an all purple outfit looking squeezable, which I told her + squeezed her. Joanne Kerr arrived with Kirsten Grimsted. Kirsten + I started to talk shop, but made a date for me to go to the Chrysalis office instead. I have a feeling that the women have a slightly snobby attitude toward Country Women [the magazine, which a group of women I was involved with back in Woodstock were proposing to buy to take over publication from the Catskills] like it’s a hick publication. It’s very subtle, though and who cares. I feel like such a country DYKE here and am glad of it. I said so in my presentation Sunday, too. The city is disgusting. I don’t understand why anybody would choose to live here. I don’t think there’s much that can’t be done from the country. Anyway… Janet arrived and we mainly hung out together which was good because it was so good to see her and talk to her. She’s such a good friend. I’m happy to have found her again. Donna Dietch came in. She and Janet had just had dinner the night before.  It was good that Janet knew some one there too. I always want  everybody to know what a good artist she is. Donna and her lover of many years are just breaking up and she and Janet and I had a satisfying conversation about that, not just party talk...

6964327369_e76941b9a3_mNancy Fried, The Woman's Building, sculpture

Phranc was there, a real cute little punker. We first met at the Lesbian History Exploration in ’75. It was good to see + speak to her. After a while I got pretty bored with neck up communication, longed for our Catskill style of disco corners and home made food. I was glad, however, to be with all the LA women. I am homesick, but I do not with to be with my home friends…

 Back at Terry and Bia’s we watched slides of some GALAS artists and looked at Bia’s slides. She has a very interesting vision. Very city, however. I think she’d be happier in the country. I like her quite a bit. I think we could be friends but it is not too easy getting to know her. For one thing she and Terry and quite the couple. They seem to be into couples around here. Not much consciousness about relating as individuals or what ever it is we seem to be working on at home as a community.

 Terry is an excellent publicist. I admire her drive, her ambition, her outspokenness.

Great american lesbian art show, 1980, button, los angeles, the womans buildingGALAS button. Keep Lesbians Busy...making art!


Here’s what’s really nice and also funny: on this visit I am accepted by the LA Women’s art community as a peer and an artist. This seems to include the Chrysalis women, who last visit, seemed to want to have nothing to do with me. This is due to, naturally, changes + evolution. I’m not so snotty + neither are they. Also due to the fact that I invested $2,000 in Chysalis, thanks to Joanne. And Terry also liked me and my work, so included me in Ambrosia, therefore I am sort of a visiting personality. That the event co-starred Harmony (actually everybody was a star, but Harmony and I got publicity) was a help, too. It is nice because I feel good about being considered an artist and respected as such. It’s good for my self esteem and will be good for Country Women.

Hammond_install

Harmony Hammond. Hunker Time. 1979. installation photo by Brian Forrest

I spoke to Harriet Bye [former editor at Country Women] last Friday. She’s not on the CW staff anymore but said that she thinks they’d be happy to sell the mag to us. Janet spoke to  Billie the other day. So did Susun and River. According to Arya, Billie still wants to just buy the mailing list, but it’s gotten bigger than just Billie now. I’ll call her one of these days.

Tonight is a dinner party at Arlene Raven’s.  Janet + I are going. I  think it’s a party for Harmony. Kirsten [Grimsted] will be there too.   I’m curious to see the art elite at home. None of them was at Ambrosia.

 Friday Feb 1st.

I spoke with Helen from Ti farm a few days ago. She said she was afraid that CW would become too dykey under out supervision, She said that she was afraid to read DYKE. So that was depressing. They are going to have a meeting and get back to us. Then yesterday I spoke to Kirsten and Janet about it and I am left with the thought that CW can never be self- supporting. Not the way I would want to do it. My political and artistic vision is too radical. The mag biz is so hard anyway. Then, trying to sell to a group that is unwilling if not unable to support it financially? We would need to capitalize with $50,000 at least. We don’t have it. I won’t give it, even if I could. I don’t think that our crowd has the vision to share with me. Of all of them I work best with Susun and River, but they’re not writers. Don’t have a passion for magazines. B writes but I hate her style + I’m afraid we are not compatible. So if the others want to go ahead + do it, fine. I will help but not run it. I want to focus on my art. A mag could be the place but not now, not CW.

>about Monday Jan 28

Janet and I drove to a party at Arlene Raven’s. There were 12 women there: Arlene, Cheryl Swannack, Harmony Hammond, Lily Lakich, Donna Deitch, Susan Rennie, Dr. Nancy Sabin and a couple of others whose names I’ve forgotten. We had an unmemorable dinner. They were busy snapping polaroids which was fun. They took a couple of real goodies of me which they kept. They gave me this one, which Donna took of the group.  Susan and Nancy had already gone home. Everybody poured on the charm and it was very entertaining Cheryl took us on a tour of the house which has beautiful bathrooms. I told her about my miniature bathroom collection. She said Jane Wagner also collects miniature bathrooms. The first thing Cheryl said to me was how much she loved DYKE. Several other women agreed. That was gratifying. I have heard many compliments to DYKE on this trip. More than ever before. Fits my theory that it is easier  to love it now that it is defunct and poses less of a threat, tho I believe that they all did love it alive also. I wish PMAH [Penny House] could hear the compliments first hand. I try to pass them along but I’m sure its better to hear it from the lips of the women

Party at arlene ravens house 1980
Party at Arlene Raven's house. Clockwise from Cheryl Swannak (with raggedy ann) Arlene Raven, Harmony Hammond, Liza Cowan, Janet Meyers...the rest I'm not sure. Someone help. Included are Lily Lakich (with rose?) Donna Deitch (in stripes?) Susan Rennie?

Feb 2nd

Janet drove us to Arlene’s for another party. Catherine Nicholson and Harriet Desmoines were there from Sinister Wisdom. I felt a little out of it and couldn’t really focus on the party. One funny thing was that Catherine really nailed Susan [Rennie] and Kirsten [Grimsted] about why Chrysalis isn’t Lesbian identified. It was especially funny because it was a role I would ordinarily choose to take on and though I’m sure I wouldn’t have, I really enjoyed seeing them debate. I only had to add that Chrysalis women are not at all present in the mag whereas PMAH + I were very present in DYKE, and Catherine are in Sinister Wisdom. I personally prefer presence as a tone for the mag.

 

Women mentioned in this journal entry:

Liza Cowan: editor, DYKE A Quarterly, artist

Harmony Hammond. Artist, writer

Terry Wolverton: writer, editor, artist producer

Bia Lowe: designer, writer

Janet Meyers: film maker, film producer

Judy Reif: Activist

Fran Winant: poet, activist

Penny House: editor, DYKE A Quarterly

Susun Weed: artist, writer, herbalist, teacher

Billie Potts: herbalist, writer, activist

Alix Dobkin: singer, writer

Nancy Fried: artist

Clsuf: artist

Kirsten Grimsted: writer, editor

Donna Deitch: film maker

Phranc: Pholksinger

Harriet Bye: writer, editor of Sinister Wisdom

Arlene Raven: art historian

Cheryl Swannak: producer

Dr Nancy Sabin: doctor

Susan Rennie: writer, editor of Chrysalis Magazine

Lily Lakich: neon sculptor

Jane Wagner: writer

Joanne Kerr:

Catherine Nicholson: Editor Sinister Wisdom

Harriet Desmoines [Ellenberger]: Editor Sinister Wisdom

 

 

 

 

 

 


DYKE A Quarterly, no. 3. 1976. pp 6-12 Letters

Letters To The Editor

Dyke No 3 p 5

Dyke a quarterly no 3 1976 pp 6,7 letters to editor

Dyke a quarterly no 3 pp 8,9 letters to editor

Dyke a quarterly no 3 pp 10,11 letters to editor, illustration by Tee Corinne

 Illustration by Tee Corinne

Dyke No 3 p 12

 

DYKE NO 2: Letter Salad

Dear Liza and Penny,

I hope you print this so other lesbians who feel the way I do will know someone agrees with them.

I am really angry about a lot of what is in your magazine. One thing is that it costs $3.00!!! I can't believe you really care about most lesbians reading it if you charge so much.

Another thing I can't believe is that the Red Dykes from Detroit wrote how fucking classist you are and how oppressive and you didn't even respond!!! How can you not respond to a letter like that?? Its obvious that you don't have to worry about jobs or money, and that you don't care about Lesbians who do! And you won't even admit that money separates us us from each other as lesbians and that we have to learn to deal with it. I wouldn't expect you to write articles about jobs, etc, if its not in your experience, but the least you could do is get articles from other lesbians about these things, so that those of us who have to deal with daily survival would have something to relate to in your magazine.

The other main thing that made me real angry was the shitty review you, Liza, did of Linda Shear's tape. I experience Linda's music as very powerful and beautiful, both musically and what she's saying. I can't believe how much you put her down in that review - saying something good about everything else except the music itself. Her songs are not at all difficult for me to listen to, and I think it's really destructive to all Lesbians to say the things you say. I am not saying that you should pretend to like something if you don't - but the way you say what you think is really insulting and putting her down. It is also infuriating to me that you don't at least say that linda is a separatist and her songs are about that vision, instead of saying her ideas are interesting! That means nothing!! If you cared about Linda or the rest of us Lesbians, you could have said what you had to say in much more positive and accurate ways. (Not that I can understand at all why you don't like her music in the 1st place.)

It's very clear to me from your magazine that you are upper class snobs who don't care what effect you have on other lesbians and are not really serious about putting out a good lesbian magazine.

Melanie

North Hampton

Dyke a quarterly no 3 1976 experpt from letter

Dear Melanie,

Yes, $3 is a lot of money, but to produce a 86 page magazine that has been typeset and printed is expensive. The printers and typesetters are Lesbians. The contributors are all paid, except us, plus for every magazine that is sold by a bookstore, the store gets a full 40%, which in this case is $1.20. Since we're a quarterly, we wanted to make each issue quite long and of high quality so that it would last a long time. The cost of a subscription is $8.00, which is $2.00 per issue, which is quite reasonable, we thought. For every copy we sell individually through the male (mail) system, we must pat 34¢, now raised to 50¢. About one quarter of the time, the Post Office "loses" the magazine and we have to send another.

We're not breaking even let along making any profit from the magazine. However, since many women felt the price was too high we are lowering it and reducing the number of pages per issue. Please see Criticism, Feedback and Changes for more on price.

As for not answering Red Dykes' letter as well as some of the other letters, we agree that it was the wrong decision to make. We are now answering letters of criticism in print. Please see Criticism, Feedback and Changes for more explanation of this.

Where did you get the idea that we don't "admit that money separates us from each other as lesbians and that we have to learn to deal with it." We do "admit" it, we never said otherwise and we certainly never meant to imply otherwise. I'm sorry if you did. The CLIT papers 1 and 2 did contain a certain amount of discussion about class and money and we did print them.

We have, including this issue, only produces three issues so far, so of course we have not covered every topic of interest to every Lesbian. Obviously we can write only our of our experience. We can and actively do seek articles written by other Dykes. And now that we have put out a few issues, we have been getting a lot more in the mail. We started DYKE with the idea that the general themem would be Lesbian experience, and we hoped and still hope that logs of Lesbians would write about anything they were interested in from a Lesbian perspective. We are now switching to theme issues in an effort to make it easier for Lesbians of all different classes, races, ages etc. to write. Again pleas read Criticism, Feeedback and Changes for more details.

Almost all the women who have written for DYKE have to work for a living. Does having a job really preclude you from relating to the articles that have been printed? And if so, which ones? You say in your letter that we are "upper class snobs who don't care what effect you have on other Lesbians, and are not really serious about putting out a good lesbian magazine." What a lot of assumptions in one sentence. If we didn't care what effect we had on other Lesbians, we wouldn't bother putting out a magazine, a medium that can't survive without readers and participants. And you can you possibly think we are not serious about making a constructive magazine? Whatever you think of the content, it should be obvious that many women worked very  hard and very seriously to put out these magazines.

Does the fact that Liza and I don't have straight jobs disqualify us from participating in Lesbian culture. Should we not use our money to put out a Lesbian magazine? Should we not write from our own experiences? Does the fact that we don't have to earn our living off the magazine mean that we are less serious about putting out a good magazine. How many feminist and Lesbian magazines or newspapers suppor the women who are producing them? I am not asking rhetorical questions. I really don't understand what you mena. You seem to be saying that because we have some money that everything generated from that is of no value and has evil intent. Do you really believe this?

As for Liza's review of Linda Shear. Please see her answer to Helen's letter. I think we all have a lot to learn about giving and receiving criticism that is both hones and supportive. I also feel that the tone of a piece is as important as the content. We are trying to be conscious and responsible about this. Destructive tones are a problem of many Lesbians and, as you say, destructive for all Lesbians. As an example of destructive tones of criticism, reread the Red Dykes letter which you mention.

I have tried to answer what I perceive you are saying in you letter. Criticism is hard because we all operate on so many different levels. Making negative assumptions about each other isn't going to help. We all have to overcome the conditioning that teaches us to mistrust each other.

Penny 

 

Dear DYKE magazine,

Reading your ads and things I realize that you want nothing to do with the man. I can understand that, the man tells us where and when we can work, eat, sleep and just about everything else. We can oppose the man and not buy his goods, take his jobs, live in his houses. On the outside like that you know its hard unless one has a source of money the man doesn't try to take away. You know the man (or 'lord' these words are interchangeable) gives and the man/lord takes away. Unfortunately the man owns the home I rent for me and my dog, and man owns the company that sends me my chick for the forty hours a week I spend in the office/factory/store/field etc. Anyway I can't seem to get away from the man. But - and this brings me to my point- you want money for your mag. But the only money I got is from the man so I don't know what to do for you. I have a solution: here are some dyke dollars.

So please send me your magazine.

In sisterhood

Jacqueline

Washington,DC

 

Dear Jacqueline,

I know that we did not intentionally try ot imply that any Lesbian could possibly exist without relating to men in any way. Our money comes from men most of the time. The source is certainly men. Anyway, we are sending you one issue of DYKE in exchange for you beautiful Dyke dollar. And remember - we pay for all work that we print, that includes graphics, so keep it coming.

P & L

Dyke a quarterly no 3, 1976, p. 6DYKE A Quarterly, No. 3, 1976. p. 6. Dyke Dollar by Jacqueline. "This is good tender for all Dyke debts public and otherwise."

 

Hi,

I was absolutely fascinated by the copy of DYKE you recently sent me. When  can scrape up the price I'll be sending in my subscription. I wish I were fortunate enough to live in a more advanced place so that I might benefit from the experiences and associations of others like myself. As it is, I'm rather isolated - my only contact being my whole light and life and love. Who also happens to be married. I'm expanding my mind and ever growing (I hope.) She's working on it too, after a fashion I guess. Not fast enough for me, but maybe we'll get there one day. I read everything I can lay my hands on anymore regarding feminism and Lesbianism and etc- an pass it on to her partially digested- Hopefully that won't be necessary soon, but since she doesn't care to read a great deal, I guess it's up to me to garner new ideas.

Being alone and isolated, and weak, I remain under the control of the present system, getting by as much as possible and where necessary and keeping to ourselves the rest of the time. The economic hold over me (at least) is powerful. I'm not strong enough to fight it yet. Magazines such as yours inspire and encourage me, and I need all the help I can get. Please don't give up!! You are reaching people who need you!! I'm not a person who writes to magazines as a rule, but I guess I'm groping for someone who might understand what life is like for me. Sorry for crying on your shoulders.

I realize the magazine and your other business must use up your time quite effectively. I hope you can clear up two things for me, though. If you aren't able to, I understand

First, I'm not sure what you mean by your usage of the term "DYKE." In trying to scope out the philosophy behind your magazine I can't imagine you mean the 'macho butch' type image. Does it apply to all lesbians, or Lesbian separatists, or who?

And second, I'm beginning to comprehend the necessity of separatism. As each day goes by and I run up against the frustrations and heartbreaks I feel more and more ready to separate myself. But aren't men a requirement at least in the propagation of the race? We can't do that by ourselves yet, can we? Maybe it's a sophomoric question, but unless I ask, where do I get an answer?

This is too long already. In eager anticipation of a repy, at at least issue #2. I'll sight off.

Keep your presses rolling! I wish you love.

an emerging infant sister,

Susan,

Wyoming

Dyke a quarterly letter dont give up
Dear Susan,

Your situation sounds unfortunate. I hope that you will be able to find more satisfactory conditions for yourself. As to your questions: We use the word "DYKE" to mean strong Lesbian. This does not mean 'macho' or 'butch' although straight people might think that we are macho or butch. "Dyke" is a word that has been used to insult and intimidate Lesbians for a long time. Its origins are obscure, but contemporary Lesbians are reclaiming the word to use with pride about oourselves. We chose it as a title for our magazine because it is simple, direct, powerful and easy to remember. Our full title is DYKE, A Quarterly because a spiritualist told Penny that we should use the letter "Q" to help us financially.

About propagation: Some women say that Parthenogenesis, or virgin birth, is possible and, in fact, does happen sometimes. You can read more about that in The Lesbian Reader published by Amazon Press. Even without parthenogenesis though, it is not necessary to build a lifestyle around a few minutes of impregnation. As dairy farmers know, it is not necessary to have a bull for every cow. It is not even necessary to have the bull at all, anymore. Just call the artificial inseminator. Also, many Lesbians choose not to have children at all, while others come out after they have children.

I hope this answers your questions satisfactorily. I am glad that you like DYKE so much. It is very gratifying to hear that.

Liza

MOTHER LETTERS

Dear Penny,

Whew! I just read your "Letters From My Mother." They are word for word what my female parent's (cant stomach the word 'mother' suddenly) reaction would be if I came out to her. I've tried to fantacize her reaction many times - your article saved me much fantasy time - not to mention months and years of shit if I actually did come out to her. I"m surprized to find another parent who plays exactly the same games mine does - Reading your article made mine's games crystal clear - more clearly than I've been able to on my own....

(exerpt only)

Thanks, 

Polly & Georgine

New York

 


SIDE TRIP: White Mare Buttons

I just ran across this image of White Mare buttons by Liza Cowan (that's me.) My hands holding a bunch of the buttons I produced while Penny and I were publishing DYKE, A Quarterly. White Mare was, of course, a regular advertiser in the magazine. Buttons cost a mere 50¢ each and I sold quite a few. When Penny, Alix and I would go on tour I always sold them, and I sold in women's bookstores as well.

 

feminist and lesbian Buttons by White Mare, Inc. Liza Cowan archives

White Mare Buttons, ©Liza Cowan/White Mare, Inc. Image made on Mita 500D copier circa 1978.

I wrote about my buttons in SeeSaw, my art blog. Here's what I said.

Many lifetimes ago, in the 1970's, I used to design, publish and distribute buttons. Not sewing buttons, but the kind you pin onto your coat, or shirt, or backpack. Badges, they call them in England. I'd collected political buttons as a teenager and had quite an impressive bunch of them. I loved the smooth roundness of them, the graphics, and how they had to deliver their message in an instant. Like little billboards for your clothing.

I liked to use symbols from Greek and Celtic antiquity, probably because they were accessible in books, and because the education we got in the nineteen fifties and sixties presented Mesopotamia and Greece and Egypt as the only places that existed in ancient times. Africa didn't exist- except for Egypt - in our racially biased educational system, even in the private progressive school I went to. Robert Graves' highly annotated book The Greek Myths led me to his book The White Goddess, A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth, and those were my two most insprational sources.

The first button I made was "A You're An Amazon" based on the song by Alix Dobkin (which was, in turn, a riff on "A You're Adorable" by Buddy Kaye and Sid Lippman) The moon and stars connected it to imaginary Amazon space. At the time, Amazons occupied a huge portion of Lesbian imaginary space until the other Amazon (.com) colonized the name and the pretty much corrupted the powerful symbolic association to an all woman civilization.

The triangle with a little groove etched in it that I found in pictures of carved rocks in Greece became the basis of my second design, "I like older women". I was twenty four  at the time, but the message seemed really important, surrounded as we were, even then, by media images of the perpetual child/woman.

The Labyris, double headed ax, was the ubiquitous symbol of matriarchy, which feminist Lesbians worldwide had chosen as their symbol,  I chose to pair it with the Star Of David, to connect my two identities. If you look closely, the Star of David is in the circle which tops the Labyris, turning the whole affair into a women's symbol. I thought it was quite clever. When jewelers started making pendants with the same design, I took it as a compliment. Several jewelers, when I told them I'd actually made up the design, said they thought it was ancient.

I asked a friend to design "Mother Nature Is a Lesbian" for my company. It was a huge seller, but truth be told, I never liked the design. The trees were nice but too much of a couple. The colors, light green, dark green and light blue, were pleasing, so that was good. But the typeface drove me nuts. There, I've said it.

Medusa, the Gorgon who could turn men to stone if they looked at her, was another ubiquitous symbol of women's rage and power. Greek Goddess Athena featured the head of Medusa on her shield. Greek bakers put Medusa on the oven door to keep people from stealing the bread. I thought it would be nifty if we in the modern world could also wear Medusa as our aegis. I hired cartoonist Roberta Gregory to design this one.

And last is the White Mare, Celtic symbol of The Great Goddess. She was etched large on cliffs in England, I named my company after her. White Mare, Inc. If only I'd started an internet bookselling company we'd be ordering from WhiteMare.com and I'd be rich.

And I'd share it with you.

Support lesbian art button ©Liza CowanSupport Lesbian Art. Handmade button made to sell at festivals. ©Liza Cowan

 

 

 


SIDE TRIP: Women In Print: Voices From The Radical Feminist Press

 

Here's more good news about preserving our herstory. From the website of Women In Print

Women in Print: Voices from the Radical Feminist Press (1960-1985)is an oral history project attempting to restore to the record those feminist presses founded between the year 1960 to 1985. Though these presses are not lost in the memory of those who ran them and those generations that read many of the presses’ books and journals, I find little to no mention of many of these presses on the internet; many of the books, themselves, are out of print. Additionally, I hope to create a space where the stories in long form can unfold, where individuals can speak of their experiences, as individuals and collectives: what happened and what it means.

This is a project that attempts to highlight the literary, social, political dimensions of the presses. Most of the presses on our list-in-progress were founded in the ’70s, so we welcome suggestions re: earlier presses. I am interested in the particular nature of production (printing) as well as changing politics during this time period. The audio interviews with transcripts will be archived at the Schlesinger Library. I hope to photograph covers of the books or journals mentioned in the interviews, as well.
Beyond The Pale by Elana Dykewomon
Beyond The Pale by Elana Dykewomon

Through the miracle that is social media, I heard about this project from Elana Dykewomon on facebook with a link to this article by Andrew Leland from the Oakland Standard, experiments in work and play by the oakland museum of california

 The social upheavals of the late 1960s and ‘70s brought about a profusion of alternative publishing and radical media across the U.S. In addition to political posters and underground newspapers, this period marked the flourishing of a radical feminist press in the United States. All-women collectives published broadsheets, magazines, novels, and posters, and in some cases worked to seize the means of production for the entire publishing process, from editing and writing to printing and distribution, in a separatist attempt to unlink themselves from a male-dominated society.

Suzanne Snider, a writer and oral historian based in New York, is collecting an oral history of this movement. Recording narratives for Women in Print: Voices from the Radical Feminist Press (1960-1985), Snider traveled across the country, beginning with Oregon and California. The Bay Area, which was a center for the radical feminist press, was an obvious stop on the trip. “I could do a whole project here in Oakland,” she said on a recent visit, “but I want the oral history to cover the movement in Texas, New Mexico, Oregon,” and elsewhere.

Among the women Snider came to Oakland to interview was Elana Dykewomon. Dykewomon’s first book, Riverfinger Women, “blew my mind,” Snider remembers. “She was twenty-four years old when she wrote it. It was published by Daughter’s Inc,” a pioneering lesbian press. Despite its nearly forty-year vintage, “it’s one of the more contemporary novels I’ve read,” Snider said. In addition to Riverfinger Women, published in 1974, Dykewomon (who changed her surname from Nachman in 1976) has published six other books, including the Oakland-centered novel Risk (Bywater Books 2009). Dykewomon also brought the lesbian feminist journal Sinister Wisdom to Oakland (where it was based from 1987–2009), and recently retired from many years of teaching writing at San Francisco State University.

Once completed, the Women in Print project, featuring interviews with more than 40 women, will be archived in the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. (The first twenty interviews will be deposited this month.) In the next months, Snider will begin fundraising through Kickstarter in order to continue the project. More information on the project is online at womeninprint.wordpress.com.


Check out the article and  audio links HERE.

 


DYKE A Quarterly, No. 3, pp.50 + inside back cover: ADS

 

Dyke a quarterly no 3 pp 50 and inside back cover ads DYKE A Quarterly, No. 2 p. 50 + inside back cover, ads

TEXT OF ADS in gray, indended. Commentary follows.

Living With Lesbians

Women’s Wax Works A002

An Uncommon Musical Adventure with Alix Dobkin & Friends


Livingwithlesbians 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.

 

266-1 This cover sold well. Photo of Alix Dobkin and the dog Three Maple Betsey Booper (aka Saint Betsey) , photo by LIza Cowan.

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

 

Alix-dobkin-lavendar-jane-loves-women 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 R-150-1490532-1223777275 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.

 

 

Dobkin400_10 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


Logo163X200 The Flying Lesbians was a Lesbian Rock Band from Germany.

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.


 WOMANSPLACE

Feminist Books and Periodicals

Booklist Available

Mail Orders

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.

 

MEGAERA PRESS

A women’s press collective for 3 ½ years- formerly Mother Jones Press

‘wimmin printing for wimmin

lesbian publishing

 

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

See Elana Dykewoman, here and here

 

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.

White Mare Buttons in DYKE A Quarterly 1976A You're An Amazon button by White Mare Inc


Buttons by white mare inc


For more on White Mare Buttons see HERE

Ad they will know me by my teeth elana dykewomon
ad for Riverfinger Women by Elana Dykewomon

For more on Elana Dykewomon see HERE and HERE




 

 


DYKE A Quarterly no. 3 p. 51: ADS

Dyke No 3 p 51
DYKE A  Quarterly No. 3, p. 51, ADS

Text of Ads- in gray, indented. Commentary follows.

White Mare Inc.
I Like Older Women,
3 color button, 1  ¼” diameter. Also available, Mother Nature Is a Lesbian and A You’re An Amazon. From White Mare, Box 90, Preston Hollow Y 12469. 55c each. New York residents add state and local sales tax.
 A You’re An Amazon
Mother Nature is a Lesbian.

 

Buttons by white mare inc

White Mare was the button and graphics company owned and run by me, Liza Cowan. I've written about my button company at my art blog HERE

Notice the Medusa button on the upper left. Medusa was a big theme for Lesbians. She was a Gorgon, a fierce fighting woman, who turned men to stone if they dared take a peek at her. The Medusa button shown here was drawn by cartoonist Roberta Gregory.

White Mare Buttons, direct image on Mita 900-D photocopier by Liza Cowan

 

 

 

 

 

 

They Will Know Me By My Teeth  By Elana Dykewoman

Author of Riverfinger Women

Megara Press

To be Sold and Shared With Women Only

 

 

Elana dykewoman they will know me by my teeth See Elana Dykewoman's website HERE

and Wikipedia entry HERE




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come to Womencrafts

Unique and beautiful work

Handcrafted by New England Women

Provincetown

Yhst-21813777465723_2121_11048983 Womancrafts is still in Business in Provincetown.

Here's their website.

Go see them if you are in P'Town.

 






Sistersilver is Back
Fine handmade sterling silver jewelry: Lesbian symbos, rings, bacelets, etc. Free Brochure. Lesbians only. M’lou Brubaker, Chicago

 

LadyslipperSet M'Lou is also still in business. See her website HERE

 

Ladyslipper pendant and earrings by M'Lou Brubaker

 

 

 

Interesting. Everyone on this page is still in business doing the same thing, more or less, that they were doing 35 years ago. I'm still doing graphic design, creating product and selling retail. Elana is still writing and publishing, M'Lou is still making and selling jewelry and Womancrafts is still in business. What's up with that?? I'm impressed.