oh it’s been over a year and a few months since i last wrote in this blog. i’m not really sure why i even keep it around, except that every great once in a while, i have a thought that i feel like expounding on and i’d like a place to do it. and, well, this is that place. the annual domain registration renewal came due a few weeks ago and i had to once again ask myself, should i just let it go? (the domain, that is.) but alas, i kept it. and here i am.
i just reread the last blog entry i made and it made me think of this new lesbian herstory archive/performance project that is getting underway here in new orleans. this seems as good a topic as any to write about right now, to try to get back in the habit of writing in this blog.
i’m not sure if the project has an official name yet, but the gals behind it are having a fundraising party to launch their kickstarter for the project, and they are calling it “HIGH DYKE.” the facebook event page for the party says the following (in case you are too lazy to click the link or just generally oppose visiting facebook):
HIGH DYKE: Kickstarter Launch for Queer Oral History Performance Project
Charlene’s. Pinstripes and Lace. Vicky’s. Les Pierres. Brady’s. These bars were once gathering spots for lesbians in New Orleans but they no longer exist. We are collecting stories of these spaces – where everything from political organizing to murder took place – and creating an archive and an original performance. Join us on Saturday February 8th as we launch our Kickstarter campaign for the project and celebrate carnival season in queer fashion.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8TH
10PM – 2AM
$5-20 sliding scale cover
“LAVENDER MENACE” COCKTAIL!
EVEN MORE DANCING!
now, i’m not involved with this project in any way, really. i’ve known about it for a while, and i’ve talked about it with my friend sara, who is one of the main gals involved (i don’t know the other two gals), but i’m a little young for the demographic they are hoping to get stories from. see, they are focusing their attention mostly on the lesbian bars of the 70s and 80s, and well, that predates my time in new orleans. i didn’t move to new orleans until 1990, though i did quickly become a regular at charlene’s bar and eventually worked there as a dj while my then-girlfriend charlotte was a bartender and manager.
so i’ve sure heard lots of stories from gals i knew then and many who are still my family of friends now. the dyke bars of my bar days in the 90s and 00s were charlene’s, rubyfruit jungle, san mone, kim’s 940 and even that fat city spot that seemed to change names every year or so (none of which i can recall right now). but i heard enough tales about pino’s and the other side, both popular lesbian spots of the 80s, to feel like i was a regular. (i think i actually did go to pino’s a few times before it closed, unless i’m making that up.) so it is with great interest that i follow this project and hope to help the gals doing it connect with women who were part of the women’s nightlife scene back in the day, as we say.
a lesbian herstory book or blog has been an idea of mine for a while now which i think i might have actually been thinking about when i wrote that last blog post. i got really excited about the idea about a year ago and then, well, life happened and i got distracted and then nothing happened other than me writing a livejournal post saying i wanted to do it. and also talking to my friend sara – same sara as above – about it. but i never acted on it. i think i was overwhelmed by the idea. but i still think it’s a good idea, and maybe this HIGH DYKE project will provide some inspiration and a kick in the ass.
i have no interest in doing any kind of performance piece around it; just much more interested in collecting stories and possibly weaving a (non-fiction) narrative from it about the herstory of women’s community in this town. and not just bar life, though i acknowledge the bars played such an integral role in creating a space for community to happen – up until the 1990s, really, when most of the dyke bars started going out of business. but i want to know about the hippie dykes and their communes, the women’s bands and folksingers, the women’s coffeehouse scene, and so much more – all the other pieces parts that connected women to other women culturally, politically, socially. i so want to hear those stories too.
but for now, i’m excited to see what sara and friends will come up with via this HIGH DYKE project. when i have more information about their kickstarter project, i’ll pass it on. in the mean time, maybe i’ll see you at the party on the 8th!
(the pic at the top of this post is the masthead from a dyke zine from the 80s, dyke digest, that some women i am friends/acquaintances with wrote. i luckily ended up with a few copies – wish i could get my hands on more!)