Lesbian Legacies: Amazon Cultural/Political Activism in Second-Wave Feminism:
Watch here LIVE beginning Sunday, October 18th, 4:00 pm EST
Order of Appearance:
Marilyn Frye – Representative for Purple
Jamie Anderson – Emcee & Women’s Music Singer-Songwriter
Linda Shear – Women’s Music Lesbian Singer-Songwriter
Deidre McCalla – Women’s Music Singer-Songwriter
Leslie McRoberts – Head of Special Collections, MSU Libraries
Desmedona Bungin (Bunty) – Official Michfest Photographer
Kate Peterson wsg Sarah Cleaver (Nervous But Excited) – Women’s Music Duo
Margie Adam – Women’s Music Artist
Irene Young – Music Photographer
Laurie Fuchs – Ladyslipper Founder
Terry Grant – Goldenrod Founder
Mj Stephenson – Photographer & Goldenrod Staff Member
Judith Casselberry – Women’s Music Artist & Professor
BETTY – Women’s Music Band
JEB (Joan E. Biren) – Lesbian Photographer
Melissa Ferrick – Women’s Music Artist & Professor
Toni Armstrong – HotWire Founder & Photographer
Nedra Johnson – Women’s Music Artist
Dr. Bonnie Morris – Women’s Music Historian & Archivist
Holly Near – Women’s Music Artist
Captioning will be available on youtube only. Click here to view on YouTube
Margie says: “… when I joined the Steinway at San Francisco City Hall, providing solo piano walk-in music and an emotionally ragged version of “Woman of My Heart” at Del Martin’s Life Celebration October 1, 2008, I had no idea that would be my last performance. I simply stopped accepting concert invitations and waited for orders. In 2010, I enrolled in a PhD-Psychology program and eventually opened an integrative counseling practice in Berkeley, CA. The previous 35 years of my life were defined by music and a version of radical lesbian feminist activism. Highlights included appearances/workshops at the first(1974) and 40th(2015) National Women’s Music Festivals, first(1975) and later Michigan Womyn’s Music Festivals; concert fund-raisers for lesbian feminist endeavors and national women’s organizations from 1973-2008. My song “We Shall Go Forth!” was inducted into the Smithsonian Political History Division after we sang a 3-part version at Houston’s International Women’s Year conference in 1977. I was invited to sing that same song at the 2004 March For Women’s Lives in Washington, DC. For more story, drop by www.margieadam.com.
Singer-songwriter/author Jamie Anderson is a multi-instrumentalist with 12 albums who’s played her unique original songs in hundreds of venues in four countries. She’s also well-known as an emcee with lots of surprises – whether she’s playing the ukulele and hula hooping, or simply giving a heartfelt intro to one of our favorite performers. Songs range from the body-positive ballad “Beautiful” to the tongue-in-cheek “Marry Me.” She’s also the author of An Army of Lovers: Women’s Music of the ‘70s and ‘80s, the definitive book about the powerful women’s network. www.jamieanderson.com
Toni Armstrong Jr. is a life-long lesbian culture activist. She was a co-founder and the publisher of HOT WIRE: The Journal of Women’s Music and Culture, and she has been a concert producer, festival photographer, and founder of various woman-identified organizations and anti-racist coalitions. Toni Jr. is a core supporter of WWTLC’s efforts to purchase 650 acres of pristine forest/fern land “for women, for girls, forever.” She founded BLAST (Bi, Lesbian and Straight Together) Women of the Palm Beaches in 2008; as of 2020, the group has 4,000+ members and hosts 200+ events/year “by, for, and about women.”
BETTY is Alyson Palmer, Amy Ziff, Elizabeth Ziff – best friends and bandmates since 1986. Feminist activists who perform original alternative music, BETTY is pro-choice, pro-women, pro-fun, pro-reading, pro-facts, pro-food, pro-dessert, pro-sex, pro-love, pro-education, pro-immigrant, pro-queer, pro-straight, pro-Trans and anti-violence. When not locked down by infectious viruses, BETTY tours internationally and has music in films and tv, including the global smash theme song to the L Word. Currently working on their 11th album, BETTY has always lent their voices to causes in which they believe. With Gloria Steinem as an advisor, they created a non-profit wing, The BETTY Effect (thebettyeffect.org) which enables them to promote self-advocacy through music and performance for women and girls, members of the LGBTQ+ community and indigenous people worldwide. Over the years, BETTY has won numerous awards, including the BMI Excellence in Career award and been honored to serve as Grand Marshals at various Pride parades internationally. Find out more of the ribald, riotous story on BETTY: Girlband The Podcast. BETTY socials: www.helloBETTY.com / twitter is @bettymusic / facebook is @bettyverse / IG is @BETTYrules
Desdemona (Bunty) Burgin
Bunty Burgin is a proud lez who has dedicated much of her photography work to documenting women in music and arts. She documented the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival for 11 years. Her video shown today was a promotional video used for the festival back in 2012.
Joan E. Biren (JEB)
JEB (Joan E. Biren) is an internationally recognized documentary artist and activist. She began to chronicle the lives of LGBT people in 1971. Her first book, “Eye to Eye: Portraits of Lesbians” will be reissued next year. JEB is 76 years old, lives surrounded by chosen family, and sometimes pretends that she is retired from photography and filmmaking. Her plan is not to retire from social justice activism.
Judith began her professional musical career with the creation of internationally renowned folk-reggae duo Casselberry-DuPreé (C-D). Over the next 15 years, C-D garnered audience and critical acclaim by embracing and promoting a Black lesbian feminist ethos of holistic justice, rendered through the power of Black music. Judith followed her work with C-D by founding the trio JUCA and joining Toshi Reagon and BigLovely. She continues to perform with BigLovely today. Along with her musical career, Judith has followed a path into higher education. She holds a Ph.D in African American Studies and Anthropology and is currently Associate Professor of Africana Studies at Bowdoin College in Maine. She has published two books with Duke University Press: The Labor of Faith: Gender and Power in Black Apostolic Pentecostalism (2017) and Spirit on the Move: Black Women and Pentecostalism in Africa and the Diaspora, co-edited with Elizabeth Pritchard (2019)
Ms. Ferrick is a Professor of the Practice at Northeastern University in the Music Industry Department at the College of Arts Media and Design. She’s released seventeen albums over the last twenty-five years and has won numerous awards for songwriting, production, and performance. From 2013 – 2019, Melissa was an Associate Professor of Songwriting at Berklee College of Music. Ms. Ferrick holds an Ed.M from Harvard University.
Melissa is the named plaintiff of the class action lawsuit, Ferrick v. Spotify for willful infringement of copyright. Her publishing catalog is administered worldwide by the Raleigh Music Group.
Signed to Atlantic Records in 1992 at the age of 21, after opening up for Morrissey in the US and UK, she released her debut and sophomore albums on Atlantic before moving on to Independent label W.A.R. Records between 1996-1999. In 2000 Ms. Ferrick launched the nationally distributed independent record label Right On Records.
Regarded in the industry and by her peers as one of the most prolific and hardworking artists in the business, Ferrick still tours regularly playing throughout North America. She has shared the stage with Morrissey, Joan Armatrading, Weezer, Tegan and Sara, Mark Cohen, Paul Westerberg, Bob Dylan, John Hiatt, Ani DiFranco, k.d.Lang, Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, and many others.
Laurie Fuchs, founder and director of Ladyslipper, has had the honor and pleasure of working with the Women’s Music & Culture movement for almost 45 years. Begun in 1976, Ladyslipper’s purpose has been to heighten public awareness of the achievements of women artists and musicians … and to educate the public about, and expand the scope and availability of, their recordings… including a focus on the lesbian and feminist artists and recordings that have made up the Women’s Music and Culture movement. The Ladyslipper Catalog & Resource Guide of Music by Women was published bi-annually for over 30 years, compiled and edited by Laurie, and distributed by mail to hundreds of thousands of individuals, shops and libraries around the world. Its online catalog with thousands of recordings likewise has reached readers, customers and researchers worldwide. Over the decades, Ladyslipper has been involved in distribution, concert production, and producing recordings on its independent label by artists such as Kay Gardner, Ubaka Hill, Mary Watkins, and other creative musicians. Ladyslipper’s current website at http://www.ladyslipper.org features archives of both its online catalog, and a searchable archive of 52 editions of Ladyslipper print catalogs which were digitized by Duke University Library’s Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture. Many of Ladyslipper’s herstoric materials are now at Duke’s Sallie Bingham Center and available to researchers: go to Ladyslipper, Inc. records, 1965-2011 and undated – Archives & Manuscripts at Duke University Libraries for finding aids for thousands of items regarding artists & labels, women’s bookstores, artists’ press materials, newspaper articles, and more. Other materials are being scanned first for public access, to be archived eventually at Duke along with many more files and papers. Additionally, Ladyslipper has donated several hundred recordings and posters to UNC-Chapel Hill’s Southern Folklife Collection, available to the public. Ladyslipper’s contact information: PO Box 14, Cedar Grove NC 27231 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Laurie lives in NC with Lynette Hartsell, her partner of 40 years, and their Siberian husky Callie.
Terry says: “The life I had before a career in women’s music found me started in the Maine woods. I grew up with five sisters, I was a girl scout, I played several instruments, conducted great symphonies in my bedroom mirror, and loved music. I had crushes on my gym teachers and camp counsellors; I fell in love at 16 with another girl scout but didn’t know how to describe what had happened. I moved to East Lansing Michigan to go to graduate school because of a 1973 Time magazine article that said East Lansing and Ann Arbor were the only two cities in the country with gay rights ordinances. I wanted to come out and East Lansing seemed promising. After all, I thought there must be some gay people there if they had an ordinance. In 1974, a friend ordered an Olivia album from an ad in MS Magazine. I wrote to Olivia and asked if they wanted me to sell I Know You Know at a Meg Christian concert. Olivia said yes then later asked me to become a distributor. I didn’t know what that was but I came from a long line of self-employed family and thought I could figure it out. From one LP to thousands, from selling only in the Lansing MI region to selling women’s music nationally and internationally, women’s music became my life’s focus. I met my life partner Sue Emmert in 1976 and we, with Susan Wittcoff and Jane Winter, formed Mellow Muse Productions to produce concerts. In 1980, I noticed that Susan Frazier was purchasing every LP I sold, so I invited her to become a concert rep and eventually to join me in managing and sustaining Goldenrod. In 2017, Susan and MJ Stephenson became the new owners. I could not have hoped for a better transition for Goldenrod. In retirement, I have been working with Michigan State University Special Collections to preserve and make available the archives of Goldenrod and other related Women’s Music and Culture organizations. I can’t imagine a better career than working for over 40 years with amazing feminist and lesbian activists and artists. We said we were changing the world and at the time, that seemed a bit grandiose. But we did.”
Nedra Johnson is an American rhythm and blues and jazz singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She has performed internationally at jazz, blues, pride events and women’s music festivals as a solo artist, a tuba player and a vocalist.
The Miami Herald affectionately dubs Deidre McCalla the “dreadlocked troubadour.” From Maui to Maine, college coffeehouses to Carnegie Hall, Deidre is a much beloved performer in both folk and women’s music circles whose delightful stage presence and irresistible blend of folk, country, rock, and pop seize listeners by the heart and doesn’t let go.
BONNIE J. MORRIS is a women’s history lecturer at the University of California-Berkeley, a finalist for the 2020 Excellence in Teaching Prize, and a nationally recognized expert on the role of women’s music and culture. The author of seventeen books, she has devoted more than thirty years to documenting the women’s music movement, first publishing Eden Built By Eves, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, and more recently The Disappearing L and The Feminist Revolution. Her research on women’s music, Olivia Records, and American lesbian culture will one day be housed at the Radcliffe Institute’s Schlesinger Library. During the past three years Dr. Morris won a D.C. Arts and Humanities grant and a writing residency in Wales; organized the first-ever exhibit on the women’s music movement at the Library of Congress; arranged for Olivia albums to be part of the Smithsonian; received the Ruth Rowan Believer Award from the National Women’s Music Festival; and accepted the exciting role as Olivia Records’ official historian and archivist. Dr. Morris has been a featured speaker at conferences and museums throughout the country and continues to profile women’s music history for the Smithsonian. As a fiction writer, she also published the time travel novel Sappho’s Bar and Grill for Bywater Books, which was a Finalist for the Foreword national award in LGBT fiction and in 2018 won the Devil’s Kitchen award from Southern Illinois University. Bywater recently published the sequel, Sappho’s Overhead Projector. Coming soon: a history of women’s sports, and a poetry volume entitled Earlier Households.
Leslie Van Veen McRoberts is the Head of the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections at Michigan State University. Prior to joining MSU, she served as the Local History Archivist at the Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture at Salisbury University, a Processing Technician at the Walter Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs, and the Eastern Michigan University Archives. She earned a Master of Science in Historic Preservation with a Historic Administration concentration from Eastern Michigan University, a Master of Library and Information Science and a Graduate Certificate in Archival Administration from Wayne State University. Currently, she serves as the chair for the Manuscripts Section of the Society of American Archivists and a member-at-large for the Michigan Archival Association.
About Special Collections:
The Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections at the Michigan State University Libraries have been documenting the human experience to support research and scholarship through the scope of popular culture, politics, popular culture, social viewpoints, and gender studies since 1962. With over 500,000 titles and thousands of manuscript pages, the extensive collections contains unique and distinct resources that provide first-hand accounts of many historic events related to the 20th century. With the addition of records such as Goldenrod Music records, the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, and the papers of Terri Jewell, we have solidified our commitment to the enduring legacy by assembling collections from across the region that help shape the narrative to advocate for the historical narrative in the 20th and 21st centuries.
“I do not separate my music from my heart nor do I separate my ideas from my daily life. I open myself up to learning as much as I can about humanity and this mysterious life experience, but I do not relate to political work as a series of ‘causes.’ Moment by moment, I integrate what I learn into my personal life, personalizing my politics. It is from this personal place that I write my songs.” – Holly Near
Holly Near has been singing for a more equitable world for well over 50 creative years. She is an insightful storyteller through her music, committed to keeping the work rooted in contemporary activism. Respected around the world for her music and activism, Holly released her 31st album in 2018 along with a autobiographical DVD, “Singing for Our Lives.”
Since 2005, Michigan-based singer songwriter Kate Peterson has traveled across this country and Europe, opened for Ani Difranco, and graced hundreds of stages with her folk duo, Nervous but Excited. Since Nervous but excited went on indefinite hiatus in 2013, Kate plays select shows in varying collaborations while continuing her work in web and graphic and video design. Learn more and listen at www.katepeterson.com
Linda Shear (born 1948 in Chicago, Illinois) is a singer-songwriter and piano player. On May 13, 1972, she performed in the first out-lesbian concert in the U.S. at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle Campus. She was accompanied by percussionist Ella Szekeley. The Chicago Women’s Liberation Rock Band was also on the bill that evening. Soon after, Shear began performing with her band, Family of Woman. Following the dissolution of Family of Woman, Shear began touring and released her album A Lesbian Portrait on her own independent record label, Old Lady Blue Jeans, in 1974. She performed in concert and at women’s music festivals, including the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.
Although Shear had little commercial success, she remains an icon in some lesbian circles. She was interviewed in the 2002 documentary Radical Harmonies, appears on the breast cancer research benefit CD High Risk, and appears on video at www.chicagogayhistory.org in the biography section.
On September 28, 2008, after 25 years of domestic partnership, Linda married windflower Townley. They live in Northern California on the Mendocino Coast with their 2 beautiful magical dogs, Emma and Skye. Linda earned her MBA in 1982, retired from her CPA practice in July,2020, and is happily ensconced, once again, in music.
MJ Stephenson started working at Goldenrod Music in 1991 shortly after Susan overheard talking about the CDs in the Goldenrod booth at Chickenstock (a local one day fest near Lansing). After the woman she was talking to left, Susan asked her if she was doing anything the first week in August and wanted to work for Goldenrod at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festtival. She wasn’t sure if it was a real offer, but showed up at the booth and the rest is herstory. She started working year round in 2003 and MJ and Susan purchased the company from it’s founder, Terry Grant, in 2017. In addition, MJ is an amazing photographer of nature and women’s music artists and a proud mom and grandmom! www.goldenrod.com
Well known San Francisco Bay Area photographer, Irene Young, states, “The key to photographing people is to do so with a wide-open aperture of the heart, with no judgment, and with a true belief that everyone is beautiful.” Young’s photographs have appeared worldwide in publications too numerous to mention, including Us Magazine, Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, People Magazine, Rolling Stone, Guitar Player, and The Utne Reader. Her clients have included Warner Brothers, Columbia, Motown, Windham Hill, Narada, Virgin, Rounder, Olivia, Redwood, Harper Collins, Fawcett, Doubleday, and Henry Holt & Company Publishers. In addition to her vast catalog of musicians in Women’s Music, Folk, Jazz , New Age, Bluegrass and Roots music, her subjects have included well known people such as Sonia Braga, Rosario Dawson, Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, Laura Nyro, Judy Collins, Will Ackerman, Al Jarreau, Mary Black, The Roches, etc. Her current projects are two forthcoming books, and her video Cooking Series, Lez Cook.