Articles for Tabloid

Book Review

By Andrew Burday

Local Residents Comment on New Bechdel Tome
Hermes Tricksteristus

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are turning, the nights are
getting cooler — it’s autumn, time to grab a blanket and snuggle up
with a good book.  The publishing event of the season is best-selling
author Alison Bechdel’s massive new collection, The Essential Dykes
to Watch Out For.  We decided to take a walk around town and see what
some local residents thought of the book.

Librarian Mo Testa spoke with us at her desk in the Nether Heights
public library.  “It’s fascinating how graphic works have become
respectable”, according to Testa.  “Bechdel became famous with her
memoir Fun Home, but I have been following Dykes to Watch Out For
since it began twenty five years ago.  Bechdel is astonishingly
perceptive.  I find myself agreeing with her almost always.”

We asked Testa if she was referring to Bechdel’s left-leaning
politics.  Frowning slightly, she replied, “What other politics would
any sensible person have?”  She began to pound her fist on her desk.
“These days, when the lawless Bush administration is seeking to
overthrow everything decent about America, we need more left wing
politics.”  She grabbed our shirt and began to shake us.  “Society is
being reduced to a jungle!  We’ll have to form an anti-war militia!
Weapons training begins next week!”  Finally noticing that our teeth
were rattling, Testa stopped and sat back.  “I need to get back to
work”, she said, and went to shush a couple of teenagers whose voices
had risen slightly above a whisper.

A different perspective was provided by graduate student Cynthia
MacGruder.  “You know”, she began, “there’s this perception that
every lesbian is a weed-eating left-wing pacifist.  What I like about
Bechdel is that even though that’s pretty much what she is, she’s
still capable of representing lesbians who don’t fit the image.”

We found stay-at-home dad Stuart Goodman at a local playground with
his daughter, Jiao Raizel.  Goodman began the conversation by asking
us to sign his petition to deport all registered Republicans to
shrinking ice floes in the Arctic Ocean until they agree to act on
global warming.  When we said that that sounded unconstitutional,
Goodman muttered something about how the Constitution was abrogated
in November 2000 anyway.  But when we asked if he was familiar with
Bechdel, he positively gushed.

“I have had such a crush on Alison Bechdel for so long!  Um, well,
obviously it’s destined to remain unrequited”, he continued,
blushing.  “But seriously, Dykes to Watch Out For is a clever
depiction of a group of oddballs, mostly but not all lesbians, mostly
but not all left-wing, and how they build their own community day by
day.  It’s a soap opera, but it’s a lot more than that too.”

He broke off the conversation to stop Jiao Raizel, who appeared to be
giving herself an amateur mud facial.  We continued on our way.

English professor Ginger Jordan told us that dialogue was central to
Dykes to Watch Out For.  “It’s not just that the characters never
shut up,” she told us, “especially my ex-housemates.  There is
internal dialogue in the strip, in which the drawings comment on the
text, and the characters’ personal lives reflect political events.”

So there you have it.  When the wind howls and the rain drums against
the windows, we know which book we’ll be curled up with.  How about you?

MOFOs Lose Battle in Court
by: M.J. Estrella

(oh no! Lois’s old flame Emma has gone to the great beyond!)

Judge Emily Booker yesterday denied the Motion of the Marriage, Order and Family Organization to block the Library from placing into circulation a collection of Lesbian focused literature that was bequeathed by the late Emma Thorpe.

The MOFO’s issued a Press Release stating that, “We are saddened by the fact that Judge Booker decided, once again, that judicial activism is the order of the day. We are outraged that the smut that we are trying so hard to shield our children from is now readily available through the public library.”

This is not the first time the judge, who has a reputation for being a traditionalist when it comes to law, has earned the ire of the MOFOs. She has also come under fire for being one of the first judges in the state to grant a second parent adoption to a same sex parent.

Emma Thorpe’s former husband, Dr. Jerome Thorpe, their daughter Amelia and son James were happy about the ruling. Dr. Thorpe, a Professor Emeritus of African American Studies at Plain State University stated that, “If Emma is watching, she is probably ecstatic about the decision. Although she was grateful for our love and support through her personal journey in which she discovered she was a lesbian, it was a very difficult time discovering who she was and she didn’t want future generations subjected to the same. She thought it was the least she could do.”

Monica Testa, who has been cataloging the collection for the Library, remarked that, “Emma originally purchased most of the material from the now defunct Madwimmin Books. At the time, it was the only resource in town for books focused on the lesbian experience. We are now fortunate to have rare copies of Confessions of an LPGA Love Slave, the original editions of Our Booties, Ourselves and Making Babies the Lesbian Way.”

Jezanna N’Krumah, who was the owner of Madwimmim Books as well as a former student of Dr. Thorpe, has added to the collection by donating some of the bookstore’s promotional materials to the collection. When contacted about the decision; she said, “Emma was a good friend of mine, and I thank the Goddess that she decided to preserve the Madwimmin legacy for future generations.”

To celebrate the availability of the collection to the public, Ms. Testa, who worked at Madwimmin Books, has put together, Madwimmin A Go-Go II; A Celebration of Herstory. It will feature readings from the collection by Ms. N’Krumah, as well as former employees Lois McGyver and Thea Ballantyne. Syndicated columnist Anjali Schmidt, who was a Madwimmin intern, will also be reading at the event, which will be held next Thursday in the Molly Ivins Multimedia Presentation Center of the Main Library at 7:30 PM. Admission is free and Ms. Testa in a parting shot said, “Although there are no postmodern femme black bras in the show, it will leave the ballyhooed Sex Workers Art Show in the dust!”

More comics

By Iara

s&m by Iara

And a Sudyku!

Also by Iara

A Song?!!

Wow. By W.H.

Oh, gentle and peculiar girls
who live too isolated
Who don’t sing women’s music
who have hardly even dated
You may sit upon the steam heat
on winter afternoons
And dream of what is possible
in Alison’s cartoons.

I’ve been a fan since ’93
when I was an eighth grader
although I wasn’t sure I’d
turn out queer til some time later
I’d sit and chew my fingertips
until they looked like prunes
and dream of what was possible
in Alison’s cartoons.

I wasn’t very hip back then
and Bechdel’s gals were hipper
Yeah, Mo would get undressed and be
my favorite comic stripper
and climb in bed with Harriet
and snuggle in cocoons
of blankets, warmth, and estrogen
in Alison’s cartoons.

Lord bless Sydney, who defined
postmodernism for us
With literary cliticism;
Lois sang the chorus
of fluid-gendered rhetoric
and I would hum her tunes
of apolitical anarchy
in Alison’s cartoons.

In my blue-collared suburb
I would walk the straight and narrow
And dream of good group housing
with Ginger and with Sparrow
and when C. and T. had Raffi
I nearly hung balloons
to celebrate the goings-on
in Alison’s cartoons.

I feel real dark and delicate
Your plaintive Semitic Russian
I’ve known damn few nice lesbians
and most, I’ve had a crush on
I get my fix of dykely tricks,
affirmations, and lampoons
from the eternal glory of
Ms. Alison’s cartoons.
The notes are as follows (key of A Major)
A C# C# B A C# C# B
A C# C# D C# C# B
C# D D C# B B D D
B C# D D E D D C
A B C# C# B A C# C#
A C# C# D E F#
F# F# F# F# E D C# C# D
C# B D C# B A


By Kellan Baker

Somewhere Over the Rainbow: No Bluebirds, but Plenty of Blue Merchandise
Gay Pride Still Marching Proudly On, reports Kelly Burke

At the stroke of noon yesterday, the phallic shadow of an enormous Bud Light bottle crowed by a brilliant foam of drag queens in feather boas pierced our city’s fair skyline as the first in a long line of floats moved slowly towards Plummer Park for the official opening of this year’s Gay Pride Festival. The parade, which was led by a rough-riding contingent of Dykes on Bikes towing the Budweiser float in their wake, is a colorful mainstay of the annual three-day event celebrating the LGBT community that never fails to draw the counterculture crowds.
This year’s Pride has something for urban hipsters and suburban soccer moms alike, with almost 70 booths offering such diverse items as synthetic leather baby chaps (“Save the environment: dispense with diapers” read the tag), alcohol-free “Pride Punch” and rainbow sno-cones, titillating titles such as “Peddling Perversion: Pride, Profiteering, and Picnicking in the Park” by Plain State University’s own Sapphic scholar, Dr. Sydney Koncupiscenski, and hand-carved dildo racks in a variety of locally-harvested hardwoods. A small sign taped discreetly to the side of the sex-toy stand even promised free trials of the latest dildo models, though a quick peek into the bushes behind the booth revealed nothing but a handkerchief stained with transmission oil and an empty bottle of “Jiffy Lube” – and not the type used to get automobile engines running smoothly!
Fingering a maple dildo rack, Freedom to Marry activist Toni Ortiz, apparently happily oblivious to the steamy scenes of sodomy that had earlier been taking place just a few feet from where she now stood, praised the festival for its overall “family friendliness” but noted sadly that there was little to interest her son Rafael, who at age 14 has long outgrown books of the “Heather Has Two Mommies” type and can now hardly be pried away from his video games and what Ortiz characterizes as his “stoner friends”. “I am concerned about him,” she confessed, her face wrinkling in a frown. “I miss those days when he was little and I could just bring him along to Pride and have him play with his toy dinosaurs while my, uh, friend Gloria and I watched the crowds.”
Her friend, NARAL lobbyist and self-identified “bi-dyke” Sparrow Pidgeon, agreed that attending Pride just isn’t what it used to be. “A few years ago I was on my way to Pride with Stuart, my male partner, and our baby daughter Jiao Raizel in her stroller,” she explained, “when an ex-girlfriend of mine pulls over to offer us a ride. A nice gesture, you’d think, but just because the car is a Ford Exterminator or Extinction or whatever, Stuart has a crisis of conscience and decides then and there to join our friend Mo at Gay Shame. He hasn’t been back to Pride since. They’re all probably over there right now getting tipsy on rhubarb wine and tie-dyeing organic-fiber Localvore t-shirts to give away,” she said, waving a hand dismissively at the far side of the park.
And indeed, a scrappy knot of anti-Gay Pride gay activists and allies were holding court in a distant corner of the park, clustered around an upside-down rainbow flag and waving signs denouncing the festival. “We’re not saying to be ashamed of being gay – don’t get us mixed up with that crazy Phelps clan,” said local activist and malcontent Mo Testa, who appeared to see no irony in her own gesture of standing with one Birkenstock-shod foot on an American flag. “All we want to cultivate is contempt for the commercial co-opting of queer culture by corrupt and craven corporate clones,” she exclaimed, twisting her left sandal viciously as she spoke. “Also, we’d like to draw attention to the possible infiltration of the lesbian community by agents of the current criminal regime in the White House. We have reason to suspect that they are attempting to exploit the popularity of the word “bush” in our community to increase sympathy for the president, and I’m not just going to stand by and let that happen.” Brave words indeed, but perhaps the Gay Shame activists would like a round of sno-cones in this heat? Testa and her compatriots accepted only grudgingly, but as this reporter left the scene she was followed by a chorus of satisfied slurps. Now that’s the way gay pride should be celebrated.

Queer Librarians Roundtable

by sparks

(with apologies to the actual GLBTRT of the ALA)

Queer Librarians Show Their Stuff

The GLBT Roundtable had a rousing presence at the recent American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference. The roundtable’s meeting, held in the newly renovated Radclyffe Hall at Bannon University, offered some of the conference’s most compelling fare.

Highlights included “Splitting Hairs: The Dialectics of Radical Preservationism of Transgendered Informatics in University Archives,” presented by Fiona Fingall, Adjunct Professor at Acme University’s School of Information Science (SIS) and Archivist for the college’s LGBTQ Archives. “We must uncover and preserve the invisible,” Professor Fingall implored.

On the other end of the spectrum, it was standing room only for the panel discussion, “Dude, Where’s My Job? Collapsing Job Prospects for Librarians.” Panelist Harry Kramer pointed out, “While the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook remains a useful reference tool, we have noted through numerous anecdotes a certain overestimation in their prediction of the explosive growth in the profession.” An online support group formed at the close of this impassioned session.

Perhaps in anticipation of the popularity of this panel discussion, Mo Testa presented, “Can I Help You? Standard Book Retail as Reference Interview,” a riveting analysis, based on Testa’s early professional experience, of how underemployed library school grads might apply professional librarian skills in the non-traditional area of large chain bookstores.

Other stimulating banter was found in the smaller poster session, “This Ain’t Harlequin, Grandma: Problems in Cataloguing Lesbian Pulp Novels.” Does the Library of Congress provide adequate subject headings to guide eager readers? Opinion was divided about separate vs. side by side shelving.

Indeed, one of the most heated presentations, “Perversity in First Amendment Protections: Dilemmas for Radical Lesbian Feminist Librarians” cut right to the heart of what brought many Roundtable participants to the field in the first place: the desire to disseminate freely — and to protect the right to — information. This acutely insightful talk by Sappho Brown discussed the ethics involved in charged situations, like fighting for freedom of the press by standing up for the likes of Larry Flint or the right to access information by protecting access for the creepy guy in the trenchcoat on computer #17. Brown’s talk can be downloaded at her website, .

The Roundtable, which has historically been key in providing some of the most provocative and stimulating material conference-wide, has again succeeded. Watch for the sequel in six months at the next ALA meeting.

Peace Rally on Fifth Anniversary of Iraq Invasion
By Anna Beek

On the fifth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, it appears that disapproval of the Iraq Invasion is as alive as ever. A small but dedicated group gathered downtown to protest the US presence in Iraq and call for withdrawal of the troops there.

The protest began in the late morning. Participants gathered in the Main Street Square, under the leadership of local anti-war activist Stuart Goodman. From the square they marched approximately three miles and through many busy thoroughfares to the local Army Recruiting Headquarters.

At their destination, Mr. GOodman spoke briefly about the need to recall US forces from Iraq immediately, and the general need for peace in the world, alternately brandishing a “No Blood for Oil” sign and tending to his young daughter. “This war is a travesty,” he declared, stomping for emphasis on his makeshift podium—but in the next moment turning aside to say “Now, J.R., don’t bother that dog.” He continued, “Far too many have died for this war to be conscionable by any standard of ethics—here, sweetie, don’t kick the podium; I have some local apple leather for you—” as he set to rummaging through the pockets of his kilt.

The protesters were generally patient with Goodman’s divided attention, and were receptive to his speech. However, an undercurrent of futility ran through the crowd, as was demonstrated by the lengthy diatribe of one protester. “We’ve been at this so long,” said Monica Testa, beginning at a mutter but gradually rising to rival Goodman’s amplified voice. “We’ve been protesting for more than five years now, and for what? Congress isn’t responding to us. Bush is a lost cause! What do we need to do to make ourselves heard?” She continued at some length.

As Mr. Goodman spoke, a small counter-protest of war supporters—hastily organized the previous night through various conservative internet forums—began to congregate on the opposite side of the street. Throughout Mr. Goodman’s speech they heckled and chanted slogans defending the war and the president’s actions.

Cynthia Pharr-Wright, a graduate student at Buffalo Lake State University, claimed credit for organizing the counter-protest. “These people need to be challenged on what they’re saying,” she said in a brief interview. “They can’t just go around crying that war is bad and Bush is evil. In this case, the occupation is a necessary operation, and should continue until Iraq’s situation has stabilized.”

Pharr-Wright declined to comment on a young woman bearing a “Dykes for Immediate Withdrawl” sign who crossed the street several times to speak with her. The young woman heckled Pharr-Wright during our interview, calling “Why don’t you tell them where you were last summer?” Pharr-Wright claims that last summer she was attending an occupational training program.

Profile of The Chop Shop

The Daily Distress Community Profile, by Jesse Nachem, contributor to The Daily Distress.

“Perfect! It’s like you read my mind,” Janis gushes to Miko Takagawa, owner of The Chop Shop. “I always go with my instincts,” Miko says modestly, as her new young customer runs to her waiting mother to model her new hairdo. “They’ve rarely steered me wrong. Some people show resistance at first but they always come around.” Toni Ortiz, longtime customer, explains “I don’t know why I insisted on keeping my mullet for so long. Miko gave me the courage and the vision to see myself without it. Thank goodness!”

Miko has been the owner of The Chop Shop for almost two decades and is the author of Hair Stories, her book of antics and adventures of a wily stylist working with changing customers, changing tastes, and changing times. Gore Vidal-Sassoon called it a “tonsorial tour-d-force,” and you can purchase a copy right in the salon. Miko reminisced “I remember, at one point during the Reagan years I was buzzing seventeen flat tops a week! That was just wild.”

Her experience spans decades of styles and tastes. If you have an idea, Miko can make it happen. “Once, when I was in a rush to the drag show, and just wasn’t feeling my Max Axle persona, Miko hooked me up,” says loyal customer, Lois McGiver. “She’ll take good care of you,” she says with a wink.

But this business savvy owner does more than give good haircuts. Oftentimes she serves as a confidant, and the salon as a center of local gossip. “It’s like the eye of the storm. Luckily I’ve been able to stay out of it. And it’s made great material for my upcoming second book!” Pressed for more details about this exciting sequel, the spunky Miko says “but I’m not going to tell you any more than that.” Stay tuned for updates on The Chop Shop and our local legend that is Miko Takagawa.

City Issues Marriage Licenses

By Ellen Andersen

City Issues Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples (Ellenmarie Harrisen, Feb
12, 2004)

In a surprise move, the city of San Francisco began issuing marriage
licenses to same-sex couples today. Del Martin, 83, and Del Lyon, 79, were
the first couple to receive a marriage license. They married minutes later
in the rotunda of City Hall, in a ceremony officiated by the City Clerk.
Iconic figures in the lesbian and gay rights movement, Martin and Lyon have
been a couple for 51 years and were the founders of the Daughters of
Bilitis, the first lesbian political organization ever to exist in the
United States.

News of San Francisco’s new policy spread like wildfire, and within an hour
of Martin and Lyon’s marriage throngs of lesbian and gay couples began
descending on City Hall. Some couples had clearly rushed over straight from
work, while others arrived in wedding dresses, tuxes, and other finery.
Homemade signs could be seen along the ever-expanding queue. One toddler sat
in a stroller with a sign saying, “Thank You, Mayor, for Making Honest Women
of my Moms. ” A group of older lesbians held a sheet saying “It’s About
Time.” The mood was festive, with songs and chants breaking out
sporadically as the line moved slowly toward the clerk’s office.

Whether their marriages will withstand the legal challenges that are surely
to come didn’t seem to matter to those who came to be married today. Many
different motivations brought the diverse crowd to the city plaza. “We
wanted to be a part of history in the making,” said one older male couple.
Said two young lesbians, “It’s about making a statement to the world that
our relationships matter.” “For us, it’s a matter of equal protection,
plain and simple,” said Clarice Clifford, attorney and organizer at Freedom
to Marry. “I want to make sure that my family enjoys full legal
protections: Toni and I want to be sure that our family is recognized. It’s
good for us, it’s good for our son.”

Not everyone present agreed. As Ms. Clifford answered questions, a couple
behind her could be heard loudly debating the value of marriage in the
current age. “It enshrines oppression! Why should couplehood have some
kind of special status? The government should treat us all as individuals
with equal rights! I don’t want to participate in a marriage I don’t believe
we should need,” argued Mo Testa. Ms. Clifford turned and argued, “But you
do need it, Mo. Marriage means that no one can keep you from Sydney in an
emergency room. Marriage means that Sydney can leave you her retirement
accounts. Marriage means that people will understand what your relationship
is. Partner? Girlfriend? Those terms mean different things to different
people. Marriage: people understand it.”

As the sun set, a scattered handful of anti-marriage protesters started to
appear in the small park across the street from City Hall, but the
enthusiasm of couples on line was unabated. Cheers went up as the clerk’s
office announced it would stay open late to accommodate the demand. Someone
distributed bubbles, and the crowd began blowing bubbles and applauding as
newly married couples exited the building. Finally, The Clifford-Ortiz
family had its turn. “We’re going home to start our married life, “said
Toni Ortiz, holding onto Rafael Clifford-Ortiz. Ms. Clifford added, “Our
legally-sanctioned married life. Today’s marriages demonstrate that the
tide is turning: slowly, surely, equal marriage rights for all Americans are
coming. We’ll be back to fight to maintain these rights, but tonight, we’re
heading home for dinner.”

Terrorism Scare

By Linda Tam:

by Linda Tam – Special to the Distress

Our community briefly went to Code Orange in the mayor’s new terror rating system yesterday when an alert employee of the U-Haul rental service reported suspicious activity at the office at Daly Ave and 24th St. Eunice Caruthers, who has been a customer service clerk at U-Haul for eleven years, called the mayor’s new special terrorism hotline to report a Middle Eastern man exhibiting suspicious behavior. “I saw him come in the door and I picked up on him right away,” states Caruthers, 61. “You could see he was nervous. He was dripping with sweat down his face, all fidgety and shifting from foot to foot. When I saw him start to pray, I knew I had to call the mayor’s hotline right away. But don’t thank me, I’ve just done what any other red-blooded American would have done.”

Police arrived at the scene within minutes to confront the suspect, Ammar Shahriar, 31. However, the mayor’s office was unable to secure Homeland Security support for this incident, which was the first test of the new city hotline. “We’ve got to work our interfaces with the DHS,” commented police clerk Charlie Dill, 45, who is in charge of the hotline project. “We need to make sure we can get a quick response from DHS personnel and equipment, SWAT teams and helicopters if necessary. We got off lucky this time — it appears to have been a false alarm, but we’re still investigating the case.”

Interviewed immediately after the police removed his handcuffs, Shahriar stated, “Of course I was sweating, the air conditioning in the U-Haul truck was broken! And I was nervous because I had only two minutes to return the truck and there were three people in line ahead of me. Wouldn’t you pray, too, in that situation?” Shahriar admitted to being Muslim. He added, “I’d heard they are very strict about the on-time return policy. I have already lost my deposit and I think she is going to add a late fee as well.”
The mayor’s office reiterated the urgency of the need for DHS to provide support for local needs. Hans Klujian, city budget coordinator, stated, “This incident should drive home the local community’s need for a fair share of DHS attention. We didn’t receive a penny of the homeland security budget here, and our fair city boasts as many potential terrorist targets as any other. We at the mayor’s office will continue our diligent drive for recognition from the DHS.”

Klujian praised Caruthers for her alertness and added, “Remember we’re counting on all our citizens to stay vigilant during these dark times. Please call the mayor’s terrorism hotline at 555-5150 if you see or hear anything suspicious in your neighborhood.”

Two News Shorts

By Vesa Lehtinen (thank you for bringing Percival back, Vesa!)
Did a jock raid the hospital drug stores?

Last night there was a break-in in the drug supply section of the Brenton General Hospital. The burglar escaped with a loot of various medications.

Cancer therapy nurse Cheryl Shaw was in duty that night. She was talking with a colleague and reminiscing about her late son Brent when she heard a crashing noise and decided to investigate. She arrived in time to see the thief flee with three boxes full of drugs and syringes. Shaw stated that the thief had some kind of uniform, maybe that of some sports team.

Nurse Audrey Thackery, who volunteered to do inventory of what was taken, stated that some of the stolen pharmacopoeia include morphine, drugs that could be used as steroids and antiandrogen inhibitors; the latter are apparently sometimes used to try to stem testicular cancer.

According to Dr. Rommel, the thief probably intends to sell the drugs to the black market. Obviously frustrated surgeon Ana Porfirio stated that various surgical operations could be in jeopardy because of lack anaesthetics. Dr. Rommel stated that they had already organized resupply.

The hospital in considering a reward for possible information that could help to apprehend the culprit. The police would be grateful for any witness reports.

by Sophia Salo

Trilogy of Authors in print-in-demand

Cafe Opal opened last week with some of the management some readers do doubt remember from the sorely missed Cafe Topaz. At the same time they organized a small-scale book-publishing event for three authors who have already established themselves in local small press publications.

At the first glance, the only thing in common with these authors is that the print-in-demand web publisher has published all of their books.

Beatrice Bosson propagated her poetry collection “Thrust In Hand”; the most positive reviews have described it as “hydraulic”. When I asked why none of the larger publishers had picked up the book, she laughed and said that she had decided not to even try.

“Bundles of Pain and Joy” by Deirdre Trivelpiece is story of a lesbian libertine that goes through various relationships and affairs, some of that end with a bang when other drag on for years. Although Trivelpiece herself denies it, many readers have described it as “lurid piece of autobiography” and some of the people present claimed to have recognized at least couple of real-life characters, including a bookstore clerk and a dyke-on-bike.

Jillian Walker offered “Blade of the Wheel”, her collection of poems and short stories concerned about life before and after the protagonists have found their true self. Regardless of some claims to the contrary, not all the stories are concerned about change of gender but also of other choices in life. Some of the readers might have heard her reading her stories in various occasions, including in library poetry readings.

Some of the people kept their distance to Walker, probably because of her birth gender thought one of her fans, who identified herself as Percival, agreed to talk. Trivelpiece had to fend off affections of one fan wearing the sweatshirt of a local soccer team. The same person later approached Walker who angrily turned her away.

by Sophia Salo

Transgendered Teen Endeavors to Educate and Enlighten
Queer Youth Support’s Speaker’s Bureau combats homophobia and transphobia in high schools

By Loretta Lothamber

(Val Colden)

Janis Jayne is on a mission. Jayne, 16, hopes that by educating her peers about what it’s like to be different things will be easier for others like her.

Ever since coming out as transgendered 4 years ago, Jayne has been attending meetings of local youth group Queer Youth Support regularly. 2 years ago she spearheaded the group’s first commemoration of Transgendered Day of Remembrance in November. It was a natural transition for her to join the group’s
Speaker’s Bureau, which sends members into local high schools to talk about what it’s like to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered. The group aims to teach students about the devastating impacts of homophobia and transphobia, and to show them that LGBT youth are just like everyone else. By creating a visible presence, Jayne also hopes to make it easier for others to come out.

Speaker’s Bureau co-chair Alexis Liddel, 19, saw a presentation by the Speaker’s Bureau 2 years ago and “has never looked back.” Liddel, “had always been attracted to girls but had never had the courage to tell anyone about it. I started attending Queer Youth Support meetings and it was like a whole new world opened up to me.”

Liddel is inspired by impact her presentations often have. “At one presentation I did, several students actually laughed at me as I was introduced and called out all sorts of terrible things.” After the presentation one of them approached her to apologize and tell her that she’d changed his mind about gay people.

For Jayne, the Speaker’s Bureau also has a family connection: her mother, a lesbian, was one of its founding members nearly 20 years ago. “I feel like I’m kinda carrying on her legacy, you know,” says Jayne.

More information about the Queer Youth Support Speaker’s Bureau is available at or by e-mailing

Join the Y

By Susan

If fancy name-brand exercise clubs are too expensive or too exclusive, consider the old standby—your local Y.

(Graphic here of Mo on the gutbuster: Longtime member Mo Testa works out under the watchful eye of trainer Biff DeRoque)

The equipment at the Y may be used hard, but it’s high quality and the trainers are talented and enthusiastic about their jobs. This helps explain the loyalty of Y members, some of whom have been regulars for more than a decade.

Harriet Perkins admits she’s only an occasional visitor, but she praises the open and egalitarian spirit which dominates the facility. “I come here to swim with my daughter Isabel. It’s a good pool even if it’s sometimes crowded, but what I really like is the very relaxed and non-judgmental atmosphere in the locker room. And it seems I’m always running into old friends here!”

The benefits of the Y can go beyond exercise. Deirdre Delancey feels the Y transformed her relationship with her mother. “I hadn’t really talked with my mother since I went away to college. Then, on a whim, we decided to compete in the Mother-Daughter Swim Meet and that really changed things. Now we’re here all the time and I tell her about everything I’m doing!” Dottie Delancey agrees, laughing, “She even asks me for advice about her girlfriends!”

Over the years, the Y has realized it’s in competition with other exercise venues for the public’s often fickle dollar, and managers have emphasized keeping up with the latest trends in exercising and leisure. While classics such as basketball, racquetball, weight training, and the indoor track still have many followers, adding new options has attracted a new clientele. In recent years, classes in yoga, reiki, and chakra balancing have introduced members to lower-impact activities, while spinning has given the more aerobically minded a new way of “sweating to the oldies.” These new sports attract dedicated users; some verge on the messianic.

“I’ve never felt so centered or so at peace with the world, and I’m sure it’s all due to spinning,” says member Stuart Goodman, who began his aggressive exercise regime several years ago. “Everybody needs to be doing this. Really, I mean that.”

Maybe not spinning—but everybody should give the Y a try.

Home School Group Forming

by Patti Benson

Those who are disenchanted with the increasingly-troubled schools in our city may soon have another option: a group of local concerned parents have banded together to form a community-wide homeschool group.

Tentatively named, “The Lesbian Moms’ Homeschool Hellions,” the group was the brainchild of local moms Beth and Liz Farkas-McLaughlin. Membership in the group is open to anyone wishing to join. “There are no requirements, per se,” Liz Farkas McLaughlin noted. . “After all, having requirements would negate the autonomous, child-led community we are trying to create. However, we do find that members get more out of our meetings if they have recently reread the entire works of John Holt and have been TV-free for at least 6 months. And of course, we will need to see a certificate of non-vaccination from the child’s homeopath before they can join in any group activities.”

This last “recommendation” has caused some controversy in the fledgling group, but as Farkas-McLaughlin explained, “we really can’t tackle that issue until we finish resolving the issue of our group’s name. Originally we were very excited about “Lesbian Moms HomeSchooling Hellions” because we wanted to reclaim “hellion” and at the same time, flout the misperception that homeschoolers are unruly in any way. But then we heard from UNschoolers who were feeling excluded. And what about the DEschoolers? We wouldn’t want to exclude them, especially as they attempt to finish the delicate process of deprogramming!” Plus, her partner added, “One of our first and most enthusiastic members, Stuart Goodman, isn’t really a lesbian mom at all, although he does shop at the co-op and eschew plastic toys.”

Despite these remaining issues to be ironed out, the Group is beginning to hold regular meetings. And the Farkas-McLaughlins wish to extend a special invitation to these meetings to any of the many Christian homeschoolers who are looking for community. “This is not a Christian group”, Beth emphasized, “but we want these Christian parents to know that we value them as people, even though we can’t in good conscience approve of their lifestyle. Some of our best friends are Christian,” she added.

Some of the first activities planned are a gender-free knitting class, a vegan raw-foods barbecue, and a protest march outside this month’s Board of Education Meeting. “We’ll be making protests sign soon,” promised Liz. “As soon as we reach consensus on a name!”

More Book Reviews

By Keith Glaeske

The Wheat-Free Guide to Creative Visualization in Codependent Past-Life Relationships by Diana Corn
Long out of print, this remains the definitive lesbian/religion/self-help/cookbook. Far superior to the Dummies and For Idiots volumes.

Sexing the Fruit Cocktail by Jeanette Wintersunkist
This Whitebread Award winning novel (by the author of Tangerines are not the Only Fruit and Written on her Booty) has finally been issued in paperback.

Afternoon of an Artichoke by F. S. Geraldine
This classic about a steamy orgy at an all women’s organic farmer’s market, reissued in an attractive anniversary edition, contains a new afterward by the author, deleted scenes, book club reading guide, and recipes.

Glad You’re not Here by Rita Fay Frown and Chichi “Devil Dog” Frown
The latest in the popular series about the mystery-solving chihuahua and hamster, the dark tone and bitter humor will turn off all but the most die-hard of fans.

Cherry Aimless: Mardi Gras Nurse by Mabel Manic
Ostensibly a YA mystery, the adventures of this spunky nurse (and former lover of Nancy Clue) are popular with all ages. A companion volume to the Hardly Boys Mystery at Southern Decadence.

Simps ‘n’ Pimps by Camille Faglia
Her follow-up to Sex, Art, American Culture and Me, Faglia continues to privilege lesbian positionality by destabilizing bodily metanarratives and disarticulating the epistemological foundation of gender and prime-time cartoons.

Steppe Sisters: Female Homoeroticism during the Mongol Empire by Thomas Cavehill
Cavehill’s extensive (647 pp.) text examines a little-explored topic, and forms the basis for the PBS miniseries.

Getting Drenched: New Dimensions in Female Ejaculation by Cecelia Ten (editor)
Contains the award-winning “She Came in Waves,” also reprinted in The Book of Short Lesbian Penguin Stories (Margaret Reynolds, editor). Available in trade paper and waterproof versions.

The F2M Bisexual S/M Vampire Foot Worshipper Reader by Pa Calif (editor)
The first—some say best—in the groundbreaking series (it was quickly followed by volumes 2 through 5) by the editor of such seminal works as Up to the Elbow: Penetrating New Fiction and Dyke Daddy-O-Rama.

Still More Book Reviews

By Amy Caes

Highlights from the underground
By Mo Testa

Since the closing of Madwimmin, fewer literary treasures are surfacing. To slow the impending intellectual decline caused by this absence, I bring you a few worthwhile titles absent from the shelves of our not-so-local bookstore:

Drag King Hallucinations by Liesel Floorstein
From New York’s underground, a community of gender-f**ked hotties apparate, forming a reality where unexpected alliances and activism carry readers through tough breaks and rich relationships. This book will test your grip on reality.

Stolen Minutes: Exotic Interludes by Railcliff
Dangerously irreverent. The name says it all.

Wo/myn by Mickey Bette Print
Through vignettes of youth, marriage, womyn-identification, and activism, Print complicates our view of love and life in the Southern United States. Moving from self to environment, Print challenges relationships and gender normativities, carrying readers alongside her journey to wholeness.

Body Outlaws by Kat Brownstine
In a sharp autobiographical, theoretical, hypothetical, and a little critical examination of the feminine form, Brownstine tackles the interaction between bodies and identities. Confronting the carnal experience Brownstine questions boundaries of the body. She raises questions the world fears we’ll ask.

Good luck finding these distinctive treasures.

A Night on the Town

By Deanna

A Night Out
Continuing our weekly column by anonymous local government worker “H”

“You’ve got to get out and meet some women!” my friend “T” told me. So last night I delivered my young daughter to her babysitters (with strict instructions to avoid raw cookie dough), put on my best frilly shirt and slacks, and ventured apprehensively out to Club L’s Drag King night. As I paid my $10 door fee I was thinking longingly of my couch and the latest episode of “All my children”. After all, “T” was the one who called me “flannel”!

Before I could turn tail “T” pulled me through the door into the club. I was instantly stunned by the noise and heat. Once my eyes adjusted to the semi-darkness, I realised the room was full of gorgeous uniform-clad women accompanied by beautiful femmes in tiny skirts. In fact I was so distracted staring at one sailor in particular that “T” had to drag me away to the bar. Fortifying myself with a beer, I let “T” elbow her way through to the front of the heaving crowd and followed her to the relative safety of a perch on the stairs.

As the music to “I’m your vehicle baby” started pounding through the sound system, Max Axel swaggered confidently onstage in what looked like authentically greased-up engineer coveralls. I couldn’t help noticing that his moustache was slightly askew, and speculated on what exactly had been going on backstage. Soon my attention was riveted back to the performance by the appearance of Coco. All her curves were exhibited in the fishnets and lacy bra famously debuted at Madwimmin’s benefit a few years ago. Coco proceeded to persuade Max to “fix her car”, revealing a strategically placed lollypop as the crowd sang along with her line “I got candy”. Max replied with “I’m a lovable man”, thrusting forward what Max himself explained to me later was his “Mr Softie”.

The rest of the night passed in a whirl of noise, performances, and women. I was overwhelmed by the sexual tension in the air and possibly a few too many beers. But I do remember stumbling out of Club L at 3am with a sailor’s phone number in my pocket.

10 tips for communal living

By Deanna




By Iara:

(These are SO GOOD! But they won’t fit on this page–click here or on the image for a larger version on Flickr.)

Microsoft Word - comics.doc

Milkweed’s B&B

By Barbara O’Roark:


by Phrancis Phanboi

(aka shadocat)

One establishment our little community was desperately lacking was a vegan/raw food/locavore -friendly Sapphic-themed Bed and Breakfast. Or so local maven, Milkweed Moongarden finally decided last summer. She is now proud to announce, after 9 months of planning and preparation, the birth of her “dream-child”; “Jardine La Lune” is the only B&B in the tri-county area to offer totally organic and earth-friendly amenities. From the sheets on the bed to the groats in your morning cleansing-muffin, everything in the “jardine” is completely natural, healthy, and a pure product of our sweet mother earth.

“Everything here is geared to pleasure our guests,” states Moongarden. “It was after some bad experiences I had, staying with several so-called friends, who I must say, were not only poisoning their intestinal tracts with vile recipes devised by the patriarchy, they were-how shall I say it–well, lets just say they were less than hospitable.” Moongarden goes so far as to ban any food or product from her establishment that she deems “unfit”. “I really thought this would bring in the week-enders, but apparently the word has been slow to get out,” says the innkeeper. Actually, the only overnight guests we’ve had so far, was male/female couple and their child, but I bent the rules for them because I had a feeling HE may have possibly been transitioning…SHE didn’t seem that taken with the experience, but He just fell in love with it!”

Moongarden has decided in the future, however, not to admit children. “I found a small stash of “Frosted Fruit Bats” in antique armoire. Do you know how hard it is to get rid of that stuff once it melts and hardens? It’s like Krazy Glue! It had to have been the kid. Besides, the little darling was so disruptive, she totally ruined my Vernal Equinox Barley Blowout!”

Le Jardine La Lune is now open for business at the corner of Leviticus Blvd. and Falwell Ave, just across the street from the site of the former Cafe Topaz (now Starbucks). Reservations can be made by calling (612) 555-5683.

Syd protests being labeled an Essential Dyke

by Lil A. Futuransky

Plain State Women’s Studies Professor Sydney Krukowski called a press conference yesterday to denounce the now infamous publishing project in which she is centrally featured, a forthcoming volume with the titillating title “The Essential D***s To Watch Out For.” The plot to produce this salacious compendium of “graphic” so-called “literature” is exposed in today’s “Distress” by intrepid investigative reporter Olivia Ferguson (page 1).

“Hey, whoever this ‘AB’ is, she can write whatever she wants,” averred Krukowski, an admitted adherent to an obscure ideology she calls “free speech.” But the anonymous author has “no right,” says this Plain State professor, to imply by association that others—such as Krukowski herself—might support her appalling agenda. “Who is she to call me ‘essential?’” objected the self-identified “poststructuralist, polytheoretical, post-postfeminist queer” scholar. “And an ‘essential dyke,’ no less. That is so pre-postfeminist!”

In an hour-long rant bracketed by raucous ovations from a small but ardent assemblage of student supporters and frequently interrupted by the chants of an unusual cheerleading squad, Krukowski complained that “AB” was “f**king with” her reputation and claimed that the planned volume, if published without disclaimers, would “imperil” her livelihood. “Who’s going publish an assumed essentialist in this day and age?” she fumed, obviously exasperated. “I’ll be ostracized at MLA. Graduate students will mock me. I’ll face a gauntlet of ridicule down every hall in the department.” Characterizing inaction as “career suicide” under the circumstances, Krukowski vowed to bring a libel suit.

Before relinquishing the microphone, the professor referred reporters to her sole single-authored monograph, “The Dialectics of Desire: Apposite Opposites in the Semiotic Economies of Subliminal Libidinal Investment,” promising it would put to rest any doubt about her deconstructivist-constructionist credentials. She also revealed the working title of her long-awaited second book, “Deixis To Watch Out For: The Indexical Underpinnings of Pretty Much Everything,” attributing her slow progress on the project to Plain State’s lack of support for “serious scholarship in the traditional liberal arts.”

Dartridge University professor Madeleine Zeugma, a noted authority on female spectacle, acknowledged that for a professor to call a press conference is “an unusual step.” She maintained, however, that Krukowski is “multi-talented” and “has a lot more going for her” than her modest publication record. “You’d be surprised,” she said. “Delightfully.”

Acknowledged genius Betsy Gilhooley, however, called Krukowski’s announcement an “obvious publicity ploy,” observing, “It’s pathetic, really, and regrettable, but not at all out of character” for her former colleague. “Syd’s always been envious,” she explained, “and when I was hired away by Harvard, it just got out of hand.” Gilhooley added that, although she herself does not exhibit the “insecure obsessive-neurotic personality complex” that inspires such compulsive competitiveness, she can “well imagine how infuriating my accomplishments might seem to an insignificant scholar like Syd.” “It’s textbook, really,” she concluded. “Indeed, I may write it up in my new study of overcompensation in the dildonic iconographies of lesbian impotence, “The Intentional Phallus-y.”

Plain State Dean Evelyn Haverstick strove to put a more positive spin on the episode, emphasizing that “some people keep admirable attributes under wraps” and suggesting that “Dr. Krukowski’s best work may lie ahead.” The professor “has no choice but to defend her reputation,” said the Dean. “Her hypothetically possible future distinguished career may be at stake.”

“I can empathize with those who find her insufferable,” Dean Haverstick acknowledged, “but Professor Krukowski’s intensity is an asset to her students and the school. I’ve never seen a faculty member riveted body and soul by research like she is. I’ve seen her emerge from the library stacks literally flushed from exertion, shaken and sweaty.”

The Dean also lauded the results of that research, citing Krukowski’s final essay in her celebrated “Cigar Series”: “Privatize This! (No, really, we mean it): Visualing Presidential Potency in the Blue Light Special on Black-lit Blue Dresses,” published just last month in the University of Feenics’s innovative e-journal, “Prof(iteer).”

“Who knew that painstaking attention to Bill Clinton’s amorous indiscretions held the key to unraveling the psycho-symbolic resonance between neo-liberal economics and the seminal contributions of Mall-Wart sales strategies? Not everyone has a mind for that sort of thing.” Besides, the Dean insisted, “Plain State stands by our own.”

Student supporter Scooter XX affirmed the Dean’s position, after explaining that his unusual surname is “an ironic gesture towards the chromosomal sex so overvalued by gendernormative imperialisms. Like, I reject the gender-slave name that patriarchy put on me, so I pick a name that pokes fun at our culture’s obeisance to silly physiological details. Also, it’s a shout-out to Malcolm. Also, my parents’ disowned me, anyway.”

About Krukowski, XX was emphatic, “She’s the s**t. Dr. K might skip office hours sometimes or something, but she’s totally there for the genderqueer cause, like, in theory. That’s why me and my bois are here for her.” He dismissed Harvard’s Gilhooley as “a tool.”

XX’s associate Alex Olsen was quick to clarify that “by ‘tool’ Scooter doesn’t mean to disparage male anatomy. Gilhooley is a tool of the homonormative gender-fascist military-industrial-penal-educational complex.” XX then clarified that Olsen meant “‘penal’ spelled p-e-n-a-l.”

As this interview was winding up, the odd-looking pep squad struck up a new routine. “SMASH THE FAMILY! SMASH THE SCHOOL! DR. K IS OLD BUT COOL! GENDER THEORY ROCKS OUR WORLD!” They tried to rouse what was left of the crowd with some old-fashioned audience participation: “Give me a ‘K’! Give me an ‘R’!,” and so forth. But by the time they got to “W” everyone had wandered off.

Book Review

By Holly Silva:

New and Notable Books
By Holly Silva

For Children

“Heather Has One Sperm Donor”
By Anya Sweet, MSW
Illustrations by Saffron Forest
(Ages 4 to 8)

A freshly updated companion to the 1989 classic, this picture book honors the heritage of a new generation of children. Anya Sweet, author of “The Lesbian Erotic Polka” and a local therapist, will sign copies at various upcoming events but will not take updated information or new problems from former clients.


“Macho Strumpets”: Neurotic Fiction, 20th Anniversary Edition
Patsy (now Patrick) Calhoun, with a new introduction by Hillary Clinton

When first published, this controversial collection was on the Do Not Order List of some feminist bookstores. Since that time the FTM author has worked to legalize bestiality, making these stories seem altogether quaint.


“I Name All the Waves ‘Beatrice’”
By Beatrice Stukupp

The first chapbook from local poet Beatrice Stukupp offers fine examples of the contemporary sonnet. Individual poems include “My Vest,” “My Hair,” and the Ginsburg Howl-length “Carleton Sheets Real Estate Infomercial.”


“Anthology 2: Best Selections from Other Anthologies”
Edited by the LPGA

The best of the best! All genres: Mysteries, Vampires, Nurses. Local fiction writer Deidre Macall is included for her earlier contribution to Naiad Generic Romance #837.


“Eating Local: Macrobiotics for your Pet”
By Carmen Markowski

Learn the importance of a local-food diet for dogs and cats. Recipes include Organic Filet Mignon Cat Treats, Tofu Hash, and Red Beans with Rice. Readers may remember author and Animal Communicator Carmen Markowski in her star turn, with her lovely young girlfriend, in the Bill Murray movie, “Broken Flowers.”


“The Dance of Rage”
Cleo Baldshein, MSW

No need for a 50-minute session! Local guerilla therapist Cleo Baldshein offers dismissive and abrupt behavior modification with the simple crack of a whip, er, we mean spine. The book’s spine, not yours.

“A Black Lesbian Woman’s Guide to Wellness”
By Audrey Thackery, RN

Local oncology nurse Audrey Thackery shares years of professional experience on health and lifestyle choices, with special sections on multigenerational family living and geriatric dating.

“Jane Austen’s Investment Guide”
By Toni Ortiz, CPA

Local accountant Toni Ortiz borrows from an infamous body of fictional works to explain how, historically, women have gained economic security through marrying up.

Review of Drag King Show

By Marty and EJ

By: Jamie Hoodman
The President was spotted last night at the notorious Club Q, engaging in a startling
variety of obscenities and other lewd unmentionable acts. Upon closer examination, our nation’s leader revealed himself to be none other than Lois McGiver, reigning champion Drag King, and local legend about town. We were fortunate enough to meet up with Lois at the Love Tunnel where she taught us a thing or two about dyke cruising while sharing some secrets surrounding her daring drag performances. Lois, a veteran member of the Lesbian Avengers, and other political organizations including Cunts vs. Bush, DIY Pleather Dykes, and The Erotica Reading Circle, is currently involved in Packing with Wrenches, a genderqueer workshop of beginner car mechanics and girls with “secrets under their hoods.” Lois’s recent endeavors also include the
creation of a drag pin-up calendar project entitled Bookstore Bombshells, which will be released in Winter ’08.
JH: I must ask, how do you produce such authentic looking facial hair without the use ofhormones?
LM: Well..I’ve never had a shortage of hormones, don’t get me wrong. I mean, if hormoneswere an indicator of facial hair, I’d look like Samuel Delany. But seriously, a gal can use spirit gum in more than one place, if you know what I’m saying.
JH: In your opinion, what are some other things besides facial hair that one can use as an indication of masculine “authenticity?”
LM: Authenticity? What, like smelling like transmission fluid? Or what, like binding? I prefer tensor bandages and duct tape but as you can see I’m really doing this on a shoestring… Or, do you mean authenticity, like the bulge in my Calvin’s?
JH: Well now that you mention it-
LM: Well, you mentioned it. If you wanna know the secret, you’ll have to give me your
number. Hey, are you by any chance a Gemini?
JH: Uh, so what exactly motivates you to get up on stage in drag? Are you working on
deconstructing the post-Foucauldian binary of polymorphous expressions of gender
LM: Yeah sure. You can put that in your term paper. What I’m doing is expressing my
masculine side. And let me tell you that the girls go wild. It’s like Spring Break out here and it’s only September. So what are you doing later? Unfortunately for our loyal readers, the interview stops here for reasons involving the FCC.
Let’s just say that Lois’s performance is very well researched indeed. Stay tuned next weekwhen we interview Professor Sydney Krukowski about her latest article, “Polymorphous Expressions of Gender Fluiditations and the Social Construction of Term Papers.

Another Drag King Show Review

By Tammany Kramer:

Max Axle Grinds into High Gear at Drag King Show
by T. Morgan

“Man,” oh, “man,” Saturday night’s drag king show at
Club L was hot, Hot, HOT! From sexy silken mustache
to irresistible uniform, Max Axle – a.k.a. local
bookseller Lois McGiver – stole the show. The
phenomenally popular Axle, a self-described “front-end
expert,” had the audience members revving their
engines and lunging toward the stage. Axle performed
several numbers, starting with a rousing version of
“Pink Cadillac” that had the crowd cheering and
begging for more. And more definitely came, with
Axle’s erotically-charged rendition of “I’m Your
Vehicle, Baby.” Axle is definitely a complete

Club L regulars Harriet Waters and Thea Berni said
that they never miss a Max Axle show: “Max never
fails to please. We’ll be having dreams about this
all week!” Local undergraduate Cynthia [last name
withheld] claimed she did not realize in advance the
nature of the show and otherwise declined to comment,
but her eyes were absolutely glued to the stage. Even
if she had come to the club “by accident,” she
definitely stayed on purpose! Queer studies professor
Sydney Krukowski commented that “for a provincial
burg, this isn’t a bad show” and noted that “such drag
shows demonstrate the performative nature of gender,
and subversively call into question the
heteronormative articulated interrelationships of
desire and corporeal legibility.” Environmental
activist Clarice Clifford interrupted and eagerly
observed, “more importantly, you have to admit: this
is pretty hot!”

Other drag performances also kept the crowd going,
including a sultry version of “Heartbreak Hotel” by
Elvis, hard-rock explosion “Satisfaction” by Mick
Bagher, and Jack Twist’s performance of “Body and
Soul.” But Axle was king of the night, hands down.

Axle’s encore was “Little Red Corvette,” which “he”
performed with extreme wit and knowing sensuality. At
this point in the night, clothes were coming
unbuttoned and the entire crowd was pulsing with
intense energy. In the middle of the song, Axle gave
an impromptu safe-sex demonstration, putting a condom
onto “his” stick shift while the onlookers screamed in
frenzied delight. Axle also had some other tricks
with the gear shift, which we will leave to the
reader’s imagination. Be sure to catch the next show
and see it for yourself. This reporter is hooked –
Axle can work on my engine any day!

Trannie’s Mailbox advice column

By Nancy Theriault

Dear Trannie,

I hope you can help me. My partner, “Steven” and I have a wonderful, committed relationship, for the most part. I work long hours in the non-profit world, and “Steven” stays home with our 5 year old daughter, “R.J.”. But, now, he is constantly bringing up the idea of having another child. He even tried to get me drunk on Rhubarb wine one night, in the hopes that I would become not only amorous, but, I guess, pregnant! Needless to say, it didn’t work.

I love my family, but I am so exhausted from work and life that it’s all I can do every evening to shovel in whatever local vegan delicacy “Steven” has prepared, and then fall into bed. A bed which, by the way, we share with “RJ”. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep for 6 years! The thought of having another baby, never mind going through another pregnancy, makes me want to pack my bags! Life was SO much less complicated when I was a SLOINK (single lesbian, one income, no kids). Sometimes I long for those days, but then I feel so guilty! What should I do?? I’ve tried to consult my pendulum, but it just goes around in circles!


Dear “Swallow”,

Tell “Steven” to wake up and smell the shade-grown, fair-trade, organic coffee! You are worn out! And, please, what is up with this “attachment” style parenting we’ve been hearing about? If god wanted kids to be that attached he’d have made their hands out of velcro! And if he wanted them to sleep in bed with their parents he wouldn’t have invented cribs! Haven’t you seen the reports about the “attachment” parents who end up following their kids to college and sleeping on their dorm room floors? They’re called “helicopter parents” because all they do is hover. Is that what you want? Before you can even think about whether to have another child, you need to get some sleep!

As for pendulums, your biological clock is probably ticking louder than a grandfather clock, and “Steven” probably hears it. But if you just give in, your pendulum may as well be in a cuckoo clock. Have you considered counseling? If “Steven” won’t go with you, please consider going alone, to sort through your ambivalent feelings. Try clipping this and propping it up against “Stephen’s”, er, sorry, “Steven’s” bowl of granola in the morning, to start the conversation. Good luck dear.


City Cuts Child Care Costs
By Irene Zeilinger:

City cuts child care costs
Parents prepared to protest

As announced today by city council spokesperson Dick Barren, the 2008
budget includes a significant cut in child care spending. Not only
will there be no investments in new child care facilities, but the
allocated funds translate into the closure of at least three crèches
and two kindergartens by the end of June. The city council’s budget
decision comes as no big surprise after two consecutive federal
administrations concentrating all efforts on cutting public spending
for social issues.

“This is a scandal and a disaster” fumes Harriet Swansbury whom we
found outside the local Co-op collecting signatures for a petition to
impeach the entire city council on the grounds of collective insanity.
“Even if my daughter’s kindergarten, the Three Little Piglets, remains
open, there won’t be enough staff to assure opening hours until six.
This means that I will have to either give up my job and go on
welfare, or find a baby sitter at the same time as hundreds of other
desparate parents.”

Swansbury, a single working mother of 5 year-old Isabel, is no
stranger to political action as she is the state human rights
investigator. This is why she strives to organise single mothers like
her in an effort to oust the current city council. “Instead of sending
working mothers back into the Fifties with this ridiculous budget cut,
our city councilors should rather lobby the Bush administration for
more funding. Well, I will see to it that our children won’t be left

Like many worried parents, Swansbury has prepared a plan B and even C.
“Either my neighbour’s son, no daughter Janis can do some baby sitting
and start saving for her first hormon treatment. Or Steward Goodman, a
stay-home dad in our street who is homeschooling his daughter Jiao
Raizel could take in my daughter. He already proposed his services,
but I am a little worried that his rhubarb wine and locally-grown
beet-burgers will not agree with Isabel’s fragile digestion.”

Middle School Hackers
By Helene Newburg:

Media Services Hacked, Embarrassment Results

For several hours last week, anyone in the school system requesting a
print job, web page or television broadcast on school grounds was
treated to an in-depth analysis of an embarrassing affair.

“In the dairy case” t-shirts popped up the same day, a reference to an
off-color remark regrettably made by one of the women in the video

Although it remains unclear how, what is known is that someone broke
into the media services network server and not only configured the
school district domain name servers to allow access only to the Youtube
webpage broadcasting what appears to be a domestic squabble between two

Any classroom requesting a video through the campus closed-circuit
television network was also treated to that same video, shown in a
repeating loop. Pages printed through the campus network featured the
last frame of the video instead of the requested text.

The couple, Toni and Clarice, are local gay activists who at one point
had a son and lived together, are now separated. Neither could be
reached for comment. That son appears to be in the center of the
controversy. It is unclear whether he himself endorsed the massive
broadcast in a cry for help, or whether the display was mounted in
protest of the apparent normalcy with which gay and lesbian families
continue to live their lives.

“While we condemn the miscreant who disrupted computing services for the
school district, and certainly don’t wish to see any more pain inflicted
on the family involved, we do want to acknowledge that the pressures on
gay and lesbian families are just like those experienced by heterosexual
families. Only we have to deal with the extra marginalization that you
straight folks don’t, which makes things really difficult,” said Liz
Farkas-McLaughlin, of the local Freedom to Marry Coalition.
Story on Collectible Card Games

By Fabian Alvarez Lopez (see Fabian’s ad for the cards on the ads page)
Land of Freedom: Collectable card games alive and kicking in Local Schools
By Agatha Morgan-Stanford

Some said that they were done, that the days of “Magic: The Gathering” and “Pokémon” were finished. But, at least in Nether Heights High, our local school, that’s not true. And it’s not only wizards and pocket monsters in our children’s pockets… it’s also Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney and our esteemed president, George W. Bush!!!

Taylor Ford, a local student, speaks to yours truly, Agatha Morgan-Stanford, about the latest fad in games: “Land of Freedom: The Collectible Card Game”.

“You see, ms. Morgan?” –says Taylor, showing yours truly some quaint cards with pictures of Rice, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush, among many others, including both Clintons- “These are Characters, you see, politicians and, like, that kind of people” and then there Agendas…”

And then he shows me some other cards with images of screaming lesbians and other radical people, or pictures of members of the Cabinet writing documents, or… the list seems to be endless… “See, this is The Gay Agenda, and this is Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and this is Weapons of Mass Destruction! And…”

“Yes, yes, and I can see that’s an F-16 Falcon…” I have to say, these cards are incredibly detailed… “What’s the point of all this, Taylor?”

“It’s fun, miss” –he replies, boys will be boys, after all- “All the sissy boys and lesbo girls are playing Pokémon and Japanase games with cutesy hamsters… but my and me mates, we’re playing “Land of Freedom”. As my dad says, ‘this is our land, and we’ll fight for it’.

Just suddenly, Taylor is kicked from behind by an angry young man. We finally manage to hold them apart, and we discover that the angry young man is Rafael Clifford-Ortiz, son of the notorious activists Clarice Clifford and Antonia Ortiz. It seems that he kicked Taylor because he had cheated, and traded him a defective ‘Charizard’ (whatever that may be) for a bunch of cards from the “Enduring Freedom” set of this collectible card game. All in all, boys will be boys.

Human Interest Story

By Chana Kraus-Friedberg

Heather has One Mommy: Single Lesbian Parents May be the Wave of the Future
In today’s alienated capitalist world system, where Mr./Ms. Right seems to be getting harder to find, single women are taking reproduction into their own hands, so to speak. “I realized that having children was something I really wanted,” says Harriet Oakley, single mother of one, “and I didn’t want to wait around anymore for someone who would have them with me.” Although some member’s of Oakley’s social circle were shocked at her decision to be inseminated despite her single status, they ultimately came to see it as a cause for celebration. “I realized that she was taking the ultimate stance against a couple-centric hegemony,” say ex-girlfriend Mo Testa. “Things have gone so far that even lesbians are trying to get legally married!! We’re buying into it! If everyone would just realize, as Harriet has, that the couple is not the basic unit of society, we’d all be a lot better off.” Ms. Testa was prevented from finishing her remarks, however, as she had to go home and cook dinner for her partner, Dr. Sidney Krukowski.
So, do you have to be crazy to voluntarily face midnight feedings alone? “Sure, it can be tough,” says Jasmine Larkin, who was single throughout the infanthood of her son Jonas (now Janice). “But really, no partnering comes with any guarantees. People who start out thinking they will be parenting with someone often end up single as well.” Case in point, Toni Ortiz, who has recently split up with her longtime partner, Clarice Clifford, and suddenly finds herself the full-time primary caregiver for their son, Rafael Clifford-Ortiz. “It’s actually really crazy,” says Ortiz. “I used to complain that Clarice was never around enough and never had much time for either of us, but it turns out that having that other adult as backup at the end of the day really made a difference. When Harriet had Isabel, I really applauded what she was doing. And now, although I obviously don’t regret having Rafi, I’m beginning to think that anyone who jumps into single parenthood with eyes wide open has to be a little crazy.” Oakley, however, obviously disagrees. “You do need help from other adults, “she says. “But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a partner. What you need is a community, and that’s something that any parent, partnered or not, could use. When Isabel was born, Toni, Sidney, Mo and Clarice were all there with me, and that was really special.” Oakley’s daughter, Isabel, is now in kindergarten at Nether Heights Preschool, where, she says, she learns “coloring, pasting, and lunch.” When asked if there was anything she would like to be quoted as saying in the paper, Isabel said “Say that Brian-with-the-glue is a poopy head!” Ah, well. Watch out, world—lesbians want to be moms, and they’re not just waiting around anymore.

Clarice and Union Carbuncle

By Ian:

Union Carbuncle concede defeat in cancer cluster class action case:
costly compensation a certainty
by Keith Crichton
(or Ian Sharpes)

The South End Citizen’s Action Group (SECAG) and the Environmental Justice Fund (EJF) gained an important victory yesterday, as the State Supreme Court found against powerful petro-chemical manufacturing multi-national Union Carbuncle Corp.

South End citizens first became concerned when City health officials noticed higher than usual rates of nervous disorders, liver and kidney problems as well as incidences of cancer way above the city average. Residents formed SECAG in 1993 to research possible causes as they had become scared, as Carey Clayton, SECAG leader, of Joan Nestle Drive, noted:-

“My mother and father both died of cancer and I was always ill. Everyone was getting sick and none of us could afford the medical bills. Lots of companies have factories around here and we knew it couldn’t be good for us. So we decided to do something about it.”

The cause of the pollution was eventually traced to several leaky underground storage tanks (L.U.S.T.s) at the South End plant of Union Carbuncle Corp. The tanks had been used to store waste products from Union Carbuncle’s production processes. Union Carbuncle mostly makes dry-cleaning fluid and paints at the Rumsfeld Road depot.

EPA investigators found that benzene, a carcinogenic chemical, had been leaking into the ground water. Test results found that leakage from the tanks into the surrounding water table was far above the EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Limit of 5 parts per billion. Half of the USA sources its water from the surrounding water table and this is how the chemicals found their way into the system. It is believed that chemicals have been leaking for more than 30 years.

SECAG turned to the non-profit Environmental Justice Fund for help in 1994, and the case was led by Clarice Clifford, an attorney with a long history in environmental justice who won an award for her conduct of the case in 1997. After suffering many delaying tactics from Union Carbuncle, yesterday Judge Jeffrey Kaplan found in favor of SECAG and the EJF and awarded compensation and costs, which are likely to run into millions. Judge Kaplan criticized Union Carbuncle’s faulty failsafes against leakage.

Standing on the steps outside the Supreme Court today, Clarice Clifford made an emotional speech on behalf of residents to waiting Daily Distress reporter, Keith Crichton:-

“Citizens of the South End of the city have the highest cancer rates in the city. The Council’s zoning committee also gave them the most chemical plants and waste dumps. It makes me so angry. Instead of spending money on prevention and ceasing to pump the environment full of carcinogens chemicals, we spend gajillions on cancer management. This planet could be a paradise, but companies like Union Carbuncle insist on making it a living hell.”

Spokespersons for Union Carbuncle and their lawyers, Cutthroat, Careless and Claw were unavailable for comment after the judge’s decision.


News Article

By Olivia Ferguson


Last Sunday a team of crack detectives uncovered a paper trail of sin that led them to a genderbread house of sodomy, inhabited by one “AB” (real name unknown). The latter lesbian has been, in her own words, “drawing people into the [gay] universe” for a number of years, undetected behind a closet door somewhere in cyberspace, regularly indoctrinating innocent readers with bite-sized celebrations of the homosexual “lifestyle”. One traumatized woman regrets the day she found AB’s website (described by many as “a kind of social sinkhole where perverts go to die”) while researching embankments against flooding.
AB’s secret gay network was laid bare when she decided to compile a collection of her pornographic propaganda in “one big volume”, in an attempt to render her lies easier to swallow. The publishing of her new book is to the discerning mind a thinly-veiled scheme to bring the average hard-working American down with her clearly dedicated resistance to the forces of order and decency. “The Essential D***s to Watch Out For” renounces traditional moral values with unfettered sophistry. AB promotes polygamy in a decidedly non Mormon fashion, married with atheism, spiritualism and heterophobia. If that weren’t enough, “D***s” discards entirely the honored and trusted convention of the token non white person; her work is almost multiracial.
The latest crime in AB’s long and fruit-of-the-womb-less career is to bribe her gullible followers into contributing propaganda to her pansexual Pravda.
“There will likely be a lot of editing done,” says AB, “to make things consistent with our philosophy.” Just what these “things” might be is uncertain, but one thing is: that we must protect our families (with censorship, if necessary, which it is) from the recent glut of openly gay publications. Queer Studies [sic] “professor” Sydney Kockupski (sex unknown, see page 9 for address and weak spots) has retaliated with the observation: “Gay literature has been around for years, why all the fuss now?”
AB does not write literature, my friends, but comics. Yes, comics, that innocent, jolly, and seductive medium through which our children thumb with tiny hands incapable of warding off the great threat! It will not surprise you to learn, however, that AB’s suggestive scribblings are more Sappho than Snoopy.
“I am shocked and appalled,” says a Bunns and Noodle representative who wished to remain anonymous. “But I always thought something queer was afoot. And now, that such a highly dangerous individual should be permitted to carry on enlisting aid for her depraved publications, the situation seems grave. Incidentally, we have brought out a new line of products with which our valued customers can protest AB’s support by publishing companies.”
This reporter was unable to contact the elusive AB, but has received information from a separate source concerning the lesbian’s forgery of a well known newspaper to further spread her messages to lead our children from the straight and narrow and induce them to spread their legs to greet sodomy. So far, it seems to be working, and everyone knows about the secret gay network, a web of perversion, the malicious center of which is “The Essential D***s To Watch Out For.”

Another Genius Grant piece

by Jordana Greenblatt:

Local Genius Makes It Big

Bettina Gilhooley, who once enlightened local youth at Plain State University as a valued member of the women’s studies department, recently joined the long line of intellectual luminaries to receive the MacArthur Fellowship, known as the “genius grant.” The grant, which awards the recipient half a million dollars and immeasurable prestige, has been awarded every year since 1981.
Gilhooley, who now holds a tenured position at Harvard, was unavailable for comment, but her colleagues at Plain State U, who refer to her affectionately as Betsy, remember her tireless dedication and collegiality when it came to university affairs. “Wherever the Dean went,” comments Sydney Krukowski, fellow women’s studies professor, “Betsy would be inches from her behind, like a Latin-pun spurting shadow.”
Recognition for socially relevant work is hard to come by, especially at established, Ivy League institutions, as Krukowski attests. “It’s so novel to see someone rewarded for the kind of timely, groundbreaking work that she does,” exclaimed Krukowski, “where would we be without people like her to teach the proletariat to feel belittled by their entertainment choices, as Betsy accomplished in ‘Speck and Spectacle: Proletarian Impotence and the Lure of Championship Wrestling’? Or to protect the rest of us women from our misguided sexual desires, as she courageously attempts in her latest book, The Oppressiveness of Everything: Sexual Being and Nothingness?” Krukowski humbly acknowledges that her own project of developing critical frameworks based on varied queer relationship styles is not the kind of creative, groundbreaking work the MacArthur Foundation acknowledges.
Despite its prestige, accepting the genius grant does not come without a price. As Krukowski emphasizes, it will require real bravery, (“or foolhardiness,” she jokes) for Gilhooley to expose herself to the intellectual questioning that comes with this kind of recognition. “Think about all of the accusations of intellectual charlatanism that were flung at [poet and scholar] Anne Carson when she received the reward,” Krukowski reminds us, “and she’s a real genius.” But then, as Krukowski recalls, Gilhooey has never been one to shy away from the possible tarnish of reduced academic credibility. “She was really loyal to Social Text,” elaborates Krukowski. “She published almost all her articles with them, even though they were having that little credibility problem.”

Jordana Greenblatt is a doctoral candidate in English at Plain State University.
Another Madwimmin Closing piece

By Fabián:

Coils of the Medusa: Lesbian Feminist Bookstore to Close its Doors forever
By Agatha Morgan-Stanford

It has finally happened, and it will be much missed: Madwimmin Books, the city’s first and only lesbian feminist bookstore, will be finally closing its doors forever. “We have been finally crushed between the coils of the medusa and the bunns and noodles”, says –painfully holding back her tears- Madwimmin’s owner Jezanna Ramsay. “We have been part of the neighbourhood for a very long time, but the sales have been in decline for the last years; we tried to expand our horizons, buying the café next door and selling adult toys, but I guess it simply didn’t work”.

Former Madwimmin’s longtime employee, Mo Testa, is both angry and clearly saddened by the closure. “What’s this world coming to? Corporate culture has now finally entered one of the last untouched corners of lesbian feminism, that of small independent bookstores. There’s no way we can survive this trend, unless we all go back to form support circles and tell our experiences to each other”. Another longtime employee, Lois McGiver, interrupts her with an abrupt thump, and expresses her disappointment: “Coffee and adult toys may be just luxury items for some, but I say we need them. And there’s also the personal touch: you cannot compare buying a dildo on the Internet, from a catalogue, and buying it live, letting yourself be advised by a sympathetic shop-assistant.” “Yeah, the way you were”, sighs ms.Testa.

Ms. Ramsay pats her former employees sympathetically on the shoulder, and leans on her friends and clients for comfort: “I’ll miss the store; the neighbourhood will miss us. I would like to say I’m looking forward to new horizons, but so far I can only see coils, closing down on us.”

Fluff Piece

By Larissa:

A Different Kind of Fatherhood
Lara Kielbasa-Chang

The new millennium has brought with it new approaches to parenting and
childcare. Some parents in our community have abandoned daycare,
latchkey kids, and two-income families – and, though unthinkable a
decade ago, some fathers have dropped out of the workforce to raise
their own children, and they’re public about it.

One such dad, Stewart Goodman, has been home with his daughter since
2003. He left a promising career as a nonprofit fundraiser after
hearing another child’s experiences in day care. “When you hear a
toddler spout profanity at her mother,” says Goodman, “you really have
to reconsider your priorities for your family.”

Goodman is a child-oriented dad, as he explains on his blog, Subversive
Parenting. “It’s important to respect your child as a whole person,
rather than relying on your authority as the parent.”

This modern dad’s day begins at 6:30, when mom Sparrow Pidgeon gets up
for work. “I used to get up with my partner to get breakfast for her
and Jiao Raizel, but now J.R. naturally sleeps later,” explains
Goodman. “These days, when my partner gets up for work, J.R. hardly
stirs. I listen to Air America or NPR quietly until about 8:00, when
J.R. is ready to start her day.” Yes, if you missed it, mom, dad, and
daughter sleep in the same bed. “The family bed is traditional, and
it’s the healthiest way to raise a child. When J.R. decides to move to
her own bed, we’ll set up a room for her.”

Goodman makes breakfast with local, organic foods. “Lately we’ve been
having cornmeal mush and dried apples.” No Frosted Fruit Bats here —
J.R., he says, has no interest in sugary, artificially colored cereals.
After breakfast, Goodman and his daughter do some preschool
exercises. “She may do art projects, or some Chinese flash cards for
her vocabulary, or work on number concepts. She’s very bright.”

After lunch, they’ll often take excursions. “Since we gave up our car
for the good of the world, we’re limited to where we can go. But we’ll
walk to the library or the co-op, or do activism.” Goodman has taken
his daughter to protests, to collect petition signatures, and to help
with other forms of “awareness building”. Other times, they work around
the house: when J.R. was younger, Goodman used his time to recarpet
their home. In the evening they make dinner for the family. Goodman
enjoys preparing foods of his heritage such as kasha varnishkes,
soybean kugel, and vegan matzo ball soup. After dinner, father and
daughter read together – until bedtime in their family bed.

Jiao Raize is five this year: I asked Goodman about his plans when she
starts kindergarten. “Oh, no!” he replied. “I’ll be homeschooling.
We’ll have another child soon, so it’ll be much easier to teach her
while caring for the baby then to send her away from an environment
where she feels so secure.”

Ms. Kielbasa-Chang is a journalism intern from Plain State University.
Review of Drag King Show

By Dale:

McGiver and Daddies at Club L

If you weren’t at Club L last night you missed an incredible show by Lois “Louis” McGiver and The Dashing Daddies – Raine Adams, Sam Wiley, Shane Herschel, and Jody “Riptide” McCallister. McGiver’s best known for her impersonations of a handful of political figures, including the president. Last night’s show was chock full of political satire, along with a few jabs at Britney Spears, Bill Gates, and Mick Jagger.

Performing as President Bush (complete with padded flight suit) McGiver entertained a crowd of nearly two hundred by appearing onstage as Donald Rumsfeld. Between breaks the patrons enjoyed songs by a local lesbian folk group, Labia Majora, and the show ended with an encore performance by McGiver as Max Axle.

Last night’s show proved to be exceptionally hilarious as Adams stepped onto the stage as Karl Rove, with McCallister posing as Dick Cheney. The two “argued” over who would baby-sit the president, until Bush (McGiver) strode onstage and demanded a Bible story before he went to bed. The scene ended when Laura Bush (a cameo played by McGiver’s friend, Sparrow Wright) led the president to bed, promising milk, cookies, and the story of David and Goliath.

Not everyone was amused with the show, especially when McGiver pulled several socks from her flight suit before tossing them into the crowd of adoring fans. One struck local librarian, Mo Testa, who threw the sock back while shaking her head.

Proceeds from the show benefited the Environmental Justice Fund.

-Dale Jackson

News Short

By Elaine:

Slurring Student Suspension Suspended

Local student Rafael Clifford-Ortiz, 14, was threatened with
suspension last week for allegedly attacking the school administration
with the slur, “t**l” on his MyFace page in a conversation with
another student, only known as “S.Raptor”. Principal Constance
Heatherington Smythe insisted that the use of the word “t**l”
constitutes cause for disciplinary action, due to its double meaning.
This resulted in a hasty, yet packed, school board meeting, where Mr.
Clifford-Ortiz’s co-mother, attorney Clarice Clifford appeared,
condemning the abridgement of free speech. A local mechanic, only
known as Max Axle, was in attendance and said, “Dude. Sometimes a tool
is just a tool.” A group of short men, only known as, “Operation
Enduring Freedom” was standing outside with posters and banners,
chanting and cheering. The message would have been more authoritative
if there had not been so many Elvis impersonators in the crowd. The
school board voted 4 to 1 against the suspension, but did admonish Mr.
Clifford-Ortiz, also known as RaffiProSk8r to “friends-lock” future
postings criticizing school administration.

Lady Porcupines to NCAA’s

By Ksbel:

Lady Porcupines Earn Invite To The Big Dance

The University women’s basketball team has been hitting the hardwood with a spring in their step this week. They found out Monday that they were ranked 10th in the Greensboro branch of the tournament. The team will play their first game in Des Moines, IA on March 22. The Porkies plan on being Cinderella, and wearing glass slippers to the ball.
Coach Fisher believes it is the improvement in their transition game that brought them to this level. “We took care of the basketball this season, and made free throws down the line. We have to continue to work hard if we want to get to Tampa.”
It helped that senior point guard Lacy Harrington and junior center Becka Phillips developed a strong scoring routine over the past three seasons. Harrington set the school records for three-pointers and assists made in a season. While Phillips managed to move up to second on the all-time leading scorers list. Harrington credits her high school coach for teaching her to love the game, “When Coach Miles told us to follow a team, I took her seriously. I became a fan of the game, and that helped me to improve and set my goals high.”
The Lady Porcupines have qualified for the tournament for the first time in 20 years. The 1988 team managed two wins in the tournament before being eliminated. Back then, only 40 teams were invited. The number of teams increased to 48 in 1989, and then to 64 in 1994.
Point guard Jerry Johnson (Geraldine in 1988) recalls found memories of that magical season, “We played with such great chemistry. I’m happy with the skills of this year’s team, they can score against anyone in the country.” They will have to, if they want to bring home the first national championship in university history.

Betsy Gilhooly’s MacArthur

Plain State U. Prof Makes Us Proud
Ellen Orleans

It’s official: former Plain State University professor Elizabeth “Betsy” Gilhoohey is a genius.
In recognition of her landmark research on lesbian visibility and her bestseller, Argumentum Non Ad Nauseam: Non-Depiction and Re-Commodification of Post-Lesbian Imagery in American Billboard Advertising, Dr. Gilhoohey has won a MacArthur Fellowship. The fellowship (informally known as “the genius grant”) recognizes individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits. By earning this much-esteemed, much drooled-over award, Latin pun-loving Gilhoohey joins such luminaries as Susan Sontag, Octavia Butler, Allan Berube, and Bernice Johnson Reagon.

At the time of the announcement, Dr. Gilhoohey—who accepted a position at Harvard shortly after being granted tenure at Plain State—was delivering a series of lectures at Stanford, Yale, and Oberlin, and thus not available for comment. However, Dr. Sydney Krukowski, Plain State’s second choice for the position that the Ivy League-bound Dr. Gilhoohey dropped like a sack of organic, fair-trade potatoes, did offer these remarks: “Dr. Gilhoohey was a friend and colleague. I was proud to work with her despite that minor plagiarism incident of hers. I’m convinced the accusation had no merit. Or at least, very little.”

Dr. Krucowspie, who is not a genius, praised Gilhoohey as an “unexceptional instructor who was particularly gifted at working the system.” Crookhooski added, “And by the way, it’s pure, unsubstantiated speculation that Betsy’s partner Bitsy was the brains behind Betsy’s seminal work, “Speck and Spectacle: Proletarian Impotence and the Lure of Championship Wrestling.”

Despite having never been considered for even the MacArthur Fellowship’s long list, Dr. Sydney Crackhouseski is a popular Plain State U. professor in the social sciences, teaching such classes as “Disorder, Degeneracy and Deviance” and “Gender, Class and Miniature Golf: The Social Construction of Leisure.”

“Jealous?” repeated Dr. Kruelouseski, when asked by this reporter if she felt any envy toward her former colleague. “Why would I possibly feel jealous that Betsy has received possibly the most prestigious award in the academic community, and with it six book offers, fourteen visiting professor requests—“

“Don’t forget the half-million dollar prize,” reminded Dr. Ginger Jordan, literature professor at Buffalo Lake State who received her Ph.D from Plain State and formerly worked with both Krukowsky and Gilhoohey.

Dr. Krukowsky, determinedly nonchalant despite the steam rising from her ears, replied, “What is a little monetary compensation when compared to the opportunity to teach authentically curious young minds, something Betsey will unfortunately be doing less and less as her schedule becomes choked by appearances on Charlie Pose, Refreshed Air, and Grunt Line?”

Dr. Krukrotchety then excused herself to take a call from Professor Madeleine Zeugma of Dartridge College. While it would be unprofessional to say conclusively, this reporter did hear a string of barely-muffled, particular explicit expletives erupt from the beneath her office door, including, oddly enough, Fukked in uno, fukked in omnibus.”
[Ellen suggests: {If this is too over the top, what about “Hoc est bellum, baby.”]

Same-sex Marriage

1. By Rebecca
Following in San Francisco’s flower-child footsteps, City Hall threw open its doors to provide same-sex marriage, setting off a spontaneous celebration of gay and lesbian partnerships throughout the region. The renegade move cements 2004 as a year to remember, while also raising questions that the city could be embroiled in lengthy and expensive legal battles as a consequence of its decision to offer legal unions to gay and lesbian couples.
In the short run, the mayor’s surprise move sparked more party invitations than prenuptial agreements. Male and female couples turned up in droves to get their papers, accompanied by frolicking flocks of friends, family and festivity. A few protesters also turned up to register disapproval, rather than wedding-gift options. But marriage participants said the unions were more than just a political stunt.
“This is about equal protection, pure and simple,” said Clarice Clifford, who married her long-time partner in one of the day’s civil ceremonies. The couple had already affirmed their partnership in an unofficial commitment ceremony and also by having a child together. Their son, Rafael Clifford-Ortiz, made an early exit from Nether Heights Elementary School to watch his mothers get hitched.
Personal milestones weren’t the only draw. Local activist Antonia Ortiz said City Hall’s move vindicated the principles of Freedom To Marry, a local activist organization that has been campaigning for the government to recognize same-sex couples. She praised the mayor’s decision to offer marriages on the spot to all comers, particularly since the courts are more likely to consider recognition of same-sex unions authorized before the new marriage procedures are bogged down by legal challenges.
“It’s important that gays and lesbians have the same opportunities to affirm their relationships as heterosexual couples,” said Ortiz, Clifford’s partner and their son’s biological mother. “In addition to the tax benefits and next-of-kin privileges accorded to legal spouses, officially recognized marriage also gives needed community recognition to same-sex partnerships. With that support, these families are more likely to stay together and raise happy, healthy children for the next generation.”
Legal marriage also would help same-sex couples in the event that their relationships dissolve, Ortiz said. “If both partners have equal resource to dispute resolution assistance, the personal tragedy of a breakup may be easier to bear,” she said.

2. By Sandra:

*Media interest has focused on this normally peaceful city following the unexpected decision by Mayor Daly to permit same-sex marriages. The Daily Distress sent reporter Viv Smitt to enquire:

I called ahead to ask for directions to City Hall. I needn’t have bothered; all I had to do was watch for protesters waving placards. There seemed to be equal numbers of ‘Gay Rights Now’ and ‘God Hates Fags’ lined up on the steps outside.

Inside, I found a clump of people. On closer enquiry I found out that, setting aside friends, well-wishers and protesters, the line of people waiting for their licenses to be issued was six couples long. Wasn’t this a huge fuss over a very few people, I asked one of them?

“No,” said Clarice Clifford, 46, a local attorney. “This is all about human rights – the right of every human to marry whatever other human they want. To ban same-sex marriages is a violation of that right.”

“Same gender marriages,” interjected one of her friends.

“Shut up, Mo. Clarice is right,” said Toni Ortiz, 44, Clarice’s intended spouse. “It doesn’t matter how many or how few same sex couples want this right. It just matters that the right is there, for those who want it.”

“And we want it,” added Clifford, slipping an arm around Ortiz.

“I’ve been a supporter of Freedom to Marry for a while,” Ortiz revealed, “and cities all over America are finally coming to realise that this is the 21st century, and we cannot keep living in the past. The future is multicultural, multi-ethnic and non-discriminatory.”

Brave words, but this vision of the future was not shared by Oscar Jameson, 33, an unemployed mortgage broker who stood outside City Hall protesting the same-sex marriages. “It’s not normal,” he told our reporter, “and that makes it wrong. Besides if this kind of thing was right Bush would have signed a law to say it was right. And he hasn’t. So it must be wrong.”

Ortiz and Clifford, and the other gay couples who had been in the line, got their licenses and are now embarking on a life of wedded bliss – until and unless the validity of their marriage is overturned by higher authority. Will the marriage make any difference to their life?

“I’ll feel much more content and more secure,” says Ortiz, “knowing my commitment to Clarice is valid in the eyes of the law.”

“I’m not sure it’ll make much practical difference to me,” says Clifford.

“No, you’ll still be too busy to do the dishes,” comments Ortiz.

Welcome to married life, lesbian style.

Madwimmin Books

1. By Loren


The city’s first and only openly gay bookstore, Madwimmin books, is closing its doors after 25 years. The owner, Jezanna Ramsay, cites stiff competition from Bunns and Noodles and booksellers on the internet, soaring operating costs, and high taxes as a combination of lethal financial blows that her small business cannot survive.

“Twenty five years ago, when we first opened, there was literally no other source in this city for books by and for lesbians,” Ms. Ramsay reminisced. “Now you can find any book you want in the gay and lesbian section of Bunns and Noodles, or by pointing and clicking your mouse. Ironically, we’re a victim of our own success. Due to the increased tolerance for gay and alternative lifestyles, there is no longer a need for a separate bookstore. It’s good for the gay community, to be sure, but unfortunately bad for the independent book business.”

Ms. Ramsay had attempted to stay competitive and to increase revenues by opening a cafe and selling a selection of adult toys, but the cafe was never profitable, and the adult toys ultimately were more of a curiosity than a moneymaker. Several fundraisers were held to give the store a much needed cash infusion, but Ms. Ramsay said that the final decision to close came on the heels of a large tax bill which she did not have the cash to pay. “It was clear to me that the store would never be profitable again, and I just decided that it was time to go on to other things,” she said. “Although right now I can’t say what those other things would be.”

“Jez is a true urban pioneer, incredibly brave, and the mother of us all,” says long time employee Lois McGiver. ” Back when the store opened, there were no safe public spaces for us to be openly who we are. In the face of tremendous hostility for gays, in a dicey part of town, she provided us with a place to gather, to feel secure and accepted. This has been a home away from home for so many of us, for years. While it’s true that the books in Madwimmin are easily found elsewhere these days, the culture and community this store engendered will never be replicated. It is a tremendous loss for the city and for the women’s community as well.”

Mo Testa, another longtime employee of the store, was clearly devastated. “What is this world coming to, anyway?” she asked plaintively. “Corporate America continues to roll over the small business owner, flattening everything and everyone in its path, ruining the culture, robbing every small town of its individuality, and turning the country into one giant soulless shopping mall. Don’t people realize that when they buy things from big corporations that they are hammering nails into the coffins of the small business owner? When will it end?”

Madwimmin will remain open for another two weeks, selling off its inventory and fixtures at a deep discount. There are plans to open a Victoria’s Secret in the former bookstore’s location.

La Lentille D’Or

[UPDATE! There were two restaurant reviews submitted, but June nimbly re-worked hers as a feature, so we can use both!]

1. Feature by June

Restaurant Feature

La Lentille D’Oh!

“Authenticity is the key to my food,” La Lentille D’Or’s new executive chef, Priscilla Parker-Carr, told me on a recent visit to our town’s go-to gathering spot for the meat-shunning set.

Parker-Carr, or Moonboot Tofubucket as she was then known, broke into the restaurant business in the mid-1980s at the Topaz Café. “Before I came along, the Topaz was known for its creamed burdock with turnip loaf. That dish was completely overexposed—everybody ordered it. I revolutionized eating in this town when I introduced my signature dish: wheat-free, dairy-free pizza with no tomatoes.” Parker-Carr describes that period as the watershed in our town’s gastronomic history. “The Topaz was always packed. It was terrible—there were so many women there every day, there was far too much socializing going on. Diners spent as much time greeting friends and exes or mooning over the wait-staff as they did eating. I knew that model couldn’t work. I said to myself, ‘Moonboot, this is no way to curate a culinary experience.’ I had to be more assertive. For example, to symbolize my opposition to the tyranny of choice in restaurant eating, the D’Or now offers just one beverage: rhubarb wine.”

In the 1990s, Parker-Carr, developed her food philosophy in seclusion. “I was doing new things with tempeh, pushing the boundaries of health-code violations. I really thought my vision of a virtual macro-erotic community might come to something, but a big Web site out of Seattle sewed up the market before we could spin off our IPO. The synergy just didn’t come together.”

Parker-Carr channeled her grief at the failure of into transforming a beloved eatery. “Back in the ‘80s, the Topaz was a date restaurant. People went there to have fun. Such an insult to the food—all that nervous laughter ruins diners’ concentration. Now we’re positioning ourselves as a place to break up: When you really need to focus on dividing your assets or making tough custody decisions, come to La Lentille d’Or. We’re also hoping to attract the infidelity set. La Lentille d’Or: When you don’t want anyone you know to see you together.”

The strategy seems to be working. The last time I visited the restaurant, Clarice Clifford and Antonia Ortiz were having a spirited discussion of who should take possession of their signed copy of Fun Home. Later in the evening, Harriet Mortensen and Monica Testa appeared to be considering an illicit affair. “We had our first date at the Topaz,” Ms. Testa told me. “The mock mock turtle soup is just as much of an aphrodisiac today as it always was.”

So, has Parker-Carr succeeded in her attempt to bring authenticity to La Lentille d’Or? I’ll leave the official verdict to the Daily Distress’ restaurant critic, but in this reporter’s opinion, the answer is a resounding yes. The kasha varnishkes tasted like they were made with real varnish, the recipe for seitan scramble surely came from Satan himself, and it’s hard to imagine that a chocolate mousse could taste more like moose.

2. Review by Elaine:

La Lentille D’Or Offers Challenging Cuisine
by Letitia Constance Willard-Stokes

The decor is subdued and organic, in mostly olive green tones and
beiges. The tablecloths and napkins are made of hemp and recycled
bamboo, as advertised on the menu. The napkins were a bit rough, but
one of our party observed that they were excellent for a little last
minute exfoliation.

We started with the brussels sprouts tartare ($4.95), which was crisp
with a tang of balsamic vinegarette, cilantro and dill chutney which
almost masked the sulfurous crispy bite of the pureed raw brussels
sprouts. Another appetizer was the selection of bite sized tofu
pierogies ($5.25), which contained chunks of turnips, cardamom seeds,
raw garlic and ancho chiles. This could only be described as

For the main entree, our party selected the Wheat-free, Dairy-free
Pizza with No Tomatoes ($8.95). It was as light as air. The Vegetarian
Meatloaf with Steamed French Fries ($12.95) was a rather interesting
low fat, vegan twist on the customary French cafe fare of Steak avec

Along with the entree, we tried the Curried Artichoke and Mung Bean
Gumbo ($13.95), which could only be described as busy. The Creamed
Burdock with Turnip Loaf ($12.95) was an interesting choice for a cold
spring day. Words cannot describe the rather benthic (or perhaps
pelagic) Tempeh Tunafish, Hijiki, Arugula Casserole ($13.95), so I’d
best not try.

Along with our meal, we were served a 2005 Chateau Locavore Rhubarb
wine. In my years as a food critic, I have not come across such a
wine. It is available by the glass ($6.50) or bottle ($24.95).

The true standouts of the meal were the desserts. We ordered the
Chocolate Orgasm ($5.25), which certainly lived up to its name,
containing creamy chocolate mousse center. The Tasmanian Devil’s Food
Delight ($5.25) had a hit of espresso in the frosting, which left us a
bit jittery, but in a good way. The Ginger Pot Du Creme ($5.25) was so
delectable, with a creamy base and little spicy bits of ginger, I
found myself furtively licking the ramekin clean.

La Lentille D’Or at 2020 Hickock Avenue cross 20th, facing the park.
Hours: Closed Monday, Tu-Th 5:30-8:45, F 6:00-9;21, S: 6:11-10:00
Sunday brunch 11-2PM.