Dobkin, Alix, 1940-2021

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Lesbian singer, songwriter, and activist, Alix Cecil Dobkin was born in New York City on August 16, 1940, to Bill and Martha Kunstlich Dobkin. She lived in Washington, D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, and Kansas City, Missouri, before returning to Philadelphia at age 16. There she graduated in 1958 from Germantown High School and in 1962 from the Tyler School of Fine Arts at Temple University, where she studied painting. Dobkin's parents were members of the Communist Party, and she was exposed to folk music at home and at summer camp. Dobkin herself was a member of the Party from 1956 until 1962, several years after her parents had renounced it. After graduating from college, Dobkin went to Greenwich Village in New York City, where she sang folk music in coffeehouses. She traveled the folk music circuit for several years, and married Sam Hood, the manager of the Gaslight Cafe in Greenwich Village, where she had been based. Together they opened the Gaslight South in Miami in 1965 that featured well-known folk singers. The club failed financially and they returned to New York City in 1968. Their daughter Adrian was born in 1970, and the marriage dissolved a year later.

In 1972, Dobkin fell in love with Liza Cowan, a writer who had a radio show on WBAI, and the couple came out publicly as lesbians. Dobkin decided to focus on writing and singing music about and for women; in 1973 she released Lavender Jane Loves Women, the first album specifically made by and for lesbians. That same year Dobkin founded a record label, Women's Wax Works, to produce her own albums. In 1974 Dobkin and Cowan moved to Preston Hollow, New York and in 1978, Dobkin moved to Woodstock, New York, where her daughter and three grandchildren also live.

Dobkin released six albums after Lavender Jane : Living With Lesbians (1976), XXAlix (1980), Never Been Better/(We Are Everywhere) (1985), These Women/Never Been Better (1986), Yahoo Australia (1990), and Love & Politics (1992). She has performed extensively in the United States, usually appearing at universities, house concerts, LGBT centers, and bookstores. Her early performances were exclusively for women and she was an outspoken advocate of women-only space, often a controversial subject. She appeared regularly at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (beginning in 1978) and at conferences, women's, lesbian, and folk festivals where she also gives workshops and readings from her memoir. Dobkin has performed in Hawaii and toured Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany,Switzerland, Denmark, Australia, and New Zealand. In the 1980s, she formed the Party Line Dance Band with lesbian musicians Debbie Fier and River Lightwomoon; the trio covered their favorite popular as well as original tunes and played at parties, festivals, and bars.

In 1979, Liza Cowan's Tomato Publications published Dobkin's songbook with history and commentary, Alix Dobkin's Adventures in Women's Music (More Than Just a Songbook) . She has been a frequent contributor to lesbian and women's periodicals, and to several edited collections about lesbians and women's culture. She has lectured at numerous universities, and has been featured, interviewed, and reviewed countless times in both the mainstream and alternative press. Her column, "Minstrel Blood," appeared in Chicago's Outlines and Windy City Times newspapers from 1997-2000, and was also syndicated.

During the 1980s, Dobkin developed a slide show and lecture on "Women Hating, Racism, and Violence in the Top 40" with Denslow Brown which they delivered at college campuses and other venues around the United States. In addition to performing at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, she also worked as a staff member for thirteen years. She served on the board of directors of the Association of Women's Music and Culture from 1990 to 1992, and on the board and Steering Committee of OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change) from 2006 to the present. Dobkin moved to Oakland, California in 1995, returning to Woodstock, New York, in 2000, and continues to perform and tour throughout the United States. Her book My Red Blood: A Memoir of Growing Up Communist, Coming Onto the Greenwich Village Folk Scene, and Coming Out in the Feminist Movement, will be published by Alyson Books in October, 2009.

From the guide to the Papers of Alix Dobkin, (inclusive), (bulk), 1973-2004, 1979-1995, (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Alix Dobkin collection, [ca. 1982-ongoing]. Museum of Performance & Design
referencedIn Music Collection MS 409., 1848-2003, 1930s-1980 Sophia Smith Collection
referencedIn Near, Holly. Papers, 1967-1994 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers, 1914-2007 (inclusive), 1973-2000 (bulk) Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Documenting Lesbian Lives Oral History Project MS 661., 2010-2013 Sophia Smith Collection
referencedIn Records of, Sojourner, (inclusive), (bulk), 1920-2004, 1975-2002 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Dobkin, Alix. Audiotape collection of Alix Dobkin [sound recording]. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Sophia Smith Collection. Music collection, 1840s-1980 (ongoing) (bulk 1930-80). Smith College, Neilson Library
creatorOf Papers of Alix Dobkin, (inclusive), (bulk), 1973-2004, 1979-1995 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Documenting lesbian lives oral history project, 2010-2011 Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn Records of Dyke, 1975-1978. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Audiotape collection of Alix Dobkin, 1975-1995 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance (ALFA) Archives, ca. 1972-1994 David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn Papers of Holly Near, 1967-1994 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Dobkin, Alix. Papers, 1974-2000 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adam, Margie. person
associatedWith Alive! corporateBody
associatedWith Alix Olson person
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associatedWith Anna Crusis Women's Choir. corporateBody
correspondedWith Ariel Dougherty person
associatedWith Armatrading, Joan. person
associatedWith Association of Women's Music and Culture corporateBody
associatedWith Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance. corporateBody
associatedWith Baczewska, Mimi. person
correspondedWith Barbara Smith person
associatedWith Berkeley Women's Music Collective corporateBody
associatedWith Beth, Karen. person
associatedWith Black, Becky. person
associatedWith Black Katz. corporateBody
associatedWith Bob Wade person
associatedWith Borden, Barbara person
associatedWith Carol, Seraiah. person
associatedWith Christian, Meg. person
associatedWith Conway, Kelly. person
associatedWith DeMore, Melanie. person
associatedWith Dianne Davidson person
associatedWith Drach, Tracy. person
correspondedWith Dworkin, Andrea person
correspondedWith Dykewomon, Elana person
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correspondedWith Feldman, Maxine person
associatedWith Fink, Sue. person
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associatedWith Fox, Mimi. person
associatedWith Fure, Tret. person
associatedWith Gardner, Kay. person
associatedWith Gay and Lesbian American Music Awards corporateBody
correspondedWith Gayle, Marilyn person
associatedWith Gay/Lesbian American Music Awards corporateBody
associatedWith Geena Davis person
associatedWith Gerineldo. corporateBody
correspondedWith Gittings, Barbara person
associatedWith Grant, Monica. person
associatedWith Hera Productions. corporateBody
correspondedWith Holly Near, 1949- person
associatedWith Jacque Harper person
associatedWith Jesse Helms person
associatedWith Jesse X. person
associatedWith Johnson, Peggy. person
associatedWith Jones, Gwen person
associatedWith Judy Fjell person
correspondedWith Judy Fjell's person
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associatedWith Kanaka'ole, Aunty Edith. person
associatedWith Karen Beth. person
associatedWith Kathleen Hanna person
associatedWith Kayla Kirsch. person
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associatedWith Libby McLaren. person
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correspondedWith Michelle Tea person
associatedWith Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. corporateBody
correspondedWith Mignon person
associatedWith Millington, June. person
associatedWith Mina Benson Hubbard person
associatedWith Miss Bliss. corporateBody
associatedWith Monica Grant person
associatedWith Monsur, Melanie. person
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associatedWith Morena, Naomi Littlebear. person
associatedWith Mothers' Daughters. corporateBody
associatedWith National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights corporateBody
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associatedWith National Women's Studies Association corporateBody
associatedWith Near, Holly. person
associatedWith New England Women's Musical Retreat corporateBody
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associatedWith Nolan, Faith. person
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associatedWith San Francisco Lesbian Chorus corporateBody
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associatedWith Senior Action in a Gay Environment corporateBody
associatedWith Severt, Linda. person
associatedWith Sheilah Glover. person
associatedWith Shocked, Michelle. person
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associatedWith Southern Women's Music and Comedy festival corporateBody
associatedWith Southern Women's Music & Comedy Festival corporateBody
associatedWith Startrip Productions corporateBody
associatedWith Stein, Gertrude person
associatedWith Suede. person
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associatedWith Thomas, Lynn. person
associatedWith Tocker, Mahinaarangi. person
associatedWith Total Experience Gospel Choir. corporateBody
associatedWith Townsend, Elaine. corporateBody
associatedWith Turakina Maori Girls' College. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Redlands corporateBody
associatedWith Van Der Voort, Martie. person
associatedWith West Coast Women's Music & Comedy festival corporateBody
associatedWith Will Grega person
associatedWith Williamson, Cris person
associatedWith Women Music Collective. corporateBody
associatedWith Women's Action Coalition. corporateBody
associatedWith Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press corporateBody
associatedWith Yagottawanna. corporateBody
associatedWith York, Beth. person
associatedWith York University corporateBody
associatedWith Zicari, Leah. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Miami FL US
Woodstock NY US
Philadelphia PA US
Woodstock NY US
Greenwich Village NY US
New York City NY US
Kansas City (Kan.) KS US
Subject
Jewish lesbians
Jewish women
Lesbianism
Lesbian separatism
Protest movements
Sexism in music
Women-owned business enterprises
Women singers
Women's music
Women's rights
Musicians
Singers
Feminism
Feminist music
Folk singers
Occupation
Memoirs
Singer
Feminists
Folk artists
Activity

Person

Birth 1940-08-16

Death 2021-05-19

Female

Americans

English

Information

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