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Friday November 17, 2000

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Pride Alliance, Women's Resource Center to host evening of entertainment

By Vanessa Francis

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Lesbian poet, cartoonist and drag performer to speak, offer tips tomorrow night

Lesbian culture is multi-faceted - they are poets, cartoon strip creators and, for entertainment purposes, men.

An event sponsored by UA's Pride Alliance and Women's Resource Center organizations will showcase all these aspects tomorrow night in a free evening of lesbian-themed entertainment at the Memorial Student Union Arizona Ballroom.

Alix Olson, a New York-based poet, will read from her work at 8 p.m.

Jonna Lopez, a Pride Alliance member and coordinator of the event, described Olson's work as "political and entertaining poetry for every gender, class, race and sexuality."

Besides touring across the country - including a stop at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, N.Y. - Olson is a nationally acclaimed artist, having won awards such as the Barbara Demming "Women in the Arts" grant in 1998. In addition, she is a co-editor of an upcoming queer slam poetry anthology.

Appearing along with Olson is cartoonist Alison Bechdel, creator of the strip "Dykes to Watch Out For."

Lopez likened the strip, which is run in more than 65 gay, feminist and independent publications, such as the Tucson Weekly, to "a lesbian soap opera," as it follows its characters throughout their relationships, both in good times and bad.

Along with chronicling the characters' lives, Bechdel's strip has also developed its own lingo, introducing such terms as "lesbian serial monogamy," or the lesbian tendency to "be attached at the hip with their lovers," Lopez said.

Prior to Olson and Bechdel's appearances, Olson's partner Amy Neevel will deliver a workshop on the preparation and techniques of drag kings - the female counterparts of drag queens - which will include step-by-step direction for the temporary conversion from women to men.

Currently, Tucson's gay bars - IBT's, 616 N. 4th Ave., and Ain'T Nobody's Bizness, 2900 Broadway Blvd. - participate in weekly drag king shows.

"These shows are really catching on," Lopez said.

Lopez said she is, herself, an experienced drag king, performing the character Maverick from the film "Top Gun."

"The hardest part for me is the flattening down my chest, which involves Ace bandages and duct tape," she said.

For more information on tomorrow's events, call the Pride Alliance office at 621-7585.