Store pays tribute to women

By Yvonne Condes

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Donıt worry about getting the name wrong for the Fourth Avenue feminist bookstore Antigone (pronounced ann-ti-gun-ee). Many have done it.

³One person asked, ŒIs it against being gone? Is it anti-gone?ı² said half-owner Trudy Mills.

What the name represents, half-owner Kate Randall said, is a heroine from Greek mythology.

³The people who started (the store) picked her because she stood up for her beliefs. She was a defiant woman,² said Randall.

Antigone, at 600 N. Fourth Ave., has been in operation since 1973. Mills bought it in 1987 after she left the UA Sociology Department, she said. Randall became a partner 1990 after having been a part-time employee for two years.

Randall and Mills describe Antigone as a specialty store that supplies books by and about women. They also carry cards, jewelry, cassette tapes, compact discs, clocks, posters and test books for UA classes.

Donovin Gwinner, a graduate teaching assistant in English, used Antigone to supply books for ³Major American Writers,² a course he taught last semester.

He was assigned the class late and was not sure whether they would be available in time for the semester, so he decided to go through Antigone. He was assured by the store that the books would be on time, and they were. Gwinner has been a customer for years.

³I like supporting them because they are a small, independent bookstore,² said Gwinner.

It is important to support all local bookstores, like The Book Mark and Coyoteıs Voice Books, said Mills.

General bookstores are under the threat of being closed out by the big bookstore chains, and ³that is scary for people who love books,² said Randall.

Amanda Beach, history and women studies junior, shops frequently at Antigone because it is ³probably the only really good feminist bookstore in Tucson,² she said.

She bought textbooks there for her classes this semester.

³I want to give them my money as opposed to the (ASUA) bookstore,² Beach said.

Randall and Mills also like to support local artists and authors. Barbara Kingsolver, author of Animal Dreams and Pigs in Heaven, and Leslie Marmon Silko, author of Ceremony and Almanac of the Dead, have appeared for book signings.

Kingsolver is expected to come back in November to promote her artists and when the new store opens, they plan to have more artwork, such as sculptures and paintings.

Business has picked up recently due to access from the business district on Fourth Avenue. The store will move down the street into the old Salvation Army building in September.

³Whatıs interesting is that at a time when feminist bookstore are closing this one is thriving and expanding. It says a lot about the womenıs community in Tucson,² said Judy Temple, director of the Womenıs Studies Department.

Randall and Mills do not want the title of ³feminist bookstore² to intimidate anyone. Sometimes when people think of a feminist group, hostility comes to mind, Mills said.

However, this is not the case, she said. ³We like to think of ourselves as a fun and friendly place to be.²

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