Lesbian feminist folksinger Alix Dobkin died this past Wednesday May 19th. Alix was an instrumental leader of the second wave feminist movement. A talented songwriter with a strong clear voice, Alix began her career in Greenwich Village with other influential legends of the sixties but left that road to concentrate on inspiring the new generation of lesbian feminists. Her solo album Lavender Jane Loves Women broke new ground in politics and music.
I have seen Alix in concert probably more than any other musician. Not because I made a point of following her around like a wimmin’s music Deadhead, but because she made herself available to the women’s community, playing in places like Columbus, Ohio, where I grew up. She was actually responsible for my living on wimmin’s land, in a way. I was traveling alone and wound up in Tucson with little money left and no friends in the area. I saw that Alix was appearing that night at a local church and figured I’d meet some like-minded women there. That’s how I ended up at a women’s intentional community in the Sonora Desert.
Alix contributed significantly to feminist politics and music. I attended a slideshow she gave at a local women’s coffeehouse in the early 80s analyzing sexism in music. I still think about that slideshow; it ruined popular music for me forever.
Going to a concert with Alix was in some ways like being in a cocoon. She was so personable that I felt like I knew her, but come to think of it I probably never spoke to her. I saw her in concert in almost every place I’ve lived, and some places I was only visiting. I always met some great women at an Alix concert. We had a loving tight-knit yet accessible women’s community once, and Alix was one of the women who made it happen.