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Dobkin, Alix (b. 1940)  
 
page: 1  2  

Throughout her long performing career, Dobkin peppered her act with songs of many cultures and languages, and, in the best folk tradition, she often changed the lyrics of well-known songs to reflect feminist and lesbian consciousness.

In spite of her success on stage and vinyl, Dobkin was never content to remain a movement star. She began attending the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival as a performer, but was immediately struck by the powerful community aspect of the festival. She returned to Michigan annually for over a decade, always participating as a worker as well as a musician.

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During the 1990s, as "genderqueer" politics began to replace the woman-identified lesbian polemic of the 1970s, Dobkin remained unapologetically feminist and lesbian-identified. She continued to perform both nationally and internationally and devoted a great deal of time to her column for the feminist newsjournal off our backs.

However, by the mid-1990s, though she re-released some of her earlier albums, Dobkin had begun to lose interest in songwriting.

She began the 17-year-long process of writing the story of her family and the early years of her life. My Red Blood: A Memoir of Growing Up Communist, Coming Onto the Greenwich Village Folk Scene, and Coming Out in the Feminist Movement (2009) tells of Dobkin's experiences growing up as a "red diaper" baby (child of Communist Party members) and her career as a singer during the exhilarating renaissance of folk music in 1960s Greenwich Village.

The book is both an education about and a celebration of leftist activism and the movements, such as the struggle for civil rights, that paved the way for feminism. To readers disappointed that the book ends on Valentine's Day 1972, the day before she came out as a lesbian, Dobkin replies that the story of her lesbian life is contained in her music.

That music, however, cannot be easily separated from her early life, since it grows from the rich background her early life provided her, as she observes in the epilogue to My Red Blood, "My career in women's music sprang from the soil of J. S. Bach, The Red Army Chorus, Louis Armstrong, and Broadway shows, topped off by the folk music scene of the 1960s, and has granted me a life rich, challenging, and satisfying beyond my wildest dreams."

Nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, My Red Blood is described by songwriter John Sebastian as "a magnifying glass on a revolution in music, culture, and politics. Here's the sixties from someone who remembers EVERYTHING!"

During the early 2000s, Dobkin, ever militant, joined the steering committee of Old Lesbians Organizing for Change (OLOC), a national activist organization that works for visibility and empowerment of old dykes within the community and in the world. She was recently named the group's co-director.

Tina Gianoulis

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    Bibliography
   

Dobkin, Alix. "The Emperor's New Gender." off our backs 30.4 (April 2000): 14.

_____. "Lavender Jane is Born." off our backs 29.1 (January 1999): 12.

_____. "Love Women or Die: Are We An Endangered Species?" off our backs 30.5 (May 2000): 9.

_____. My Red Blood: A Memoir of Growing Up Communist, Coming Onto the Greenwich Village Folk Scene, and Coming Out in the Feminist Movement. New York: Alyson Books, 2009.

_____. Official Website: http://www.alixdobkin.com.

Obejas, Achy. "The Cult of Alix Dobkin." The Advocate (August 25, 1992): 74-77.

Korbelik, Jeff. "Woman to Woman: Folk Singer Dobkin Marvels at Diversity of Fellow Lesbians." Lincoln Journal Star (September 10, 2000): 8.

Morris, Bonnie J. "In Their Own Voices: Oral Histories of Festival Artists." Frontiers (February 1998): 53-72.


Rosechild, Rene. "Women's Music Icon Alix Dobkin on the Rise of Lesbian Feminism and Her Road to Fame." Curve 20.5 (June 2010): 44.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Gianoulis, Tina  
    Entry Title: Dobkin, Alix  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2011  
    Date Last Updated April 25, 2011  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/dobkin_alix.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2011 glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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