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PERFORMANCE Sappho's Salon to launch at bookstore
by Ross Forman

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Kathie Bergquist is convinced that lesbians do not have enough opportunities to socialize in person with each other outside of the bar scene, so she's doing something about it.

Bergquist, 38, a lesbian who has worked on and off at Women & Children First Bookstore in Andersonville since 1989, is helping to launch the first of a monthly series called 'Sappho's Salon: A Night of Provocative Lesbian Diversions.' The inaugural event will be Sat., June 21, 7-9 p.m.

The event will include provocative readings by Jolie du Pre ( Iridescence ) and Bergquist ( A Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago ) ; live music by Carrie Lydon and Kate Rickenbacker; and a DJ set by DJ SpinNikki. There is a $7-10 requested donation, and refreshments will be served.

'Our intention is to tap into lesbian culture in a meaningful way and use that to promote discussion and dialogue, shake folks up and get them thinking, talking and interacting with each other,' Bergquist said.

'The other lesbian women and myself who work at the bookstore, and many in my social circle who tend to be writers, artists and performers, well, we just felt like there was a lack of culturally interesting and exciting things to do,' she added. 'So we have this great format, a feminist bookstore, and we have a history of being community-builders within the lesbian and feminist communities. So it just seems natural to combine those two efforts.'

The first Sappho's Salon will offer a variety show format, while future events will 'wide open for the things we can do,' she said. 'Hopefully it will expand to filmmakers, visual artists, game nights, debate formats, etc.

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The monthly series will be held every third Saturday of the month.

du Pre is editor of Iridescence: Sensuous Shades of Lesbian Erotica. Her erotic writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Purple Panties ( edited by Zane ) and Best Erotica 2007.

'We have an ongoing call for talent. We're interested in hearing from every lesbian-identified person who is a comedian, musician, scholar, artists, writers, dancers … we really want to run the gamut,' Bergquist said.

What about gay men?

'We see this specifically as a lesbian event, and that's the framework we're going on. This event is a lesbian event for lesbians and their friends,' she said.

Women & Children First Bookstore in Chicago is looking for provocative lesbian-identified queer artists and scholars to present their work at the Sappho's Salon series. Sappho's Salon will take place 7-9 p.m. on the third Saturday of every month. Contact Kathie Berquist at Pressgirl@Ameritech.net ( with attachments or links, if relevant ) . Send demo CDs and DVDs to Kathie ( Sappho's Salon ) c/o Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark, Chicago, Ill., 60640. No phone calls.

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