Walker Art Center

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A Fierce Finale
Dyke Night comes to a close after 15 years

By Judith Katz

Dyke Night. The name alone has proven so radical that it’s taken the local press years to even print it in its events calendars. Since 1991, queers of all gender stripes have been treated to extravaganzas of song and dance; masterful martial arts and baton twirling; fabulous feats of stand-up comedy; parades of dykes and their dogs; agitprop magic acts; transgressive tale-telling via film, poetry, and princesses with power tools; and more than a few bizarro novelty acts. From its inception, Dyke Night has been a brave and fierce addition to the Twin Cities Pride calendar. But sadly, this Dyke Night, number 15, will be the last.

Conceived by the Walker’s aggressively queer former performing arts curatorJohn Killacky as a venue for diverse and dangerous local lesbian artists, Dyke Night was curated and emceed for its first three years by playwright/performer/visual artist Chris Cinque. She presented poets, writers, and performers such as Elaine Shelley, Barrie Jean Borich, and Kim Hines; premieres such as Carolyn Goelzer’s Princess Power; and a showcase of the best Twin Cities lesbian performers had to offer.

In 1994, Dyke Night was passed to the capable curatorial hands of queer arts guerrilla Eleanor Savage. What started as a culturally diverse extravaganza of local dyke talent evolved under her direction into a sublime mix of local, national, and international artists from every performance discipline. Dyke Nights have included such psychedelic astonishments as Butch/Femme Baton Twirling, a gigantic guitar band featuring Powderhorn rock favorite Ellis; and a showcase of agitprop, overtly political performances whose intention was to directly address life under the Bush administration.

If Dyke Night has been this much fun and this important for the past 15 years, why does it have to end now? For one thing, the Walker stage already hosts an incredible array of artists who are lesbians—Jennifer Monson, Meredith Monk, Elizabeth Streb, Anne Bogart, Eve Beglarian, Pauline Oliveros, Lucinda Childs, Ann Carlson, and legions more. Additionally, Savage, the Walker’s associate director of events and media production, has a new vision for these political times: “With the rise of the right wing, my focus has shifted from organizing within one community to the broader cultural and human rights picture.”

Still, Dyke Night 15 promises to be one we’ll remember for a long time: you’ll be treated to superstar femme Lois Weaver as mistress of ceremonies; Peggy Shaw and Vivien Stoll’s rock-and-roll ode to being a butch grandmother; and dance duo HIJACK with Karyn & Sharyn and a cast of thousands for a madcap voyage into wedding bell hell. What a way to say good-bye!

—Adapted from an essay by Judith Katz in the Pride Guide. Katz is a Minneapolis activist and author of the novels Running Fiercely Toward a Thin High Sound and The Escape Artist.

DYKE NIGHT 1991–2005

Dyke Night 1* 1991

Sima Rabinowitz / Melissa Raffa, Lisa Baldwin, Ana L. Koenig, Nikki Neu, Beth Trowbridge, KC Wesley, Yolanda Johnson, Jayne L., Rebecca C. / Etoy Wilson / Yako Tahnahga / Mary T / Kim Hines / Carolyn Goelzer / Polkastra / DrumFire / Jenni Olson / Judith Katz

Dyke Night 2* 1992

Elaine Shelly / Erika Thorne / Amy Finch / Cathy Young, Dana Holstad, Jane Shockley, Linda Stoen / Four Direction Thunder Being / Nan Fulle / Kim Hines / Colleen Haas, Mary Kosowski, Annette Belgarde, Clare Tropp, Peggy McKenna, Nancy Crane, Heidi Soderberg, Anita Hill, Nancy Doyle, Edie Karras, Jennie Rowe / Rocco, Trixie, Peaches, & Butch / Barrie Jean Borich / KC Awes, Peg Dyer, Joan Grossman, Cheryl Hagen, Susan King, Bonnie McGowan, Kathy Moore, Anita Travis, Veronica Weadock, Tara Yost

Dyke Night 3* 1993

Michele Beard, Mary Boutain, Nancy Cox / Juliana Pegues / Blake Lynden / Chris Little / Melissa Birch / Kate Redmond, Angela Blake-Goertz, Suzanne Boucher / Roxie’s Homemade Jam / Jennifer Juarez Robles / Laurie Eubank, Sally Ann Farrar, Jennifer Finley, Cynthia Lane, Lori Reese / Lilian Friedberg / Mags David

Dyke Night 4** 1994

Maile Flanagan / Morgan Thorson, Leah Nelson, Kelli Tennyson, Kristin Van Loon, Arwen Wilder, Winona Sorenson / Chris Cinque / Michael Schelly Rose / Carrie Keller / Donna Carter, Aimee Jacobson, Zena Kocher, Amie Larson, Karen Platt, Melissa Rasmussen, Raquel Simoes, Nina Soffer, Kelly Till, Michael Schelly Rose / Kari Kjome / Jo Devlin, Margaret Doussett, Patty Holman, Analee Stewart, Alice Weck, Erin Cosgrove / Kim Hines / Melissa Birch / Laurie McKiernan / Roxy Hall, Rebekka Fisher, Jan Boyer, Lee O., Glo, Jani Brakken, Marietta Kampa

Dyke Night 5*** 1995

Mimi=Freed / Susan Gifford / Barrie Jean Borich & Linnea Stenson with Patsy Cline, Lisa Hammett and Maile Flanagan with Ethyl, Dawn Wieking & Margaret Brevik with Wolfie, Laurie Migliorino with Stella and Blanche / Juin Charnelle / Caryn Piersig, Tana Tracey, Rudy Renaud / Maritza Burgos & Luciana Carballo / Jennifer Lee / Lucy Duroche / Yolanda Johnson / Shu Lea Chang / Stephani Langseth-Kolotkin / Heidi Thorson / Karen Sheahan

Dyke Night 6** 1996

Joanna Kadi & Cynthia Lane / Renee Sugrue / Minna Hong / Melissa Stoudt, LaVerne Christie, Ann Potter / Colleen Haas / Etoy Wilson / Mary DuShane, Cathy Moser, Maureen Mullen, Betsy Neil, Sandy Njoe / Nancy Edwards, Patty Holman, Annalee Stewart

Dyke Night 7** 1997

Renee Sugrue, Morgan Thorson, Martha Bender, Susan Mckenna, Shari Pleiss, Amanda Taylor / Judith Eisner, Deborah Owen, Judith Katz, Myriam Lipovsky, Virginia Wittcoff, Amy Toscani, Paula Sunray / Teresa Chandler / Sharon Bridgforth, Sonja Parks / Nasreen Mohammed / Kore Grate, Kristin Willey, Amity Dimock, Megan Carrick, Sue Magee, Tamara Hecker, Susan Budde, Micol Caferelli, Naomi Munzer, Brie Monahan, Tahani Al-Busairi, Jen Fierke, Megan Larrick, Emily Figueroa, Starri Hedges / Molly Van Avery, Emma Ramstad, Joanna Kohler, Mel Langer, Alice Wetterlund / Betsey Rhame

Dyke Night 8** 1998

Linnea Stenson / Felicia Washington / Calliope Chorus / Melinda Velasco-Martinez & Kim Surkan / Valandra / Crystalline, Jessica Braun Ferris, Corinth Matera, Kari Kjome / April Andrews / Angela Malek, Patricia Kent, Carolyn Finley, Mary Hunt / Liz Decker & Joan Griffith / Ellis Bergeron / Rudy Renaud, Sarah Black, Caryn Piersy / Eleanor Savage, Morgan Thorson, Kari Kennotsu, Renee Sugrue, Judith Katz, Leah Nelson, Annie Enneking, Kat Bottorf, Arwen Wilder, Barrie Jean Borich, Pey Roan, Angie Ramos, Jeanne Tweet, Heidi Eckwall, Amanda Taylor, Susan Raffo, Trish Lundberg, Julie O’Baoighill, Guiliana Ciabo, Sarah Gordon, Jennifer Johansen, Kari Ann Shiff, Elaine Shelly, Virginia Wittcoff, Marcia Meredith, Heather Spear, Jo Hiner

Dyke Night 9** 1999

Linnea Stenson & Lisa Vecoli / Olutoyin Adebanjo / Barrie Jean Borich / Cherry Muhanji / Butch Burlesque / Peggy Shaw

Dyke Night 10** 2000

Nancy Edwards, Annalee Stewart, Patti Holman, Jo Winer / Leigh Combs, Arwen Wilder, Kristen Van Loon / Ellis Bergeron, Amy Van Patten, Sarah Bishop, Deb Sals / Carolyn Goelzer / Holly Hautamaki, Lisa Ganser & Kim Brown / Eyenga Bokamba, Felicia Washington

Dyke Night 11** 2001

Reema Bazzy, Barbara Daughter, Justine Deny, Sarah Dietrich, Michelle Elliot / Ann Freeman, Taunee Grant, Sam Grosby, Rebecca Holmberg, Nicole Jarvis / Kate Kane, Kelly Kohlbacher, Carolyn Kolovitz, Colleen McClellan, Nasreen Mohamed / Mary Jean Mulherin, Susan Raffo, Peggy Shaw, Amelia Snetting, Renee Sugrue / Morgan Thorson, Felicia Washington, Lois Weaver, Reema Bazzy

Dyke Night 12** 2002

Sarah East Johnson, Rebecca Stronger, Natalie Agee, Molly Chanoff, Diana Greiner, Adrienne Truscott / Lisa Ganser, Kelly Waterman, Crystal Brinkman, Rudy Renaud / Eleanor Savage, Rebecca Holmberg, Signe Harriday, Juliana Pegues, Felicia Washington, Arwen Wilder & Kristen Van Loon / Juliana Pegues, Felicia Washington, Leigh Combs, Quiana Perkins

Dyke Night 13** 2003

Carmelita Tropicana / Stacy Makishi & Vick Rider / Diane Benjamin / Suzy Meserole, Renee Sugrue, Reema Bazzy / Colleen Buckman, Aamera Siddiqui / Amanda Taylor, Kim Brown, Signe Harriday / Carolyn Goelzer, Judith Katz, & Michelle Mousavi / Ellen Marie Henchcliffe & Marquita Anderson

Dyke Night 14** 2004

Toshi Reagon / Robin Burdulis, Terry Dame, Dawn Drake, Mary Feaster, Lisa Frisari

Dyke Night 15** 2005

Lois Weaver, Peggy Shaw, Vivien Stoll, Molly Van Avery, Margot Bassett, Kristen Van Loon, Arwen Wilder

Curated by Chris Cinque
Curated by Eleanor Savage
Curated by Eleanor Savage with Jennifer Juarez Robles, Elaine Shelly, Melissa Birch


Photo: Dan Dennehy for Walker Art Center

Toshi Reagon

Photo: J. Bob Alotta

Terry Dame’s Electric Junkyard Gamelan

To My Chagrin: Peggy Shaw

Photo: Dona Ann McAdams

Split Britches: Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw

Photo: courtesy the artists