Looking for Lesbians: Conversation with Sarah-Joy Ford, Carolyn Weathers, Jenny Wrenn, and Ann Bradley

Please join us for readings and dialogue with Sarah-Joy Ford, Carolyn Weathers, Jenny Wrenn, and Ann Bradley on Thursday July 28, at 6:30pm. This program grows out of Sarah-Joy Ford’s research in the archives, looking for lesbians in literature - which have inspired new artworks. The event is an opportunity to highlight some of the significant lesbian collections at ONE Archives, and to hear from some key contributing figures to a vibrant lesbian literary scene in Los Angeles.

On February 18, 1984, Ann Bradley founded the Lesbian Writers Series at In A Different Light Books (founded by Norman Laurila 1979) in Silver Lake. As part of Ann’s inspiration for inaugurating the series, Carolyn Weathers read from her book ‘Leaving Texas’ for the first event in the series. Following this Weathers, and her then partner Jenny Wren co-founded the lesbian feminist publishing company Clothespin Fever Press in 1985 (-1996). Together they published twenty-five books and fifty-five authors, and Jenny produced the newsletter Lesbian Line which acted as a catalogue and a finding aid for women’s publishing in the USA. Clothespin Fever Press published an anthology of lesbian writers from Ann Bradley’s Lesbian Writers Series in 1989 which won the Gay and Lesbian Book Award from the American Library Association. 

This conversation will be moderated by ONE Archives Curator Alexis Bard Johnson. Masks required indoors. Please RSVP at the following link: bit.ly/lalesbians


About the Speakers: 

Born in San Francisco, California in 1953, Ann Bradley moved to Los Angeles in April 1972, attending Los Angeles City College and California State University, Los Angeles receiving a BA in American Studies and MS in Community College Counseling. She was a counselor in jobs training programs from 1979 through 1983. In November 1983, she went to work at A DIFFERENT LIGHT BOOKS, the nation’s second gay and lesbian bookstore, founding the LESBIAN WRITERS SERIES in February 1984 and producing the first seven years of the monthly first-ever showcase for lesbian authors through 1990. In 1987 she began a 20-year career as a publicist for agencies including the LA County Public Library, The LA County Office of Education (LACOE), the ACLU of Southern California and the Music Center of Los Angeles County. In 1991 she successfully lobbied to have gay and lesbian students and teachers included in LACOE’s then 14-year-old annual Multicultural Curriculum Conference with the help of LA County Supervisor Edmund Edelman and his openly gay staffer Richard Llewellyn. At the July 2007 LA Gay and Lesbian Film Festival she approached Dee Reese following the showing of her then short PARIAH, asking to support the film, becoming the first producer for the 2011 universally acclaimed feature. In addition to her efforts to promote equality for all human beings, Bradley is a vegan and a passionate animal rights activist fighting for freedom and justice for all beings.

Sarah-Joy Ford is an Artist and Post-Graduate Researcher at Manchester School of Art where she is a co-director of the Queer Research Network Manchester and member of Proximity Collective. Ford works with textiles to explore the complexities and pleasures of queer communities, histories, and archives. Her practice sits at the intersection of digital and traditional, using strategies of quilting, digital embroidery, digital print, applique, and hand embellishment. Working with decorative textiles situates the practice within histories of gendered marginalization and a lineage of artists reclaiming cloth as a powerful language for disrupting discrimination, erasure, and hetero-patriarchy. Her PhD research explores quilt making as an affective methodology for re-visioning lesbian archival material. The loving attention and protective qualities of the quilt offer a reparative site for investing in lesbian archives inherently bound to a history of injury and marginalization. Her current solo show is a site-specific heritage intervention titled Beloved: crafting intimacies with the ladies of Llangollen and is open at Plas Newydd Historic House and Gardens from 30th April – 30th October. 

Carolyn Weathers was born in Eastland TX. She came out in 1961 in San Antonio TX and in 1963 Weathers was the mc at a gay/lesbian drag show held at a popular gay bar. Weathers moved to Los Angeles in 1968 and became a member of the Los Angeles Gay Liberation Front and the Lesbian Feminists at the Women’s Center on Crenshaw. She marched in the first Pride Parade down Hollywood Blvd in 1970 and later that year, she participated in the Biltmore Invasion, where protesters disrupted a presentation at an American Psychiatric Association’s annual convention at the Biltmore Hotel of a film showing how to “cure” homosexuals with electric shock aversion therapy. In 1984, she cofounded with artist Jenny Wrenn a lesbian book publishing company called Clothespin Fever Press. They published twenty-five books and fifty-five authors. Their anthology of lesbian writers from Ann Bradley’s Lesbian Writers Series was an award winner from the American Library Association. In 2015, she was one three recipients of the annual Los Angeles Heritage Award, given to those who had shown dedication and achievements to improving the quality of life for the LGBT community in Los Angeles. She is the author of Leaving Texas, Crazy and Shitkickers and Other Texas Stories. Her stories and short memoir pieces have appeared in various anthologies. Her personal archival collection is housed at the ONE Archives.

Jenny Wrenn’s work encompasses various disciplines from newspaper photographer, fine artist, small press publisher and writer to the supporting wage job of public librarian. Some of her published work includes 322 lesbian erotic stories published under the nom de plume, Fiona Flander, on www.smashwords.com. Wrenn also published a poem here and there in the late 1980s. In 1991, she wrote and published A Dyke’s Bike Repair Handbook under the press she co-founded with Carolyn Weathers, Clothespin Fever Press. That same year, her how-to article, “The Art of Cuntography,” appeared in On Our Backs. In 2000, Equus Eroticus, an adult “het” magazine published her article, “On Being a Pony Girl.” Wrenn’s  formal education includes a BA in Philosophy, an MA in Art (specifically in Graphic Communications), and an MLS in Library Science.  In 2013, she retired from library work to live and work in Qingdao, China for 4 years, teaching Art and English. She also worked as an (unpaid) editor for Wikipedia while in China. She resides in Long Beach, CA with her wife Dr. Sharon Raphael, and their dog, Betty.

Alexis Bard Johnson is the Curator at the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries. Johnson earned her PhD in Art History with a minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Stanford University. Her essay, “The Work of Being Sexed: Andy Warhol on Drag,” appeared in Contact Warhol: Photography Without End (MIT, 2018). She also contributed to the revised edition of Art and Queer Culture (Phaidon, 2019). Before joining the ONE Archives, Johnson worked at the Princeton Art Museum, the Whitney Museum, and the Terra Foundation for American Art. She most recently curated Archival Intimacies: Queering South/East Asian Diasporas. She is currently working on Sexual Science and the Imagi-nation, one of the exhibitions in the Getty’s 2024 Pacific Standard Time and Queer Black California: Art and Politics with the California African American Museum. When she is not researching and writing about queer visual culture, she loves to spend time baking and gardening. Originally from Chicago, she now lives in Los Angeles with her wife and their two tuxedo cats.


Thu, Jul 28 2022
06:30 pm ~ 08:00 pm

ONE Gallery, West Hollywood
626 North Robertson Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069
United States