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    fronyMontclair Women’s Cultural Arts Club—We Will Never Forget You

    Dr. Betty Sullivan & Jennifer Viegas

    From the moment we first stepped into Boo Price’s warm, welcoming and truly magical Montclair Women’s Cultural Arts Club, we felt at home. This was a beautiful place created by and for women, and particularly lesbians. As legendary singer/songwriter Cris Williamson wrote, “O, we are weeping-ripe for sanctuary. Carry us home, let sanctuary start.” But this was a sanctuary that was also open: to the entire LGBT community, to people from all over the Bay Area and world, and to great ideas that would emerge during passionate conversations in the fireside salon and courtyard.

    Williamson’s words, and thoughts of Price’s club, seem all the more meaningful for us today, given that the club has been sold and will be closing at the end of July. The announcement shortly preceded closure of San Francisco’s only remaining bar for queer women, the Lexington Club, and news that the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival would be holding its 40th and last festival this August. Price’s club itself holds such venerable status, given that it has been in operation for 20 years.

    montOpened in a verdant corner of the Montclair district in Oakland in 1996, it was the site of over 2000 events during those two decades. Consider that the Montclair Women’s Cultural Arts Club has hosted the following:

    • 150 concerts (which we can attest were fabulous, as we went to several)
    • 350 weddings, including some of the first ceremonies ever for same sex couples
    • 500 birthdays, anniversaries, memorials, corporate parties, organizational events, fundraisers, art exhibits, book readings, bar/bat mitzvahs, dance and music recitals, theater productions, musical theater, writers gatherings, film showings, graduation parties, school reunions, song circles, country western/salsa/ballroom/swing/kids dance, psychic readings, meditation groups, PTA events, labyrinth walks, drumming events, film shoots, book groups, Obama phone banks, bi-annual polling place and much more
    • 100 individual classes with 1000 total meetings on subjects such as music, fitness, trapeze, Tai chi, Qigong, psychic readings, creative visualization, kids and adult dance, improvisation, goddesses, stretch, singing, writing, dream, meditation, cooking, postnatal mom’s fitness, choral, kids’ violin, other music classes of all kinds, kids’ Shakespeare theater and again, much more.

    Special mention also goes
    to the popular open mic Third Thursday events, most recently hosted by talented Janet Rachel.

    For those of you who frequented events at the club, we are preaching to the chorus. For those of you who are not as familiar with it, we hope that you will enjoy learning about the club and its remarkable founder, for which volumes could be written, given Price’s many noteworthy achievements. We hope to see you at the Farewell Celebrations, to be held later this month, when we will come together one last time at the beautiful club where so many treasured, unforgettable memories and friendships were forged.

    Dr. Betty Sullivan and Jennifer Viegas are the publishers of the “San Francisco Bay Times.”