By Kelly J. Cogswell

When Kelly Cogswell plunged into New York’s East Village in 1992, she had simply pop out. An ex–Southern Baptist born in Kentucky, she used to be tenting in an street B loft, scribbling poems, and enjoying in an underground band, attempting to determine her subsequent stream. a number of months later she used to be ate up through the Lesbian Avengers, instigating direct motion campaigns, fighting police officers on 5th road, mobilizing 20,000 dykes for a march on Washington, D.C., and consuming fire—literally—in entrance of the White House.

At as soon as streetwise and wistful, Eating Fire is a witty and pressing coming-of-age memoir spanning twenty years, from the tradition battle of the early Nineties to the struggle on Terror. Cogswell’s tale is an interesting mixture of picaresque event, how-to activist instruction manual, and rigorous inquiry into questions of id, resistance, and citizenship. it's also a compelling, own recollection of friendships and fallings-out and of discovering actual love—several occasions over. After the Lesbian Avengers imploded, Cogswell describes how she turned a pioneering citizen journalist, cofounding the Gully on-line journal with the groundbreaking target of delivering “queer perspectives on everything.”

The first in-depth account of the influential Lesbian Avengers, Eating Fire finds the group’s dating to the queer paintings and activist scene in early ’90s ny and establishes the media-savvy Avengers as a major precursor to teams resembling Occupy Wall road and l. a. Barbe, in France. a unprecedented insider’s examine the method and perils of road activism, Kelly Cogswell’s memoir is an uncompromising and finally empowering tale of artistic resistance opposed to hatred and injustice.

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We picked our folding steel chairs, and that i attempted to go searching with no assembly anybody’s eyes. i used to be there in most cases simply because i used to be nonetheless trailing Anne and Marie and didn’t are looking to pass over something. obese, brainy Amy most likely could have long past besides. She’d already been concerned about feminist and queer stuff. She helped begin a lesbian workforce within the functionality reviews application at NYU the place we met, and her bookcases have been jam-packed with ladies writers from the tutorial Judith Butler to the dyke secret guru Barbara Wilson and scifier Octavia Butler. Me, I’d dip into her cabinets, then move on, a fish looking for a unique hook. progressively, the room stuffed up with ladies. a few have been round my age, twenty-six. Others nonetheless in university. a few sufficiently old to have grown young children. yet all a bit anxious and keen. not anyone foamed on the mouth or something, although. not anyone brandished a sword or cape or breast. the 1st assembly of the   e at i ng f i r e Lesbian Avengers used to be truly type of bureaucratic, the way in which anyone formally referred to as the assembly to reserve and the six organizers brought themselves. I already knew the humorous freckled Marie Honan and Anne Maguire along with her riotous crimson hair. the author, Sarah Schulman, and professor, Maxine Wolfe, had labored with ILGO, so I’d met them, too. Sarah used to be extra blunt than the craving narrator of After Dolores. Long-haired Max was once effective and expansive, the born instructor. there has been additionally an angular androgynous dyke, Anne-christine d’Adesky, who grew to become out to be a journalist, and a brief one with darkish hair and bright-red lipstick who spoke so softly you may slightly pay attention her. That was once the playwright, Ana Simo. After them, it used to be our flip. not one of the names caught before everything, yet I keep in mind the multitude of accents: Hispanic, British, Irish, East Coast, West Coast, flat Midwestern, my faint Kentucky twang, or even a couple of homegrown New Yawk drawls. Then Sarah or an individual talked simply enough to put out what the Lesbian Avengers used to be purported to be, “a direct-action team involved in concerns very important to lesbian survival and visibility. ” and that i nodded my head like I understood, even though that word “direct motion” didn’t suggest a lot to me. the nearest I’d come to organizing something was once the time again in Louisville whilst i attempted to get the youngsters in my early life choir to protest the unexpected firing of the minister of tune. Deb used to be a sort, lively lady; I babysat her child. whilst I got here to her security, the pastor denounced me in deepest as a burdened little woman, then in public as an agitator, and I’d pale in disgrace. “Visibility” didn’t relatively suggest something both, other than within the most simple feel. I’d by no means considered how the area replaced. Or concerning the international in any respect, for that subject. Martin Luther King gave a speech, and that used to be that. Public colleges have been desegregated. White lecturers have been terrible to black youngsters, and younger white women acquired their asses grabbed within the hallways through younger black men getting their very own again. I’d been to NOW’s March on Washington in ’89 to picture the marchers for a c t i v i s t hon e y mo on    an deploy i used to be doing with a few artist associates in Cincinnati, yet they'd to spot the VIPs within the photographs.

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