Hand On The Pulse

Sun, May 31, 2009, 5pm

The “welcome note” at Joan Nestle’s website reads: “You are on the verge of entering the home of a 68-year-old fem lesbian woman. If you find explicit words about love, lust, play, creativity, illness, and social concerns obscene, you will not be comfortable in my home.”

Co-founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives, writer, activist and sex-radical Joan Nestle has made significant contributions to our understanding of women’s sexuality, gender issues, and the preservation of lesbian history and culture.

HAND ON THE PULSE traces Nestle’s amazing life: from Greenwich Village in the 1950s, to the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, and helping to forge a new lesbian and gay consciousness through grassroots organizing. She has celebrated the body and women’s sexuality in her writings, and in public readings in her trademark black slip. Along with her then-partner Deborah Edel, she started the first lesbian archive in their apartment, and maintained it there for more than 15 years. The archive now includes more than 20,000 books, 12,000 photographs, and 1,600 periodical titles. Now in her late 60s, Nestle continues to celebrate the body as an aging woman and as a woman with cancer.

Screening with 575 CASTRO ST. Queer filmmaker and historian Jenni Olson elegantly combines footage she shot on the set of Gus Van Sant’s MILK with an audio recording of Harvey Milk contemplating the possibility that he could be assassinated.

575 CASTRO ST. dir Jenni Olson 2008 USA 7 min.
HAND ON YHR PULSE dir Joyce Warshow 2002 USA 52 min.
Community Partners: Siren Nation & In Other Words Bookstore