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LP

Music doesn’t have to be complicated.

At the end of the day, it’s all about being honest, taking no B.S., and getting right back up after every fall. New York-born singer, songwriter, and all-around rock rebel LP puts it even more succinctly, “I go Johnny Cash on that shit and just get through it.”

Like the Man in Black, she pens and performs timeless tunes with attitude—albeit minus the country twang and cowboy hats. Ukulele in hand, voice booming with soul and spirit, and pulling no punches, LP’s palatability belies an underground unrestraint sharpened by several years in the industry. By 2014, she had not only written hits for Rihanna, Cher, Backstreet Boys, Cher Lloyd, and more, but also released her major label debut, Forever For Now. The latter’s “Into The Wild” fueled a Citibank ad campaign as everyone from The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and USA Today to Vogue and BuzzFeed extolled the artist. She performed on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! and ignited audiences at Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and more. However, as her six-year romantic relationship failed and she split from her label, LP put her head down and wrote what would become 2016’s Death Valley EP [Vagrant Records].

“My goal was just to create my best music,” she says. “I stopped overthinking things. I didn’t know how it was going to come out or if anyone would ever hear it, but I just wanted to write. No one told me what to do. I wasn’t trying to fit into some fucking label’s ideal of who I should be. I had complete artistic freedom.”

Death Valley became a watershed moment for the songstress and modern rock at large. Driven by her signature ukulele, raspy acoustic guitars, and the unshakable refrain, “Baby is that lost on you?,” its lead single “Lost On You” amassed over 202 million YouTube views as well as 44 million Spotify streams and went triple-platinum in Italy, platinum in France, Poland, and Germany, and gold in Switzerland. Meanwhile, the title track, “Muddy Waters,” soundtracked the Season 4 climax of NETFLIX’s Orange Is The New Black.

“I love a record that has an eclectic bunch of songs,” she goes on. “I want it to be an interesting landscape, and I like to use my voice in different ways. That was my goal with Death Valley.”

It also extends to her 2017 full-length album. Once again, LP re-unites with the team behind Death Valley—producer POWERS’ Mike Del Rio [Christina Aguilera, X Ambassadors] and writer Nate Campany [Tove Lo, Carly Rae Jepsen, Martin Garrix].

“It’s a weird thing,” she says. “I feel more confident than ever before. I don’t have to police myself anymore. For this record, I decided to unapologetically tress on, keep going, and run with my emotion.”

Ultimately, as LP writes more, she continues to connect with audiences everywhere. “There’s a survivor mentality that comes through naturally,” she leaves off. “That strikes a chord. I want to show people it’s possible to do whatever they want on their own terms.”

Sam Jay

Originally from Boston, stand-up comic Sam Jay is an Emmy Nominated Writer for Saturday Night Live and frequently appears in sketches.

In 2018, she made her Netflix debut on The Comedy Lineup and released her Debut Album Donna’s Daughter. She wrote for the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards and has a recurring role on TV Land’s Nobodies.

In 2017, Sam was a standout of the Just For Laughs: New Faces. She was the host of Ricking Morty, the Rick and Morty post-show on Adult Swim and she was a cast member of MTV’s SafeWord. Sam made her late-night television debut on ABC’s Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel and her half-hour stand-up special premiered on Comedy Central.

She was named to the Comedy Central “Comics To Watch List ” in 2015, and has since performed at the Vodafone Dublin Comedy Festival, Bumbershoot Festival, 208 Comedy Festival, New York Comedy Festival, Portland’s Bridgetown Festival, The Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedy Festival, Boston’s Women In Comedy Festival, and the list goes on.

Her credits also include a part in the award-winning film Pinsky, Starz’ Take My Wife, Comedy Central’s White Flight, The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, as well as Viceland’s Party Legends, and Flophouse.

Crystal Bowersox

Crystal Bowersox, a northwest Ohio native currently calling Nashville home, has built her life around music. Crystal’s love for music developed at an early age from a need to find peace in a chaotic world. Through art and creation, Crystal was able to direct her energy and emotion, finding a way to mend a mind in turmoil. For her, music was always the most effective form of catharsis, and she would play for anyone, anywhere. In her own words, “my guitar was an appendage. I couldn’t live without it.”

By reliving her own painful moments in song, Crystal hopes to transcend her pain, lifting herself and her audience to a higher place. In the opening lines of “A Broken Wing” she sings, “I know there’s beauty in the burden / And even on my darkest day that sun will shine.” Crystal’s story is one of resilience and perseverance, and it’s evident in every note of her newest release, Alive.

Elvira Kurt

When Elvira Kurt is not writing about herself in the third person, she’s a Canadian Comedy Award winning, three-time Gemini Award nominated stand-up comic and Second City veteran, who’s starred, hosted or appeared in too many TV shows and comedy specials to mention. Except for these: Popcultured with Elvira Kurt on The Comedy Network, the first late night talk show hosted by a woman that she also created and produced; The Gayest Show Ever, co-created, co-produced and hosted by Elvira which won Best Pilot at the Banff World Television Festival, Queer as Jokes, with Elvira as host and headliner of CBC’s first ever all gay comedy special and Big Girl Now!, Elvira’s award winning one-hour CTV comedy special.

With appearances on everything from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, CBC’s The Debaters, CBC comedy specials from Just For Laughs in Montreal and the comedy festivals in Halifax and Winnipeg to her own comedy specials airing on Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, E!, and Bravo, there’s definitely something for everyone. On MTV’s Logo Elvira headlines One Night Stand-Up from Washington D.C. and hosts First Comes Love and Cruising The Caribbean with Olivia. On CBC’s The Second City’s Search For The Next Comedy Legend Elvira was a judge along with Joe Flaherty and Dave Thomas; she’s guest starred on Degrassi: The Next Generation, hit the stage in the Vagina Monologues and is featured in several comedy films like the multiple award winning Laughing Matters…More!

In her spare time, ha, Elvira writes comedy for TV, from series like This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Little Mosque on the Prairie to specials, most notably for Ellen DeGeneres on HBO. But that’s not all! Elvira’s toured North America as one of the hottest college acts around, nominated as both U.S. College Comedian and Entertainer of the Year.

Want more? Just turn on the radio. Besides her stint as a panelist on CBC Radio’s As It Happens or as a regular on The Debaters, Elvira passionately skewers pop culture each and every week on CBC Radio One, PRI and Bold TV’s number one hit show, Q with Jian Ghomeshi.

If it seems that Elvira’s tireless work ethic is an indication of deep seated neuroses, don’t worry, she knows. And she continues to thank, as well as blame, her mother.

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Gina Yashere

Gina was born and raised in London UK, of Nigerian parents, and previously worked as an elevator engineer for Otis.

She has been a stand up and TV star in the UK for several years now, with appearances on iconic TV shows such as Live at the Apollo and Mock the Week, as well as creating and performing popular comedic characters on The Lenny Henry Show.

Gina broke onto the American comedy scene with her appearances on Last Comic Standing (NBC), where she made it to the final 10, and then never went home!

Gina went on to be named one of the top 10 rising talents in the Hollywood Reporter. She is also known in the US for being the only British comedian to ever appear on the iconic Def Comedy Jam, as well as for her appearances on The Tonight Show (NBC), Crashing (HBO), @Midnight (Comedy Central), and her one-hour Stand Up Specials, Skinny B*tch (Showtime), Laughing To America (Starz), Ticking Boxes (Sirius XM), and now as the British Correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

Gina’s 4th stand up special is currently streaming on Netflix as part of The Standups compilation, and is garnering great reviews.

Gina has performed for audiences not just in Europe, the U.S. and Australia, but she is in fact, a highly sought-after comedian in Asia, making numerous sold out appearances in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Gina currently resides in New York and tours non-stop around the world.

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BETTY

BETTY is Alyson Palmer, Amy Ziff, Elizabeth Ziff – best friends and bandmates for 32 years. Feminist activists who play original pop music, we are pro-choice, pro-queer, pro-straight, pro-women, pro-lesbian, pro-sex, pro-immigrant, pro-trans, pro-fun, pro-reading, pro-facts, pro-food, pro-dessert, pro-love and anti-violence.

We tour internationally and have music in films and tv, including the global smash theme song to The L Word. We have ten albums out, available everywhere.

We have a non-profit called The BETTY Effect that enables us to help promote self-advocacy through music and performance for women and girls, LGBTQ+ and others worldwide.

Suzanne Westenhoefer

No one ever accused Suzanne of being subtle, not the shuttle driver who took her to the airport, the woman she was in line with at the grocery store yesterday and certainly not her audiences.  Subtle, she is not.

After 25 years of groundbreaking, stereotype-shattering and brutally honest comedy, she's not about to start pulling punches now.

The kid from Amish Country who began her comedy career on a dare is celebrating a quarter century of out, open, no-holds-barred comedy.

Suzanne tells the truth. The truth is life is funny, especially when it's fermented in Suzanne's mind. That's why she could never be in the closet, making her a trailblazer when she started doing stand-up in the 1990s. She was the first openly lesbian comedian with an HBO Special and the first openly lesbian comedian on "Late Night with David Letterman."

Heck, she was on Sally Jesse Raphael in 1991 on a show called "Breaking the Lesbian Stereotype…Lesbians Who Don't Look Like Lesbians." From "OMG, a lesbian has long hair and wears make up" to "I went to Helen and Jane's wedding last weekend," that's how far we've come in the 25 years Suzanne has been telling her truth to audiences all over the world. Some of that is certainly thanks to her candor, courage and charisma.

Suzanne never does the same show twice. She can't. She doesn't write anything down. She charges boldly onto the stage and what happens is always a mystery and a delight. Enjoy a wild night of comedy in a city near you.

Alyson Palmer

Alyson Palmer is the singer/songwriter, producer/director and performing artist best known for her ongoing three decades of work with the iconic rock band, BETTY. She is the Music Director who created the feminist variety show, CHIX, which was the closing finale set of the last eleven Michigan Womyn’s Music Festivals, and Olivia’s 2017 Festival at Sea Cruise. Featuring the immense talent that gathers at festivals, themed CHIX shows have featured Holly Near, Cris Williamson, Amy Ray, Vicki Randle, Toshi Reagon and dozens of other brilliant performers and comics in shows like Rock Chix Lix, Chix Sings the Blues, Southern Fried Chix, 80’s Prom and more.

Alyson is author of the essay collection, Wonderland. With BETTY, her music has been featured on scores of ads, films and television series, including Life with Mikey and The L Word.

She tours internationally with BETTY and The BETTY Effect, a non-profit wing she created with Elizabeth and Amy Ziff for the empowerment and self-advocacy of women, girls, LGBTQ communities and groups striving for equal rights worldwide. On January 21 2017, Alyson launched 1@1, an audacious women’s equality project that linked over 500,000 people worldwide in one minute of focused silence at one pm Eastern time to connect Women’s Marchers with those physically unable to attend. On January 20, 2018, 1@1 connected again, from coast to coast. As an ongoing project, 1@1 is a women’s equality amplifier that features feminist changemakers in inspirational 1-minute videos at 1pm every Monday. The free series can be followed at 1at1.org or on the 1@1 app. Her all-time favorite project is the dazzling adventures of her beloved children, Ruby and Lake. 

Be Steadwell

Be Steadwell is a singer songwriter from Washington DC. A blend of soul, acapella and folk — Be calls her music QUEER POP. In her live performances, she utilizes looping, vocal layering and beat boxing to compose her songs on stage.  Be's original music features earnest lyricism, and Affirming LGBTQ content.

As she pursued her career in music, she began a career in film. Shooting and editing her own music videos, Be combined her love of music with narrative film.  Her film Vow of Silence received awards at film festivals around the world, including Black Star, QWOCMAP, and Fringe Fest UK. This year, Issa Rae Featured Vow of Silence in her Short Film Sundays Series. After receiving a BA at Oberlin College, Be completed her MFA in film at Howard University in 2014.

Be has shared stages with fellow artist Activists Big Freedia, Nona Hendryx, Nikky Finney and Gina Yashere. In 2017, Be sang at The Women's March on the National Mall behind Maxwell and Janelle Monae in Toshi Reagon's Big Lovely Band. In May 2018, Be released her newest album Queer Love Songs.

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Christelle Durandy

Christelle Durandy’s artistry is a mosaic: a cross-cultural jazz combination that draws upon a vast spectrum of Soul, Caribbean and Latin inspirations. The melodic threads of her musicianship transcend borders and weave an international music fabric rooted in her loyal love for percussion, polyrhythm and for words and languages’ rhythmic concepts.

Christelle heads her ensemble “Cinq Têtes” (Sanktet) and the all-female World/Latin music collective Cocomama, in which she exhibits her talent as a writer, arranger and performer.

Preserving her stylings, Christelle has brought her musical colors to diverse projects: Paul Carlon Octet, Edward Perez Festejation. She has been featured with Toshi Reagon and Allison Miller “Celebrate the Great Women of Blues and Jazz”, John Benitez, Luis Enrique, La India, Max Pollak RumbaTap, Ricky Ford and Ze Big Band, Ran Blake, Climbing Poetree, just to name a few.

In 2017, Christelle collaborated with the iconic dance troupe of Krissy Keefer, Dance Brigade, to become the musical director of their 40th anniversary celebration ”Gracias a la Vida".

Christelle has recently joined, as a lead singer, Pacific Mambo Orchestra, 2013 Grammy Award Winner for Best Latin Tropical Album.

Of Reunion Island and French West Indies ancestry, Christelle Durandy combines colors of a rich tapestry of musical experiences as she began performing and touring at an early age with her family-based troupe in France. Under their guidance, she honed in on musical skills that she later developed during her apprenticeship in Europe, Cuba, and the U.S. Christelle has continually garnered critical praise for her passionate and fierce live performances, and has mesmerized audiences worldwide.

"The timbre and temperament of Durandy's voice has that rare quality of being able to transport the listener to an ethereal place." — Dimitry Ekshtut, Jazz Improv Magazine

Julie Wolf

Julie Wolf is a music producer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, music director and teacher. She has appeared on stages around the world and on numerous critically acclaimed recordings. She has collaborated with Carly Simon, Indigo Girls, Ani DiFranco, Maceo Parker, Bruce Cockburn, Amy Ray, Dar Williams, Rumer and Wayne Horvitz among many others. Recent highlights include television performances with Carly Simon (Late Night with Stephen Colbert, The View and Live with Kelly and Michael), recording a duet with Carly Simon for the release of Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan, producing Bruce Cockburn, working with Joan Baez and producing records for multiple artists of varying genres.

Based in Oakland, California, Julie is a part of a vibrant creative community that includes musicians, dancers, choreographers, poets, filmmakers, actors, directors, writers, teachers, healers and activists. She runs Julie Wolf Music, specializing in music production, composing for film and dance, sound design, and music/audio editing. Recent producing credits include Katie Cash’s Gift Horse, Cris Williamson’s Motherland, Gina Breedlove’s Language of Light, Rachel Friedman’s My Marching Band, The Lost American JazzBook (winner of Jazz Vocal Album Of The Year at the 14th Independent Music Awards), A Fragile Tomorrow’s One Way Ticket (winner of Best Cover Of The Year/15th Independent Music Awards) and Lucia Lilikoi’s Vessel. Julie also teaches music and production clinics, workshops and private students.

Throughout all of these adventures, Julie has continued her work with Olivia which began in 1994, making this her longest standing gig! She’s thrilled to be here with us accompanying many of the musicians onboard, giving some rare solo performances from behind the piano and reuniting with Olivia community!

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Katie Cash

The music of Katie Cash harkens to a time when rock n roll inspired revolution. In the manner of legends, she handles her guitar with an unparalleled command, embodying the music with every fiber or her being—hair flung as staccato punctuations to the heart she wears on her sleeve. She owns her vocal delivery, swinging you between high & low in an array of lustful richness and provocative rhythms. Perhaps most known for her well-loved band and brainchild Dolorata, she currently shares lead vocal and guitar duties in Oakland-based bands Year of the Fist and Skip the Needle, gliding between punk rock and rock 'n soul with graceful authenticity her fans have come to love.

"Katie Cash gave excellent support with her rock and folk endeavors, entwining delicate and powerful into a set so worth seeing." — Ria Burman, The Bay Bridged

"Katie Cash—I’m finally getting around to listening to the fine debut album, “Gift Horse,” by this outstanding local vocalist-guitarist. I recommend that you spend some time with the album as well and go see Cash when she performs..." — Jim Harrington, The Mercury News

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Allison Miller

NYC-based drummer/composer/teacher Allison Miller engages her deep roots in improvisation as a vehicle to explore all music. Described by critics as a "charismatic and rhythmically propulsive drummer with melodic sensibility", Miller, a three time Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. State Department, has been named “Top 20 Jazz Drummers” in Downbeat Magazine. Her band, Boom Tic Boom, is a recipient of Chamber Music America’s “Presenter Consortium for Jazz Grant” and Boom Tic Boom’s 4th release, Otis was a Polar Bear, was chosen for NPR’s Jazz Critics Poll (2016) and the title track is included in NPR’s 2018 “The 200 Greatest Songs By 21st Century Women” publication. This year Boom Tic Boom celebrates it’s 10th anniversary. The band has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Their 5th album, Glitter Wolf, comes out January of 2019.

As a side-musician, Miller has been the rhythmic force behind such artists as Ani DiFranco, Natalie Merchant, Brandi Carlile, Toshi Reagon, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Patricia Barber, Marty Ehrlich, Ben Allison, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and The Meredith Vieira Show. She is the musical director of Camille A Brown’s Ink, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards’ And Still You Must Swing, Rachna Nivas’ Speak, and co-leads Parlour Game with Jenny Scheinman and Holler and Bam with Toshi Reagon.

Allison teaches at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in NYC, Stanford Jazz Workshop, and is the Artistic Director of Jazz Camp West in La Honda, CA. She has been appointed Arts Envoy to Thailand for her work with Jazz Education Abroad. Allison endorses Yamaha drums, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth heads, and Evans drumheads.

“...Miller's craftiness as a percussionist is met by her ingenuity as a composer and group conceptualist.” — The New Yorker

“Ms. Miller is a drummer, bandleader and composer with an aesthetic of limber poise, drawn at once to brisk maneuvers and deep grooves.” — Nate Chinen, The New York Times

Jane Ramseyer Miller

Award-winning conductor Jane Ramseyer Miller is on-board directing the Olivia Community Chorus. Vibrant, passionate and a blast in rehearsal, she has inspired community choruses across North America in clinics, workshops and performances. Jane serves as Artistic Director for GALA Choruses, an association of nearly 200 LGBT choruses, and is also in her 23rd year as Artistic Director for One Voice Mixed Chorus in Minnesota. Conducting women’s voices is one of her fortes including serving as Artistic Director of the Calliope Women’s Chorus and Fierra Voce Femmina.

Jane holds a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Minnesota and a BA in Psychology from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada…but her best training has come from working with hundreds of amazing singers.

Jane founded the second transgender chorus in North America and is currently programming a Transgender Vocal Festival for trans singers, music coaches and teachers for spring 2018. She has commissioned nearly 30 new choral works and loves the process of creating new programs and compositions with living composers.

She envisions that songs for the Olivia Community Chorus will focus on music from the islands we are visiting, women composers, and music from Olivia’s rich history.

Olivia is pleased to support GALA Choruses in its mission to empower LGBT Choruses as they change our world through song. We’re thrilled to welcome Jane Ramseyer Miller, the Artistic Director of GALA Choruses, aboard our 2019 Caribbean Islands, Bermuda & New York Cruise, where she will conduct the Olivia Community Chorus. Come join us and sing OUT loud!

DJ Rockaway

Born and raised in Queens, NY, DJ Rockaway has been bringing her passion and love for music to dance floors for over a decade performing for audiences in the U.S. and internationally. From nightclubs on both the east and west coasts, to private weddings and events, she is a regular DJ on Olivia cruise and resort vacations and DJ’s for national non-profit events such as NCLR, HRC and Equality California, to name a few. She is the founder of PLAY San Francisco and PLAY San Jose, which are monthly events for women who love to dance. A true New Yorker (just listen to her talk), DJ Rockaway’s unique mix of music styles – dance, hip-hop, R&B, house, club, retro – allows her to play to all who love to dance and feel the music. For DJ Rockaway, music is more than a blend of sounds, music is an experience – she wants you to feel it, live it, escape into it.

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DJ Citizen Jane

If there is just one thing in this world to bring people together, it’s the power of music. Not many DJ/Producers can say they’ve got what it takes to break through the subtle music barriers between several diverse groups, but then again none of those DJ’s are DJ Citizen Jane. The Cuban American, Miami born Pied Piper of the decks has been whistling her own unique tune and now is the most in-demand female DJ in the country. Her resume reads like a circuit party passport that keeps growing every year.

Her ability to read and keep a crowd going is her signature, and what has allowed her to obtain resident DJ and headliner DJ billing at the hottest clubs, venues and musical festivals in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Europe and beyond—including headliner for LIVE Nation events and has had the honor of performing at the “World’s Most Famous Arena” Madison Square Garden. Citizen Jane is the 2014, 2015 & 2017 Pink Flamingo awards winner for “Favorite DJ”, an honor solely voted by the public. In 2015, Citizen Jane was the lone woman on the ballot beating out Grammy award winning DJs for the coveted award. In 2016, Citizen Jane was the only woman DJ on the 2016 Folsom Fair billing, an event woman are rarely invited to spin, and turned it out with a widely huge successful set at the crown night event “Magnitude”. In 2017, Citizen Jane headlined the most iconic Pride “Mardi Gras” in Sydney, Australia to over 40,000 in her debut. Citizen Jane was one of Go Mag's "100 Women We Love” in 2018. Citizen Jane is the Co-Founder of Hialeah Pride in Hialeah Florida an all-inclusive LGBTQ festival. Her love of music extends beyond her high energy DJ beats that has led her to become one of the most in demand International DJ/Producers on the DJ scene today.

Dorothy Allison

Dorothy Allison is the author of Bastard out of Carolina, a finalist for the 1992 National Book Award, and Cavedweller (Dutton, 1998) a national bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, as well as the memoir, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure (Dutton, 1995), and the poetry chapbook, The Women Who Hate Me (1990). She has a collection of short fiction, Trash, published in two editions—from Firebrand in 1989 and in an expanded edition from Penguin, 2003. In addition, she has a book of essays, Skin: Talking About Sex, Class and Literature (Firebrand, 1995). A new novel is forthcoming from Viking Penguin.

Bastard out of Carolina was made into a highly acclaimed film, directed by Angelica Huston. Two or Three Things I Know for Sure was translated into a short documentary that took prizes at the Aspen and Toronto film festivals, and was an Emmy-nominated feature on PBS’s POVCavedweller was presented Off Broadway by the New York Theater Company in the spring of 2003, and, in 2004, it was made into a film by Lisa Cholendenko, featuring Kyra Sedgwick.

A board member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and a past member of the boards of both PEN International and Feminists for Academic Freedom, Allison has taught at some of the most prestigious institutions in the country. She continues to be a sought after lecturer and teacher, and has been writer-in-residence at numerous universities, McGee Professor and writer-in-residence at Davidson College, Emory University Center for Humanistic Inquiry’s Distinguished visiting professor, honored lecturer at John Cabot University in Rome, and a visiting professor at Columbia College. A contributing editor to Tin House, she has taught at the Tin House summer program at Reed College in Portland, Oregon over most of the last decade.

Allison makes her home in Northern California. She and her partner, Alix, were married on All Soul’s Day in 2008, the day before California passed Proposition 8, making such marriages illegal. Their son, Wolf Michael, was their best man.

Jewelle Gomez

Jewelle Gomez (Cape Verdean/Wampanoag/Ioway) was born in Boston where she was raised by her great grandmother. She graduated from Northeastern University and then from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.

She worked at WGBH-TV in the 1960s on the staff of one of the first weekly, Black television shows, Say Brother, then in New York on the pilot shows for The Electric Company. She has taught creative writing and popular culture at institutions of higher learning from San Francisco State University to Hunter College (NYC).

She is the author of seven books including the double Lambda Literary Award-winning, vampire novel, THE GILDA STORIES, whose 25th Anniversary edition was recently published by City Lights Books. She’s written for numerous publications including The NY Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, Ms Magazine, Black Scholar, The Advocate and the Bay Times. She was the recipient of a National Endowment on the Arts Fellowship in Literature and two California Arts Council Artist-in-Residence grants. In 2017, she received the Barbary Coast Trailblazer Award from LitQuake. She is a 2018 Community Grand Marshall for San Francisco PRIDE.

She was on the founding boards of Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Astraea Lesbian Foundation and the Open Meadows Foundation. She was previously the director of grants at the San Francisco Arts Commission and Horizons LGBT Foundation; as well as Director of the Literature Program at the New York State Council on the Arts. She also served as the director of the Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives (SFSU). Until recently, she was the president of the San Francisco Public Library Commission.

She is currently playwright in residence at New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco which produced "Waiting for Giovanni," her play about James Baldwin which is part of a trilogy about African American artists in the first half of the 20th century. The play has its New York City Premier at The Flea Theatre July 12. "Leaving the Blues," her second play in the trilogy is about singer/songwriter Alberta Hunter and also premiered at NCTC. The third play, "Unpacking in Ptown," will open New Conservatory’s 40th anniversary season in 2021.

J.M. Redmann

J.M. Redmann was born in Biloxi, Mississippi and has yet to recover. She grew up in Ocean Springs, a small town on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. At eighteen, determined to get out of the South, she headed north to Vassar College. During her freshman year, she was asked by the Daughters of the Confederacy to make her debut. She declined their offer, and came out in a very different way. The day after she graduated from college, she got on a train for New York City. Determined not to become a rich yuppie, Ms. Redmann embarked on a career in theatrical lighting (including a stint as the lightening director of the New York Playboy Club. Yes, really). Riches never once darkened her door. To this day, they remain far afield.

Missing crawfish and king cake, Redmann returned to her ancestral home of New Orleans. Laissez les bon temps rouler. (No way going back to Mississippi. There is a reason they make those jokes about that place.)

With a degree in drama, Redmann ended up with a day job in public health. She worked in theater just as her co-workers could come to work with a cough and then their funeral was three weeks later. As Camus says, ‘it matters what you do in times of plague.’ She has since continued working in HIV/AIDS and is now the Director of Prevention (meetings, lots and lots of meetings, reports, even more of those) for CrescentCare, an organization that has transformed from an AIDS service organization to a community health center. It keeps her in contact with the areas of New Orleans that the tourists don’t see and allows her to order things that are called educational demonstrators in grants, but most people refer to as dildos. Yeah, nothing like opening the latest shipment just as the bug man comes to spray the office.

She currently writes two series in her copious spare time, a new one as R. Jean Read for Midnight Ink. The first, ROOTS OF MURDER, was out in 2016 and the second, PERDITION, came out summer of 2017. She is better known (five people instead of two) under the name J.M. Redmann, for which she writes the trashy, southern gothic lesbian detective series featuring Micky Knight. Her latest is THE GIRL ON THE EDGE OF SUMMER, which came out in the spring of 2017. Previous books include ILL WILL, which won a Lambda Literary award, Fore Word mystery award and made the American Library Association GLBT Roundtable’s 2013 Over the Rainbow list. THE INTERSECTION OF LAW AND DESIRE and DEATH OF A DYING MAN won Lambda Literary Awards. LAW & DESIRE was an Editor’s Choice of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Redmann was inducted as a Literary Saint into the Saints and Sinners Hall of Fame—first and last time she’ll ever be a saint. Her books have been translated into Spanish, German, Dutch, Norwegian and Hebrew and one short story even make it into Korean. She is the co-editor with Greg Herren of three anthologies, NIGHT SHADOWS: QUEER HORROR, WOMEN OF THE MEAN STREETS: LESBIAN NOIR, and MEN OF THE MEAN STREETS: GAY NOIR. Redmann currently lives in an historic neighborhood in New Orleans, at the edge of the area that flooded. She is the first to admit that this isn't exactly what she had planned. When pressed, she will admit that few things are as she had planned.

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Christine Svendsen (writing as Isabella)

Christine Svendsen, also writing as Isabella – Owner and Publisher of Sapphire Books Publishing, LLC.

How it all started — When Christine Svendsen’s first book was turned away by publishers, she launched her own publishing company. Now, eight years later, she’s has a house full of award-winning lesbian authors and her own award-winning books published under the pseudonym Isabella via Sapphire Books. “Believe in yourself. Rejection isn’t the end of a story, it can be a beginning,” Svendsen said. “Looking back, I didn’t think in terms of what if this doesn’t work? I only thought of the possibilities.” Since then Christine has won numerous awards for her books and has signed some pretty awesome and talented award-winning authors, which has moved Sapphire up on the list to be noticed.

Sallyanne Monti

Sallyanne Monti is an Author and Editor. Her fiction and non-fiction short stories, poems, and articles have appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines, and newspapers. She manages anthologies and business development for Sapphire Books, The Gem in Lesbian Publishing.

She is a member of the Golden Crown Literary Society, Rainbow Romance Writers, Romance Writers of America, and The Lesbian Authors Guild.

A retired business management, marketing, and PR consultant, Sallyanne gives back by lending her time freely and creating dynamic partnerships with LGBT leaders and organizations.

She’s at work on her first full-length novel entitled, Light at the End of the Tunnel, a true story of fate and destiny, hopeless long-distance romance, and coming out.

In her spare time, Sallyanne writes music and plays guitar. She’s produced numerous literary, comedy, and music festivals, donating proceeds to charity. Sallyanne lives in Palm Springs, California, and Sedona, Arizona with her wife Mickey and their doggies Sola & Zorra.

Schileen Potter

Schileen is the CFO for Sapphire Books, The Gem in Lesbian Publishing. She is a native of Sugarland, Texas but calls California home now. She loves spending time with her wife Christine and their three sons, two cats and one dog. She enjoys traveling, time at their cabin by Yosemite, and playing slot machines. She is a U.S. Army Veteran and competed for the All-Army & Armed Forces Tae Kwon Do Team from 1993-1997. For the past 16 years, Schileen has worked as a consultant in Healthcare Information Technology specializing in pharmacy informatics and automation.

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