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NewBridge Books: Phyllis Christopher and Shar Rednour

Thu 18th April 2019

6 – 8pm
BALTIC 39, High Bridge


Join us within the Ways of Learning exhibition at BALTIC 39 where photographer Phyllis Christopher and editor/writer Shar Rednour will discuss amusing anecdotes about the the day-to-day publishing of the first lesbian erotic magazine, On Our Backs, and will discuss their interest in developing a lesbian visual language using particularly lesbian fetishes.

Phyllis Christopher’s photographs document lesbian sexual exploration from 1987 through the mid 2000’s in San Francisco. This erotic work was first published in On Our Backs magazine where she became photo editor from 1991-94. In an era that published few written words and images about contemporary lesbian concerns, these photographs were in collaboration with women exploring their desires, fetishes, gender identities, and lesbian visibility in front of the camera. On Our Backs paved the way for women to find a real, accessible expression and representation of lesbian desire, and it was here where Christopher first met Shar Rednour, editor/writer of the magazine. Rednour is currently based in the US and will join in the evening’s discussion through Skype, both Christopher and Rednour will discuss the impacts of their work, and the way it gave voice to a community that felt they were being ignored by mainstream politics and media – making the invisible, visible.

Phyllis Christopher

Phyllis Christopher’s body of work documenting LGBT visibility, sexuality and protest in San Francisco has been published in the books: Nothing But The Girl: The Blatant Lesbian Image (co-edited by Susie Bright and Jill Posener), Photo Sex: Fine Art Sexual Photography Comes of Age (edited by David Steinberg), Art & Queer Culture (co-edited by Catherine Lord and Richard Meyer) and Aperture Magazine. She is the former photo editor On Our Backs magazine. In 2005, she released the DVD ‘Sextrospective: A Decade with San Francisco’s Sexiest Lesbians’ – a collection of 280 photographs documenting the lesbian sexual revolution of the 1990’s. She has been featured on HBO’s ‘Sexbites’, Canadian television’s ‘Sex TV’ and the documentary film, ‘Erotica – A Journey into Female Sexuality’. In January 2017, her work was featured in the retrospective: On Our Backs: An Archive, at The Newbridge Project Gallery, Newcastle. Her work is currently being shown at De La Warr Pavilion, in the group show ‘Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resitance’.

Shar Rednour 

Editor and writer Shar Rednour is a spoken word performer, radio host and Audible author. Shar Rednour worked at the original On Our Backs Magazine/Fatale Media both as an editor/writer and in video production. In 1998 she co-founded her own production company with her wife Jackie Strano. Their explicit sex education films were best-selling and critically acclaimed and include the cult classic Bend Over Boyfriend. Shar co-directed the non-explicit film project Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma featuring Staci Haines, which helps heal intimacy with one’s self and others after surviving abuse or trauma.

Shar co-authored the massive, fun, frisky and very helpful THE Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone with sexologist Carol Queen Ph.D. Shar was the editor of the award-nominated ‘zine and subsequent book Starf*fcker: A Twisted Collection of Superstar Fantasies. Her passionate work on the feminist reclaiming of virginity began with an essay in The Last Sex: Feminism & Its Outlaw Bodies (Editors Marilouise & Arthur Kroker)—the resulting collision of condemnation and applause led to her two anthologies Virgin Territory 1 and 2.

Shar wrote the empowering, hilarious whole-life femme anthem The Femme’s Guide to the Universe, which is also a working-class, feminist homage to Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex & The Single Girl. She was proud to be selected to narrate the biography Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown by Jennifer Scanlon. She’s toured the US nationally with spoken-word troupe Sister Spit and has been an invited speaker at NYU, Brown, Mills College, Wesleyan, SFU, UC Berkeley and other Universities.

Image credit: Photo of Shar Rednour by Phyllis Christopher, 1992

Ways of Learning: BALTIC is curated by Lucy Lopez and Kim McAleese (Grand Union, Birmingham) in partnership with BALTIC.

Ways of Learning is Open: 17 February – 12 May 2019 (Wed – Sun, 12 – 5.30pm)

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