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Hazelwitch Productions | University of Houston Libraries

Name: Hazelwitch Productions


Historical Note:

Hazelwitch Productions was established in 1981 by a group of women dedicated to bringing lesbian and feminist performers to the Houston community. The organization was incorporated in April 1983 and, over a fifteen year period, produced around forty events featuring musicians, comedians, and performance artists. In addition to performances, Hazelwitch presented films, workshops, and counseling sessions.

At any one time there were between three and five active members in the corporation, supported by a network of secondary members and volunteers. Key members were Cheryl Wolfarth (the organization's founder), Tori Williams, Pokey Anderson, Cindy Edwards, Katherine Hubbard, Kathy Wilcox, and Gail Eldridge. Remembering Hazelwitch, Kathy Wilcox stressed the cooperative nature of the corporation's management and pointed out that officers were chosen for legal reasons only; decisions were made by consensus in an atmosphere of mutual support and with a strong commitment to feminist ideals.

Although Hazelwitch did not publish a newsletter, events were promoted through the local gay/lesbian press. One notable publicity outlet was "The Wand," the newsletter of the lesbian collective "Womynspace" which had been active since the mid 1980s and has produced the group "Lesbians Over the Age of Fifty," or "L.O.A.F." Pokey Anderson and Cheryl Wolfarth also publicized Hazelwitch on a KPFT radio show which aired until 1994.

Typical venues for productions were churches, restaurants, university auditoriums, and theaters, and Hazelwitch engaged the Houston Area Women's Center and local area bookstores, among others, as outlets for ticket sales. The corporation also enjoyed the sponsorship of organizations such as the University of Houston chapter of N.O.W. and the Montrose Counseling Center. In turn they donated proceedings to groups such as the Aids Foundation of Houston and KPFT Radio.

Despite frugal financial management the 1990s brought difficulties for the corporation due to a decline in ticket sales to Hazelwitch events. Patty Larkin's appearance at the Heinen Theatre in March 1996 was the corporation's last major production, and the process of dissolution was initiated that same year. As lesbian performers have begun to enjoy more mainstream success, their need for the kind of close-knit community support, which Hazelwitch provided, has apparently waned. Nevertheless, it is largely due to the groundbreaking efforts of organizations such as Hazelwitch that this on-going transition to the mainstream is possible.





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