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Drink Coasters - Set, Angie's Frames, 'Girlbar', circa 1990s Object Reg. No: HT 25034

Summary:
One of a set of six drink coasters, apparently made of plywood with a thick plastic coating. Each has a white profile of a woman (pairs have the same image), overlaid with the word 'Girlbar'.

Girl Bar was established in 1993 by Kira Seymour and Julie Jeong. Its stated aim at the time was 'to encourage live queer performances, entertainment, fun, and coalition politics'. Girl Bar has operated from several Melbourne venues - the first at the Commerce Club in Flinders Lane, then to South Melbourne and later St Kilda. In 2010 it is operating at the Prince of Wales Hotel, 29 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda.
Description:
Set of six drink coasters, apparently made of plywood with a thick plastic coating. Each has a colour image (pairs have the same image), overlaid with the word 'Girlbar', upon which sits a white profile of a woman. One pair features the back pocket of a pair of jeans; another has a yellow/brown circle with radiating yellow lines and star shapes against a purple background; and the third pair has a similar pattern in orange and red, and a flame on the lower left. Each has a printed sticker - or the remnants of one - on the back. Upper right corner of laminate on one coaster is lifting. The coasters were received in torn clear plastic packaging with barcode and price $2.50.
Statement Of Significance:
The Girl Bar collection is significant for several reasons. It provides rare documentation of a lesbian social venue from the 1990s to the recent past, illustrating how the venue promoted itself and the messages it conveyed to its target audience, and how patrons interacted with the venue. The collection includes several key objects and documents, from entry tags and ID cards carried by patrons to a scrapbook with flyers, advertisements and newspaper clippings about the venue and the lesbian scene in Melbourne more broadly. It is contextualized with material such as an album of photographs showing the fit-out of one of their venues, a whistle (for safety and attention), t-shirts and drink coasters, and a personal artwork that remembers an event at the Girl Bar. The collection fills part of the gap in major Victorian collecting institutions, identified in Kate Davison?s 2006 report ?Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Material Survey?.

At a broader level, the Girl Bar scrapbook documents the techniques used by venues of this sort ? and indeed, a whole range of social contexts, including bands ? to promote themselves in a cost-effective, grass-roots manner. It includes original artwork, showing the simple techniques (such as line drawings and cutting and pasting) that were used to create flyers for photocopying onto coloured paper. The photo album documents the physical set-up of a business, providing an insight into a rarely-documented part of commercial life.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Kira Seymour, 2005
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 95 mm (Height), 95 mm (Width)
Dimension Comment: Size of each coaster

More information

Tagged with: lesbian gay, making history - gay lesbian collection
Themes this item is part of: Cultural Diversity Collection
Primary Classification: CULTURAL IDENTITY
Secondary Classification: Sexuality
Tertiary Classification: promotional materials
Inscriptions: Printed on label on back of most (with some losses): 'ANGI'S FRAMES / Angi Toth / Tel: 0419 172 613 / angisframes@bigpond.com'. Barcode on package is labelled 'Pom Pom Kit 6'.
Date Made: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, circa 1990s

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