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Scrapbook - Girl Bar Promotions, 1991-2000 Object Reg. No: HT 25038

Summary:
White ring binder containing 82 plastic sleeves, with laminated colour image of women and motorbikes on front. Contains flyers, artwork for flyers, newspaper cuttings, postcards and membership cards. The scrapbook records the business of Girl Bar, a lesbian venue in Melbourne. Most content undated (except for month and day), but dates range from 1991 to 2000.

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:
White ring binder containing 82 plastic sleeves. Laminated colour image of women and motorbikes on front. All but two sleeves contain colour paper, onto which has been glued at least one - and sometimes several - flyers, artwork for flyers and newspaper cuttings. Most content undated (except for month and day), but dates range from 1991 to 2000. The flyers are mostly monochrome, printed on coloured or white paper. They largely have inscriptions including the venue name and a function date, and an illustration such as a cartoon-style woman with exaggerated body features. Some are based on photographs. Artwork for flyers includes adhered inscriptions, probably used for photocopying, and a sketch on lined paper. Newspaper cuttings include advertisements for the Girl Bar, articles that mention the venue, and photographs of women socializing (some with sources, many without). Postcards from the venue, and 3 membership cards, are also included.

Advertised events include 'Doc and Julie's Birthday Celebration Jan 27 and 'Girl Bar One Hot Year Birthday Bash 21st Oct' (1995). In some flyers the venue is called 'Girl Bar Theatre Club'; other flyers open with header 'Lesbians in Space Present Girl Bar'. At the Friday Commerce Club 'Woman's Male Guest Most Welcome'. On 14 October (1995) Girl Bar issued an invitation 'to rock our jailhouse', with a 'cops and robbers theme with giveaways, shows, guest appearances'.

The scrapbook includes material relating to other venues also: Club Deluxe in Park Street, South Melbourne; Duke of Edinburgh in St Kilda Road, St Kilda; the Glass House Hotel in Gipps Street, Collingwood; the Pony Club in Queensbury Street, Carlton (from which a 1996 poster is included); and Fish Bowl Gourmet Take-out in Brunswick St, Fitzroy (artwork).

Other business-related content includes a copy of a contract between GirlBar and Travel Maps Australia for a listing in the Lay and Lesbian Melbourne Map in 1995.

It also includes correspondence dated 19 September 1994 from Julie and Kira at Girl Bar, Kitten With a Whip Promotions, Commerce Club, 328 Flinders St, Melbourne. Other flyers provide the address of the Girl Bar Theatre Club at 331 Flinders Lane or 328 Flinders St. In 1998 the Girl Bar new year's eve party was held at the Duke of Edinburgh in St Kilda, to which they had apparently moved; Girl Bar was farewelled from 'its current home, Subway', 5 Martin St, St Kilda, in August 1998 (refers back to the time Girl Bar left its home, 12-14 Mackillop St, probably March 1996); in May 1996 they became part of a new club called Club Deluxe with Queer Nation at The Milk Bar with Queer Nation at 19 Park St, South Melbourne. At some stage the Girl Bar was also advertised at the Prince of Wales Hotel, 29 Fitzroy St, St Kilda.

A history of Bent TV is included in the scrapbook, as is an issue of Brother Sister, 4 June 1993.
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: 196 mm (Height), 290 mm (Width)
Dimension Comment: Depth includes ribbon tie

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: venues
Inscriptions: Hand-written on cover: 'Bananas / A work of fiction, based on a real life story. / Presented to Julien Chong, by Ms. Marina Radanova Perkovich / Best Wishes / for your birthday / 1999'. On first page: 'Bananas A POST-MODERN GIRL BAR Story / (all the names in this story have been changed)'.
Date Made: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1991-2000

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