Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

PASSAGES Honey Lee Cottrell
2015-09-26

This article shared 5477 times since Sat Sep 26, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Honey Lee Cottrell ( 1946-2015 )Honey Lee Cottrell, a visionary photographer and filmmaker who pioneered lesbian erotica in the 1980s through her contributions to the women's erotica magazine On Our Backs, died on Monday, Sept. 21, in Santa Cruz, California. The cause was pancreatic cancer. She was 69 years old.

Cottrell revolutionized the female nude, validated women's right to pleasure, and opened possibilities for women to see themselves and their desires in new ways through her engagement in a variety of feminist, artistic, and sex education projects.

She studied at the National Sex Forum and was a member of San Francisco Sex Information in the 1970s. She co-authored I Am My Lover, a 1978 feminist book celebrating masturbation that she created with Joani Blank and Tee Corinne. She was an early member of the Lesbian and Gay History Project, founded in late 1978 in San Francisco.

In 1981, Cottrell received a BA in film studies from San Francisco State University. She was director and camera for Sweet Dreams starring Pat Califia ( National Sex Forum, 1980 ), and from 1985 to the early 90s, a cinematographer for Fatale Video, the first lesbian-created erotic movie company.

She was one of the "core four," along with Debi Sundahl, Nan Kinney, and Susie Bright, who gave On Our Backs its style and success. When it started in 1984, she proposed a "Bulldagger of the Month" centerfold for the first issue. She explained that the idea was "to stand this Playboy centerfold idea on its head from, I would say, a feminist perspective… what would I do if I was a centerfold and how can I reflect back to them our values?" Her idea was not to be "the regular kind of centerfold, but something that will make a difference, shake people up, show the other side of the mirror." Cottrell was a contributing photographer to On Our Backs for seven years.

She photographed her lovers and friends and documented queer and kink cultures for decades with her first camera, a 35 mm Nikkormat. She was exacting and precise in the photographs and collages she created, as well as in her dark room work. She studied with Ruth Bernhard, who invited Cottrell to be her printer. In addition to I Am My Lover and On Our Backs, her still photography has appeared in publications including The Blatant Image, Coming to Power, Sinister Wisdom, and Nothing But the Girl.

Her exhibitions include shows at 848 Community Space in San Francisco, the Bacchanal in Albany, California, The Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California ( now known as the GLBT Historical Society ), the NAME gallery in Chicago, and her images were part of Cornell University's Speaking of Sex exhibition.

"The lesbian gaze meant that there was a contemplation," she said, "a restraint, a sincerity and a warrior-quality. This lesbian look was compelling. While your heterosexual woman model might compel the rest of the world to look at her, a lesbian was addressing you."

Born in Astoria, Oregon, on January 16, 1946, the elder of two children, she grew up in Michigan. After completing a year at Michigan State University in 1964-65, Cottrell worked at the Technicolor photo processing lab. As she later discovered, a number of lesbians were working there, having discovered it was a fairly safe place for butch women to work. Cottrell was invited to visit one of these women, Harriet DeVito, who had moved to New York City, and then ended up driving across country with her to California in 1966. Along the way, Cottrell discovered what her feelings for women meant to her, and Harriet became her first lover.

Once she arrived in San Francisco, she made it her home and became deeply involved in the creative lesbian community of artists, photographers, and film-makers in the Bay Area, as well as the progressive sex education activists. She opened her apartment on Bessie Street to friends and artists, helping find jobs and shelter for people in need.

To support her artistic work, Cottrell worked in two unions. As a member of the Marine Cooks and Stewards, she was able to fulfill her dream of travel to South Pacific where her father Duane Cottrell had served in WWII. She worked as a banquet waiter in Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union in the 1980s and 90s, retiring in 2012. A proud union member, she walked many a picket line protesting the mistreatment of workers especially recent immigrant populations working as room cleaners at San Francisco hotels.

Gayle Rubin, anthropologist and theorist of sex and gender politics, notes:

"[Honey Lee] was never someone who put herself out front…. She was more of a quiet observer, but a persistently potent presence. She had a kind of strength and solidity that seemed to anchor things around her; as if she provided the gravity that held various circling planets in their stable orbits. And she just kept generating images, events, relationships, connections."

Cottrell loved the outdoors and studied herbal medicine, native plants, and botany. With this perspective and perhaps with her photographer's training to notice interesting small moments of daily life, she went through her illness and death with a combination of butch swagger and serenity, a confidence that everything would be alright. She continued to direct photo shoots and art installations, and found delights in each changing day.

Two weeks before her death, Cottrell had the energy one day for a road trip, lunch at a favorite Middle Eastern deli with longtime and new friends, and a walk in the redwoods. No one was surprised that she crawled under caution tape and a Do Not Enter sign to get to her favorite tree, a spot where she had often brought her daughter, Aretha Bright.

Past lovers and family members came to visit Cottrell in her last 40 days, and she died at peace in her home in Santa Cruz. She is survived by her mother Patricia Cottrell, brother Michael Cottrell, and daughter Aretha Bright, and her life companions Melinda Gebbe, Amber Hollibaugh, and Susie Bright.

Media release distributed by Gerard Koskovich, San Francisco, Sept. 24, 2015. Photo courtesy of Brenda J. Marston.

www.femininemoments.dk/blog/obituary-honey-lee-cottrell-1946-2015/ .


This article shared 5477 times since Sat Sep 26, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

DANCE Hubbard Street's 'Half of Us' debuting May 20
2021-05-03
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's (HSDC) 43rd season will be completed with the virtual world premiere of new work by choreographer/director Robyn Mineko Williams entitled "Half of Us," on Thursday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. The 16-minute ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Master of None,' children's book, Kristen Stewart, expectant couple
2021-05-02
Master of None is coming back—but this time, the series will focus on Lena Waithe's character, Denise, out.com noted. Master of None, created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang for Netflix, starred Ansari for the first ...


Gay News

Actress Olympia Dukakis dies at 89
2021-05-01
Olympia Dukakis—who won an Oscar for her supporting role in the 1987 hit Moonstruck and starred in Look Who's Talking and Mr. Holland's Opus as well as iterations of TV's Tales of the City—died May 1 at her home in New York City ...


Gay News

VIRTUAL CINEMA MeToo drama 'Slalom' airing at Siskel starting May 7
2021-04-29
The Cannes-selected #MeToo drama Slalom—the debut from filmmaker Charlène Favier—will run at the Gene Siskel Film Center's Virtual Cinema starting Friday, May 7. The French movie is also currently playing ...


Gay News

Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscars pre-party raises $3M
2021-04-26
The 29th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards® Pre-Party hosted by Emmy- and Tony-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris alongside Sir Elton John and David Furnish, raised $3 million for the global effort to end AIDS, ...


Gay News

Exceptions the rule at 2021 Oscars
2021-04-26
After a year that saw the motion picture industry upended by both the COVID-19 pandemic and an already shifting entertainment landscape, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences pressed on with the 93rd Annual Oscars ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Joe Exotic' series, Luther Vandross, singer's announcement, star couples
2021-04-25
Hedwig and the Angry Inch's John Cameron Mitchell has been tapped to play the title character opposite Kate McKinnon in the series Joe Exotic (working title), Deadline reported. The limited series centers on Carole Baskin (McKinnon), ...


Gay News

PASSAGES: AIDS activist, anti-imperalist organizer Tryfan Morys Eibhlyn Llwyd
2021-04-25
Longtime AIDS activist and anti-imperalist organizer Tryfan Morys Eibhlyn Llwyd (also known as Arawn Eibhlyn, and who uses the pronouns they/them/their) died March 3 in Louisville, Kentucky due to natural causes. They were 70. Llwyd was ...


Gay News

Body of 19-year-old Chicago Black trans woman found in June 2020, identified April 2021
2021-04-24
On June 6, 2020, the body of an unidentified young Black trans person was found in an abandoned building at 7908 S Laflin in Chicago. https://twitter.com/KaylaraOwl/status/1292173435750277123 . Koko Nia Labeija was born 29 May 2001 in ...


Gay News

Netflix to debut limited series 'Halston' on May 14
2021-04-23
On what would have been legendary fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick's 89th birthday (on April 23), Netflix stated it was honoring the visionary icon by announcing the Friday, May 14, global premiere date for the five-episode ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Retired Chicago Police Commander Nancy Y. Lipman dies
2021-04-22
Retired Chicago Police Commander Nancy Y. Lipman died April 11 due to complications from ovarian cancer. She was 61. Lipman was born Jan. 21, 1960 in Chicago and graduated from Morgan Park High School. She also ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Donald Duane Slater
2021-04-20
Donald Duane Slater, age 73, of Kalamazoo Michigan made his transition on April 8, 2021 in his home, of natural causes. Don worked in several bars in the 1970's and 80's. Among them the Glory Hole ...


Gay News

GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics hands out Dorian Awards
2021-04-19
--From a press release - LOS ANGELES, CA, April 18, 2021 — Nomadland, the spare and fact-based drama of a group of struggling Americans living off the grid; the vivid blueswoman biopic Ma Rainey's Black Bottom; the family-happy fish-out-of-water fable Minari; ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Brandi Carlile, 'Legendary,' children's book, film festival, Janet Mock
2021-04-18
Lesbian musician Brandi Carlile memoir, Broken Horses, debuted at number one on The New York Times Best Sellers list, a press release announced. In addition to the hardback book, a very special audiobook edition of the ...


Gay News

WORLD Trans women arrested, death threats, Russian film, leader apologizes
2021-04-11
Two transgender women facing charges of "attempted homosexuality" (as well as public indecency and not carrying identification) in a high-profile case in Cameroon will spend more than two months behind bars without a trial after a ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.