Juliet: How should I introduce you?
Alix Dobkin: I wore this (t-shirt) specially. (It says “This is what an old Lesbian looks like”) I don’t usually wear it around town. I wear it on bookings, and when I travel, it’s what I sing in. I wanted to wear it here.
It depends on where I am. Around here I’m “Grandma Alix”. I identify as Lesbian feminist, of course mother, grandmother, writer, performer, community builder. I’m co-director of Old Lesbians Organizing for Change. (www.oloc.org) Also, a good citizen I hope.
Juliet: What brought you to Woodstock?
Alix: My first time in Woodstock was around 1963 when Billy Faier brought me up here to go skiing. That was my first and only time skiing. I liked it fine but … Then I came up here when I was married and I was pregnant with Adrian. Sam was part owner of the Elephant Cafe on Rock City Road. That went under and we moved back to New York City. We did live here right off of Orchard Lane. We lived here for two wonderful months and I loved it.
I moved up to Schoharie County in 1975 or 1973 and then I moved down in 1978. I loved it, felt at home here. I love living here. I never want to move away. This is where I feel like I belong. The only improvement I would make is more people of color. It’s too white here. Other than that it’s just a great place to live.
Juliet: What is your first memory of the town of Woodstock?
Alix: It would be when I first came up with Billy Faier. And then I was hired to sing at the Espresso Cafe. I played there and stayed upstairs. I remember laying there and really enjoying Woodstock and liking playing here.
Juliet: What about Woodstock has changed?
Alix: Well the world has changed. Really the essence of Woodstock hasn’t changed in my mind. The stores change, and things do change a lot and people complain “It’s not like it used to be” but actually I feel pretty much the same way about it. I can’t tell you what’s changed besides the obvious. What I tell people is “Woodstock is a town with three bookstores and no traffic light” and that to me describes it.
Juliet: What’s your favorite thing about being here?
Alix: I love the mountains, I love the Hudson Valley, I love the Hudson River. I grew up on the Hudson River in New York City. I love the culture, I love that there is so much going on. Not that I ever go to much, but there are all kinds of music and art and original creativity here. That of course has made it a mecca. Between The Golden Notebook, the Tinker Street Cinema, the many live music and theater venues, art and music schools, the benefit performances and more, there’s wonderful culture in the town where I live. I love my women’s and Lesbian community in the general area. It’s not just Woodstock. I actually never really felt a strong Lesbian or gay presence in Woodstock as I do in other places. But it’s a pretty come-as-you-are-kind of atmosphere which seems accepting which is good enough (we both laugh). Even if it isn’t, which is fine with me, just don’t give me a hard time. I love it here because Adrian is here and my family is here.