Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mama Peaches

Mama Peaches by Edie Fake (1980)
Mama Peaches

Location: Northside of Chicago, Illinois, USA

Opened: Early 1970s?

Closed: 1978

This beautiful depiction of Mama Peaches was done by Edie Fake in 2000. The artist was born in 1980, two years after Mama Peaches closed.

Mama Peaches was a 1970s era lesbian restaurant. The blogger Altivo lists it among it among his/her top four  "all-time favorite restaurants." The blogger Wiredsisters also mentions "the late lamented Mama Peaches" as her "favorite veggie restaurant."  Lauren Weinberg lists Mama Peaches as one of the Chicago LGBTQ community's "vanished safe spaces." So there's certainly a lot of lingering nostalgia for a place that's been gone for over 30 years.

In 1976, the Moutain Moving Womyn's Coffee House (also previously featured here at Lost Womyn's Space) moved their operations to Mama Peaches when they were priced out of their former northside store front (shared with a feminist crisis line). They were to stay here until Mama Peaches closed in 1978.

Feminist Art Workers, a collaborative performance art group, did a work called "Heaven or Hell?" at Mama Peaches in 1977.

West coast feminist folk singer Janet Smith even wrote a song called "Mama Peaches."

Chicago lesbian activist Nancy Reiff has also mentioned going to Mama Peaches back in the day, though the women associated with Mama Peaches had a somewhat different political spin on things:

"I used to go to Mama Peaches all the time. That was the closest I got to radical lesbian separatists. I got on OK with them. Just OK. When I had Marilyn's, I was always trying to do things, to get community involvement, get the women involved, and when I would do dance contests, the feminists would be up in arms, 'Who was I to try and judge my sisters?' They were always upset about dance contests, so I was never really involved with them. Their politics and mine were completely different."

And though the women at Mama Peaches apparently did business with men, they weren't particularly, um, peachy keen about it--at least according to one male restaurant manager:

The Bakery goods came from a lesbian restaurant called Mama Peaches. Sometimes I would go pick the stuff up and the tone would change when I would enter the place.It seemed to me the chopping of the knives on the cutting boards picked up a notch and I got a few ever so slight icy stares, like WTF are YOU doing here?

Unfortunately, I can't find any comprehensive account about Mama Peach's existence. Or even an exact address. But it sure sounds like it was a cool least if you weren't a male restaurant manager.

1 comment:

  1. I was one of the Mama Peaches "Collective" women [but not a founding one] during the mid-70's. We were located on Sheffield, at the corner of Barry. Ahhh, memories...


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