The 70′s

by leekeeler on October 18, 2010

Hello, my name is Dr. Rebekah Steinhoff and I was very important in the 1970s. Don’t believe me? Well, if you haven’t heard of me, it’s probably because you were NOT important in the ‘70s. Sorry about your life.

Currently, I am a professor of womyn’s studies at Barnard College. I earned my undergraduate degree from Vassar, my first Master’s degree from Cornell and my Ph.D from Yale, where I also taught from a few years in the late 80s.

I am talented at everything I’ve ever tried. One time, I was hiking in Big Sur with Annie Liebovitz and her life partner at the time and I was very casually taking pictures with an old polaroid camera that Allen Ginsberg had given to me. Annie took one look at them and said, “This is the best photography I’ve ever seen and I’m Annie Liebovitz.” She handed me her own camera right then and there and I’ve had it ever since.

A few years later, I was in the studio with the man who would become Jimi Hendrix. Frustrations were flying because Jimi felt the record’s sound was coming out “too dull.” Wanting to help, I said, “Jimi, have you ever tried acid?”

In college, I wrote a paper about 15th century menstruation techniques that garnered me some minor notoriety amongst feminist groups. Betty Friedan called me up actually and invited me to this weekly gathering she, Gertrude Stein and Gloria Steinem would hold at a little tea shop in Chelsea. I readily accepted her invitation and for the next few years, the four of us would host many a late night feminist lecture series at Betty’s penthouse apartment.

We’d also hold rallies in the center of Central Park that were very well-attended and well-received. One time we did have a protestor show up, he hurled an egg up at the stage. Instead of cracking though, it fell right into Gertrude Stein’s cleavage. Oh, we laughed for days.

A few months before I graduated from Cornell, Ravi Shankar called me and asked if I wanted to accompany him and his friend George Harrison on a backpacking trip from Paris to Mumbai. In Paris, we chose to rid ourselves of our worldly possessions and spent the night sleeping in the elevator riding up and down the Eiffel Tower in shifts. It was wildly uncomfortable.

I met the love of my young life actually, at the Watergate after party at Studio 54 thrown by Bob Dylan. I killed a case of pinot grigio on my own, did several lines of cocaine and helped Debbie Harry, who was having a very bad trip. That was the night I started dating Carl.


One afternoon, hanging out on the stoop of Chevy Chase’s apartment with Diana Ross and a stray cat started nuzzling the end of her sequin and chiffon gown. Diana Ross went around to the corner store and bought food for that cat. To this day, she still has him. She named him “Whiskers.”

In 1977, Clive Davis hosted a key party and I drew Janis Joplin’s key.

The 70’s were the best time for feminism and female exploration and contributed to every accomplishment I’ve made in my wildly successful and interesting life.

My newest book, a collection of short stories written by victims of the turquoise jewelry shortage of 1978, will be out on Flower Ponies Press this spring.

-Gaby Dunn

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