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'Pregnant Butch' author presents talk
by Vern Hester
2014-05-07

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In the final Artists' Salon show of the year presented at the University of Chicago, author and cartoonist A.K. Summers presented a talk on her recently published graphic memoir Pregnant Butch—Nine Long Months Spent in Drag: A Graphic Memoir. Last month, Soft Skull Press released the book, which has received wide acclaim from varied sources, including Vanity Fair and the Comics Journal.

Summers' talk navigated the tricky course of a woman who identifies as "butch" while carrying her first child to term. Her book hilariously deals with gender identity, sexual stereotypes, traditional family myths, body image and self-acceptance while skewering gender expectations and experiences.

Summers also spoke at length on her inspirations for the illustrations ( Herge's Tintin was an early model, along with fellow comics artists Lynda Barry and Alison Bechdel ) and how the art form allowed her to express emotions, ideas and the confusion of dealing with a pregnancy, identifying as butch, and sorting through reactions from family, friends, and strangers internally. Summers said, "I think comics are ideal for autobiography. ... I just love the art form."

The show, composed of panels from the book will run until May 12 at 5733 S. University Ave. in the Community Room. For hours for the showing, call 773-702-9936.

The Artists' Salon of the Center of Gender and Sexuality presented the reception in collaboration with the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago.


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