Keynote Speaker and Entertainers

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The Gathering Keynote Speaker Will Be Karen Williams!

Karen Williams has the unique distinction of being the nation’s first openly Lesbian Black comic to include specifically Lesbian material in her act.

One of today’s hottest comedy stars, she is known for her quick repartee, insightful commentary, audience rapport, and sheer likeability. Karen is a modern-day alchemist and motivational humorist, whose audiences revel in her cathartic laughter and whose peers consider her a comic’s comic.

She is a star entertainer with Olivia Travel, where she’s garnered some 200 laugh-filled cruise and resort trips around the globe. I Need a Snack is a hilarious one-hour solo comedy special aired regularly on LOGO-TV. Karen is a featured comic in We’re Funny That Way, the internationally-acclaimed film shot in Toronto and shown regularly on HBO, as well as a nominee for the 1999 GLAMA Award for her irreverent comedy CD, human beings: what a concept.

A comedy writer and former host of the New York television variety show In The Life, her writings appear in numerous anthologies, including Joke Stew, Revolutionary Laughter, Out in All Directions, and Out, Loud, and Laughing.

Founder and CEO of the International Institute of Humor and Healing Arts, Karen has successfully branded the HaHA Institute ( as the go-to resource for educational programs, workshops, and seminars focused on the healing power of humor.

Her keynote address, The Healing Power of Humor, will have you laughing! To cope in today’s hectic world of technological explosions, a sense of humor is vital. The power of humor lies in its ability to restore vitality, preserve sanity, and strengthen self-identity. With humor, our busy and complex lives become manageable. You will learn to:

  1. Understand the physiological benefits of laughter.
  2. Utilize humor to reduce stress and “burnout.”
  3. Improve communication skills with others using appropriate humor.

Don’t miss it!



Don’t Miss Ms. Alix Dobkin, Her Dykeness, Singing at the Gathering!

“My career in women’s music sprang from the soil of J.S. Bach, The Red Army Chorus, Louis Armstrong, and Broadway shows, topped off by the folk music scene of the 1960s, and has granted me a life rich, challenging, and satisfying beyond my wildest dreams” (from the Epilogue of My Red Blood, Lambda Literary Award Memoir Finalist). Focusing during the first decade on a traditional, international, and contemporary/protest repertory, I then came out as a Lesbian in 1972 and turned to writing and singing for women in general and to building Lesbian culture in particular.





María Cora to Perform at Gathering!

María Cora is a fascinating multi-talented artist, writer, poet, filmmaker, performer, and musician. She grew up in Puerto Rico, and Latin music was the soundtrack of her life. She came to the US to attend college and began singing in a friend’s rock band, just for fun, but Latin music was always in her heart and soul. When she heard that there was an all-woman salsa band in the San Francisco Bay Area, she moved there in the 1980s, determined to be its lead singer.

Her inspired lead vocals have added pizzazz to many groups since she landed in the Bay Area, including Orquesta Sabrosita, Los Pleneros de la 24, Azúcar y Crema, Babacool, Once, Canto de Corazón, Different Touch, and Azúcar Con Aché (“Sweetness with powerful blessings”).

Her versatile bilingual talent shines in work as diverse as principal narrator for the documentary Every Child is Born a Poet: The Life of Piri Thomas, as writer/director and narrator for the short film Negra Linda, as vocalist on the Piri Thomas recording “No Mo’ Barrio Blues,” and as writer/actress of the play Verbo Corazón: Latina Heart Rhythm.

María has served as MC/host for a multitude of events, including the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, the San Francisco World Drum Festival, the Redwood Music Festival, and the Encuentro del Canto Popular. She has been honored with a La Estrella award, a Lesbian of Achievement and Vision (LAVA) award, a Prisma award for achievement in performing arts, and a WAMMIE Alternative Music award for Best Latin Band (with Azúcar y Crema).

On top of all that, María currently manages 13 older adult choirs for the Community Music Center in San Francisco.

Her performance is sure to rock your socks!