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In Memoriam :: Celeste West

From the San Francisco Chronicle: Celeste West’s spirit released her body to go exuberantly adventure in other realms, on January 3rd. She was 65. Celeste is survived by her partner and co-vivante of six years Tina Perricone and their orange tabby cat, Sienna Pumphrey Gabor; sisters, Sue Ann Johnson and Katherine Karr of Portland, OR; many loving nieces and nephews, grandnieces and nephews, and many many friends across the country. Celeste received her BA in journalism from Portland State U, later entering the ranks of professional librarians, having graduated from Rutgers in 1968. She headed to San Francisco in 1968. Celeste worked in the Bay Area Reference Center (BARC) 1968-1973 where she helped publish Synergy, a library periodical which won at least two awards. With Elizabeth Katz, Celeste edited Revolting Librarians, which they then published with Sue Critchfield as Booklegger Press in 1972. A bestseller in the library world, it continues to inspire librarians today. In 1973 the final issue of Synergy was published and Celeste initiated Booklegger Magazine, “built to begin where Synergy leaves off,” which was published until 1976. Celeste also wrote or edited and published through Booklegger Press, the following books: Women’s Films in Print (1975); Positive Images, Non-Sexist Films for Young People (1976); Booklegger’s Guide to the Passionate Perils of Publishing (1978); Words in Our Pockets: The Feminist Writers Guild Handbook on How to Gain Power, Get Published and Get Paid (1985); Elsa: I Come With My Songs (a biography of Else Gidlow, 1986), Lesbian Love Advisor (her bestseller, 1989) and her “most controversial book, the one which every feminist publisher and even a printer rejected,” Lesbian Polyfidelity: How to Keep Nonmonogamy Safe, Sane, Honest, and Laughing, You Rogue! (1996). On April Fool’s Day 1989 Celeste began work as the library director at the San Francisco Zen Center until her retirement in Autumn 2006. Celeste was a devout anarchist, feminist and Buddeo-Pagan. She is most often compared to a shooting star. Donations in Celeste’s memory can be made to: KPFA radio, Recovery Inc., the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, or plant a tree in her memory at Arbor Day Foundation. If you cannot donate, no worries, you can creatively agitate for peace and justice, and follow your bliss. As Celeste would say, “Oh yez. oh yes, oh yez.”

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