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Dyke Culture for All

Highlights of the East Bay lesbian scene

In order to become a good dyke-stag -- a straight guy who hangs out with dykes -- you'll first need to learn to like the Indigo Girls. After you can sing “Closer to Fine” by heart, you then will see why all your womyn friends want to have sex with Amy, but would rather marry Emily. Finally, after you purchase a Subaru Outback, you'll need to become acquainted with the local venues patronized by the natives and take a drive out to the places. To that end, here are five spots worth a visit if you are a dyke-stag or just a dyke:

The Rose Street House of Music (1839 Rose St., Berkeley) is as intimate a concert setting as you'll ever find (RoseStreetMusic.com). The “concert hall” where the indie-style women folksingers play is a living-room space where patrons must remove their shoes before entering. Rose Street is friendly to those who suffer from chemical sensitivities.

For the lit crowd, there's the Laurel Bookstore (4100 MacArthur Blvd. in Oakland). There's more than just dyke-lit here at this lesbian-owned store. It also has been known to have a smattering of lesbian detective novels if you go for mysteries -- but ask owner Luan for her latest recommendation.

Title 9 Sports (1374 10th St., Berkeley or Title9Sports.com) also doesn't single itself out as being a dyke thang. It does, however, cater to women athletes. The store derives its name from the 1972 Title IX law, which expanded women's athletic programs in schools across the country. A good place to go if you're a female athlete in need of a top-notch sports bra, or if you need a gift for a jock friend.

Looking for porn not devoted to the male money-shot? Try Good Vibrations (2504 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley). Along with the phallus-free dolphin dildos and naughty graphic novels, the store carries lesbian-made porn featuring real butch dykes without their shirts on.

Finally, there's the venerable White Horse Inn (6551 Telegraph Ave., WhiteHorseBar.com). Go there to get a beer, dance, or play pool with a nice mix of gays and straights. Or go for the lesbian Tarot readings from Jessica Rabbit after work on Friday from 5:30 to 8pm ($15 per reading).

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