Think outside the, um, box at the Radical Love Workshop.

Think it's hard finding time to maintain a relationship these days? Try maintaining an open relationship as a deliberate political act, buddy. If the very concept boggles your mind but you're adventurous and curious about the subject, Wendy-O Matik and her Radical Love Workshop are here to help.

The Oakland-based Matik, 38-year-old author of the book Redefining Our Relationships: Guidelines for Responsible Open Relationships and self-proclaimed "revolutionary activist of the heart," explains her objectives via e-mail thusly: "My workshop offers personal testimony to alternative relationship models outside the status quo, whereby partners, lovers, loved ones, and friends find creative ways to reinvent nonrestrictive paths to love, with personal integrity and respect at the core." Matik spends much of her time traveling up and down the West Coast, as well as to England, Australia, and New Zealand, teaching fellow radicals how to "expand their potential to love" in hopes of "threatening the social fabric of patriarchy." A tall order, but one with a definite historical flavor, even though she admits that in the current political atmosphere, "many people who practice responsible nonmonogamy are in the closet about their practices."

This Thursday, September 9, she drops into the AK Press Warehouse (674-A 23rd St., Oakland) to spread the word. As Matik sees it: "To love openly and freely in this day and age, whether you are straight or queer, is subversive in that it challenges mainstream culture from limiting us to only one formula for how to love. It's hard to imagine that love is a threat to the established order, but it's true."

The free workshop begins at 7:30 p.m. And it's no accident that Matik's latest event in her campaign for what used to be termed "free love" comes on the heels of the conservative spectacle of the Republican National Convention. "What better timing to be talking about radical love politics," she says, "while our country bombs away innocent people in other countries. Activism starts with our hearts."

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