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Atlanta lesbian author reveals lessons for success as ‘grown woman’

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Lakara Foster is known to many as the host of the popular Brown Sugar Vibe monthly poetry sessions, but she is also an author and motivational speaker who owns her own business, She Speaks! Inc., a firm that offers workshops and resources to empower women and girls.

Her new book is "The Grown Woman's Guide to Greatness" and is available at the independent feminist bookstore Charis Books & More. She will be discussing the book, its lessons, what it means to be "grown" and how to achieve this success on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 1-2:30 p.m. at Charlis, located at 1189 Euclid Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307.

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Gilbert’s to move into former Outwrite building; promises to honor legacy of corner of ‘gay and gay’

Gilbert's Cafe and Bar, the gay-friendly restaurant, is ready to take over the space at 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue where former gay landmark Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse was once located.

On the Facebook page named Gilbert's Expansion — 10th and Piedmont, Gilbert's owners Gilbert and Sean lay out their future plans, including honoring the space — long dubbed the corner of gay and gay — that has been an iconic location for LGBT Atlanta for more than a decade.

"The corner of 10th and Piedmont has been a beacon of progressive attitudes, acceptance and respect, we wish to continue that legacy as the city matures and welcomes an ever increasing diversity and a growing respect for general human rights," said owners Sean and Gilbert in a Facebook posting made yesterday.

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‘Once upon a time we were there and fabulous’

The closing of Outwrite Bookstore & More should serve as a clarion call to LGBT shoppers who like the idea of having their own spaces, but still don’t shop locally because it isn’t as easy as buying online.

That’s the hope of Sara Luce Look, lesbian co-owner of feminist bookstore Charis Books & More, which opened in Atlanta in 1974, some 19 years before Outwrite’s debut.

“We want people to shop here because they value independent thought and voices,” Look said. “We are all really sad about Outwrite and feel it as a huge loss for our community. It really hits home for us.”

Outwrite closed and declared bankruptcy on Jan. 26 after years of financial struggle. Founded in 1993, the store moved to the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue in 1995 and become known as an unofficial LGBT community center, hosting frequent author readings.

“In the past nine months, as we first started talking about our financial problems, we have heard from so many people who talked about how important the store has been to them. That was the reason why they come to Atlanta, or moved to Atlanta,” said Outwrite owner Philip Rafshoon.

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Brushstrokes hopes to bring in LGBT authors to fill void left by Outwrite

The owners of Brushstrokes in Ansley Mall say they want to ensure Atlanta is not skipped over by noted LGBT authors due to the closing of Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse.

Mark Jackson and husband Tom Schloeder, owner of Brushstrokes, said today they have met with the owners of gay bar Mixx to arrange space for author signings.

"Space is a serious consideration and was the main reason we didn't seek author signings in the past. Mixx is the perfect location because it's non-smoking and convenient to the store," Schloeder said today.

"With the unexpected vacuum created by Outwrite's sudden closing, we are concerned that major authors marketing to the LGBTQ consumer might skip the Atlanta market entirely. We are actively seeking authors, publishers, celebrities, and artists, local and national, who need an Atlanta retailer to partner with," Schloeder said.

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‘Save Outwrite’ donations returned to benefactors

Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse owner Philip Rafshoon, who closed his iconic Atlanta LGBT bookstore on Jan. 26 and filed bankruptcy the same day, said today donations to the Save Outwrite campaign are being returned to donors. He also said all employees were paid.

Rafshoon announced in November that Outwrite would have to move from its home at the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue because its rent was too high. He told the public that the plan was to find a location with cheaper rent and started a “Save Outwrite Books” campaign soliciting donations for moving costs.

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[Updated] Outwrite Bookstore closes permanently; will not relocate

The bookstore that became an unofficial community center for LGBT Atlanta and also attracted visitors from around the world to its landmark location in the heart of Midtown officially closed today. Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse will not reopen and is filing for bankruptcy.

In an interview Wednesday morning, owner Philip Rafshoon said he knew it was a long shot that the store located at the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue would find a place to relocate because of the financial duress the LGBT bookstore has faced over the past five years.

Rafshoon said the hardest part of knowing Atlanta would no longer have an LGBT bookstore like Outwrite was that it leaves a void in the city where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people can come to be safe and gather — and buy books targeted especially to them.

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Outwrite closes its doors at 10th and Piedmont

The last chapter of Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse at its 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue is now closed.

The independent LGBT bookstore, located for the last 15 years at its iconic landmark in Midtown, held its "Last Tango" at the store last night featuring authors such as Franklin Abbott, Collin Kelley, Hollis Gillespie, Mose Hardin, Karen Head and Don Perryman.

Owner Philip Rafshoon confirmed the store is closing at its 10th and Piedmont location today. He said he could not say much more at this point. He said at the "Last Tango" event Tuesday night that there is no new location picked out yet. The store is open today and selling all of its infrastructure, including bookshelves, tables and chairs.