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    Illustrations by Yoko Molotov

    People asked if they could be babes, but Yoko Molotov told them no. Her book, Babes of Louisville, was never meant to be a popularity contest. It was meant to be a love letter.

    “There’s a lot of gems in Louisville,” she says. She would see them at shows throughout town — women with unmatched style, with talent, with confidence, with wit. But Molotov’s introversion kept her at a distance from many of them. Until, she says, she found confidence through her artwork. She decided to celebrate the women she admires — by drawing them.

    Babes of Louisville is made up of 50 portraits of women and femme folks, including the late punk singer Steve “Chili” Rigot, who started the band the Endtables in the late 1970s. The book has enough musicians in it to start a hell of a super group. In its pages, you’ll find experimental vocalist Cher Von, Boner City bassist Dana “Sally Boner” Widick, and Karen Ledford and Rej Forester of GRLwood. You can catch GRLwood at the book launch party on Dec. 8 at Paradise Hall, a performance space inside the Marvelous Mystery, which bills itself as a “roadside attraction, souvenir shop and art gallery” on Barret Avenue. (The book will be available through Molotov’s website,

    Molotov asked each of the women in the book to send her a portrait, with some technical directions: make sure your face is mostly visible, and that the lighting doesn’t obscure your features. Then she made slick, bold black-and-white digital drawings based on the photo references. It took about two years to finish.

    “Really the whole book is just a bouquet,” she says. “It’s a bouquet of lots of different kinds of flowers, but they’re all flowers.”

    People have asked Molotov if she’ll follow up with a book of men. “Unfortunately, I won’t be the one to ever draw a man book,” she says. “Men have enough.”


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    About Dylon Jones

    Staff writer Dylon Jones began contributing to the magazine in 2014 and joined the staff in 2015. While working on stories, he's scaled overpasses in the middle of the night, taken notes in a mosh pit, fallen through a mound of driftwood, and had his fortune read several times. His subjects have included queer scream-pop duo GRLwood; Louisville's two-man dead animal removal team; Les Waters, now the former artistic director of Actors Theatre; Muhammad Ali's hearse driver and gravediggers; revitalization efforts in the Portland neighborhood; Louisville Orchestra conductor Teddy Abrams; ER doctors; musicians; artists; and garbage collectors. He is also an award-winning poet, with work appearing most recently in Tinderbox Poetry Journal. He likes page-turning stories about how people manage to be people, especially if they're doing it in Louisville. Know a good one like that? Email him at djones @ loumag dot com.

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