Peter Pan Holly


This timeline is a work in progress that we'll keep adding to. If we've left out a significant event, please let us know. But hopefully it will offer you some sense of the body of work done by Holly Near. Holly first sang in public when she was 8 years old - well over 50 years ago... and she never stopped. This timeline, along with the photo gallery, reminds us of some of this amazing career. Enjoy.

Holly Near, 1949 -

1949 Holly born into a family that encourages creativity. 
1955 Having made friends with Native American children at grammar school, begins to witness racism for the first time.
1958 Sings in a talent contest in Ukiah, at a Veterans of Foreign Wars talent competition.
1959 Sings at Talmage Mental Hospital - an experience that shapes young Holly's consciousness of mental illness, as well as how many of the programs in mental hospitals and prisons are under-funded
1961 While at the Perry-Mansfield music camp in Colorado is exposed to a variety of other cultures for first time
1964 Starts high school in Ukiah, California. Joins a student committee dedicated to changing the dress code.
1965 Near family gets a TV.  News footage of the civil rights movement very influencial on young Holly.
Sings with a high school folk group called The Freedom Singers, unaware of the original Freedom Singers in the Civil Rights Movement.
1966 Protests the military recruiters on campus at Ukiah High School
1967 Wins Bank of America Achievement Award in the field of Fine Arts
Starts school at UCLA.  Auditions for theater arts program singing Pirate Jenny from Three Penny Opera
1968 Plays lead in Guys and Dolls at UCLA, gets laryngitis, discovers she has nodules on vocal chords
Goes into several weeks of silence to heal vocal chords, works with a voice teacher in Philadelphia who suggests Holly study to be an opera singer. Holly declines.
Back in LA, Holly works with Another Mother For Peace in Beverly Hills, along side her sister, Timothy Near.
Holly and Timothy sing in a few prisons. Very challenging.
Gets job in her first film, Angel, Angel Down We Go
1969 Lives in Venice, California. Continues working in film and TV - Partridge Family, Mod Squad.  Tries to balance Hollywood life and racial strife in Venice.
1970 Lands spot In Broadway cast of Hair. Cast does silent vigil in response to Kent State massacre.
Returns to California to do a film, The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart. Holly tells a friend, "Women's lib is OK for women who need it."  Lives long enough to laugh at that remark.   
1971 Attends a meeting with her sister Timothy, put on by Hollywood people who want to oppose the war – EIPJ – Entertainment Industry for Peace and Justice.

Auditions for Free the Army; cast includes Michael Alaimo

Touring in Pacific with FTA inspires her to write over a dozen songs, many of which will be on her first solo recording, Hang In There.
1972 Works as receptionist for Pentagon Papers trial.
Is approached by Tom Hayden to participate in the Indochina Peace Campaign and becomes a founding member
Writes her first feminist song, ""It's More Important To Me"
Lands role in the film, "Slaughterhouse Five"
1973 Starts Redwood Records to support the release of first album, "Hang In There"
1974 Tours US with Jeff Langley, singing at union halls, churches, prisons, and universities.
Releases A Live Album, dedicated to Ronnie Gilbert. Goes to Vietnam with Jeff as guest of Vietnamese Musicians Union.
1975 Sings in Building Women show in L.A. with Lily Tomlin, Meg Christian, Cris Williamson, Margie Adam, and the Alice Stone's Ladies Society Orchestra.
Does support work with United Farm Workers
1976 Records the album, "You Can Know All I Am"
Participates in the "Women on Wheels" tour of California. Sister, Timothy, signs songs at concerts, introducing American Sign Language for the first time to many hearing audiences and instrumental in developing access for hearing-impaired
Comes out publicly as a lesbian at 1st Michigan Womyn's Music Festival.

Begins working with American Sign Language interpreter, Susan Freundlich

Writes "Fight Back" for feminist anti-violence demonstration in L.A.

1977 Takes a women's peace delegation to Hiroshima that includes Bernice Reagon and Amy Horowitz
1978 Writes Singing for Our Lives for Harvey Milk memorial.
1979 Plans 26-city tour for a Nuclear Free Future - then hears news of Three Mile Island disaster
Sings at National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights
Redwood releases Sweet Honey in the Rock's B'lieve I'll Run On... a first coalition effort
Receives Bay Area Music Award (Bammie) 1979 Best Independent Label Album, “Imagine My Surprise.” An unusual achievement, this being an out lesbian recording.
1980 Sings with Ronnie Gilbert (of The Weavers) for the first time, as seen in the film Wasn't That A Time!
1981 Speaks on art and politics at National Mobilization for Survival Conference
  Goes on tour to save Womens' Studies programs

People magazine runs a story on Holly and she becomes, perhaps, the first out lesbian to be interviewed in a popular "supermarket" magazine
  Releases Fire in the Rain

1982 Sings at huge June 12th anti-nuke rally, 1 million people gather in Central Park

  Creates and performs a show with her sisters called "The Near Sisters" bringing theatre and dance back into Holly's work
Does 50-city tour: "Be Disarming-Challenge the Nuclear Mentality."  Sings to 200,000 at Artists for Disarmament rally in W. Germany.
6th album released, "Speed of Light"
1983 Sings in Brussels for International Women's Day
  National tour and live album Lifeline with Ronnie Gilbert
Forms Redwood Records Cultural and Educational Fund
Receives Detroit City Council Testimonial Resolution honoring Holly Near. Receives City and County of San Francisco Certificates of Honor

"Journeys Down Under" tour in late '83, organized by Margret RoadKnight's Honky Tonk Angels for concerts in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide in Australia

During that tour Holly also arranged and recorded back up vocals for Judy Small on her recording of the song "Bridget Evans"

1984 Does National "Defeat Reagan Tour" with Ronnie Gilbert
Releases 9th album "Watch Out" with John McCutcheon and Trapezoid.
Goes on national tour and records live album Sing to Me The Dream with Inti Illimani
Tours with Arlo, Ronnie and Pete; releases live album HARP
Receives NAIRD (National Association of Independent Recording Distributors) Indie Award for "Lifeline," the album with Ronnie Gilbert 
Receives LACAAW (Los Angeles Commission on Assults Against Women) Humanitarian Award 
Presented with the Key to the City of Fresno
Receives the 1984 Cable Car Award: Outstanding achievement by a recording artist, Holly Near “Journeys
Peace Music Festival in Ecuador with Pete Seeger, Leon Gieco, Holly Near, Inti Illimani, Silvio Rodriguez, Sweet Honey In The Rock, Grupo Raiz, and many others
1985 Nominated Ms. Magazine 1985 Woman of the Year "For fulfilling and expanding our ideals of excellence"

MCs and sings at first annual Redwood Records Festival.
1986 Performs for Margaret Randall Defense Fund

  Sings at a benefit for the Sanctuary Movement with Jackson Browne and Mandy Patinkin in Washington, DC
Named The Women's Foundation "Woman of Note" for her outstanding Achievements in Music
Receives City and County of San Francisco Certificates of Honor 
Releases "Singing With You" album with Ronnie Gilbert
1987 Receives Sixth Annual Woman's Building Vesta Award
Presented with the Lesbian Rights Award by the Southern California Women For Understanding.
Presented with the California Senate Lesbian Rights Award
Receives National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights Award of Distinction 
1988 Wins 1988 Cable Car Award, Outstanding Recording Artist for “Don’t Hold Back
1989 Receives Indie Award in the category of Women’s Music for “SkyDances
July 7, 1989 declared Holly Near day by Art Agnos, Mayor of San Francisco 
Receives World College West honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
1990 Releases "Singer In The Storm"
1991 Receives “Hot Wire” Readers’ Choice Award for outstanding contributions to Women’s Music and Culture
1993 Presented with the Unity Award by the The National Conference Fairfield Region
  Performs her one woman show, "Fire in The Rain" at the San Jose Rep, Mark Taper Forum in LA, and then off-Broadway in New York, at the Union Square Theatre
NAIRD (National Association of Independent Recording Distributors) Award 1993 Honorable Mention to Redwood Records for Musical Highlights from the play “Fire in the Rain” by Holly Near in the category of Soundtrack/Cast Recording
Receives Bay Area Theater Critics Circle, Outstanding Achievement Award 1993, for "Fire in the Rain, Singer in the Storm"
1994 American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California ACLU celebrates Freedom of Information and honors Holly Near for the tremendous commitment shown toward fighting for equality and justice for others
Receives Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women (LACAAW) 1994 Humanitarian Award
1996 Awarded Gala Choruses 1996 Legacy Award, in recognition of unique contributions to the Lesbian and Gay Choral Movement
Releases "This Train Still Runs" with Ronnie Gilbert
1997 NARAS Governor’s Award to Redwood Records 1997 For outstanding contributions to the cultural fabric of the community. Their vision and struggle to create a better world has enriched all our lives.
Releases "With A Song In My Heart"
1999 Awarded Ukiah High School Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Class of 1967.
2000 Receives The Legends of Women's Music Award (Lesbians of Achievement, Vision, and Action)
Releases "Simply Love: The Women's Music Collection"
Releases "Edge"
2001 Awarded the Women in the Arts, Inc Jeanine C Rae Culture Award For the Advancement of Women's Culture
Releases "Early Warnings" and "HARP: A Time to Sing"
2002 Participates in Women of Voice and Vision, Scripps College, celebrating their 75th Anniversary
Releases "And Still We Sing: The Outspoken Collection"
Releases "Crushed: The Love Song Collection"
Releases "Lifeline Extended"
2003 Releases "Cris & Holly" with Cris Williamson

  Participates in Vagina Monologues gala event in Florida

Presents at the National Women’s History Project’s conference at Smith College

Participates in "The Ohio Conversation," a discussion of political song and responsible citizenship with Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Harry Belafonte, and Pete Seeger
2004 Releases "Show Up"

  Travels to Juarez, Mexico with Eve Ensler, Jane Fonda, Sally Fields, Christine Lahti, and noted Mexican performers to protest the uninvestigated killings of hundreds of young women

Sits witness to the testimony of women reporting rape and other violence against women in Toledo, OH
2005 Nominated as one of the "1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005" - congraulated by City Council of Oakland
  Speaks to employees at Intel’s Albuquerque, NM facility about tolerance and diversity

Delivers the prestigious Ware Lecture for the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly
2006 Participates in Legends of Women's Music-part of the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago, with Teresa Trull, Barbara Higbie, Nedra Johnson, and MC Vickie Shaw.
2007 Presented with the Key to the City of Chico, California

  Invited to sing Hay Una Mujer Decaparecida at Villa Grimaldi in Santiago, Chile; the villa, an infamous prison of torture and death, is now a peace park - emma's revolution sing with Holly

Reunites with Inti Illimani for concert in Chile
2008 Re-releases "Sing To Me The Dream"
  Meets with Mohawk and European-American women to invite spiritual healing
  January 12, 2008: School of the Americsa protest at Los Angeles State Historic Park with Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Martin Sheen, and many other activists
  March 11: Spoke at Sonoma State at the class room of Don Romesburg on subject of gender
2009 Releases "We Came To Sing" with Emma's Revolution
2010 Sings at 35th Anniversary of The Michigan Womyns Music Festival

  In Chile for 8.8 magnitude earthquake on Feb 27