Tuba is “a space dedicated to the female imagination: their words and their desires, their joyful bodies, their political power, a bar, an erotic shop, a woman's library”. On the shelves you can find works of fiction, poetry, essays, illustrations and comics written by women from around the world and from all periods of history. Open in the Pigneto district of Rome for eight years, and now on the rectangular pedestrianised area between the Via Casilina and the Via Prenestina, it's a place aimed primarily at women where men are also welcome, and where you can drink, read, chat and reflect, and where the sex toys in a little glass case convey an idea of free, playful, joyful lovemaking. Tuba was started by two women - Barbara Piccolo and Barbara Kenny - in a tiny room with just one set of shelves, a counter and two tables. Today they have moved a few doors away and have a large window looking out onto the pedestrianised area and tables outside. And they've been joined by Viola Lo Moro, Cristina Petrucci and Sarah Di Nella.
For the last two years, they have been organising an early-summer festival of comic books, graphic novels and illustration that brings the neighbourhood to life with talks by authors, live painting, exhibitions and debates. In addition to book presentations there is also discussion of the meaning of producing comics. The festival involves the locals, the residents of Pigneto and the people who come to Tuba throughout the year, and is called Bande de femmes: a pun on female gangs and the french name for comic strips, bande dessinée. The theme for 2015 was “lives lived”: the daily lives of women, their bodies, the LGBTQ imagination, feminist magazines and women in the world of superheroes and superheroines.
The women at Tuba hope that the festival will get much larger, growing more and more and sinking its roots deeper and deeper. And that it will be able to generate new resources and create bigger, more beautiful things.
The story of Tuba has been written by Paola Soriga, writer.