As Historian in Residence at the New Central Library, I serve tea weekly (weakly?) on Thursdays from 5-6 PM in room 414-A on the 4th floor. Last night we had Lois Szabo discuss the origins of Club Carousel, Calgary’s first gay bar. Lois was one of the club’s founders in the late ’60s and has been an active member of the community ever since. She was chosen to be our Pride Parade Marshall in 2017.
Lois Szabo at the 2017 Pride Parade: Calgary Herald Photo
Next week, on Thursday, December 20th, we have local representatives from the el-Tawhid Juma Circle, Calgary’s inclusive mosque space also known as Unity Mosque. The queer affirming mosque space was founded in Toronto almost ten years ago and has since spread to other Canadian cities. Their mission is to be compassionate, inclusive, gender equal and LGBTQ affirming. Please join us for tea!
El-Tawhid Juma Circle Website
The library residency has proved to be very fruitful for research. I have been combing the pamphlet and clipping files in the library in the new Calgary’s Story section on the 4th floor.
For example, I discovered the story of Mark Perry-Schaub who was diagnosed with AIDS in July 1987 and subsequently lost his volunteer job with the Calgary ’88 Olympics Committee. He had been a volunteering for three years prior to the diagnosis and fought publicly to be reinstated. He was successful in his fight and despite struggling with three successive bouts of pneumonia he was strong enough to work throughout the Games. He died two months later.
This week I met with three nieces of Everett Klippert whom I had not interviewed before. They shared stories of their Uncle Evie which were new to me, including a wedding with a woman whom he ran away from – the day before the wedding!
Last week, I interviewed Joey Sayer, who was instrumental in founding Lesbian and Gay Youth Calgary (LGYC) in the ’80s, as well as significant gay publications Modern Pink, and Alberta Gay & Lesbian Press (AGLP). Oral history interviews like these, are key sources for future stories on the Calgary Gay History Project website.
- Kevin and Joey at the Historian In Residence Studio at the New Central Library
Posted in Gay history
Tagged AGLP, AIDS, bisexual, Club Carousel, El-Tawhid Juma Circle, Everett Klippert, gay, Historian in Residence, Joey Sayer, lesbian, LGYC, Lois Szabo, Mark Perry-Schaub, Modern Pink, New Central Library, queer, transgender, Unity Mosque
As part of the Library History Residency, we are having tea and conversation every Thursday from 5-6 PM in room 414A at the new Central Library. Tomorrow’s topic is Calgary’s asexual and aromantic community. Members of local social group YYCaroaces will be present to chat, and we are providing the tea!
The book, Our Past Matters, is picking up momentum. Yesterday we were the cover story in Calgary StarMetro, and last week Kevin got up early to do a spot on Breakfast Television (fortunately they had endless tea in the studio).
Our Past Matters author Kevin Allen stands in front of Shelf Life Books on 4th St. S.W. — once the location of Calgary’s most successful gay commercial bar. (CHRISTINA RYAN / CALGARY STARMETRO)
In addition to Shelf Life Books, you can find Our Past Matters at Pages on Kensington too – more bookstores to come.
Happy sipping, chatting and reading this December!
Posted in Gay history
Tagged bisexual, Breakfast Television, Calgary StarMetro, gay, lesbian, Our Past Matters, Pages on Kensington, queer, Shelf Life, transgender, YYCaroaces
Thanks to everyone who came out to the Our Past Matters book launch last night at the New Central Library. It was quite a full house and quite an evening. The library’s Rosemary Griebel, before she introduced me, advised me to savour every moment: “you only have your first book launch once.” It was good advice, and I felt so proud and honoured to present my work.
Calgarians come out for history! Photo: Noel Begin
We also screened Laura O’Grady’s Gross Indecency: The Everett Klippert Story, to large applause. Afterward, we floated the idea of a gay history feature film – stay tuned!
Book signing fatigue? No, it was a delight. Photo: Laura O’Grady
People have been asking where to buy the book now that it is out. Shelf Life Books, one of Calgary’s finest independent bookstores, has it. As we add more booksellers we will let you know. Next week, you will also be able to buy it online through the Calgary Gay History Project Website.
Thank you, Calgary for coming out yesterday!
Posted in Gay history
Tagged bisexual, calgary public library, gay, gross indecency, Laura O'Grady, lesbian, Noel Begin, Our Past Matters, queer, Shelf Life, transgender