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
November has been a whirlwind of activity! The Calgary Gay History Project went to Winnipeg this week to see the book, Our Past Matters: Stories of Gay Calgary in production. Chris Young from Prolific.ca gave author, Kevin Allen, and some local family members a tour of their amazing facility.
This book, which has been four years in the making, will be having its public debut at the New Central Library, 800 3 St. SE. At 7 PM, on Thursday, November 22nd come meet the Library’s Historian in Residence for a book reading and short film presentation. Our Past Matters: Stories of Gay Calgary will be available for purchase for $25.
Here is a photo essay from the past two weeks:
Kevin’s portrait and bio are mounted on the wall outside his office at the New Central Library. Friends start texting him selfies with the sign. The portrait was shot by Calgary’s own photography talent, Kelly Hofer.
52,000 people visited the Calgary Public Library in its opening weekend. Kevin as the first Historian in Residence celebrates with one of those visitors, his long-time friend Michelle Wong.
Kevin travels to Winnipeg (with his mom) to see Our Past Matters in production. A metal press is made of the book cover and then sent to the offset printer.
Kevin signs off on the proof.
Kevin with Chris from Prolific.ca and the finished book cover – hard to believe it is actually real!
A visit to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and looking at a winter-swept Winnipeg from the impressive tower of hope – a pride sidewalk can be seen – a good omen for the book launch in Calgary.
On sale soon – see you at the book launch 11/22.
Fifty years ago today, Calgary’s gay community had its self-described first “public” function. It was reported that on Halloween 1968, “about 100 nervous Gays showed dressed to the nines” at the Highland Golf and Country Club. This event, gave those anxious organizers courage to start the first gay clubs in the city.
Today, I just received the keys to my office on the top floor of the New Central Library. The building brought tears to my eyes and took my breath away. What an honour to be appointed as its first Historian in Residence. It is astounding to me that in fifty years we have come so far as a community – from hidden and underground to lofty and visible.
Book Cover Image: Club Carousel Woodcut by Calgary Artist Lisa Brawn
Additionally, Our Past Matters: Stories of Gay Calgary has gone to the printers. We expect it to be here in three weeks! We are sorting out the book launch currently (more details to come), but soon you will be able to read it (finally)!
Thank you for your patience in the book writing process. So much has happened with the Calgary Gay History Project in the last four years that informed the final text. I hope you will find it was worth the wait.
Posted in Gay history
Tagged bisexual, Calgary, calgary public library, gay, Halloween, history, lesbian, New Central Library, Our Past Matters, queer, transgender