Queer Art Friday in YYC

The Calgary Gay History Project recently had the pleasure of meeting two engaging queer artists: Mike Hooves and Ryan Danny Owen, who are both working at Arts Commons in the RBC Emerging Visual Artists program. Arts Commons is hosting an artist reception this Friday, March 1st from 7-10 PM which is free and open to the public.

We know Mike’s work as an animator and filmmaker but at Arts Commons, they are working on a dynamic portraiture project that is recording the lives of LGBTQ2 Calgarians – in felt marker! Colourful and intimate, these portraits are an archive of prairie queer identity in 2019. The portrait sitters Mike has chosen challenge cis-gender, homonormative identities, expanding the edges of our queer umbrella.

In conversation with Mike, we talked about our shared goal of claiming queer space in the public realm. Mike makes that claim viscerally, by creating artwork cross-legged in the window of the Lightbox Studio, just inches from the public passing by, who often stop for long looks.

Mike Hooves

Mike Hooves in Studio with Prairie Queer

Ryan Danny Owen is haunted by queer history. Their artistic practice reflects on identity, loss, desire, and emotion. Charming and precocious, Ryan uses retro gay male pornography as a launch pad for inspiration. Including, notably, a Calgary Stampeder named Blaine Lamoureux who was kicked off the football team in the 70s for posing naked in a gay porn magazine.

Their residency titled, Come Find Me, includes a series of 21 posters developed through a process of automatic writing poetry. When I visited Ryan in the Ledge Gallery, there were words everywhere – on walls, on the floor – in dripping ink, pregnant with references to Calgary’s queer history. These posters are going up in the gallery as well as on the streets of the city. Sites of queer history are being marked and remarked on in this process. The posters perhaps are as ephemeral as the former gay bars are in our memories.

Ryan Danny Owen

A poster by Ryan Danny Owen at the site of the former Calgary Eagle.

Mike and Ryan will be part of an artist talk beginning at 7:45 PM during the evening reception. We hope to see you there!


News from YYC Gay History

Parkside Love was a great success last week. Thanks to Shelf Life Books, and all the Calgarians who came out to share memories of the former Parkside Continental bar. It was a special place for many and formative for Calgary’s LGBTQ2 community.

Parkside Love

Kevin Allen standing in front of the original window/artifact from the Parkside Continental – 1302 4 St. SW.

Gross Indecency: The Everett Klippert Story has garnered a nomination at the Canadian Screen Awards for director Laura O’Grady. We were so thrilled to be part of this film and think Laura is a most deserving nominee. Keep your fingers crossed when the Academy votes next month.


Laura O’Grady – Canadian Screen Award Nominee

Speaking of Everett, we are working with the New Central Library on an exhibition in May to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada. If you have any thoughts on what should be included in that exhibition write to us at calgarygayhistory@gmail.com.

Klippert Aug 26 69

Excerpt from Everett Klippert’s diary in jail


Queer History to Keep You Warm

I packed up my office at the New Central Library this weekend as my historian residency came to an end. It was both wonderful and an honour. Look for an upcoming queer history exhibition at the Library in May. Also, I am in conversation with Library staff about creating an ongoing series of “Tea with the Historian” gatherings – stay tuned.

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Saying goodbye to the Historian in Residence office.

Bow Valley College is celebrating its first ever Pride Week, February 11-15, 2019. They have a full slate of activities and workshops planned. You are welcome to join me for our queer local history lecture this Wednesday at noon.

BVC Pride Week 2019

BVC’s Pride Week 2019

Then on Thursday evening at 7 PM, please brave the weather for a heartwarming reading of Our Past Matters at Parkside Love (Shelf Life Books – 1302 4th St SW). Not only will we be sharing memories of the former gay bar which existed there, but we also will present a surprising Parkside artifact that will be sure to delight. Light refreshments will be served.

parkside love