Tag Archives: ArQuives

Shop local for queer history

I have lived in the Beltline for most of my adult life, which has also been central to Calgary’s queer community for more than 50 years. Additionally, most historians I know are voracious readers. Consequently, it is no surprise that my favourite Beltline store is Shelf Life Books.

Author Kevin Allen at Shelf Life Books, source: Calgary Metro

Shelf Life has an interesting queer history itself as the site of the former Parkside Continental gay bar. There is an excellent mural on the backside of the store by Kyle Simmers, that subtly evokes this history with the inclusion of the bar’s now iconic logo.

The book store has been the largest seller of my book, Our Past Matters, and has hosted yycgayhistory special events for which I am very grateful. They also stock the books of queer friends and colleagues. Pick up any book by Suzette Mayr, Vivek Shraya, or Rae Spoon and you won’t be disappointed. Sharanpal Ruprai, whom I adore as a person, writes books of poetry that sing, charm, and sizzle. They also carry more comprehensive Canadian queer history readers such as the Valerie Korinek’s Prairie Fairies and The ArQuives‘ recently published OutNorth.

In fact, all independent book stores in Calgary need our custom. Furthermore think hyperlocal—support Calgary authors by buying their books. If you need inspiration, there is no greater source than Shaun Hunter’s Calgary Reading Lists. She virtually single-handedly has created a canon of local literature, as well as a useful reader in Calgary Through the Eyes of Writers.

I am wishing all Calgarians a safe, happy, and restful holiday season. Take care of yourselves and each other—find joy in unexpected places. — Kevin


Our Past Matters – On the Road!

Kevin Allen is heading out in February on the first leg of a national book tour, bringing Calgary’s gay history to a broader audience. We know not every Canadian might be as interested in Calgary as we are, but we are hoping to change that – as well as seed LGBTQ2 community history projects wherever we go! We are looking forward to meeting readers and getting some archival research for the Calgary Gay History Project done. This journey is to three cities: Edmonton, Toronto, and Ottawa, please spread the word if you have friends or family there!

Monday, February 3rd, at 7 PM, in Edmonton: Book Launch at Audrey’s Books, 10702 Jasper Ave.

Monday, February 10th, at 6 PM, in Toronto: Guest Lecture at The ArQuives (formerly the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives) at 34 Isabella Street. “The most publicized homosexual in history:” the Life of Everett Klippert. Kevin Allen explores the life of Canada’s gay rights anti-hero, whose court case led to the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in 1969.

Tuesday, February 11th, at 6 PM, in Toronto: Book Launch at Glad Day, 499 Church Street.

Thursday, February 13, at 6 PM, in Ottawa, Book launch at the Westin Hotel, hosted by the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity.

OPM at Glenbow

Our Past Matters at the Glenbow Museum Gift Shop in Calgary.

The Calgary Gay History Project gratefully acknowledges that this tour has been made possible with support from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.