Tag Archives: bisexual

Manifestations

Today is a holiday for many in the world. From my secular angle, Epiphany, or January 6th, represents the conclusion of the Christmas holidays. In 2015, I wrote: “I just looked up the meaning of epiphany and it means “manifestation” which I think will be the running theme for the Calgary Gay History Project.”

The Calgary Gay History Project has done manifesting well. Check out our top ten list: here.

In 2023, our manifestation priority is developing the Calgary queer archives. Since the Project was founded in 2012, we have been accepting donations of papers and artifacts about Calgary’s 2SLGBTQ+ past. They now need to be accessioned appropriately in a professional archive—likely at the U of C—to be made available to future researchers. (And to free up some floor space in our apartment…)

A portion of the Calgary Queer Archives stored at home and loosely catalogued.

One of our favourite objects in the archive is Jack’s vest!  Jack Loenen was the first Emperor of the Imperial Court of the Chinook Arch (ISCCA), elected to that position in January 1977 to a sold-out crowd at the then-downtown Holiday Inn.  He wore this leather vest during and after his reign and placed all the pins he collected from other courts he visited representing the ISCCA.

Jack Loenen, Emperor I of ISCCA
Jack Loenen’s vest, Emperor I of ISCCA.

Although Jack is now deceased, his partner Peter Kelsch made this important donation to the Calgary Gay History Project in 2015. I just met up with Peter again a few weeks ago, who had more archive donations and stories to tell (thank you, Peter)!

We at the Calgary Gay History Project wish you a happy new year, including some epiphanies, manifestations or both.

{KA}

Shop local with @yycgayhistory

{The Calgary Gay History Project is on hiatus in December. Look for new queer history content in 2023—happy holidays!}

‘Tis the season for holiday shopping. If you are looking for a good read, check out our two award-winning books from our in-house imprint, ASPublishing.

Our books with faux holiday additions

Our Past Matters: Stories of Gay Calgary hit #1 on the Calgary Herald bestseller list in 2019 and has been selling ever since. John Ibbitson, from The Globe and Mail, explains: “You are going to read about some amazing people, places, and times in these pages… There is no one better equipped than Kevin Allen to give us a tour.”

What Narcissus Saw is Gordon Sombrowski’s second book of fiction exploring life in Fernie, BC. It was selected from hundreds of contenders as a finalist in the Whistler Independent Book Awards this past October. The awards jury wrote: “Sombrowski’s linked short stories immediately draw in the reader. He deftly breathes life and intrigue into his settings and characters with language to be savoured.”

Books are available in Calgary at Pages on Kensington and Shelf Life Books. You can also purchase books and have them shipped to you from our online store.

Happy holidays!

{KA}

Giller Mayr

We are delighted that Calgary queer author Suzette Mayr has won the 2022 Giller Prize for her latest novel, The Sleeping Car Porter. It is the story of Baxter, a closeted gay Black man working as a porter on a Canadian passenger train in 1929. 

Suzette Mayr with her Giller Prize. Photo: Taro PR via Xtra.ca

Of the winning book, the jury wrote:

“Suzette Mayr brings to life –believably, achingly, thrillingly a whole world contained in a passenger train moving across the Canadian vastness, nearly one hundred years ago. As only occurs in the finest historical novels, every page in The Sleeping Car Porter feels alive and immediate and eerily contemporary. The sleeping car porter in this sleek, stylish novel is named R.T. Baxter called George by the people upon whom he waits, as is every other Black porter. Baxter’s dream of one day going to school to learn dentistry coexists with his secret life as a gay man, and in Mayr’s triumphant novel we follow him not only from Montreal to Calgary, but into and out of the lives of an indelibly etched cast of supporting characters, and, finally, into a beautifully rendered radiance.”

We last saw Suzette two years ago in the depths of the Covid pandemic at the Fernie Pride Festival. There was a window in September 2020 when public health restrictions allowed for outdoor gatherings in restricted numbers. So despite the evening chill and the anxiety of the early pandemic, Suzette came out for Pride. Her author talk and reading was from Monoceros—a previously celebrated, queer-themed work, which had been long-listed for the Giller Prize.

Authors Angie Abdou and Suzette Mayr at the Fernie Pride Festival, Sept. 25, 2020.

Our literary event host, author Angie Abdou, and Suzette were good-humoured about the hot drinks, warm clothes and torch heaters that made the event possible. Despite the obstacles, we were all so grateful to be together after months of being home alone. Thank you, Suzette, for showing up for the queer community the way you do. We’re such big fans and proud of your success—congratulations!

{KA}