Tag Archives: Gordon Sombrowski

Our Gay Gordon

There is an unsung hero of the Calgary Gay History Project. His name is Gordon Sombrowski and he is married to research lead Kevin Allen. Consequently, he volunteers (or is “voluntold”) when asked to help out. This short list of tasks includes carrying the microphone on gay history walks, schlepping books, fulfilling book orders, and staffing the history booth at the Calgary Pride Festival—he’ll be there again in 2022. Fortunately, he is an enthusiastic queer history participant. But meanwhile, in the background, he has been creating his own legacy in Calgary.

Join Gordon for a pride week reading from his latest collection of short stories, What Narcissus Saw, on Sept. 1 at Shelf Life Books. Last month, What Narcissus Saw became a finalist for the 2022 Whistler Independent Book Awards. His delightful tales take place in Fernie, BC, Gordon’s hometown, and include several LGBTQ2 characters—people whom you’d swear you know. Although he likes to remind us that “all characters are fictional and events like those told in these tales happen every day and everywhere.”

Gordon is an active community volunteer. He is a founder and current volunteer for the Calgary Chinook Fund, which supports charitable organizations providing services, programming, and education, for and about the LGBTQ2 community.

Chinook Fund Members: Tony Hailu, Michel Bourque, Chris Post and Gordon Sombrowski with Nola Wuttunee (centre) receiving the Hero Award in memory of her father Bill Wuttunee in 2019.

Gordon is a past-president of the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Association (GLCSA), now Calgary Outlink and was the founding president of Fairy Tales Presentation Society, now Calgary Queer Arts Society, when it became its own society separate from the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers (CSIF) in 2004.

Festival Preview photo in FFWD Magazine: June 3, 2004 
Pride Festival volunteers: Ayanna and Gordon at the History Booth in 2017

Thank you, Gordon, for all that you do for Calgary’s LGBTQ2 community, and good luck at the Whistler Independent Book Awards ceremony in October. And Happy Pride!

{KA}

Holiday Reads from @YYCGayHistory

Calgary-Gay-History-Project-adjacent author, Gordon Sombrowski, launched What Narcissus Saw this month. It is the second short story collection from the acclaimed Fernie/Calgary based writer. Holiday shoppers can find What Narcissus Saw at a handful of independent bookstores and online. His Calgary launch party at Loft112 was on Saturday, December 11th.

Athabasca University Press just released Bucking Conservatism: Alternative Stories of Alberta from the 1960s and 1970s edited by Leon Crane Bear, Larry Hannant, and Karissa Robyn Patton. Calgary Gay History Project researchers Nevena Ivanović and Kevin Allen contributed a chapter to the book with editor Larry Hannant called, Gay Liberation in Conservative Calgary. Bucking Conservatism was produced under a creative commons license and is free to read online or download.

Our Past Matters has had another stellar year. It is now a textbook in two University of Calgary courses—one in Social Work, the other in Gender & Sexuality Studies—despite not being an academic read! The Our Past Matters ebook also had a short run as an Amazon #1 Best Seller in its category.

Readers note: this is our last post for the calendar year. Thank you for your ongoing support and enthusiasm for local queer history. Consider these books as our good read recommendations for this holiday season. If you enjoy them, leave reviews on sites such as GoodReads and Amazon for other readers to discover.

Happy reading!

{KA}

YYC Queer History be my Valentine

Legislating Love: The Everett Klippert Story has returned as a radioplay and podcast. To celebrate, the Alberta Queer Calendar Project and Sage Theatre are hosing an online Listening Party, on Saturday, February 13th at 4:30 pm. Participants will gather to listen to the episode, followed by a Q&A with members of the cast and crew at 7:00 pm {including Kevin and Tereasa from the Calgary Gay History Project}.

Legislating Love was written by Calgary author, playwright, poet, and professor Natalie Meisner. It premiered in March 2018 at Sage Theatre to critical acclaim. The play explores the story of Calgary bus driver Everett Klippert, who was the last Canadian convicted of being a dangerous sexual offender because of his homosexuality. The Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark judgment in November 1967 set a new bar for injustice: Klippert was given a life sentence.

The play is told through the perspective of aspiring historian Maxine, who is researching the story of Everett. She becomes fascinated with Everett’s case and with discovering the man beyond the headlines. Inspired and captivated, Maxine connects with a senior at a local assisted living facility she knows only as Handsome, one of Klippert’s lovers and perhaps the only person who can truly illuminate the past. At the same time, Maxine is navigating her own new relationship with Métis comedian Tonya. This heartwarming, multi-generational exploration of queer love tells the near-forgotten story of one of Canada’s quiet heroes and reminds us all that the past must be remembered as we work together for a better future.

The radioplay features the work of Jason Mehmel (director/production coordinator), Kathryn P. Smith (sound designer), as well as actors Jenn Forgie, Matt McKinney, Kevin Rothery, and Kathy Zaborsky. Details about the episode and the launch party can be found at sagetheatre.com.

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Shaun Hunter recently released an online literary map of Calgary; a product of her Historian in Residence time at the Calgary Public Library. Heritage Calgary is a partner organization in this residency and you can find the map on its website: here. Note: there are several queer spots to discover (I was delighted to find the Tegan and Sara house). Shaun has compiled an LGBTQ+ reading list that can accompany one’s geographic sleuthing.

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Finally, my own valentine, Gordon Sombrowski, has publicly released a new short story, titled Pigeon Droppings—set in Calgary—as a teaser to his upcoming collections of short stories: What Narcissus Saw.

{KA}