Tag Archives: Legislating Love

Legislating Love Launch!

Next Monday, December 9th, join us for a significant Calgary gay history event: Legislating Love: The Everett Klippert Story, the award-winning play, is launching as a book. Published by the University of Calgary PressLegislating Love features local playwright, Natalie Meisner’s emotionally engaging script with director’s notes from Sage Theatre’s Jason Mehmel and essays from the Calgary Gay History Project’s Kevin Allen and Tereasa Maillie.

There will be speeches, a special performance from the play, and a reception and book signing to follow. This free event starts at 7 PM in the BMO room of the Central Library. The library would prefer people to register in advance: here.

Legislating Love Cover Rev.indd

December 9, 2019 Book Launch

Sage Theatre premiered Legislating Love in March 2018 to much 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 judgment led to outrage amongst some progressives in Canada, prompting Pierre Trudeau’s famous quote: “Take this thing on homosexuality, I think the view we take here is that there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” It also profoundly impacted the nation’s gay community when homosexuality was subsequently partially decriminalized in 1969.

Giving our stories artistic expression keeps them vital; it allows our history to have resonance and relations with the present. One of the things most admirable about Legislating Love is how deeply centred it is in Calgary. In fact, our city was more than a backdrop for the drama; it was a character itself in the play. Chicken on the Way, the Calgary Tower, and the Number One bus route: Calgary audiences thrilled to place themselves in the play’s narrative.

Audiences were moved emotionally by the production. The genuine quality of the play and positive word of mouth ensured that the run became largely sold out.

Natalie Meisner

Playwright Natalie Meisner

Natalie said: “For me, one of the greatest endorsements for the show was the live testimonials as well as the written ones by Everett’s family and contemporaries. We have been contacted by theatres from across the country with interest in the script. I think this means we have opened a door to this Calgary based story and indeed this particular man’s story to the hearts and the minds of the country.”

{KA}

Everett Klippert’s Personal Papers

The family of Everett Klippert have shared a box of his remaining personal papers with the Calgary Gay History Project. We are ever so thankful and are in the process of digitizing them for posterity. Klippert’s documents were also used by playwright Natalie Meisner in developing her play Legislating Love, which had a very successful run at Sage Theatre last month.

Here are some treasures we have captured:

Klippert Dairymen's Conference

Everett Klippert (circled) worked at Union Milk Co. Ltd. from 1943-1952.

Klippert Report Card

Note: Movies were discouraged on weekdays on this 1940s report card.

Klippert Aug 26 69

One of Everett’s notes from inside the Prince Albert Penitentiary. On August 26th, 1969 homosexuality was no longer a criminal offence in Canada (some conditions applied).

Klippert Cradle Roll

This Crescent Heights Baptist Church document is 90 years old this September.

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Legislating Love Media Roundup

Well, gentle Calgary Gay History Project readers, the play we have been greatly anticipating opens tonight. There have been many interesting and thoughtful preview pieces about the play, and its author, Natalie Meisner.

Louis Hobson at the Calgary Herald writes: One man’s truth at heart of Legislating Love.

The Herald also published in last weekend’s Swerve: 5 facts about Sage Theatre’s Legislating Love.

The CBC had Natalie on The Homestretch, and also wrote an article about the play.

Breakfast Television, featured Natalie and Director Jason Mehmel, this morning.

And of course, last week, actors Matt McKinney and Mark Bellamy were featured on Global Television.

Natalie Meisner

Playwright Natalie Meisner reporting “serious butterflies” for the world premiere of Legislating Love.

Tickets can be found at Sage Theatre’s online box office: here. The play runs March 22-31.

{KA}