Tag Archives: Shelf Life

Gay History Walk—Take 2

Thanks to everyone who attended Kevin’s reading of Our Past Matters at Shelf Life Books last Saturday. As the event started a deluge broke over the Beltline and drowned Pride in the Park which also cancelled the scheduled Gay History Walk that afternoon.

Minutes after this photo was taken on August 27, the storm clouds broke.

We will try again this Saturday, September 3rd for a gay history walk through the Beltline. The weather forecast looks fine! The walk begins at 2:00 PM in Central Memorial Park (meet at the Boer War Memorial in the centre of the park) and ends at 3:30 PM at Lois Szabo Commons, a new city park celebrating LGBTQ2 history. Learn about the City’s fascinating queer past.

Spaces are limited; please register in advance through Calgary Pride or by emailing: calgarygayhistory@gmail.com and write in the subject line “history walk.” Free event.

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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!

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YYCGayHistory @CalgaryPride 2022

A big thank you to all of the Calgary Gay History Project readers who filled out our survey for queer history offerings at Calgary Pride this year (August 26 – September 5). Here is where you will find us:

Saturday, August 27, 2 PM

Join Shelf Life Books and Kevin Allen for a talk about his book Our Past Matters: Stories of Gay Calgary. The talk will be followed by an open mic, where audience members can share their stories of Gay Calgary or read poems or prose pieces (with a 6-8 minute time slot limit). If you identify as a part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and would like to participate, then please let us know at events@shelflifebooks.ca! You can also sign up before the event, space permitted. Registration for audience attendance is recommended and appreciated! Free event.

Saturday, August 27, 4 PM

The Calgary Gay History Project’s Kevin Allen will lead a gay history walk through the Beltline. Learn about the City’s fascinating LGBTQ2 past. The walk begins at 4:00 PM in Central Memorial Park (meet at the Boer War Memorial in the centre of the park) and ends at 5:30 PM at Lois Szabo Commons, a new city park celebrating LGBTQ2 history. Spaces are limited; please register in advance through Calgary Pride. Free event.

Friday, September 2, 7 PM

Our friends at The Calgary Institute for the Humanities presents the 4th Annual LGTBQ2S+ Lecture, featuring Dr. Jules Gill-Peterson. Titled: Trans Panic: A Global History, Dr. Gill-Peterson explores the history of violence against trans women. Where did it come from? And when did it arise? Letting go of a purely psychological lens, history shows that targeting trans femininity has been integral to colonial statecraft around the world for the past 150 years. On Zoom or in person at the Central Library. Reserve your spot: here. Free event.

Sunday, September 4, Noon

Our History Booth at the Calgary Pride Festival—Immediately following the Pride Parade on September 4, join us at Pride’s new festival venue – Fort Calgary. At our table there will be history artifacts, books, and ephemera as well as Project volunteers to answer questions and have conversations about Calgary’s Queer History. Sponsored by Calgary Pride. Free event. Stop by and say, “hi!” Happy Pride!

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