Three “distinctly queer voices” will be showcased in an evening of film, poetry, and photography on September 21 when Jackson Creek Press presents ‘I Know A Place / Poetry Is Queer / Shot In A Mirror’ at Dreams Café and Bistro in downtown Peterborough.
It’s one of many events taking place during Peterborough-Nogojiwanong Pride Week 2022, supporting and celebrating people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, which begins with the proclamation of Pride Week and the raising of the progressive pride flag at Peterborough City Hall at 12:15 p.m. on Friday, September 16th and continues until Sunday, September 25th.
The theme of this year’s Pride Week is “joy and resistance,” reflecting the origins of Pride in 1969, when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in New York City’s Greenwich Village. When police became violent, the local gay community fought back. A year after the uprising, the first gay pride marches took place in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.
‘I Know A Place / Poetry Is Queer / Shot In A Mirror’ takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21st at Dreams Café and Bistro (138 Hunter St. W., 705-742-2406).
“It’s going to be a full-up evening of film, poetry, photography and kind of a dialogue,” says organizer Jeffrey Macklin, a mixed media artist and graphic designer and the owner of Jackson Creek Press in Peterborough.
The evening begins promptly at 7 p.m. with a screening of the short film I Know A Place by Roy Mitchell, a podcaster, writer, educator, and filmmaker who now lives in Hybla, Ontario.
The film tells the story of Robert Goddere, an Algoma-area man who was well known in what was then a fairly underground gay community in Sault Ste. Marie. Goddere was known for his love of hosting gatherings for the gay community and had a tendency to care for those in his community, so much so he jokingly referred to himself as “mother.”
Mitchell made the 30-minute film in the 1990s, when he was living in Toronto and was part of the city’s art scene. After Macklin saw the film 20 years later, he knew it deserved a wider audience.
“When I saw Roy’s film, it deeply resonated with me even though the story is based in Sault Ste. Marie,” says Macklin, who came out 10 years ago. “It really resonated with my Peterborough experience.”
After Macklin secured a screening location for the film, he decided to find other work that would complement the film.
“I felt like there was an opportunity to make it a more rich evening,” he says.
Through community connections, Macklin reached out to Toronto-based poet Kirby and Don Pyle, a record producer, musician, composer, and photographer.
Kirby is the publisher of knife | fork | book at knifeforkbook.com and can be found on Instagram @poetryisqueer. They are known for their poetry celebrating moments of queer love in a largely heteronormative world. However, Kirby also works to raise the voices of fellow writers by running events, hosting workshops, and publishing chapbooks.
Their newest book, Poetry is Queer, is described as “a hybrid-genre memoir like no other” where “Kirby pays tribute to gay touchstones while embodying both their work and joy. ”
Pyle will join the event to show photos and read excerpts from his second book Shot in A Mirror, a collection of portraits of inspiring queers.
Pyle’s first book, Trouble in the Camera Club, is a collection of photos and essays documenting the beginning of punk rock in Toronto. Pyle began his musical career in 1979 as the drummer in a punk band called Crash Kills Five. Pyle and two other members of the band would later form Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, a Juno-award winning band best known for the theme song from Canadian sketch comedy TV series The Kids in the Hall.
Both Pyle and Kirby’s latest books will be available for purchase at the September 21st event.
When reaching out to Kirby and Don, Macklin was struck by how small the queer art scene can be in Canada, and in southern Ontario more specifically. Not only do Kirby and Pyle know each other, but they also both know Mitchell.
The cost for ‘I Know A Place / Poetry Is Queer / Shot In A Mirror’ is a suggested $20 at the door, or pay what you can.
“I’m very cognizant of artists being paid because I’m an artist as well,” Macklin says. “That was a big factor in putting this event together as well — that we had enough money to reward them for their work.”
Macklin also obtained financial support for the event from local businesses kawarthaNOW, Lett Architects, Basterfield & Associates, Unicity, and Brant Basics as well as from Peterborough Pride.