Sunday, August 12, 2007

You know how I know you're gay?

Well, this just seals the deal. Ottawa is officially faggadocious.

Faggadocious is a new word for me (I know, shouldn't it be spelled faggodocious?), uncovered this spring when some City of Ottawa employees got caught sending around a rather silly e-mail, which was about as serious or harmful as the “Do you know how I know you're gay? You like Coldplay” scene from The Forty Year Old Virgin. Some councillors freaked – better to punish employees for sending around a joke e-mail than actually do something to make the city more gay-friendly, I guess.

Anyway, faggadocious. Ottawa's writing community has always been a little bit gay – after all, we've been lucky enough to have Suki Lee (who recently left us for TO), Shane Rhodes, Megan Butcher, Alex Brett, Sean Zio, Mackenzie MacBride and handful of others consistently out there. The Dusty Owl's readings at Swizzles offer a pleasantly bent atmosphere for shows. And of course the Owler's first ever trade pub, last year's Tattoo This Madness In by Montreal cutie Daniel Allen Cox (whose book is a lot like Joey Comeau's first, Lockpick Pornography, come to think of it), was also queer. The good folks at Lambda have been giving us Wilde About Sappho for years and sometimes WAS seemed like the only gay thing Ottawa's literati were really prepared for.

This spring, the Ottawa International Writer's Fest paired up with WAS to give us the launch of Canada's first historical collection of gay men's poetry, Seminal – the work of former Ottawan John Barton and BC's Billeh Nickerson (see his interview with hot gay poet Sean Horlor here). A few months before that, Capital Xtra, where I work, hosted Transgress, an evening of sexy readings by Ivan Coyote, Sky Gilbert, Matt Firth and Marnie Woodrow. I'm happy to say Transgress will be back this October – as it will every October from now on. Stay tuned for the lineup.

We've gotten gayer and gayer. But with Pride this year, we're officially faggadocious. The bloom of queer author appearances – from two last year to six this year – proves it, and this city is only going to get more lube-and-rhinestones fabulous.

Venus Envy is organizing two queer-themed readings; Dusty Owl is organizing two queer spoken word events; rob and the Factory Reading Series will host one queer, one bent, one straight chapbook launch; and, oh yeah, Sky Gilbert is coming (hosted by James Moran).

I really hope the local reading series will take this as an opportunity to recruit regulars to their evenings. After all, gays in this city tend to be free-time-having, disposable-income-wielding lit-loving nuts. And I hope that Dusty Owl, Venus Envy and Factory and the other reading series in town make an effort again next year host somebody faggadocious during Pride.

Details below.

Sky Gilbert.
w/ Marcus McCann and Mackenzie MacBride.
Thurs, Aug 16, 7:30pm.
Collected Works Bookstore.
1242 Wellington W.

A Theory Of Angels.
Spoken word by Sean Zio.
Sat, Aug 18, 5pm.
Mother Tongue Books.
1067 Bank (a wheelchair accessible venue).
A Dusty Owl event.

DeAnne Smith.
Spoken word and standup.
Sun, Aug 20, 5pm.
246 Queen.
A Dusty Owl event.

Reading Out Loud.
Local personalities read literature that influenced hem while they were coming out.
Thurs, Aug 23, 8pm.
Venus Envy.
320 Lisgar.
Organized by the good folk at Venus Envy.

14th Anniversary Of Above/Ground Press.
w/ Marcus McCann, Amanda Earl and Bill Hawkins.
Thurs, Aug 23, 7:30pm.
Ottawa Art Gallery.
2 Daly (ArtsCourt).
A Factory Readying Series event.

Julia Serano.
Author of Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman On Sexism And The Scapegoating Of Femininity.
Sun, Aug 26, 6pm.
Venus Envy.
320 Lisgar.
Organized by the good folk at Venus Envy.

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