Quick links: Arts, Culture, and Heritage Roundup, COVID-19 Updates.Art Loves Pride 2020
EC3's annual celebration of Peterborough Pride returns for another year. Following COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, as well as this year's Pride theme, 'Pride in Other Spaces,' EC3 is changing Art Loves Pride from a float in the parade, to a series of commissions by local queer artists to be shared through EC3's Instagram @ec3ptbo.
Follow EC3 on Instagram and watch this space for updates.
EC3 gratefully acknowledges Peterborough Pride's contribution to this project.
"Earned" by people you meet outside of bars
Take-Out Poetry Cart by Ziysah von B and Ronnie Ritchie
"Sturgeon Point" by Derek Newman-Stille
by people you meet outside of bars
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It's the final project in #ArtLovesPride 2020, EC3’s celebration of @ptbopride. Listen to "Earned," a new song by @peopleyoumeetoutsideofbars. Artist statement: A difficult journey to accepting love as safe isn't specifically unique to queerness, but there are more obstacles on the path. Part of my personal joy in lesbianism is that seventeen years after starting to come out, I'm still finding new ways to be healed & strengthened by it. This song is an attempt to honour the nervous tenderness of shuffling carefully to feel out the potential of solid ground after a long, long, long climb. Check out all the #ArtLovesPride 2020 projects - link in bio.
A difficult journey to accepting love as safe isn't specifically unique to queerness, but there are more obstacles on the path. Part of my personal joy in lesbianism is that seventeen years after starting to come out, I'm still finding new ways to be healed & strengthened by it. This song is an attempt to honour the nervous tenderness of shuffling carefully to feel out the potential of solid ground after a long, long, long climb.
people you meet outside of bars is the tenderly spooky, uncannily tuneful, and radically honest musical project of Satah Cameron. Their prolific output includes at least 16 EPs and albums which take listeners by the hand and guide them through bedrooms, hospital rooms, and dive bar bathrooms, whispering poetry in their ears all the while. You can find their work at http://gaygothvibes.online/.
Take-Out Poetry Cart
by Ziysah von B and Ronnie Ritchie
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#ArtLovesPride, EC3’s celebration of @ptbopride, continues with the return of the #TakeOutPoetry Cart, with poems by @ziysah and art by Ronnie Ritchie. Place your order for a custom poem and art made just for you. Comment below with a form, a theme, and a mood (per the menu above). Poems will be shared on Instagram next week, October 6 to 9. Only 4 slots available, so place your orders right away! Feel free to play along at home and make your own poems as well! Use the hashtag #takeoutpoetry. (Find out more about #ArtLovesPride - link in bio.) TAKE-OUT POETRY MENU Comment with your three-word order: 1. FORM (Haiku, Dr. Seuss, Ode, OR form of your choice) 2. THEME (Love, Gender Justice, The Wild, OR theme of your choice ) 3. MOOD (Silly, Enraged, Calming OR mood of your choice)
The Take-Out Poetry Cart menu is live. Place your order by commenting on this Instagram post with a form, a theme, and a mood (per the menu). Poems will be shared on Instagram next week, October 6 to 9. Only 4 slots available, so place your orders right away!
And feel free to play along at home and make your own poems as well! Use the hashtag #takeoutpoetry.
"Ode, the wild, elation"
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#ArtLovesPride, EC3’s celebration of @ptbopride, continues with the return of the #TakeOutPoetry Cart, with poems by @ziysah and art by @rritchiearts. This poem and illustration was created for @mango.bandicoot, using the prompts "ode, the wild, elation". (Swipe to see the full illustration and full poem.) Place your order using our takeout menu - see our previous post, and click the link in bio to see all the #ArtLovesPride 2020 projects. Ode to the Wild O funky fungi, o mercurial mycorrhizae, o tremulous timber, quake on. Let me land in your lushness, let me revel in your rot, May your mosses mollify, nest me in your knolls and knots. O holy of holies, o glorious wild who makes of me a frolicsome child O glory of glories, o holiest wild your beauty banished, your riches reviled Return me to your marshlands, your kingdom, my homeland immerse me in inquiry, in ecstatic earwig entropy Your aliveness is the antidote. Cure me to the bone.
"Dr Seuss, love, silly"
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#ArtLovesPride, EC3’s celebration of @ptbopride, continues with the return of the #TakeOutPoetry Cart, with poems by @ziysah and art by @rritchiearts. This poem and illustration was created for @kidzfirstptbo off the prompts "Dr. Suess, love, silly". (Swipe to see the full illustration and full poem.) Place your order using our takeout menu - see our previous post. I hear I should profess my love to the worms below and stars above to the grickle grass and the painted toads to the telephone lines and the crumbling roads to the Paskian Sea and the whispering wood to every last Dave in the dang neighbourhood They say I should yell it, from way up on high I should cue the acoustics of open red sky And so here I am, hanging out of this plane I'm afraid the height has quite frightened my brain Down below are the mountains and the sassafras birds the briffalo brats all running in herds I call to them them now with my message of love I declare with fanfare from on high up above I profess that I love you all the way to the moon as soft as a moth and as deep as bassoon No love is as lovey as this lover's love it's the loviest love you have ever dreamed of My parachute ready, I jump from the plane I call out, "I love you..." and then try again I hope you'll forgive my broken refrain I remember our love, but I quite lost your name! Image description: A whimsical illustration of a person jumping from a plane, shouting hearts into a red sky. Below is a landscape of purple mountains, blue pines, and green and pink grasses, where two toads and three flowers look up at the sky in shock and awe.
"haiku, gender justice, unconditional love"
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#ArtLovesPride, EC3’s celebration of @ptbopride, continues with the return of the #TakeOutPoetry Cart, with poems by @ziysah and art by @rritchiearts. This poem and illustration was created for @gailsporter using the prompts "haiku, gender justice, unconditional love". (Swipe to see the full illustration and full poem.) Place your order using our takeout menu - see our previous post. Forms 'Boy,' 'Girl,' or 'Other' She crosses them all off, writes her own name instead Feet against the wall Upside-down and naked, book clutched in tiny hands What do I do now so she can be this free when tomorrow finds her? Image description: The torso of a child holding a closed book in front of her. The book is a light coral red/pink, her t-shirt is blue, and her skin is left the same brown as the paper.
"ode, love, enraged"
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#ArtLovesPride, EC3’s celebration of @ptbopride, continues with the return of the #TakeOutPoetry Cart, with poems by @ziysah and art by @rritchiearts. This poem and illustration was created for @tobiasbernstein using the prompts "ode, love, enraged". Ode to that Scoundrel, Love My childhood dog would lie all innocent under the cedar trees and when you weren’t looking she’d creep a few inches away. You’d look up and not notice a thing, her being approximately where she was before. She was patient with this strategy, moving at unnoticed increments until one time you’d look up and she’d be not there at all. Sudden panic would ensue. We’d pile into the car. We’d drive up and down the country roads. We’d whistle out the window. We’d call out her name. This is how you conquered me, love. In tiny unaccountable moves that escape the human eye. Two hands just barely brushing. Eyes held one beat too long. A borrowed sweater. Some whispered praise. You are a creep, love. A measly menace. Like a worm to an apple A virus to a lung Admit it You’re a nasal swab A gentle spot of cotton one second A threat to my brain the next Uprooting all I thought I’d known. Making me cry at anything half sad, half happy, half alive. Making the rain some kind of miracle I’d never seen before. Ludicrous, lecherous, libellous Love! I’m getting in my car. I’m driving down these country roads. I’m whistling out the window. I’m cursing your good name. Image description: Over a green background are layered several pink/red silhouettes of a dog laying on its stomach, front paws outstretched, ears alert. The dog images slowly travel up and to the right until the last image, cut off by the frame and left the same brown as the paper, seems to leave the picture entirely.
Ronnie Ritchie is an eclectic storyteller, making everything from prose and illustrations to comics and games. They are the creator of the autobiographical webcomic GQutie and contributed to the Ignatz Award-winning all-trans comic anthology We're Still Here. They live and work in Peterborough, Ontario.
by Derek Newman-Stille
Content Warning for discussions of domestic abuse, violence, and, specifically, gender-based violence.
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EC3 celebrates @ptbopride with #ArtLovesPride, a series of original works by local queer artists. The first is “Sturgeon Point” by Derek Newman-Stille @dereknewmanstille **Content Warning for discussions of domestic abuse, violence, and, specifically, gender-based violence.** There has never actually been a Sturgeon in Sturgeon Lake. It isn't deep enough for them, too shallow for them to thrive. We always wondered about the name. Were there sturgeon there once? Was something mistaken as a sturgeon? Or did people just like their myths and populate their waters with monsters of the imagination? There was a lot of wanting and myth that went into building Sturgeon Point, the little community that pretended innocence the same as every little Canadian community. It was cottage space, promising an escape from the realities of life in cities and a harkening back to a more innocent time. It, like the sturgeon off its shores, became a mythical space, treated as outside of the realities of real life....... (Follow link in bio for full story.)
There has never actually been a Sturgeon in Sturgeon Lake. It isn't deep enough for them, too shallow for them to thrive.
We always wondered about the name. Were there sturgeon there once? Was something mistaken as a sturgeon? Or did people just like their myths and populate their waters with monsters of the imagination?
There was a lot of wanting and myth that went into building Sturgeon Point, the little community that pretended innocence the same as every little Canadian community. It was cottage space, promising an escape from the realities of life in cities and a harkening back to a more innocent time. It, like the sturgeon off its shores, became a mythical space, treated as outside of the realities of real life.
We didn't get the opportunity to cottage there. We lived in cottage country year round, watching the migration of people like geese, flocking in for their own oasis.
It's easier to live in a place of myth when you close your eyes and dream about the place surrounding you, not letting the realities be seen. Blink enough and the problems disappear. Plug your ears until the gossip becomes drama.
Better hope that you aren't allergic to sumac if you want to have any fun because everything was hidden behind a thin veil of leaves, open secrets. The cottagers could imagine it was rabbits fucking.
Playgrounds creaked with rust, the only thing painted onto them the brush of normalcy, a lacquer of conformity. The worst thing to be was different and that was built into child's play. Mocking, ridicule, and humiliation became white picket fences delineating the boundaries of experience.
You didn't need signposts in Sturgeon Point - everyone knew where you were and everyone knew you weren't really going anywhere. Leaving it was like exile. It was bad to be talked about but it was worse not to be talked about. It meant that you didn't matter. Better to be shit-talked than to be shit.
Every summer we had the Sturgeon Point Regatta, a space where kids would compete in athletic games on the property of the wealthy cottage owners. My dad would hire me out to mow their lawns beforehand, and there was nothing like competing on the same spaces where he had beaten me just a day before the competition. Working for my dad was like being hired into his own personal fight club, where every moment was monitored as a potential space to punish me for doing something wrong. He always punched me in the stomach. His violence wasn't from rage, wasn't impulsive, but instead calculated so that people wouldn't see the bruises.
My favourite parts of the Sturgeon Point Regatta were the swimming competitions. I was great at them because I could swim fast under water, hiding beneath everyone's legs as they swam at the surface while I darted below them. This was my chance to hide from sight and to push my lungs until they hurt, until I would be breathing in just the slightest bit of water by the end of the race. I had to win at some athletic events or I would be called "pussy" and hit, and these ones I could compete at without being watched, away from the judgemental gaze.
The wealthy cottagers bought ribbons for us to compete for, and these lined the walls of my room. They had to go up, of course. None of my academic or artistic awards mattered - they were just signs of weakness to him, signs that I couldn't be a real man.
My favourite prize, and one that I hid behind the others, was the one I won with Samantha at the Sturgeon Point Street Dance. We had spent weeks watching Dirty Dancing and Flashdance and had worked out routines, copying all of the moves we could make our little bodies perform. Every movement was choreographed, but we also liked to mix it up a bit, playing off of each others' little expressive jumps. We even gave each other a little bit of a makeover before the competition so we would be at our peak dancing performance.
Samantha was able to do figure skating while I was forced into hockey because it would "make a man" out of me, but the street dance was finally our chance to coordinate our moves and create some art together, well, if you considered copying dance routines from our favourite films art.
We sweat off most of our make-up as we danced. Samantha was obsessed with this adorable head toss that looked like a pony tossing its mane, so we had to work that in where we could, and I feel bad for the people around us who got splashed with sweat and smeared make-up.
The crowd thinned out as people were eliminated, but we didn't notice because this was one of our rare opportunities to have enough room to really work on the dance moves that needed a run up to perform. Lifts weren't easy for me since I hadn't had the practice lifting figure skaters, so Samantha had to help me through them and risk falling onto the gravel of the road. When the music finally stopped, we found out that there was only one other dance pair remaining - the adult pair. We started to leave when the judges stopped us and asked us to get on stage.
Both of us felt really awkward. I was worried about what would happen if it was found out that I could dance. This was another mark against me because it was a beacon of femininity shined on me, pointing out every way that I didn't fit into small town masculinity. As far as males in the town were concerned, I may as well have had a dick in my mouth.
It was the most myself that I had been.
I could only achieve this expression of myself in the carnivalesque space of the street dance, and only because Samantha was there with me, marking the space as heterosexual by virtue of her female identity. Instead of imagining my Queer life for me, people could imagine that I was practising being a boyfriend for her instead of comparing ways to express ourselves as femmes.
We always had a lot in common.
Sam was even there for my first exploration of drag. Not surprisingly, I was too convincing in my performance. I didn't get that Drag in Sturgeon Point was meant to confirm masculinity by over-performing sexist femininity.
Samantha and I had joined the sailing club together, having fun by escaping our little community onto the water where we could be as ridiculous as we wanted as long as we avoided getting knocked out of the boat. We knew there were, of course, no Sturgeon in Sturgeon Lake, so we tipped our sailboat frequently, turtling it so that we could have something that we could invert, some way of turning our carefully regulated lives upside down.
But the sailing club had themed dances, which allowed me a space to express myself, using the "sport" of boating to indulge in the play of dance. We dressed in glam pink outfits from time to time, but once we had a gender-swap dance and Sam drew a little moustache on herself with her eye liner, while I tried on her dresses, borrowed her mom's lipstick and eye shadow and transformed myself into the figure I saw out of the corner of my eye whenever I looked hopefully in the mirror.
I was able to quickly drop into the hip swaying of femininity, the puckered lips of femme sexuality, and I was still prepubescent enough that my gender was ambiguous enough.
I didn't win the contest.
I got asked why I didn't dress up.
A guy wearing a mop on his head and lipstick smeared across his face won. He played what they wanted to see - a mockery of feminine identity, a carefully structured statement that male and female were binary opposites and each would fail at performing the other.
Sam still has my favourite picture of us, with me sitting on her lap with my legs delicately crossed (at the ankle, of course), and her hand draped over my shoulder, while I am caught mid-blink with lips puckered at the camera. The image is normally trotted out for laughs on the rare occasions when I go back to Sturgeon Point, but I think Samantha understands what it means for me to see it and how adoring I was that I had a friend who actually understood what it meant to be able to take a little break from performing masculinity.
Dancing was my space to really express myself, and Sam was always there to spin and jump with me into a safe space. We danced across couches, leaping onto the coffee table and sliding across it in socked feet, thankful that both of our mothers were obsessive enough to wax the tables until they were ice.
One of the last things my dad did before my mom left was to take dance away from me, permanently damaging my back so I couldn't have my one space of freedom.
Ironically, he threw me out of a boat, something that had allowed me to escape onto my own island in the middle of Sturgeon Lake as long as I said that I was doing something masculine, like fishing. The boat was up on its trailer in our driveway, and he had asked me to rewire it. He left the wires live, and I managed to get a jolt as I twisted wires together, which gave him the excuse he needed to begin punching me because the electricity coursing through my body could have damaged the boat's electrical systems. He picked me up by the neck of my shirt, something he enjoyed doing, which resulted in a lot of ripped shirts being worn by me. He threw me out of the boat and onto the cement deck in front of our house, my back landing half on the cement and half on the gravel of the driveway.
He jumped from the boat, landing beside me and kicking me repeatedly in the back. When I finally managed to get onto my stomach to try to crawl back to the house, hoping I could lock him out, he stomped on my back the whole way.
I can't help but think that with every kick he was thinking about how I should have taken this violence in a more manly way.
I was 14.
I like to dance with my hands, letting them weave through the air. I show some of my hillbilly roots when I let my arm hang out of the car window, but I am catching the wind dancing through my fingers when I do it, weaving my own myths and fantasies about living without pain.
People still ask me why I rarely go back to Sturgeon Point. They even forget why I walk with a cane.
Mythic places are forgetting places.
The sturgeons in Sturgeon Lake aren't the only things that are fake.
Derek Newman-Stille, MA, PhD ABD (They/Them) is a Disabled, Queer, Nonbinary activist, author, artist, academic, and editor. They edited the anthologies Over the Rainbow: Folk and Fairy Tales from the Margins (Exile) and We Shall Be Monsters (Renaissance Press) and are the 9 time Prix Aurora Award-winning creator of the digital humanities hub Speculating Canada. Derek has published in fora such as Uncanny Magazine, The Playground of Lost Toys, Quill & Quire, Fireside Magazine, Diamond Book Shelf, The Town Crier, Exile Quarterly, and Nothing Without Us. Derek's art work has been published in fora such as Feminist Space Camp, Lackington's, Postscripts to Darkness, and Aging Activisms.