Travesty Café

Posted on November 2, 2010 by

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TRAVESTY CAFE     [by Eugene Campbell]   If you are looking for a place to show your poetry skills, read your short stories, present your own style of music, or if you are looking for some place to go to enjoy such presentations, then there is a place for you.

Travesty Cafe, the brainchild of UNB PHD student in Sociology at UNB, Shaun Bartone, is open to the public the first Thursday of each month at the UNB Grad House – the Alden Nowlan House, on Windsor Street, on campus.

Bartone, a well-known poet, has only been in Fredericton for two years.  The native of Providence, Rhode Island, is a former Law Graduate, having practised the profession in Massachusetts for eight years.

Openly gay and transgendered, Bartone said he always connected with being gay through literature.  Although unpublished as a poet, he contributed to the recently-launched Gay Pride CD, ‘JUST LOVE’ with her poem, ‘WE DANCE SEX MAGIK’. He said that coming out is about telling people you are gay. “Most people, you can’t tell they are gay unless they tell you. That is what coming out is all about – telling people.” He said that a critical part of coming out is exploring it through other people’s stories – thus, Travesty Cafe is a place where you can tell those stories. “That is why I started this thing, because I just wanted to let make it clear to people, “I’m a queer!”

Bartone says that you don’t have to be gay to present your work at Travesty Cafe, however.  “It’s not just for gay people. It’s for everyone. This is a place where you can read gay literature. We started with poetry, short stories, music, and more.”  He was pleased to announce that transgender author, Ivan Capote, who writes short stories, has agreed to come out to do a reading at Travesty Cafe in March 2011. He said that funding for the appearance has been made available from the League of Canadian Poets.

“Erotica is allowed,” he said, “academic work, articles, essays, in fact, anything you can read.  We also welcome small performances.  We have had some of all that stuff.”  He said they get together at least five people each month. “It’s very real – very open – that’s what is allowed there. We have had just about everything. It’s a small group, but every month, everybody shows up.”

There is no admission fee to attend, and Bartone said that everyone is allowed. “It’s open to anyone over 18. If you are not a UNB student, you have to come as a guest of a UNB student,” but he welcomes all. “They sell beer to everyone.” He said it is “really fun. It is very supportive. During the school year, it focuses more on poetry and literature. It is a little bit quieter.”

If you would like to present your work at the monthly get-together, you can reach Bartone at travestycafe@gmail.com. “Come if you want to take part!”

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