Travesty Café at Pride

Posted on November 2, 2010 by

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TRAVESTY CAFE – PRIDE WEEK    [by Eugene Campbell]

On Thursday, August 12, as part of Fredericton’s week-long Pride celebrations, Gallery Connexion hosted a Travesty Cafe. It was a couple of hours that some might consider an extention of the previous night’s Just Love CD Release party, as well as some entertainment.

Shaun Bartone, a local poet who participated in the Just Love CD release at at boom! Nightclub, hosted the Travesty Cafe. He said that their event gave the community the chance to honor it’s talent, poetry and literature.  He spoke of the gay history in Fredericton.  “Gay life goes back at least as far as Oscar Wilde in October of 1882, who gave a speech in Fredericton. He was friendly with Fredericton poet, Sir Charles G. D. Roberts.”  The poet said that Travesty isn’t just for gay people, though. “It is for everybody so they can come and read their poetry, tell their stories.”

The first speaker of the well-attended night was Rob Bateman.  He welcomed the audience to Travesty Cafe, and went on, in a very open and straight-forward manner, to tell his own story.  “I have been out of the closet for just over five years, and will continue to be a gay man. I consider myself normal.”  He went on to say that gays “have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. Too many gay men are still in the closet.”  He went on to speak of the success of Pride Week.  “We have had much support from store-owners and the media.”  He spoke of the ‘straight’ support for the event.  “We celebrate openness and visibility, but we still have a lot of work to do.”  He said there are still a lot of gay men who are afraid to show themselves.  “We need to make sexual awareness more available to gays and lesbians.”  Bateman went on to say that 13 years ago, “it was wishful thinking that we would have a Gay Pride Parade.  Perhaps one day, there might even be a gay Parade in Geary and McAdam!”

Organizer Shaun Bartone opened his contribution to the evening  with the singing of the Billy Idol classic, ‘WHITE WEDDING’.  In speaking to the audience afterwards, he said “you can’t tell by looking at someone that they are gay.”

Well-known Fredericton poet, Allison Calvern, read four of her compositions – ‘THE BEATING HAS TO GO SOMEWHERE’, ‘THE RUDE ROOT OF WOMEN’, ‘STILL LIFE AT THE BOYCE FARMER’S MARKET’, and  ‘TRANS-AMPHIBOUS DREAMS.’

Calvern was followed by Nas Nan Nogtole, who sang and played the piano.  The 37-year-old artist told the audience she was “openly bi-sexual.  I was born the way I am, I will die the way I am.  I’ll spread my wings the way I am.  I did not choose the way I am.”

S

he opened her set with ‘THE WAY I AM’, then went into her second number, ‘THE MENSTRUATION BLUES’, in which she involved the audience.  Her third, and final number was  ‘LET THE RAINBOW SHINE’.  “I wrote the first two.  I wish I had written this one.”  She went on to say it

was written by Judy Small of Australia, adding that this well-known recording artist “is an open lesbian.”  In this final number, the audience joined her in the chorus, and with this number, she showed her versatility as a performer.

Ken Spragg performed next, doing a number he had only just written that very day – ‘COMING OUT ASAMETRICALLY.’  He said, “my love for men comes quite naturally to me.  I’m unembarrased, I’m unashamed.”   In his writings, he wrote very openly about his being gay.  He said, “I encourage everyone to come out.  There is nothing wrong with me, that’s why coming out was easy.”  His thoughts, feelings and concerns were all expressed in his writing.

Natalie Richard performed next, although very briefly.  She sang one number, ‘DADDY, DADDY’, backed up by Shaun Bartone on guitar.

After a call for more participation from the audience, Nas Nan Nogtole once again answered the call.  “Some people say that you are going to become the next Stevie Wonder.  Some people say you are going to become the next Ray Charles.  I don’t want to be the next neither one of them.  I just want to be the next Nas Nan Nogtole.”  Late arrival Mike Mullaley performed next, although very briefly – wrapping up the night.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

FAIRYOKE AT BOOM!

That same evening, there was a Pride-sponsored Fairyoke Night at boom! Nightclub.  It was an enthusiastic crowd.  MC’d by Sarah McAdam, she also performed the night before, once again at boom!, as part  of Pride’s CD Launch, of which she is a contributing performer, as part of the trio known as LOLA.

There was a steady line-up of performers, and the audience only grew as the night progressed.  Rob Bateman was one of the performers – he had appeared at Travesty Cafe only a short time before.  He said, “We have, here in Fredericton, probably the highest gay population per capita, this side of Montreal.”

MC Sarah McAdam, performed several numbers throughout the evening, including a number where she paired-up with Mike Mullaley, who, like Bateman, had appeared at Travesty Cafe only a short time previous.  Also performing one number was Debi Skidmore, known simply as ‘menescus’.  She was Chair of this year’s Gay Pride Organizing Committee.

Donations were taken from many of the performers, with such donations going to the Pride Committee.  Club Manager Derrick Weeks, said the crowds at his club (boom!), were larger than usual.  “Tonight,” he said of Fairyoke Night, “is a special edition of Karaoke.  We are calling it ‘Fairyoke’.  ”  He said, in closing, “Pride Week has been a big success for the club, a  success for the people, a success for the committee, and a success for Fredericton.”

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