Welcome to the May installment of my newsletter...and thank-you for joining us here! How are you all? I hope you are all well in your lives. A special shout-out to all of the youth I met on my latest tour of highschools in Ontario who have signed up for my newsletter....you rock! Thanks for signing up.
Here is a quote I wish to share with you: “A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight and his punishment is that he gets to see the dawn before the rest of the world.” - Oscar Wilde.
I love this quote (I always insert “she” in there to make it relevant to me). I have often felt like a dreamer on this musical journey of mine. And as I have watched my career unfold over the last 8 years, I have certainly held on some kind of dream: the dream of making it work, of making a living with music, of continuing to be inspired to do this work and to see where it takes me. And writing the music that I do is starting to take me to places I never thought I would go. When I left teaching to pursue a career in music, I was convinced I was done with being an educator, that there was no room for that in my life anymore. And now, my music is taking me into schools and I'm using it as a point of departure to talk with students and staff about sexual and gender identity, homophobia, heterosexism, diversity and acceptance....it's magical.
So, wow....I'm tired! I've been home for 6 days and I'm still dragging my butt! The 6-week tour of highschools in Ontario was amazing, inspiring and challenging in many ways. It was incredible to see many schools doing great work with our young people. I also visited schools where they are still working towards creating positive and safe spaces for everyone in their student body. I went to schools where youth are out about who they are and who they love. I met youth who are participating in and running Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs. I met with enthusiastic teachers and administrators who are working hard to ensure the safety and inclusion of all their students. I also heard from some students who are afraid to be out in their schools because they feel like their schools are not safe environments. I met students who told me after my concerts they think they are queer and how they had never spoke about it before, to anyone. I met youth who have lesbian moms, gay dads and all manner of queer family members and friends. I heard from students who are able to articulate so many injustices they see around them and other students who are just beginning to inquire about their own and others' prejudices. It was a pleasure to meet them all.
During my school concerts, I would open up the floor for questions in between my songs. Some audiences were more eager to ask questions than others but usually, most audiences opened up and began inquiring after a couple of songs. Students asked me a range of questions: Did you lose any friends when you came out? Was it weird to go from dating boys to dating girls? How do you write songs and how long does it take you? In that song, did that guy really say that to you? Why do you have so many harmonicas? What does your partner look like....can we see a picture of her? How long have you been with your partner? Are you going to wear a tux or a dress to your wedding? If you are attracted to women, why are you with a woman who is seen as more masculine? How do two lesbians have children? What kind of hair product/colour do you use? What is that pink thing on your head? Why do all lesbians have short hair? Do you think people are born gay? Why do school boards seem to have so many gay events? Do butch lesbians always date femmes or do they sometimes date other butches? Have you ever had someone attack you because they were homophobic? Do you ever worry that someone is going to gay-bash you after a concert?
As you can see, some of the questions were pretty funny; some were based in plain curiosity and a desire to understand; some were based in stereotypes and some were based in fear, that is, the fear of what might happen if they themselves, came out. (At least, that was my feeling on those types of questions.) The three questions I was asked the most were of course, “What did your parents say when you told them?”, “Can I have my picture taken with you?” and, “Can I have your autograph?” This tour was such a pleasure as well as a learning experience about many things including, how I think about certain issues, how I respond to people's questions and reactions and how I deal with my own internalized homophobia when it flares up inside of me at unexpected moments. Thank-you to a few radically-minded people at the Trillium-Lakelands District School Board for putting together the grant proposal that funded this important tour.
I'm done school workshops and concerts for this school year however, if you or anyone you know might be interested in having me visit your schoolng during the next school calendar, you can check out what I do here: www.katereid.net/schools and then email: firstname.lastname@example.org to book a concert or workshop.
Queer Across Canada CD Release Partaaaay:
Yes.....the release of Queer Across Canada is just around the corner! The big CD Release party is happening here in Vancouver on Saturday, June 8th at 8pm at the St. James Hall, presented by the Rogue Folk Club. In order to celebrate with us, people are coming from all over: Portland, Ontario, Edmonton, Bowen Island and of course, Vancouver....so awesome! I will be playing with a full band: Elliot Polsky on drums, Scott Tucker on bass, Adam Popowitz on electric guitar, Alison Gorman on horns, Mel Nieva on backup vocals plus a handfull of kids will be joining me for a few tunes. It should be a total blast....even though admittedly, I'm a little nervous about all! But at some point, I will have to just let all of that go and have a good time, right? Deep breathing is a good thing.....phew.
Queer Across Canada CDs:
The new CD will be for sale at the show and I will be autographing them. For those of you who participated in the interviews I conducted or if you sang on the album, you will be getting a free, autographed copy of the cd at the show. If you are unable to make it to the show, please let me know and we will mail your copy. Just make sure I have your updated mailing address. I am very proud of this project and I hope that you all enjoy the songs as much as the artwork on the cover. The original paintings were done by none other than my talented sister, Amy who resides in Toronto with her family. I so love that she was a part of this project and am grateful that she donated her time and incredible talent to the album. And of course, the amazing Bronwin Parks of Feisty Entertainment in Toronto (www.bronwinparks.com) with her keen eye for detail and flair brought the whole project together. You can listen to track clips and see the artwork here: www.katereid.net/music. You can also purchase your copy of Queer Across Canada from my website: www.katereid.net/shop. The educator's kit for classrooms that a few teachers and I are designing to accompany the Queer Across Canada cd will be available for purchase at the end of the summer. Stay tuned for that!
Kate Reid Fan Packs:
For those of you who purchased a Kate Reid Fan Pack in support of the making of Queer Across Canada, we will be putting those together in the next few weeks and distributing them by the end of June. Please update me with your mailing address if you have moved since making your donation. Thank-you so much!
Heal Myself – The Documentary:
If you haven't seen the teaser for Heal Myself – The Documentary by Carla Sinclair and Colin Burwell of Empty Cup Media, check it out here: www.emptycupmedia.ca. There are other clips of footage on my Facebook page and if you are friends with me on FB, you can check them out there. I daresay the Heal Myself teaser just might inspire you and bring some tears to your eyes. It inspired me, well, to be more to the point, it annihilated me for almost an entire day. Yes, I cried intermittantly throughout the day...like, sobbing crying, that is, after watching the teaser for the first time. Carla and Colin are a dynamic filmmaking duo to be sure, and this full-length feature film about my music and it's impact on people is likely to astound you. I mean, it's hard to articulate why, but I was astounded and it's about me...I live this stuff everyday! But there was something about seeing it from a third-person point of view and hearing people really articulate the ways in which my songs impacted them that was very powerful and meaningful for me. Plus, of course, the sound track is all my music so that's just downright awesome. I can't wait to see the full documentary. Carla will be completing it by early 2014 and is submitting it to the annual international documentary film festival, Hot Docs Festival in Toronto in April 2014. If you, your school, Pride committee or organization wish to talk with Carla about screening the film, please contact her at: email@example.com.
One more thing:
For those of you looking for a cool thing to do on a Sunday in Vancouver, the members of Quirk-E,Vancouver's writing group for queer elders, are the displaying project they have been working on called, Memory Boxes. The display and conversation will be held at the Al Mattison's Seniors Lounge at the Brittania Community Services Centre at 1661 Napier St, just off Commercial Drive in East Vancouver. This writing collective does amazing work...please drop in and check it out between 4-6 pm on Sunday, June 16th. Quirk-E is facilitated by celebrated Vancouver author, Claire Robson.
That's it from my action desk here in Vancouver! Thank-you for reading my newsletter. I appreciate enthusiasm for my music, your stellar support and fan-ship over the years....where would I be without all of you? Hmmmm....if you are familiar with my song, “Small Town” which is about when I lived and taught in Midway, BC, I'm hearing strains of that in the back of my head and I'm cringing ever so slightly....not that Midway, BC isn't a beautiful place, it is. But, I'm just grateful to be doing the work I am doing now.
As always, yours in music,