Asked to cover a Pride event as my assignment for the week, I chose the ActOut: Official Pride Show. As a CIS-identifying, straight male I felt kind of awkward and shitty for a couple of reasons. I felt out of place, which I realize is an indication of my privilege. I mean, it’s a privilege to only feel out of place once in a while, while LGBTQ around Peterborough and the world are forced into a marginalized place most, if not all, the time.
Yet, I felt awkward nonetheless. I also felt kind of guilty covering the event, because I hoped that I had not taken the place of an LGBTQ person that may have been able to cover the event instead of myself.
However, the minute I walked through the doors I realized my stupidity. The
positive energy and love made itself apparent immediately and prevailed throughout the show. By the time I took my seat, I was smiling, and that smile did not leave until I walked out the doors of the venue.
Looking around the theatre I saw many pride influenced things. There were
rainbow-coloured flags (the Pride flag) hung on the balconies and laid across the stage. Directly behind the stage was a large mural-like sheet. It had a floral design and sported the words, ‘The Love Revolution’, ‘StoneWall Inn’, and ‘Show Me Love’. Near the bottom of the piece was a pair of lips directly above text that simply read, ‘Pride’.
The first act of the night was Evangeline Gentle. She was brought out by the very funny and in-your-face hosts, The PTBO Pajama Show (currently on break from Trent Radio). Evangeline is a former Peterborough Folk Fest emerging artist, and dare I say it, has the most beautiful goddamn voice in Peterborough. Her style is singer-songwriter-ish country.
Her music is made all the more beautiful and refreshing by the fact that country music is usually dominated by CIS-identifying straight dudes. Evangeline, being apart of the LGBTQ community, breaks apart the general status quo of country music, and does so in a way that aches, but is resilient; that hurts, but loves.
The second act of the night was Joyful Joyful. This band consists of Meagh Culkeen on vocals, and Dave Grenon on the instrumentation. Their sound is insane. It has elements of shoegaze and drone music, and is totally engrossing. Dave works on his table of contraptions, turning knobs and creating a plethora of feedback, reverb, and distorted tones. Meagh sings through a distorted microphone, and the sounds collide. Their music fills the air, almost forcing you to close your eyes and zone in. It is all-encompassing, and is an amazing thing to see in person.
The final act of the night was the thoroughly entertaining, and aptly named, Gingerale & the Monowhales. To put it simply, this band is fun. They make you want to dance, shout, and move your body. They are a group built on energy. Their genre could be described as indie-dance-pop, but when you see them live, the genre does not really matter. Their catchy rhythms and chant-able lyrics steal the show. Gingerale & The Monowhales are a band to catch when one is at their most energetic, and ready to dance the night away.
The music was really fantastic, but I learned something throughout the course of the event, and especially when I reflected back on the night. Sometimes a Pride event is less about the event itself (I mean obviously it was about the music, and the fantastic artists) but it is really about the LGBTQ community as a whole. I know that is such an obvious statement, but for some reason, it escaped me. I felt awkward walking in, but soon realized it wasn’t about me (the assumption that it was was so privileged, and I am sorry). The LGBTQ community is resilient, and strong, and beautiful, and goddamn amazing. I soon realized that no matter what event I covered, I would have left feeling happy and enlightened. I would have left having learned about myself, and about a community that is too often ignored.
Therefore, my main takeaway from the night, and my advice to everyone that may be reading this is: get involved! Go out and support your community! It is easy to sit in your bedroom and read about the plight of people, and all the troubles in the word, but to really understand it, and to really be supportive is to get out in your community, and enjoy the culture, stand up for the culture, do all you can for the culture. So please, please, please, everyone, let’s get involved.