1978: a Windi blowback for Anita Bryant

The Calgary Gay History Project has written before about gay activist Windi Earthworm and anti-gay rights crusader Anita Bryant – but separately. In fact, they had an antagonistic encounter in 1978. That year, Anita swung through Canada as part of Renaissance International’s Christian Liberation Crusade. She made a tour stop in Edmonton on April 29th. 40 Calgary activists hurried north, joining activists there, to protest her cross-Canada tour.

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Anita Bryant in the May 1, 1978 edition of The Albertan

Windi and his friend Myra “My” Lipton went independently of the loosely organized “Calgarians against Anita” delegation. They decided direct action was required to disrupt Bryant’s auditorium of 6000 supporters. My remembered: “We got in under the guise that we were students doing a study about the spaces people meet in. We scoped out the stage and decided on our spot. I helped Windi chain and lock himself.”

My then went into the seats to find a spot to generate a call and response disturbance with Windi, but she turned back when she noticed audience members hassling him. She asked Windi if he was OK. He replied, “Yeah, except these really kind Christian folk are ready to hang me,” by the chain around his neck.

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Windi Earthworm in the May 1, 1978 edition of The Albertan

Anita eventually appeared at the Northlands Coliseum under heavy police escort. Windi screamed: “You have me in shackles, Anita!” She replied, “I love you, and I know enough to tell you the truth so you will not go to eternal damnation.” Windi called back, “You love me so much you want me in prison.” The heckling continued intermittently throughout the event. The courageous Calgarians were detained briefly afterwards for questioning by police and were permitted to leave.

{KA}

Fairy Tales @ 20

It does seem true that as one gets older time slips by more quickly…

Thus, it is astounding to me that the Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival is on its 20th iteration. Significantly, they have produced their own feature documentary to mark the occasion called: OUTLIERS: CALGARY’S QUEER HISTORY. The film will premiere Friday, May 25th at 7 PM. We were ever so pleased to support them in this mammoth undertaking. When the Calgary Gay History project started in 2012, we hoped it would lead to a community of local queer historians and OUTLIERS makes manifest that ambition – we couldn’t be happier.

Additionally, Fairy Tales is close to my heart, as I was present in year one (along with colleagues Kelly Langgard and Trevor Alberts). I have watched it blossom into the confident adult it has become – this year growing itself into the Calgary Queer Arts Society – an excellent move for the organization.

So here are some of my fondest Fairy Tales memories from the early days.

The poster for Fairy Tales #1 was done by the accomplished Calgary artist Lisa Brawn (famous now for her woodcut art); it remains one of my favourites.

Fairytales One

Fairytales poster from 1999 (a little worse for wear on my bulletin board).

Brenda Lieberman, arguably Calgary’s most notable film programmer, began working on Fairy Tales in 2000, while she was staff at the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers (CSIF) and continued on with the festival as their talented volunteer programmer until 2006.

Kevin and Brenda

Kevin Allen and Brenda Lieberman at a Fairy Tales Fundraiser at Money-Pennies. From Outlooks Magazine, May 2002.

The festival grew and broke away from the CSIF to become its own non-profit society on January 30, 2004. Gordon Sombrowski (now my husband), who had been on the programming committee for a couple of years, stepped up to become the Society President, a role he served until 2010.

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Festival Preview from FFWD Magazine June 3, 2004 (we sure miss do FFWD)!

Fairy Tales always has had clever graphic design, but there does seem to be a preoccupation with food-themed images. Here is a tasting:

 

 

Congratulations to everyone, past and present, who sustained Fairy Tales to age 20. We are decidedly looking forward to opening night on Friday!

{KA}

An ode to one particular mother

{We want to give a shout out to the tremendous queer culture coming to Calgary this month: the Unison LGBTQ2 Choir Festival, May 18-21; and Fairy Tales “Twenty,” May 25 – June 2!}

When we started the Calgary Gay History Project in 2012, we had no idea the journey it would take us on. Currently, we are working with filmmaker Laura O’Grady from Spotlight Productions on a short film about the life of Everett Klippert. This week, we travelled with cinematographer Patrick McLaughlin, to Everett’s niece Katherine’s farm, three hours from Calgary. Everett requested to be buried here next to his beloved sister Leah (also Katherine’s mom): stalwart defender of Everett in his protracted tangle with the Canadian state.

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Everett Klippert’s headstone. He is buried next to his sister Leah and brother-in-law David.

It was Leah, a legal secretary in Calgary, who fought Everett’s unjust incarceration and categorization as a dangerous sexual offender.

It was Leah, who gathered the resources and expertise to challenge court decisions, pushing Klippert’s case forward to the Supreme Court.

It was Leah, who travelled to the Northwest Territories to support him at trial, and who visited him regularly in the Prince Albert Penitentiary.

It was Leah, 20 years older than Everett, who acted as a mother to Everett when they lost their mother to kidney disease in 1933. Everett was then six years old.

So on this Mother’s Day Weekend, we would propose a toast to Leah, mother to many, and mother to a better world for Canada’s LGBTQ2 community.

Klippert Family Photos 1940s

Klippert family photo: Front row: Merton Klippert (Everett’s father), Everett and Leah. Back row: Everett’s seven older brothers!

{KA}