Join us for a series of bite-sized talks on the issues your bi+/queer friends and neighbours are passionate about.

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What are the mythologies, languages and histories that informed author JRR Tolkien’s fictional worlds? What opportunities do independent (small press) publishers offer bi+ and queer creatives (artists and authors)? Is there something about the culture or history of Toronto, specifically, that makes it so hard for our hockey franchise (the Maple Leafs) to win?  What happens when science and art meet? One answer is aquascaping (an activity that offers limitless expression alongside the zen of gardening, the challenge of chemistry, and the joy of pets). 

E.C. Marcon
Why The Leafs Suck: An Unscientific Analysis

The Leafs! They suck! This is an accepted and immutable fact of life in Toronto? But *why* exactly has the once unstoppable team failed to win the Stanley Cup since 1967? Hockey analysts and statisticians might attribute it to any number of things but is there something about Toronto itself that makes it uniquely difficult to play here? And has the pressure-cooker surrounding the NHL’s most storied franchise made a future Cup win impossible?

About E.C.:  E.C. Marcon is a Brampton-bred girl who never quite got over her childhood crush on Mats Sundin. When not yelling at the TV or neglecting to record new episodes of The Church & Carlton Podcast, she moonlights as Toronto’s laziest faux-queen, Shrill Kessel. (Or at least she would if her ADHD made it possible to focus on anything for more than thirty seconds.) 

Mārta Ziemelis
Why Tolkien’s Work Is So Friggin’ Interesting to Nerds

Together we will look at how JRR Tolkien used his knowledge of European languages, histories and mythologies to build parts of the world of The Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion. Also about why I (as a person who nerds out over all those subjects) find his world-building so interesting! 

About Mārta:  I’m a bi poet who lives with physical disability and has done a ton of travelling. I nerd out over languages, translation (which I’ve also done a lot of), history, books, pop culture fandoms,  cooking and baking. 

James K. Moran
Comics Books and Graphic Novels: A Small-press Renaissance

Comic books or graphic novels from small presses are going through a renaissance, with creator-owned stories getting into readers’ hands. In the late 1960’s, the Big Two comic-book companies had a stranglehold on the market of about 95 per cent of sales. Not so any more. DC and Marvel’s portion of the current market is closer to 65 per cent. This means that more new voices, new stories, new artwork and new creations are reaching the public than ever before.  While it is a renaissance for readers, it is not for retailers. I will explore some of the many new options available to readers, with focus on cutting-edge content and possibly touching on LGBTQ+ content.

About James: Bi Ottawa author James K. Moran’s fiction and poetry appear in Canadian, American and British publications Icarus, Glitterwolf and Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology. Moran’s articles have appeared via CBC Radio, Daily Xtra, and Lambda Literary. He blogs at Town & Train (Lethe Press, 2014) is his debut horror novel.  Moran really should be rewriting his follow-up horror novel right now, although he might not be.

Aquascaping: Artistic Expression Meets Animal Husbandry

Aquascaping is a specific type of aquarium keeping that aims to make aesthetically pleasing scenes that harmonize hard materials, live plants, and aquatic animals. It’s a conjunction of science and art, offering limitless expression alongside the zen of gardening, the challenge of chemistry, and the joy of pets. There are several distinct styles yet, as with any art form, there are no hard rules.

About Tom: I am a freelance artist, hobbyist writer, tech industry professional, and passionate lover of music, the macabre, and the natural world. I grew up around animals and have a deep love for my pets: three cats, seven snakes, and three aquariums. I am bisexual, transgender (a trans man), disabled, by some measures intersex, and technically biracial though I don’t really call myself that out of respect for “visibly” mixed people because my upbringing and outward appearance are white. I use the term “queer” to describe myself and my community out of love for the defiant spirit of survival, uniqueness, and inclusion that it represents. My love of body modification has led me to get a number of tattoos, piercings, and a transponder implant that makes me my family’s first cyborg.

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