November, 2013 / Author:

Rae Spoon makes youth and music a priority

The musical documentary My Prairie Home, shown this year at Reel Pride, is the essence of two things that have been engulfing Rae Spoon lately— youth and music.

“Music was the first way that I learned how to bridge the gap with people. I realized I could, like, communicate better through music,” ring the first words of the musical documentary’s trailer about Spoon’s life growing up queer on the prairies in an evangelical household.

From being estranged from their schizophrenic father, to suffering abuse, the Calgary-born musician used music as a teenager to escape and to build a safe world. “It kind of gave me something to focus on and I think it is, like, useful for selfexpression, you know? Especially grunge music at the time,” said Spoon over the phone on their way to Fredericton on their Canadian tour.

Spoon, who prefers gender-neutral pronouns, released an album titled My Prairie Home in August, which doubles as a soundtrack to the National Film Board (NFB) documentary.

Because working with youth is one of Spoon’s major priorities, the documentary’s director Chelsea McMullan said they wanted to include a shot of Spoon facilitating a workshop with GLBTQ* youth who used music for self-expression. But McMullan said they made the hard decision to cut the scene because it didn’t fit the film’s narrative.

“The footage was great and they wrote an amazing song about their experiences growing up queer/trans in the prairies. The song was like a queer/trans prairie anthem,” said McMullan, who’s also busy working on developing an interactive music experience for GLBTQ* youth with Spoon and the NFB.

“Rae sometimes performs the song at their shows and they always bring down the house. I’ve seen them get a standing ovation when they play it.”

You might be able to catch Spoon performing the queer/trans prairie anthem at the Windsor Hotel in Winnipeg on November 23 at 8 p.m.

Spoon will also be speaking at StandOUT!, Manitoba’s third-annual gaystraight-alliance (GSA) conference on Nov. 25, where Spoon said they plan to address issues that they have noticed in the queer community.

“I think there’s still a lot of issues like sexism and misogyny and racism and a lot of things that happen within the queer community, and I feel like the youth today can be leaders in paying attention to that.”

The GSA conference, hosted by Rainbow Resource Centre at the Victoria Inn, is open to junior high and high school students from Manitoba and Ontario.

My Prairie Home is set to hit theatres this month.


– Danelle Cloutier is the music editor for OutWords.

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