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A beautiful, sometimes haunting, home on the prairies: Rae Spoon's My Prairie Home

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A beautiful, sometimes haunting, home on the prairies: Rae Spoon's My Prairie Home

I first saw Rae Spoon perform in Montreal at Casa del Popolo, probably about seven years ago. Their voice, story telling and unassuming yet captivating stage presence hooked me right away.

It's this same performance quality that makes My Prairie Home, a new musical documentary about the singer-songwriter from Calgary, Alberta.

The film, directed by Chelsea McMullen who has collaborated with Spoon on their previous videos, traces the life and career of the trans musician from their childhood growing up in an Evangelical Christian Household, through to their current days of touring. Set mostly against the long, beautiful and at times haunting back drop of the Prairies' Big Sky, the vastness of our geography serves at times to evoke loneliness, at other times joy.

If you're looking for a traditional documentary that simply documents an artist's career arc, with talking heads and occasional concert shots, go turn on VH1. Neither, though, is it a traditional look at queer and trans life in Canada. The mix of music videos interlaced through the film, and the more reflective, poet narrative that the Spoon takes on defies both genres. In this is mostly the film's strength, but also a slight weakness. It defies what one it expecting from a documentary, even one about as creative a musician Spoon, and really captures the imagination. It manages to balance the story so it is not the apolitical tale of a musician, nor a "hit you over the head" political documentary. It's this balance, and originality, that attracted me to the film the first time I saw it (and full disclosure: I'm now working with the National Film Board, who produced the film to encourage groups to screen the film across the country).

But in its creativeness and poetics, it can sometimes seem a little too lost in itself - long pauses and shots of scenery give atmosphere, but sometimes slows the pace, especially in relation to the music videos.

But that's a minor flaw in an incredibly inventive, creative film, that at the end of the day has the potential to open a lot of minds to what it's like to grow up trans in Canada, and to help combat pervasive transphobia in its own way.

To find out about screenings near you, visit Rae's Facebook page. If you're interested in finding out about how to organize a screening in your town, leave a comment below.


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Tim McSorley (Tim McSorley)
Montreal
Member since October 2008

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Comments

thanks for this

I can't wait to see it. Been a spoon fan since I saw them in Vancouver in back in 2000 or so. xoxo

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