Delany's Coffeehouse

Aus dem Audiowalk Artists' Memories of the West End | Vancouver

Artists' Memories of the West End
8 Stationen
17:27 min Audio
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Delany's Coffeehouse


Jerome Mandrake remembers moving to the West End and getting employed at Delany’s Coffeehouse. He talks of the struggle of moving to a new area and how Delany’s helped ease that transition.


So I moved to the West End in 2002, I just turned 18 and I had come out of the closet. And that was about as far as I’d gone. I lived in the suburbs. I didn’t know a lot of gay people. I think I knew two gay guys in high school, but I didn’t have any examples of what gay living looked like, past Queer as Folk on TV. And I had seen a little bit of the West End when I was coming down for Youth Group on Friday nights, saw the queer art scene from a distance, fell in love and ended up moving down here with the love of my life for three years. And I didn’t know anyone besides him. I really wanted to meet more people. I wanted to get involved in the community.

And I was at a drag show one night at the Odyssey. I was watching Joni perform and she was doing kind of a monologue standup bit about being at Delany’s and seeing every gay person in the West End. And I thought, okay, that’s what I need to be. So I actually applied to work there. I got a job there. They trained me as a barista. I was rubbish at it, but I met some of the coolest people I’d ever met. I suddenly got to see examples of what queer life in the West End looked like. I got to see single people, people in couples. I got to see how people spend their day. I got to see what people drank and I got to see how people balanced a work nine to five relationship with their art. There was a lot of people that would come in right after their nine to five job with their laptops and be writing on their art projects, be writing on their writing projects, be writing scripts, you know, whatever their passion was.

And that was something that I had never seen before. I had never really figured out what that passion, art, with making-money-life looked like. And that’s the life that I try to juggle today is always finding that balance of, how much am I working for someone else? How much time am I putting into my personal medium? There’s not really a formula for that. And some of the role models that I found, actually I think all the role models that I found at that time were from my time at Delany’s. It was a community house. It was a community hub. People were really protective of it. It was run by a local family. I think they had three locations at the time, two locations and they really embraced me. They really took me in. They let me work there as long as I wanted to. And a lot of those relationships that I met at that time and the lessons that I learned at that time, I carry with me today as a West Erd resident. So I’m really grateful for that time.

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