A Gay Ol' Time — Kickstarter Fund Project #1

Every week, the Seattle Review of Books backs a Kickstarter, and writes up why we picked that particular project. Read more about the project here. Suggest a project by writing to kickstarter at this domain, or by using our contact form.

What's the project this week?

A Gay Ol' Time. We've put $20 in as a non-reward backer

Who is the Creator?

Kiernan Sjursen-Lien.

What do they have to say about the project?

A Gay Ol' Time will be an approximately 110 page anthology of 48 portraits of LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit Americans born in the 1800s, with accompanying short biographical quatrains. It aims to shed a little more light on these people history tends to forget, memorialize them in watercolor portraits, and invite its readers to research them further.

What caught your eye?

First, the illustrations, of course. Sjursen-Lien has a wonderful style, and is studying illustration and animation at CalArts.

But mostly, it's about representation. Mainstream history overlooks swaths of people who don't fit the traditional narratives. They help remind us that people outside the mainstream existed when most historians prefer to pretend they did not. Projects like this help to tell the stories of people mostly forgotten. Plus, it's just charming. Have you looked at the illustrations yet?

There's a nice array of rewards. There's a $5 reward that gets you a mention in the book, $10 for a PDF, $25 for a copy of the book, and $35 for a signed copy. There's limited rewards at $125 and $200 for prints and original art, but act fast on that $200 original art one — there are only 4 of 10 left, at this writing.

Why should I back it?

Have we mentioned the adorable artwork? For $25, a nice book with color artwork telling stories about people you've never heard about is really of fun. If you read the page, Sjursen-Lien is very clear about their (they/them is Sjursen-Lien's preferred gender pronoun) intent. For example, they picked quatrains to write about the historical figures "Because of the fact history is written by those in power, it can be very difficult to find information on minorities that is not skewed. Much information on people's sexual and romantic orientations is somewhat controversial because of this lack of information. Keeping this in mind, I wanted to be as true as I could to each person without danger of misinformation. Utilizing quatrains not only adds to a simple charm I wanted for this little book, but also allows things to be boiled down to simple, provable facts with multiple sources to cite."

That kind of attention to detail and research is to be applauded, and the project is both unique, and compelling. We think it's a great choice for our first backed project.

How's the project doing?

At 21 days to go, and double the original goal already pledged, the project is doing extremely well.

Do they have a video?

Kickstarter Fund Stats
  • Projects backed: 1
  • Funds pledged: $20
  • Funds collected: $0
  • Unsuccessful pledges: 0
  • Fund balance: $1020