Nelson was a wild and woolly place at the start of the last century, where characters with names like Cayuse Brown, Roughlock Perry, Weary Willie, and The Yellow Kid might sidle up to the barstool next to yours and order up a shot of something strong enough to curl the hair on a tenderfoot’s chest.
It’s in the spirit of these times that the Nelson Public Library and Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History have teamed up to present Storyteller’s Saloon: a Wild & Woolly Evening of Tales & Ales & Food.
The gala fundraiser takes place Saturday, Oct. 29, 6 pm at Mary Hall, Selkirk College. The evening benefits the historical archives of both organizations.
CBC Radio’s BC Almanac host and guest author of The Trail of 1858: British Columbia’s Gold Rush Past, the wild and woolly Mark Forsythe, MCs an evening of tales tall and true.
Corky Evans tells the tale of feisty labour organizer Ginger Goodwin. During World War I, Goodwin was deemed unfit for military duty due to miner's black lung, but after Goodwin led the strike at the Trail smelter in 1917, the conscription board reversed its decision and hunted Goodwin down for draft evasion — to a bitter end.
Carolyn McTaggart brings to life Gunpowder Gertie, Pirate Queen of the Kootenays. As a young woman in Kaslo, Gertie found herself saddled with her dead father’s debts and facing starvation. So she cut her hair, dressed as a man, and became a coal hand on the sternwheelers. When her disguise was discovered and she was sacked, she swore vengeance on the steamlines, and Gunpowder Gertie was born.
Richard Rowberry entertains with the story of Three Fingered Frank, a true but cautionary tale of the old west in which liquor and bravado takes our hero into water well over his head. Those who remember the Theatre Energy version of this tale from a more recent era will welcome this trip down memory lane.
Delectable fare will be served up by the inspired grub-slingers at Selkirk College’s Professional Cook Training program, with atmosphere provided by the Resort and Hotel Management Program. Blues and Honky Tonk piano by Danielle Corbin, and legendary organic ales by Nelson Brewing Company round out an evening in which heritage costumes are optional, but good times are guaranteed.
Folks are encouraged to book a table of eight with friends, or just turn up and rub shoulders with other friendly folk. Tickets are advance only until Wednesday, Oct. 26 at $45 per person ($20 charitable receipt included), available at Touchstones Nelson and the Nelson Public Library.
- For more information call 352-6333 or 352-9813.
Photo: Kootenay Hotel circa 1899. Collection of Touchstones Nelson.