'Fantastic Jeremy': Lido Pimienta's must-read essay on her 'nemesis' Jeremy Dutcher
'I will write all these things about Jeremy, because you promised me he WILL NOT BE READING ANY OF IT'
After winning the Polaris Prize in back to back years, Lido Pimienta and Jeremy Dutcher have now been subjects of In the Making episodes in back to back years. We asked Lido to write about Jeremy and what he means to her. Here's what she said.
"Fantastic Jeremy" by Lido Pimienta
I will write all these things about Jeremy, MY NEMESIS, not because I want to, but because you promised me he WILL NOT BE READING ANY OF IT. YOU PROMISED.
Alright, so where do we begin? How can I describe this Native gay phantom of the opera, the one who made me cry the first time I heard him playing and singing at a theatre in the East end of Toronto. How dare he? Does he think he can just open his mouth and pull at the crumbling threads of my very wounded heart? One that has been painfully trying to be sewn back together...FOR YEARS?? Years of feeling disenfranchised, years of feeling like I don't belong anywhere, years of feeling inadequate because my music is not in English, or mainstream, that I am not good enough to live in Canada or receive any recognition for what I do because I am just some "Social Justice Warrior"...NOT EVEN BORN HERE?????...And then he just showed up with that cute face and made it all ok. But who am I anymore?!!! Is it cool to be all of those things now? What persona should I be now? "Which me will I be today? I have a bag full of me's." (Sorry for that The Office reference, my son and I just finished watching all the seasons for the 13th time)...You better have a sewing kit ready for me mister, ok????!!!
The Native Queer Phantom Of The Opera, honestly, so masterful and kind with his delivery of MUSIC. As a singer myself, I find it so important to be generous when one performs because is that not the least we can do? Share our everything with our audience?? I mean, I don't do it. When I sing I am gone, I'm straight up in my head figuring out what Sailor Moon character I am going to be buying next online...but oh no, not Jeremy, he goes out there and shares and connects with everybody, electrifying the room with love, knowledge and those pipes...those damn pipes. Gifted, classically trained opera tenor, pianist playing from the heart!(?) …*insert slow clap here*
Heart and soul is something he overflows with when singing and performing. But don't you find it suspicious that he is performing classical music, yet he makes one feel so many emotions?!! Can somebody please remind him that he is a classical music person?!! Could you stay in your lane already? I am supposed to be asleep in my seat, head nodding, drooling even when he performs...instead, I find myself at the edge of my seat, swooning and with all these nice, bright and hopeful thoughts (disgusting!)...<I find myself figuring out how to discover his recipe, I am Plankton, he is Spongebob, great job>…*insert eye roll here*
Before I moved to Canada I was told that there were only two languages, English and French. That was EASY. Those were the days!!! I went to school for both, back in Colombia, ended up in Ontario and when speaking French people told me, "What a waste of time, you are not gonna need French here"...BUT THAT'S BESIDE THE POINT! What I am trying to explain to you is that those were simpler times, where I would just make fun of those who can only speak English. HA! I can speak all of these colonizer languages, HaHA!!!
But then, incoming...Jeremy in his fabulous outfits, his dreamy eyes..."Oh yeah, so I also speak colonizer AND WOLASTOQ (perhaps one of the rarest post-residential schools surviving languages in this country), and I am going to bring people together and start all these conversations and a call to action for Indigenous people, twirl to Indigenous sovereignty, make Lido Pimienta reflect upon her own Indigenous language, Wayuunaiki, and inspire her to connect with her elders too (because who cares about colonizer languages anyway?!), collaborate with amazing musicians from all walks of life, tour the world with my gifts, inspire my community to be proud and share all of our language with others, and most importantly, with ourselves — to preserve and keep them alive, living in the world, not just as archival pieces, and give moving speeches all while I sashay away into legendary status by speaking/acting on behalf of true reconciliation for my people, one with meaning on Turtle Island, which is long overdue *adjusts cape*...byyyeeeeeeee"
WOOOOOOOW!!! OK JEREMY, YOU WIN.
BRAH-VAH BRAH-VAH MY FOREVER NEMESIS, BRAH-VAH...JEREMY, BRILLIANT, LOVING, FANTASTIC, DUTCHER.
About In the Making
The award-winning CBC Arts documentary series In the Making takes viewers on an immersive journey inside the creative process of Canada's leading artists. Airing Fridays at 8:30 p.m. (9 p.m. NT) on CBC-TV with all episodes streaming now on CBC Gem, season two features groundbreaking and iconoclastic artists from across the creative spectrum, as they realize provocative and poignant works for art. Host and series creator Sean O'Neill meets the artists at pivotal moments of risk and realization, taking viewers across the country and around the world to gain rare access to their lives and powerful work.
Each episode follows a single artist — this season, Beverely Glenn-Copeland, Walter Scott, Jeremy Dutcher, Deanna Bowen, Ken Lum, Chistopher House, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and Rebecca Belmore — often over a period of several months and in multiple locations, with a cinematic approach. In the Making is directed by leading voices in Canadian documentary cinema, including Chelsea McMullan and Amar Wala, who launched a mentorship program for emerging BIPOC directors in tandem with the series' second season.
Stream the full season now on CBC Gem or catch Jeremey Dutcher's episode on CBC TV this Friday October 11th at 8:30 p.m. (9 p.m. NT).