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Gary Lee

Gary Lee was born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan in 1959 and raised in Red Deer, Alberta. After being expelled from the provincial psychiatric hospital, Gary went on to drop out of college, university and several other mental institutions. In 1980 he founded "The Other Way Cafe" at Red Deer College (where performances included those of a very young and unknown k.d. lang). Gary spent most of the 1980's roaming the country as a vagabond performance poet, with a brief stint as lead singer and circular saw player for the rural industrial band "Sakundiak Matavan". He supported his poetry habit by doing slave labour in a counterfitting factory in Toronto, spot welding in a Dickensian wire grill factory in Montreal and by building grain bins all over the prairies during harvest seasons.

In the late 1980's Gary lived as a Bohemian refugee on Commercial Drive in Vancouver where he worked as a proofreader and contributor of poetry and collage for "Pop Tart Magazine of Instant Art". During this time he collaborated with Clochard Gallery proprietor Gordon Murray, Sheri-D Wilson (the Mama of Dada), Tippy Agogo and others in many evenings of poetic experiment and musical mayhem. He was also a regular performer at Cafe Cafe on Hastings Street.

In the 1990's Gary settled in Edmonton, Alberta to work with drug addicted street people; during this time he also lived for brief periods on Malcolm Island, B.C. In 1992, with other poets and musicians including Scott Wicken, Ky Perraun and Stephen Humphries he co founded a series of performances called "The Big Beat Speak".

Since then Gary has collaborated with film maker Tim Folkmann on a video of the opening track from that recording as well as on a commission for the 1998 First Night Festival (along with electro-acoustic composer Shawn Pinchbeck) for a multi-media poetic sound sculpture entitled "Talking Trees". In 2001 Gary released his CD of poetry and music "The Unveiling".

Also that year he began appearing as a regular performer with "The Raving Poets Band" which became the house band for various series of open mike readings at The Backroom Vodka Bar on Edmonton's Whyte Avenue. In the wake of September 11, the Raving Poets launched a series of readings entitled "Peace Talks" in order to give poets (and anyone else who wanted to speak their minds) an opportunity to respond to world events. In part inspired by this series, Gary recorded and released his third ! album "Mosaic"

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