Tokyo Police Club – Argentina.

If I was a lighthouse, I would look out all over the place.
If I was an asshole, thank you for keeping a smile on your face.

Love the new album from my dudes in Tokyo Police Club. Fresh, new sound and great songwriting as per usual. This 8-minute suite is the standout.

So That Happened #2: I Played the Vogue Theatre.

Me. In front of 1200 people. Yep.

Me. In front of 1200 people. Yep.

I’ve been such a bad blogger, it’s been over a year since my last “So That Happened”, and that night, a drunk girl named Lulu danced on stage while I performed. This is quite a bit different.

On Saturday, March 8th, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to play the Vogue Theatre, one of Vancouver’s premier venues, which holds about 1200 people. I was opening for my good friend and magician Wes Barker(www.stuntmagician.com), and it was easily one of the best experiences of my life.

Rewinding a bit, Wes asked me to play the show in November, in his usual, laid-back style. He sent me a Facebook message that read, “so we should probably talk about my Vogue show.” Of course, I had no idea he even HAD a Vogue show. We met up for dinner, discussed the show, and agreed right there to do the show together. I had met Wes back in the summer doing a comedy competition(Wes does a lot of stand-up as part of his act, and does non-magic stand-up shows as well), and we hit it off right away. I was not only excited to play the Vogue, but excited to work with him as well.

It was there he also informed me that he was going to record his set, and his film crew could do the same for me. I’ve tried to avoid having any of my material online because I didn’t want to have a conflict with my teaching job, but I figured this was a perfect opportunity. It would give me 4 months to carefully choose my material, and I think it’s a pretty bad-ass move to release no video for the first 3.5 years of my stand-up career, and then have the first thing I release be a professionally-shot show in a 1200-seat theatre. As bad-ass as I could ever get, anyway.

Heading into the show, a lot of people asked me if I was nervous, but truthfully, I only got nervous the day before. I generally relish any opportunity to be in front of a big crowd and I was also really excited to film my special. The day before, I had been feeling a bit under the weather so I took the Friday off of work just to relax, calm down, and prepare for the show. It ended up being the opposite of calm or relaxing. It was then I started to have those thoughts of, “oh man, what if my special goes terribly?” “What if this is a largely magic crowd and they don’t care for stand-up?”, etc.

Taking the stage at the Vogue.

Taking the stage at the Vogue.

My uncle is a professional comedian in Toronto who has been doing comedy at the highest levels on the biggest stages for 20 years, and I remember when I first started, he told me, “I never get nervous to fail. I know my material is good. I just get nervous about what the crowd will give me,” and this mantra couldn’t have held more true for me. I knew that my material was well-rehearsed, well-practiced, and solid. I was just worried the crowd may not be fully into me because they would be maybe a magic-heavy crowd, a lot of Wes’ friends who just wanted the show to get to Wes, or I don’t know, anything! Most comedians, when they tape a special, do two tapings, just to avoid that exact scenario. They can cut out a joke if there’s a heckler, or lean on one of the two shows if the crowd is more audible with their laughter. This was a one-shot deal, and I was nervous about it.

Luckily, none of that happened. I managed to calm down a bit Friday, and honestly, when I woke up Saturday, I felt refreshed and confident. It also helped that I had my good friend Jen there to take me for brunch, and the Whitecaps home opener to keep me distracted. A lot of people said to me, “you went to the Whitecaps game right before?”, and to me, it was an obvious thing to do. First, I’m a season ticket holder and massive fan, and this was the home opener. You don’t miss that. Second, sometimes the best thing for your mind is to keep it furthest from the task as long as you can. It was perfect.

This is what I was looking at. They were really nice.

This is what I was looking at. They were really nice.

Watching people filter into the Vogue is one of the most amazing and nerve-wracking experiences you can have, I think. Standing backstage and watching the seats fill up, thinking, “holy shit, these people are here to see me(well, Wes)”, and knowing it’s less than an hour until you perform, then less than half an hour, etc. is crazy. But it was pretty cool. I won’t say much about the show itself aside from the fact that it was the most fun I’ve ever had doing comedy. I was able to put together what was a largely clean set(I said “fuck” only once and had only the smallest amount of innuendo), did 25 minutes, and the crowd was amazing. They could not have been more supportive and it really felt like I could stay on that stage forever.

Wes had a great set himself, and it was overall, one of the best nights of my young comedy career. I thought there was only one thing that could make my night better, and that was a burger from one of my favorite burger joints, Harvey’s. Luckily, the only one in the Lower Mainland is three doors down from the Vogue. And crush that bacon cheeseburger I did.

POST SHOW HARVEY'S!!!!!!

POST SHOW HARVEY’S!!!!!!

There are so many people to thank, but most of all, I just want to thank Wes for the opportunity, and all of my friends and family for their support.

I want to give special mention to my comedy family as well. Comedy is such an interesting thing to do, because while most comedians are friends with each other(and in some cases, they can be your best friends), there is still always a slight sense of competition any time you do anything. You’re competing for some of the bigger carrots–tours, theatre shows, big opening gigs for touring pro comics, festival slots, winning competitions, etc., and so sometimes, that competitive instinct takes over and you’re not always as nice to everyone as you could be(myself included).**

**–don’t get me wrong, there are a few people in this business who are genuinely the best people and want the best for everyone at all times. So if you’re reading this and think you’re one of those people and I was being an asshole before, know that you probably are one of those people and I love you.

However, I was overwhelmed at the number of messages I got that day from comedians from not only Vancouver, but across Canada as well. It was truly amazing to get messages from comics I have looked up to since before I was even in the business wishing me well on my special, and I was humbled at the support.

So thanks to everyone for that. You warmed my heart that day, and it was quite a special day, indeed.

PS–I haven’t quite decided what to do with the tape yet in terms of what platform I will be releasing it on, but I do know a few things:

1) It will be called “John Cullen: Someone Else’s Special”
2) It will be released some time in late May/early June
3) I will be having a release event featuring the premiere of the special and special performances from some of my favorite comics in the city–date, venue, and time TBA

So stay tuned!

It’s Showtime.

Now that curling season is essentially over, it’s time for me to head into what I call my “comedy season”. It’s a bit backwards, since most comedians view the summer as a disaster for laughter(people create their own good times in the sun or something, it’s bullshit basically), but it’s my reality.

So I’m kicking it off with a really interesting month of shows. One of the things I love about comedy is that there are many different forms it can take, and I love the idea of doing different kinds of shows, especially those that require me to write just for that show specifically. For some reason, I have a bunch of those shows in the next month. Let’s take a look:

What:Rain City Chronicles x Sad Mag’s Love Hangover
When: Saturday, February 15th @ 7:30 PM
Where: Rickshaw Theatre, 254 E. Hastings
How: http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/rain-city-chronicles-x-sad-magazine-love-hangover-tickets-9410026643

Rain City Chronicles is a Vancouver collective who organize storytelling nights across our fair city. Pairing with Sad Magazine, they’re using the day after Valentine’s Day to have storytellers spin tales of love, lost love, missed connections, daydreams, and everything in between.

I’ll be telling the story of a pretty ridiculous first date I had just about this time last year. You will laugh. And feel bad for me.

What: Rapp Battlez Wezt Coazt Round 11
When: Saturday, February 22 @ 9 PM
Where: Little Mountain Gallery, 195 E 26th Avenue
How: Tickets at the door for $10

As some of you may know, I am a pretty big hip-hop fan, so when I first heard about this show, I wanted to get involved in a big way. The basic concept is that comedians/improvisers/general cool people battle rap each other in the funniest style possible.

But it’s not just the usual collection of “you suck” digs at another person. Each battle is costumed and themed, with some recent highlights featuring Oprah vs. a Raptor, John vs. Yoko, Powder vs. Teen Wolf, and the main actor in a play vs. a stagehand.

I’m not sure what my battle is yet, but I can’t WAIT for this one.

What: Teen Angst Night
When: Sunday, February 23 @ 7:30 PM
Where: Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main St.
How: Tickets at the door for 10 sheckles

This night is curated by Sara Bynoe, a woman-about-town who runs several interesting nights, and this being the highlight.

At this show, I will be sharing some of the poems I wrote as a teenager. Yep. I still have them. Everyone on this show’s job is to dig up some old poems, journals, love letters, etc. and read them on stage, so everyone can share in your embarrassment.

I am frightened.

What: Wes Barker Plays the Vogue(and I open)
When: Saturday, March 8 @ 8 PM
Where: Vogue Theatre, 918 Granville St.
How: http://northerntickets.com/events/wes-barker-stunt-magician/

This show will be unique in that it’s the first time I’ll have ever played a theatre. The Vogue is one of Vancouver’s oldest venues, and I am so stoked that my good buddy and unbelievable magician Wes Barker asked me to open for him.

I’m going to be taping my set for an upcoming YouTube special, and it’s going to be one hell of a night. I can’t wait. Hope you can join me.

My Top 15 Albums of 2013.

I felt like 2013 was an amazing year for music in terms of quantity. A lot of bands I really like released records this year, and a lot of them were great records. However, this year’s crop of records didn’t really have a clear stand-out to me. I purchased about 50 records this year(and listened to many more), and it was really tough to say which ones were my favorites. I liked a lot of them, but even when ranking them, I felt like the gap between 15 and 1 was pretty minimal. I agonized over a top choice because unlike the last 5 years or so, I didn’t have a clear #1 coming into this list. BUT, I would never let my 14 readers down. So here we go. A short and sweet look at the Top 15 Albums of 2013.

15. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Best Songs: “Giorgio by Moroder”, “Get Lucky”, “Doin’ It Right”

There’s a lot to like about this record, especially if you’re a fan of audio production. It sounds so unbelievably slick, and the techno-fuzz-freakout at the end of “Giorgio by Moroder” is probably my favorite minute of a single song this year. However, like any full Daft Punk record, it is a chore to listen to front to back and perhaps fell victim to its own hype in certain areas.

14. Lorde – Pure Heroine
Best Songs: “Buzzcut Season”, “Ribs”, “Tennis Court”

I really didn’t like “Royals” the first 30 times I heard snippets of it everywhere. Once I came to accept that was actually a pretty decent song and listened to “Tennis Court”, it was game over. It’s pretty tough to make a minimalist pop record and make it listenable for ten tracks, but goddammit if Lorde doesn’t make a solid effort here. Really, really consistent with a few standout numbers.

13. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience, Part I
Best Songs: “Tunnel Vision”, “Don’t Hold the Wall”, “Mirrors”

Just like all of you, I wish Part 2 never existed outside of “Murder” and I wish that most of these songs were 4 minutes shorter than they are. That said, JT/Timbaland still show the magic they are capable of making together, and the songs that hit, hit real hard. “Tunnel Vision” is a song that no other artist is capable of making right now, and “Mirrors” is an all-time classic. If Justin had been a bit more lyrically motivated(half of these tracks are sloppy joe in the lyrics department), we could’ve seen something special.

12. Dinosaur Bones – Shaky Dream
Best Songs: “Spins in Circles”, “Dreamer’s Song”, “Sleepsick”

One of those damn good Canadian indie bands you hear exist but never actually listen to, Dinosaur Bones have cut their teeth touring with Tokyo Police Club, et al., and this record is a dandy. Combining all of the best parts of early 00s indie, there’s a lot of Interpol, Stills, and Radiohead influences here, but in the best way possible. Overall, it’s a little too top-heavy and might lean a bit too heavily on its influences, but “Spins in Circles” is one of my tracks of the year.

11. Kanye West – Yeezus
Best Songs: “I’m In It”, “Blood on the Leaves”, “New Slaves”

You won’t find a bigger Kanye West fan anywhere, but this album just didn’t fully do it for me. I found a ton of people either lazily loved or hated this album. It was really easy to love because it was “different”. But really, it wasn’t. Nine Inch Nails did this shit in 1997, Kanye just put drum sequencing to it and yelled over it with some dog barking noises in the background. But then again, there was some “different” to it, as he did that genius shit he always does of re-appropriating genres to assist his own sound, like the absolutely brilliant call-and-response between reggaeton destroyer Assassin and cooing-in-the-manger Justin Vernon on “I’m In It”.

It was also super easy to lazily hate it, too. “Oh, this is TOO different.” “Oh, this is unlistenable.” “Oh, this doesn’t sound like ‘All of the Lights’.” Didn’t mind the risk. Just didn’t fully get there. So I’m taking the moral high ground and lazily proclaiming this album had high points and low points. He’s already working on a follow-up that you know will destroy this, in exactly the same way he followed up 808s and Heartbreak(also an album you lazily loved or hated) with his best album ever.

10. CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe
Best Songs: “Recover”, “Tether”, “Lies”, “You Caught the Light”

This album is basically a metaphor for this entire musical year. Super consistent, no bad songs, but no tracks that absolutely jump out and grab you by the throat. Just a very solid throwback to 80s synthpop with some lovely vocal work from Lauren Mayberry and some very memorable hooks. Hard not to find something to like for every taste here.

9. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
Best Songs: “Everlasting Arms”, “Hannah Hunt”, “Step”

It’s somewhat crazy how Vampire Weekend have essentially taken their core sound, which annoyed me on their first, eponymous album, morphed it into something I enjoyed but didn’t go nuts for on “Contra”, and then made this third album, which absolutely crushes. While I don’t think this was the album of the year, as many outlets did, there are some absolute gem-quality tracks here. There are still too many clunkers(what the hell is “Finger Back”, aside from a perfunctory nod to their old sound that no one wanted or needed?) for me to see this album any higher, but there are more BIG tracks on this record than almost any other this year.

8. Drake – Nothing Was the Same
Best Songs: “Hold On, We’re Going Home”, “Paris Morton Music”, “From Time”, “Too Much”

Drake’s major-label releases have been anything but consistent, and this is no exception, though it finds Drake at his most mellow and contemplative. There are still some filler tracks here, and with the great tracks being so damn great and his work ethic as well-established as it is, it’s shocking that they remain. That said, if “Hold On, We’re Going Home”, wasn’t in your top 3 tracks this year, you were doing it wrong. Even if you don’t like Drake, he is pushing the hip-hop game forward, and this record was further proof of that. Still, it was tough to ignore that some of the internet b-sides(“5 AM in Toronto”, “Jodeci Flow”, “The Motion”) were far better than some of the garbage on here(“Own It”, Wu Tang Forever”, “305 To My City”).

7. Kurt Vile – Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze
Best Songs: “Wakin’ on a Pretty Day”, “Girl Called Alex”, “Goldtone”

I didn’t expect to like this record at all. I found Kurt Vile’s previous efforts to be a bit boring and meandering, and there wasn’t enough for me to grab onto. This is the exception, and I hope it becomes the rule. Vile really expands his palette on this record, making it a far more engaging and challenging listen than past efforts. It’s one that rewards repeat listens, which you could not say about his past records. This was the summer jamzzzzzz record of 2013 for me.

6. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
Best Songs: “Fireproof”, “I Need My Girl”, “Don’t Swallow the Cap”

I can remember being unbelievably excited for the release of High Violet, and the release of this record just didn’t capture the same attention from me. It’s possible that I wondered how The National would plan to cap what was a thrilling trilogy of records in “Alligator”, “Boxer”, and “High Violet”, or how they would plan to keep their sound fresh. What they did here was reach an impossibly lower note than they ever have before–and succeeded. This is the low-key answer to an already low-key catalogue, with muddled, downcast production and plucky guitars, but is an enjoyable listen all the same. I think this will be the 2013 record I most enjoy outside the year 2013, as it will probably approach me at a time where I need it most, and I will be grateful for it then.

5. Local Natives – Hummingbird
Best Songs: “Breakers”, “Heavy Feet”, “Ceilings”

Perhaps because it was released in January, perhaps because it borrowed a bit too much of its sonic landscape from their first album, this album didn’t find its way onto many year-end lists at all, but I, for one, really loved it. I spent a lot of time with this record this year, and it was one I found myself coming back to often. While it may have a lot in common with their first record, I think this album finds the band getting a little funkier and groovier in spots, and Local Natives know how to work with what they’ve got. An album with no skippable tracks and a few absolute buzzsaws, hopefully Local Natives will continue to build on their sound with their next effort.

4. The Weeknd – Kiss Land
Best Songs: “Kiss Land”, “Professional”, “Belong To the World”

The Weeknd is an idiot. But he knows how to write a beat and sing a hook, and sometimes, that’s all you need. The production value of this record is absolutely devastating, if only he could stay away from lyrics that at best could be described as light misogyny, and at worst, are downright embarrassing, he could be the next absolutely massive thing. In fact, he probably is already, which speaks volumes to his natural talent. Because these lyrics are seriously brutal. Just do what I do, and make up your own. Far more satisfying.

3. Volcano Choir – Repave
Best Songs: “Comrade”, “Byegone”, “Dancepack”

It’s funny that I’d rather hear Justin Vernon sing nonsensically about “sexing up your Parliaments” and “smoking outside the Computel” than to hear Abel Tesfaye sing lyrics that make sense but are horribly constructed, but here we are. If Justin Vernon wants to take more bands he idolized growing up in Wisconsin and work with them, I’m all for it, because this record is tremendous. This album is absolutely MASSIVE in sound, an absolute treasure to listen to for contemplative moments and moments where you just want to rock out. It’s a record that actually doesn’t take itself too seriously(a bit of a shift for Vernon), and is the better for it.

2. Pusha T – My Name is My Name
Best Songs: “Numbers on the Boards”, “Nosetalgia”, “Sweet Serenade”

Ever since Malice retired from hip-hop, it sorta seemed that Pusha wasn’t all that motivated. He had a few killer guest spots, but a few horribly lazy ones, his mixtape output was inconsistent, and you just had to wonder how his sneer would sound on a full, proper album, without the grounding that Malice’s tone gave to it. With this record, we got our answer. Beats that recall the early days of Clipse’s door-banging, minimalist sound, Pusha destroys damn near every one of them, having guests on the record seemingly so he can punish them. Kendrick Lamar is the only one who keeps up, with a swift turn on “Nosetalgia”, but the rest of this record is Pusha’s show. Possibly my favorite hip-hop album since My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

1. HAIM – Days Are Gone
Best Songs: “Forever”, “Go Slow”, “Days Are Gone”

I almost hate myself for picking this #1, but quite simply, there wasn’t another record this year I listened to half as much as this one. I might hate it in a year simply due to my own overplaying of it, but I have no choice other than to slot it here, atop my list in 2013. It’s a slice of pop perfection, as these three girls(and they’re girls! Ages 21, 23, and 25. I mean, get real!) manage to combine a 2013 pop sensibility with a firm grasp of Fleetwood Mac and the Bangles/Go-Gos into something that just sounds so delicious I can’t deny how much I love it.

There’s some smarts here beyond just the pure, candied thrill of the songs. Tracks like the slow-creeping “My Song 5” and the delightfully-harmonized “Running If You Call My Name” switch the pace up, holding the listener right through the album. There are virtually no missteps here. Each track seems to offer a different take on a pop standard, and it’s all produced so perfectly, it’s an absolute cracker of a debut album.

And seriously, I’ll probably hate it so hard in 2014.


Albums Perilously Close to Making the Cut, in no order:

Charli XCX: True Romance
James Blake: Overgrown
Phosphorescent: Muchacho
Mikal Cronin: MCII
Toro y Moi: Anything in Return
Phoenix: Bankrupt!
Rhye: Woman

Songs I Enjoyed from 2013 that didn’t make this list:

A$AP Rocky: 1Train
A$AP Rocky: Wild For the Night
Autre Ne Veut: Play
Charli XCX: So Far Away
Charli XCX: You’re the One
City and Colour: Of Space and Time
James Blake: Retrograde
Jasper Sloan Yip: Horseshoe
Jasper Sloan Yip: Cut Your Teeth
Jay-Z: Tom Ford
Justin Timberlake: Murder
Kings of Leon: Supersoaker
Mikal Cronin: Shout It Out
Mutual Benefit: Advanced Falconry
Palms: Future Warrior
Phoenix: Entertainment
Phoenix: SOS in Bel-Air
Phoenix: Chloroform(if some rapper doesn’t take the last 45 seconds of this song and turn it into a crushing beat I’ll be devastated)
Phosphorescent: Song for Zula
Phosphorescent: The Quotidian Beasts
Rhye: Open
Rhye: The Fall
Toro y Moi: So Many Details
Torres: November Baby
Torres: Honey and I
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Sacrilege
Youth Lagoon: Mute

I still don’t get Arcade Fire.

Cullen and a Curler: Episode VII feat. Niklas Edin

I was really pleased to have the 2013 World Champion join me on the show, and he couldn’t have been a nicer guy.

I didn’t know Niklas coming into this season, but we were put in touch by some mutual friends, and he was absolutely incredible and accommodating, considering his tough schedule.

And I think we knocked out a really fun interview. Check it out.

Tour Mailbag #2: It’s a Great Big Seaaaaaaaa

As many of you know, I went on my first big tour across this beautiful country of ours for the month of July. It was pretty cool to be able to play shows in my home province of Ontario, and to make it out to the east coast for the first time. I felt and continue to feel very blessed for all of the opportunities comedy has given me, and getting to travel anywhere to do something you love is pretty amazing.

I really wanted to sit down and write a blog about my travels, but I figured that most of what I’d have to say is pretty boring and uninteresting. So I thought I’d ask my friends if they had any questions, to find out perhaps what the interesting parts of my tour are, and I got some cool questions. So here is Part 2. Let’s do this thing!

Victoria asked: What was your best free meal?

This is an excellent question. I didn’t actually get too many free meals on tour, as I was either staying in downtown Toronto and having dinner dates with various friends almost every night, orrrrrr I was in a hotel in Halifax, where I got 50% off my meals.

But I did get to visit my wonderful BC friends Earl and Candace in Ottawa, and Candace cooked up an absolutely darling meal of salmon, spinach salad, kebabs, and macaroons for dessert! So I would say that one. Great company, too.

Kathryn asked: Who was your favorite comedian that you worked with?

I was really blessed this tour to work with two people that I really liked and admired growing up. I was a big fan of comedy from my early teens, so it was really cool to get to work with two people I’ve seen on TV for years and loved for a long time in Laurie Elliott and Angelo Tsarouchas. It also helped that they were both really awesome and very kind.

And getting to tour the East Coast with two homies, Kyle Jones and Brett Martin, was a real treat. Sometimes you show up for these small tours and you not only have to work with, but live with, some really interesting people that you’ve never met before, and it can be tough. It was a blessing to be with two guys from home I know very well, and two great friends.

Though truly, I enjoyed everyone I got to work with this tour. It was a blast.

Laurie asked: What’s the deal with your Gramps?

So my grandfather(mom’s side) came to my show in Mississauga. He had come and seen me back in October, so I was pretty surprised to see him out at another show less than a year later, but it was pretty wicked. I have a very supportive family, and it is pretty awesome when you’re traveling across the country to have the support of your family and friends.

My Grandpa is just a cool guy. He “retired” probably 15 years ago, but still works all the time, mostly at golf courses. Loves old movies. Lives in Florida half the year. And if you ask him, he also made Russell Peters’ career. He can tell you that story sometime.

Katie asked: How did you end up at Great Big Sea’s house?

So here’s the thing. Brett, Kyle, and myself were all invited to Alan Doyle’s(lead singer of Great Big Sea) house after our show on Saturday night in St. John’s. I did not go. I only said on Facebook that I was INVITED. Key difference.

Basically, everyone in Newfoundland is super, super friendly, and they are genuinely appreciative when you put on a good show. It was quite a contrast to Vancouver crowds. Generally, when you do a show here, people avoid you afterwards like you have a communicable disease. In St. John’s, it is not uncommon for the show to end and you have 20 people lined up wanting to talk to you/buy you drinks/invite you to their house(seriously. I ended up in two different strangers’ houses, just because they liked my show. One of our hosts came up to me and said, “oh, you don’t drink? Do you want a popsicle?”, which is basically the greatest thing anyone has ever said to me).

So we had finished our Saturday night show, and a guy came up to us and said, “I’m going to a party at Alan Doyle’s house right now. You guys should come.” We had a thought that he might be full of shit, but after he bugged us about it several times, we agreed to take his number, and see where the night went.

Eventually, only Brett decided to go, but the guy was not full of shit. Brett ended up at a party at Alan Doyle’s house, for Alan’s wife and their neighbor. Apparently, the party was essentially for Newfoundland’s elite, and was more of a wine and cheese, “there’s a stage built in the backyard and some girl is playing a harp on it” type of party. It happens. Newfoundland, right?

I’ll be sure to look Alan up next time I am there. I also hear Michael Ryder has a pretty sweet pad.

An Open Letter to Students.

Dear students,

Today is the day of the Pride Parade in Vancouver. I am lucky to have so many friends who are involved in the LGBTQ community, and I am so excited for all of my LGBTQ friends who get to celebrate today. I hope that you have the absolute best time possible, and I thank you all for helping me be the open-minded person I am today. It’s tough for me to admit that I wasn’t always as open-minded as I could have been, but I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by loving people and people who were able to teach me how to be a more accepting person. I wish everyone could’ve had the amazing experiences I had and met the amazing people I have.

Students(both former and current), it’s with that in mind that I want to talk a bit about today with you. I think “Pride” is such an interesting word to use for such an occasion. It’s so strong. It invokes such strong feelings. I know that today, I am so proud of my students who identify as LGBTQ, and I hope that today, you are feeling immense pride in yourselves, and who you are.

I’m not one for soapboxing. I was going to write more. But I don’t need to. The stories of acceptance and harmony are being written every day.

As a society, we are changing, and I am so proud every day of kids who are unafraid to stand for what they believe in, who are unafraid to show their classmates who they are, and I am also proud of the students who stand beside them and support and accept everyone for who they are.

For those of you who identify as LGBTQ, it is sometimes difficult, I know that. For some of you, it is always difficult. I know that, too. You may face pressures at home, you may face pressures from kids at school, but I want you to know that, as a teacher, I am proud of you. You are the generation that is helping move our whole society forward when it comes to sexuality, and let’s face it, humanity. Because, at the end of the day, we’re all just people.

So today, and all days, I just wanted you to know: you’re kicking ass.

Keep it up.

In Rainbows,
Mr. Cullen