Crazy Pirate Madonna (Ep. 154 - Tori Amos)

Beyond the Sewers of Paris with Cindy Howes

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Thanks to everyone supporting The Sewers of Paris on Patreon, I'm able to bring you bonus episodes every month. We're going to go Beyond the Sewers of Paris, with special guests beyond just gay men, and deep-dives on topics I think you're going to love.

This month, I'm bringing you an unusual conversation with a very special guest: radio DJ Cindy Howes. I first interviewed Cindy about a year ago, for what I thought would be a fun, lighthearted chat about Tori Amos and how music empowered a young queer woman's search for herself.

But then after our interview, things unexpectedly changed for Cindy, both in her work and her personal life. A year went by, and when the dust settled we came back for a second interview about how Cindy had changed in that time, how her outlook on life and love had shifted, and how music helped her confront and overcome depression and anxiety.

I always expected that Cindy would have tons of great music suggestions for Sewers of Paris listeners. She's a fantastic resource when it comes to the singers and songwriters you should know. But I was surprised to also get some brilliant suggestions for coping with adversity, recovering from loss, and learning to love yourself.

I hope you enjoy this bonus episode, the first in the Beyond the Sewers of Paris series. Let me know your thoughts at sewerspodcast@gmail.com or @sewersofparis on Twitter. Huge thanks to all the Patreon supporters who help make the show possible. You can join them by  clicking "Support the Show on Patreon."

You can also leave a review of the show, that's a huge help. Or follow on Facebook and Twitter for clips of stuff we talked about.

And by the way, tickets are now on sale for our next Dungeons & Drag Queens live show. It's March 2nd at Kremwerk in Seattle -- a newer, bigger location than before! If you want to see drag queens playing a super queer D&D adventure, over to DungeonDrag.com to get tickets or sign up for the mailing list to find out when we're bringing the show to you.

This Week's Recommendation: The Evening Mix on WYEP

Big thanks to Cindy for joining me. If you didn't get enough suggestions for stuff you should be listening to, you're in luck: you can hear Cindy every Monday to Thursday from 6 to 10pm on WYEP in western PA. And of course you can listen online -- a few minutes before recording this, I checked in and Cindy had just put on the David Bowie song Heroes, a gorgeous lament that Bowie wrote about a doomed love affair. The song rises to a wail by the end because the producer was physically moving the microphone away from him as he recorded it, so he had to wail louder and louder as it went on. 

I'm doing everything in my power to make a metaphor here about how sometimes life demands that we wail louder and louder to be heard. Or a metaphor about how he wrote the song about two lovers kissing against the Berlin wall, with love protecting them however briefly from a war raging overhead. There's also probably a metaphor about how Bowie wrote the song just after he got off of cocaine and was in a period of artistic rebirth and also keenly aware of the hidden reserves of strength within us all.

I will resist ALL of those metaphors because this recommendation is not for that one song but instead for Cindy's show, The Evening Mix on WYEP! Four hours of music you'll love, assembled in a delightful playlist by the absolutely magical Cindy Howes who knows what you need to hear before you do. Give it a listen. You'll love it.

Stuff We Talked About

Encore
Low Country Sound/Elektra
A Deeper Understanding
Atlantic Records

Oracular Garbage Pile (Ep. 153 - James Bond)

This Week's Guest: Andrew Wheeler

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How do you awaken your own untapped courage? This week's guest is Andrew Wheeler, writer of adventure and intrigue novels featuring defiantly gay characters. Though his stories are swashbuckling, Andrew tends to live a quiet, more domestic life than his globetrotting heroes. It was through his books that Andrew was able to explore beyond the town where he grew up -- in literature and eventually in real life.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the Sewers of Paris livestream last Saturday to share stories of the entertainment that changed YOUR life! If you missed the stream, you can watch it on my YouTube channel -- I've also posted a link to it on Twitter, @sewersofparis. And we'll be back next month for another, so mark your calendars now for our next video livestream on March 10!

A huge thanks to everyone who makes The Sewers of Paris possible with a pledge of a dollar or more a month on Patreon. There are brand new rewards for patrons who support the show, including early access to content, a signed copy of my book, and Sewers of Paris buttons. It's easy to sign up -- just click "support the show on Patreon." 

If you're not able to support the show financially, there’s other ways you can contribute -- just by listening, tweeting about the show, following The Sewers of Paris on Twitter and Facebook, and by writing reviews. All of that is a huge help and I'm very very grateful. And I love to get your feedback on the show -- follow @sewersofparis on Twitter or write to sewerspodcast@gmail.com. 

Thanks to those Patrons supporting the show, I'm able to release new videos and podcast episodes. Check out the video I posted this week about Blanche's gay brother on The Golden Girls. You can find that on the Matt Baume YouTube channel and there's also a link on the SewersOfParis twitter feed.

And I'm going to be sharing some big announcements very soon about our show Dungeons & Drag Queens. If you're into drag queens playing a super-queer Dungeons and Dragons adventure, head over to dungeondrag.com to sign up for the mailing list -- you'll be the first to find out when we're bringing the show to you. 

This Week's Recommendation: Barbarella

Big thanks to Andrew for joining me. Check out his Valentin and the Widow books on Amazon, and his new book The Twilight  Prince on Wattpad. And for even more fantastic adventuring, my recommendation this week is to watch the spellbinding 1968 cinematic masterpiece that is Barbarella.

Jane Fonda plays the extremely titular character, a 5-star double-rated Astro-Navigatrix dispatched by the President of Earth to locate a positronic ray stolen by a scientist named Durand-Durand who is hiding out in a city populated by leathermen, floating above a Matmos, and besieged by a resistance fighter named Dildano.

Based on a comic book, the film is extremely stupid, and I love it with all my heart. Barbarella careens through her voyages with more extravagant outfits than an entire season of drag race, and her approach to adventure is to greet the unexpected with an unconditional "yes." Despite facing dangers too bizarre and convoluted to comprehend, she charges into action with little more than her wits, her charm, her fantastic costumes, and legs that appear to be longer than her entire body.

As a role model, you could not ask for better: Barbarella is brave, compassionate, curious, and above all eager to share pleasures of the flesh. In other words, she embodies that values to which, as far as I'm concerned, all gays -- whether at home or in space -- should aspire.

Stuff we Talked About

It Was Deeply Weird (Ep. 152 - Cats)

This Week's Guest: Tyler Coates

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Have you ever found a monster beautiful? It's rare that something can be both gorgeous and grotesque, but when those two qualities overlap it can be hard to look away -- and hard to resist following it wherever it wants to take you, no matter how dangerous. This week's guest is Tyler Coates, Culture Editor at Esquire.com. He felt the allure of the arts emanating from what seemed like a threat: phantoms in an opera house, clawing cat people, and David Bowie in a massive codpiece. From the tiny town where he grew up, he couldn't say no to their pull -- though when he finally ventured out into the world, he had no idea what he was getting himself into.

We'll have that conversation in a minute -- but first a quick reminder that we're doing a Sewers of Paris video livestream this weekend, on Saturday, February 10th at 2pm Pacific. I hope you'll join us and share stories about the entertainment that changed your life. We'll also have some special guests joining us throughout the stream. Hope to see you there.

A huge thanks to everyone who makes The Sewers of Paris possible with a pledge of a dollar or more a month on Patreon. There are brand new rewards for patrons who support the show, including early access to content, a signed copy of my book, and Sewers of Paris buttons. It's easy to sign up -- just click "support the show on Patreon." 

If you're not able to support the show financially, there’s other ways you can contribute -- just by listening, tweeting about the show, following The Sewers of Paris on Twitter and Facebook, and by writing reviews. All of that is a huge help and I'm very very grateful. And I love to get your feedback on the show -- follow @sewersofparis on Twitter or write to sewerspodcast@gmail.com. 

And we're going to be sharing some big announcements about our show Dungeons and Drag Queens very soon. If you're into drag queens playing a super-queer Dungeons and Dragons adventure, sign up for the mailing list to find out when we're bringing the show to you. That's at dungeondrag.com.

This Week's Recommendation: Beetlejuice

Big thanks to Tyler for joining me. I love talking about beautiful seductive monsters like Jareth, Elvira, and dancers with teased 80s hair and cat bodysuits. Villains always seem to be having more fun than heroes, and it's so hard to resist an invitation to join them. For this week's recommendation, take a look at the movie Beetlejuice, starring Wynona Rider, Michael Keaton, and a bunch of Tim Burton stripes. 

The film concerns the justifiable haunting of an insufferable couple of yuppies with too much money and not enough taste. The couple's daughter Lydia, played by Winona, is in the midst of a gothic phase that is only heightened when she makes the acquaintance of the ghost who inhabit her new home. The ghosts are pleasant enough, certainly more tolerable than her annoying parents. But there's another more malevolent spirit in the home who wants to take the entertaining haunts to a dangerous place. 

Lydia faces a tough choice in the weird mayhem of the movie: how much haunting is too much haunting, and when does spooky stop being fun and become downright evil. It is of course a delight to see a sullen teenage girl brighten with enthusiasm when given the opportunity to summon the forces of darkness, even as the movie's moral pendulum swings between the two unpleasant extremes of the banal living and the horrifying dead.

By the end, we've settled someplace far more appealing: a sort of conscientious ghoulishness, macabre with a heart -- a sweet spot where people may die, but they can still go on dancing.

Stuff We Talked About