Surrounded by Death and Drugs (Ep. 143 - Sina Grace & Iceman)

This Week's Guest: Sina Grace

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My guest this week set out to answer a simple question: how do you live a content life? Sina Grace is the comic author and illustrator behind autobiographical books like Self-Obsessed, and Marvel's current Iceman series. A few years ago, he reached a point of disillusionment with the American dream, discovering getting all the money and possessions you wanted isn't as fulfilling as family, health, and love. Isolated and literally wasting away,  Sina set in motion some changes that would eventually bring him happiness in ways he never even knew he wanted.

Big thanks to everyone supporting the Sewers of Paris on Patreon, including new patrons Ryan, Michael, Chris, John, Jeremy, Tyler, Gareth, Brian, Jayblay, and the Indie Opera Podcast. I could not make the show without all of you. If you're enjoying the show, please help keep it independent and ad-free with your pledge of support. Just click support the show on Patreon.

If you have a moment, please leave a review of the show on your podcast platform of choice. 

You can follow the show on Twitter and Facebook -- just search for The Sewers of Paris. I post clips of the stuff we talked about each week, and also chat with listeners about the entertainment that changed THEIR lives. You can also write to sewerspodcast@gmail.com -- I love hearing from listeners.

This Week's Recommendation: All-New X-Men Issue #40

Big thanks to Sina for joining me. You can pick up his issues of Iceman at comic shops and online, though whenever possible please do support your local comics retailer. For my recommendation this week, step back a few years to All-New X-Men Issue #40, when Iceman first came out.

I've seen a million coming-out stories, and it's rare to find a new angle -- but this one's really nicely handled. The story involves a bit of time travel and young Bobby talking to an older version of himself. No spoilers, but there's a confrontation and a dialogue between them that reads like an echo of the dialogue between generations -- younger gay men expressing themselves authentically in a way that older gay men simply couldn't.

For that conflict to exist within a single character is a particularly brilliant approach, and lends a very special depth to Bobby's relationship with himself -- both the himself that is him and the himself that is someone else. Ugh, time travel stories.

Anyway it's a really lovely approach, and very meaningful that Marvel was willing to permit this story for Iceman -- one of the original characters dating back to the 1960s. And I think it echoes something that Sina said in our conversation -- "the person you become can be just as valuable as the person you were."

Stuff We Talked About

Nothing Lasts Forever
By Sina Grace
Not My Bag GN
By Sina Grace

Everything is Queer (Ep 142 - Matt Rogers)

This Week's Guest: Matt Rogers

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Where do you learn where you belong? My guest this week is Matt Rogers, half of the comedy team behind the Las Culturistas podcast. Matt's upbringing taught him that there was only one acceptable way to be masculine, while deep down inside he longed to belt showtunes. So how did he get from sporty athlete to an arbiter of the queerest of New York homosexual culture? All it took were a few panic attacks, Neil Patrick Harris, and a crab shack.

Check out Matt's Christmas show here.

Big thanks to everyone supporting the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. I could not make the show without you. If you're enjoying the show, please help keep it independent and ad-free with your pledge of support. Just go to SewersOfParis.com and click support the show on Patreon.

If you have a moment, please leave a review of the show on your podcast platform of choice. 

You can follow the show on Twitter and Facebook -- just search for The Sewers of Paris. I post clips of the stuff we talked about each week, and also chat with listeners about the entertainment that changed THEIR lives. You can also write to sewerspodcast@gmail.com -- thanks to Dave who wrote that he found me through my YouTube videos and said "You're on my list of favorite podcasts on Stitcher." 

This Week's Recommendation: Las Culturistas

Big thanks to Matt for joining me. I have a link to his show, Have You Heard of Christmas, in the shownotes. And for my recommendation this week, check out the podcast that he co-hosts with Bowen Yang, Las Culturistas.

Each week on the show, the pair have a guest on to talk about the culture that means the most to them -- a format that may be of interest to listeners of this show. But instead of diving deep into personal histories, Las Culturistas zooms far and wide from one touchstone to another, and by the end of each episode you'll have your arms full of new recommendations to explore. 

Of particular interest is recent episode 58 with past Sewers guest Guy Branum. The three of them manage to get into a pop cultural rhythm in their conversation that's so syncopated in its references it's more of a song than a casual chat. 

Matt and Bowen's enthusiasm for culture is infectious, and not entirely a surprise, knowing how Matt deprived himself when he was younger. Like Matt, my own media diet was fairly controlled as a kid, which is probably what led to to me having such an appetite I had to start a whole podcast. Like denying your sexuality, denying your culture leads to can lead to an explosion of interest when you finally do give yourself permissions to indulge. And that's not always a bad thing, as long as you over-indulge safely, and joyfully, and remember to share.

Stuff We Talked About

A Britney-Whitney Gay (Ep. 141 - Best Little Whorehouse in Texas)

This Week's Guest: Emerson Collins

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When it's hard to find the words you know you need to say, can you use someone else's? This week's guest is actor and producer Emerson Collins, whose new film A Very Sordid Wedding is a sequel to the classic Sordid Lives. Growing up around the big hair and church bells of Texas, Emerson struggled to speak openly about who he really was. Until he got up on stage.

Big thanks to everyone supporting the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. I could not make the show without you. If you're enjoying the show, please help keep it independent and ad-free with your pledge of support. It just takes a few clicks to support the show on Patreon.

This Week's Recommendation: Better Get to Livin'

Big thanks to Emerson for joining me, and for giving me a reason to recommend some Dolly Parton this week. Look up her music video for the song Better Get to Livin' -- and yes, that is Amy Sedaris playing various roles throughout the video, including a carnival barker, a fortune teller, and a sideshow attraction.

The song itself is sweet, and positive, an upbeat encouragement to keep your chin up and ignore the self-sabotage within. 

Dolly's advice in the song is to stop whining, to not sweat the small stuff, and to hang tough, whatever that means. And to be fair it's not harmful advice, it's just that it's easy to say all that from the outside. It takes very little effort to note when someone else is caught up in their head, and to encourage them to just buck up. It's a lot harder to diagnose yourself.

As much as I like this video and love Amy's weird cameos, I think there's one piece of advice missing from the song -- and that's to ask for help sometimes. Taking a long hard look at your life is scary and hard, but butting in to someone else's is fun. 

So when you're feeling stressed or down, just telling yourself "keep your chin up" may not be terribly effective. But when you're telling someone else, and they're telling you, and you've got a bunch of folks all supporting each other, suddenly it's a lot more helpful. It's not the words of the encouragement that've changed, it's just that they work a lot better as a chorus than a solo.

Stuff We Talked About