Making Things up as You Go (Ep. 171 - Björk)

This Week's Guest: Santiago Melli-Huber

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How do you know when it's time to move versus when is it time to stay put? My guest this week is Santiago Melli-Huber, who's on a constant hunt for a place that feels right. Whether trying new jobs, new cities, or new social circles, he's made himself into a bit of an investigator, always asking what needs to change and then taking action to try something new.

Huge thanks to everyone who makes The Sewers of Paris possible with a pledge of a dollar or more a month on Patreon. If you're enjoying the show, click "Support the Show on Patreon." Or you can support The Sewers of Paris for free by leaving a review on your podcast platform of choice -- that really helps people find the show.

Hey, if you're in Seattle for Pride next month, mark your calendars for June 21! We're doing our next live Dungeons & Drag Queens show at Kremwerk. Tickets are now on sale at QueensOfAdventure.com.

This Week's Recommendation

Thanks again to Santiago for joining me. I'm always delighted to talk about Bjork, particularly because Iceland is just about my favorite place. Should you find yourself fortunate enough to spend a little time in Reykjavik, my recommendation is that you look into a group there called Drag-Súgur that's doing some of the most interesting drag on Earth.

Even Iceland's capital city isn't very large, and so as drag troupes go, Drag-Súgur has a decidedly small-town feel. Experimental, surprising, and very youthful, the group is diverse out of necessity, since Reykjavik just isn't large enough for different queer groups to splinter into many different subcultures. What's more, their shows attract a crowd of friendly international regulars, where everyone knows each other's names and does their best to learn each other's languages.

When I visited last summer, the impression that I got was one of true queer community: supportive, friendly, willing to give each other the space to try something new. There was a tribute to The Fifth Element, a goth rock song, a bit of Euro-pop and some friendly barbs exchanged between hosts. In other words, a place where you can instantly feel at home, despite being far from where you're from.

Stuff We Talked About

No More I Love Yous (Ep. 170 - Drag Families)

Special Guest: Alexis Nicole Whitney

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No matter how thoroughly you've planned, life has a way of taking you by surprise -- and when it does, it's often family that gets you through the tough times. Alexis was born to a woman unprepared for motherhood, and so grandparents stepped in to raise her. As she grew older, Houston's drag scene provided a second family where she was free to express herself more freely. But it was an unexpected health crisis that brought both families together when their daughter needed them most.

BTW, The Sewers of Paris is made possible by everyone who pledges a dollar or more a month on Patreon. If you're enjoying the show, click "Support the Show on Patreon" to help make this podcast possible. Or you can support The Sewers of Paris for free by leaving a review on your podcast platform of choice -- that really helps people find the show.

And if you're in Seattle, mark your calendars for June 21! We're doing our next live show, featuring drag queens playing Dungeons & Dragons, just in time for Pride. Tickets are now on sale at QueensOfAdventure.com.

This Episode's Recommendation: Adults Only

Thanks again to Alexis for joining me. For this week's recommendation, seek out the short film "Adults Only," which (full disclosure) was directed by a friend of mine, Heath Daniels, a couple of years ago. It's the wordless story of a deaf man mourning the end of a relationship, and struggling to figure out what's next. He's still mired in past memories, disconnected and longing for connection.

That connection comes in an unpredictable place and an even more unpredictable form: the neon-lit labyrinth of a bathhouse, where he's surrounded by peep shows and public sex. The short forgoes dialogue, instead using evocative imagery and sexually charged daydreams to illuminate the main character's pain -- and also his drive to move on despite not quite knowing the way.

It's hard enough to put yourself in another person's place, particularly someone who doesn't experience the world with the same senses that you do. But the deaf protagonist of Adults Only finds a common ground that's hard not to relate to -- heartbreak, loss, and mourning, followed by the thrill of unexpected pleasure.

Stuff We Talked About

Spitefully Outed (Ep. 169 - So You Think You Can Dance)

This Week's Guest: Phil Stamper

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My guest this week is Phil Stamper, whose book The Gravity of Us tells the story of two young men who fall in love amidst the drama of a mission to Mars. For years, Phil struggled to balance competing impulses to be silly and serious, and to keep his creative spark alive throughout the drudgery of office work. The result is an upcoming debut novel that amplifies his own queer experiences with some help from science fiction.

Just a reminder -- I hope you'll join us for the next Sewers of Paris live chat on Saturday May 19, at 2pm Pacific with special guest Fazaad Feroze. We want to hear about the book and movies and songs and shows you're obsessed with right now. 

And if you're in Seattle for Pride next month, mark your calendars for June 21! We're doing our next live Dungeons & Drag Queens show at Kremwerk. Tickets are now on sale at QueensOfAdventure.com.

Huge thanks to everyone who makes The Sewers of Paris possible with a pledge of a dollar or more a month on Patreon. If you're enjoying the show, click "Support the Show on Patreon." Or you can support The Sewers of Paris for free by leaving a review on your podcast platform of choice -- that really helps people find the show.

This Week's Recommendation: Steven Universe

Thanks again to Phil for joining me. You can find out more about him and his book at PhilStamper.com. We talked this week about the mix of culture both silly and serious, and for my recommendation I hope you'll take a look at one of my favorite shows, Steven Universe. 

You'll want to give it a few episodes to really get going, and then the show will reward your patience many times over. What seems at first like a goofy kid's show suddenly yanks back the curtain midway through the first season to reveal a show that, while still fun, has seemingly endless layers of depth and sophistication and darkness and a pumpkin that barks and cuddles like a dog.

It is also possibly one of the queerest shows ever to have existed, featuring magical science-fiction women in relationships so complex we don't even have words for how they relate to reach other. Come for the zapping lasers and space battles; stay for the lesbian commune drama.

Stuff We Talked About