This Week's Guest: Paul Curran
At this point, we're all very familiar with the foundational queer story that many of us have lived: feeling like outcasts, fleeing from small towns to big cities, and searching for our tribe.
But what happens once you get to that big city? What can you create once you're free to create the life you've always wanted? My guest this week is Paul Curran, who hitchhiked from Glasgow to London in search of something better at the age of sixteen. There he trained as a ballet dancer until an injury ended his career on stage, and launched a whole new career as a director.
By the way, I've made my book Defining Marriage free to download as an ebook this week through November 18th. The book's full of personal stories from people who fought for marriage equality over the last forty years, and some lessons that might be particularly relevant today about how queer people stood up for themselves in the face of cruel leaders and unjust laws. Just head to DefiningMarriage.com to download a copy -- it's free through Friday, November 18th.
Also, you might've heard that my partner and I broadcast a livestream last weekend of our queer gamer video project, Playing with Pride. If you missed it, don't worry -- we're keeping the recorded livestream up at PlayingWithPride.com through November 19th. If you like the stories on Sewers of Paris, I think you'll enjoy the stories and interviews with LGBT gamers and allies in Playing With Pride. And because it's a work in progress, your input can really help us shape this project. The presentation's about an hour long, and then there's a feedback form that takes just a minute or two to fill out. Head over to PlayingWithPride.com to watch the video and let us know your thoughts.
This Week's Recommendation: Smalltown Boy by Bronski Beat
Thanks again to Paul for joining me. Keep an eye out for the show he directed with the Dallas Opera, Becoming Santa Claus, coming soon to DVD. And he'll be directing the Golden Cockerel this coming summer at the Santa Fe opera.
I'll confess I'm not particularly knowledgeable when it comes to opera. But the times that my guests on the show have brought it up, it's not hard to see the appeal in shows that create a heightened reality, an imaginary world, a place where voices become surreal. The extremity of the opera provides the same sense of escape that many of us get from explosive special effects in movies, or steamy love scenes in a novel.
That escape is at the heart of great art and culture, and sometimes, great art and culture is about the escape itself. For my recommendation this week, check out the music video for the song Smalltown Boy by Bronski Beat. Even though I've seen it countless times, I watched it right before editing this episode and it still has the power to move me. The video follows a young man as he makes the difficult decision to leave home and strike out in search of something better -- someONE better -- and its ambiguous ending lets you write your own ending for the main character after the final freeze frame.
Of course, the ending that you write will probably reflect your own experience, your own escape. It's a heightened reality that, it turns out, was a mirror all along.