I Walked on Coals (Ep. 109 - Janet Jackson)

This Week's Guest: Gordon Bellamy

If making others happy makes you happy, what do you do when their happiness puts you in danger? My guest this week is Gordon Bellamy, one of the kindest and friendliest people I've ever met. For years, he went to great lengths to get along with people, even when he was sure those people would reject the real him. But of course, true friendship and love only came once he'd working up the nerve to be truly honest ... with the help of a song or two.

And by the way, Gordon and I will be on a panel at the upcoming DragCon -- that's the convention built around RuPaul's Drag Race. We'll be talking about LGBT gamers and queer games, joined by Pandora Box, YouTuber Will Shepherd, and Twitch streamer Dylan Zaner. It's at 2pm on Sunday, April 30th at DragCon in Los Angeles, and if you're in town, I hope to see you there.

Also, listeners, I have a question for you: have there been any episodes or guests or stories on The Sewers of Paris that you found particularly memorable? I'm going to be featuring some highlights from past episodes on the Sewers of Paris website, and I'd like to hear from you if there's anything you think is particularly worthy of sharing. Let me know your thoughts @mattbaume on Twitter.

This Week's Recommendation: I Am What I Am

No matter how early any queer person comes out of the closet, they almost always have the same lament -- that they didn't do it sooner. For my recommendation this week, take a look at a song that helped nudge me out of the closet: I am What I am, from the show La Cage aux Folles and about a billion other covers.

In our conversation, Gordon talked about the power of a song to psych you up and make you feel brave. In La Cage, this particular song comes at a point of crisis at the end of act 1, and begins on a fearful and timid note. But as the music begins to swell, so does Albin's courage, and what the audiences witnesses over the course of three-ish minutes is mounting bravery leading up to a defiant explosion from the closet. It's an anthem of honesty and self-love and pride triumphing over everything that's ever held you back.

A quick search on YouTube reveals that you can spend hours watching various versions and interpretations of the song, and I can think of no better way to spend an afternoon. 

Clips of Stuff we Talked About



Parisian Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0