We've Cornered the Market on Mermaids (Ep. 121 - Joel Kim Booster)

This Week's Guest: Joel Kim Booster

When did you first escape your bubble? We all start life protected by adults, looked after and shielded from the harsh realities of the world. Some of us burst out of it as fast as we can, and others like to pretend they never have to leave. This week's guest is comedian Joel Kim Booster, whose parents tried so hard to control his life that when he finally did come out, it was with so much momentum he found himself homeless -- until a family he hardly even knew took him in.

By the way, Joel has a half hour special premiering on Comedy Central this fall. And if you're in New York, he's recording a stand up comedy album on Tuesday and Wednesday of this coming week -- July 11 and 12 at Ars Nova. Tickets are fifteen bucks and you can get them at ArsNovaNYC.com.

Also -- throughout the month of July, The Sewers of Paris needs your nomination to win a Podcast Award. Just go to PodcastAwards.com and nominate The Sewers of Paris in the LGBT category. Nominations are open until July 31, so if you're enjoying the show I'd be very grateful if you could help it win a podcast award.

This Week's Recommendation: If...

For my recommendation this week, check out the movie If... -- that's the word "if" followed by three periods. It stars a super young Malcom MacDowell as a teenager chafing under the stuffy rules of a quintessentially old-fashioned British boarding school run on cruelty and discipline. It's essentially Hogwarts without the magic, and if the only house was Slytherin. In those circumstances, who wouldn't want to rebel? And that's just what happens, when a close-knit group of outcast boys decides to fight back against hundreds of years of tradition.

The film swims through a sort of middle-ground between reality and imagination, and it's never quite clear what's really happening and what's a fantasy. The whole experience feels like a daydreamy speculation, as suggested by the title -- a teenager's mind wandering into fantasies of sex and violence and frustration at a system determined to keep him down. 

Pushing back against the powerful isn't easy, and the boys of If... are essentially tiny specks in a giant machine of tradition. Of course, those in power insist that their rules exist for the benefit of all -- for the students, for the monarchy, for those tempted by homosexual flirtation. It's a brutal environment in which to learn a bitter lesson: that no matter what motives the powerful may claim, they're really only interested in protecting their own power.

Clips of Stuff we Talked About



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