Unleash the Queen (Ep. 205 - Freddie Mercury)

This Week’s Guest: Jim Provenzano

I don't know if you heard, but somebody tried to make a movie about Bohemian Rhapsody recently. And it's nice that the film might introduce the band to a new generation, but there are some queers among us who got to live through Queen the first time. My guest this week is Jim Provenzano, author of the novel Now I'm Here, which tells the story of two small town boys who fall in love to the soundtrack of the late 70s. Jim's a product of that time as well, and grew up in a time of innocent homoeroticism, and at times, dangerous disobedience.

We'll have that conversation in a minute. And I hope you'll join us for the next Sewers of Paris live chat, with the delightful Dave and Alonso of the Linoleum Knife family of podcasts. It's next weekend, and it's a little earlier than usual: Saturday December 8 at 8pm pacific, 11am eastern.

Head over to SewersOfParis.com to see clips of the stuff we talk about on each episode of the show.

The Sewers of Paris is listener supported -- click "support the show on Patreon" join the folks who make the show possible.

And for more queer podcasting, check out Queens Of Adventure to hear drag queens on an epic Dungeons & Dragons quest. And we'll be doing our next Queens of Adventure livestream on Saturday December 22, so head over to QueensOfAdventure.com for details.

This Week’s Recommendation: Flash Gordon

Thanks again to Jim for joining me. Check out JimProvenzano.com for all of his work. And if you're in San Francisco, he'll be part of an upcoming celebration of the music of queen on Thursday, December 6th. It's a live show called Now We're Here, and it features acoustic performances of more than a dozen classic Queen songs interpreted by Bay Area musicians.

It's nice to see Queen and Freddy Mercury a topic of conversation these days, my recommendation is that you see the film that really captures their music and their aesthetic. I'm speaking of course of 1980's Flash Gordon, featuring a soundtrack composed entirely by Queen.

The movie both terrible and an absolute gem, a work that cuts corners in some areas and spends lavishly in others. The look is a bizarre 70s fantasy-futurism, the plot is absurd, and some of the performers are upstaged by their hair. But the music is magnificent, not to mention the sheer misplaced extravagance. It's giddy and weird and rarely makes sense, but at no point can you predict what will happen next.

Where bad movies are concerned, I have high standards -- you don't need to waste your life inflicting every single movie like Zardoz and Lost Horizon on yourself. Some films are so bad they're just bad. But Flash Gordon is a stupid delight -- not as queer as Barbarella, but a camp pleasure nonetheless. The over-the-top music, starting with the perfectly gaudy theme, set the tone for an experience that is wonderful and ridiculous. It takes an incredible talent to make such an incredible mess.

Stuff We Talked About