Crazy Pirate Madonna (Ep. 154 - Tori Amos)

Beyond the Sewers of Paris with Cindy Howes

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Thanks to everyone supporting The Sewers of Paris on Patreon, I'm able to bring you bonus episodes every month. We're going to go Beyond the Sewers of Paris, with special guests beyond just gay men, and deep-dives on topics I think you're going to love.

This month, I'm bringing you an unusual conversation with a very special guest: radio DJ Cindy Howes. I first interviewed Cindy about a year ago, for what I thought would be a fun, lighthearted chat about Tori Amos and how music empowered a young queer woman's search for herself.

But then after our interview, things unexpectedly changed for Cindy, both in her work and her personal life. A year went by, and when the dust settled we came back for a second interview about how Cindy had changed in that time, how her outlook on life and love had shifted, and how music helped her confront and overcome depression and anxiety.

I always expected that Cindy would have tons of great music suggestions for Sewers of Paris listeners. She's a fantastic resource when it comes to the singers and songwriters you should know. But I was surprised to also get some brilliant suggestions for coping with adversity, recovering from loss, and learning to love yourself.

I hope you enjoy this bonus episode, the first in the Beyond the Sewers of Paris series. Let me know your thoughts at or @sewersofparis on Twitter. Huge thanks to all the Patreon supporters who help make the show possible. You can join them by  clicking "Support the Show on Patreon."

You can also leave a review of the show, that's a huge help. Or follow on Facebook and Twitter for clips of stuff we talked about.

And by the way, tickets are now on sale for our next Dungeons & Drag Queens live show. It's March 2nd at Kremwerk in Seattle -- a newer, bigger location than before! If you want to see drag queens playing a super queer D&D adventure, over to to get tickets or sign up for the mailing list to find out when we're bringing the show to you.

This Week's Recommendation: The Evening Mix on WYEP

Big thanks to Cindy for joining me. If you didn't get enough suggestions for stuff you should be listening to, you're in luck: you can hear Cindy every Monday to Thursday from 6 to 10pm on WYEP in western PA. And of course you can listen online -- a few minutes before recording this, I checked in and Cindy had just put on the David Bowie song Heroes, a gorgeous lament that Bowie wrote about a doomed love affair. The song rises to a wail by the end because the producer was physically moving the microphone away from him as he recorded it, so he had to wail louder and louder as it went on. 

I'm doing everything in my power to make a metaphor here about how sometimes life demands that we wail louder and louder to be heard. Or a metaphor about how he wrote the song about two lovers kissing against the Berlin wall, with love protecting them however briefly from a war raging overhead. There's also probably a metaphor about how Bowie wrote the song just after he got off of cocaine and was in a period of artistic rebirth and also keenly aware of the hidden reserves of strength within us all.

I will resist ALL of those metaphors because this recommendation is not for that one song but instead for Cindy's show, The Evening Mix on WYEP! Four hours of music you'll love, assembled in a delightful playlist by the absolutely magical Cindy Howes who knows what you need to hear before you do. Give it a listen. You'll love it.

Stuff We Talked About

Low Country Sound/Elektra
A Deeper Understanding
Atlantic Records