When I Started Saying the Word Butt (Ep. 178 - Q. Allan Brocka)

This Week's Guest: Q. Allan Brocka

This week's guest has had a hand in shaping a lot of queer culture we enjoy today. Q. Allan Brocka created one of the shows that aired on Logo as the network was getting off the ground; he directed the Eating Out series of films that have been a mainstay at LGBT film festivals for over a decade; and he's currently working on some intriguingly upcoming film and TV projects. Before he was a successful filmmaker, he was a shy kid from Guam, quietly absorbing what seemed then like forbidden culture.

We'll have that conversation in a minute -- but first, San Francisco, we're bringing our show Queens of Adventure back to Oasis! Come see drag queens playing a real Dungeons & Dragons adventure live on stage, July 13 and 14. That's right, two nights -- two completely unique adventures, starring Dragula's Erika Klash, as well as Kitty Powers, Pollo Del Mar, KaiKai Bee Michaels, and Rock M. Sakura. Tickets are now on sale at QueensOfAdventure.com.

And if you can't make it to the live shows, don't worry -- you can check out the podcast Queens of Adventure, featuring four MORE drag queens on an ongoing quest! Season 1 is now underway. Listen and subscribe at QueensOfAdventure.com.

A huge thanks to everyone who makes The Sewers of Paris possible with a pledge of a dollar or more a month on Patreon. There's rewards for folks who back the show -- just click "Support the Show on Patreon." Or you can support The Sewers of Paris for free by leaving a review on your podcast platform of choice.

This Week's Recommendation: RuPaul on Public Access

Thanks again to Allan for joining me. We talked a bit about his public access show, but it occurred to be that kids today might not even know what that is. You see, back in the olden days before YouTube, cable TV companies were required to fund television production studios all across the country that anyone could just go to and use. And then whatever they made would be broadcast locally for folks in town to watch.

The results were, most of the time, completely unwatchable. But out of public access stations came some fascinating artifacts. And among them are brief glimpses of RuPaul's early career. My recommendation this week is just to search online for "RuPaul public access." You'll find videos of a 20-something Ru in the 1980s learning to be the entertainment mogul she is today.

It's all very messy and unpolished -- this is before she met the stylists who would craft the looks that we know her for today. She's wearing makeup that would be read to filth on her contemporary runway; she's stumbling and babbling over talking points; her sets are cardboard messes with cables piled in a corner. The crew around her seems to be learning how to use the equipment as they shoot.

But despite the mess, she is totally captivating. You don't have to look very hard to see the polished personality that would emerge in the 90s to take over the world. Ru didn't emerge onto the scene as a fully-formed product, but instead spent years honing her craft and her talent. 

Public access stations still exist today, but technological changes have left them in the dust. Now it's easy for anyone to pull out a phone, shoot some nonsense, and stick it in front of millions. It's great that there's no need to fumble with equipment and schedules at a run-down building on the outskirts of town. Now you can bypass all the hassle of dealing with public access stations. But you can also bypass all those years of polish.

Stuff We Talked About