Demons Were Always At Hand (Ep. 185 - Beetlejuice)

This Week's Guest: Anthony Hudson

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Is it possible to be a responsible adult without giving up the imaginary worlds you enjoyed as a child? My guest this week is Anthony Hudson, also known as Portland's premier drag clown Carla Rossi. Growing up, he'd slip into fantasy worlds to escape the reality of the dreary little town where he lived. But his reliance on escapes as a kid meant that he was unprepared for life as a grown up -- until he figured out how to invite real life into his fantasies.

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 -- that really helps people find the show. Thanks to Trey Johnso8 who writes, "Relatable ... Listening helps me remember how much I love the topics discussed and sometimes gives me ideas for new things to try."

BTW, I hope you'll join us for the next Sewers of Paris livestream. It's this Saturday, August 11th, at 2pm pacific, with special guest Isabella Price -- an expert in horror films. We'll be talking about our favorite queer monsters, gay vampires, and everything spooky. There's a link to the livestream at the top of the Sewers of Paris twitter feed.

And we've just announced two more Queens of Adventure live shows, featuring drag queens playing a fantastically funny Dungeons & Dragons adventure for a live audience. The first is on August 30th at Kremwerk in Seattle, where we'll be part of a double-feature alongside the podcast d20 Dames. The second show is on September 1st at PAX West, also in Seattle. Tickets and details are now available at QueensOfAdventure.com -- where you can also subscribe to the Queens of Adventure podcast, join the discord, and follow the show on Twitter.

This Week's Recommendation: Interview with the Vampire

Thanks again to Anthony for joining me. Ever since I started this podcast, I've noted that queer people have a particular fondness for monsters. Maybe we identify with their feelings of frustration at the world, maybe it's their strength we admire, maybe it's their defiance -- whatever the case, scary creatures seem to hold a special place in many of our hearts.

So for my recommendation this week, take a look at one of my favorite horrifying films about a gay couple just trying to make it in the world: Interview with the Vampire. It's a movie that ages surprisingly well -- unlike the unfortunate followup, Queen of the Damned, about which the less said, the better. 

Tom Cruise doesn't so much play Lestat as inhabit him, evoking a pained cynical effortlessness that simultaneously acknowledges his beauty and also his misery at the price that beauty exacts -- a look that will be familiar to anyone who's caught a glimpse of an Instagay in the wild.

Brad Pitt is the despondent human he seduces and persuades to join him, isolating him from the world except to eat it. When the relationship starts to sour, Lestat does what so many desperate spouses before him have: he obtains a child, played by Kirsten Dunst with so much sinister maturity you forget she was only 11 when the film was made.

Vampire films are among the oldest film genre -- we're nearing the 100 year anniversary of the making of Nosferatu -- and at this point it's nearly impossible to tell a vampire story that hasn't been told before. But Interview is stunningly inventive in multiple ways, my favorite of which is the barely-veiled lust between the male leads.

Whether the characters are staring at each other with passion or contempt, it's always with rolling boil of baroque desire. Overwrought, campy, and ridiculous, every moment they're on screen looks like the cover of a romance novel. And thanks to the unreasonably lavish production, it works. You buy them as a couple. A terrible murderous self-destructive tragic couple, sure -- but then again, they don't call them monsters for nothing.

Stuff We Talked About