This Week’s Guest: John Michael Byrd
My guest this week is an artist whose creations include the persona he's established for himself. Since childhood, John Michael Byrd has always felt like more of a cartoon character than a normal human, which wasn't a particularly easy role to play growing up in a small southern town. But after spending years disconnecting from the physical world around him, he's found a place where he's finally free to be as animated as he's always felt.
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BTW, I hope you'll join us for the next Sewers of Paris live chat. It's on Saturday September 15th at 2pm pacific with guest Bryan Lowder -- editor at Slate and co-host of the new Outward podcast. There's a link at the top of the Sewers of Paris twitter feed.
Head over to SewersOfParis.com to see clips of the stuff we talk about on each episode of the show. And for more queer podcasting, check out Queens Of Adventure to hear drag queens on an epic Dungeons & Dragons quest. That’s at QueensOfAdventure.com.
This Week’s Recommendation: The Flight of Dragons
Thanks again to John Michael for joining me. Check out John_Michael_Byrd_Studio on instagram to see his work.
We talked a lot on this episode about feeling out of place, belonging to a different world. For my recommendation, check out an animated film that it's not particularly queer, at least not on the surface -- Flight of Dragons, made by the same Rankin Bass team that did The Hobbit, The Last Unicorn, and all those stop-motion Christmas specials.
Flight of Dragons is set in your standard Tolkien-style realm, where the encroaching forces of science threaten to destroy all magic in the world. To protect themselves, the most powerful wizards in the world unite to create a safe refuge, hidden away from mankind. But an evil sorcerer has other idea -- he plans to corrupt mankind with greed so that humans will destroy themselves.
It's into this mix that someone unexpected steps: a human from our current-day world -- which at the time the movie was made was 1982. An accident of magic transports a modern scientist to the realm of magic, where he finds himself inhabiting the body of a dragon, the last hope to save a magical world his science cannot explain. Or can it? There's a surprisingly smart tension throughout the movie, with the worldly logic of the human world jostling with the ineffable enchantment of the magical realm. And at the heart is the unlikely hero, forced to walk a line and choose the world in which he truly belongs. So I guess I take it back -- it is, in fact, a particularly queer film.