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With an eye on reviewing fiction and nonfiction that has regional resonance for Connecticut or Long Island, Joan Baum considers the timeliness and significance of recently published work: what these books have to say to a broad group of readers today and how they say it in a distinctive or unique manner, taking into account style and structure as well as subject matter.
 
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My guest this week is the fascinating Terrence Smith, also known as Joan Jett Blakk, a drag performer who ran for mayor of Chicago in the 90s, and after that, President. Terrence has some incredible stories about growing up in Detroit, seeing David Bowie and The Supremes perform live, sneaking onto the floor of the Democratic National Convention, a…
 
There’s a new book out this month about the history of The Women’s House of Detention, a women’s prison that was located just across the street from The Stonewall Inn, that played a role in the 1969 uprising, and that for better or worse shaped queer culture in New York’s iconic gayborhood. The author, Hugh Ryan, was my guest on the Sewers of Paris…
 
We’re in the midst of Eurovision right now, the extravagant celebration of over-the-top music and outrageous costumes and, every now and then, taste. Eurovision is a great big ball of fun, and it was the subject of the very first episode of The Sewers of Paris. This week, we’re revisiting my 2015 interview with Jānis, who on this very show was the …
 
My guest this week is Alejandro Varela, who was a mostly-closeted college student when he left the US for a semester in Spain. There he was able to start fresh, come out, and explore queer culture — with a little inspiration from filmmaker Pedro Almodovar — and to come back to the US a completely changed person. We’ll have that conversation in a mi…
 
My guest this week is Oliver Darkshire. As a young adult, he found himself drifting away from his friends, due in part to what turned out to be an undiagnosed illness that made it hard for him to participate in day-to-day activities. It was a fantasy novel that turned things around for him — a book that took an approach to sex that had never occurr…
 
My guest this week is Harold Slazer, an actor-writer-director whose life was changed in an instant after a car crash and ensuing memory problems that left him unable to remember people, places, and his own work. He rebuilt his life and created a popular live show in New York called The Honeysuckles — a comedic hybrid of live soap opera and comedy c…
 
This week sees the release of Love and War, a new comic book set in the competitive world of varsity tug-of-war and featuring a lovely upbeat queer romance. The author, Andrew Wheeler, was my guest on The Sewers of Paris back in 2018, and for this week’s interview we’re diving into the Sewers archives to revisit our conversation about awakening unt…
 
My guest this week is the performer, author, and academic known as Lil Miss Hot Mess, who was fortunate enough to grow up with a proto-queer friend group that paved the way for a professional drag career. Over the years, what began as a hobby for Lil Miss Hot Mess gradually morphed into a method for grabbing attention at protests, a full-time job t…
 
This month marks the 30 year anniversary of the American debut of Sailor Moon, and to celebrate we’re diving back into the Sewers of Paris archives to hear my 2018 chat with author Ryan La Salla. When we last spoke, Ryan was about to publish his first novel — Reverie, a queer adult fantasy. Since then, he’s written a second book, Be Dazzled; and hi…
 
My guest this week is producer Xavier D’Leau, who always knew that he needed, somehow, to make television shows that tell the stories of black queer lives. That wasn’t going to be easy, considering he went to school for social work, but he was determined — by day he helped people in crisis, and at night he and his friends worked on their own creati…
 
My guest this week left his old life behind to chase dreams of freedom with the love of his life. Buck Jones was working a corporate job with a homophobic boss when he and his then-boyfriend, now-husband sold their home and moved overseas to open a little cafe in Paris. It was the culmination of a lot of childhood dreams, informed by Buck’s love of…
 
My guest this week is New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice, whose new book Sapphire Sunset is a passionate, steamy gay romance. Christopher didn’t think he’d grow up to be a writer, despite coming from a literary family — both his parents are authors, his mother most famously for Interview with the Vampire among many other works, but …
 
My guest this week is Michael Bach, whose life was changed in a movie theater — or more precisely, just outside of one, when a conversation about the film he’d just seen led to a terrible discovery about the person he was currently dating. Now, three decades later, Michael’s entire career has come to encompass a very particular set of values to whi…
 
This week sees the re-release of one of the greatest videogames ever made, Majora’s Mask, which is about a young boy trying to stop the end of the world. In commemoration, we’re diving into the Sewers of Paris archives yet again for a chat about the game with a man who’s given a lot of thought to impending apocalypses, both as an adult and as a chi…
 
It's a little unfair that so many gay men adore The Golden Girls, but fewer have heard of the show Soap, without which Blanche, Rose, Sophia and Dorothy wouldn't exist. It is also one of the most controversial sitcom in television history, and I have a new YouTube video coming this weekend all about Soap’s rocky road, and why for one summer in 1977…
 
Next week would have been the 96th birthday of Kenneth Williams, an incredible British performer who hid queer culture in plain sight on the BBC back in the 1960s. For this week’s episode we’re diving all the way back into the Sewers of Paris archives to one of my very first episodes, a conversation with game designer Tork Shaw. Tork would listen t…
 
My guest this week is Jim Colucci, author of numerous books about the behind-the-scenes stories of the making of classic TV shows. In his work he’s had opportunities to interview greats like Norman Lear, Betty White, and Bea Arthur — but the REALLY good stories are about what happened after the interviews were over. We’ll have that conversation in …
 
My guest this week is author Jonathan Alexander, whose new book Dear Queer Self comes out in March 2022 and is a sort of conversation with his younger self, and an attempt to recapture some of younger-him’s wisdom. Though Jonathan of today has been through a lot of eye-opening experiences, from a brief marriage to a woman to a life-changing experie…
 
My guest this week grew up alongside eight sisters, in a home so crowded his room was a tiny storage closet. Splitting his time between homeschooling and the family flea market, Caudle had a particularly insulated upbringing — until an adventure to a convention for fellow nerds opened his eyes to a big wide world, and he left home with the help of …
 
Fifty-eight years ago this weekend, the musical Hello Dolly opened on Broadway — and this week we’re diving into the Sewers archive for a chat with Guy Branum about why, for him, the show encapsulates all the greatest joyful aspects of being gay. We’ll have that conversation in a minute. And hey don’t forget to head over to mattbaume.com to subscri…
 
My guest this week is one of the busiest people I’ve ever interviewed. Roo George Warren is an educator, an ecologist, a singer, an activist, a performance artist, and that’s not even half of the jobs you might find him doing on any particular day. Roo was raised with a healthy respect for skepticism and rebellion, and after venturing away from the…
 
My guest this week has been a lot of different people — he grew up a meek kid in Maryland, came out of the closet when he went to school in New York to study illustration, and then had to watch his step when his first job out of college required him to move to Tennessee to work on the religious show Veggie Tales. For a while, he found solace in the…
 
I hope you’re having a delightful holiday time, full of seasonal entertainment and sweaters and good cheer. For this week’s episode, we’re heading into the archives to hear my 2016 interview with Jonathan, who grew up in a deeply religious family and always found himself swept up in the pageantry of the season. These days, he's distanced himself fr…
 
My guest this week is playwright Tyler Dwiggins, who grew up in an isolated, rural Indiana farm town where there wasn’t much in the way of arts — especially if someone else needed to use the school’s combination auditorium/cafeteria. That’s why today he produces the kind of stuff he was looking for back then, starting with a series of queer-inclusi…
 
Twenty-one years ago this week, the show Queer as Folk made its American debut, and this week we’re diving into the Sewers archive to revisit one of the very first episodes of the podcast — my 2015 interview with Toronto performer Raymond Miller. If you were a teenager in Toronto in 2002, you saw him every afternoon hosting a local after-school TV …
 
My guest this week is Robert Steele, author of a new book about a figure in the early modern gay liberation movement that you probably never heard of. Robert’s subject is Jim Foshee, a teen runaway who landed in Los Angeles in the middle of a time of incredible upheaval. He was also Robert’s good friend, and between the two of them are some incredi…
 
My guest this week is Alex Salyer, whose work you may have seen on HBO’s Animals, on Tuca and Bertie, on BoJack Horseman, and also possibly in some of your weirder dreams. Alex is an animation director whose work defies the rules of reality, and any other rules he might happen to run into. Working in adult animation, at this point Alex may have ani…
 
We’re careening towards Thanksgiving, and you know what that means — an onslaught of holiday specials on the horizon. One that I’m particularly looking forward to is Santa Inc, a stop-motion special featuring the voice of comedian Joel Kim Booster. I spoke with Joel back in 2017, and this week we’re diving into the Sewers of Paris archive to revisi…
 
My guest this week is Lane V. Rogers, who splits his time between posting videos on YouTube, streaming on Twitch, posting nudes on OnlyFans, and getting a degree in business — all of which would be a tremendous surprise to him just a few years ago. When he graduated from high school a few years ago, Lane realized that he had spent so much time rebe…
 
At first glance, Elvira — the late-night movie hostess — looks like a character custom-engineered to appeal to straight men. So why do so many gays love her? I’ve got a new video up on YouTube exploring that very question, with help from someone who knows a thing or two about the character — her longtime collaborator and writer, Ted Biaselli, who a…
 
My guest this week is David Pevsner, writer, actor, and erotic blogger. His book Damn Shame, a memoir of desire, defiance, and show tunes comes out in January (it’s available for pre-order now) and catalogs his adventures on Broadway and on TV, as an escort, and as a naked Tumblr star. It all starts with a kid dancing in secret to Barbra Streisand …
 
My guest this week has some catching up to do. David is a writer who grew up in a religious family, and until his early 30s was closeted and struggled through ex-gay treatments until he finally came out. Helping him to make the adjustment: Star Trek, where he came to realize he’d picked up more of his sense of right and wrong than from the church. …
 
Next week is the anniversary of the premiere of the show Gargoyles, an animated 90s series with queer subtext simmering just under the surface — and that’s according to the show’s creator. In honor of that anniversary, we’re diving back into the Sewers archives for a chat with Fazaad Feroze, who became obsessed with the show when he was young. The …
 
The king of horror and supernatural haunting, Stephen King, hasn’t forgotten his fan base — there’s a nod in his new book to The Shining’s creepy Overlook Hotel — but in Billy Summers, King’s latest, he takes readers on a different kind of thriller ride in what some are saying is his best book yet. It may also be his most moving, getting us to care…
 
My guest on the Sewers of Paris podcast this week is the author of The Other Man, a forthcoming novel set in Mumbai about two men from very different cultures falling in love. Farhad Dadyburjor knows a thing or two about bridging cultures — growing up in India, he developed a deep obsession with western pop stars like Madonna and even came out to a…
 
My guest on the Sewers of Paris podcast this week would like you to see him at his worst. Ian Lockwood is a New York based pop music comedian who makes goofy music videos in which he plays his messiest self. It’s a style inspired in part by his relationship with the Twilight novels — which he started reading as a joke, and was then startled to disc…
 
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