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The Sewers of Paris

Author: Matt Baume

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Revealing stories about the books, movies, tv, music and more that have changed the lives of gay men. Each week, a guest plucks a piece of entertainment from their past, and answers the question: how did it change your life?
356 Episodes
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My guest this week is Craig Johnson — director of the movies Skeleton Twins and Alex Strangelove, among many other projects. His creative interests straddle two very different worlds: Troubled suburban families, and weird creepy monsters … which maybe aren’t so different after all. Fortunately, he gets to explore those topics on screen — thanks to a phone call many years ago that changed his life forever.We’ll have that conversation in a minute. First — a reminder that I’ve been posting lots of fun videos about queer pop culture history over on my YouTube — I just released a new one about the gayest week in television history. And you can also head over to Patreon to see even more bonus videos.Also check out my cute little newsletter where I share sneak peeks at what I’m working on at mattbaume.com.Also a big thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
Eleven years ago this week, Dan Savage founded the It Gets Better Project, and this week we’re diving into the Sewers archives to revisit my conversation with him in 2017. You've probably heard Dan speak at length about sex and love and news and politics -- but this conversation is going to be a little different as we dive into 8-track tapes, secret bike rides, family arguments, and a rule-breaking theater troupe where Dan honed his sense of shock and showmanship long before he was known for dispensing Savage Love.We’ll have that conversation in a minute. First — a reminder that I’ve been posting lots of fun videos about queer pop culture history over on my YouTube — I’ve got one coming this weekend about how one weird week in 1976 became the gayest couple of days in television history. And you can also head over to Patreon to see even more bonus videos.Also check out my cute little newsletter where I share sneak peeks at what I’m working on at mattbaume.com.Also a big thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
My guest this week is a writer who’s found a way to blend an unlikely combination of genres — comedy and food writing. You may know Adam Roberts for his blog and his cookbook, The Amateur Gourmet, or from his work as a writer on the show The Real O’Neals. None of this was supposed to happen — Adam’s career kicked off with a short stint in law school before he realized it wasn’t for him, and food writing was something he just did for fun until he discovered, to his surprise, that it had become his whole life.We’ll have that conversation in a minute. First — a reminder that I’ve been posting lots of fun videos about queer pop culture history over on my YouTube — I just posted one about the beloved 80s movie Mannequin and the unlikely queer heroism of the character Hollywood Montrose. And you can also head over to Patreon to see even more bonus videos.Also check out my cute little newsletter where I share sneak peeks at what I’m working on at mattbaume.com.Also a big thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
My guest this week is the YouTuber who goes by the name Illusory Wall. He’s dedicated himself to unraveling the mysteries of the often-bewildering games in the Dark Souls franchise — dark gothic mysteries full of strange horrors and hidden treasures. What was once a niche interest has become an obsession, and, as of very recently, his full time job.We’ll have that conversation in a minute. First — a reminder that I’ve been posting lots of fun videos about queer pop culture history over on my YouTube — I’ve got one coming this weekend about the movie Mannequin and the unlikely queer heroism of Hollywood Montrose. And you can also head over to Patreon to see even more bonus videos.Also check out my cute little newsletter where I share sneak peeks at what I’m working on at mattbaume.com.Also a big thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
My guest this week is Jeffrey Masters, host of the podcast LGBTQ&A. He moved to LA with a plan to make it big as an actor, which doesn’t always work out for the best — and for a time, it looked like things were going south as he found that his Shakespearean training left him unprepared for what Hollywood was looking for. But then he stumbled upon a passion that got him more attention than he’d even had before, and more importantly, a feeling of fulfillment in his work.We’ll have that conversation in a minute. First — a reminder that I’ve been posting lots of fun videos about queer pop culture history over on my YouTube — and you can also head over to Patreon to see even more bonus videos.And check out my cute little newsletter where I share sneak peeks at what I’m working on at mattbaume.com.Also a big thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
This week we’re diving into the Sewers archive to revisit a chat with my friend Phuong, who is always tirelessly MAKING stuff. When we chatted three years ago, he was busy baking bread, crafting soap, knitting hats, and more — but this summer he’s embarked on his biggest project yet, a new YouTube channel called Rabbit Hole where he posts videos full of fascinating, weird, surprising features of the planet Earth. Recent topics include animals elected to office, tiny countries you’ve never heard of, and actual gates to hell. These videos are a continuation of Phuong’s lifelong habit of making things for others and giving away gifts — because every time he does, there’s something equally important that he gets back.We’ll have that conversation in a minute. First — a reminder that I’ve been posting lots of fun videos about queer pop culture history over on my YouTube — and you can also head over to Patreon to see even more bonus videos.And check out my cute little newsletter where I share sneak peeks at what I’m working on at mattbaume.com.Also a big thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
This week I’m chatting with José, host of the delightful YouTube series Ketchup with Max and José, and the partner of past Sewers of Paris Guest Max Miller (host of Tasting History). As a kid, José was a shy gay nerd before growing up to be … also a shy gay nerd, but one who helped launch Disney Plus and also cohosts a food history show with his partner and is about get married. We’ll have that conversation in a minute. First — a reminder that I’ve been posting lots of fun videos about queer pop culture history over on my YouTube — and you can also head over to Patreon to see even more bonus videos.And check out my cute little newsletter where I share sneak peeks at what I’m working on at mattbaume.com.Also a big thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
My guest on The Sewers of Paris podcast this week is Scott, host of the podcast The Movies that Made us Gay. His first glimpse at gay life was the same-sex couple on the show Six Feet Under, which inspired him to formulate an escape plan from his small Montana home, his sights set on Hollywood. The plan was to find his way into the entertainment industry, but that all changed shortly after he arrived and met the man who would one day become his husband.We’ll have that conversation in a minute. First — I’ve got a new video coming this weekend over on YouTube, all about TV gay bars, and the unexpected reason that the macho crime finding studs of Starsky and Hutch transformed into the grandmotherly Jessica Fletcher on Murder she Wrote. Check out my YouTube for that, and head over to Patreon to see some bonus videos.And just a quick reminder that I’ve got a little newsletter where I share sneak peeks at what I’m working on. Sign up for that at mattbaume.com.Also a big thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
My guest this week is Fran Tirado, who you might recognize as the host of the Food 4 Thot podcast. Fran grew up in a sheltered religious community, and it was a chance encounter with gay Greek myths that helped him break out. Now he’s dedicated himself to a different kind of scripture — one of powerful femmes, radical queer liberation, and sex without shame.We’ll have that conversation in a minute. First — Muppet fans, I just released a new video about the gay history of the Muppets. Check out my YouTube for that, and head over to Patreon to see some bonus videos.And just a quick reminder that I’ve got a little newsletter where I share sneak peeks at what I’m working on. Sign up for that at mattbaume.com.Also a big thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
My guest is writer and comedian H. Alan Scott, whom you may know as co-host of the Out on the Lanai podcast. I first met him back when I lived in LA, and worked as a nightlife photographer — H. Alan was one of the people I looked forward to seeing most, because he never posed. He just let me photograph him candidly, honestly, sometimes with a smile and sometimes not. I didn't know it, but at the time he was emerging from a long and difficult ordeal that had changed his life. And when I pointed my camera at him, I was pointing it at a man who had no use for putting on a happy face.We’ll have that conversation in a minute. First — Muppet fans, you’ll be pleased to hear that I’ve got a new video coming out about the gay history of the Muppets, from sly queer jokes slipping onto the Muppet show to Ernie & Bert’s relationship to the story of how one puppeteer became the most famous gay man in the world … who nobody recognized. Join me for a livestream and then the new video this Sunday, July 25 at 11am pacific. And head over to Patreon to see some bonus videos with extra stories that didn’t make it into the final video.And just a quick reminder that I’ve got a little newsletter where I share sneak peeks at what I’m working on. Sign up for that at mattbaume.com.Also a big thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
My guest this week might sound a bit familiar, because you’ve almost definitely heard his voice before — even if you didn’t realize it. Carl Bishop is the voice you hear on countless commercials. He’s been the voice of hardware stores, he’s warned you about medication side effects, he’s sold shampoo and razors and laundry detergent and cars and pizza. When Carl got his start as a radio personality, many years ago, he avoided coming out for fear of the impact on his career. But as he found commercial success, and particularly as a video game voice actor, he decided it was time to overcome that fear.We’ll have that conversation in a minute. First, I want to let you know that I just posted a new video over on YouTube. It’s about the most iconic gay couple of the 24th century, Garak and Bashir from Star Trek Deep Space 9 — and how fans were ultimately responsible for bringing these star-crossed lovers together. Check that out at YouTube.com/mattbaume — and head over to Patreon to see some bonus videos with extra stories that didn’t make it into the final video.And just a quick reminder that I’ve got a little newsletter where I share sneak peeks at what I’m working on. Sign up for that at mattbaume.com.Also a big thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
My guest this week is TV writer Stan Zimmerman, whose credits include episodes of The Golden Girls, Gilmore Girls, The Brady Bunch Movie, and the gay kiss episode of Roseanne, among many many more. As a kid, Stan created a fantasy television network in his bedroom, giving a weekly variety show to his idol Lily Tomlin; something that he was able to tell her years later when they became colleagues. We’ll have that conversation in a minute. First, I want to let you know that I’ve got a new video going live on YouTube this weekend. It’s about the most iconic gay couple of the 24th century, Star Trek’s Deep Space 9’s Garak and Bashir — and how fans were ultimately responsible for bringing these star-crossed lovers together? Join me for a livestream leading into my new video this Sunday, July 11, at 11am pacific at YouTube.com/mattbaume.And just a quick reminder that I’ve got a little newsletter where I share sneak peeks at what I’m working on. Sign up for that at mattbaume.com.Also a big thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
Hello, I’m Matt Baume, and welcome to the Sewers of Paris. We’re on a podcast search for the entertainment that changed the lives of queer people.My guest this week is author Benji Carr, whose novel Impacted comes out next week, and is the product of a lifelong obsession with soap operas. It’s not entirely surprising, as his own life was often more dramatic than he knew how to handle. It was shows like Melrose Place, Knots Landing, and Desperate Housewives that helped him make sense of the chaos in his own life, and eventually, deal with it more productively than the fictional characters he’d grown up watching.And just a quick heads up: This week’s episode includes mention of childhood sexual abuse.
My guest this week is Ravi Roth. You may know him from his travel series Ravi Round the World, or his new show Gaycation, where he visits queer hotspots across the globe. Ravi knew from an early age that he loved performing, and for a time he was laser-focused on making it to Broadway. But once he was there, he found that he had a talent for travel, and found himself journeying far from the city he once thought was where he’d always call home. Now, rather than performing in character, he fills his time by exploring queer bars, enclaves, and at least one unexpected nudist camp.We’ll have that conversation in a minute. First, I want to let you know that I’ve just posted a new video over on my YouTube channel, where I talk about queer milestones in the pop culture that changed the world. The latest video is all about Disney villains — specifically, what makes them all so extremely gay? Check that out at YouTube.com/mattbaume.And just a quick reminder that I’ve got a little newsletter where I share sneak peeks at what I’m working on. Sign up for that at mattbaume.com.Also a big thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
This week, to celebrate Pride month, we’re heading into the Sewers archives for a chat with a man who was present for the Stonewall Riots. He earned the nickname Tree thanks to his six-foot-five stature, and he’s been a part of New York’s gay community going back to the fifties, when he didn’t even know a community existed. Tree’s been a member of Brooklyn street gangs, worked with the mob, and counted among his friends Buddy Holly, Bea Arthur, and Rock Hudson. We talked one year ago, as we were heading into a lot of uncertainty around COVID, quarantines, and the future. And now that many of us are finally in the process of re-emerging out into the world, it seemed like a perfect time to reflect on his stories of endurance and liberation.
My guest this week is comic artist Joe Glass, author of the just-released Pride Omnibus which collects several years of his queer superhero stories. Joe’s work is heavily influenced by his youthful love of heroes from X-Men to Buffy, and like those heroes, there were times when people tried to stop him from pursuing the work that he knew was right.We’ll have that conversation in a minute. First, a reminder that I just posted a new video over on YouTube that’s all about John Waters, Divine, and three films that I like to call the Trinity of Trash — check that out at YouTube.com/mattbaume.And just a quick reminder that I’ve got a little newsletter where I share sneak peeks at what I’m working on. Sign up for that at mattbaume.com.Also a big thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
My guest this week is a legend — the amazing Justin Vivian Bond, or just Vivian — an actor, singer, performer, icon. You may recognize their name from the act Kiki and Herb, or from performances ranging from La MaMa to Carnegie Hall, or from collaborations with Jake Shears, John Cameron Mitchell, and Rufus Wainwright. Vivian knew they wanted to be a performer from an early age, and their journey to the stage was an adventure that brought them from a small town to experimental theater in San Francisco and New York to international acclaim — and now, a new project about to debut.We’ll have that conversation in a minute. First, I want to let you know that I’ve got a new video coming this weekend — join me Sunday June 6 for a livestream and brand new video about the John Waters and his Trinity of Trash, three early films that changed the face of film. That’s at YouTube.com/mattbaume.And just a quick reminder that I’ve got a little newsletter where I share sneak peeks at what I’m working on. Sign up for that at mattbaume.com.Also a big thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
This week’s guest is John Epperson — also known by his stage name, Lypsinka, who you might’ve seen in the documentary Wigstock, in the movie Black Swan, and gracing New York stages from the legendary Pyramid Club to Lincoln Center. John moved from small town Mississippi to New York to chase a dream of a life in the theater, and found fame with his drag alter-ego in the wild 1970s and 80s, all while awash in radical revolutionary queer culture of the East Village.We’ll have that conversation in a minute. First, a reminder that I’ve got a little newsletter where I share sneak peeks at what I’m working on — the most recent featured a recommendation for a FASCINATING documentary on the history of Nickelodeon. Sign up for that newsletter at mattbaume.com.And speaking of the history of Nickelodeon, check out my YouTube channel for deep dives into pop culture history — my latest video is all about Rocko’s Modern Life and the secret gay history of 90s animation. That’s at YouTube.com/mattbaume.Also a big thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
Listeners, I’ve got a handful of interviews coming your way that you are going to love, with some Broadway drag icons. They’re not quite ready yet, but this week I want to prepare you for what’s coming with a conversation about someone who chased his dreams all the way to New York, and then followed his heart back home. This week, we’re diving into the archives to hear my 2016 interview with Mark Finley — a conversation that zooms from Japan to Cal Arts to a stint at Brigham Young where he earned the nickname “The Golden Throat,” and not for his singing. Mark’s stories are so unbelievably fascinating that we spoke for two hours, and I originally released our conversation as a two-parter. But on this episode, you’re going to get both parts of our conversation, including the story of Mark’s brush with death and his miraculous survival.Also — mark your calendars for this Sunday, May 23rd at 11am pacific. I’m releasing a new video over on my YouTube channel about Rocko’s Modern Life and the secret gay history of 90s animation. Head over to YouTube.com/mattbaume for that — it’s this Sunday, May 23rd at 11am pacific.Also a big thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
We’re just a few days away from the start of Eurovision, the giant extravagant celebration of over-the-top music and outrageous costumes and, every now and then, taste. Eurovision is a big ball of fun, and it was the subject of the very first episode of The Sewers of Paris. So this week, we’re revisiting my 2015 interview with Jānis, who first introduced me to the joy of Eurovision, along with the German version of American Idol, gay-adjacent Hitchcock, and hard-core camp.We’ll have that conversation in a minute. First, a quick thanks to everyone who supports the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. And to everyone who’s reviewed it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.And check out my YouTube videos for deep dives into queer pop culture history. I recently posted a new one about The Nanny. That’s at youtube.com/mattbaume. And I’m currently working on a video about the queer undertones of 90s animation, from Nicktoons to Disney villains. Patreon backers get a little sneak peek at what I’ve found so far.Also, a reminder that I’ve got a newsletter where you can see more stuff I’m working on and fun surprises I’ve discovered. You can sign up at mattbaume.com.
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Comments (2)

Neropatti

I have been a listener for a few years now and I can't get over what a great interviewer Matt is. Over and over again the people he talks to compliment that the talk has been like a therapy session. Highly recommend!

Jan 18th
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Arthur Stowe

me

Jul 16th
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