New podcast alert! New podcast alert! Starring writer and trans advocate, Janet Mock, Never Before features conversations “about work, love and life — like you’ve never heard before.” The first episode features Ms. Tina Knowles. It was just a joy to listen to Tina talk from start to finish. I learned about her favorite hair product that contains actual real life ground-up hair, I learned that she never leaves the house without a red lip, and I learned that you’re never too old to snatch your waist and find a new man (Tina got divorced at 62, but has found new love and looks better than ever.) This episode was like spending 51 minutes inside Tina’s incredible Instagram account. If you are not following her, then you need to do so, right now! It’s a lot of fun. Tina clearly has raised successful, well behaved girls so it was fascinating to hear her talk about the “home training” she gave to them. She says she mainly taught them to work hard and not be brats. Great advice Tina. Not sure who Janet has planned for her next podcast, but if it’s anyone like Ms. Tina Knowles I will continue to tune in.
I know what you’re thinking, another podcast? Yes another! If you haven’t figured this out yet I love podcasts. So get with the program. If you’re into the paranormal, cults and serial killers then this podcast is for you. And when I say ‘into’ I just mean you have fascination with those topics, not like you’re looking for inspiration to go on a killing spree or shave your head and join an end of days commune in the desert. Last Podcast On The Left has been around for a couple of years which means they have a massive library of podcasts you can go back and listen to. It’s hosted by “Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks and “Unpredictable” Henry Zebrowski.” It deals with some pretty dark shit, but it’s actually a comedy podcast. They are really good at offering up very detailed accounts of true crime events but keep it light by making plenty of jokes along the way. For those who a little squirmism hearing about these dark topics their humor is a great way to balance it out. I’ve listened to their series’ on the Children Of God cult (fuck that was intense) serial killer Aileen Wuornos, Scientology founder Ron L. Hubbard and the Menendez Brothers. I would avoid listening to The Last Podcast On the Left right before bed, unless you want to have a haunted night’s sleep, but for all other times of the day this is a great podcast to wander the city listening to. Man, people can be crazy!
I’m recommending a new podcast! Shocker I know, but this is a good one, and it’s gay! Like really gay. It’s called Nancy, lol, and it’s got some serious pedigree behind it. Produced by WNYC, the station behind the esteemed Radiolab, Nancy is hosted by alums of that show, “BFFs Kathy Tu and Tobin Low.” According to the bio I found on the WNYC website for the duo they are both “super queer, super fun and ready to take over your podcast feed.” I listened to episode number two “Like Two Ken Dolls Being Smashed Together.” It was an exploration of the career of Brandon Lee, who is considered the first Asian top in gay porn. It was a fascinating look into the way Asians are portrayed in gay porn and how stereotypes continue to linger. I’d never really thought about it, but Asians in porn are pretty much always the submissive bottoms. Which is ridiculous, ‘cos there’s plenty of Asian gays who top. It just makes you realize how cliched most depictions of non-white people in porn are. If you’re in the need for a new podcast to add to your feed, Nancy is it! It’s frank, fun and thought provoking. Subscribe!
If you search for this podcast on iTunes it will come up as S.Town, but it’s really called Shit Town, and for a good reason. It’s about a town called Woodstock, Alabama, that in many ways fits the profile of the kind of place, filled with the kinds of people that put Trump in the Whitehouse. The podcast starts when This American Life reporter, Brian Reed, gets an email from a middle aged gay man in Woodstock name John B. McLemore, alerting him to a supposed murder cover up by his town’s police department. Brian goes to Woodstock to meet John and investigate the cover up. It turns out that the alleged murder, isn’t a murder at all, but that’s when the series takes a sharp turn, which if tell you about it right now, will ruin all the fun. The focus of the podcast is the town, but also John, who is brilliantly smart, funny and...complicated. Shit Town is produced by the same crew as Serial, and like that podcast it’s addictive. It’s only 7 episodes long, and all are available to listen to right now.
As you may have gleamed from reading GAYLETTER, I love a podcast, especially one aimed at us homos — there’s honestly not that many good ones out there. A new addition to this group is Food 4 Thot. Hosted by Joe Osmundson, Tommy Pico, Fran Tirado and Dennis Norris II — the podcast discusses everything from “sex, relationships, race, identity, what we like to read, and who we like to read.” The hosts are all writers, Fran is an editor at Hello Mr. Magazine, Tommy is a poet and the “founder and editor-in-chief of birdsong, an antiracist/queer-positive collective, small press and zine,” Dennis and Joe have written for online publications including Gawker and The Los Angeles Review. They’ve only produced a couple of podcasts so far, and are clearly warming up to the medium. In the two episodes I heard they sounded open and honest (mandatories for a successful podcast) and covered a good range of topics. I am having a little trouble differentiating the voices, but that’s often the case when a podcast has more than 3 people (it’s weird how one extra voice can make such a difference.) If you are looking for a new queer podcast to add to your rotation, Food 4 Thot is def worth a listen.
Contrary to what the name suggests, Sooo Many White Guys is a podcast refreshingly free from white guys. As a white guy myself, I’m more than OK with this. I mean, have you turned on the news lately? White guys are back running the country and look at all the bullshit that has happened in only the last 3 weeks. Created by comedian, and writer Phoebe Robinson, the podcast is exec-produced by the wonderful Ilana Glazer of Broad City fame (she occasionally pops up on the podcast to chat, or apologize on behalf of white people for Gwen Stefani: “I’m sorry about her wearing a bindi and using Asian people as props. I don’t know how we missed that.”) Other guests include comedians, performers and writers like Margaret Cho, Lena Dunham, the musician St. Vincent and activist Janet Mock. It comes out weekly and is the perfect antidote to all the political crap we have to deal with every day. Plug in, tune out and have a good laugh in a white guy free zone!
Shit is getting a little too real this week. I can’t open Facebook without being slapped in the eyeballs with another egregious headline highlighting the fuckery that’s going on at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s dark times, for sure, which is why I want to recommend a podcast from far, far away where is it currently summer and nothing bad ever happens. Yes, I am talking about Australia, where I am from, and also where this podcast is from. It’s called The Rereaders and it’s a “fortnightly literary and cultural podcast.” It’s hosted by Mel Campbell, Sam Twyford-Moore and the very hot (if my recent google image search is to be believed) Dion Kagan (pictured). Topics cover films, books, art shows and in the lastest episode, an adorable discussion about the state of Melbourne beaches. Some of the content is very Melbourne focused, but that just adds to the show’s charm, if you ask me — it’s like taking a trip to hang out with some very smart friends on the other side of the world. The podcast is on a short break, but will return any day now. I suggest you catch up on past episodes, or if you’re really adventurous, read the books they mentioned in their last episode and then join their book club when the next season returns.
24-year-old rapper Noname hasn’t relied on dancing half-naked in music videos to make a career for herself. Over the last few years she has worked hard at building a reputation as someone with real talent and real ambitions to be taken seriously in the music biz. Raised in Bronzeville, Chicago, Noname (whose real name is Fatimah Warner) started out performing slam poetry in 2010. In 2013 she performed on Chance the Rapper’s wonderful release ‘Acid Rap’ and in August released her brilliant debut mixtape ‘Telefone.’ Taking a page from two of 2016’s standout albums — Kendrick’s ‘Untitled’ and Chance’s ‘Coloring Book’ — Telefone is a jazzy, breezy mitape that deals with a number of heavy subjects like police brutality and growing up in the streets of Chicago. Noname planned the album for 3 years before finally recording it in June of this 2016 in Los Angeles. In some ways Noname’s music reminds me of Issa Rae’s HBO show Insecure. While Noname certainly deals with heavy subjects in her lyrics, her mixtape is super enjoyable. I look forward to seeing what she gets up to next!
If you’re a long time reader of GAYLETTER you’ll know that I love a podcast. I’ve been listening to them since the first ipod came out and itunes started hosting them. Listening to a podcast is a very intimate experience, and in my mind they still feel like a niche media platform — I know, I know, Serial was a blockbuster — but I’m still surprised when big companies come out with their own. I recently discovered that Vogue has a podcast, and I love it! Here’s why. Firstly, it’s hosted by Andre Leon Talley, who is so much fun to listen to (I get the feeling he’s not quite sure what a podcast is, but that queen knows how to talk and is a joy to listen to). Secondly, he has access to everyone: Marc Jacobs, Alessandro Michele and Alexander Wang have all been recent guests, and Anna Wintour stops by each month to discuss the current issue. The podcast is recorded at the Condé Nast offices, and obviously Andre and Anna have known each other forever, so they’re conversation is super relaxed. You get to hear a side of Anna (a woman I am fascinated by) like you never have before. She’s loose, chatty, dare I say, fun. It’s a unique insight into her, and the magazine/global brand she oversees. Subscribe immediately. That is all.
I’m a big fan of the podcast Startup. Season 1 of the show followed C.E.O Alex Blumberg as he created Gimlet Media, his podcast network. It was a frank and revealingly look at what it takes to start a business as a creative person. This season the podcast is looking outside of themselves to all kinds of unique businesses. Last week’s episode was about a woman, named Mary Going, who created a company that makes gender non-conforming clothing (basically men’s suits designed to fit women’s bodies). Luke Malone produced the episode and reached out to us to ask if we would consider it for the letter. I’d already heard it, and enjoyed it thoroughly, so was more than happy to. Here’s what Luke had to say about the episode: “It [the episode] covers the business, but also Mary’s back story: How she wanted to wear a cowboy outfit on her first day of school but her mom put her in a yellow dress and she ended up hanging onto the doorway screaming, begging not to go to school like that; coming out and having her mom pull a gun on her; her struggles to find a suit for her wedding; and how she used all this stuff to build a clothing company for butch women and trans guys, and give them something they needed.” If you’re a fan of podcasts and don’t know about Startup, then get your shit together and subscribe. Also, if you’re gender non-conforming and need a suit, hit Mary up. She seems like a sweet lady, and could use your support!