Category: Bubble&Squeak podcast

Ep 14 Black Lives with Aeryka Harvey and Dr. Natasha DeJarnett

Regular listeners of the Bubble&Squeak podcast have come to expect certain things. Each episode is exactly 15 minutes, contains three segments, and a simple two word title, which can be naughty, well usually (Anal Thermometer, Tiny Nipples, Ass Whisperer, you get the point.)

Even with all the silly bawdiness, we routinely take on serious issues. In Hairless Gerbils, Non-Fiction author Elizabeth Rush spoke about the #MeToo moments she and her students have experienced as they did field research. In Sexy Sex, actor Danny Glover and folklorist Dr. James Early spoke in Havana Cuba about race relations in the USA and Latin America. And in Slingshot Dynamite, novelist Claire Vaye Watkins spoke about climate change and humans suicidal tendency in our relationship with it.

Our latest episode is Black Lives:

Part one Aeryka Harvey, the host of Brown Suga Diaries.
Part two Peterson Toscano with the help of Sean Dague asks 500 people to imagine a world without fossil fuelsDr. Nathasha DeJarnett, a leading environmental health researcher, shares her vision of the future.
Part three a Sound Slice from a 2014 Black Lives Matters worship service at Union Theological Seminary in NYC. Reading of Ephesians 6:10-13 Beautifully interpreted by Dean Yvette Wilson

You can hear the show wherever you get podcasts or right here:

Featured Photo by James Eades on Unsplash

Fascists, Homophobes, and Sectarian Violence — Oh My!

In episode 13 of my Bubble&Squeak show, it gets downright political. This is the kind of show where I put three very different things together in one episode. Somehow a theme emerges. This time the theme is quite strong. My friend, the Irish author, Shirley McMillan, starts us off by sharing what led her to start the very first school Gender and Sexuality Alliance in a Northern Irish school (in fact, pretty much anywhere in the UK.) It is both a shocking and moving story.

Me and Shirley when she visited the USA Summer 2019

From there she tells us about an initiative she facilitated for the John Hewitt Society. She traveled to remote villages to hear older people’s stories and to help them create writing pieces that were ultimately published in an anthology. Shirley discovered parts of the country she never saw before. More importantly, she learned about practices and experiences she assumed happened in the distant past, but in reality happened in much more recent times. She tells the story of a village with a surplus of homes. This is where soldiers were stationed and people were sent during the evacuations at the time of The Troubles, conflicts between Catholics and Protestant paramilitary groups and state forces.

From there the show goes a bit off the rails. The middle section of the show typically has a comic interlude or radio play. This one is comedy but it has an edge. You will just have to hear it. I am sure some people will find it disturbing. I find it disturbing, but I also felt I needed to include it.

Finally, as always I end the show with a Sound Slice. This one my husband Glen Retief encouraged me to record when we exited an airport in Berlin. You hear dozens of roller bags wheeled over cobblestones.

Club Together
Part One Irish author, Shirley Anne McMillan on LGBTQ students, integrated schools, and the role of storytelling in the peace process.
Part Two Kyle, an earnest praise and worship leader begins hour 23 of a 24 hour marathon to silence the devil and his own fears.
Part Three a sound slice Berlin, Germany.

Featured Photo by Paul Murphy on Unsplash

A story about bread and family: Tiny Nipples

My personal podcast, Bubble&Squeak, regularly gets weird. Just the titles suggest weirdness: Anal Thermometer, Jerk Demons, and Hairless Gerbils are each two word titles taken from something said in the podcast. My latest show though takes a tender turn, even if the title doesn’t immediately reflect that tenderness.

Ep 12 Tiny Nipples comes in three parts

Part one A story from the Toscano family archive: Grandma Toscano and the veneration of St. Joseph with Bread

Part two Elizabeth Jeremiah is alone during the Coronavirus lock down. Margery Kempe by Robert Glück is a book about a 15th Century holy woman opens Pandora’s box to deeper, passionate, sensual encounter with the divine.

Part three a sound slice from pre-Coronavirus Madrid, Spain.

Thanks to Pavel Nekoranec for making this photo available freely on @unsplash

A prank phone call to my very uptight former self

If you had the technology to make a phone call to someone in the past, who would you call? Why would you call? To change the course of history? To help someone in a time of need? To go back to fix a relationship? Well, in the magical world of my Bubble&Squeak podcast I actually possess this amazing technology. What do I do with it? I totally squander it by making random prank phone calls to people in the past. In Ep One Naked Mugging, I make a prank phone call to an American general store sometime during World War II. I ask for tofu and kombucha and totally confuse the clerk, Elijah Hembach.

Claire Vaye Watkins

In my latest episode I actually make a prank phone call to myself in 1987 when I was 22 years old living in New York City desperately trying to rid myself of pesky homosexual desires. Maybe it is because people ask me all the time, “If you were able to speak to your former self when you were in the middle of all that conversion therapy, what would you say?” Ha! They don’t know how relentlessly oppositional I was during that time. I had no patience for anyone who did not speak the Conservative Christian party line. I’ll let you hear for yourself what happens when I call my former self.

Also in this episode I share excerpts from an interview I had with writer Claire Vaye Watkins. She is the award winning author of shorts stories and novels. She may be the most honest person I know when speaking about climate change. She says, “…when I’m writing about climate, it goes right to suicide…I don’t know how to understand this current moment. We have the science; we have the knowledge…but we continue to do it. That seems as a species a suicidal impulse.” When writing her cli-fi book, Gold Fame Citrus, she discovered her imagination could not outpace reality. She kept trying to imagine wacky ideas to address climate, water shortages, and weather only to discovered it already happened in real life.

Finally, I share a sound slice from Mexico. When traveling, most people take photos, I do too, but I also take audio. I hold up the recorder and capture a sound scape. This one is filled with tropical birds, a very persistent preacher, and some Spanish heavy metal music.

Have a listen to Slingshot Dynamite

Featured Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Gay Porn, Kissinger, and Cow Bells: Ep 7 Bubble&Squeak

On the latest Bubble&Squeak podcast, we travel the world–silver service in NYC, gay porn out of LA, and cows with bells in the Swiss Alps.

The show comes in three parts:

Part One a True Story entitled, “What is this?” It takes place in the dinning rooms on the 50th floor of the American Express Tower in Lower Manhattan in the mid-1980s. I was a nervous country boy desperately try to find a cure for being gay. (NYC might not have been the wisest choice for that mission.)

One day in the dinning room, I had to serve former President Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state. Turns out Kissinger was very hard to please.

Part Two a Television transmission from the future: Turner Classic Movies presents, “Masturbate Theatre.

Utilizing the actual wording from gay porn in the eighties, nineties, and noughties, I create a radio play that reveals  thatin the future they will greatly admire the terrible dialogue in late 20th Century gay porn.

You will not only hear the descriptions of three real movies and the awards they won, but even here an audio clip from one of them. Of course couched in the serious formal analysis of the Turner Classic Movie host, it becomes downright silly.

Part Three a Sound Slice, created for us by Taylor Lightman in the Alps. With Taylor’s brief introduction, the section is moving, reflective, and moving.

Episode Six: Masturbate Theatre

Featured Photo by Tobias Oetiker on Unsplash

Censorship and Butt Sex

Seems butt action has popped up twice in my creative work recently. For Meetinghouse.xyz I wrote the article, Butt Demons and Climate Denial. A few days later I uploaded the latest Bubble&Squeak podcast episode, Ass Whisperer.

In the essay I reflect on the wacky things I did to de-gay myself. This included an uncomfortable exorcism designed to extract demons that may have entered my butt through sex.

Joanne believed the demons entered me directly. “You probably picked up these demons when you had sex with another man.” In other words, an STD—a sexually transmitted demon. This was in the mid-1980’s at the beginning of the HIV/AIDS Crisis when researchers and public health experts began warning the public that the virus spread through body fluids exchanged during sexual activity. As I sat on her bed in a New York high rise with the city laid out before me erect with skyscrapers, she explained the dangers of spiritual transmissions. “If you had oral sex, demons crawled down your throat. If you engaged in anal activity, well, then, that’s how they got in. They quickly take over.”

I know a thing or two about denial. I wonder about how my gay denial is similar and different to climate denial. Turns out there are all sorts of climate denial–not just the outright rejecting of climate science. I explore these.

While some people may not deny the reality of climate change, they may be in denial about how serious the crisis is and what it means for us. They assume we can all just lower our carbon footprints, recycle, and buy the right eco-products, and we will eventually tackle climate change. Though well-meaning, these actions do not recognize the severity of the problem. As my husband, Glen, likes to say, “It’s like giving an aspirin to a cancer patient.” Large problems require large solutions.

Many religious leaders are in denial about the responsibility they have in pursuing solutions. They may pop up a solar panel on the church roof and get rid of styrofoam cups for coffee time, yet they renege on their call to provide pastoral care for their congregations and community. People are frightened, angry, overwhelmed, and hopeless. Ministers have tools and training to meet these needs.

I also write about “Hope Deniers,” those people who think we have gone too far and there is no fix, so we might as well give up. Please read and share the article:

Butt Demons and Climate Denial

The only known photo of Marvin Bloom

I end the piece with an appeal for action–no not to lower your carbon footprint. I provide alternative actions that people often undervalue but actually can have great impact.

With Bubble&Squeak I put together three things that seem to have little to do with each other.

  • Part one: Matthew Billy from the podcast Bleeped talks about censorship. From Drag Queen Story Hour to Mapplethorpe’s nude photos to climate change, he exposes the censors.
  • Part two: A prank call I made in 2010. I called sex advice expert Dan Savage host of the Savage Love podcast. I actually called in character, as Marvin Bloom. Mavin asked about struggles with anal sex. Dan took the call and aired it on Ep 202 of Savage Love Podcast.
  • Part three: a sound slice–The Path train from NJ to NYC

You can hear Bubble&Squeak wherever you get podcasts or just follow this link.

(Featured Photo by Jean Sabeth on Unsplash)

Grindr Jesus?!?

What If?

I love “what if” scenarios. I once facilitated a weekend retreat for LGBTQ Christians. Instead of the traditional Bible study and discussion groups, I gave them a series of bizarre tasks around sexuality, identity, and faith. They had to create ads sponsored by the church that promoted better sex. I even gave each group specific sex acts to advertise. “This group gets oral sex. This group gets masturbation. This group gets anal play…”

The goal was to break down the walls that fear and shame erected in our lives when it came to the meeting point of faith and sexuality.

What if Jesus was on Grindr?

Perhaps the most provocative activity was when I had them create a Grindr profile for Jesus. Through consensus we had to decide everything from Jesus’ height, weight, and ethnicity to what Jesus wanted on this gay “dating” app. We actually never completed the activity, but it was enough to get people thinking, feeling, and revealing.

In the latest episode of the Bubble&Squeak podcast, I comically revisit this idea through my character Chad. You might remember Chad from the play Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House. He’s very fem and enthusiastic. Good news is he has since come out super gay. In this short radio play I have him hosting a YouTube channel. He experiments with Grindr. Not only does he find out the other gays are super mean, he also encounters Jesus–the real Jesus of Nazareth.

You can hear (and subscribe) to Bubble&Squeak wherever you get podcasts. Or just click on the link below!

Part one: I revisit a story from Episode One, “Is that all you got?” where I was mugged at gunpoint. The mugger had me take off all my clothes. I have so many questions for the mugger in this story.
Part two: YouTuber Chad discovers Jesus of Nazareth’s profile on Grindr.
Part three: A sound slice from an ancient Mexican sacred pyramid, Los Guachimontones