The Sewers of Paris

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?



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      episode 155: Excited and Scared (Ep. 155 - Ari Shapiro of NPR's All Things Considered)

      My guest this week is Ari Shapiro, host of All Things Considered. These days, he tells other people's stories on NPR, but his own story was considerably is more winding than you might expect -- behind his calm journalistic voice is a former illegal immigrant who carried mace for protection in high school, nearly became an actor, and might never have found his place on the radio if a gay icon hadn't intervened on his behalf.



      episode 154: Crazy Pirate Madonna (Ep. 154 - Tori Amos)

      Thanks to everyone supporting The Sewers of Paris on Patreon, I'm able to bring you bonus episodes every month. We're going to go Beyond the Sewers of Paris, with special guests beyond just gay men, and deep-dives on topics I think you're going to love. This month, I'm bringing you an unusual conversation with a very special guest: radio DJ Cindy Howes. I first interviewed Cindy about a year ago, for what I thought would be a fun, lighthearted chat about Tori Amos and how music empowered a...



      episode 153: Oracular Garbage Pile (Ep. 153 - James Bond)

      How do you awaken your own untapped courage? This week's guest is Andrew Wheeler, writer of adventure and intrigue novels featuring defiantly gay characters. Though his stories are swashbuckling, Andrew tends to live a quiet, more domestic life than his globetrotting heroes. It was through his books that Andrew was able to explore beyond the town where he grew up -- in literature and eventually in real life.



      episode 152: It Was Deeply Weird (Ep. 152 - Cats)

      Have you ever found a monster beautiful? It's rare that something can be both gorgeous and grotesque, but when those two qualities overlap it can be hard to look away -- and hard to resist following it wherever it wants to take you, no matter how dangerous. This week's guest is Tyler Coates, Culture Editor at He felt the allure of the arts emanating from what seemed like a threat: phantoms in an opera house, clawing cat people, and David Bowie in a massive codpiece. From the tiny...



      episode 151: The Kentucky Derby for People (Ep. 151 - Drag Race)

      What would you do if your life's work turned out to be killing you? My guest this week is Alberto Davalos, a horse boy. His whole life he expected to work with horses. And fresh out of college, he was on a farm in Kentucky, wearing gloves up to his shoulders and helping multi-million-dollar animals give birth. But working his dream job came with a price he wasn't ready to pay.



      episode 150: Hot Glue and Rhinestones (Ep. 150 - Chi Chi DeVayne)

      My guest this week is Chi Chi Devayne, who competed on Season 8 of Drag Race and is appearing now on All Stars Season 3. Despite having competed -- twice, now -- on the world's most prestigious drag show, there was a time when Chi Chi hated drag. That was before she realized that everything in life had prepared her to perform in heels -- from church to getting in fights to military training.



      episode 149: Gay Male Student #1 (Ep. 149 - Carol Burnett)

      It's a Hollywood cliche -- the pretty young face that moves to LA with no plan other than to get into the motion pictures. And yet it happened to this week's guest, Justin Root. He was a shy Ohio kid who feared the spotlight until he discovered how good it made him feel to be in it. A few weeks after graduating high school, he'd moved to LA. A few weeks after that, he was in movies. And not long after that, he had a recurring role on TV. It didn't take long for the entertainment industry to...



      episode 148: It's Worth it to be Passionate (Ep. 148 - Final Fantasy VII)

      When you need to get away from it all, how far do you go? My guest this week reached his fill of human interaction and so he did what so many of us have done: flew to South America to wander the forest for weeks while befriending a mountain lion.



      episode 147: Glamorous but Homicidal (Ep. 147 - The Cure)

      My guest this week is George Alley, a musician and choreographer who paid his dues on the mean streets of suburban Cleveland, where he was the secretary for a local street gang. The son of a Detroit blues singer and a demolition derby driver, George often felt anger at the world and at people who tormented him. That anger, it turned out, would be a crucial element that shaped his creative work today.



      episode 146: On Top of Mount Sodom (Ep. 146 - The Dead Poets Society)

      We're coming up on a new year -- what are you going to change in 2018? My guest this week is Jay Michaelson, who several years ago found himself unhappy, unfulfilled, and disconnected from meaningful relationships, both with other people and with a higher power. So he decided to stop waiting for the life he wanted, and to start pursuing it -- through spiritual journeys in the Middle East and pagan dances in the woods.