LGBT Podcasters in NYC

As one of my last activities from the whirwind visit to the US and A, I briefly attended Podcamp NYC, a conference dedicated to podcasting (obviously).

Normally I care nothing for these events. The world has bigger concerns than what some American business-hipster wants to peddle as the newest and coolest thing. And while it can be fun to meet other podcasters, they would probably better spend their time finding more audience and explaining all this to new people, than hanging out with the same ol’ names. Plus as a podcast journalist, I’m already quite disappointed at the fact that most of the “successful podcasts” have almost NO social value in terms of using this unique tool to shed light on the under-represented.

But I set that aside in this case, as I was already in the NYC area, and -more importantly- some of my favorite voices from the LGBT community would also be attending the conference. Flying in from all over the US, not to mention myself in town from Amsterdam, it was obviously a rare opportunity that I didn’t want to pass on. So after a brief meetup the night before, where I finally met my friend Mikeypod, I made my way to podcamp.

And indeed, I was not disappointed. I dodged the annoying and fake salespeople trying to tell me what is “new” and “cool” and I found myself at Richard Bluestein’s session of Freedom of Speech. Perhaps symbolic of the state of things, there was hardly anyone in attendance. Probably too busy soaking up the session on Metrics or Music podcasting, all of which are notoriously more popular than one’s rights. But nevermind that, I walked into Richard’s session, happy to see my great friend sitting at the main table, still not fully awake. As a bonus, Wanda Wisdom was also there, not to mention the disgustingly fun Cheryl Merkowski, and someone I had heard alot about.. Lady Raptastic. Naturally Madge Weinstein had to make an appearance as well.

The highlight of the conference, and why these things still somehow matter in my eyes, was the session which focused on the Queercasting Community (and friends, like me!). Everyone discussed their concerns about producing content both for the community and also to reach beyond… to the more mainstream audience. It was also significant to talk about, and hear new examples of how material related to GBLT issues or produced by openly gay artists, has been censored by sites such as YouTube, where mainstream fundamentalist bigots have flagged videos as “inappropriate”, eventually leading to the ban of many artists on that widely used site.

Lastly I wanted to say what an honor it was. Not only to meet in person and receive such sincere support from podcasters I had never met before, but also to be welcomed as a member of the community. While I may not actually be gay, I feel a very strong bond with the goal of civil rights for all GBLT people, and that this goal is long overdue. Sitting there in that session, as I have at various points in my life, I felt very lucky to sit in the presence of such talent and dedication… working to educate and push society to get past its hatred and oppression of fellow human beings.

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The following vlog entry is made specifically for Brooklyn College and the students of Prof. Brian Dunphy’s class. (brave souls!) The internet is welcome to watch as well, of course. This is about why I do what I do, the inspiration behind my little media career.

Ruined for Work

Number of copies…. click click… beep beep.

Single sided to double sided… beep beep.

Push Copy button… commence loud life sucking noises.

Have you ever gone back to an old job you used to do and thought… did I ever work here?
That could happen for a number of reasons, not necessarily cause you didn’t like it, but maybe just because… mentally.. you’re past it.. you’re somewhere else.. you travelled forward in time or to another dimension, where somehow, you can barely picture yourself doing this job.

When I go back to Portugal I always go pickup BadHareDay at the Walford P Street school, where we used to both teach. I walk in there and I see a long list of unfamiliar faces. If I get a look its normally a “who are you, what do you want, are you lost?” kind of look. Eventually he comes down the stairs and it is as if, for a brief moment, the year is 2002 again; we go out for lunch. Later I see students I used to teach, I smile, they don’t notice me; I don’t work there anymore.

Lately I’ve been doing some office work for the american exchange program. Normally I’d stay away from the place where I was pretty much pushed out, but the people of that office have always been kind to me, and guiding the new fresh-off-the-plane american students is a wonderfully horrifying experience that I like to think keeps me grounded and lets me know what the kids these days, over there, are into.

But as I stand at that copy machine… click click.. beep beep.. oops.. staple remover.. load paper.. one thought goes through my head and I know everyone can see it, “I don’t work here anymore, and that is a great thing.”

Instead my mind is on my program, and my future guests like Josh flying in from Uganda in a few hours, or the Brazilian topics I’m working on, or the Bangladesh show next week. Then there’s my trip to the balkans this week, I cannot wait. And to top it all off, I see something extra exciting on the horizon… it looks like, yes I think it is… I see @ XOLO!

Holiday Recommendations

Being that most of you are home with some days off, some with lots of time to kill, others with no time (like me!) as you’re forced to drive from place to place on some unspoken quest to see every one of your favorite family and friends within a 150 kilometer radius. I think tonight I’ll recommend some excellent content that has stood out for me lately:

One is a show I constantly recommend, Radio Open Source. The particular show that I really enjoyed was focusing on Gorbachev, Russia, and looking back, asking the question.. what happened and why are things in Russia the way they are. It is a really good discussion and actually attacks alot of opinions Ive long held about Russia and Putin.. Ive actually had to rethink things.. which is always good.

My next recommendation is a very different one from my usual focus. Madge Weinstein recently interviewed Rebecca also known as the Trannywreck from Trannywreck radio. She just had her gender re-assignment surgery to change her penis into a vagina. This interview is great, Rebecca really comes through (in my opinion) as a very calm, thoughtful, and interesting person.. with such a unique experience as a trans-person!

And finally today I want to point out my friends over at the Lounge Chicken. The blog rolls on and i got an email from Jesse recently about some noteworthy citizen journalism projects that are in the works. Hopefully I can get involved, but nevermind all that, first I recommend people read the blog.

I almost forgot, here’s a typically Portuguese gift on xmas, nevermind if you celebrate the holiday or not.. you need COD.

Open Source Anniversary

As I write these words, the internet’s most beloved Lesbian and former manager of the Grrl Band Goddess Riot Juice is flying over the atlantic on route to Amsterdam. She’s no doubt scrunched into a coach seat, cursing the polyester clad stewardesses, and complaining about the small portions of food. As soon as she lands, she’ll no doubt buy a bag or 20 of stroopwafels and make her way over to my neighborhood. It feels like the night before a big holiday…especially since we’ll have a houseguest and we’ve tried to fill the fridge.

If you’ve never listened to Madge, I don’t know what more to say to you. Some might say it’s an acquired taste, not for the easily offended or those who get caught up on certain words that embarress or challenge the average media language you’re used to hearing. Unless of course you listen to satellite radio or podcasting, then you know better than to get hung up on words.

But I digress, I feel like I’m selling what doesn’t need to be sold. I’m excited to see my friend and run around the city we both love.

Lastly today I got a mass email from Chris Lydon at Radio Open Source, which in the last year put out 200 shows. They’ve added audio comment options to their blog and I fully intend to use that option from now on. Maybe I’ll add one here someday too. Happy Birthday to Open Source, one of the biggest inspirations to me in the podosphere.

**Update — Not sure what the weather is doing in New York, but the flight has been delayed. So the fun begins on Sunday.