Gays Reading

Steven Rowley (The Guncle Abroad)

May 21, 2024 Jason Blitman, Brett Benner, Steven Rowley Season 2 Episode 52
Steven Rowley (The Guncle Abroad)
Gays Reading
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Gays Reading
Steven Rowley (The Guncle Abroad)
May 21, 2024 Season 2 Episode 52
Jason Blitman, Brett Benner, Steven Rowley

Jason and Brett talk to Steven Rowley (The Guncle Abroad) about sea cave adventures in Capri, Varla Jean Merman's rendition of "Ring Them Bells,"  the best Wang Chung song, and obviously: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and Grease 2.

Steven Rowley is the bestselling author of five novels including, Lily and the Octopus, a Washington Post Notable Book; The Editor, an NPR Best Book of the Year; The Guncle, winner of the 22nd Thurber Prize for American Humor and Goodreads Choice Awards finalist for Novel of the Year; and The Celebrants. His fiction has been translated in twenty languages. He resides in Palm Springs, California.

Truffle hunt in Rome: https://matteo-truffles.com/

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**BOOKS!**
Check out the list of books discussed on each episode on our Bookshop page:
https://bookshop.org/shop/gaysreading | By purchasing books through this Bookshop link, you can support both Gays Reading and an independent bookstore of your choice!

Join our Patreon for exclusive bonus content!

Purchase your Gays Reading podcast Merch!

Follow us on Instagram
@gaysreading | @bretts.book.stack | @jasonblitman

What are you reading?
Send us an email or a voice memo at gaysreading@gmail.com

Show Notes Transcript

Jason and Brett talk to Steven Rowley (The Guncle Abroad) about sea cave adventures in Capri, Varla Jean Merman's rendition of "Ring Them Bells,"  the best Wang Chung song, and obviously: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and Grease 2.

Steven Rowley is the bestselling author of five novels including, Lily and the Octopus, a Washington Post Notable Book; The Editor, an NPR Best Book of the Year; The Guncle, winner of the 22nd Thurber Prize for American Humor and Goodreads Choice Awards finalist for Novel of the Year; and The Celebrants. His fiction has been translated in twenty languages. He resides in Palm Springs, California.

Truffle hunt in Rome: https://matteo-truffles.com/

Gays Reading is sponsored by Audible. Get a FREE 30-day trial by visiting audibletrial.com/gaysreading

**BOOKS!**
Check out the list of books discussed on each episode on our Bookshop page:
https://bookshop.org/shop/gaysreading | By purchasing books through this Bookshop link, you can support both Gays Reading and an independent bookstore of your choice!

Join our Patreon for exclusive bonus content!

Purchase your Gays Reading podcast Merch!

Follow us on Instagram
@gaysreading | @bretts.book.stack | @jasonblitman

What are you reading?
Send us an email or a voice memo at gaysreading@gmail.com

Jason Blitman:

Okay, I purposely did not bring this up when we were not recording because I need to have a real reaction, among the gayest things that happened that I'm so excited that we get to talk about right now, is the Wicked trailer was

Brett Benner:

Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Well, first of all, there was that pre preview

Jason Blitman:

Uh huh. Uh

Brett Benner:

which was very moving when they showed the girls getting the parts. But that trailer?

Jason Blitman:

It's unreal. It looks so good. When I was in high school, I don't know why I was on this list, but I got a mailing for teachers who would bring their students to New York City to, pick the Broadway shows to go see, and it showed you, what was coming up that season. And that was my, the very first time I'd seen about Wicked, and read about it, and was like, whoa, this, this is, this is, is either gonna do really well or really poorly. I have to get to New York to see this show. And that kicked off an annual trip to New York City that I did with my dad randomly, and saw the original cast of Wicked. And then when Idina Menzel was leaving, I was like, I have to see her in the show again before she leaves the show. and we went back to New York and saw Idina Menzel in the show again. let's see how much of this I keep in the episode, but this story is hilarious. I got my poster signed by some of the cast, and she didn't, didn't come out of the stage door the first time I saw it. So, I brought the poster back to New York with me, and I waited at the stage door before the show to see if I could catch her coming in. And it was me and this one other girl sitting in the snow, waiting for Idina Menzel, Prior to Adina coming, I see the stage manager leave the stage door with the like, at this performance sign. And I saw the role of Glinda will be played by Megan Hilty.

Brett Benner:

Oh

Jason Blitman:

because Megan Hilty was the standby for Jennifer Laura Thompson at the time, cause I'm a little musical theater gay, I see Megan Hilty coming into the stage door. And I was like, Oh my God, I'm so excited to see you go on today. She was like, how do you even know? And I told her, But I saw her go on as Glinda when she was a standby and she was unbelievable before she became who she is today. Meanwhile, Gina Menzel came. She was not thrilled that there were two people waiting for her. She did sign the poster, but that's fine. But anyway, all that to say, I'm very excited.

Brett Benner:

Oh my God. But I just, I love the idea of you and this girl just sitting there like bundled up with your poster. That is the cutest, cutest thing

Jason Blitman:

somewhere. A hundred

Brett Benner:

You have to find. I have to see that. It's going to be so huge. I freaking can't wait. It looks gorgeous every single moment of it. I'm like, Oh my God, it's so well done. I, it, it, it looks like I classic movie. It looks like what movies are supposed to look like in every way. I I'm like everybody out of my mind.

Jason Blitman:

The fact that we're talking about this on the day that we have Steven Rowley on the podcast is

Brett Benner:

That's also big and gay.

Jason Blitman:

Very big and gay. Something to just shout out to our listeners that I wanted to share is that this summer we're doing a summer read along of Abraham Verghese's The Covenant of Water. part of why this came to be is because it was one of Brett's favorite books last year, and I had not read it. And Amy Jo Burns, who wrote the book Mercury, which was one of my favorite books earlier this year, uh, she is on a quest to read big books this year. And so I reached out to Amy and I was like, Hey girl, would you want to read this big book together? She said, yes, I can't wait. And then we were like, let's make it a big read along for our listeners. So if you want to join in you, please, we would love to have you, uh, more information can be found on gaysreading.com/readalong.

Brett Benner:

And it is such an amazing book. Like, I can't wait to kind of dive back in. It, it is

Jason Blitman:

and we're, we're doing it over 10 weeks. You'll have plenty of time. It's no stress.

Brett Benner:

the best way. Which is honestly, yep. Because you can take it all in and absorb and discuss. It's the best. That's going to be great.

Jason Blitman:

so many other great books are coming

Brett Benner:

So many, it's

Jason Blitman:

The list is

Brett Benner:

has started. Let's just talk about a couple of them. First of all, In Tongues by Thomas Grattan, which is fantastic. I just recently read it. It's really good. I would say, check it out. Also, R. O. Kwan's Exhibit, which is great book. I know we And keep on the lookout for R. O. Kwan and her in the near future. Also, Sydney Carger's The Bump is out today, which I just started listening to on audio. And I have to tell you, it's really fun because The Michael Urie reads this with his partner, husband. I think they're married. Uh, so it's two of them. It's adorable.

Jason Blitman:

and one of the books early on that I shadowed out that I was looking forward to this year comes out, perfume and Pain by Anna Dorn. And I've still not had a chance to read it yet, but I'm still very excited to read it and I just can't believe that I shattered it out as a book that I was excited for in January and it's already May. So that's nuts to me. And, also out today is a great gay book, edited by Ryan Fitzgibbon, and we had him talking about the book just a couple weeks ago, so go check that out.

Brett Benner:

gorgeous

Jason Blitman:

Really, really special, beautiful book. and as always, if you like what you're hearing, please share us with your friends, like us, and follow us on social media. We are at GaysReading. And if you could bop on over to wherever you are listening, you could just like put it, move us on your screen a little bit and go click the five star button to give us a five star review because it's super, super helpful to help other. readers, find us. So we're, we're really grateful for that. And thank you to all of you who have done that already. All of the books that we just mentioned, including more that have, that are coming out today and Steven Rowley's book, The Guncle Abroad and so many books are going to be on our bookshop. org page, uh, which you could find the link to in our show notes. And if you are unfamiliar with bookshop. org, you can support an indie bookstore and support gaze reading when you buy books through bookshop. org. On today's show, we have the lovely, delightful Steven Rowley Rowley talking about his new book, The Guncle Abroad, which tons of people have read The Guncle, and we all fell in love with gay Uncle Patrick. and he's back!

Brett Benner:

I think this is one of the most anticipated for so many people this year.

Jason Blitman:

I know!

Brett Benner:

It's like these summer book.

Jason Blitman:

So, if folks are unfamiliar with Steven, Guncle Rowley is the best selling author of five novels, including Lily and the Octopus, a Washington Post notable book, the editor and NPR best book of the year, The Guncle, winner of the 22nd Thurber Prize for American Humor and Goodreads Choice Awards finalist for Novel of the Year, and The Celebrants, um, which is not in his bio, but was a Read with Jenna book club pick. Um, his fiction has been translated into 20 languages and he resides in Palm Springs, California. I'm Jason,

Brett Benner:

And I'm Brett

Jason Blitman:

and enjoy this super gay episode of Gays Reading. Guncle

Brett Benner:

reading.

Jason Blitman:

adore you

I'm going to be making a video about it.

Steven Rowley:

Hello!

Brett Benner:

hello?

Steven Rowley:

I am here. Oh my god, look what you're wearing, Brett!

Brett Benner:

I wore that for you. I wore that for you today.

Steven Rowley:

Yay! Meanwhile, I look like I work at a lady footlocker or something. I'm not sure what's I pick up an extra shift whenever I can.

Brett Benner:

That's exactly right. I, yeah, I would do that.

Jason Blitman:

Listen, if you had a foot fetish, it's probably a perfect job.

Steven Rowley:

God, we're gonna get into it today. You are feisty.

Jason Blitman:

How you doing?

Steven Rowley:

I'm really good, I think, in the chaos of pre pub madness and house renovation and everything that's going on. And it's

Brett Benner:

What are you doing with your house?

Steven Rowley:

Oh my god, we bought a new house, we're completely renovating it, it's a race now to see if I can move in before I leave for tour, or am I going to leave the move to Byron while I'm gone, which

Brett Benner:

my God.

Steven Rowley:

could happen, but I'm terrified that all of my stuff will accidentally fall off the back of the moving van, while

Brett Benner:

that he loves

Jason Blitman:

But

Steven Rowley:

I'm gone.

Jason Blitman:

I just picture him with a clipboard and

Brett Benner:

That doesn't need to go.

Jason Blitman:

running around.

Brett Benner:

Two piles. That doesn't need to go.

Steven Rowley:

Yeah,

Brett Benner:

I don't, yeah, he's going to completely gaslight you. What are you talking about? That never, you didn't have any of that. Wait,

Steven Rowley:

You never had a grandmother. Yeah,

Jason Blitman:

you never had a grandmother.

Brett Benner:

right? What are you renovating? Is it a big renovation?

Steven Rowley:

is any of this being recorded?

Brett Benner:

No, it is,

Jason Blitman:

all being recorded, but we don't have to

Brett Benner:

We don't, we'll take it all

Steven Rowley:

we can put in any anything we want. Oh my

Jason Blitman:

We're gonna keep the foot fetish stuff in there, of course.

Steven Rowley:

Now my DMS are gonna be filled with beat picks.

Jason Blitman:

Welcome.

Brett Benner:

Yeah, especially if it's your thing.

Steven Rowley:

It's not my thing.

Brett Benner:

Mine either. Oh,

Jason Blitman:

Steven, as Lizzo says, it's about damn time. We're so happy to have you here.

Steven Rowley:

me on the podcast. I've been a

Brett Benner:

We have.

Steven Rowley:

first time caller.

Jason Blitman:

Thank you for all of your gaze reading support

Brett Benner:

Yeah, we love it. We appreciate it.

Steven Rowley:

Oh, you are very welcome. It's, it's a joy to be here finally, as you say, because I have listened to you from the start.

Jason Blitman:

I One of the OGs. You and our husbands. No, not even. Brett's husband doesn't listen.

Brett Benner:

Even when Chip doesn't listen.

Jason Blitman:

and Franklin and that's it.

Brett Benner:

That's part of the age thing, I think.

Jason Blitman:

big supporters. So shall we talk about the Guncle abroad?

Steven Rowley:

Let's talk about the gungle abroad, by the way, before we dive in, oh my God it's well loved and paginated. I

Jason Blitman:

It also literally, when I got this galley, it was sitting out getting wet in the packaging.

Steven Rowley:

of the swimming pool?

Jason Blitman:

It like, it basically was. And so

Brett Benner:

Couldn't put it down. He couldn't put it

Jason Blitman:

as I was reading it, Franklin started singing someone left the Guncle in the rain. Cause it's literally true. as we always start out, what is your elevator pitch for the Guncle abroad?

Steven Rowley:

Oh my goodness. Does it even need one? It's all right there in the title.

Jason Blitman:

Yes, but for those who are unfamiliar with

Steven Rowley:

For those who are unfamiliar, or even the first book,

Jason Blitman:

yes, that's what I'm saying.

Steven Rowley:

2021, where Patrick O'Hara, who was at the time a semi retired television star living somewhat reclusive life in the desert, was tasked with taking in his niece and nephew for the summer after the death of their mother. At the end of that book, those, not to give too much of a spoiler alert, but they were only going to be with him for the summer. So at the end of that book, we knew from the get go that they were returning to Connecticut where they were from and to a house where their mother was no longer there. And, over the years since I finished that book, I, my thoughts kept turning back to those. those kids, in many ways, their grief journey was just beginning at the end of that, as that book was ending. And a lot of people, I think, assume that I missed Patrick or missed writing Patrick and certainly he is a fun character to write, but there's a lot of Patrick in me, so I can access Patrick whenever I want. It was really these kids I wanted to. See how they were doing. And so this book picks up five years after the events of the first novel. And the children's father is on the verge of getting remarried, and they are not happy about it. And so on their way to the wedding, to their dad's wedding in Italy Uncle Patrick is tasked now with, instead of teaching these children about grief and grieving, teaching them about love and why their dad may want to get remarried and how this is a part of life going on.

Jason Blitman:

It's a great elevator pitch.

Steven Rowley:

It was long.

Jason Blitman:

That's

Steven Rowley:

hope it's like at least a 50 story building.

Jason Blitman:

Yes, we always take very long elevator rides. They're very cozy. It's fine. You even joke in the book Patrick, who's an actor, complains to his agent, I told you no sequels. He won't even do a sequel. I understand that you missed the kids. How did it feel writing a sequel? How did it feel diving back in?

Steven Rowley:

Terrifying, to be honest, because I didn't, in May of 2021, when the first book came out, events were still virtual, we had just vaccines were just available for the first time. But we were not fully back, from the pandemic year. And I didn't get to tour with that book. And it wasn't really until last year when I toured with it. With the celebrants that I realized, wow. The impact that the gunko had on

Jason Blitman:

You could say how popular you were. You didn't

Steven Rowley:

Yeah, listen, like I, I'm going to pat myself.

Jason Blitman:

Yes.

Brett Benner:

You were the moment.

Steven Rowley:

the people were more enthusiastic they knew me from the gung ho and that was really exciting. So it was terrifying because I didn't want to mess with anyone's goodwill for somehow I had managed to put a book out in the world that seemed almost universally beloved. And it, I, I must have been nuts to want to take that on again. So yeah, it was truly terrifying. And then halfway through writing it, I won the Thurber Prize for American Humor for the first book. Which was, again, another sort of terrifying experience. experience, like a huge, you know, James McBride won it the year before me, Patricia Lockwood, David Sedaris, Jon Stewart, some big names. And then that was a are we allowed to swear on on

Jason Blitman:

Yes! Fuck

Steven Rowley:

kind of A, it was a mindfuck because suddenly I was worried oh my god, is the book too funny? Is it not, is it, and not, which isn't to say that I think I'm such a genius, but am I chasing jokes at the expense of what everyone else loves about the book, which is the balance of the humor and the heart, I think. And then I were, then I was already, it's not funny enough. So yeah, it was a real Herculean task to get it across the finish line in a way that I was happy with and hopefully readers will be happy with it too.

Jason Blitman:

Knowing you, it just felt very honest and truthful to you, and your humor. And then thinking he is Thurber Prize winning Stephen Rowley, so

Steven Rowley:

can't argue that. Look, all I can do is write the book that I

Jason Blitman:

Yes,

Brett Benner:

Yeah,

Steven Rowley:

hope that reader my, my taste aligns with my readers, which hopefully it I do put these characters in semantics. Yeah.

Brett Benner:

you're also facing the challenge to with the kids, especially because they are older. And, like you said, you have access to Patrick very easily, but it's a different thing when you're looking at kids who are old enough, especially with her, because she's in the throes of puberty. and hormones and everything that involves with.

Steven Rowley:

Listen Brett, as a father I, not that long ago when you were there, your kids are older now, but I'm sure you have memories of this time where, in the first book, the kids are six and nine, and now they're 11 and 14. That's a big.

Brett Benner:

it's a big difference. The six and nine that I was saying to Jason, I think yesterday or the day before, like that, like four is like perfect, like four and five and six, cause they can, you can still tell them things, but they're now in that area, these two kids where They have opinions about everything. They're, the beauty of personalities being formed and coming forward is amazing to see, but also shit. Sure.

Steven Rowley:

Yeah that was the I think probably the biggest challenge in writing this where I was getting the kids right. And the biggest compliment I get about the first book is, oh, people really the kid. Oh, you really did the kids justice. The kids are either written. or too twee or too, something in, in books. But a lot of people say that I got the kids just right. And that's a huge compliment to me because I don't have kids. So it's that's a, to me, that's an accomplishment. In this book Not only did I have to think about the characters I created with the first book, but imagine how they would age. In the first book, it was easy just to think of them as the kids, right? It's like they were in lockstep and they're this, so to imagine how they've grown over five years and diverged a little bit, they each have their own agendas and their own personalities. And then on top of that, to imagine how grief, has it informed their growth and I think for Maisie, the the oldest, she probably grew up a little faster than she might have otherwise feeling a need to take care of her brother, whereas Grant, the younger one I imagined that grief might have slowed his growth. maturation a little bit, that he is still acting out in a way that's a little bit, maybe a little bit young for his age, but that is the result of you know, him not having his mom and having to deal with grief instead.

Brett Benner:

He's also reminds me of a golden retriever because he's the kind of kid that whoever pays attention to him, he's like, I love you.

Steven Rowley:

Yeah, exactly.

Brett Benner:

leg. That's that kind of

Steven Rowley:

He absolutely will.

Brett Benner:

Yeah.

Jason Blitman:

Franklin's in the middle of the Guncle right now. He had never read it, and he said to me yesterday he can't believe how much he loves the kids knowing you don't have them.

Steven Rowley:

Yeah. And I wonder why that, why it is so hard to capture kids in literature. And I think, one of one, all I can think of, for me is as a writer, it's the same, it's the same thing when we read books. We've all read books where the dialogue feels a little leadin, like it's a great story, but then people talk and it's like, well, this isn't how people talk. And I

Brett Benner:

Like Shonda Rhimes shows.

Steven Rowley:

Then there's the, you know, Shonda Rhimes and Aaron Sorkin of it all, where you have a highly stylized version of the way people play. But sometimes it just falls flat. And I think, the key to being a great writer is being a great listener. And that extends to listening to kids. Well,

Jason Blitman:

to talk about Patrick now something that comes up in the book is the idea of like gay men as bon vivants. is your armchair theory as to why that is? Why is why do we behave in that way?

Steven Rowley:

Listen, I, we're not a homogenous culture. I, and I, so

Jason Blitman:

That is a very, it's certainly a generalization, but

Steven Rowley:

Yeah.

Jason Blitman:

is that a stereotype?

Steven Rowley:

So I'm just gonna narrow that for a moment and speak to queer people around my age. And I have a birthday next week and I'm gonna be 50. Ha, Ha. But I think for me, and the reason I'm narrowing it on my age group because, and Patrick in particular, because there is a lot in the book about Patrick growing older and what it means to grow older at my age when the generation above us is largely and tragically You know, has been silenced. And we're missing so many we were robbed of the experience of having. role models and elders and, to to the degree that we should. And I just think back to when I was coming out in the early 1990s. The, particularly the literature that was available to me at that time was about lives lived in the shadows often cut short and lonely existences. And in reality, I was very fortunate to be born at a time, ten years this way, the other way, it might have been a very different story, but that I've seen a lot of social change and progress, and the life has been the opposite. It's been filled with joy and community and has been comparatively long. Although still going by way too quickly. I do think it's a reaction to what I really love about the queer community is we have faced some dark things, and devastating things. And we always it seems respond to that. By not letting it rob us of joy and that we're going to continue to laugh and to dance and to celebrate and to have a goddamn good time

Jason Blitman:

and appreciate the finer things in life.

Steven Rowley:

I appreciate the final. And so I think this sort of bon vivant ness of particularly gay men. I think it's a reaction to everyone telling everyone trying to dim our lights. And, from, especially at a certain time. And us absolutely refusing to allow that to happen.

Jason Blitman:

I mean, You talking about the generation before you is something we talk about a lot on Gay's Reading. And Patrick himself talks about wishing he had more role models for gay aging. Can you talk about your experience? Growing up without that? Or who

Steven Rowley:

Oh, I'm aging flawlessly, yeah.

Jason Blitman:

No but who do you turn to in that case? Or who can you look to and say that's aspirational, if not the generation of gay men before you?

Steven Rowley:

Yeah, which isn't to say that we are totally without them, right? there are a lot of wonderful

Brett Benner:

I'm here for you. I'm here for you.

Jason Blitman:

Thank you, Brett. Brett's holding, holding the mantle.

Brett Benner:

I really am for all of us on this call.

Steven Rowley:

But, from the old days here in the desert to, I look to somebody like Armistead Moffin, who I read a lot as a young man. And that was, he was almost the one who introduced me to the concept of found family and

Jason Blitman:

You're just shouting out to former gay's reading guests.

Steven Rowley:

Yes. Fantastic. Those voices are there, and I just, in a youth focused culture, I just love when we can give them the opportunity to speak. And again, as I said, for being a writer listening is so key, and it's not just for writing, but also for living.

Brett Benner:

Just all the, just we've talked about this before on this, but just the amount of young adults. authors with queer lit. That's what's incredible to me because there was none of that. Like everything you pointed, Steven, that was all there was. It was, occasionally you'd get like Felice Felice oh my God, just

Steven Rowley:

Yeah,

Brett Benner:

name. it's part of being old. But yeah, there was really little, or like Paul Monette, there was just the canon was so small, or I remember like reading Martin Duberman, because that's like one of the few things there was, but, and so it's such an incredible thing now to look at that and what's afforded to young people today.

Steven Rowley:

it really is incredible. I wish I had that and I'm so grateful that it's available for other people, which is why it's so disheartening. God, I promise this book is funny. Literally, we're getting things, but

Jason Blitman:

No,

Steven Rowley:

to

Jason Blitman:

Thurber Prize winning Stephen Rowley. It's very

Steven Rowley:

I promise a good time.

Brett Benner:

speaking of funny, I have to say one of my favorite characters in this thing who is new is the Lant,

Steven Rowley:

yeah, let's go there in one second, but I just want to say the books available to young people today, that is why it's so evil, the ideas of book banning and whatnot coming back, and people trying to keep diverse voices away from the people who need them the most. It's so insidious, and we'll speak out that against that whenever we can now, let's have some fun. Yeah, the lamp the lamp There is a new nemesis. One of my one of my favorite lines from the first book is you can't say nemesis without me sis. Which patrick says to maizey you know At one point but now patrick has an actual nemesis in this new book. So here you go, sequels. I laid bare my feelings on sequels in a sort of metal way, as Jason referenced.

Brett Benner:

I think a third, I think a standalone is coming with her with Livia. I

Steven Rowley:

Oh yeah yeah, oh, with the land, with

Brett Benner:

With, I'm with Paul Mina, by the way, and this is what I could not get out of my head the whole time I was reading her, I kept hearing, not necessarily her look, but Sabrina Apache Atori, who was from White Lotus,

Steven Rowley:

yes, yes, perfect, brilliant, I was imagining across between the like an Isabella Rossellini, a young is, high fashion. We're across between Kristen Stewart and now we're adding Sabrina to this cause it's that's so brilliant. Yeah. But yeah, that so there is, yeah the the kid's new stepmother to be has a lesbian father. who gets the best of Patrick at every single turn. Lesbians being the one group of people he cannot.

Jason Blitman:

Was she modeled after anyone for you in your real life?

Steven Rowley:

Personally no. But I do do like to play with the idea that listen, Patrick and Paul Mina do not get along for most of the book. But there is, I'm not going to spoil it. Really spoil anything. But what I wanted to play with is where is the allyship between gay men and lesbians? And where is the friction? Because again, we're not a monolith community. And so where do we have different needs, desires, wants? Where does one feel unappreciated perhaps? Or not, that's, I thought that was really interesting and fertile ground for a rivalry.

Brett Benner:

Yeah. So I have to ask the both of you this question. What are your own do you have lesbians in your life? Because I, when I was young, I didn't. So I'm just curious with this for both of you.

Steven Rowley:

We'll let Jason is the real young man here, but, I remember, it was still segregated in terms of there were still lesbian bars in LA in the nineties and whatnot. And so we were going to different spaces. It wasn't as integrated as it is today. And that was a sad thing that lesbian bars are a rare in that regard. Cause I'm sure they would still be loved and welcomed into many communities,

Jason Blitman:

This is actually, a perfect moment to shout out Moby Dyke, the book by Krista Burton. Are you familiar with this

Steven Rowley:

No.

Jason Blitman:

Okay.

Steven Rowley:

Title alone, I'm in.

Jason Blitman:

An obsessive quest to track down the last remaining lesbian bars in America.

Steven Rowley:

Yes! Yeah,

Jason Blitman:

Dyke.

Steven Rowley:

I thought about them a lot too in writing this series where, you know, a gay man, he's not the custodial parent of these kids, but, the idea of queer people having and had something to offer in the rearing of children is something I, maybe could not have imagined had I not seen a lot of lesbians racing kids first. And they're real pioneers in many, in many ways, in, in the fight for marriage equality and queer families.

Jason Blitman:

of the book is, the trouble with children is that they're not returnable.

Brett Benner:

Yeah.

Steven Rowley:

Not a lesbian.

Brett Benner:

But I do remember cause we had, I had no, I didn't know anyone, any lesbians when I first, Was here and now it's funny. Maybe it's the Palm Springs thing, but like two of our dearest friends are a lesbian couple We've been brought into this whole world of lesbians and it's been so Funny because a lot of times we're sitting there and we're like the two gay men at this table full of lesbians

Steven Rowley:

That's funny. Brett will be all dressed in white going, It's Dinah Shore weekend!

Brett Benner:

It's been fascinating and enriching. And I'm like, what took us so long to get here? I don't know. And it just, we never crossed paths. So that's why I wonder.

Jason Blitman:

we need to diversify your

Steven Rowley:

Jason, what about you?

Jason Blitman:

I, at some point in my life, there were a lot of questioning or bisexual identifying women in my life who are now in straight presenting relationships and now, sure, I know some lesbians and lesbian couples, I have this love hate relationship with the LGBTQIA plus community because, each letter is so inherently different, and we don't always treat each other as siblings. I think as time has gone on, I have strived to learn more about my multiletter brethren. There was a time where a lot of people didn't know what the I stood for so I think now it's about being intentional. My I today stands

Steven Rowley:

stands for? Yeah. There could be a different book of the gung ho tackling each letter. This version of the gung ho is brought to you by the letter L.

Brett Benner:

I had this moment with my son, my son's gay, he's in college, and he's a bugphobe, like phobic and he Facetimed me, and there was a spider on his, or it was a wasp,

Jason Blitman:

Why did he FaceTime you? You couldn't kill it from across the

Brett Benner:

Because he usually doesn't call, usually FaceTimes, it's whatever, it's like this, they always, and so anyway, the bug is up there, and I was like, just put a glass over, he was really freaked out, so finally, he, oh, he signed to the phone, like an hour later, he says, it's okay, it was taken care of, and I said, oh, you killed it, and he's no, I had a lesbian down the hall do it,

Steven Rowley:

yeah. That's fantastic.

Jason Blitman:

Steven, is there a bug killer and non bug killer in your relationship?

Steven Rowley:

I live with a bug pacifist married to a bug pastor. And

Jason Blitman:

my god, of fucking course.

Steven Rowley:

we have an insect vacuum, which is this, it's, it, Oh, it looks phallic. It's a long tube, but it's a vacuum cleaner, and you suck up the bug, and then you can relocate it outside. Yeah, and

Jason Blitman:

that's like the most Byron Lane thing you could have possibly said to

Steven Rowley:

half of my life this time of year, particularly, when the flies start coming inside, you just hear and I'm like, oh, there goes the fly vacuum.

Jason Blitman:

That's very sweet. We could, bugs are important. Franklin is not a bug person. I'm the, unfortunately, sorry, Byron, the bug killer of the home. I don't have a problem with bugs. It's like rodents I have a hard time with, like things that are,

Brett Benner:

Like mice and small things like that.

Jason Blitman:

anyway, it's curious.

Steven Rowley:

Okay.

Jason Blitman:

Okay. This is so random. There's a line that says Livia's father launched into a long winded joke about over cured ham, rosary beads, and circumcision. And I can't help but wonder, is there actually a joke?

Steven Rowley:

I'm gonna have to write that joke now. No. No. There is no joke.

Jason Blitman:

But I was like, I have to know this joke. It's probably very good.

Steven Rowley:

That's the joy of being a writer, right? I'm in charge of what actually makes it onto the page. So if I can't think of something, here's all the ingredients, you go make it up as the reader.

Jason Blitman:

we're going to do a competition.

Steven Rowley:

Yeah. I love it. It's like the New Yorker cartoon captain.

Jason Blitman:

All of our listeners can come up with their best joke that involves over cured ham, rosary beads, and circumcision. Send it to gaze reading at gmail. Sorry, Brett, were you going to say something?

Brett Benner:

No, all I was gonna, I was gonna say, in going through this whole story, where for you, if Steven had to pick his ideal vacation spot,

Steven Rowley:

Ooh,

Brett Benner:

where would that be? guess you should classify and say Europe, not America.

Steven Rowley:

Sure. If we're going abroad,

Brett Benner:

Abroad. Steven Abroad.

Steven Rowley:

I can't say Yosem, the Yosemite

Jason Blitman:

Maybe that'll be the B letter B. It'll, that'll be where the bisexuals

Steven Rowley:

the bisexuals are in Yosemite. The bears and the bisexuals are in Yosemite. I do love Italy. I have a soft spot for Italy. I've been three. Three or four times and it's someplace different every time and there's still so much I feel like I could go, I love the food, I love the people, I love the culture. That said, I have a fascination, I've never been, I have a fascination with Dubrovnik for some reason in my head, I'm like, I need to go to Dubrovnik. And it's become a hot destination. We'll see.

Jason Blitman:

know that I know where

Brett Benner:

I don't know. I'm going to say the same thing. I don't know where to.

Jason Blitman:

Oh yes, it is in Croatia. Oh,

Steven Rowley:

And I know Dubrovnik, originally, this will be the gayest thing ever. All right, now here's the first gayest thing that will be on Gay's Reading. I was a few minutes late to this interview because I got sucked into watching press tour interviews. Because of the cast of Merrily We Roll Along, we're all nominated for Tony's yesterday. I was going back and watching old press interviews with with Jonathan Groff and Daniel Radcliffe. And, uh, yes, thank you. and they're so charming together. But the real gayest thing that will ever be said on The Gayest Reading Podcast is that I know Dubrovnik from the Liza Minnelli song, Ring Them Bells, where she traveled around the world to meet the guy next door.

Jason Blitman:

I knew.

Steven Rowley:

to try Dubrovnik, bae, before you go home.

Jason Blitman:

heard of Dubrovnik. I just didn't act. I've never had a reason to look it up on a map.

Steven Rowley:

Let's all go to Dubrovnik!

Brett Benner:

I know. I love Travel by Liza.

Steven Rowley:

Yeah,

Jason Blitman:

Wait, we could, let's fall down a ring them bells rabbit hole for a second. Have you ever seen Varla Jean Merman perform ring them bells

Steven Rowley:

not in person. just I think I saw it. Yeah, just on YouTube?

Jason Blitman:

Okay. Everybody go watch it on YouTube. I happened to see it in Palm Springs a couple of years ago. She performed it New Year's Eve and it was out of control. Brilliant. So

Brett Benner:

you may need to link that.

Jason Blitman:

Yeah, we'll put a link in our show notes. She's amazing.

Steven Rowley:

What about you? Where would you go? Where would you all go? Either do you have, did you have a destination in this book that was your favorite or. Completely invent your own abroad.

Jason Blitman:

one of the best days of my life was in a suburb of Rome. We on our honeymoon went truffle hunting with a professional truffle hunter and his truffle hunting dogs.

Brett Benner:

I wanted a pig. Did you take a pig?

Jason Blitman:

No, the dog with the dogs, pig pigs are illegal in Italy. Yeah, you can't hunt truffles with pigs in

Steven Rowley:

Oh.'cause they're all on a charcuterie plate. The least gay thing ever said on the Gays Reading Podcast is one of the best days of my life took place in the suburb.

Jason Blitman:

it was in, it was a hike in the mountains of Rome with very handsome Mateo and his papa, and then there was a meal afterwards and we watched the sunset with a homemade wine and grappa and lemon cello. It was very

Brett Benner:

That's pretty incredible. That's pretty

Jason Blitman:

I'll link to that Airbnb experience in the show notes too. Everybody should go. Oh

Brett Benner:

somebody just gave me a dinner recently. And I was like, of course, this sounds like the most obvious drink ever going into summer. But it was instead of an Aperol spritz, it was a limoncello spritz, same kind of makeup, but you just substituted limoncello. And I was like, this is fantastic. And I have so much limoncello in my frizz. We went a few years ago, our friends were married in Capri. And so there was a big group of us all. Our friends from Palm Springs all went over to Italy and it was great, but we had time on either end of it. And Chip and I went to Ravello And that was the most incredible place I've ever been. And it was completely removed. And you wa it's one of those walked up forever, took a bus up to get into it, drove past cattle that were in the road with the guy driving them. And it was so beautiful and so romantic. That's I would go back there in a second. I would also go to, I really want to go to Ireland, but that's just a whole different thing. Because so many people, I don't know.

Steven Rowley:

I love Capri. Byron and I I lived the whole Amalfi Coast is and Rivera is. Stunning and it does feel singular. It doesn't, it feels like nowhere else on earth is quite like that But I can't remember I put this did I put this in the book Jason? You tell me with one of your tabs That no, so Byron and I rented a boat to go around a private boat tour around Capri if you can know it circles the whole island and about halfway through our Guide, captain, whatever you want to call him, said that we needed to, he's here, I'm going to do this because I just finished narrating the audio book and I had to do all sorts of Italian accents in the audio, but you must jump in the water. It's you have to jump in the water and swim, swim into the grotto. And I'm like, what? And then seek, there's these sea caves and he wants us to jump off the boat and swim into the sea cave. And I am not like, I love the ocean, but the older I get, I am very much, I'm very, I'm fearful of the ocean. But we finally he was like, and at first of all, I'm not convinced that he's not like homophobic. And in the second that Byron and I jump in the water that he's going to take off. And but finally yeah, our drive, finally he, the, these guys are trying to murder me. That's another white Lotus reference,

Jason Blitman:

Yes, that I know. I've seen the memes. Thank you very

Steven Rowley:

But so we finally jump in the water and we swim into the sea cave and I'm like, how long are we supposed to be in the sea cave before we, and it was both stunning and terrifying. And then there's one other woman in the sea cave, like I just see her head bobbing, in the water and she starts screaming Medusa. And I, that's terrifying. So I like, it Was like, I don't know, but it was like a cartoon. I rose up out of the water and ran across the surface of the water. All the way back to the boat. And so we were telling the guy who unfortunately had stayed and helped us back up into the boat. I was like Medusa. He was like, Oh how do you, how you say jellyfish? So Medusa in Italian is jellyfish, which isn't much better, but at least there was not a witch in the cave.

Brett Benner:

Okay. I'm literally scrolling down because as you're describing this, I know exactly where you were because it was also, you're going through those, they look like almost like arches in the water because we did the, that must be like the thing to do. And I'm telling you to jump in the water. And then our group had gone up to one of the restaurants where the boats would pull up and they took you in a little dinghy over to the boat.

Steven Rowley:

Oh yeah. The blue

Brett Benner:

a blue. Yes, that's exactly right. Which had an entire room of just dessert. Like you walked Everything, literally it was my wet dream. You walked in and it was cream puffs and every possible thing, Jesus Christ, it was amazing. But yeah, I remember pointing and it was like such the quintessential, like you're in this blue water and everyone's jumping in and I didn't jump in either. No Medusas.

Jason Blitman:

No.

Brett Benner:

No Medusas.

Steven Rowley:

No Medusas.

Jason Blitman:

Completely changing the subject. Back to Tony Awards.

Steven Rowley:

Aha!

Jason Blitman:

This is what, my thought process here is ridiculous. You make a very queer canon reference from the sound of music

Steven Rowley:

Oh, yes.

Jason Blitman:

And I have to complain for a second that in the sound of music live that NBC aired a few years ago, like 10, 10 years

Steven Rowley:

Carrie Underwood, where I may or may not have been cheering for the wrong side.

Jason Blitman:

With Gary Underwood and

Brett Benner:

Jesus, take the wheel.

Jason Blitman:

Multiple Tony Award winner Audra McDonald.

Steven Rowley:

Six time Tony Award

Jason Blitman:

Six time Most Decorated. Juilliard trained. Fucking pronounced that sentence. What is it you cannot face?

Steven Rowley:

Okay, so everyone knows what we're talking about. In

Jason Blitman:

I know. I want, I wanted

Steven Rowley:

Wood, who plays the mother, Abbas, says to Maria, What is it you can't? Face, but with an accent that is somewhere between British, Austrian,

Jason Blitman:

And like general

Steven Rowley:

European General theater snob.

Jason Blitman:

It sounds like what?

Steven Rowley:

it sounds like, what is it you can't face

Jason Blitman:

I thought you were going to put on an

Brett Benner:

I did too. I was like, you just did all these accents.

Jason Blitman:

What is it you can't face?

Steven Rowley:

Yeah. What does, what is it you can't face? It's my favorite thing about the sound of music.

Jason Blitman:

Yes, I know. And so Audra McDonald in her Juilliard trick, what is it you cannot face? It's tremendously disappointing.

Steven Rowley:

Yeah has anyone seen Varla Jean Merman playing Mother Superior?

Jason Blitman:

Shut up.

Steven Rowley:

No, that just, I don't believe that exists, but she would nail it.

Jason Blitman:

She would nail it.

Steven Rowley:

Oh my God. Yes.

Jason Blitman:

uh, What does your nose smell like?

Steven Rowley:

Is this a question Grant asked at one point? What is obsessed with what the inside of everyone's nose Yeah.

Jason Blitman:

In my family, when I was younger, my, my sister Karley, who's a big fan of gays reading, even though she's not a big reader, which is fine, hi Karley

Steven Rowley:

met Karley, right?

Jason Blitman:

You met my other sister, Amanda. shout out

Steven Rowley:

right. Shout out to

Jason Blitman:

We love, she talks about this too, but I, she would always complain about my nose breath.

Steven Rowley:

Ah!

Jason Blitman:

I know she would refer to it as nose breath. So when I saw the conversation about What the inside of one's nose might smell like. It was a little triggering, but very funny at the same

Brett Benner:

I need you to explain that though nose breath. Because does it mean you're

Jason Blitman:

If you exhale from your nose, there is air that comes out just like when you exhale from your mouth, that is your breath, right? So I think she just referred to the air coming out of your nose as breath. It's

Steven Rowley:

the good news is you're not a mouth breather. I'm going to say the inside of my nose, it's allergy season so it smells like Benadryl and

Jason Blitman:

Oh my God. So ridiculous.

Brett Benner:

I also love that. It's changing completely just as a side quick side reference. There's a small carrot

Jason Blitman:

Steven is begging you.

Brett Benner:

I know I just was gonna say as a as a cultural reference I love that you are a character in the singles out are are are the movie You Like, it's just so random. And I thought he had to have just, he had to have been watching that when he wrote this book to come up with such a rando, incredible film.

Steven Rowley:

It's so great. It's so great, right? I mean, that's just the joy like you, oh,

Brett Benner:

Okay, it's a total,

Jason Blitman:

disappointed that I didn't know what it was.

Steven Rowley:

It's like Bollywood plus like a Korean action movie. Like it's got, it takes tonal inspiration from a bunch of genres.

Brett Benner:

Jason, you've got to, the axiom sequences are incredible. So when

Steven Rowley:

Jason has all kinds of homework from this episode. But yeah, that is a great joy though, of being able to write a book, like I can put in the cultural references I like for the, so the, for the first book, I was shilling for. Wang Chong this song, Let's Go, because I think like Americans got it wrong, right? That's the third or fourth most popular Wang Chong song, but it's actually the best one and I can advocate strongly for that. So here I can just put in the pop cultural references that I like, but that's the thing. I try to mix them from different time periods, right? Cause you don't want your novel to feel dated by the time it hits shelf. So Patrick loves an old reference. If they're already dated by the time you put them in the book, then instead of dated, it feels timeless. But it's fun to mix in some more modern things as well. You just don't want to go all all modern,

Jason Blitman:

you could predict

Steven Rowley:

back to yeah, back to my, exactly. Back to my feelings on sequels. I will advocate. Here's a, here's something I can show for now. Mamma Mia 2, here we go again, is a far superior film to Mamma Mia. And I. For those who want a lesson in how to do a sequel right, that's, go watch that.

Jason Blitman:

I don't think anyone would argue with that because the first one is so bad.

Brett Benner:

don't think I've seen the second one actually.

Steven Rowley:

it's so much better because Meryl Streep's not in it. I hate to say it, but and also I prefer, I actually prefer Grease 2 to the original, which

Jason Blitman:

2

Steven Rowley:

out. Yeah, a shout out in the first book. Yeah.

Jason Blitman:

Owned the CD when I was a kid. Could sing you every song.

Steven Rowley:

I mean, I want to burst in song now, but I don't want you to have to like clear rights to do songs for, but anyway, you're thinking about

Jason Blitman:

I was like, wait, what song would you burst into

Steven Rowley:

Oh, the, maybe like the bowling alley song or let's do it For our country or

Jason Blitman:

of the first that came to my mind was Girl for All Seasons.

Steven Rowley:

for all seasons. Yeah. Oh my God. There's so, so many good ones, but anyway, right. If

Brett Benner:

I haven't seen Greece too.

Jason Blitman:

You've never seen Grease 2?

Brett Benner:

No,

Steven Rowley:

And that is, now we have Michelle Pfeiffer

Brett Benner:

I know.

Steven Rowley:

And

Brett Benner:

Matthew Caulfield. Isn't it

Steven Rowley:

and Lor,

Brett Benner:

too?

Steven Rowley:

Maxwell Caulfield, yeah. The hottest anybody has ever looked on screen next to the guy from RRR. And then Lorna Luft, sister of our travel destination goddess, Liza Minnelli.

Brett Benner:

Yeah, that's crazy. And does Michelle do her own singing? That's the question.

Steven Rowley:

Yes I believe she does.

Brett Benner:

Okay.

Jason Blitman:

God. It is such a good movie. Brett, I'm like, flabbergasted that you haven't seen it. Stephen, we did talk about you with Chris Whittaker because you both talk about Grease in your books.

Steven Rowley:

Oh my God. Okay. Well, Here's the thing. I'm a little disappointed if I leave this recording once, and I'm just a little disappointed as a one thing is that I know when Jason gay gasps, when he finds an author, very attractive. And I did not get a gay gasp today. I mean, It's like, I know you too well at this point. I can't surprise you by but did Chris Whitaker get a gay gasp? That's

Brett Benner:

He didn't get a gay ass, but I will tell you. No, he didn't. He is very handsome And there's only really, to be perfectly honest, I think there was only once, one time early on season one that Jason gave kind of a gay

Steven Rowley:

it under control.

Brett Benner:

Yeah, no, because it was like a, Oh, you're very handsome. It was almost like surprised when he

Jason Blitman:

Shout out to Greg Marshall. We, Greg Marshall, Thank you, Greg, Greg, he's an avid

Steven Rowley:

By the way, if you haven't met him in person, he's just as good looking in person,

Brett Benner:

handsome. Oh, I thought you meant Greg Marshall. They're both very

Jason Blitman:

They're both

Steven Rowley:

I did. I did. mean Greg Marshall, but I have not had the pleasure of meeting Chris Whitaker

Brett Benner:

Yes, and Chris Whitaker does not post a lot of pictures in Speedo either, which Greg Marshall absolutely does.

Jason Blitman:

Steven, I, you are our first guest who I have previously. had an interview with, who I've broken bread with. So you didn't get a gay gasp, but you got a I'm so happy to see you face which nobody else, you are the very first I'm so happy to see you face on Gay's Reading.

Steven Rowley:

Yay. All right, I'll take it. I'll

Jason Blitman:

that. Okay, in our last few minutes, we'll take it back to the serious part of the book. Not really serious part of the book, but serious questions. There's a quote, there's a

Steven Rowley:

Did you cry? That's the serious question.

Jason Blitman:

did cry.

Brett Benner:

did cry too. I didn't think I was going to, I have to be honest. Like I was three quarters of the way through and I'm like, he hasn't done it yet. He hasn't pulled it. And then it was like literally the last 10 pages. And I was like, and there it is.

Steven Rowley:

I got you. I got you. I made myself cry, so I was like, ah,

Brett Benner:

No, you really did.

Jason Blitman:

There's a quote later in the book, Americans try to fix everything. Maybe it fixes itself, or maybe it doesn't. And we make peace with some things that are broken. Are there things in your life that you have needed to make peace with?

Steven Rowley:

yes. Can I say what they are? No. No. I I actually can't. I can't say what they are, but yes. There are things in my life listen, I was thinking of one in particular that I'm not going to delve into, That I've had to make peace with rather recently. Nobody really did this. It has nothing to do with Byron. But yeah, there are people there, listen, there, I'm a people pleaser. Generally, there are people who don't like me. There are people who don't like my books and I always have to make peace with that. And yeah, I think so. There is no fixing everything. And man, there are lots of things going on right now that's worth the fight, that's for sure.

Jason Blitman:

Sure. It was ultimately, the answer to the question is irrelevant. I think it just, what's nice is that it's It makes you sit and think about what you, A, do and don't have control over, and B, what you are or are not going to let bother you. And you could sort of let it be, which can be hard, but that's

Steven Rowley:

hard. It can be hard. But yeah, there's certain things, and in the context of this book, it's the children's mother is, is not is, has passed away. So it's and they could scramble their whole life trying to pretend that's not a terrible thing. Or think in a way that grief is, cause I write a lot about grief, the grief is done. That was the other sort of thing that was interesting about writing this book. What does grief look like when it's fresh and what does it look like when it's. bit. And pe these kids, it's been fiv loss. A there's, a line in the book that, that ma something Patrick says an insinuating that grief is That her grief should be over. Of course, that's a complete misunderstanding, she's almost offended, by that as she should be, because it isn't, a temporary condition it changes and lessons and some days are harder and some days that are easier, but it, becomes very much a part of the fabric of who you are,

Jason Blitman:

Yeah. The theme of love is obviously so deeply rooted in the book, but so is happiness. What does happiness mean to you?

Steven Rowley:

goodness. A remodeled kitchen would be nice. I. Listen, like there, I got a late start to this, right? I like writing was something I was always trying to do. I published my first book. I was 45. There were many years when I thought that it wasn't going to happen for me. And it felt like I was the last person who hadn't given up, I certainly heard it sometimes from family members. It would be like what about law school? You think about, I'm not going to be the non traditional student. God bless anyone who is, Who shows up to, pulls out a notebook on their first day of class when everyone else has their laptop. That seemed like a nightmare to me, but so happiness to me now is being able to support myself doing what I love. It's that simple. And I never really thought that I would get to a point where I. could live my life as an artist and have a little family of my own with Byron and these two dogs. And my life just it's mostly quiet, I'm about to go on tour, it gets, life gets big in these spurts, but it's mostly me at home with being able to tell my little stories with my little family. And that is happiness to me.

Jason Blitman:

I love that.

Brett Benner:

That's great. And that's what it should be,

Jason Blitman:

And that's what it should be. Steven,

Steven Rowley:

We did it.

Jason Blitman:

much for being here.

Brett Benner:

Yes.

Steven Rowley:

gonna be your first repeat guest?

Jason Blitman:

What a question.

Brett Benner:

it depends on who writes the fastest. Probably.

Steven Rowley:

I gotta get to it. Gotta get to it.

Brett Benner:

Exactly.

Jason Blitman:

Yosemite, here we come!

Steven Rowley:

Yeah. The gun in space.

Brett Benner:

Grant takes Manhattan.

Steven Rowley:

yeah. Ah, yeah just like the Muppets.

Jason Blitman:

Yeah,

Steven Rowley:

yeah, I'm not really sure where to go next. I don't know if there will be a book three. We'll see if people like poke two. So

Brett Benner:

Steven, you're the best.

Steven Rowley:

you're the best. Thank you so much for having me. We saved this for a special moment and it did not

Brett Benner:

did

Jason Blitman:

Very special moment. go watch the Wicked trailer. Go buy The Guncle Abroad.

Brett Benner:

Put on your

Jason Blitman:

check, put on your caftan. There are a gajillion books that come out today. Go buy one of them and support your Indie bookstore and the authors. go renew your passport so you can go abroad. go hug a lesbian in your life. There's a lot to do following this episode. Go buy The Covenant of Water so that you can join our read along, gaysreading. com slash read along. and we'll see you next week. Bye!

Brett Benner:

Bye.