We have to grow up so fast to protect ourselves with Nick Bussett and A. Rey Pamatmat

Hello!

Our guest todays are Nick Bussett and A. Rey Pamatmat!

Nick is the co-host of Gay Talk 2.0 and the Director of Development at the Shubert Theatre. Rey is an award winning playwright and writer. He is a GLAAD and Lambda nominee and the co-Director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab.

We’re talking about the play that saved Nick’s life: Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them by A. Rey Pamatmat.

Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them is about three kids – Kenny, his sister Edith, and their friend Benji – who are all but abandoned on a farm in remotest Middle America. With little adult supervision, they feed and care for each other, making up the rules as they go.

We’re going to talk about seeing yourself represented on stage for the first time, having too grow up to fast, and rebuilding relationships with our family.

Connect with Nick and Rey

Instagram: @Nbussett
Instagram: @gaytalk2.0
website: gaytalk20.com

Twitter: @AReyP
Instagram: @a_rey_p

Buy Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them

Visit our Bookshop or buy directly: https://bookshop.org/a/82376/9780573700163

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Credits

Host/Founder: J.P. Der Boghossian
Executive Producer: Jim Pounds
Associate Producers: Archie Arnold, Natalie Cruz, Paul Kaefer, Nicole Olila, Joe Perazzo, Bill Shay, and Sean Smith
Patreon Subscribers: Awen Briem, Stephen D., Thomas Michna, and Gary Nygaard.

Transcript

[theme music]

J.P. Der Boghossian: Welcome to the podcast This Queer Book Saved My Life!

My name is J.P. Der Boghossian. I’m a writer, LGBTQ health educator, Lambda Literary fellow, and founder of the Queer Armenian Library.

This is the podcast where lgbtq guests share the queer books that saved their lives with the very authors who wrote them. Why? Because with all of the book bans and don’t say gay bills, I think it is important to share our queer lives, to say “gay” over and over again, and to connect with each other through these life-giving books and stories.

What are we exploring today? What’s that feeling when you’re run down, feeling drained, and then you see a play with two boys kissing? And you’ve never seen yourself like that on stage? And you just start to cry? What’s the feeling when you had to grow up to quickly because as a queer person you had to deal with queer-phobia that you never should have had to deal with?

My guest is Nick Busset. He is the Director of Development at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut. He also co-hosts the podcast Gay Talk 2.0.

We’re talking about the play that saved his life: Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them by A. Rey Pamatmat.
And Rey joins us for this conversation today!

Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them is about three kids – Kenny, his sister Edith, and their friend Benji – who are all but abandoned on a farm in remotest Middle America. With little adult supervision, they feed and care for each other, making up the rules as they go.

We’re going to talk about seeing yourself represented on stage for the first time, having to grow up to fast, and rebuilding relationships with our family.

So, here we go, welcome to This Queer Book Saved My Life!
[theme music]

J.P. Der Boghossian: Hi Nick! Thanks for being here. How are you?

Nick Bussett: Hi. Good. It’s good to see you again.

J.P.: Absolutely. Yes. I guested on your podcast last summer I believe.

A. Rey Pamatmat:Yes, I guessed it.

J.P.: It is really good to see you and your studio again in the background.

Nick Bussett: It’s a little cluttered right now, but it’s pretty great.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
And Ray, thank you as well for being here. How are you?

A. Rey Pamatmat: Hi, I’m doing well, thanks for having me.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Absolutely. As we get started, a quick shout out to our promotional sponsor, Quatrefoil Library. They are an LGBTQ library and event space in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, and I adore them for so many reasons, but also because they have set up a section of their e-lending library specifically for our podcast. So if you can’t buy the books we talk about here on the show, you can still read them. We’re including links in the show notes, and as always, visit them at qlibrary.org. Okay. Nick, tell us about yourself. Development director, actor, fellow Queer podcaster, tell us all about you.

Nick Bussett: So I’m not actually an actor at all. I realized I was terrible at it, and that’s why I went into theater management.

J.P.: Hehehe

Nick Bussett: No, I’ve been in theater pretty much since college. I got accepted to WestCon, which is a state school here in Connecticut. And I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I checked that I was interested in theater, and then I got accepted to the theater program. And so it kind of just, happened from there and then after college I ended up going to my internship at Actors Theatre of Louisville and that’s where I was introduced to this play and Met this wonderful play right, but that was a long time ago

J.P.: Thank you for that, and Rey, playwright, screenwriter, Twin Peaks, tell us everything.

A. Rey Pamatmat: I mean, what do you want to know? I’ve been writing forever. I’ve been in theater since high school. Right now I live in LA where I’ve been doing a little bit of TV writing. Yeah, I don’t know. I’m a writer for life is about all I can say.

J.P.: And fellow Michigander.

A. Rey Pamatmat: Yes, and fellow Michigander.

Nick Bussett: Oh interesting

A. Rey Pamatmat: Not Michigander

Nick Bussett: Okay.

A. Rey Pamatmat: Michiganian.

J.P.: So what we’re here to talk about today, Nick, what is the book but today play that saved your life?

Nick Bussett: Thank you. When I was an intern actor at Actors Theater of Louisville, they did this festival, it was called the Humana Festival, and they would put on between six and eight plays in a month. As an intern, I was working on three plays in rep, so I had no time at all, but a good friend of mine was telling me about this play and how, you know, the main, two of the characters are portrayed as homosexual. I was like, that’s crazy. I’ve never seen a Gay couple on stage before. So I found the time to finally go and see Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them. And then I found the time like five more times! It changed my life because at the time I was so run down and beaten down by theater and just exhausted. I didn’t know if I wanted to continue. in that path because it’s long hours, you have no life, it’s literally Tuesday to Sunday, and you’re just living in the theater and you don’t sleep. And then I saw this and I saw two guys kiss on stage and I just started weeping and realized there’s so much power in…I just started thinking and realizing…so much power in the art that we do and in… plays and the stories that are told on stage and I think I had just lost it because I hadn’t seen my story told on stage. Now I’m still in theater. You know it’s been years and I kind of in a lot of ways attest that to this play.

J.P.: That’s amazing. Ray, can you give us a little bit of the plot? I mean, maybe not spoilers, but tell us what Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them is about?

A. Rey Pamatmat: First, thank you, Nick. I’m really glad you were able to connect with the play. Being a… playwright, there are a lot of times you mostly write knowing that your work’s never gonna get done first of all and then when it does get done you know that only approximately a thousand people are gonna see it and from that thousand you have no idea if anybody will ever connect to it so I’m really glad that that happened. I feel like your synopsis pretty much covers it without giving any huge spoilers. So rather, I’ll say that the deeper part of it is that I myself grew up in an extremely isolated environment. *I grew up in rural Michigan, 45 minutes outside of a major city. There were a lot of things that I really hated about that experience growing up. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized there were so many things from living in a rural environment that actually were positives over the time of my life. One of those things, was that living in such an isolated place, my sexuality developed without a lot of outside scrutiny. There’s just this like, I was kind of able to sort of sink into and understand who I was alone before I brought it out to the world. And then, and at that point, it was so solidified that, you know, I didn’t, I wasn’t as, yeah, I didn’t feel quite so attacked or basically insecure about my sexuality that I know a lot of people, most people experience. So again, you know, that to me was one of the net positives of, you know, being so alone as a young child.

J.P.: That’s interesting to hear that. That’s not the typical narrative that I hear either on the podcast or

A. Rey Pamatmat: None at all. Hahaha.

J.P.: I do want to get into more of that.

Nick Bussett: Artsy types, you know.

J.P.: I do want to ask you, Nick, tell us more about seeing yourself represented on stage. You had shared a little bit with me and our executive producer by email, but what was it that you were seeing about yourself represented in the play?

Nick Bussett: In the play I resonated mainly with Benji and his storyline. It was. Interesting to me because I took something away from it that I thought was very important. In the LGBTQ plus community, we find ourselves in these situations where we kind of have to grow up so young and we have to learn how to protect ourselves. Then we create these families that we want to protect but then also protect us. I felt like Benji and Kenny were doing that for Edith and for one another. There’s this moment right before the end of Act 1, where Benji’s family finds out about his relationship with Kenny. It mirrors what I went through. It mirrors my experience. I was actually seeing this guy in high school. He went to a different school. So we had to sneak around. He had a car, luckily. So we were good. I had a cell phone at the time and back then you can’t lock cell phones. You played snake on them and that’s about it. So I don’t know why but on my birthday this guy that I was seeing called and left a message but I didn’t have my phone on me and my brother checked it and it was the guy that I was seeing kind of telling me how much he missed me and he was off seeing colleges. He wished he could be there for my birthday and that you know, he was being affectionate in the voicemail. Then my brother went and shared that voicemail with my parents and effectively outing me to my parents. Like Benji’s dad, my dad got very aggressive to the extent that it was unsafe for me to be home and I left. I was living in a trailer on a friend’s couch for about three months because I didn’t feel safe at home and every time I would go to try and talk to my parents my dad would just get very aggressive I couldn’t process what I was going through and I couldn’t be in that environment so eventually, things did smooth out. I’m so close with my father now, but it took a long time. It took years for me to realize that what he was processing was just as hard but different hard as what I was processing. It manifested for him in anger. Because he has the social constructs of what his son, his Italian Catholic son, is supposed to be, and what his parents are gonna think of his Italian Catholic son, who’s now gay. And so, when that moment happened, I literally was just sobbing, seeing how distraught he was, but knowing that he had that space to run to, and even though it was a barn, I mean, it kinda just felt like the same situation I was in. I was living in a trailer on a couch. And… It’s just a very, very powerful story for me. These characters are so young and the strength that they exude because they have to, it felt to me very much like a clear depiction of what a lot of people in our community face. It was just really. really powerful for me. I hope that answered your question.

J.P.: Thank you for sharing that. May I ask, what was that journey from the trailer, if I may, to Louisville then? What happened in the space in between there?

Nick Bussett: Well, I went to college and I moved out of the house and it took a a long time for me and my father to get close, but my mother was very much supportive after a time, and so were some of my very close friends, and I barely stayed. I was never really home after that. I moved back in, but I was mainly with what I call my chosen family, my best friend, Maya. I basically lived with him and his family for most of it. But once I went to school, I just kind of… Found my rhythm in theater and theater management and one of my professors Pam McDaniel, she saw something in me luckily and she fostered it and then she took me I think my junior year to see the Humana Festival and I was blown away by the theater; by the festival; by the people there and she was like well you should apply for the internship and I was like oh and it was super competitive. I was like I’m this kid from a state school. There is no way I’m gonna get this internship. So I ended up applying and somehow got accepted and that was kind of my journey to Actors Theatre.

J.P.: There are some theater folks that have come on the show and are initially attracted to the theater because of the possibility of transformation, right, in order for themselves to become different versions of themselves. Was any of that coming up for you and how you were gravitating towards the theater of this idea of becoming a different you or exploring different parts of yourself?

Nick Bussett: I wouldn’t say exploring something different about myself. I think what it was for me was once I got to college and I was around all of these accepting people, I felt empowered to be myself and be out and proud. Once I was able to do that a cloud lifted because I was surrounded by progressive people that actually cared about people and not their sexual orientation, I excelled. both in school and in my chosen profession now. I was doing great things in college and I think that that’s what drew me to theater was the theater family that just supports you and gives you a space in which you can be yourself and still excel.

J.P.: How about for you, Rey? You say you’ve been a writer all of your life. Was writing a way of processing? What was that like for you? How did you find yourself gravitating towards writing and then ultimately writing for the theatre?

A. Rey Pamatmat: The first thing I remember writing was a storybook in second grade about a squirrel who got glasses and was afraid that his friends wouldn’t be friends with him anymore.

And then of course his friends were still friends with him. On the writing side it has always just been a thing that I’ve done from the moment that I could. I know that a lot of it now, again, reflecting on growing up in a rural area, a lot of it was to entertain myself. I think that’s why I didn’t really think about writing as a career when I was younger. Then the theater happened because of being so isolated. One of the most attractive extracurriculars for me when I was in high school. was to be in the play. I grew up in such a remote area. There happened to be no kids within a half-hour walking distance, say, from where our house was. So I didn’t actually have friends unless I was in school. So extracurricular activities, especially the same kind of found family thing that happens with every play or every musical, you know, became my social life. I did a couple of grade school plays, but I went to Catholic school, so it was all like Christmas stuff. Then by high school, I was doing plays in high school, I was doing community theater. I played Eeyore in The House at Pooh Corner. There was always someone whose parents could drive you home or who you were hanging out with and having pizza with after, or there was a built-in social component. That’s how I fell in love with it. A lot of those high school friends from performing arts. We’re still in touch. Nobody but me is still… in theater or in anything dramatic. But we’re all still friends.

J.P.: Where did you get the idea to say, I need to write Edith, Can Shoot Things. This is a story that I need to be telling right now.

A. Rey Pamatmat: You know, I approach everything that I write mostly from questions, like things that I don’t really apprehend about the world around me. At the time that I was writing it, it’s so weird to think this far back but I really was reckoning with the fact that at this point I was living in New York. I was… traveling to a lot of other major cities most of the time to develop work and to work on plays and stuff. I found that there are these things called residencies, you know, where they send you off into the middle of the woods and you’re isolated from all the world and you’re left to do your thing. I discovered that you’d go to those places and some people have some kind of culture shock. Some people, you know, it’s like a good vacation and a break for their brain. For me, they are the most productive I have ever been in my life. It made me really start to question how upset I was about my youth and my childhood. I really started to think instead about what were the great things about that. At the same place, it was when I started to see my own parents as adults, and I started to wonder what the experience was for them, in a way. So there was a lot of trying to figure out parents. Then the last part of it, the last question that I had about it, was this was around the time. of the backlash against Clinton’s efforts towards marriage equality. So this is post-don’t ask, don’t tell, post-Doma. There was just this feeling that Queer people are left to create this whole world on their own. Then all of a sudden, you know, the outside world would decide to get some votes to just barge on in and start legislating on lives that they knew nothing about or had nothing to do with. So it was kind of that, you know, bizarre cocktail of confusion that led me to write this play.

J.P.: I want to take a quick commercial break here because I want to share with folks about how they can invest in our podcast and become an associate producer through Patreon, as well as how they can buy all the books through our bookshop.org page. Stay tuned. We’ll be right back.

Welcome back, I’m talking with Nick Bussett and A. Rey Pamatmat about Rey’s play Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them. In the play adults are and I see so much of this in Queer young life and Queer YA and folks that have come on the show where adults, be it parents or teachers or faith leaders, take on these roles of quasi or outright antagonists. The adults who are trustworthy typically earn their trust from Queer kids by demonstrating some type of subversive action, right? They break a norm or social value and then signals, right, that they can be trusted. So I have two questions here, one for you, Rey, and one for Nick.

Ray, maybe we start with you, if that’s okay? I’m interested to know what you think about as you’re writing relationships between Queer youth and adults and how they’re navigating that and adults can be quasi antagonists or antagonists outright in a lot of cases?

A. Rey Pamatmat: Within this specific play, it was important for me to stay within the kid’s point of view. All of the adults are offstage characters, whether they are supporting the kids or antagonists toward them. I think, even though I am an adult now myself, I feel like the focus sometimes on the antagonist figure, typically in Queer stories, especially Queer young stories, which are adults, makes the focus on hetero-norms. So especially with this play, I really wanted to be sure that the audience was seeing that the problem are the… heterosexual norms. The problems aren’t the kids. The kids don’t have any problem with their own sexuality. They’re not trying to figure out how to solve themselves or fix themselves or fit themselves into what the antagonists are putting out there. Instead, they are trying to solve the problem of heterosexuality and how that is affecting their lives. So even when I do… write about adult antagonists. I don’t try to, I don’t know, I feel like that’s something, at least in terms of media, we understand and so not something I’m particularly interested in. But there are a couple of sympathetic adults in Edith. I don’t think straight people are evil. But it’s…

J.P.: Pregnant pause.

Nick Bussett: Pause for reaction.

A. Rey Pamatmat: I’d like to focus more on what the Queer characters are doing.

J.P.: That’s so important.

A. Rey Pamatmat: I don’t think that answered your question.

J.P.: No, it did. That centering and that reframing on Queer youth is so important. How about for you as you’re reflecting on your own life story, co-hosting Gay Talk 2.0? I mean, what comes up for you as you think about this dynamic of what queer kids need from the adults in their lives?

Nick Bussett:This is a really big question. We talk about it a lot on the show.

We’ve actually spoken with organizations like Mama Dragons and those organizations are based in Utah and they’re Mormons that had family members or children come out. They had been rejected by their faith. So they took it upon themselves to support those kids and provide education to families who needed it. I think the biggest thing that I’ve found over many conversations with many people is that bigotry and hate toward the LGBTQ plus community is really rooted in ignorance. I feel like a lot of times if you can have a moment or you have that one on one conversation with someone, you can change their perspective because they realize oh, you’re just a normal person. Maybe you have a boyfriend, but there’s nothing really different about you from them. I can sort of give you an example. My brother was very… very much anti LGBTQ and was very angry when I came out. It took a long time for us to come to terms with that, but now we’re really close. It took so many conversations with him about what I’ve gone through and what it meant to come out for him to become this type of accepting and supportive brother. On the flip side, I also had to take a step back because I didn’t know what he was going through. He was actually being bullied because I was Gay, and I didn’t know that when I was, in high school. I feel like a lot of my agitation to my brother was rooted in ignorance because I didn’t know that, and his not wanting to support or hear anything about the… community was rooted in the fact that he didn’t really understand why I was so angry and what I was going through and what it meant. It took a series of really intense conversations, but now he has a little baby girl that is just about to turn one and for Christmas. I got her Harvey Milk in the Rainbow Flag. It’s a children’s book and he was so excited. We sat down and read it to her so I think a lot of it really is just rooted in the fact that people are ignorant and it takes, in a lot of cases, something happening in your personal life for a lot of people to take the initiative to seek out the education they need to learn about what our community is about and what we go through and how they can support us. Even if we see it all the time with politicians. They have a son that comes out as Gay and then all of a sudden they’re a champion for LGBTQ rights. That’s what I have taken away is that a lot of it is rooted in ignorance and some in religion.

J.P.: May I ask, was that a similar type of reconciliation process with your parents?

Nick Bussett: No.

J.P.: You don’t have to answer that if you don’t want to.

Nick Bussett: No, it’s okay. I mean, I think it’s important for people to hear stories. So I was dating somebody in college, and me and my parents were still kind of estranged. We talked every once in a while, but we weren’t very close. He ended up passing away while we were dating. And my pain was so real and visceral and my parents, they just realized that I loved this person so deeply. Then over that next year, their perspective completely changed and they became these supportive, amazing parents because they realized that it really is just love. I’m not a deviant. I’m not a bad person for being a Gay man. I literally just love, you know, it’s just love.

J.P.: Ray, if I remember from earlier in the conversation, you said you were using this opportunity of writing Edith to reflect on your parents and what they were going through. What were you finding? What were you discovering about that relationship as you were writing the play?

A. Rey Pamatmat: To be completely frank, my dad is still a mystery to me. A lot of what I was writing in the play had mostly to do with, and this is my mother as well. Again, keeping things in the perspective of the kids, like what is the most confusing thing that this offstage character could do? And even then, even with the positive representations of adults, in the case of this play, Benji’s dad, it was like, what is something that Benji’s dad would do that is, even though it’s in the positive direction, also very confusing. It was less about coming to an actual understanding of them and more about, I guess, coming to an understanding of how you deal with actions that you know may not have ill intentions, but are just beyond your capacity to understand what’s going on. Because I think that’s a lot of what we deal with in the world. You know, like it is, it’s hard, because even something that Nick was saying, even about, you know, a politician suddenly accepting LGBTQ people, that’s not true of, for example, Dick Cheney. Do you know what I mean? What is that relationship for the love of God? I think it was a lot for me about learning that people are to some degree unknowable and sometimes it’s not about knowing those people so much as it is about surviving them.

Nick Bussett: I guess my main question to you (Rey) would probably be these characters in the play, are they modeled after anything in real life for you?

A. Rey Pamatmat: Everything I write is modeled in real life. The thing that I think is hilarious though, is that often situations that are lifted directly from life I’m accused of fabricating, and things that are absolute fiction, people are like, oh my God, I really felt that! I’m like, oh, I made that up, That was not real. Just from the stuff we’re talking about, there are a lot of things, at least emotionally, that are, you know, emotionally biographical. Who knows what’s real and what isn’t? I mean, I know, but I’m not going to tell you.

Nick Bussett: Yeah. Damn it.

J.P. Do you have a sister who can shoot things?

A. Rey Pamatmat: We all shot things. We had BB guns. I think, you know, but it is that rural, certainly in the 80s and 90s, everybody had a gun. So it was like even having an air rifle or a BB gun was where I grew up, it was good to get a kid an air rifle or a BB gun so that they, you know, learned how to use it before they were using something more dangerous or going hunting or…

Nick Bussett: I was just thinking there were a couple moments in the play for me that really stuck out. I was wondering if there was a moment in the play for you that was either difficult to write or, was one of your favorite moments in the storyline of this play?

A. Rey Pamatmat: They’re two different things, but I think the moment that was the most difficult to write is when Kenny and Benji are in the ice cream parlor and Kenny is sort of like having this crushing revelation of who he is and what he’s capable of. Then this is one of those, the play depends upon, each of the characters having a crisis and another character pulling them out of it. This is a scene where Benji pulls Kenny out of this feeling of lack of competence. Benji basically says to him, I don’t even know how to dress myself and you’re raising your little sister. So whatever you think you’re not capable of, you absolutely are. I think that was something that took me 30 years of life to figure out that the world wasn’t going to crash down around me. I actually was standing on my empty feet and made it this far and we’ll make it farther. So that was kind of difficult to write. My favorite moment though is when Benji is the one in crisis and Edith pulls him out of it. where he says he’s living with them now, his parents have abandoned him, and he doesn’t know how to do anything for himself. He kind of asks Edith permission to be able to get a cup of water before he goes to bed. Edith is just like, get a cup of water? Like what?

Nick Bussett: Her energy is the best in the play.

A. Rey Pamatmat: It’s like, just go do it. You can do whatever you want. There’s nobody here, you can do whatever you want, you know? That’s one of my favorites.

Nick Bussett: It’s actually funny. Before last week, actually, I reached out to Actors Theatre and got the archival video because I wanted to watch it again and refresh my memory because it’s been so long, right? One of the quotes I wrote down was Kenny in that ice cream scene. He said, ‘I should be allowed to be scared instead of always fixing things.’ I feel like a lot of people feel that way. It was really powerful.

[music]

J.P. Der Boghossian: I want to thank Nick and Rey for being on the show today. Nick co-hosts Gay Talk 2.0 which streams live every Wednesday. As Nick says, think of Gay Talk 2.0 as the gay version of The View. Tune in live at gaytalk20.com. Otherwise, check out their weekly episodes on your favorite podcast app.

You need to check out their Angels and Assholes series. In each series they dedicated a segment to tell the story of a victim of the Pulse night club shooting. Then, they shamed a Senator who voted against common sense gun reform. The series ran for 49 weeks, with a different victim honored each week. Melissa Etheridge, who composed the song Pulse, joined them on the show.

You can follow Nick on Instagram he is @Nbussett – two s’s two t’s. You can also follow Gay Talk 2.0 on Instagram : @gaytalk2.0. Their website is gaytalk20.com

Rey recently moved to Los Angeles with his husband. He is a member of the Writers Guild of America and the WGA continues to be on strike since May 2 of this year. We support the writers strike here on this indie podcast and hope it is resolved soon. Previous to the strike, Rey wrote for the TV series The Wilds, NOS4A2, and he appeared in an episode of Working in the Theater. He is working on a new play and we’re eagerly waiting to hear more.

You can follow Rey on Twitter. He is @AReyP. On Instagram his is @a_rey_p

And as a bonus for you, stay tuned after the show where Nick and Rey riff on what they’re loving in the theater right now and pandemic life for a writer. It’s unedited and fun and I hope you enjoy!

[theme music]

That’s our show for today! What are you going to do now? You’re going to click or tap 5 stars for our show. It’s right there on your screen! This helps us with recruiting guests and authors and improve our search rankings in your app. If you liked this episode, post a message on whatever social media you use thanking our executive producer Jim Pounds as well as our Associate Producers Archie Arnold, Natalie Cruz, Paul Kaefer, Nicole Ollila, Joe Perazzo, Bill Shea, and Sean Smith. Tag us and we’ll share the love. We’re @thisqueer book on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

We sell books through our Bookshop.org store! Prices the same or better than Amazon, fast shipping, and all the books from our podcasts. Buy today at thisqueerbook.com/bookshop.

My name is J.P. Der Boghossian and until next time see you queers and allies in the bookstores!

[theme music]

Bonus clips

J.P.: Rey, do you have questions for Nick?

A. Rey Pamatmat:I also had not thought about this, but I guess what I really want to ask, and I’m sorry if this is just theater talk, but what plays have you been liking recently? I live in LA now for all of the podcast listeners, so even though there’s actually a pretty good new play scene here, it usually comes after anything on the East Coast. I’m curious to know, what are you loving right now?

Nick Bussett: To be honest, I work at a presenting house now. I work at Schubert Theatre in New Haven. So everything that we see is generally tours. don’t actually get to see a lot of new stuff. But I will say that I was working at Long Wharf Theatre prior to the Schubert Theatre. At Long Wharf, we did a show before the pandemic about a black Queer man and a white Queer man in Texas in the 1950s and they fell in love. It went beyond just the 1950s and being Gay. It was also the dynamic of that time period, having a black Queer man love a white Queer man and how even in the Queer community, it was looked down upon and actually faced with physical aggression.
A. Rey Pamatmat: Who’s the playwright? I know this play. I actually know this play. It’s so lovely and we should let everybody know. Hahahaha!

Nick Bussett: Yes, I’m looking it up right now. Hold on.

On the Grounds of Belonging by Ricardo Perez Gonzalez. It’s very powerful.

A. Rey Pamatmat: I didn’t get to see it. I’ve only gotten to read it.

Nick Bussett: I think it’s actually I think he envisioned it to be a trilogy but then the pandemic happened…

A. Rey Pamatmat: I think that’s right.

Nick Bussett: I’m not sure what’s going on with that right now, but it was a wonderful play, Intense but wonderful.

J.P.: What was a pandemic life like for a writer?

A. Rey Pamatmat: Oh, pandemic life? You know, I, like a lot of playwrights, was actually unable to write during quarantine. I only actually started playwriting again last fall. I was lucky enough to have a lot of TV jobs to carry me through. So it was a lot of me being on Zoom too many hours in a day and having migraines consequently. But I at least was with a bunch of writers on Zoom. you know?

Nick Bussett: Oh cool.

A. Rey Pamatmat: Imagining things outside of the four walls of our offices or our homes. So, you know, I wouldn’t say I ever want to do it again. I hope that quarantines are not something that we need to go back to at any point. But I was very lucky to have a way through it. I did make a latchkey rug, though, during that time.and did a couple of other bizarre things to keep myself entertained. Weirdly more of the same and everything completely different. My husband and I just moved to Los Angeles last year. I’ve gone from dipping my toe in television to like taking a sort of deep dive. We’ll see where that goes. I did start writing a new play last Fall. So I’m trying to find my way back to… theater, and otherwise just, you know, make a lovely new home. That’s my, my future.

J.P.: Okay, well thank you both so much for being here today. This has been really lovely.

Nick Bussett:Really quick.

J.P. Yeah, go for it.

Nick Bussett:I thought this would be a funny way to end the show. There’s a quote in the play that it’s just so funny but it’s also very poignant and powerful. There’s a moment where Benji and Kenny are talking about how being Queer and being a man sometimes people don’t look at you that way. You’re looked at as more feminine and I can’t remember which character, but one of them said, you know what makes you a man? Taking it up the butt. If you can do that, then you can do anything!

J.P: That’s amazing.

A. Rey Pamatmat: It’s Benji. Benji says that

J.P.: Excellent way to end the episode.

Nick Bussett: Yeah. He’s not wrong