Welcome to “Weekend Stream,” where every Friday, Darian Lusk — comedian and writer living large in Brooklyn — will gently recommend something new and exciting to stream, listen to or play over the weekend. Follow him on Twitter @eatpraylusk to send suggestions for future installments.
It’s Pride Month, and everyone has their own way of celebrating. For some, it means coming together with friends at a pride parade. For others it means trying to install the Facebook pride button which strangely involves three riddles and liking and unliking the Will & Grace page exactly seven times. For me, it meant coming out to my barber, who I believe was the last to know. Which is surprising, because every month I ask for the “St. Vincent.” No but I am very particular with him.
My first experience with pride in New York City was in 2012. I had my first internship (shoutout to Good Morning America for the networking and hands-on experiences!) and was living in an NYU dorm with my best highschool friend. Suddenly the pride parade was upon us, engulfing our West Village block like a phagocyte of pulsing music and strong hot guys.
That summer was the first time I felt part of something bigger than myself, aside from Jewish youth group which I was in until tenth grade because honestly high school isn’t for everyone. Somehow, this was better than that.
Especially in light of “recent times,” Pride has never been more important. So here’s one small thing we can all do: temporarily forgo our Chapo Traphouses, Radiolab’s and the Malcolm Gladwell one for an exclusively LGBTQ podcast. Here are three excellent new shows that are doing their part to offer more queer voices to the podcastverse. Take a listen and who knows, you may end up adding one or all to your weekly rotation.
Nancy is a 2017 podcast that, for a number of reasons, is surprisingly great: Though it hails from juggernaut WNYC (behind 2 Dope Queens and Freakonomics) it is completely devoted to unflinching LGBTQ stories. It’s hosted by two queer Asian Americans, the very likeable Kathy Tu and Tobin Low. And, at times, it can be quite moving.
The show is laid out in classic public radio fashion at two-to-three stories per episode (which is a little traditional but it works) in which queer guests confront people of their past or present who have affected who they are. Sometimes they go well, like Sarah, a lesbian who found her role model in Maura, a rugged general store clerk who became her hero when she was twelve. They reconnect in a heartwarming interview and many Fun Home references are made. But sometimes they don’t, like Peter, who brings on a middle school crush and reads a vivid poem he wrote to twenty-ish years ago. It doesn’t go great. But in all cases the wonderfully descriptive — and often surprisingly explicit for WNYC — stories evoke the feeling of adolescent wandering and the endless journey to becoming one’s truest self.
Food 4 Thot
In the wake of the rhetoric unearthed by our recent political shift, four queer, multiracial writers — Tommy “Teebs” Pico, Dennis Norris II, Joseph Osmundson and Fran Tirado — started Food 4 Thot. It’s a flawless roundtable/dish between friends who share, as they put it, “unequivocal love for Sade,” an “unequivocal hatred of Jonathan Franzen” and a lot of rosé, honey.
Even if you’re not a big fan of more casual podcasts, there’s something undeniable about this exercise in shade-throwing. The hosts recant hilarious stories of queer experiences with frankness and IDGAF-ness that could be a guiding light for anyone who is trying to find their own voice. Plus, gays are just funnier. Try the first episode, in which the hosts appropriately discusses first times, with topics ranging from bottoming to taking poppers. Also, more serious subjects are not pushed aside. The show even includes fun podcast games, like “steakhouse or gay bar” which is harder than you think.
Who? Weekly (HeadGum)
Started in 2016 and hosted by wonderful pop culture journalists and Twitter icons Lindsey Weber and Bobby Finger, Who? Weekly is decidedly not about the gay experience. But (stay with me) it is about something intrinsically part of the gay experience: tangential celebrities.
Each week on Who? Weekly, our two hosts take calls regarding obscure celebs making headlines or somehow suddenly in existence, and decide whether each one is a “Who” (a non-celeb) or a “They” (a celeb). This essential show is a sure-fire way to learn about the celebrities you never knew you never needed. From terrible Kardashian-clinger Jonathan Cheban to Mischa Barton’s fantastic/problematic Instagram, the rewards are endless. For anyone obsessed with fringe celebrity news, which is an undeniably gay thing to be, you must subscribe. Also, I very recently joined the exclusive Who? Weekly Facebook page and feel like a “Who” myself.
Also, honorable mention to Las Culturistas, Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang’s tour-de-force about all things culture, which I discussed in this column. It is my favorite podcast.
Other great things to stream this weekend:
Young Thug’s Beautiful Thugger Girls: bizarre rap icon Young Thug’s new album is his most melodic, endearing statement yet. In fact, the incredibly cohesive 14-track release is a sleeper contender as this summer’s best album. Check out “You or Us,” the Thugger-meets-Conor Oberst ballad, or “Do U Love Me,” which is a certified bop. (Added June 16)
Rory Scovel Tries Stand Up For The First Time: A lot of people are raving this week about comedian Rory Scovel’s galvanizing new special, and with good reason. Scovel’s hour is the funniest I’ve seen in a minute, igniting the intimate room of 50 or so audience members. His opening joke alone, which I won’t spoil, is worth the price of admission. Also he wears a members only jacket that you will absolutely hate. (Added June 20)