Pizzagate is a conspiracy theory that emerged during the 2016 United States presidential election cycle. You’ve heard of it but if you’re anything like me you didn’t actually know anything about it. And let me just preface this episode by saying that you still won’t know anything about it after you listen. In spite of mine and my guest’s best efforts it is a quagmire of misinformation and leaps in logic. But that’s why I like a good conspiracy theory. They are juicy! Because it’s gossip. And we are told it’s bad to gossip. It’s negative, impolite and it’s judgmental. But it feels so good when we’re doing it. And then you feel dirty afterwards. Kinda like masturbation. Or pork rinds.
Pizzagate has it all: Hillary Clinton leads a child sex-trafficking ring that also performs Satanic rituals! Thankfully for the ardent self-investigators (AKA the Online Trump Tribe) there are also Jewish people, gay people and democratic people involved. It’s a fuckin’ salad of what is wrong with ‘murica.
I’m so judgmental and snarky, I know. I want to be open-minded but it’s hard when faced with such lunacy. That said, there are some weird elements to this story that are hard to explain. The kind and patient Bob Brun from Ohio, a man that voted for Donny-T, has looked into the Pizzagate affair and has found some compelling evidence.
Long, meaningful but completely appropriate hugs from sunny Toronto!
This guy is so great I can’t stand it. I want to resent him. But I can’t, dammit…
Fab is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and actor. He’s written and directed this amazing new digital series called Save Me for the Ceeb. As a playwright, he was most recently nominated for a Dora Award for his play The Summoned. As an actor he was recently nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for his performance in the series Guidestones. He wrote and co-produced NBC’s comedy Working The Engels and co-wrote the true crime indie, Perfect Sisters, starring Abigail Breslin and Mira Sorvino. As an actor you might also know him from the groundbreaking Showtime series Queer As Folk. He also starred in his own series, Billable Hours, and is often recognized for a stint on Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
What an asshole, right? I wish. On top of all that he’s a really nice fella. Funny, charming, easy on the eyes. How does he do it? Especially when he’s come from an upbringing filled with alcoholism and violence. We get into for about an hour and a quarter at his office at Tarragon Theatre here in Toronto. I encourage you to watch Save Me before you listen so you understand why I’m so disgustingly effusive. I wish I had some self-respect.
Love you long time behind the dumpster at the A&W off the 400 on your way to Cottage Country,
Diana Frances and I have a great, informative and hilarious talk about the male gaze, meditation, getting older and not wearing bras. She has an interesting perspective on how to remain funny and pointed in the age of correctness.
I learned a lot but I’m not gonna talk about it at the end of the podcast as I usually do because I don’t have time and I am hungry. Plus I gotta go pick up ze kinder.
Hire Diana to write for your TV show. She just won an award for her half-hour comedy, Given Up, based on her heinous childhood. The most heinous childhood in history.
I love talking to D. She’s so easy to have a great conversation with.
Upcoming episodes include a chat with Fab Filippo. He talks about his new show, the highly acclaimed Save Me, on CBC. It is really good. Surprising, funny and dark as midnight. Sure it’s upsetting that I’m not on it. Of course I resent Fab’s successes. It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t. But the neggies subside faster than they used to. Progess.
In the meantime I’m sending you meaningful, lingering drama hugs from warm, wet Toronto. Come and visit. Just wait until July when the cicadas are screaming. Not to be missed.
It is a conversation I have had monthly with fellow actors or writers or filmmakers or just some guy that fell asleep on the subway: “What are we doing all this for? Should we keep going? When is anyone going to notice?” And every time the answer is the same: “What else would we do?” I spend 95% of my time working on pipe dreams that no one ever sees. But it seems like not an unreasonable ratio of success. It’s just unreasonable to meet it with a smile every day. Unless you’re David Ray.
A stalwart at the SyFy Channel, six of his MOW screenplays have been produced as has his forays into animation, including work on the series ANIMISM for APTN and THE HENCHMEN for Bron Studios. He was also the lead writer on the blockbuster NEED FOR SPEED: CARBON with Electronic Arts. Check out his latest feature Grand Unified Theory now in theatres!
Subscribe to the newsletter and see photos of the guests at inthedarkshow.com.
Ami Gladstone makes great art and has done for a long time. I am equal parts jealous and proud of him. In his latest play (a musical adaptation of a two hundred year old Russian poem) called Onegin he has co-created (with Veda Hille) his biggest success to date.
I don’t resent his success, surprisingly, but I do wish I could make great art like he does. And I wish I could get it seen by so many people. So, we sit down and talk on the mics of what I might do to turn my performance woes around. I miss being on stage. I don’t miss stand-up much or improv at all but I do miss a crowd. Last Tuesday night I went a little hard with the jokes at my Mindful Parenting class because I was faced with a captive audience. It made me think what wifers has to go through all the time. It can be exhausting listening to me.
Ami has worked as a director or playwright for numerous companies including Vancouver Playhouse, Arts Club Theatre, Touchstone Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects. He is a graduate of the University of Victoria and a founder of Theatre Skam. Gladstone’s plays have been produced across Canada, as well as in New York, Philadelphia, France, and Romania. He currently lives in Vancouver.
Thank you so much for listening to the In the Dark 2nd Quarterly Review. We’re up to 53 episodes! Halfway to the 100 mark at which time this will end.
Here’s hoping I’ve given you something here. I’ve probably offended and annoyed you. Have I bored you? Definitely. But that can be useful too. Turn me on when you’re having a hard time sleeping. Listen to me prattle on about nothing. Let me help you let go of the day that no longer exists. As my friend Jeff Low says in episode 38, “each night when we fall asleep we give it all up.” Give it all up to me when you’re in the dark.
Either way I’m honoured to be in your ears. Maybe one day I can also be in your pants. Who knows… Crazier things have happened (in your pants).
For a transcript of this 2nd Quarterly Review go to Inthedarkshow.com
And while you’re there sign up for the newsletter.
Deep and abiding love,
J.B. in a rainy Toronto
Kit Marlowe was a 16th century playwright, poet and spy. “He greatly influenced William Shakespeare, who was born in the same year as Marlowe and who rose to become the pre-eminent Elizabethan playwright after Marlowe’s mysterious early death.” (Wikipedia) Did Bill kill Kit? I think so but mostly because I’m not a big Shakespeare fan. Marlowe was also probably a government spy (spying on Catholics which were bad back then, not like now.) He was also a smoker and a gay dude (maybe). I want him to be a gay dude. You don’t hear about gay dudes in history. But they were obviously around doing stuff, accomplishing things and giving each other BJs. I wanna hear about it.
Today I get to know Marlowe and others via one Sean Patterson. He’s a London historian that toured me around Greenwich and Deptford one sunny day a couple weeks ago. He spoke of Marlowe’s murder, Catholic spies and Victorian poverty maps. Unfortunately we had a lot of wind issues (my fault) so I have had to edit this episode a great deal. Nonetheless it is an interesting chat.
And Guantanamo is back in the news. Obama tried to close it but it’s still open and he blames a Republican congress for blocking his efforts. Do you know anything about GiTMO? It occurred to me I have no idea why it’s there. And how did a US naval base come to exist in communist Cuba? I thought Americans were banned from that place? “Dit quoi Mr. Drummond?” is right.
This is Lord Mayor Sir Richard Whittington. His friends called him Dick and he loved cats.
Today on In the Dark I talk to Chris Roberts of London Street Tours. He gives me a one-on-one walk around some of the oldest parts of Jolly Old. We talk bygone bridges, ghosts and hidden rivers and then we end up at Europe’s only graveyard for prostitutes.
These days more than ever history can play an important role in calming us down. There is perspective galore to be had by looking back. You will find madmen, terrorists, globalization, greed, fire, tornadoes, pestilence and religious BS. But you will also find beauty, art, drama, creation and people like you and me doing great and weird things to the delight of others. This is what excites me.
Maybe that’s what this show is becoming: a repository of creativity in the face of adversity. Where greedy little men want everyone to take themselves as seriously as they do here we will make fun of each other and get high and laugh. I’m at the bottom where ambition and optimization take a backseat to dumb jokes and champagne. Join me, won’t you?
Strange Attractor… even without knowing what it is it sounds so cool, right? “In the mathematical field of dynamical systems, an attractor is a set of numerical values toward which a system tends to evolve… An attractor is deemed strange if it has a fractal structure. This is often the case when the dynamics on it are chaotic (wikepedia).”
Strange Attractor can also mean a small publishing house in East London run by Jamie Sutcliffe and Mark Pilkington. What they do there is extra-ordinary and a little hard to describe. They very prolifically publish the strangest books: some on witchcraft, the lost rivers of London and the ghost of a mongoose. I couldn’t quite remember what a mongoose was when they first mentioned Gef (pronounced Jeff or even Geoff) the Mangoose ( a mongoose with some human attributes). The last I had heard of mongeese was when Higgy-baby would go on about them chewing up Robin Master’s yard on Magnum P.I. Strange Attractor also puts on shows.
On a Monday night I went to an arts venue called The Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury where I watched the author Eleanor Morgan talk about her book on spider-human relationships. A truly surprising and engaging topic I had never thought of before. The next day I went to Strange Attractor’s offices near Brick Lane and had one of the most engaging chats I’ve had with strangers in a long time.
Traveling to London and using these microphones as an excuse to talk to people was such fun and so satisfying. I felt like I really accomplished something. Something completely counter to making money. Jamie and Mark do this day after day and they do it primarily by helping writers. And writers of a highly artistic, less commercial bent no less. I’m inspired.
And I managed to not get run over by a terrorist.
With a great and unending concern for your safety,
J.B. in a cold and rainy Toronto
Michael Robinson has been on the show before. His first episode was recorded in Vancouver back in the Summer of 2016. Remember those days of freedom and love? Now there’s a travel advisory for the Excited States and I ain’t talking ‘bout the weather. Back then Michael and I talked about fetish parties and not giving a fuck. This time he tells me what it’s like raising a child with autism. As usual, Michael is as interesting as he is patient with me and my big ol’ dumb questions. I clearly stick my foot in my mouth at least three times and Michael manages to laugh it all off.
I’m off to London for a week and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. I’ve got some exciting interviews coming up and they will include talking to people with English accents (which always adds a little something).
Thanks so much for listening and recommending me to your friends and enemies.
J.B. in snowy, windy and cold Toronto