Episode 173: "HWYW Gems 6"

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June 27, 2014


Merrill Markoe
Brian Stack
Andy Kindler


Happy Pride!

This week's show is a HIDDEN GEMS medley of delights, featuring never-before-heard tidbit/morsels of chats with MERRILL MARKOE, ANDY KINDLER and BRIAN STACK!

Enjoy those gems, pals! And also, relish some brand new observations about why leather harnesses are the best possible things for society, the luxury of being an aging person over irony who just wants to listen to terrible music, a story about a wonderful insane older gal who screamed things about Bush and Cheney at my show, Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie's insane sex, and why David Bryne's hair just screams to have red wine spilled on it.


  • Steve Buscemi is not groovy.
  • Julie finished Season 2 of Orange is the New Black, the season finale of which she found satisfying. She also found the Fargo finale to be fantastic.
  • Kneeling chair
  • The alternative to getting older is staying the same or getting younger and both of those things are terrible.

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Episode Link


These are people who sent money through Paypal to klausnerama@gmail.com to help keep the show ad-free.

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Monologue Transcript[edit]

Hello. Hello. Happy Pride Week. It’s Julie Klausner back for another episode of HWYW. Sunday is Pride here in New York City.

I don’t know which harness to wear (sings) which o which of my leather harnesses shall I wear today? Shall I wear the one with the cogs for my steam punk leather brethren? This past Sunday was Fulsom East which is a Leathermen March here in New York. I love, lovvvvvve looking at photos of gay men in leather harnesses. If only because that is what to this day homophobic people fear more than anything. The idea that at 1:00pm under a glistening strong, early afternoon, early summer sun gay men would gallivant around past delis, paint your own pottery establishments, Chipotles, dry cleaning establishments holding hand with one another and unwaxed chests wearing leather harnesses and often in many case with leashes around one’s necks, that’s half of America’s worst nightmare. I hope it’s less than half at this point.

I am always delighted when people’s worst fears come true as long as the people in this case are terrible. Not only do their worst fears come true but society doesn’t fall apart. Like that night Eddie, or whomever, depending on the night that Eddie had, he removes his harness, takes a shower, shaves or shaves around his beard depending what Eddie is going for that particular week. He put on an Oxford, tucks it in, and then teaches 8th grade. That is something that to this day is something. I don’t mean to poke fun at the idea that to this day people fear this. I think it’s a victory. Do you know what? This is what pride means to me. Having witnessed what a smaller minded person believes is the worst possible outcome for humans and then seeing that it is quite the opposite. In fact when human beings are happy and are themselves and are living up to the potential they have for themselves that not only are thing fine they are more wonderful than they could ever be. If it bothers you then look inside. Why does that bother you?

I’m a quarter of the way into an article (http://www.edrants.com/emily-gould-literary-narcissism-and-the-middling-millennials/)that was bopping around the internet this week by a book blogger who interviewed me when my first book came out on the Bat Segundo Show. I found him to be respectful and thoughtful and generous. Even though the subject of my new book, based on this new article he wrote, seemed to be in the crosshairs of something that really bothers him. I remember having a respectful, positive interview with him when I did an interview on his podcast years ago. He wrote this piece that I am slogging through. I thought I was almost done and according to the cursor, the scroll bar, I’m only one fifth of the way done. It is a long piece is my point.

He is mad at Emily Gould. He does not think it is ok to be Emily Gould. Jesus Christ there is some vitriol in this article. I scanned it earlier in the week because people were talking about it on the book blogosphere. At one point he calls Corey Sikka (?) aging. And then he called this Housing Works woman with whom I am friendly, Rachel Fershleiser, he called her dumb as dirt. There is some mean stuff in this piece to the extent that I tried to read it immediately as I mentioned. I got to a point in a paragraph that mentioned the term cup-cake fascism. I immediately closed the window. Since then it has come up a few times. I said to myself, I says, “I have got to read this whole thing. I have got to stay informed.” It’s shocking. It’s very dense. It’s one of these things that I bring up in the context of Leatherman, Leather-fear, homosexual panic because when someone is this angry at something or someone it really very rarely has to do with the person they are angry at. It’s all about them right? Because this thing reads like a men’s rights screed, it reads like something a shooter would have left behind and I don’t mean to be callous by saying something like that in a flippant way. Holy moley this guy is angry. I haven’t read the whole thing yet so maybe i should hold my tongue. Heal thyselves.

Happy Pride Week to all listening.

This has been a fun week for me. Tonight is the last show of the run I have been doing of my latest show at Joe’s Pub. It has been so fun. It’s been going great. If you are around tonight in NYC on Friday the 27th try and come by and get tickets at the last minute if you can do that I would love to see you. It’s been so fun and great. Because it is at Joe’s Pub where a lot of other things are playing at the Public Theater after the show often times myself and Ryan 'Hotlips' Houlihan, and director Jodi Lennon and Dicki Dibella and Robin Taylor and people who are on the team will hang out at the bar at Joe’s Pub, in Joe’s Pub, near Joe’s Pub. We’ll see a Public Theater celebrity such as your Willem Dafoe (I didn’t see Willem Dafoe this time) but apparently I left the other night right before David Byrne showed up and sat next to the team. I regret that. I regret not being there to accidentally spill a glass of red wine on his hair. I like David Byrne, I don’t know why I want to see that red, red wine just bleed onto his hair, but I do. I want to see it. I want to see it.

The other thing that happened this week at the show was one of the things about this particular incarnation is I am talking about how happy I am to be back in NYC. One of the great things that happened this week is that a real New York City eccentric older woman mad her presence known in the theater by screaming at the stage, after I had already left, after the finale, spoiler alert there’s a thing I do at the end where I talk about Gary Sinise, Billy Joel, Viet Nam and patriotism. It’s a real rousing number. At the end of it I left the stage. I hear from the audience the distinctive sound of post-menopausal metropolitan madness which is a woman who reminded me very much of Elena from Billy on the Street fame. She’s in that tribe. She was shouting at the stage. All I heard was Bush and Cheney, the real enemy, so I took that as a cue to run into my dressing room and lock the door. I figured I’d get the story later.

Apparently what she said after she had been escorted from the building which is gorgeous was “Gary Sinise is not the real problem. Bush and Cheney are the war criminals. Billy Joel is not the problem. George Bush and Dick Cheney are responsible for the murder of millions.” Honestly, do you know what? I agree with half of what she’s saying. I believe in the war criminals part. Bush and Cheney are true human garbage. But is Billy Joel really not the real problem? Let’s examine that when we look around us, especially now, people are really into Billy Joel right now. I think he has gotten a post-ironic generational past by people my age who survived irony with enough smugness to judge it. We are at this place now where...I’m almost 36 (it’s my birthday next week. “What do you want for your birthday Julie?’ Tips just send tips to paypal.) I belong to a generation that survived irony essentially. We had the luxury to ironize things that we decided to laugh at in the 90s that were actually pretty damaging to counter culture in retrospect. We were able to embrace the kitsch of the Osmonds or Mitzi Gaynor or the Partridge Family, things from the 1970s and 1980s which were ways of co-opting counter culture that was authentic and then taking it into an era that made authenticism a myth. In the case of the 1980s rewrote counter culture so that it served the needs of the Regan Administration which was to generally be fascist monsters. To say, “Hey young people remember how in the 60s we harnessed your energies and your youthful determination to at least put an effort into stopping a war that had no right to exists? Now we’re going to put all that energy or at least try to harness it into getting you to buy Transformers, GI Joes, and basically other talismans of pro-military ideology that we’re as a government putting all of our money into. The Army is cool. War is cool. Greed is good. Wall Street is badass and gangster. Do you know what is most punk rock of all? Making a lot of money in the system that is completely fair. Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s not fair. That’s why the 80s were horrible.

In the 90s, my generation and people who are a little older than me, because technically I’m Generation Y ‘not’, Generation X--Conjunction Junction what’s your function, Slackertown blah, blah, blah--we thought it was hilarious, I’m speaking for myself here, I’m not throwing stones into the Narcissus river with my own puffy lumpy face reflected back to me depending on what degree of body dysmorphia and face dyslexia I’m experiencing that particular day, we thought it was hilarious in the 1990s to wear a Barbie wallet. I was a teenager. I thought it was so funny to say, “Remember Barbie and how she idealizes these impossible beauty standards? What if I carry around this thing because I know that?” That’s a luxury to be able to qualify things that are disgusting as funny because you are in a safe enough space to be able to do that.

Now we have a different luxury afforded to us. It is the luxury of having known that when we were growing up Billy Joel was bullshit. Billy Joel sucked. You are not supposed to listen to Billy Joel. You’re supposed to listen to the Velvet Underground. Some of this is actually Baby Boomer bullshit about how the Doors were good, because the Doors were not good. If you enjoy the Doors that’s completely fine but don’t tell me they were cool because they are just not. Maybe they were at the time but right now they’re not. Jim Morrison was so drunk when he did LA Woman that half of the lyrics he sings were just the natural sounds a drunk person makes when you try to push them out of a chair in this case towards a microphone. Jon Spurney was telling me about this. LA Woman is the number one song that musicians talk about when they talk about drunkest ever singing performances.

“Oh right, blahblahblahblah about la about an hour ago. blahblahblhablahblha which way the wind blow, all right!” That is a drunk man. That is any drunk man.

Our generation has the luxury of de-ironizing things that we ironized, and specifically I’m talking about shitty music, not only because we figure it is ok to like Billy Joel because even though we know he’s not cool our choice to like him makes us cool which is a subset of irony that we grew up with but we conveniently decided to apply it to something like this. Also because, this is the important part, because we’re all getting older and we don’t want to try so hard. We don’t want to try to keep up with new music. We don’t want to feel guilty about being too tired to go see a show and to stand on our feet on a Wednesday night that starts at 9:30 and we don’t know who the opening band is. What if they are bad? We’re tired. We’re old and we don’t want the challenge of figuring out what young people are into. That is universal. That has happened consistently over every generation in time that has had a popular culture.

As Gen-Xers we’re rationalizing it as ‘rejection of cool’ because we think it is a cool choice to not be cool anymore. That’s just a lie. That’s a convenient lie for us to say, by us I mean all, all of the friends whom I know who recently saw Billy Joel at the Hollywood Bowl and they all tweeted and twitted. Twitted? What am I? A thousand years old?

All of my friends went to see Billy Joel at the Hollywood Bowl. They were all really excited about it. I know these are people who are smart enough to know that Billy Joel is not cool. They are also smart enough to say, “It’s cool that he’s not cool.” But ultimately all you are saying is "I like it." Do you know why? Because I know it. I grew up listening to it. This reminds me of a time I didn’t know it was bad or I didn’t care it wasn’t cool. I thought it was good. I didn’t know it was supposed to be bad. We all want things to be easier as we get older. I don’t have any problem with that. Billy Joel is not cool. Is it ok not to be cool? I guess. Is it ok to pretend you’re cool doing something you know is not cool? I don’t know, maybe. Maybe it’s better just to be honest and to say I’m tired. I don’t feel like finding out about what the Sleighbells are doing. I don’t like that band, Sleighbells. I saw them on Saturday Night Live. I didn’t care for them. I thought that girl was very pretty. I thought, ooh, I wish I could wear that! Sigh, Billy Joel, what a mess. What a messy man.

Ryan 'Hotlips' Houlihan wants me to make sure you all know that he does not write Howwasyourwiki. He complained to me recently that a few people had approached him and complimented him on the writing of Howwasyourwiki and that is not what he does. Howwasyourwiki is a community created and maintained website. I have never written a thing on it. I don’t think Hotlips has either. It is maintained by the community who listens to this podcast including yourself. That has been established. While I’m at it why not go to Howwasyourwiki.com and add some things and make it a great place? It’s my favorite website. It really is.

I got a kneeling chair for my back and neck. I’m meant to kneel in the front. I guess your knees are supposed to be lower than your hips. And there’s also a backrest on it. I’m getting older. Do you know what? There are worse things. What people mean by that when they say it is the alternative is worse, and what that means is I could be dead. To me, the alternative to getting older is staying the same or getting younger. Both of those things are so terrible. If I woke up and I was 23 again there is no amount of over eating I would be able to do to feel better. There isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I would try.

I’m sad about the TV I like being over right now. I need new shows. Orange is the New Black Season 2, I just finished that yesterday. Loved it. Here are the two most satisfying finales that I have seen in a while; that and the Fargo finale which I thought was fantastic. I loved Fargo. I loved Billy Bob Thornton. I have talked about it in the past and I am going to mention it again, I am fascinated about how crazy the sex must have been between Billy Bob Thorton and Angelina Jolie when those two were fucking. I believe in my heart that nobody has ever had crazier and frankly, hotter, sex than those two. I bet it was so weird and so gross and so freaky. It probably involved a lot of piss drinking and blowing bubbles in each other’s blood with straws, and not only hair pulling but hair pulling out then braiding it and sewing it into a voodoo doll, then jerking off the voodoo doll and then what comes out of the voodoo doll’s penis? Pus, pus does. Then Angelina rubs all of the pus on her mustache area and then Billy Bob Thornton humiliates her, “Look at you. You’ve got a pus mustache.” Um hm. "Some folks call it a sling blade." Why did he make that movie? That was weird. He’s an edgy guy right? He’s got a cool band. That was also the 90s. “I’m going to make my movie.” It could have been the last one.

Tom Scharpling had a very good point about this. There are first-movies that seem like film makers think they’ll only have a chance to make one movie so they put everything in it. That was Reservoir Dogs to some extent. There’s no reason for Quentin Tarantino to have included all of those scenes in diners where they are talking, “Was that Pam Greir?” “No that wasn’t Pam Greir.” You know that scene where Tim Roth’s partner takes a roundabout way of express that because Harvey Keitel mentioned that he liked a particular sports team in a conversation they had he’s probably from the town that the sports team is from. He has a rhyme, “I’ll bet a bebabeepbow to a bebadeepdow he’s from there.” I didn’t need that. I did not need that at all.

Billy Bob Thornton had a chance to make a movie and he made Sling Blade. That’s weird. Maybe he went to a life coach who was like, "Come on what do you want to do?" "I want to fuck this sexy girl and do weird shit where I drink her piss and she drinks my piss and I blindfold her. Whose piss is this? She can’t tell. Which one is yours." "That’s something you can work towards. Put that on your vision board." "I also want to make a movie.” "Do you want to just write it?" “No. I want to direct it and I want to be in it. I want to write it and I want to have complete control.” "Great. Wonderful." "I want to play a mentally slow person in it." "Ok?"

The coach had probably seen Forest Gump. Maybe Sling Blade was after Forest Gump, I don’t know. Do you know what? It was very zeitgeist-y. That was what was in the ether.

Did you see the clip of Lady Gaga R Kelly video that the great feminist film maker icon Terry Richardson directed that they pulled? They decided not to release it. TMZ, again another feminist institution, released a clip of it. It is worse than you could have ever thought it would be. R Kelly plays a doctor. By the way, honestly if R Kelly just played a doctor who had a routine day of seeing patients that already would make it the most terror-filled horror nightmare story of all time. If R Kelly comes in, “Hey what’s going on?” The nurse says, “Mrs. Rosenbloom is in 2, she has a mole that needs to be looked.” “Sounds good.” That would be like Human Centipede 16 to me. To watch a day of R Kelly, “Hey how is it going? Do you have any fun plans for the summer? All right, let’s take a look. How long has this been...When did you first notice it? Ok. Let’s take a look under the light. You know I think we’re just going to do a biopsy. It’s probably nothing. We’ll call you in the next week or two. In the meantime cover it with...’ Just five minutes of R Kelly giving traditional dermatologist banter, that would be a nightmare.

But it’s worse! It’s R Kelly wearing a black doctor’s outfit. Gone are the days when (this is the ‘I love the 90s’ edition of this podcast) the 90s version of rock videos were let’s give John Flansburgh a chance to direct this one. Cool sounds fun. Who directed this one? It was going to be Matt Mahurin.

So R Kelly is wearing a black doctor’s uniform. His mask has been bedazzled. Lady Gaga is under a white sheet. She’s in the nude. He’s about to put her under. He says, “It’ll take a minute for the medicine to start working. You’ll go under and when you wake up you are going to be pregnant.” It is the most horrible thing in the world. Why would they have ever? Huh? What were they thinking? My audition for the TMZ bullpen, I think went well, but I have not heard anything about a call back. What were they thinking right? I did that 4-5 times and then I left. I took a Nutri-grain bar on the way out—apple cinnamon.

Ladies and gentlemen I am going to introduce the show so I can go grocery shopping. Maybe I’ll get a nice pineapple for the apartment. Maybe I’ll just do one of those things where I just walk around and don’t do anything else. Do you know why? I’m trying to take it easy before my shows. I’m trying to be a like a diva a little and also because I am unemployed. Therefore I am going to introduce the show so that I can get to doing nothing. We have a gems episode for you this week. We have three gems that are previously unreleased things from past episode that we have not published from guests that we love.

The first gem is with the great Merrill Markoe. When we spoke a couple of months ago we discussed her writing process. I think she’s fabulous and it’s an interesting tidbit we didn’t have time for in the episode so enjoy this gem with Merrill Markoe.