Mondo Homo (Alyson, $17.95), edited by Richard Andreoli, is a queer guide to popular culture featuring essays from various queer authors on music, gym culture, porn, sex in the big city, TV, and interviews from gay luminaries. Out.com sat down with Andreoli to discuss why we need such a book and what to expect inside.
You write that the film In & Out pisses you off. Was this a book born out of hate?
Ha! No, this book was not born out of hate. It was born out of a frustration that what I found important to queer culture, and what my friends and I talked about and loved in queer culture, wasnt represented by any sort of media. The only things we saw were references to Judy and Barbrathings we could respect, but that we couldnt relate to.
Yet you love Wonder Woman. Youre clearly obsessed with her. Did she make you gay?
Wonder Woman protected me! I almost think that Wonder Woman helped me to become gay because in the TV series, the comic books, and in the SuperFriends cartoons, I really identified with this powerful female figure. Also, here was this woman who had this secret life, just like I did. She knew there was something about her that made her different, and I really identified with that. I also identified withsomewhat subconsciously, I thinkthe notion that when she opened herself up to her real self, the superhero inside, that she was very, very powerful. As a young gay person I understood that for me that once I opened up to that side of myself, Id find an inner powerwithout trying to sound too frou-frou-spiritual-Iron-John-drumming-in-the-woods-nakedthat once we come out, we find a strength within. Wonder Woman helped me see that.
Address this rumor: Writing a book gets you lots of offers for sex.
Heres the thingI didnt get laid at all from this book! I mean, Ive got a boyfriend and were monogamous, but I didnt even get offers! I took that Village People publicity picture, and when I saw myself in it, I was thinking, Shit, Id screw four out of six of these guys, but nobody is sending offers to my Web site. Dave White, on the other hand, who is this big, burly bruiser of a guy who wrote the sex chapter for the book, he has been getting nude photos from snackalicious guys. David Ciminelli wrote the porn and gym chapters, and hes a smoking hot guy with a body to die for. I get e-mails asking if hes single and how to get in touch with him. Nobody gives a damn about me. A) I didnt get paid a lot, and B) I aint got no offers for sex. So I just want to say that anyone who thinks writing is a glamorous life is totally high.
But there is even a picture of you stripping in this book!
Yes, there is a picture of me stripping in that book, with my bits right there on the pageyou can see that I am circumcised in that picture, and still, nothing!
How did you get involved in stripping?
I was once hired by a magazine to go-go dance for a night a Mickys, this trashy-ass bar in West Hollywood. If youre going to go-go dance for a night, you might as well go to the trashy place to do it. The go-go dancers are right there facing Santa Monica Boulevard when cars go driving past! It was probably one of the best experiences of my life. Theres nothing better than having strange men come up to you and think youre so hot that they will shove a dollar bill down your shorts. That was the biggest ego trip of my life. People can look down on porn stars and strippers and think less of them, but you know what? I understand the attraction now. And isnt that the purpose of the writers journey, to evolve and to have insight into the universe itself? Ah, that was deep.
Who is interviewed in this book?
Growing up I loved Dead or Alive, so interviewing Peter Burns was huge for me. We had to delay the interview because hed gotten a tattoo that day, but when he finally called, he goes off about his plastic surgerieswhich, if youve seen pictures of him, are, like, crazy wild. People think hes insane, but I think he clearly understands who he is and what his little weird quirks are. Weve got all these wonderful, really intelligent, really sharp queer people interviewed in the book, like John Cameron Mitchell, Christopher Rice, Wilson Cruz, Joe Phillips, Ted Casablanca, and John Rutherford, but Pete Burns was probably the wackiest but also the most fascinating of them all.
Who did the illustrations?
My partner, Steve Thompson, did the illustrations. It was situation where we needed artwork and there was no budget to get them, so my partnerwho is an animatorhe stepped up and was like, You know youre nicer when youre calm, so he did a lot of the illustrations so I would stop freaking out.
See Richard Andreoli, and essayists Parker Ray, David Ciminelli, and Dave White read from Mondo Homo at A Different Light bookstore in San Francisco on April 1, 2005. For more details, click here.