Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 38 / 21 September 2017
 

'Queercaster' shares SF stories with worldwide audience

NEWS


m.bajko@ebar.com

Patrick Barresi is nearing his 100th podcast. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland
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Patrick Barresi, a nearly 12-year resident of San Francisco, has become an unlikely international star of the podcasting world. The creator of the "queercast" Bad Weeds, and voice to the show's host, Corkey Mineola, Barresi helps his listeners in Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Asia and across the United States hear a slice of life by the bay with his near daily postings.

On any given day 175 to 250 people download his show either directly from his Web site at www.badweeds.com or from Apple's iTunes Web page. Barresi's podcasts, basically audio blogs one can listen to directly on a computer or download to an iPod, typically run between 30 to 40 minutes. Some of his earlier shows have been downloaded between 400 to 500 times.

"I look at podcasting as a way of performance art," said Barresi, 42, a consultant to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and a part-time health instructor at City College.

He opted to create a new persona for the shows in order to give him more liberty as a performer. Corkey Mineola is derived in the "drag queen way," he said.

"My first dog was named Corkey and my street's name was Mineola. I wanted to have the freedom to say and do anything on the air. That is the beauty of podcasting. You can do or say anything you want because the FCC is not involved on any level," added Barresi, referring to the Federal Communications Commission.

The title Bad Weeds comes from a story of a friend of Barresi's who had AIDS that he was visiting. When another person entered the room, they quipped "You're still here?" at seeing the man in bed. He responded, "A bad weed is hard to kill." The comment has stayed with Barresi all these years, and he knew it would be the perfect tagline for his show.

"It captures the resilience of the gay community," he said. "We are all bad weeds."

Barresi is just one of at least 125 LGBT podcasters whose shows are cataloged on the Web site www.Qpodder.org. Nor is he the only gay podcaster in San Francisco. Matt and Patrick Fuller-Brantner started DaddyQuake to catalog the raising of their daughter, Audrey. On January 4, a new podcast called Porn Stars Talk, hosted by Joseph Fenity and produced by Barresi, will launch.

Mike Hipp, who started www.podcastsoup.net, writes a daily listing of various queer podcast offerings on his site. Some of Barresi's favorites include The Other O Show done by two gay guys in Atlanta, Rainbow Pod Squad out of Columbus, Ohio, and Feast of Fools in Chicago. The queercasters will listen to each other's shows, offer advice or exchange ideas.

"We've all sort of become friends," said Barresi.

When Apple released its iTunes version 4.9 in July, it was the first time Barresi discovered podcasts. He listened to a couple of gay podcasts, dubbed "queercasts" by their makers, from Chicago and Minnesota, and inspired, decided to create his own.

"I thought to myself, 'Wow this is really fresh. I could do this.' It spoke to my need to have a creative outlet," he said.

Barresi uploaded his first show in July, though his archives on his Web site start in late August with his dispatches from the Hairrison Street Fair. The show's content has ranged from his humorous musings on life in America's most famous "gayborhood" to covering the gay street fairs to interviews with pornstar Matthew Rush, Viva Variety producer Steve Murray, playwright Ronnie Larson, and Brian Erlich, a friend with a small role in the movie Rent. Last month he started doing a weekly show on the Bay Area Reporter called BAR Necessities.

"My main interest in doing this is storytelling. I am not interested in having it be a talk show and I wouldn't pass myself off as a journalist. I don't want to raise the bar that high," he said. "It's comedy. If anything, I aspire to the level of journalism of Jon Stewart."

His quirky sense of humor and funny interviews keep his fans returning to the show. Fans especially like the Bad Husbands weekly show he does with his partner of nine years, whose nom-de-pod is Duncan Grant.

"I'm a San Franciscophile and I love the podcasts that give a taste of the city and the people that live there, it's like getting news from a friend. His weekly 'Bad Husbands' with his partner Duncan are particular favorites, it's great to get a different slant on the way things are 'over there,'" wrote Colin Willis, a 43-year-old gay man from London who has listened to Bad Weeds since July, in an e-mail. "I have listened to few other LGBT podcasts the only other one I listen to on a regular basis is the Feast of Fools. Bad Weeds is less polished than FoF but I like that. You don't always know what you're going to get with Corkey!"

Another frequent listener, Jae Kay, said in an e-mail that out of several other San Francisco podcasts he has tried, Bad Weeds is his favorite.

"I've listened to Bad Weeds since the end of September, just before I visited San Francisco on holiday. Corkey has a wide and varied range of (in his own words!) 'hot, piping content.' His casts range in topic from drug abuse to transvestites, from the pygmy forest to a Thanksgiving dinner. And he keeps you laughing throughout. He treats his listeners, and his guests, with respect, but never lets things get too serious. And I like listening to a podcast about a city I have a little knowledge of," wrote Kay, a 22-year-old gay man from England.

Barresi is unsure of how to take the praise for his podcasting talents.

"I am not sure if the word is flattered or humbled that people find my ramblings interesting enough to listen to," said Barresi who plans to post his 100th podcast on December 29. "I think a lot of people are just fascinated with San Francisco."

Barresi sees the birth of queercasts as another tool in the fight for gay rights and empowering young LGBT people in places like his hometown of Akron, Ohio to come out of the closet.

"It helps reduce isolation for those people who aren't fortunate to live in places like San Francisco, London, Paris or New York. A lot of people who download my show live in red states and other places in the world where gay people have no rights," said Barresi. "It's like Harvey Milk used to say, 'You've got to give them hope.'"






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