Five Questions With… Brian Kirst

Editor Note: Hamish is taking this Friday off so, we offer one of his Five Questions with as a stand-in for News Sushi.
Editor Note: Hamish has another in his series of Five Questions With…

Hamish came up with this idea because he was accumulating too much material for his Famous News Sushi column and asked if he could do these mini-interviews. Why would we say no?

Thank you Hamish for being such a trooper for us. We really appreciate all fo your hard work.

Let us know what you think of these interviews in the comments below.

 
TGG: TGGeek fans should know Brian from the articles and instagram posts that I share in my News Sushi column, but, for those who don’t, could you please introduce yourself and how you became the “Big Gay Horror Fan”?

NK: Hi, everyone! I’m Brian Kirst, a writer and actor type based in Chicago. I started BGHF about 9 years ago. I was going to a lot of horror movie conventions and started noticing a lot of LGBTQIA folks besides myself in attendance. Up until that point, I had been happily writing for sites like Horror Society and Racks and Razors in a very nonspecific, straight forward (as it were) fashion. But it felt like the right time to begin to focus on the genre from a more personal and queer friendly manner.

TGG: You’ve got a new podcast, can you tell us a bit about that?

BK: Yes! Dagger Cast! My friend Jared is an amazing musician in Chicago. He fronts Elephant Gun, a huge ensemble project, and he is also a member of other inventive and upcoming groups like Post Child and Dirty Bird, as well. He’s a busy guy, but like all creative types, is looking for that way in…a way to make something creative into more of a career or life path. So, he started a production company called nite smoke with a friend. They’ve been concentrating on soundtrack work and other avenues of media expression. He decided he wanted to produce a podcast and, as an amazing supporter of what I’ve been trying to do all along, he decided I was the only one to host it. He initially wanted to base it around what I do with Big Gay Horror Fan, but I suggested that we attack a broader spectrum and add a female co-host. So, we came up with Dagger Cast, a podcast that looks at the world of horror not only on the queer spectrum, but from the feminine and POC point of view, as well. I really wanted Lindsey Charles to be my partner in crime and, happily (and excitedly for me), she agreed. Lindsey is bi-racial, which I thought was important to express a certain point of view and is just a powerhouse performer. She’s the front woman for The Cell Phones, an art pop-punk band here in Chicago, and she just tears up the stage with them, she’s a dynamo. I’m a huge music fan…huge! But I have no desire to learn an instrument or be in a band. So this show has been a wonderful way to interact and create with Jared and Lindsey and we’ve had so many amazing singers and songwriters on the show already – Fee Lion, who is this amazing dance-Goth artist, Donnie Moore from Absolutely Not, a queer punk-pop band that has gotten coverage in Out and other major publications, and Mykele Deville, who is an incredible hip hop artist. He is taking that world by storm and is a huge Jordan Peele fan, so we talked about how the experience of watching Peele’s films is so specific and important to the Black community, but how it also bridges all races in the movie theaters. There, we view the films in a communal way. It was a great talk and it is just amazing to me that I get to interact with all these folks that perform in that medium. They’re like DC and Marvel Comic book heroes and heroines to me. It’s so much fun!

TGG: You’ve also made a horror musical, right? Can you tell us a bit about that?

BK: Sure. Zombie Bathhouse had a run here in Chicago in the fall of 2017. The name just came to Scott Free, who is not only a musician but a champion of the LGBTQIA voice, one day and he asked me if I would like to write the script. He knew very little about horror, but was super enthused about the prospect of the show and had some songs that he was looking forward to writing for it. It took us about 7 or 8 years, but we finally did it! The plot, as a whole, started out incredibly silly, but by the end we added some nice touches about activism and the realities of the gay experience. I based the lead character around my friend Joey KIssling, who was a DJ and bartender here in Chicago. He was a mad man, tattooed and dynamic… totally unique. I thought it would be cool to have a badass as the center of a show as opposed to the typical, well laced romantic hero. In fact, until he became my muse, I was really struggling with the script. But once I centered on him, things finally started moving along for me. Unfortunately, he died of a virulent and aggressive form of cancer about a year and a half before we performed the show. But we cast North Rory Homeward, this really interesting Trans male actor to play Michael, the character he inspired. I think Joey would have loved the rebellious nature of casting a transgendered male, someone who isn’t really welcome in bathhouse culture because of genetic make-up, to play a cis male who works at one. It was also so cool for me to incorporate my favorite character names and things about the genre into a gay themed musical.

TGG: I’ve also seen you host Bear Pageants, what does it take to be a good host and what’s your best memory from the pageants?

BK: I love being on stage. I trained as an actor, but I think my true talent is being a host of various events. It’s what I love to do the most and it’s when I feel most comfortable as a performer. I host all the Terror in the Aisles events here in Chicago and it’s been amazing experience interviewing everyone from Herschell Gordon Lewis to Linnea Quigley on stage. I think the most important thing to be a good host is positive energy and enthusiasm for what you’re doing. I haven’t done the Bear events for awhile, but they were super fun. They also represented what I love so much about the gay community. There are so many different aspects and spectrums and tribes to the LGBTQIA family as a whole. The interests and the bonds are wide and varied and it’s super exciting to call myself a part of it on any level.

TGG: What’s next for you and where can we support you (follow you on social media; listen to your podcast…)

BK: I just interviewed Linnea (Quigley) for the liner notes of the vinyl soundtrack debut of Creepozoids on Terror Vision Records. It’s a beautiful packaging, reflecting the cheesy monstrous, post apocalyptic world of the film. It was released on Record Store Day here in the US in April. That was a huge thrill. We also record about two to three episodes of Dagger Cast a month and I try to update Big Gay Horror Fan at least once or twice a week. I’m slowly but surely working on a couple books of interviews and essays and I’m continuing to pick away at new theater projects, as well. I’d love to get Zombie Bathhouse into some kind of musical workshop or a gay themed festival, too! So, if anyone has any ideas, please let me know! People can follow Big Gay Horror Fan at www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan or at the site, itself, www.biggayhorrorfan.com. Dagger Cast is on Sound Cloud, ITunes and Spotify. The FB page for that is https://www.facebook.com/daggercast/. Thanks for asking me to do this! It’s been a lot of fun and I truly appreciate the interest and support!
 


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