Podcasts/Sacred Tension-Bubble and Squeak 7tw8t

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Bubble_and_Squeak_7tw8t SUMMARY KEYWORDS gay, people, quakers, rock candy, quaker, queer, grindr, experiences, story, sex, feel, called, listen, part, episode, sound, bit, podcast, dan savage, police SPEAKERS Peterson Toscano, Stephen Bradford Long

Stephen Bradford Long 00:00 You're listening to a rock candy podcast this is sacred tension, the podcast about the spiritual discipline of asking questions. My name is Steven Bradford long and we are here on the rock candy Podcast Network for more shows like this one, go to rock candy recordings.com All right. So you know sometimes it isn't enough to just listen to a show every week. Sometimes you want to get involved in a community sometimes you want to hang out with like minded people. And to that end, I have started a Discord server. So Discord is a platform primarily for gamers for you know, a bunch of sweaty unbaked gamer boys like me who live in basements. So it appeals to like my aesthetic, like I get onto discord. And I'm like, I feel like I can be as sweaty and unbaked and nerdy as I can be, as I want to be here. But a lot of content creators are co opting it to host their own communities. And that's what I've done as well. And so I have a Discord server for Sacred tension. And it is a booming community. I'm absolutely kind of stunned by by how active and awesome it is. And by a lot of the conversations on there, we talk about everything from religion to sharing memes to the latest religious news. I mean, literally all kinds of stuff politics, we talk about it all on there. We all hang out. It's a lot of fun. And it's mostly Satanists pagans, progressive Christians and several other you no weird people. So it's, you know, if you're a degenerate, if you're a sodomite if you're a pagan, you'll probably fit right in. But also if you're if you're not a degenerate or or a heathen or a heretic, you're also welcome to you might feel a bit out of place but you're still welcome. We love everyone so the link to my Discord is in the show notes beneath this episode. Check it out, I would absolutely love to have you also I always have to thank my Patrons for making this episode possible. My patrons are the lifeblood of the show, not only for this show, but also for everything else I'm doing so if you like the life shows that rock candy has been putting on if you like the other app if you like the other shows that rock candy is producing Bible bash bubble and squeak eleventy life you're supporting me on Patreon allows me to have more margin to focus on helping to develop those other shows. It gives me more margin to work with rock handy and to do live shows it also helps to feed my cat children and pay the mortgage. So it is enormously helpful and the latest patrons who I have to thank our Kate Sara and myth Sarn ash Nibiru Reyes returned no Adam Akasha Patrick, Debbie Dev, John Billiam, Raj, Tina, W. M, holy oak, and Kelly. Thank you all so much my own personal lords and saviors. Also. Finally, we are still growing the rock candy podcast network, we have amazing plans for the network. And if you like what we're doing here at Rock handy, if you like kind of the spirit of weirdness and quirkiness and creating a better world through embracing weirdness and curiosity than please send me your pitch. If you have an idea for a show or you are working on a show. I would love to hear from you go to Steven Bradford long.com forward slash contact and I would love to hear what you're working on. And maybe we can produce it. All right. Well, I am absolutely thrilled to have the great and powerful Peterson Toscano on the show again today. Peterson how are you?

Peterson Toscano 04:21 Great and powerful? I don't know. That's a lot. I can do one. I don't know about both of them together. That's a lot.

Stephen Bradford Long 04:28 You can definitely do both of them together. You are all of the above notes. So Peterson I absolutely love you and your work and we're here to talk about one of your shows on on rock candy called bubble and squeak. So we've we go back a bit. You know, we you know, we've been doing episodes together about once a year or so once or twice a year. We've talked about recovering from ex gay therapy. We've talked about climate change and now you're part of the rock candy podcast network with your own On show called bubble and squeak, you also produced Bible bash. But that is a conversation for a whole that is a topic for a whole other conversation. It's fantastic. So what is bubble and squeak?

Peterson Toscano 05:10 Well, bubble and squeak is my playground. I love audio. In fact, recently I had an MRI for a back thing. Have you ever had an MRI before? I haven't. Okay, so they put you in this. Oh my gosh, it's like this big giant machine and you're like cramped in there. And they leave the room because you can't have another person in there for some reason. And then the strangest you really,

Stephen Bradford Long 05:34 it really just sounds like you're describing my, you know, my weekend at the at the gay bondage club, honestly,

Peterson Toscano 05:42 well, it is a bit like bondage because you can't move you're just exactly like there. It's the most extraordinary noises it makes, and like a lot of people hate it. But for me, as somebody who loves audio, it was like such a surreal, beautiful experience. And so I love audio, I've done radio on and off. For years, I was actually trained as a missionary to run a radio station in Zambia, long story there. So I have the skills. And I just wanted to push myself and have a place where I can just try new things, radio dramas, playing with sound, all sorts of personal stories, and bubbling squeak became this catch all and the title comes from a dish in England, that's sort of this basic fry, like you have whatever's leftover from the day before you put it into a frying pan, maybe with some eggs, and it's called bubble and squeak. That's

Stephen Bradford Long 06:33 awesome. So in the show, you go through like these different segments, you have three different segments each time. So what are those segments,

Peterson Toscano 06:40 they break down basically, the first one is some kind of a nonfiction. So it's either me telling a personal story of a real thing that happened, and they're usually pretty strange. Or I'm interviewing people, sometimes people from other podcasts, sometimes just a friend, you know, maybe even somebody from a different episode that I did of Citizens Climate radio, a part that maybe I couldn't get out on the regular air because it was just, it was just a little too different for a mainstream audience. So that's the first part nonfiction the second part is almost always fiction, where it's a radio play a monologue, it could be a prank phone call, sometimes to the past, sometimes to the present, sometimes to the future, and some of them are absolutely real prank phone calls. And then the last part is the sound slice. And this is just I don't know, like, you know, people go on vacation, they take photos, I take audio, I bring an audio recorder everywhere I go. And I take pictures too. But I want to like capture the sound of a space. So in the Soundslice part, I just say let me set the scene for you and explain where I am. wherever in the world. I am what I'm doing. And then I play about 30 seconds of that sound.

Stephen Bradford Long 07:50 What kind of prank phone calls have you done?

Peterson Toscano 07:52 Oh, well, the real prank phone call I did was to the sex advice guy, Dan Savage. I I called in character of as this former ex gay who wasn't comfortable with anal sex. And he was told that he wasn't really... he hasn't really re-gay'd himself until he has no sex and really likes it. And so I called in and Dan Savage took the call and gave SSC often does gives an answer that is both wise and obnoxious at the same time. And

Stephen Bradford Long 08:26 yeah, I love Dan Savage. That's amazing. And he took it seriously.

Peterson Toscano 08:29 He totally took it seriously. Yeah, right. It's very funny.

Stephen Bradford Long 08:33 That's great. Okay, I just realized that I have not taken my anti psychotic meds. And so let me do that before the show progresses any further. Okay, we're good. And that was not in fact, a joke people that was actually real, I did actually have I have real mental health issues and I have real meds that I have to take for them and I forgot to take them so now we're good. I will not be on the roof in a wedding gown, you know, with a chainsaw. So what I want to do is play one of your episodes. So this is the very first episode and it's called Naked mugging. It's a very you know, your episodes are like these amazing little short, you know, Productions 15 minutes. It kind of reminds me of like the audio super gay version of Robot Chicken.

Peterson Toscano 09:19 I love Robot Chicken.

Stephen Bradford Long 09:21 I do. I love Robot Chicken. So it's just like these these. It's very like Cartoon Network plus gay in this little vignette. And I think it's brilliant. So let's go ahead and play the first episode of bubble and squeak it is called Naked mugging.

Peterson Toscano 09:40 Hi, I'm Peterson Toscano. And this is bubbling squeak, a podcast with uncanny sounds funny interludes, and stories most weird, many true. Okay, here's episode one. Our show today comes in three parts, part one A true story about when I realized I wanted to live. It's entitled Is that all you got? Part two Supreme call to the past and part three, a Soundslice? Is that all you got? A true story. It was about 2002. I had been out of the closet just a very few years moved to Hartford, Connecticut. I was out but Well, I was out. And I was out cruising, looking for someone for sex. I'll be honest, it was for sex. And I saw this guy that was at this spot, you would pull up in your car and sit there and see people and I saw this guy, he he had a baseball cap slung over his head. He could barely see his face, but he looked grizzly, handsome, and a pickup truck through the various means we communicated. And he agreed to follow me home. I drove worried that he would chicken out. But now he followed me all the way to my quiet street in Hartford. We climbed the stairs, I lived on the third floor. My dad once said you wouldn't want to be drunk on these stairs. They were very windy and twisty and opened up the door to my attic apartment. It's tiny. In fact, he was a bit surprised. And he's like, This is it. I was like yeah, appointed to a chair, Barcelona chair that I had set up in the corner. He plopped down, spread his legs. I went over to him. And I put my head towards his crotch. And I felt him touching my head. But then I felt something hard and cold. He said, This is how it's going to work. He had a pistol at my temple. He said, I want you to take off all your clothes, and then get bags and give me everything that's valuable. I have body issues on a good day with a pistol pointed at me it was It wasn't so hard to get out of my clothes, actually. And I did. And I went through the motions. I took off my clothes. I grabbed a bag, I felt bad. I didn't want to use it. It was one that my mom had given me. But I didn't want to argue with man with a gun. So I began to put my objects and I didn't have a lot actually I had a I had an Apple laptop that was expensive. There was a Bose wave radio. There was yeah, that was about his cell phone had his cell phone. And I put all those things in there. And he then looked at me and says that all you got like, well, I've got this watch. And I did it was a sharper image watch free clean face. And he says no, no, I don't want that. And I was offended. I was like, wait a minute, this is a nice watch. I paid good money for this watch. This is No, I don't want this watch. And I began to pull out other objects, some clothes, some Venya designer clothes now I can't do anything with clothes. And the strange thing is as this took place, I became more and more relaxed, like strangely relaxed because there I am completely naked with a mugger with a gun walking around my apartment and I got calmer and calmer so calm in fact that I could tell he was getting uncomfortable with how relaxed I was how I was bantering with him in some ways as we walked around the apartment. Finally, I had everything packed up that was valuable. And he said, Okay, this is how it's going to work. Put your clothes on and walk downstairs in front of me. When you get downstairs, I want you to turn right and go to the end of the block. Do not look back. And when you come back, do not contact the police. I know where you live. So I did walk down the street. feeling the adrenaline feeling angry, angry that this guy said like I can't call the police. I was like Excuse me You just stole my stuff you can't take everything from me, got to the end of the block, turned around and came back immediately went to my landlord was a gay guy. And I told him exactly what happened. And I said, we need to call the police. What was strange about the whole incident was that I had was so calm. And I realized I was calm. Because I knew I wanted to live. I knew that I needed to remain calm, or else it would be disastrous. And but this surprised me because up until that point, I wasn't completely certain that I wanted to live. There was a part of me that that was so tired from years of conversion therapy from years of living in a bunker like closet that I wasn't quite sure I wanted to live I wasn't going to take my life but I fantasized about being in a situation like this and thought well if it happened, but it did happen. And there was no way I was going to let it destroy me. I realized at that moment that no I don't know what my life is gonna look like, but I need to get through this. Whatever it takes. And that relaxed me because I wanted to Live.

17:26 I'm Eliza heimbach speaking how may I

Peterson Toscano 17:29 help? Yes, I wonder if you carry any tofu

17:33 tofu? Something wrong with your feet? We have ointments. Mom's minimun So what exactly are you looking for?

Peterson Toscano 17:40 It's not for my toe. It's tofu. It's it's a beancurd

17:44 thank God. Hold on. Instead of that of that. Do you have any other beancurd? Ah, I'm afraid not. We have cottage cheese. Oh, we have other dairy products as well. Of course only for pregnant mothers. Nursing Mothers and small children. Do you have any small children in the household?

Peterson Toscano 18:04 No, I'm afraid not. No, not not at the moment. Anything else I can have do it. Sure. By any chance do you carry come Bucha

18:14 come Bucha Manhattan's come Bucha

Peterson Toscano 18:17 it's a fermented tea I think comes from Korea or maybe Japan I'm sorry, it's not actually imported from Japan. It's um, it's a process. I actually don't even know how they make it. But it's like it's a tea thing. All right.

18:36 Well, anything else I can help you with?

Peterson Toscano 18:38 No, that's okay. I'll just look somewhere else. Thank you. Well, they

18:42 have a few other hard to get products. If you've come around after closing commander back asked for Elijah. I might be able to help. You see only watch me

Peterson Toscano 20:38 and now a sound slice. Let me set the scene. It's Manila Philippines right after Christmas. It's a work day, but it's very festive. We're on a tricycle. It's a motorcycle with the lard sidecar. And my husband Glen and I are squeezed into the sidecar. Glen's about six foot three. So he is doubled over. We're riding through the streets, weaving in and out of traffic going past all sorts of stores that are selling Christmas decorations and food. Lim flip flops lots of motorcycles. You been listening to bubbling squeak with me Peterson Toscano I host and produce the show. I make it really just for myself. And my friend Jane, who's not alive but still with me. Their theme song is worthless by jelly rocks from the album bang and whimper. You can find it on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to music. You also heard inside out by 11 D seven from the album read science. You can find more of my work over at Peterson toscano.com. To do videos, blog post podcast. Yeah, I'm involved in some other podcast I host and produced Citizens Climate radio, and I co host the Bible bash podcast with Liam Hooper, check them out some time. And thanks for listening.

Stephen Bradford Long 22:43 I love that. That's great.

Peterson Toscano 22:45 Oh, thank you.

Stephen Bradford Long 22:46 I think what I like so much about what you do is how you're just unapologetically queer, and in like everything you do, and I love how you i don't know i love how you capture these kind of iconic queer experiences for your generation. You're an elder gay, I'm a younger gay, I won't ask you how old you are on air. But yo, whippersnapper. But you know, I, you capture, you talk about a lot of these kind of iconic coming of age gay experiences that were iconic for your generation. Now, you know, hooking up on Grindr is like what my generation does, but it used to be that cruising, no, are we talking about? Yes, we Yeah. You talked about cruising in that episode and how it goes very, very, very wrong. And I love how unapologetic and shameless you are about it. Because I think that I don't know a lot of people still experience a lot of shame about the, the, these gay stories that they might have, you know, and so I kind of feel like your show, and a lot of what you do is just being completely unapologetic about your own gay story, your own queer experiences, so that maybe other queer people who are working through that can listen, and, and connect that to their own queer experiences and maybe feel a little less shame about it.

Peterson Toscano 24:20 Yeah, you know, I know what you're talking about. Because I remember those days that you know, I would, I would go out cruising and then the next day, I would say to myself, or to somebody, I was really bad last night. And Ryan was like, me too. If it's, if it's bad that don't do it. But if you like intentionally wanted to go out and do it, then do it and don't be don't be ashamed of it. It's you know, what's what you want it and I think it's maybe strangers maybe because I'm a Quaker that I've learned to just detach a little bit and just kind of just look at something without judgment without, you know, without a critique and just say, Hmm, okay, so I went out, you know, That night, and I did this and how do I feel about that? And is that what I really wanted? Or did I want something else. And by just doing that help has helped me so much to be much more honest about my behavior and to really be, you know, much clearer to myself, like, what do I really want? And what do I really need?

Stephen Bradford Long 25:16 Yeah, and finding humor in it, too. You know, like, so many, so many of these LGBT experiences for me, I mean, this is cathartic for me. And this might not be cathartic for other queer people. But like, for me, being able to step back and look at some of the most terrifying and tragic and awkward gay experiences I've ever had in my life, you know, conflicts with family, or an HIV scare that I had, or and having to go get tested, being able to take a step back and find humor in that in some way. If I'm being able to find the comedy and being able to just accept it for what it is that it's this incredibly complex piece of human experience that contains humor, but also some heartbreak and also some trauma and also some terror. I don't know, I think that's really, really, really cathartic. So you don't just talk about queer stuff. You have also been a climate activist for the past several years. How many years quite, you know, probably, probably longer than I've been alive, right? No, I'm kidding.

Peterson Toscano 26:28 Yeah, 2013 I started doing climate work. Seriously.

Stephen Bradford Long 26:32 Fantastic. Yeah. So your show is like this. I don't know. I love it, because it's this bizarre mishmash of queer stories, and like prank phone calls and climate activism and sound slices from foreign countries. And I just think it's brilliant. I think it's great.

Peterson Toscano 26:55 Well, no, what's really fun for me is like that story, the naked mugging story, I got so much responses from it. I mean, people were really that like, for them, it was like, chilling, they were like, Oh, my gosh, this was like, you know, they were really moved by it. But it got me thinking about it. And I listened to it again, what I what I recorded, and I thought about all the things I left out, and then later on in a future episode, you know, people then hear me have questions for the mugger. Like if I could go back and talk to him, What are my questions? And and that like that, you know, I don't think I would have thought of those questions if I didn't have that opportunity. I do remember at that was at the same crew spot. I do remember like the really first time I asserted myself as a gay man, unashamedly. It was right after 911. And the spot where, you know, I met this guy, often there were just a bunch of cars sitting there, and people would be in their cars or outside of their cars and, and every now and then the police would sweep through. And so this one time, the police swept through, and I just refuse to get back in my car. I mean, I was fully clothed and everything, but I'm like sitting on my the hood of my car and the Okay, stop,

Stephen Bradford Long 28:07 stop. I'm imagining you just like in New York, on clothed sitting on the hood of your car, just being like, Fuck, yeah.

Peterson Toscano 28:19 I had a t shirt and shorts on these occasions, actually, the police roll up. And you know, they're clearly there to harass the gay man or who are hooking up for sex. And I just said to them, it's like, Don't you people have some terrorists to catch? I mean, aren't there? You need to be investigating. And it was so funny, because they were just so cowed by that. They were so used to guys being ashamed that they just write embarrassed, and they drove away.

Stephen Bradford Long 28:48 Right. Okay, so that really speaks to the power of not being ashamed of our stories as their people. Yeah, you know, and I read a book several years ago about Stonewall and this was, oh, gosh, this was I don't even know how long ago now 10 years ago, and it was when I was just, you know, I was coming out and kind of trying to sort through my, my sexuality, and I decided that I needed to read some books about queer history. So I got this book about Stonewall. And what really struck me about Stonewall and this is, you know, from my, this is just from my memory, and if I am not remembering this correctly, then, you know, someone who actually knows about this shit can correct me, but how Stonewall happened when because, you know, Stonewall was one of those gay clubs where the police would routinely harass them routinely, and, and the the kind of posture of a lot of gay men. And but not just gay men, or just the LGBT spectrum as a whole, you know, queer people of color and trans people and so on, was to just Take it was to just, you know, because if we, you know, out we the queer community, the LGBT community felt powerless in the face of that harassment, and they would, you know, the police would routinely do these raids on the gay clubs and arrest everyone and harass everyone, just all the time routinely. And Stonewall happened when it was primarily trans people, and queer people of color, who stood up and said, No, we're not going to take this harassment anymore. And you know, it was another raid. And instead of just taking it, they fought back. And it was like this, this incredible iconic moment of not being ashamed of our story, not being ashamed of who we are, and our story and our identity. And so, I think that in our own way, whenever, whenever a gay person, whenever an LGBT person or a trans person or a non binary person just doesn't take that abuse anymore, and does exactly what you did. Like, do you have some terrorists to arrest? It's almost like we're, it's almost like we're living our own little mini stone wall over all over again.

Peterson Toscano 31:16 Yeah. And as I was coming out, it just that became clearer and clearer to me. And I realized that if I'm ashamed of myself, I give people permission to treat me shamefully. I mean, it's not about blaming the victim, but it's it's like creating an atmosphere where it's okay, because I'm doing it to myself. So you can do it to me, too. And then right now, I've refused to do that anymore.

Stephen Bradford Long 31:39 Yeah. And in no way is that giving permission to the abuser to be an abuser, but it is, you know? Yeah, I totally hear what you're saying with Yeah,

Peterson Toscano 31:48 well, I you know, one of my favorite things I did with the bubble and squeak comes up later on in a later episode, but it's my grinder Jesus. I was really trying to recreate the sound of, you know, a YouTuber, a young YouTuber. And so like I, you know, intentionally edited it, really with short cut edits, and you know, kind of a different sound quality. But it's this, this gay guy who's goes on Grindr, and he meets Jesus, like the actual Jesus on Grindr. And I'm just, I'm really happy with that. But that came from an actual thing, I led a retreat once for mostly gay male Christians, white, you know, again, who lived with a lot of the shame and they were out, but still, we're so squishy about sex and stuff. So one of the activities I had us do was I said, we're going to create a graph

Stephen Bradford Long 32:43 each other you just the activity that you had them do, sorry.

Peterson Toscano 32:50 We're going to create a Grindr profile for Jesus. And the only way how it's going to work is we can't put anything until we have complete consensus that we agree with every field, like including height and weight and ethnicity. And boy, did they struggle with that. And it was the struggle that was important for them to see because they they were all on Grindr themselves. For the most part, you have to have their Savior on Grindr. It's like, well, you know, you know, people aren't granted for lots of reasons and not necessarily just for sex, you know, like, what is he looking for? And it was really telling and so that got me thinking, you know, and and it got this Chad character to to discover Jesus on Grindr.

Stephen Bradford Long 33:33 That's awesome. I love that. So you talk a lot about your queerness but also your faith and, and your religion, your religious identity. You are a Quaker, you call yourself a quirky queer Quaker. So last time we talked, we, I was like, I need to come up with the satanic equivalent of that, and I think I've come up with a satanic socialist. sodomite. Good. Yeah. Yeah. Do you think that works? We, I, I'm thinking of putting that on my business card satanic socialist automate, or socialist satanic automate. Anyway. Um, so you talk about your religious identity and your queerness quite a bit and in such a way that really indicates that these are deeply though how do I want to put this they are very deep parts of yourself that you that I get the impression you feel like are equally part of who you are. Could you talk some about the interaction between your queerness and your Quaker anus? Yeah,

Peterson Toscano 34:37 well, like lots of gay men who and women who've been through conversion therapy, I was under the impression that could

Stephen Bradford Long 34:45 we back up real fast and just define for the uninitiated what conversion therapy is?

Peterson Toscano 34:51 It's fucked up? Yes. Oh, no, I'm sorry. That's the that's the Urban Dictionary. Definition No, that converts in therapy as therapies and programs and ministries that are designed to try to cure people of sexual attraction and gender differences, and so it's basically like pray away the gay you may have heard of, and I was involved in those craziness is for 17 years where I was deeply pursuing a cure to being gay, which failed gloriously.

Stephen Bradford Long 35:25 Yeah. And we have a great conversation about that, that we did back in like 2017 or 2018, like, eons ago now. But that was a great episode. And you should all go check it out. It is specifically about recovering from conversion therapy anyway. Okay, go on.

Peterson Toscano 35:44 Yeah, actually have a film doing time and the whole mo no mo halfway house comedy, which is so great on Amazon Prime, so you can just check it out there.

Stephen Bradford Long 35:54 It is so great. Okay, sorry. Go on.

Peterson Toscano 35:56 I'm sorry. I'm an elder queer. I forgot what we were talking about.

Stephen Bradford Long 35:59 So the relationship between your urinal

Peterson Toscano 36:03 Yeah, yeah. So yeah, so I was like, under the MIS representation or misunderstanding that you can't be gay and Christian. So all those years, I was trying to crush the gay part of me. When I came out gay, I just assumed I couldn't be Christian anymore. And so I attempted to crush the Christian side of me the faith side of me, and basically package Jesus up and throw him into the closet. I recognize, though, that something was missing for me. And it's, you know, it's not everybody's like this, but I'm just wired for God. I don't know why that is, I my life would be so much easier if it weren't true. But that's just true. And I had to be honest about myself and accept that part of me and find a way to integrate that with my sexuality with other things. And I was so happy I happened upon the Quakers at that time. Because I would walk into a church like even a progressive church with a rainbow flags flying all over the place, I'd walk in the door and see the pulpit, see the pews, see the hymnals. And I would be traumatized. Because of all the years of terror I experienced in places that looked like that. But when I walked into a Quaker Meeting House, the entire thing was set up differently, we sat in a circle, there was no pulpit, there was no preacher. And so I didn't have that experience. And it very much valued, what people had to say and what they were feeling. So if you had something to share, you didn't have to sit there and be quiet and listen to somebody better than you, everybody was equal. And that was really extraordinary. So I found this great place where I could genuinely be myself and, and come out, and that that's been really great for me, and I'm really happy there.

Stephen Bradford Long 37:44 Yeah, you know, even as a as a non theist who's kind of, I would say, mostly left the Christian world, I still love the Quakers. Just, you know, they've they've kind of been on, you know, with the exception of accidentally creating solitary confinement. They've been on the, they've been on the front lines of social progress. And just some of the most wonderful experiences that I've had personally, this is kind of after John and I got together, my partner, John, and I got together and I was searching for a religious home and just couldn't find one. But we did spend some time in the Quakers in the quick in the Quaker world, and sitting in this old Quaker House, in the evening. And it was, it was a bunch of just wonderful kind of Appalachian elderly, people just sitting in their rocking chairs, in silence for an hour. And I don't know, there was some, there was something about and just total acceptance, total stillness. It's like, here's the silence that we're sharing, and everyone is welcome to partake in this silence with us. Everyone can sit in this circle with us. And it doesn't matter what you believe. It doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter who you love. You are welcome to come and be in silence with us. And just sitting with like these wise old Appalachian grandmas and grandpas in their rocking chairs. It was like, I don't know what it was about that experience. But it was just so beautiful and so cathartic for me.

Peterson Toscano 39:29 Well, what I appreciate to about the Quakers is they have been very willing to learn and to change. So like you mentioned, they started solitary confinement and what they were doing in Philadelphia, they were trying to reform the prisons because they were such a mess back in colonial times, where they would have men and women in the same prison and like it was just horrible conditions. So they began to reform and they thought that maybe people need some time to reflect because they found On the practice of sitting in silence, so powerful, but what they didn't realize that you can't really do that by yourself, it needs to be done in a group. And so they came up with this thing that was supposed to help people become penitent. And it ended up really being horrible. But what's great I think about the Quakers is they own it. And so now the American Friends Service Committee, which is the social justice arm of Quakers, one of their biggest endeavors they've been doing for years now is to undo solitary confinement and to speak out against it. That's great. And this has been true in so many issues. I mean, Quakers are known as abolitionists, you know, against slavery, but they weren't all originally, Quakers own slaves. And you know, in the 1600s, early 1700s, and there was this wild young, the wild Quaker guy, who Benjamin lay, who was a dwarf. He was disabled and a dwarf and a performance artists of his out of his own right, and he would stand up in these Quaker meetings and rail against his fellow Quakers for owning slaves. And they just thought he was crazy. But within a generation, they changed. And it came to the point where you couldn't be a Quaker anymore if you had slaves, and if you upheld the slave, and you know, and the LGBT friends have learned this, too, like, it's first it was like, sis, gay and lesbian. And they struggled at first with trans people. But, you know, as early as the, you know, the 90s, they were like, coming around and listening to stories, and, and I find that Quakers in the US of like, the most wildly welcoming places for trans people have enough trans people in leadership. And, you know, and so I appreciate that. And it's great to be able to say, Okay, I totally got it wrong. Let's, let's change this

Stephen Bradford Long 41:43 100% Yeah, and I don't know it. I think that there are some religious communities and some religious traditions that are more mature than others. You know, I think that there are some religious communities that are very toxic and very immature, you know, maybe they're like going through their 13 year old stage, or whatever. And I think we're there toddler's day.

Peterson Toscano 42:08 I think part of it, though, is that like, often, it's like one or two people who are running it. So you only can go as far as that one or two people. But right Quakers like literally, everyone has a say. And if you want to make a decision and pass something if one person has a problem with it, and they say no, no, I feel very strongly a moral objection to this. It just stops everything. And they have to listen to that person. And you know, most churches, most religious places, there's just that CO pastor person who pushes things through. And so it only goes as far as that person. You don't get the body contributed. Yeah,

Stephen Bradford Long 42:45 yeah. Yeah, no, it's fascinating. And I really want to cover more about Quakerism on the show at some point, because just of all the Christian traditions, I find myself kind of resonating from afar, like feeling very kindred spirity with the Quakers. Okay, so it's something that you mentioned a while back, and I want to backtrack to this. So you talk about how later in an episode you talk about the questions that you have for your mugger. What are those questions? What would you ask your mugger?

Peterson Toscano 43:18 Yeah. So all the questions were closed into questions at first, which, you know, kind of showed that I wanted some control. And so it'd be like, you know, were you sexually aroused? When you did this? I mean, was it purely for robbing purposes? Or did you get off on this? Was it something sexual for you? Was it the first time you had done this before? Have you done you know, multiple times? And then I started thinking about the gun. You know, like, had anyone ever pulled a gun on you? Have you ever been shot and the thing I don't mention in the story, when I tell it the first time in Episode One is that the mugger was black. And I don't I don't include that detail when I want to tell the story because I just want it I want people just to think of a person. And I find that yeah, I just find that like with you know, with white people like telling the story. You know, if I say it's a black guy, it's like, kind of changes that people don't listen to it in the same way. So I've realized most of the audience will be white. I just want to say there was this mugger fill in the blank but I but I go back in the second you know, when I asked the questions, and I say you know I didn't mention that you were black and then I think about all of the things that as a black man he could have been facing you know if he was gay trouble in his own family trouble with the with the police, all kinds of things and then even like wondering, like, how did you feel when Barack Obama was elected it I like, like that, that we share all this weird history and I don't even know this person's name. And and I think that's the last question I asked. What's your name?

Stephen Bradford Long 44:52 That's awesome. Yeah. And you know, it's interesting, because when I first heard that episode with the the naked mugging episode I pictured the mugger as, as a white guy who is also gay, you know, and kind of put in I it's funny because I instantly like without realizing it put in this whole different story of kind of gay on gay violence, and, and because over, it isn't as bad anymore, I don't think but it did used to be that there was quite a bit of gay on gay violence. And so to me, I instantly thought of this being a story about that, you know,

Peterson Toscano 45:37 one of my goals with those stories is I want to be as vulnerable and honest as possible. And all of those stories like the, you know, naked mugging, they all start with a question like that. It's entitled with a question. And I think that one is, is that all you got? If there's another one that comes down a little bit later is did you just masturbate? And these are all I was just about to break that one up? Yes. They're all real questions that are part of the story. And that that's, that's an important part of it. And and then I can balance it out with some of the more comic stuff in the the central the middle part of it, the most recent episode I've produced is bigger love, which actually is my first attempt at a radio drama with, with other actors besides myself. And there were two college students who read this play I wrote for, for a big contest that I won. And so they read it. And then I added all the sound effects. And all it's a gay couple living in apartment who they have to take in all of these refugee queers, because there was a big storm and people got displaced, and everyone's just on top of each other, and these two can't get off, because just everyone is there. So there's all these tensions going on. It's called bigger love. So I'm like, I'm glad I have this playground to just kind of do these things and experiment with this stuff. And at the end of the day, I mostly am making this show for me, I want something that when um, you know, just need to listen to something just to calm me down. Like, let me listen to my own episode of bubble and squeak. And, and I also make it a free episode for a friend, living or dead. And I think like, what would that person want in a show? And so really, it's just for the two of us. And if other people enjoy it, that's awesome. But that's my goal is to make it for myself. And for one other friend.

Stephen Bradford Long 47:31 That's beautiful. I love that. And yeah, and so I think that storytelling serves this really amazing purpose. So CS Lewis is credited with saying, I don't know if he actually said this, but it's so this might be apocryphal, but I, he's credit, I've heard him credited with saying, we read stories so that we know we aren't alone. You know, I think that that's why people listen to podcasts, because I think a lot of people out there are really fucking lonely. You know, I think that we're in the middle of a loneliness epidemic. And I think that the human condition has always been one of struggling with loneliness that we have kind of these bodies that feel detached from other bodies and from other minds. And so we're constantly striving to bridge this chasm between ourselves and others. And just having stories out there about weird, quirky, embarrassing experiences. I mean, we all have them or, you know, like we all have, not all of us, but a lot of us have, you know, some kind of sex drive. A lot of us have sexual experiences, not all of us, but some of us. And a lot of those sexual experiences are weird and awkward. You know, just telling stories about that is so good. I'm giggling over here because I'm thinking about that Dan Savage thing, which was comedy, but it was based on a real story, and it's when I first came out after being ex gay for years and having survived aids where we all were terrified of anal sex. I,

Peterson Toscano 49:19 I was feeling kind of anxious because I wasn't felt I didn't feel ready. And so I went to this local, I called it the gay Emporium. It was like this. It was in Hartford, Connecticut. There's a gay store, which sold porn and all sorts of other stuff. It wasn't exactly like a sex shop. It was kind of a weird thing that I don't think exist in the world anymore. I went in there and I bought a marital aid, a prosthetic device. Excellent. And it had the name Samsung, it was called Samsung. So you can only imagine the girth and the leg girth, the girth and With of Samsung, so But then what happened I brought it home and I just totally panicked. And so like, I just gotta left the kitchen table because I just didn't know what to do with it and kind of kept me company through the week. But then finally at the end of the week, I'm like, Alright, let's, let's see what we can do. And, you know, I slathered him with lube and tried to relax. But like, I just like he wasn't going anywhere. I mean, like, the gates to the kingdom were shut tight. I just kind of panicked and like, oh my gosh, maybe I am rejecting being gay. Maybe, you know, but then I realized, oh, just sometimes your eyes are bigger than your anus.

Stephen Bradford Long 50:42 I fucking love that. That's great.

Peterson Toscano 50:45 So through a character that's basically the story I present to dancer. Yeah, just to say like, what do you think?

Stephen Bradford Long 50:53 No. And like, we all have a story like that, like we all for those of us who who have sex drives and and who want to be sexual. We all have, like a weird, awkward coming of age sex story that just makes us cringe when we think about it. And I think just telling those stories is so great. I remember telling, I'm not going to tell this story right now. But I will tell it on air sometime. It is going to have to be a special event. Like, but I remember. So Matt Langston is one of my very best friends. And he produces our shows. And he's the owner of rock candy recordings, and he does all the music for our shows. And oh, yeah, a lot of the show a lot of the music that you feature is from 11 D seven. Yeah. Yeah, he's, he's great. But I remember just we were in the studio together, just working on sound stuff. And suddenly, I think of this story, and I just look at him. And I'm like, Matt, I'm about to tell you a story that no one has ever heard. And I and I told him this story about the most mortifying sex experience that I've ever had in my life. And that is a teaser for the future. At some point. Maybe I'll maybe I'll release that for the patrons. If you guys support me on Patreon. Go to Steve, go to

Peterson Toscano 52:28 when the story comes out, then the story comes out. If

Stephen Bradford Long 52:30 you give me $5 a month, you know, I will. I will. I'll pimp my sex stories out for you. Just give me that Patreon money. All right. So I think that's it. I think I do. Is there anything else that you want to add? Of course, every time I get you on on the line, I feel like we have to make up for lost time. And we can talk for hours. But well,

Peterson Toscano 52:55 you reminded me of something when you said like, you know, people, you know, like why stories are important. And people, you know, are lonely. And you know, there are a lot of podcasts where it's just people, friends talking, like inglorious pastures and a bunch of them. And that's not my style. Typically. You know, I'm really a bit of a loner in lots of ways. I'm much of an introvert, but I, I am experimenting with a new show that might become a rock handy show. Yeah, where it's a conversation between me and a new friend that I've I've developed this friendship and we are completely different people. She's a heterosexual woman younger than me, a born again, Christian. And we got to know each other at the YMCA pool. Because we do water walking, we end up having the most extraordinary and hilarious, weird conversations about life and trauma and the Bible. And we decided to bring a recorder into the pool. And we've begun to record these. And we're thinking of a podcast called the deep end. And yeah, the conversations from the deep end of the pool. And so far, I've got a lot of audio that I've been just listening to and just seeing, you know, are is could this be a show? So stay tuned for the deep end? Absolutely. I

Stephen Bradford Long 54:11 fucking love that. That would be great. Yeah, just and. And when you get the end when you come to a decision about that, definitely let me Matt No, because I think that'd be perfect for rock candy. Yeah, I think I think that'd be great. All righty. Well, I think that's I think that's everything. And Happy Monday, everyone. And I hope your week is beautiful. And I'm so glad that you've spent some time with me and Peterson today, and we love you so much. And as always, the music for this show is by 11 D seven, and the jelly rocks. You can find their music on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you listen to music. The artwork is by Rama Krishna Das, and this show is written produced and edited by me Steven Bradford long and It is a production of rock candy media and as always hail Satan.