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Ronald Trifero Nelson profile

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in [00:00:05] I'm Ronald Thomas to Pharaoh Nelson, born in the mid 50s, in mid America to a middle class family, seventh or eighth generation worked mostly in politics in Washington, DC prior to come into New Zealand, eight or nine years ago. I came here with my then partner of eight years, we were unable to get a he was unable to get a green card visa permanent residency in the United States, in spite of the fact that he was on a diplomatic visa and worked for an NGO and had a masters and money and all these sort of things. They just denied him. And he got really depressed, they got very angry at us as well, let's see what else where else we could go. At the time, there were four or five countries New Zealand and Australia being one one of them, we meet Lee, I didn't want to go to Europe. We didn't want to go to Canada only because it was you know, across the street. And so it was a choice between Australia and New Zealand until one fateful night, we went and saw the film, rabbit proof fence. So that's sort of that's sort of made our minds up, that would probably be New Zealand, if we'd like to place and my father had spent time here during the Second World War, and even had ideas of moving the family here in the 60s. But my mother wouldn't hear, hear any of that. So we came and checked it out and went home and forgot about it until one autumn afternoon in September, as we smelled the Pentagon burning from our front porch, and Washington DC. And actually, I had driven up from working down south and drove home with 100 miles an hour, and we met and we said wouldn't be great to be in New Zealand right now. And that's sort of that sort of set things going. And it took a long time to quit jobs and, and to sell houses and pack things up. And we arrived here. I think it was on the Fourth of July, that I arrived. And Luis came six months later [00:02:23] when you came to New Zealand, did you have any idea of what you want us to do? Or [00:02:28] we chose Wellington because it was the capital and I was a political organizer and had worked with liberal candidates in the US and trade unions and and free speech stuff, women's rights, gay rights, of course. So I always thought that, that that I would be doing that here. I eventually found out it took a long time to figure this out. But I eventually found out that you sort of almost had to be born and bred in a specific party to actually doing work in it. So even though I was told Quite to the contrary, I it took me a while to realize that I was never going to get very far within a specific party here. And and at the time, oddly enough, the bad guys, the National got a got in trouble as a bit of a scandal when it was revealed that they had hired an American consultant. So at that point, I realized well, wow, you know, even if they could, they wouldn't. So I was sort of left high and dry. And I would take these six month contracts back in the US doing union stuff, and come back, which paid very well and did that for a while, but that was becoming tiresome. And then I answered an ad off the big idea. Someone looking for a director. I'd always done theater, but it's been a long, long time. And so I answered the ad and they came to Cuba Street and we drink coffee and they hired me as a director amazingly enough, and it was for a small show that was to be written called onion for French. And it did very well and in the festival and got a great review. And we ended up rebuilding it and touring it on the South Island for six weeks. I'll never forget the timber Harold the review called it a must see for Kiwi aficionados, which is really funny because I had written you know, half a third of the show, and I'd been on the country for about 20 minutes. And it was just really it was great. My favorite review. So it was about a family losing their onion farm to developers in Canterbury. Great, great fun, lots of fun and had a great time with that show. So So here I was all of a sudden doing doing theater again, it was really kind of odd. And did some other things and you know, a performed in Auckland in a show and performed here. And I'd always been shocked when I arrived in Wellington it how how people were really willing to talk about and be disgusted by Matthew Shepard from Laramie, Wyoming who was killed Of course in 1998. And you know, Matt was 23 and very cute and there are lots of photographs of him and just became an international figure for you know, the cause of gay bashing and, and hate crimes. I was here and I was amazed at this this the sign that was advertising coffee, called fags coffee and their little marketing campaign that that year was this TV actor with a cup of coffee to lips insane not as pawns to be as one may think so as obvious reference with you know, possibly being a gay neighborhood and and they're making a pun on faggot or fact. I thought this was atrocious. I just thought that fag is a is a despicable word. And so when the Dominion post called what was then known gap as gap and I was on the board, they called me I [00:06:30] I felt I I told them my definition of fat and where it came from in terms of burning people at the stake and it's certainly not a harmless word. Somebody else in the organization said that, you know, that people were trying to take ownership over that word like queer, I felt like they confused it with queer But anyway, it read to lead to a bit of a Rao. Oddly enough in that research and looking I wanted to make sure how fag in fact it was used in New Zealand and doing a lot of googling. I came upon the case of Jeffrey Whittington being murdered in 1999. And when he lay dying, they they kicked him to death. But the murders told people 20 minutes later that they they kicked the faggot until he was bleeding on the places they never heard of before. So they they use that word faggot in a pretty despicable way. And what happened was, I became really interested in Jeff Whittington. And again, reflecting that everybody was and I'd ask people around what did you think, you know, when this murder happen? And people say I was just a street kid he was just this he was just that just amazed me that this kid in the third month of his 14th year murdered a five minute walk from my house. People didn't sort because most likely he was gay people didn't really gives a rat's ass and as much as they were willing to, you know, jump on the bandwagon and and be discussing over Matthew Shepard in the United States. So I decided to do a play, when in doubt, do a play. And I ended up being called corner for him and then Cuba, and was devised and co wrote with a group of other people and we [00:08:24] opened [00:08:26] about four years ago, I think, [00:08:28] was this the first play that that you'd written? [00:08:32] No, not at all. I devise co rice co devised for him and Cuba? Know, I guess I'd written some before. To think about that. Little things. Yeah. Nothing that big, nothing, not a full length play, not 90 minutes. But yeah, it's important that the other people had a lot to do with with this, this this script, it came from newspaper clippings, and, and and interviews. And we got a lot of publicity just given that and had amazing houses like 96%, just astonishing houses. The family of the murderers showed up, which post a lot of security problems and we had to pay lots of money to to protect our actors, just you know, people screaming in the audience. And a lot of the way it was the best, you know, it's what theater it should be. It was that controversial? [00:09:30] Maybe Could you just talk a wee bit more about how you got the information for the play? And what were some of the challenges in terms of either, you know, finding actors or dealing with families or dealing with such raw emotions, because it happened quite recently and have quite a small town. [00:09:47] Right? Well, from the very beginning, we knew that we would not portrayed Jeff on stage. We also would never say he was gay or not. [00:09:55] We didn't know. [00:09:59] Also, we never used his last name. [00:10:04] The information came from media. [00:10:08] And, [00:10:10] and the transcripts from the first draw [00:10:14] some interviews. [00:10:19] In the last moment, [00:10:21] Pru Kelly at Wellington High School was able to give me the speeches that she gave to the [00:10:28] to the students on that day. Phenomenal, amazing speeches. [00:10:36] That was so correct where that was so right at the time. She was she was wonderful. And, and some original music. And I hired the musician played right below my balcony on Cuba Street and a guy named Steve. He was a busker. And I knew that I wanted to sort of put it on Cuba street because this was last place that Jeff walked from the bar down on the corner, he went up here and took a right so Cuba was a was an important thing in in his life. So I hired a chief street Busker and first and foremost, and then I put an ad in big idea and and got probably 10 people interested in performing it was about Jeff that that brought them to the show. [00:11:27] Did you have any contact or connection with him? [00:11:31] Yeah, I had to. [00:11:36] I had to get some sort of approval. [00:11:40] The then artistic director of bats insisted upon that. Even though I didn't legally [00:11:49] I didn't need it legally. So [00:11:53] it was a [00:11:55] fascinating research project that brought me to a phone call with Jeff's dad who was serving as a volunteer. Through that agency, we have New Zealand, whatever that's called, he just had was an accountant and I tracing down and he was serving in a tiny Himalayan state. And I forget the name of it. Not too bad, not to Paul. But But. And you know, God, what do you do you ring up and you say, Hello, my name is Ronald. I'm phoning from Wellington. Oh, hello. I'm a playwright. I'm a theater maker. And I'm very interested in doing a play about Jeff. And you can just you could just hear this guy's heart stop. We told each took deep breaths courses, long distance telephone to, you know, third world and and he said, okay, eventually, or in another phone call. He said, Okay. And then I made contact with Jeff sister, who came to Wellington, and we interviewed here in this very room for four hours. And those tapes still exist. And because the family, the mother divorced the father, like any situation, there were various opinions about the show. Her mother goes on, like, Jess mother rather, goes on Wikipedia and rewrites things all the time and things like that. And she's certainly able to do that. She, she, she thinks that we inferred that Jeff was gay, and she doesn't want to accept that. That's okay. So there are you know, there's every once in a while, I'll get an email somebody saying that I made money off of Jeff's death and, and things like that. It's not very pleasant. But his sister eventually came and saw the show soda, Jeff's dad sat in the back and applauded loudly. At the end of the show. We portrayed the murder three different ways in that we wanted [00:14:08] because no one knows what happens. [00:14:11] Except these guys did it. Was it you know, they were they were aligned to some some white supremacy groups. They were drunk or high? Was there a sexual component to the murder? So we've traded the murder in three different ways and gave the the kind of the audience a choice. So it's pretty good show in terms of the style and the ideas and what we were trying to portray. I think I think it stands up. I haven't watched on videotape in a while, but I would think that it would stand up. It [00:14:50] It was very difficult show to do. I wasn't [00:14:54] in retrospect, I, I, you know, someone needed to take care of me at the end of that run. And there was no end because I was strung out. No one was there to take care of the actors either. And we just probably needed someone to sort of debrief us a little bit. But as it turned out, the the cast was on stage crying their eyes out on the last performance. And [00:15:16] yeah, it was [00:15:16] a real tough show. [00:15:19] And you were saying that some of the family members for the murderers were actually in the audience as well. [00:15:26] Yeah, what a bizarre thing, they told me that they were going to come and I said, Great. And I said, we'll need to meet in the bath office, [00:15:37] you know, half hour before the show. [00:15:41] And they did. And I set them down, I explained what the show was going to be like, it would probably be very difficult for them. I told them where the lines came from, and the dialogue and pointing to all these references that we had. And I said, I will not put up with any outbursts from you all. And there'll be a security guy, I will be sitting with you all. And they'll be security guy right beside me. And that's the deal. They agree to that. A hells bells? Can you imagine what it's like to sit with the family? I put myself there because it's my responsibility. But damn, you know, I had worst eyes of a theater. But nevertheless, it was it was a tough time. It was a really, really tough, tough time. And [00:16:32] yeah, it was it everything went fine that night. But [00:16:39] the [00:16:41] consequently the, you know, I mentioned something about Wikipedia. Some of the actors have routinely going into Wikipedia and taking their names off because they want to don't want to be known for having done the show because they're scared of the of the murders. That and even even as we open and we were putting the program together one day, I tried to not have his name on the program. So [00:17:05] yeah, tough times. [00:17:08] It was good. How did the families respond after the performance? [00:17:16] Jeff's dad fled. He didn't want to talk to me, and that's fine. [00:17:21] I can understand that. [00:17:25] Jeff sister, [00:17:28] arrived, intoxicated and had to go home halfway through the play. [00:17:36] I sent her an email, I don't think she responded. [00:17:41] His friends. [00:17:44] There's lots of people in town, you know, even now he's putting [00:17:49] his 14 and 1999 so that making you know what 25 right now. So there's lots of young people out there that went to school with Jeff and, and, and and knew him well. And every once in a while I run into him, you know? [00:18:03] And, and [00:18:06] someone's just saw the show and we're deeply moved by it. Yeah. And his teachers in you know, and his neighbors and you know, gay community probably I never I never got you my business plan for that show. I imagined half my audience would be gay. It wasn't my like 10% such a small town you can look at 100 people and you know, you know, identify or your employees gaydar to figure out who's who's a homo in the house or not, but so you know, that's pretty easy. And yes, less than 10% shocking, shocking, shocking. Little bit to do with it being a bats and just quite not passionate for most some homos but, but nevertheless, it was really shocked that they were not my key audience. I had done a thing on are unsaid and, and with nine to noon and and that brought in a lot of people plus there's a piece in the Dominion post, but I had people there in their 80s and people there who were 15 so it was it was a massive cross section of the community. [00:19:19] Does that play still affect you? [00:19:23] Jeff still affects me. [00:19:28] In what way? [00:19:29] Well, I every time I go past him for lucky place if I should be walking up there or somebody just bought a flat over there. I was talking to him about that. And I said well, of course it's really close to where Jeff Worthington was killed they tore down the gas station used to be I couldn't walk past that place where the gas station was and that's where he's essentially gotten the car with with with the guys that used to move me every time. But you know, the bucket fun and we can hear it as we speak now. I mean, that's where Jeff drink out of the night. He was he was murdered as a joke, you know, so he's, he's sort of everywhere, you know? Yeah, there's some strange kind of ghosts like stuff that was happening right before I started rehearsal for the show and met somebody when I went to mass who walked up out of nowhere and sort of knew who I was and told me that they had had visitations from Jeff who assured me that he wanted the show to go on. [00:20:38] What do you do with that? Say, okay. [00:20:43] But yeah, that actually [00:20:44] happened and sort of bizarre stuff like that. And and these people weren't crazy. God knows I know about crazy but they you know, they weren't nuts. So you know, it just it had a [00:20:57] the show had a had a [00:21:01] really, really community based a lot of people in theater didn't see it, they'd heard about it, but you know, I hadn't had those kind of contacts at the time. And it's always amazing when I meet somebody who saw it I haven't met somebody at the bar the other night and [00:21:19] they started talking about it like [00:21:21] I saw eight times you know, and I they said stuff that I'd forgotten so yeah, it still affects me it's it's it's it's it's a pretty good work. I don't know if it ever can be done again just given the ins and outs of who wrote it and who didn't write it and those sort of things but um yeah it's a it's [00:21:40] a the [00:21:43] there's a trailer from it on the website at one point we thought we're going to be able to toward this way fair this trailer and god you know that that alone the trailer alone looks looks damn good. [00:21:55] The reviews [00:21:57] were pretty good to excellent. A few swipes here and there. But nevertheless, I mean, it was just to me so when I approached say Brickell, about mates and lovers, I had to say that, you know, in spite of my goofy accent, I've, you know, I've dabbled in this sort of world before. And, and a lot of ways mates and lovers a lot easier to approach and say, you know, Jeff, Whittington, and and and his murder, so maybe that endeared myself to to Chris, I don't know. [00:22:31] Even though in the play, you're not saying that chief was either gay or straight? Do you consider the play as a queer theater? How would you define it? [00:22:45] Well, it's a play about queers. And [00:22:49] Jeff's sister was convinced that he was gay. And many his friends were how many 14 year olds in 1998 99. We're ready to come out. I mean, it was sort of a different world even even 11 years ago. [00:23:09] But [00:23:10] given his journal and his diaries and things like that, Jeff sister always always thought he was gay. A queer theater. It's queer one in terms of it being an outsider talking about an outsider, Jeff had purple hair pink fingernails and and was an outsider and he was an outsider who was killed not too many people gave a damn. It's you know, that's that's part of what clearness is his there was a lot of talk of, of of gayness in the show. And that made it queer. I don't know about it being queer theater, I think mates and lovers is is more queer than than corner for him and Cuba. [00:23:55] Yeah, [00:23:56] but what's, you know, once again, what's queer? I mean? [00:24:00] Would you know, with the pink cardigan sweaters who straight as an arrow is pretty queer. It depends how you find that define that is a gay lesbian target to believe for for fini. Yeah, sure is. Yeah, Ben, bud. But a play I did about a man in the 60s sort of coming out in the 1950s reflecting on the change on a film. That's pretty queer. Yeah, um, but I probably didn't want to use that label with corner for em and Cuba. In that I wasn't completely writing it. And as a producer and director, I think I produced it. I think I did. But I needed I most of people in the cast were straight. And there would have been some sort of political problems, small piece political kind of problems with using that word. At that time. It may be different now. But my stuff now is certainly queer. Yeah. [00:25:09] Just going back a few years, so to the mid 2000s was the much queer or gay and lesbian theater happening in New Zealand. [00:25:19] Uh, in my travels, whether online or in person, or whatever I can, I think I have a grasp on the stuff that has been done in the last 20 years. Original stuff is, is few and far between. [00:25:36] A lot of feminists stuff was done [00:25:39] in the 90s [00:25:42] here in town, 80s and 90s, hen's teeth. I think it was called, I think, but I have the queer stuff. The original core stuff is is few and far between. There's productions of Rocky Horror, there's two you know, you and I talked about the play band has couple productions of that in town here. They're doing rent in in an Auckland as we speak. There's been productions in Hamilton and Christchurch. [00:26:16] Yeah, that's about it. Not Not much. [00:26:18] And I say original, because that's, to me, that's the stuff that counts. Anybody can take a play off the shelf. And and, you know, Torch Song Trilogy. [00:26:33] And, you know, do it and you know, that's pretty easy peasy. [00:26:38] Doing an interesting and engaging ways another story, but new stuff, I would say, very little in the last five or six years. [00:26:49] Do you find yourself gravitating more towards kind of queer theater storylines? [00:26:57] Yeah, because, you know, it's, it's the undermined gold mine. I mean, we're talking about a group of people that have been around since prehistory, and no one's bothered to write much about them. You and I were talking about the the the survivors of the Nazi attempt to exterminate homosexuals during the Third Reich, and how it all came out in the 80s. And by the time it did, most of those guys were dead. So there's a lot of experiences out there and a lot of lives that have been lived in a fascinating and amazing way that no one's talked about. [00:27:39] In in New Zealand, it's [00:27:43] it's particularly interesting, because it's not as [00:27:50] paradoxically [00:27:55] what's a good word, it's not as confrontational as say it was in the US and, you know, the religious right in the 1980s wasn't, you know, suggesting that they quarantine fags and put them on an island in the middle of the harbor, there was a little bit of that, but it was it was far more subtle here. And, and a lot less confrontational than say, in the US. But nevertheless, people's lives were lived in the closet or in misery because of this social standards. And I there's just a lot of good stories. And there's, there's a lot of fun this too. I mean, it's it's a it's a community awakening, for instance, just last about a year or so I saw a group of one x in in, in Auckland by some young practitioners, who were who were Asian. And that sort of thing was happening all around the other the rest of the world back in the 1970s. And maybe that came and went in, in Auckland. But nevertheless, this was the first outing for for these folks to to begin to talk about what it's like to be Asian in Auckland or New Zealand. And that's important stuff. And so what can we call it constituency? theater identity politics theater, I don't know. But nevertheless, it's, it's [00:29:16] it's a lot of stuff out there. [00:29:19] Chris's book is, you know, 400 pages with heaps of photographic probably could have been 800. You know, and, and, and people. He's an academic and and this was one thing that he was interested in, and there could be a volume to volume three or whatever. I don't know if they'll ever do it. I don't know if he wants to spend that sort of time on this project. But there's just heaps and heaps of stuff out there. [00:29:46] Chris's book. Might some lovers came out a couple of years ago. How did you what were the challenges for you working on a text that was by a local author of living local author? [00:30:00] Well, the story goes, and it's true that I, I was at a conference, a friend of mine got me into a conference about queer linguistics down at the train station. And I was writing a very, what I thought was a philosophically fascinating and wonderful story that had lots of sex in the play. And it was sort of going nowhere fast and except the sex stuff and it was raining like hell out and I was on a bus and had my iPod on. And all the windows were fogged up, I got out of the bus. And by the time I realized where it was the bus had bunker down the road. And I was standing in front of unity books. And it was pouring down rain. So I said, I'll dodge the dodge the rain by going in the unity books. I knew Chris's book had been released. I hadn't seen I walked in, saw it, I saw the cover, flip through the book and said, I can do a play on this. That simple. I just knew that everything was there. It intrigued me the photograph, like many people intrigued me the photograph of the two guys. We named Corey, we named Ben and Toby on the cover, and just that, you know, the the homoeroticism and the chairs turned backwards and touching knees and on and on and on the different classes. The one guy with a boulder one guy with with sort of a working man's sort of garb on all that really fascinated me and and I just always knew that the component of the play, it was that easy. So who in Hell's Chris Brickell, good old Facebook. So I go on Facebook, and there he was the sort of cherub looking academic from, you know, so I emailed him and eventually called him and, you know, probably the third thing I said to him was, and I want to do a play by your book. And he says, fabulous. [00:32:05] What a pushover. Fabulous. That's what he said. And [00:32:08] he was happy as a pig and shit, and, and continues to be, and [00:32:15] came and saw the play nervously. But just [00:32:20] just had a great time. He took his parents, you know, from hot [00:32:25] and, and they came and we went out for drinks afterwards, and he's autographing books and my actors to have a book. So they had the script, and he autographed my script, which pissed me off. [00:32:37] I'm kidding. But yeah, he was just, he was just great. And he, he, [00:32:41] he harassed me for weeks wanting autographs of the, of the of the actors and on the programs and things like that. So yeah, he's been great. He's been great. He, his his, his, his boyfriend, his partner does work at the Globe Theatre in Dinesen amateur Theatre Company. So Chris, Chris likes theater. And he's looking forward to the to the new show. [00:33:08] There was so many wonderful stories in Chris's book, how did you, I guess, focus in on particular events? [00:33:16] Well, you have to come up with a formula and G. That's what I learned at school, and how I wanted to approach it. Sure, there's lots of great stories. And there's still, there's lots of stories that I didn't touch. And there's a real reason why I didn't touch them. Or the the formula I came up with was framework of using bits of gender theory explained in Chris's book and elsewhere, of almost social homoerotic homosexual, and I use those terms to divide the show up in thirds. And in terms of the homeless social was these guys posting on the cover in an 1884? I'm sorry, 1884. Yes. And then homo erotic came in 1930. Something and the thing I wrote was one guy had lost his dog. And there was just a really erotic quality of that. And the last one was in 86, or 87, after law reform, and it was it was that was a homosexual element. What I did was move it chronologically through through history, and worked with the phrases becoming a sodomized becoming an Oscar becoming a poof, becoming a queen becoming a homosexual, becoming gay. And then at the end, there was this whole element that I had to rewrite and work on the idea of post gay as well. Never says becoming queer. So I use the words they called us to define different sections in the book and wanted to find scenes that somehow demo in demos, those those elements, so there's a real formula. And when I didn't find the scenes, I I made them up. Or I used real elements like the the Cantonese scene with the Chinese gold miners and Otago. I mean, Chris mentioned one line about how the miners use the abandoned minds to test sex. And I took off on that. Eric McCormick, there's a little bit about Eric McCormick and I wrote him into into scenes. It was just the the bits on Law Reform for instance, I knew all those guys around town, you know that. So I thought if I start mentioning people's names or specific actions, I knew I didn't want to talk about what was happening in Parliament. I don't want to drink it down to friend while counting up votes and all that sort of stuff. I knew I didn't want to go there. So what I did was some some original research about [00:36:00] this business of [00:36:03] stealing bricks from work sites and wrapping them up and sending Salvation Army that did and and and some of the speech of the drag queen, you know, that I wanted to just distance myself from from law reform. [00:36:20] Nothing about civil unions, and that was probably intentional. [00:36:27] I think if I eventually do anything about that, it'll be kind of little snide, maybe. [00:36:32] I'm thinking, how do you make a character queer? I mean, there's in the languages of in the motions. What are your thoughts on that? [00:36:44] I think queers use language a little bit differently. [00:36:47] I think they speak slightly differently without putting stereotypes like lists. [00:36:53] That could be a quality of pretense in the accent. [00:36:58] Gay men were [00:37:01] leaving New Zealand droves in the 60s 50s 60s 70s 80s 90s, you know, they would come back from London and have a posh accent or, you know, they'd come back from LA and have an American accent or something. So there's something always slightly different about them. It's, it's the way that you can bring somebody up on the phone, you know, bloody Telecom, and you say, who I gotta, you know, you just know that right? And, and so there's that quality, and obviously, who they are, what they're doing on stage. I think queer men are always willing to take a little bit of a risk. And they'll say things that maybe they shouldn't. And they'll play little games sometimes. So they think they're funny. My my actors who are decades younger than me, were always shocked at my sex jokes. And that's pretty typical for gay men my age, when in doubt, there's you know, joke about you know, a forefoot dick or a for instance, for instance, I was talking to a bartender the other night, and I pulled out my ASB. f poss card to pay for beer. And I thought I was clever. I held up the ASP card, and I said, you know what ASP stands for? And I said, Americans are sexy bastards. without even thinking about this guy says no, it means you have an asshole the size of a bus. Great, great, funny, cool humor. And it's something that's been around for decades, right? It's that it's the, you know, and this guy has, it's a standard sort of queer joke. And when I used in corner for em, and Cuba was he's about as tight as the mountain Vic bus tunnel. So another one that has real authenticity in Wellington, in mates and lovers was Willie's overwhelming. And that's the cruising place up on Mount Vic. So all these are real, you know, all these are little in jokes that that homos tell each other maybe before the internet and before you know, queers folk and things like that, but, you know, Eddie minority any [00:39:10] tribe will have their own jokes. [00:39:14] And, and those some examples of those, so I always think that, obviously, the gay guys are just slightly more funny. To me, I was at a party the other day, and, and, and somebody was there, and they made these incredibly elaborate cupcakes. This is so queer, made these incredibly Disney characters on them. And that seriously there? It's so gay, other like 20 different Disney characters. And I heard these two old farts behind me say, one says, Oh, you're so clever. And the other guy says, of course, he's clever. He's gay. You know, which I thought I thought that, you know, that's really interesting, you know? So whether we work or to these stereotypes or born with those attributes, I don't know. But nevertheless, it's a it's that's I think we're queer character comes from beyond the the the limp wristed stereotypes that are not too funny. Drag Queens and that sort of thing. [00:40:23] So when you're working with actors, how do you get them to play queer without falling back into those stereotypes of like breasted actions? [00:40:37] I guess I think as Sam doing, I forget the character's name. Towards the end of the show. He's were with Mark who's on the street. And they're, they're handing out condoms and cruising at the same time where the old Public Library used to be, and I'm the character that Sam's playing, is it is obsessed with superheroes. And he, he goes moon walking across the stage and says, you know, we're, we're, you know, we're armed only with latex and love. And it's just a Sam always, he says, You didn't write this for me, did you? Of course I did. You know, because I do love it. But it was just, it was just an intergenerational thing about a very sort of spunky, naive kid. And, and, and, and a much older, wiser, well worn out gay man. So who shoves them into the Boggs if you remember? So they sort of knew those characters. And they were they were written within the lines that you know how I how I wanted to maybe I wish I could think of another example where [00:41:49] look at [00:41:51] Percy it well in the sea cliff. asylum in Otago in in 1890. Something. He's a young man, I think he's 19. And he's been thrown in the loony bin for kind of harassing a younger man of 15. And all those lines that were in the show, were in Chris's account. And he had done that original research. So the lines itself were just so impassioned that it was, it was reasonably [00:42:27] it wasn't much guesswork and building that character. [00:42:33] Yeah, I'm thinking, I wish I remember the show. [00:42:38] But probably that happens in the writing, as opposed to the directing and the acting. thing, you know, the drag queens were wonderful. For instance, if you remember the ones in Christ Church, and this happened, where these drag queens would be in Cathedral Square, and they would call out two guys that they had had sex with, getting them to do to sign a petition for law reform 10 years before his past. And it is it was, it was wonderful, and that seems going to be expanded. And [00:43:13] I guess in those lines, [00:43:17] I was just thinking about the [00:43:19] a look, there's a sailor and and the other one says, Oh, yeah, he's Turkish. And they're sort of cooing over this sailor and, and one of the drag queen says, We speak both Greek and French, and which is an old gay joke, and, and just recycled and, and, and brought the house down. And he you know, he would he would gesture to his mouth and to his to his but it's those sort of things that you know, they're in the lines and and once I explained what was working the actors cottoned on to it really well, sometimes they wouldn't get the jokes because they're not old enough. You know, they they just sort of wouldn't get it. I mean, I had to explain with Judy Garland meant to queer culture, for instance, which was fun and you know, these guys well, you know, we're all you know, Sam and two or three other people with the show we're all sort of enrolling in our excuse the pronunciation of this are Mario are a class a one year certificate that we're all diving in together and we'll be having a potluck meal every Sunday to to study this stuff. So we can we can all learn together and become better at this and talk a top pulley issues in terms of the play but but you know, these things you know, Sam's learned a lot, you know, it's, it's, you can stop on the street next time you see him and just, you know, poke him on the shoulder and say, you know, tell me about gender theory and listen that and lottery for him, you know, yeah, it's great. So [00:44:52] the research of the show is, [00:44:55] is is probably where the characters come from. For instance, I spent last week all over the internet looking at beast gelati sites, because I'm doing a seat about sheet fucking this guy, this Australian guy picks up one of the actors on the way to Wellington, maybe he's coming to celebrate Law Reform or to demonstrate in one of the demonstrations and the guy picks him up, he has a broad Australian accent and it tells me how to fuck sheep I you know how to get some gum boots on and how to pick the right kind of you and going to know all the proper farm talk terminology. Once again, it's a real broad, nasty Australian accent and finally, it's going to let the kid out and [00:45:35] he's gonna say [00:45:37] slow little, you know, there's not many people around here if you don't find a girl, you remember what I said about you know, the sheep and the kids gonna say, Well, actually, I I don't do girls. I'm gay. I like men. And the Australian farmer is going to be completely disgusted and revolting. Say that's that's perverted. That's disgusting. How dare you, God that's against the laws of nature and God and you know, that sort of thing. So you spend a week believer not looking at Zoo feel, Leah, for BCI quality sites online. It's just kind of places that, that this job takes me hard to explain to your friends, what do you do all day? It's amazing and discuss the world by the way. [00:46:18] So just speaking of things like perhaps decency laws and putting stuff on stage, have you encountered any problems or challenges with things like the physical nature of you know, gay actions or skin on the stage, [00:46:39] it's always important and that [00:46:43] as people on this planet, and as the minority, we're always we see a lot about heterosexual sex. And their relationships and the world revolves around them, you know, constantly and it's their world so but they don't know too much about us. Sometimes I like to keep it that way. But nevertheless, so there are some things that made some lovers that I wanted to demo about gay sex and that was important to me. So the the the wanting a new way affair with the mayor and [00:47:23] so various I can't remember these characters days. [00:47:27] Yikes. The whole incident with the mayor being extorted by this guy, and and it ends up with a blowjob in the in the gallery and Sam, throwing his arms left and right and button isn't his shirt. In fact, it's the very shirt I'm wearing. Now. I hate to say this, but you know, I found it my closet the other day. So the very short I'm wearing now. He unbuttoned at me and he became this crucifix thing. This is my body. You know, and and how we, you know, the What's his face. So it was it was really a graphic scene and there's a secret secret theatrical technique of making sounds gurgling and gagging like you're sucking dick onstage. that's a that's a trade secret. I won't tell you But nevertheless, it was certainly effective. And, and and just scared the shit out of me. So it's in rehearsal. I have my hands on my face. I'm saying, Oh, god, what have I done? And so watching it on stage and hells bells, Sam was into it, you would have thought that he was he was cream in his jeans? You know, it was just astonishing. And yeah. Yeah, he was going through those lines like that. It was It was shocking. And and, you know, you could have heard a pin drop. But I wanted to say to people, yep, this is how it works. And Yep, that can happen. And that's the way we do it. On occasion. And just like that, you know, standing up five minutes, maybe for the there was another time where they were they were but fucking and Sam was sitting on Can't I think. But they had their clothes on through that. So the only time that they were naked is when they were in the bath together. And people are naked when they're in the bath. I didn't want to exploit these guys. And they're in their underwear a lot and [00:49:27] but [00:49:30] people did well with the nudity, and I felt it was completely appropriate and worked really well. [00:49:37] Maybe just talking about the actors and actually casting queer theatre. What are the challenges of casting a queer theatre production. [00:49:48] This was, this was particularly hard, I used the model of putting an ad and big idea and and and at the time, I had a far different approach to the show where I was going to use seven men, five to seven minutes. And that's how the show was going to be. And I wanted lots of different ethnicities. And really just, I forwarded an email around audition notice to everybody in this country and probably outside of this country. And the day came and I showed up at toy. And I had my production manager there. And my lighting technician, everybody was there to help with forms and pencils, and photographs and video tape and all sorts of things. And three guys showed up. Three guys who were all [00:50:36] too young, undertrained. [00:50:39] And kind of ignorant to the whole project. I nevertheless audition them and audition them. Well. The one guy said halfway through the audition. In this show, will I have to kiss a guy in every scene? And I said no, but you'll have to suck cock. was very funny. I think I've waited decades to be able to say that. I think that you know, it felt so good. So yeah, this is my world, buddy, you know, so he didn't get cast. In fact, none of those guys got cast. And I had already cast Sam after working with him in another little project. And Kent came along who had done some pilots of the of the show prior and it became a two man show. So I went home and I thought how am I going to get out of this? Because of onion onion was a two woman show and was successful in I'd had a lot of experiences of two people shows on stage. I thought I can do this. At the time toy made me keep a journal of my experiences. So I journaled the hell out of all this and the the axed and the despair and the horror of having dates and having two guys and you know, I really had to get my shit together and rewrite the whole day and play for two guys. Shocking, in the, you know, I'm looking for another actor. By this time, people will know what it means lovers is a commodity. It's on videotape. I can I can show them things and we'll see how I do nudity in these See how I do sex and, and how the show is going to run. And it'll be far easier. I think. So yeah, I'm looking for a new guy now. And I think it'll be easier. I'm sort of waiting for him to come to me. So, which sounds a little absurd. But, you know, I've learned not to have open audition. So it was important for me to because it was such a community based show that it was that I really wanted to open up to the gay community for people to get involved and didn't get that. Not at all. [00:52:50] What do you think only three people turned up for that first audition? [00:52:57] Thought it was an odd scared them. You know, and I think I'm a bit of a taskmaster, but probably have that reputation. And yeah, things in this town, are you it's shoulder tapped. And if you have open auditions I think I've I've sort of formulated this afterwards. It's Sarah says that you're not you don't have your shit together, you know that you're out on the street begging. Quite the contrary. I wanted to get more homos involved. The guy I told that story about kissing and things like that wasn't Dean straight. And so his the other guy was more quite willing to take his clothes off which was the exact opposite sort of person I wanted, you know, so that was all very funny. And you know, I think he's like a junior stripper or something. But yeah, it's a it's a nudity is a funny thing. And it has to be used really sparingly or has no effect. So if you remember the the scene, these guys, Sam, Karen Kent, from upstage, downstairs, naked, and you don't even you don't even see the crutches is was lit in a way that I didn't want to expose. I didn't want to exploit them. very next day, you know, on a blog here in town, somebody's talking about you know, Sam's weenie, like it was a, you know, public. Something talk about online, but you know, it's a risky take, you know, it's disappointing. [00:54:32] So, would you cast straight actors in such a queer theater piece? [00:54:41] Yeah, sure. You know, [00:54:46] they'd have to learn a lot. And and catch up and, and, and [00:54:51] they'd have to be really open. We were doing a small piece of it up at Vic for one of my classes, and I'd ha asked one of the undergraduates to run some lights for me. And after the blowjob scene, he shouted across the room, he says, uh, Ronald, I, I kind of felt something after that scene, does that make me gay? I said, No, it just makes you human. I said, it's, it's sex, you know? So? Yeah, it's, it's, it's, it's these guys, Sam and can't had this overwhelming sense of, you know, they had a really solid sense of responsibility. I mean, we, you know, I, we talked about first time, these stories have been told, and these are people. And these are our brothers stories. And, and, and, you know, they had that resting on their shoulders, you know, and it was, it was remarkable. They, they worked hard. It was a hard show to do, you know, 30 odd characters. I mean, you know, it was it was a hard, hard show to do. And, but they, they felt that responsibility, and they rose to that occasion. Yeah. If they had a spirit, it's a little show that could. So they had a real spirit about them that didn't have much to do with me as the writer and director and producer, it. You know, it was empowering. It sounds so cheesy, doesn't it, but it was empowering them. And, you know, they took off on it. It was It was great. It was great. And they'll it'll continue to be great. I mean, you know, it's a show with two chairs that we can take the ideas that we can take it to a bar, we can take it to downstage, we can take it, we can take that show anywhere, and it'll continue to be like that. [00:56:44] Do you think actors maybe didn't audition because they would feel a stigma for for from doing a queer theater piece? [00:56:55] Now No, there there are other pieces in town were straight people playing gay people. It's but the roles the roles are few and far between for gay people. So [00:57:09] I don't think it's the dilemma comes up much. [00:57:14] to like, Johnny Depp is a queer pirate. I mean, I mean, we're not we're not at those. We're not in those those those sort of competitive situations. So it, it's not gonna affect anybody like that. [00:57:25] You know? Do you feel that you will be pigeonholed into just being a queer playwright? Is that how you see yourself? No. [00:57:35] No. [00:57:38] There's this guy in New Zealand, who's written a book about people down on the South Island someplace who believe that they see moose out in the bush. This fascinates me. And, and he's written a book about it. So here are these. He goes out and talks, these people who've seen these muses. And that just knocks me I said, I hear that message. I could do a play in that in 10 minutes that that's easy peasy. Just the moves conversations are the most monologues I mean, this is great shit, right? I mean, the same thing, I think mo is to I want to believe that there's lots of people out there who think they've talked to MOBAs it's not about Moses, it's about the kind of people that want to talk about that sort of thing. And where that takes that journey takes you that interests me, so are, you know, there's, I have two three projects in my head ahead of me, and they're all they're all very queer. But also, this is this is kind of a niche to, and I've got a look at that. It's a way to some people say it's limiting, but I feel like it's, it's, you know, it's, you know, there's a lot out there. Yeah, I mean, and that's what fans is all about, you know, fabulous socks, Arturo New Zealand is to be able to, you know, it's becoming a charitable trust, and which will make things easily easier financially and, and be able to support other gay stuff, you know. So there's, you know, there's some practitioners out there, the goal is to eventually have a Theater Festival here in Wellington, once a year, which would, you know, it sounds big and fantastic. But, you know, there's three or four theaters in town, we coordinate their schedules, and we have new season seasons of new shows once a year and get the practitioners from all around the country. It's not like queers, or unknown in the theater world, right, because, you know, every other one is gay. So it's, it's just that we've never had a place to call home here, at least not in this decade, or the next decade. So that's, that's, that's, that's a goal. That's an idea. [00:59:51] It was interesting, though. earlier on, you're talking about corner from Cuba? were you saying that the majority of the audience appeared to be straight? How? How do you see your audiences? What what what audience are you targeting? [01:00:06] Well, you know, Mason lovers. [01:00:11] Because my mate was the was doing box office [01:00:17] who's a homo? And he knows, [01:00:21] because he was on box of he talked to everybody that saw the show and gave him tickets, etc. You know, he gave me some really solid numbers. And I agreed with him. So my, my audience for mates and lovers was about 40% gay male over 40 and the rest believe not the next demographic were dykes. Who would have thought that, and then the, the, the other 40%, were [01:00:52] typically [01:00:54] over 30, but rarely did anybody come in their 20s to see my show, which is weird. And I would have thought that these 225 year olds during the show would have brought them in and didn't happen. And it may be different in Auckland, and we're going to be working the clubs up there a lot and doing, you know, doing launches and things like that. I think the season will do well, one way or the other, I'm just trying to get younger, queer people engaged in theater, I'm trying, I'm trying to I'm trying to, you know, they guys in the 20s thinks that they invented cock sucking, I mean, it's, it's, you know, it's, it's just astounding, like, like any young people anywhere feel like they're the first people to do anything. And, and I just sort of want to tell them that that, you know, they have a history and a culture and a tribe that they can be proud of, and be nice to know a little bit about it. So. So I'm sort of after that demographic, and that that could be that could be a challenge to get. One, when we were making this show, this first time around is to rant about, we wanted people to come in and walk out. Having learned a little bit about New Zealand. I want a gay people to walk in and say wow, we're here. We're queer. We always have been, you know, but it's still primarily a kind of New Zealand history. This next season will be far pointed with things that happened here. For instance, you remember the American [01:02:48] Marines [01:02:51] who go up on Mount Vic and have sex with who tell that story? it you know, they came down Cuba Street, you know, but I'll probably tie it into the, the manor steep street riots in 1943. I'll mention that in passing. So there'll be chunks of history that that I'll be able to, that the audience will be able to relate to. It's like, we're here recording we always have been I mean, somebody I think somebody you know, within shouting distance of the signing the tree we're out in the bush doing dick, you know, I want to think that I think it happened. So, yeah, I mean, all those guys getting together, Hey, what are you doing out to the siding out of I don't know, what are you doing? So you want to go look at these carvings? Yeah, let's go. So I'm still thinking that I that I want them to come in and, and walk out as having to learn a little bit about New Zealand. [01:03:43] Do you have any other observations on audience reactions? What you know, how did how did people react to one goes, I have made some others. But but also the Jeff Waddington play as well. [01:03:56] I misjudged corner for him and Cuba. Because I, [01:04:02] there is a bit of a liturgical thing going on. [01:04:07] Where I wanted the actors to walk out of the theater and lead the audience with them. And I couldn't do that because of security reasons, then the actors were terrified. So it ended up with me outside of the show. Giving people programs I wanted to give them programs after the show nothing worse than sitting in a sitting in a theater and watch people rustling through a program of fucking play road and they're reading the goddamn program. So, so just given the spiritual quality of mates of corner for him and qubit and that they started outside and it was a procession thing about it and everything else. So I was outside giving them the program. And I was particularly bubbly and you know, glad the show was happy. I, you know, I was I had beat people up and I was trying to give them a program. A lot of them. They didn't know who I was, but a lot of them would would deny it. Or they you know, they were they were blown out. They were shocked. They were exactly where I wanted him to be. Trouble is. I wasn't able to see that at the moment. Foolish me, mates and lovers. I was joyous. Now, I've been in this town for a while. And I've hung out in the bars. And I have watched famous drag queens, members of parliament, famous old drag, walk into pound or whatever. But when Sam and Kent and I walked into s&m after opening night, I mean, people applauded us. I mean, it was, it was shocking. I've never seen that before. And I kept I kept on looking behind me thinking there was somebody behind me. It was just really it was feels very funny and and and what that was about, and Mako and Scotty, they come over this massive bottle of champagne. And everything was really funny and wonderful. And and what that was about, they weren't applauding us, but they were applauding the stories. No one came up and people came up said Nice job, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But it was it was a sense of ownership immediately, for this stuff that that astounded me. They felt I was just a conduit. And that's exactly what I wanted them to think that that's the beauty. Oh, I just put the shit together. You know, and that's true, you know, and these guys just did it, you know? So it was just, you know, it was astounding the immediate sense of ownership. And nobody's ever done that. Imagine that you've lived your life, you know, decades on this planet in this country. Nobody's told your story. So there were just riveting moments. I think about the line. Martha, the drag queen says, I feel like I feel like I'm still in the army, but I'm on the other side. And I can't tell anybody who I really am. Like, I'm part of the resistance. A friend of mine gave me that line. And he described that's how the way he always felt. And so to hear that on stage, another one was the two guys after the last photograph during the homosexual scene where he can't he's really struggling. He says they're talking about sending out the photographs to the relatives or something. And, and Sam says something like, what if they can't deal with it? He says, well, they'll have to deal with it. We're legal now. And Sam says no, we're just not illegal. Right. And as a homo, as a gay man, I think that kind of insight is because I'm gay. And, and, and, and, and, and not to also I just didn't want to, like, kiss the ass of the people who gave us law reform and saying all Yeah, gee, you gave us basic civil rights. So you're just you know, you're just a godly human being, you know, I so yeah, that's why it was there. There was something there was, it was acknowledging that but at the same time, you know, there was a little bit of a twist, you know, so you know, I may do the same thing with with civil unions. Not everything's in the same thing with the with that whole litany of hate crimes and homosexual panic defense at the end of the show. People will not walk out of mates and lovers think everything's happy and homo land. I don't want to portray that. I mean, this stat I heard on No, it's on news on your website, a gay young men are 14 times more likely to commit suicide. Astonishing, astonishing. Not everything's happy and homo land. You know, things are much better than it was 30 years ago. But nevertheless, things are not great. And and that's part of my job to [01:09:08] how easy Do you find it to GIFs mainstream media coverage of your work? [01:09:15] Well, Horan said wasn't interested in this time, even even though you know, Chris had been interviewed by Kim Hill and things like that. Yeah, they didn't return phone calls. I didn't try with with Fairfax or Dominion posts or anything like that. My, my stuff was everything but mainstream. It'll be slightly different with this new season. I think I'll probably really be striving forward. Because this shows bigger and it's going to be you know, we're looking for this to be a big show. By by my standards. It's not you know, it's not Miss Saigon. retitled it's a god this walk a new way or something. Great. But now it's a funky new way. So it's not it's it's, it's, it's so I'll probably have to court, mainstream media a little bit more. And I tried to get on that Good Morning Show. And, you know, they didn't return phone calls. So it's because of Chris's book winning the Montana I thought I had a hook there. And [01:10:18] we probably need some [01:10:22] really straight. People going to see the show and seeing if they liked it. Um, the reviewers did that. And they're straight. But they also it's funny, they also commented about the gross sex. Why was a gross? Because it was queer sex. That's what made it gross. And that sort of shocked me. I this show that I, you know, I saw the other night, the reviewers said, there's gay sex on stage, or simulations of gay sex on stage. Well, not sex, gay sex. So that makes it even worse, doesn't it? You know, you know, so, um, [01:10:59] yeah, it's gonna take, it's going to take [01:11:04] this, this new show, it's going to have some, you know, kind of people who are mainstream and, and have bigger names, and I have associated with the show, I think that'll bring some of that mainstream attention. But I think it deserves a little spot on 60 minutes, or, you know, I, you know, close up, they spent, you know, Avenue Q i saw in New York 10 years ago, and people think, you know, and what's it says, I'm close up Mark sands very sort of talks about it. Like, it's so avant garde, you know, and here's rent, it's never been to New Zealand and, and, you know, are we are we able to handle it now? And just this ridiculous shit, you know, I saw the show 12 years ago, it was a long time ago. And meanwhile, [01:11:47] you know, they just kiss so that kind of [01:11:49] shit. American For God's sake, you know, I mean, here's the stuff in their backyard. And you know, that is that is vital and, and, and not my show, but many, many shows like mine. Vital and reflecting culture is doing the job they should be doing. And of course, they get ignored for some flash production of Avenue Q some direct from New York and the Weston a shit, it's a company they put together in Sydney or, or, you know, Saskatoon or, you know, la or someplace, it's not the New York production. So I can rant and rave about that all I want. But, you know, my show costs three beers, the equivalent of three pints For God's sake, just come and see my show, you know, that I sweat it on, you know, for two years, and you know, and it'll be much the same way in the Auckland season. We're talking, you know, if I fans maybe I should say that costs 100 bucks, and they'll come running, you know, because there's a whole sort of element of being posh and cool and sophisticated and rich. Maybe I should do that. But I won't. But there's, there's, there's, you know, people that didn't come see the bats because I think it was bad. You know, if it gets into another theater, you know, that's flasher, we'll see how that goes. They went and saw a play I truly hate called. [01:13:09] Well, what's the name of boys in the band? [01:13:13] I saw that play when I was 17 years old and scared and back into the closet into the stereotypes and the hatred and the bitterness and the bitchiness the horror of it all on Oh, boy, I'm not going there. For a lot. It took me a long time to get over that play. Yet, because of the name recognition, every fan tunnel inside. [01:13:30] And it's not a very good play. And anyway, [01:13:35] Angels in America, a truly great play, but you know, it's now what 15 years old. And my point to all this is that mates and lovers, like many plays in Wellington are, well and Tony and so New Zealanders are practitioners, theatre makers, you know, they're they're writing stuff, and it's, it's spitting out of the printer, and it's been given to the actors are rehearsing it. And it's a pretty fucking wonderful scene we got going on, and we're doing our job once got to ask if, if the audience is doing their job as well. [01:14:11] I was interested, when you're saying about as a 17 year old seeing boys in the band and how it's getting back into the closet? How do you I mean, do you feel you have a responsibility for a 17 year old? Seeing your work? To take something positive out of it? Do you do you think along those lines? [01:14:31] I think there's, there's too many. [01:14:35] You'll hear this, you'll hear this from old farts and Wellington, those boys, those kids don't even know, they don't know what we struggled for back in 84 and 86. And, you know, like it was, you know, the French Revolution or something. And, and that's true, and they never do, but that's part of being a kid. You know, it's probably what my dad said about the Second World War. You know, it's, it's what a kid is about? You know, it's what do I guess with my show in that its history, I want them. There's just so many positive things. I mean, if you tell them what Wellington was, like, in 70s, and 80s, it was astonishing. It was a far more fascinating and wonderful scene that it is now I mean, a drag queens that would walk up and down Cuba Street, oh, a friend of mine, we were talking once and he was talking about, you know, he was showing me some amazing underground photographs of, of a cabaret sort of thing in the in the 70s and 80s and Wellington and I said, [01:15:35] so what do you think? Did it How did it stop? Was it law reform? [01:15:39] No. Was it HIV AIDS? No. well made, what wasn't, he'll say, shipping containers, shipping containers? He says, Yeah, when there weren't shipping containers, the boats have all these sailors on it, the sailors brought in the drugs and the pornography and the s&m gear and, and the sex and the costumes and the drag. So he said, one left, everything got really boring. fascinating, fascinating. And it's, it's that kind of world that I would like to maybe it's our heritage is who we are. I mean, what makes it fun. [01:16:17] The final question, we talked before I actually started recording in and I asked you, if you had three wishes for the queer, creative community in New Zealand, or even just the queer community in New Zealand. And I was wondering if, if you had time to reflect on that. [01:16:38] The queer creative community, in terms of theater, I guess I can talk to you about, I think some of that is happening. I mean, we just had a little Art Gallery show up the street, which is pretty interesting will be interesting what the outcomes bring out. There's a, in other places in this, I always say this. I just had a friend emigrate here from LA, gay guy. And I said, you know, in LA, they'll have the gay man's poodle club, they will have the gay man's Porsche club, they will have, you know, so so we just don't have that sense of organizing here. And that sense of [01:17:19] content continuity. [01:17:22] When I came here, I started queers gone Kiwi. In fact, I started it before I emigrated, knowing that that that there would be a need for that. The people get together faithfully every Wednesday night, have some beers and and, and, and some of these folks is to the main circle of friendship for the last five or six years. It's astonishing. And that's, that's really endured. So it's, it's, I guess, what I would like to see is, is an understanding of our identity and guarding against assimilation, civil unions, adoptions, if HIV AIDS went away tomorrow, would we just be the average middle class sort of folks down the street who sleep with the same gender? Will God help us because we're far more interesting than that? We're, we're, we're our own people. I've a friend of mine who says, Don't forget, they still hate us. And they do. They could pretend that they don't, whether they vote in Parliament with us against us, or they can pretend that they do when they're reading a newspaper or talking to the queer relatives or whatever, but in the end, they are disgusted by us. And we need to remember that and [01:18:45] be on guard. [01:18:48] My My wish is that, [01:18:52] that the tribe, [01:18:54] even in small town, like Wellington, you know, be nice to each other. [01:19:01] A little less racist, and [01:19:04] a little bit more supportive of the things that a few people are trying to do. [01:19:12] Ronald, thank you. You've been so generous with your time and your thoughts today. So I really appreciate that and thank you for allowing us to document that

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