Running a social blog and discovering who the local celebrities are is interesting because what you find is that power is not necessarily confined by social status, wealth or interest, but sometimes by who is controlling what news reaches us, the meager reader.
Recently, Alex and I thought it would be interesting to interview Bil Browing, co-owner and creater of The Bilerico Project, and Ted Fleischaker, the editor of the Indianapolis based gay newspaper The Word. Both were completely willing to participate in the interviews but Ted stated he would prefer if we would publish his interview on raannt instead of The Bilerico Project; and we will honor that request.
Both local media guru's have very different ideas when it comes to reaching the public and although we have our own personal biases we thought it would be interesting, especially to the readers of The Bilerico Project, to get down and dirty with Bil Browning and find out exactly what makes him tick...
We love you Bil...thanks for allowing us to be who we are and never compromise our integrity!
Recently, Ted sought us out to take over his gossip column, feeling that we had a better "feel" for the gay social scene of Indy, but we had to decline, being that what was offered was so small it would be embarrassing to us both. By the way Ted, since you were interested, Bilerico-Indiana doesn't compensate us at all, but neither do they put restrictions around what we can write based on their advertisers needs or their own pockets. Obviously, we don't care whose toes we step on. We just want to be allowed to be ourselves!
1. What is your full name and position?
Bil Browning, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief of Bilerico Project
2. Do you consider yourself a gay role model/leader and if so, why?
I think anyone who's involved in shaping LGBT politics and the future of our movement is a leader. Whether that's taking steps locally to improve our community's life or on a larger national scale, each of us has the possibility to lead; we are our own role models.
3. What is one movie that has drastically impacted your life?
Auntie Mame. "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death."
4. What is a book you are currently reading and what is the last book you read?
Last book read: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
Currently: The Gigolo Murder by Mehmet Murat Somer (it's a Turkish gay mystery featuring an amateur drag queen sleuth - for a review on the site.)
5. What did you want to be when you were 10?16?
A journalist and author. By the time I was 16, I was working for the Palladium Item as a stringer.
6. If you could only listen to one CD for the rest of your life and it couldn't be a mixed CD, what would you listen to?
Mika's debut album. It keeps me cheerful.
7. What is something about you that we wouldn't know by looking at you?
I can't stand talk radio. Most people assume that since I blog and love politics that I must love NPR. I can't stand the constant chatter and would rather listen to music.
8. What is your attitude towards the issue between blogging verses newspapers?
Blogging and newspapers will eventually merge into one media source. As newspapers die off because they don't know how to compete with instantaneous reporting, eventually the two mediums will meld into one beast. Remember, the first newspaper publishers - like Ben Franklin - were much closer to bloggers than what we now think of as newspapers.
9. Who has been your greatest influence, besides a family member or close friend?
Paul Monette - He was an author and poet who died of AIDS in the 90s. I read all of his books as he succinctly, beautifully and honestly detailed his fears, his pain, and his sorrow over losing friends and his partner of many years to AIDS while facing his own mortality. Whenever I write a personal story for the site, I inevitably think to myself, "Is this as honest as Paul would have written it?"
10. If you had to donate $1 Million to the charity of your choice with no stipulations, what would it be?
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force - unlike a lot of LGBT groups - nationally and locally - they actually represent our entire community and aren't afraid to talk about our sexuality as it relates to our health (both mental and physical) plus still working for our rights in the political arena.
11. Greatest local performer?
Vicki St. James
12. If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
13. If you could have sex with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
My Husband-Who-Doesn't-Know-He's-A-Husband, Neil Patrick Harris.
14. Number one item on your Christmas list this year?
A dishwasher - I'm tired of dishpan hands :)
15. Is there an afterlife?
Definitely. I believe in reincarnation so we can continue learning important lessons that make us better souls.
16. Three major political issues facing gay Americans today?
LGBT people need full civil equality under the law federally. This includes employment, public accommodations, and housing protections, the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and marriage equality among other things.
17. The major pop culture issues facing gay Americans today?
Will Ellen kick ass as an American Idol judge and will Neil Patrick Harris realize I've been stalking, whoops - admiring, him and suddenly return my affections with flowers and kisses and a marriage proposition.
18. Any comments on the local Midwest newspaper The Word?
Count articles and then count ads. Enough said.
19. Long or short showers?
The longer the better - and VERY hot water.
20. Boxers or Briefs?
Thanks again Bil...we love ya!