What's great about imaginary futures is that they're places of potential, an escape to a place where where everything's better, or sometimes worse. And whatever problems we have today have all been solved. Or maybe exacerbated.
My guest on this week's Sewers of Paris (a podcast about entertainment that changed the lives of gay men) is Charlie Logan. He's the founder of the Pink Parties, a regular series of huge queer nerd gatherings that are timed to Seattle's biggest comic and videogame conventions. Charlie started throwing Pink Parties as a way to find other gays who shared his love of anything geeky, his hope for a better future, and his need to escape.
Because after all, as he told me during our interview, for a time there was a lot that he needed to escape from. In Charlie's childhood he moved from one town to another, and for a time he lived in a rural mining camp with no electricity and a jar of industrial acid over his bed. And even when his family rejoined civilization, his problems weren't over: An authority figure began secretly abusing him, he was deeply closeted, and his dreams of studying astronomy were slipping away as his grades plummeted.
It was the 1993 March on Washington that saved him. When Charlie heard a brief news report about the rally, he suddenly realized that he didn't have to be alone anymore. He mustered up all the courage he could and drove to Spokane, Wash., to see the Pride parade. While there, he met a group of queers who were nerdy sci-fi fans like him, and just like that he could see a future unfolding before him.
Unfortunately, in a misgruided attempt to keep running from himself, he had just taken an oath to join the Army. Now he had to find a way out.