Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Miss Manhattan Hangs Out...with Fran Tirado

Fran Tirado is making his way through a dusty-rose colored cocktail when I meet him at Esme, a cafe in Greenpoint. Dressed in all black save for navy and hot pink sneakers and two small gold chains on his neck, he greets me with a warm hug.

When Fran moved to the city five years ago, he was intent on changing the face of gay media, hoping to make it more accessible, more multifaceted than he felt it was. Now, five years later, he is the Executive Editor at queer lifestyle magazine Hello Mr. and the co-creator of Communion, a queer dinner series and artist collective. His writing has also appeared in Vice, Teen Vogue, BuzzFeed, and Broadly, among countless others. He was honored for his accomplishments this year as one of Brooklyn Magazine’s 30 Under 30. And if that wasn’t enough, he is also working on two books, one a non-fiction book of essays, the other a novel. I’ve enjoyed Fran’s writing for a long time and I love how he’s essentially built a media landscape for himself and others to participate in that is exactly what he felt was missing.

Fran is also one of four co-hosts of Food 4 Thot, a podcast about sex, identity, race, politics, and “what we like to read and who we like to read (their Instagram handle, deliciously, is @GaySlutsWhoRead).” To give you an idea of this podcast, for their upcoming Season 2, they promise undoubtedly hilarious yet intellectual auditory experiences like “Blaming personal downfalls on astrology; Campaigning for a 5th host, Tracee Ellis Ross; Joan Didion-themed foreplay; Staunch defense of the oxford comma.” Of the four, Fran is defined as the “writer, editor, 3rd-tier Gay Mafia card-carrying member.”

Fran and I sip wine and eat mussels with French fries and we talk about the assignments we’re working on. Coming up, he’ll travel Los Angeles for a few weeks in a self-imposed residency, where he’ll be taking time to work on his books. He has already been approached by a few literary agents, so fingers crossed.

Soon we’re heading to Spaceman Sound, where Food 4 Thot records its podcasts. Fran walks his bike over--this is very him, he says, walking his bike while on his phone, wearing what he calls his “Cookie Monster sweater” and an ensemble we decide is called “Park Slope Mommy Drinks.”

We arrive at the studio, but before recording begins Fran has his photo taken by Gabriela Herman, a Brooklyn-based photographer working on a series of portraits of podcasters. She gets to work, in and out in just a few minutes. Soon, the other “thots,” as Fran says, begin to arrive. There’s gossip and how-was-your-day chatter, followed by several bottles of rose. The show sounds impromptu sometimes, but it’s not entirely off-the-cuff--in fact, the “thots” all put in several hours of work on the show structure before each session. They start recording, almost instantly shading each other the way only people who know and love each other can.

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