Ghost Stories and Gay Things with Jen Curcio

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

On this episode, we chatted with comedian, storyteller, and podcaster Jen Curcio - co-host of A Touch from the Past podcast, featuring ghost stories and historical facts...with a splash of sass. Jen gave us the low down on what makes effective storytelling. She also told us some of her favorite haunted stories - did you know the Bat Man of Echo Park was a thing? Spooky! Her podcast, with co-host Clark Canez, was featured in our Metrosource article "10 LGBT Podcasts We're Listening To"...just in time for Halloween!  

On a more serious note, the discussion turned real as we talked about domestic abuse in same sex couples and how it often goes unreported due to the fear of homophobia from the police and judicial system. Jen, being the good storyteller that she is, told us her own struggle with same sex abuse in a very intimate and candid moment.  

You just never know where the conversation will go! ...with your host, Alexander Rodriguez 

This is metro source minis, the official podcast to Metro source magazine and home of short form interviews with your favorite personalities from the lgbtq world and beyond. Quick, Fun and informative. It's metro source on the go, out in proud since one thousand nine hundred and ninety. Well, hello, hello, hello, this is metro source minis. I'm your host, Alexander Rodriguez. During this quarantine, we all crave a little touch. Well, how about a touch from the past? I'm chatting with Jen Curcio, the Co host of a touch from the past podcast featured in our metro source publication podcast to listen to, and this podcast is one part history and one part spokey a Lark. Along with Carquinez, Jen explores the history and ghost stories inside the variety of buildings and often find that history is scarier than any haunting. Hello, you go, ghosts. Jen is a master story teller, or do we say Mrs Story Tailor? I don't know. She is originally from Philadelphia, but lives and loves La. She's a winner of the moth and can be seen performing around Los Angeles at the upright, Citizens Brigade Theater and pre pandemic. She Co hosted the copper still comedy hour. Please welcome John Carsia Heng Gum. Hey, thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to talk to you. Guys. No problem. So let's been wearing flannel. Who Knew? Like I had, you are fought on. Thank you. You know, I called my Halloween Flannel. I feel like the colors are a little bit more spooky. WHO's okay? So you are a star storyteller. There's clips on youtube that everybody can check out and you've appeared at so many value venues, the lighting audiences with your many, many stories. Now, how is storytelling different from stand up? I mean, besides the obvious, but how was that kind of medium different? Well, it's funny because I really tried to do stand up sometimes, but it just like...

...doesn't I don't know it does. It for me doesn't translate. I admire anyone who can translate and go between storytelling and stand up, but I feel like stand up it needs to be a little bit more set up, punchline, next thing, and for me it's like I'm all about that story, so I can't I don't know, I just I mean definitely more jokes, but I my stories are still pretty funny. I mean I think, yeah, no, they are very funny, and it's the way you present it that's so entrancing and funny and captivating. Now, what are the main components to good storytelling? I would say having a good structure, so like the setup, you know, getting everybody to know the characters involved. You know, even it's for me, it's always a true story, so it's like you kind of have to paint that person who's in the story and then get into the meat of it, like get into like what happened, and then the climax, like lots of details, lots of adjectives, lots of possess and I always like to kind of have like a moral to it, like I don't go heavy handed with it, but I like to be like and, you know, a tie in some way, like and then I learned this, but not, obviously, I wouldn't be like and then I learned this. Yeah, now what is what's one of the favorite stories that you love to tell? I would say one of my favorite ones, it's it was like a growing story because basically, I it's this embarrassing, but I had a huge crush on this this woman in height wall, I say woman now, but this girl in high school and I ended up getting into art classes because she was in art classes, and then I was like I really like art. So then I end up going to the same art school as her, the all girls art school, and I know, I know,...

...it's crazy, I'm embarrassed, but I was telling this story on stage. So this is how the story evolved. I was telling the story on stage about a year ago and this guy in the audience jumps up and goes, is that and he yells her name. Oh my God, like actually yet, like from the stage. I'm like yeah, it actually yeah, and he's like that's my cousin. I need to talk to you. She's married to a trump supporter. I need you to fly to New York and break up that marriage. And I'm like rescue are yeah, and I'm like, Nona, that's the crush is over, like I'm not going to take it. So that stupid creepy level, like I was creepy enough. You're like, I'm I'll follow her and change my whole like education, but I won't fly to New York. Okay, okay, let's talk on touch for the past podcast. When did your obsession with like ghosts and and history and hauntings? Where did that come from? I would say it probably came from when I was a little kid. My cousin got me really into the horror films super early on, like as a four year old. I mean I always like obsessed with Freddy Krueger, like I wanted this Freddy Krueger Doll so bad and my parents were like leave that in the house. Four year olds are not supposed to be walking around with that. But and then it's kind of like once I got into school, like my favorite topic was history and then I started to kind of like put the two together, like history's kind of scary, like, yeah, we're missed up, stuff happened, you know, I like you know, there's so many lgbt owned podcast out there and I like that this is a little break from the politically and socially aware shows out there, which there's definitely a need format. I'm not saying that, but this is like a fun, juicy extra curricular delight. You Do, you do add a little gay sensibility to it, though, don't you? Oh yeah, I'd say so. I mean I can't help it. I'm just so gay. Now, what's one of the scariest stories that you've talked about on your show? Who? I would say definitely the Batman of Echo...

Park. Oh yeah, because we're mostly in La. I mean we live Clark and I live in La. We met in La and so we like to cover places we can actually go to. And the Batman of L Echo Park. It was so creepy because it was this like this kind of like middle aged straight couple starting in Wisconsin and they moved to La and the woman had a secret, like attict lover and he would come down when her husband was away at work and so she actually put him in a crate and moved him to Los Angeles with her. What. Yeah, no joke. And he was seriously her like secret addict lover who would creep down every day for sex. And it was so funny because he actually got published, like he would type. This was one thousand nine hundred and thirty three. He would type up stories for magazines for publication and she would run them down to the publishers and get him published. Oh my God, it's so creepy, so creepy. Right. So the husband, she and her husband are having an argument, he heard it, crept down, grabbed a shotgun and killed the husband, like for sad story at the end of things. But then this woman was like such a like manizer, I guess you could call her, because she just like got ju new boyfriends. One was an attorney and one was just a rich guy who like continue to fund her lavish lifestyle. And so the attorney represented her in court during the case against the murder her husband and she got like she walked away, like straight up walked away, and then the attic guy literally walked all the way to Canada. ha ha ha ha. That's insane. It's like force gump meets, I don't know, like a Perry Mason episode. Like that's insane. Yeah, it was so wild I couldn't believe it. And this house is just in Echo Park with the super creepyatic still oh my God, can you go visit it or no?...

Is it? It's still house? It's like three different apartments, so you can go inside. But I was okay, park like always gets close to knocking on the door. I was like, Hmm, let's not. It's a pandemic, all right, and not to change the mood, but this is this is something that that we had want to discuss. Part of your storytelling is being authentic and totally open about your life experiences and you have talked very openly and you and I have had conversations about your experience with domestic abuse. First of all, domestic abuse in same sex households is rarely, rarely talked about. And why do you think that is? Because it's happening. Yeah, it happens so much, I guess. I think. Well, for me it was part of the the issue was like I didn't know it even existed, like I didn't know it could happen. So when I was going through it, I had a lot of denial because I'm like, well, we're both women, like how much harm could this and I think a big issue is how much harm could really happen if it's two people of the same sex, like, are they really going to kill each other? priably not, and I think that's like when I talk to other queer people who went to get restraining orders, because that's unfortunately what I end up having to do, a lot of them said you probably won't get it because judges look at you two and they see two people of the same sex. Of a similar size and they think, well, what's the worst it's going to happen? I'm going to deny this. So I was fortunate enough to have a good network of people to talk to, but I think that's a lot of it is just people just not knowing, like what could really happen and people not talking about it. So that's why I try to talk about it when I can. Well, I'm glad you do bring awareness to it because, like I said, it is happening and I think it's still this idea of feminine versus masculine, like Oh, boys will be boys, you know, they'll fight with each other. or it's the opposite. It's like two gay guys, what harm can they do? Like they'll just have like a bitch cat fight, and then it's like, Oh, two girls, I...

...mean girls can't fight girly girls, you know what I mean, and it's like this weird double standard of Feminine Versus Masculine. But it does happen and you know, and there's emotional and and physical abuse. But I think maybe it's because also, you know, we tend to kind of hang out in the same circles, you know, the gays and the lesbians, whatever, and so these circles are small and it's like, you know, when you go through a breakup, that's hard enough, but some thing, it's domestic abuse. I mean that is so serious. I think it's it's people are so afraid because it's going to damage what their little circle or, you know, their bubble of friends. Yeah, definitely, I think. And that's the thing. I kind of just stayed quiet about it and just try to like gently walk away and unfortunately the other person kept going with it like, I mean, this isn't that terrifying, but the one day I opened my front door and she's just there and I lived in a pretty gated difficult to get into, like I had the key. I'M SID struggled to get in and she's just standing there and I'm like so now, how was your experience with law enforcement and even the judicial system? Did you experience any homophobia? Well, I would say I was fortunate enough in the court system when I got the restraining order, that it didn't they were not homophobic. The judge was really good. He was very understanding and even when I heard, because you're sitting there like all day listening to everybody's Court case, and seemed like he really liked listen to the facts and he seemed like he had no bias about anybody. And but as far as basically, I never there was one physical situation where I got physically harmful and I didn't call the cops. For one thing, I was super shocked that it was happening and I was also kind of like myself, like with the little bit of that stigma, that stereotyping of like well, it's just a woman, like what's two women?...

Like, what's going to what's the worst it's going to happen? And I was also deeply embarrassed. I mean that's that's a lot when someone does that to you and you know, you're thinking, oh, we're in this good relationship together and it's shocking and you don't want to talk about it to people. But so I didn't call the police. And so what ended up happening was the other person appealed the restraining order eventually about after after about a year, and the appeal was actually one by the other party because they were like, why didn't you call the cops? It like hearing. They're like why didn't yeah, the COPS, and I'm like, well, for one thing. Have you've seen the COPS? Like that's what I didn't call the COPS, but also like I didn't think they would take it seriously. And there was one instance where when I had the restraining order, I heard someone kind of like piecing outside of my apartment and it freaked me out and I couldn't see. They were like pacing at an angle where I couldn't see who was out there. But it was in the same like heavily gated apartment building and I got a frantic phone call over facebook from that person's other x and she had actually gone. The Person I had the restrain or against went to the other other x's House that night and was like banging on the door and like screaming. So I was like, I'm pretty sure that's her out there. So I called the cops and they were just kind of like well, can you just open the door and see, and I'm like God, I don't want it's crazy. I'm calling you because I'm scared, and they were like well, we're not going to come out for that, then come like call us again if she gets in your home, and I'm like calling that, but it could be too late. Yes, I was like you guys. You guys don't do much like. I hate to say it, but now, well, I'm glad that you're sharing your story because I think, you know, the more stories like this that are shared, I think a lot of people will come forward or the realize that with the aboost abuse that they're going through in their relationship is serious and should be treated as serious. Yeah, now, as a storyteller during quarantine, during covid you know, you're...

...used to being in front of a crowd, getting that kind of energy and feedback from that entertainment side of Your Business. How have you been dealing with quarantine, shut up in your house with all these stories to tell? Honestly, I've been reaching out to relatives, talking to like aunts and uncle's, like Oh, get a load of this, and then they're telling me their stories and it's honestly, it's been so much fun because talking to relatives, because they have wild stories too. They really do, and like that's something I hate to say it, I hate, I kind of hate to sound ages, but I want to call myself out and say I didn't think about the wild stories they might have. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, that that is definitely for sure, and what do you think your stories will focus on? Right after quarantine, like the very first time you're in front of an audience again. What kind of stories do you think you'll be telling? Well, I honestly I started writing all of my stories and like one massive Google doc because I was thinking like maybe this would be good time just make a book of all my stories. Yeah, well, I've been kind of crafting the more so I think I would probably like some of the stories that I've told before that I never thought it. Would like a more socially aware spotlight on them. So I think I would do that. I well, I love it and I can't wait because I do love your stories and for our our audience, you can check out some of the stories. Are on Youtube, by the way, so you can you can take a little a Pek. Okay. Are you ready to play rapid fire? Yes, okay. What celebrity ghost would you want to hang out with? Definitely a stell getty. Okay, what ghost hunt is on top of your list to visit? Oh, the Veliska axe murder house. Where's that? It's an Iowa. Let's go. It's so creepy. There was like an axe murderer in their attict. I don't know why I'm so fascinated by the addicts. Oh my God, yeah, close those addicts. Wait. So he this...

...guy lived in the addict and he just crept down and killed everybody. He didn't live in there. They think that he just they because the the owner of the house was like a wealthy banker. So they think that it was maybe like a businessperson that got denied a loan from this guy. Or they even think that maybe the axe murder. Do you know the x man of New Orleans, the the guy who killed people if they didn't play jazz? No, fine, what is going on? Don't have axes. Nail those attic shut. That's all I have to say. But axe murder in New Orleans? Who would? He wrote like long letters, he killed a few people and then he started writing letters to the newspapers saying like, if people aren't playing jazz live, Jat gizz jazz bands in their houses, I'm going to creep in there and axe murder them. So I got everybody hired jazz bands and had like big parties one night to avoid getting killed. So they actually with him, going all the way up to Iowa and because he this guy, the murderer end up going. He would go up into the attic and he like crawled out after they had like a whole day, like a daylong church ceremony, so on Sundays. So he crawled out and killed the the whole family. But the creepiest thing was he covered all of the mirrors before doing it. It's so there were souls couldn't escape and and and come back and haunt him. Yeah, yeah, okay. So what's that is creepy? What's The scariest date that you've had? Who? I would say it wasn't super scary, but I went on a date with my doppelganger and that is weird. That is weird, but I wasn't even aware of it until my friends were like, like I would, I would show photos, like this is her, so I'm going out with like in case, you know, whatever happens, anything weird happens, like this is who you need...

...to look for. And my friends were like that's just you, and I was like wait, what and they're like that looks just like you, and so I wasn't creep down. So after I looked at like what doppelgangers really are and like how some they are. It is we see a lot in the gay community. It's like Oh, pretty boy dates pretty boy. It's like Ba rain. Okay, the worst, the worst Halloween costume you ever wore. You're like, Oh God, that was a bad costume. I was, you know, Fried Green Tomatoes. Yes, of course, hello, I'm gay and I like that every day. I was happy Bates character when she wrapped herself in the Seringa. Yeah, I, like almost two people got it and I went to work like that and like the office, everybody was like what, is that even appropriate for work, and I'm like yes, appropriate for words. Frightening to those and baby Tawanda about. Oh that that makes my day. Okay, what location would be most likely see your ghost at that? You would be of horrified for us to find out. Like sizzler, my ghost would be around sizzler said we need more potatoes. Yeah, MMMMMM, probably panera bread. I love that. Okay, and the bread bowl. Yeah, that's so. I could see that. Okay, tell our audience where they want, where you want them to find you follow you listen to everything. Yeah, okay, so a touch from the past. PODCAST is available on Apple podcast spotify if you just google it. And you can pretty easily find it. We're also on instagram a touch in the past, at Instagram, you know, and then for myself, I'm on Instagram at Jen Curcio. I love talking to I literally we could share stories forever and ever, and I had the opportunity to guest on your podcast to tell my super scary story. So you guys make sure that you...

...listen to that episode as well. Thank you so much, Jen. Thank you. Have a good Halloween season. Yeah, bow, that was my pressure of the gay goes. That was JEN Courcio, and that is our episode. I'm your host and lead writer from Metro source, Alexander Rodriguez. You can follow me on Instagram at Alexander is on there, and you can binge listen to all of our episodes featuring your favorite celebrities from our issues and online stories. And until next time, stay true and do you boo yeas girl. That has been another metro source mini like share. Subscribe on your favorite podcast player and check out the latest issue of Metro Sports magazine on newstands or online at Metro sportscom. Follow us on Facebook, instagram at natural source and on twitter at Metro Sports Man. Until next time, he fast,.

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