First Draft Episode #194: Abdi Nazemian
Abdi Nazemian, TV writer, producer of films like Call Me By Your Name, and author of Like a Love Story, The Authentics, and The Walk-In Closet, talks about discovering gay icons in the time before the internet, putting all your obsessions in your work, crying in coffee shops, and writing about history from an emotional standpoint, so we can repeat the best of it.
Links and Topics Mentioned In This Episode
Abdi’s daughter has a PJ Harvey poster in her bedroom, which makes her the coolest seven-year-old on the block
Archie comics were what turned Abdi into a voracious reader
Andy Hardy, Christmas, and movies from the 30s and 40s were some of the Americana that made Abdi drawn to the U.S. culturally
Old TV shows like I Love Lucy were deliberately sexless
Abdi spent so much time reading scripts in his first jobs, he achieved Malcolm Gladwell’s theory of becoming an expert after spending 10,000 hours doing a thing (which Gladwell outlines in his book, Outliers)
Reading James Baldwin makes Abdi “want to do something else,” because Baldwin is so intimidatingly good
Sarah suggests writing a couple pages of your finest Flannery O’Connor rip-off and see how it feels to mimic someone else’s voice
Tehrangeles is the word for the huge community of Iranians in Los Angeles
Alessandra Balzer was Abdi’s editor for The Authentics, and he knew he wanted to keep working with her
The Act Up movement was pivotal to drawing attention to the AIDS crisis
Right from “Lucky Star,” Madonna’s first song and video, Abdi was obsessed with her
Truth or Dare, the documentary about Madonna’s 1990 Blonde Ambition tour
Some queer works that Madonna led Abdi to explore include the historic documentary Paris is Burning, Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, known for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Talk to Her
Abdi is obsessed with RuPaul’s Drag Race
Mommy Dearest is one of the films that RuPaul supposedly gives contestants before they come on RuPaul’s Drag Race
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