Interview with Leigh Holmes Foster and Ellie Brigida of @lezhangoutpod from @kleffnotes

I have been a huge fan of Lez Hang Out ever since they first dropped an episode and with season two kicking off recently I asked if the two fabulous hosts of the series, Leigh Holmes Foster and Ellie Brigida, would be willing to chat with me. Thank you so much to the two of them for their great answers and make sure to listen to their podcast every week for some great queer content.

Could you introduce yourselves to our readers?

LHF: I’m Leigh Holmes Foster, I’m a 31-year-old lesbian living in the Bay Area with my wife, four-month-old, and pupper.

EB: I’m Ellie Brigida, I’m a singer and producer from Boston and a lover of all things lesbian.

How would you describe your podcast, Lez Hang Out?

EB: Lez Hang Out is a podcast by lesbians, for the LGBTQ community, about lesbian life, love, actresses, creators, and culture. We are a place to amplify queer voices, be your gay best friends and discuss all of the heteronormative movies and TV shows that would have been so much better if they were gay.

What inspired you to create the podcast and where did the name come from?

LHF: This whole podcast was literally dreamed up during a phone call while Ellie was stuck on a layover once. So many things came out of that call: the name, the theme song, segments like Lez-ssentials and the Should’ve Been Gays…

I can’t even remember at this point how the name came up, but it just felt right. We wanted a talk-show-style podcast where listeners could ‘hang out’ with us and where we could cover shared life experiences and interests of queer communities.

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You’ve mentioned this on the podcast before, but how did the two of you meet?

EB: Leigh and I met at SheSings (now WeSing), a festival thrown by the Women’s A Cappella Association. I was there teaching and Leigh was there working as a festival volunteer. I was there with my girlfriend at the time and Leigh made it pretty obvious she was gay so we both did the thing you do with other gay people, that head nod and then the oh you’re gay too? Let’s be friends! We all went out for lunch together and I’m pretty sure Leigh and I never stopped talking about all of the little high school baby gays and how excited we were for their lives, every gay TV show, movie or bit of gay culture and it just never stopped.

Now you both record on different coasts, how does this impact the episodes, if it does at all?

LHF: The time difference certainly makes it trickier, especially now that I have to schedule around ‘tiny human hours’. Luckily Ellie never actually sleeps, so that helps. Also, it can be an advantage when interviewing guests, since we don’t have any requirements to have them in person; we do the show almost entirely over Skype.

You have a number of different types of episodes and segments, could you break these down and describe them to our readers?

LHF: Every other week we alternate between full episodes and ‘Should’ve Been Gay’ mini-sodes (although they’re getting less and less mini because we have so much fun doing those). In these, we cover movies, shows, or pairings that *clearly* should’ve been gay and give our reasons why. It’s basically reframing anything through a queer lens, and is something we think most queer people can relate to. We always call it “the gift that keeps on giving”, because really *all things* should have been gay in our opinion.

The full episodes are on a loose rotation based on having a Lez-ssentials every fourth episode where we recap queer films or shows. We also have started writing an original song for each of these.

Then we fill in the rest with episodes featuring guests and episodes with just Ellie and I chatting about a specific topic. In addition to covering queer experiences, we also wanted to use this as a way to promote queer work or amplify queer voices.

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Last season you came up with drinking games for your Lez-ssentials segments and even one for Should Have Been Gay, how did you decide on the rules and will there be any other drinking games in the future?

EB: I love coming up with drinking game rules for our podcast. For a while Leigh couldn’t drink because she had a baby in her belly, so the drinking all fell on me. It’s such a hard job! I actually used making the drinking games as a date when I first started dating my girlfriend. “Hey, do you want to help me make up a drinking game for Imagine Me & You?” It works every time ladies! Every time something ridiculous happened in the movie, I would write it down. Then I sit down with the list and narrow it down to 8 rules so people don’t get too drunk. We will definitely have drinking games for all of the Lez-ssentials coming up. And someone just came up with a drinking game for our podcast where you have to drink every time I sigh over a lesbian or any time Leigh says “you guys” so that will keep you pretty entertained!

What have been some of your favorite episodes to record?

LHF: Personally, one of my favorite things has been getting to meet and chat with all the guests we’ve had on. They’ve all been so so lovely and it’s so hard to pick favorites. Obviously Karen and Gwen from Barbelle were a blast to hang out with. That might be the episode where we laughed *the most* throughout the interview, and it was also such a disaster in terms of the behind-the-scenes recording aspects. At one point my call dropped off and I wasn’t even there for a few minutes. Luckily Ellie is an editing wizard. Zoe Chao, also, is a total sweetheart, so is Nicole Pacent. Honestly if I keep trying to answer this I’m just going to list all our guests one by one!

EB: I have to agree with Leigh on this one, Barbelle is still up there for me and they were one of our first guests on the show. Interviewing people whose work we admire was a new thing for us so it felt even more exciting! And once we got on the Skype call, it felt like we had been friends for years. Shelley Regner and the Pitch Perfect ‘Should’ve Been Gay’ was also amazing because Shelley identifies as straight, but she was SO INTO the episode. It was funny to see that even straight people can see how some movies should clearly be gay!

As far as episodes where just me and Leigh talk, all of our episodes about straight girls are my favorites. It was a journey figuring out how to stop falling for straight girls and I think our listeners can really relate.

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Which was your favorite Lez-ssential and your favorite Should Have Been Gay?

LHF: I think Carmilla has been one of my top Lez-ssentials so far. Not just because we’re both such huge fans, but we also had such an amazing time doing the viewing party with our patrons, and it was so amazing to be covering a full-length queer film that grew from this tiny YouTube show into such a phenomenon.

My favorite Should’ve Been Gay is also so hard to pick. Jenny’s Wedding is definitely up there. That was another thing that we discussed on that very first phone call and it made us laugh all the time (and still does!). I also loved the Gilmore Girls and She’s The Man episodes. Sometimes even with an outline we just end up getting so into the discussion that I almost forget it’s not still just Ellie and I chatting on the phone like we did *before* we decided we should stick mics in front of ourselves.

EB: Imagine Me & You was my favorite Lez-ssentials so far. It is one of my favorite lesbian movies and it has a very special place in my heart. I still remember being a little kid in Blockbuster and looking at the cover of the movie, which is Piper Perabo and Lena Headey holding hands behind two men’s backs, and just sitting there thinking, “hmmmm this is really interesting to me.” Obviously figured out later why I was so intrigued. And it’s one of the few lesbians movies with a happy ending and I’m a sucker for the cheesy rom coms!

My favorite Should’ve Been Gay is Bring It On. There is something so ridiculous and so perfect about Missy and Torrance together. And Eliza Dushku is so gay in everything that she’s in. I also found a fan fiction called “Spirit Stick” that I read before that episode and I’ll just give you a hint, it gives spirit stick a whole different meaning.

You also are both very talented vocally, what inspires your music for the show?

LHF: Music is something that’s huge for both of us, and we really wanted to bring that into the show somehow. We both exist in the a cappella world, where covers are super common, and we discussed that as an idea, but we had no idea how to handle the legality of licensing royalties over a podcast. Then Ellie suggested we should just do originals even though I’d never actually written a song before. But she’s been so supportive of all the stupid shit I come up with, and she’s honestly so talented at taking whatever I dream up and making it sound SO GOOD. I love that by the end, all of our songs ends up incorporating so much of each of us into them.

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Is there anything you can tease about season two going forward?

EB: We have to leave some mystery! But I can tell you that we will be having more interviews and are really working towards an even more inclusive guest list, trans women, QPOCs, nonbinary people, polyamorous people. We want to get as many perspectives as we can and be a place where everyone feels welcome. We are also having more guests on our Should’ve Been Gay episodes which has been really fun to get other perspectives on those.

There have been mentions of future live shows, are there any places you are really hoping to go?

LHF: Right now we’re focusing on the big cities near each of us, because we still don’t really have much budget for travel and being in the same place requires at least one of us to get across the country. So LA and NYC are likely places to keep an eye out. We’re working with our manager and keeping an eye on our demographics to see what other places we should look into. Also, we’d love to put on a live taping at a certain Vegas-based convention this year, so we’re hoping we can make that happen!

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You also have a YouTube channel, what sort of content can people expect to find there?

EB: The Youtube channel has been exciting and quite the adventure. We’re releasing videos every week so we have had to prep a bit of content for Season 2. We currently have two series running. The first one is Lezzies on the Street, which is a guerilla-style trivia show where I and Rebecca Noyes, a new part of our team to help with Youtube content, ask strangers questions about gay culture. For example, our first video was #20GayTeen themed and our second video was ‘finish the lyrics’ at a Hayley Kiyoko concert. Our second series is called Renegade Covers, where “we put the gay in renegade”. Because Leigh and I are both musicians, we wanted to incorporate music into our Youtube channel just like we have with our podcast. Renegade Covers takes traditionally heterosexual songs and turns them gay, either by changing the lyrics or having two queer people sing them instead of a man and a woman. You will also see our original Lez-ssentials songs on our Youtube channel like we did last season.


Where can our readers get more info about Lez Hang Out and keep up with the two of you online?

LHF: You can find us @lezhangout on all the social medias (facebook, instagram, twitter). On youtube.com/lezhangoutpod. On our website: lezhangoutpod.com. And you can email us at lezhangoutpod@gmail.com.

If you want to follow me, I’m @lshfoster on instagram and twitter.

EB: If you want to follow me, I’m @elliebrigida on Instagram and Twitter.

Share your thoughts with us in the comments or on Twitter, @thenerdygirlexp. You can find me on Twitter, @kleffnotes, on my blog, kleffnotes.wordpress.com, on my kleffnotes YouTube channel, and I run The Nerdy Girl Express Snapchat, thenerdygirlexp.

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