This week, we like our Man Crush On the Rocks… in other words, Alexander Rodriguez, host of On The Rocks Radio Show – is Gay Desert Guide’s Man Crush! Gay Desert Guide’s Jeff Denean Jones and Alexander discussed Palm Springs, LGBTQ Podcasting, COVID, and Truman Capote in today’s interview. Check it out below.
GDG: Usually, folks ask, where do you see yourself in 10 years. I’d like to know, where where you 10 years ago, and how would you compare your life today to how you envisioned it would be?
Believe it or not, 10 years ago I was one of the youngest Vice Presidents with the Entertainment Division at City National Bank. I had an office right next to Rodeo Drive, a six-figure salary, a fancy car, and enough client dinners to cause diabetes. I was miserable. LOL. Banking was just not for me, something was lacking. Cut to a chance meeting with an actress who had just started a podcast studio at Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood who, after more than a few martinis, convinced me to come in and try podcasting – which, at that time, was still a relatively new concept. Needless to say, from that point on I never shut up and left the banking world and now lead a much happier life, doing what I should be doing – living my passion. It’s not always smooth sailing, and I do miss an expense account, but I know that I will never look back and ask “what if?”
GDG: I probably shouldn’t reveal this, but I’m not sure how many seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race there are. I see you as the all-knowing resource for the series. Have you been a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race for the series entirety? What do you think it is about the series that captivates audiences year after year?
ALEXANDER: Well, I may have my gay card revoked…BUT, I was never into Drag Race until I started having to watch it for my interviews with many of the cast members. I started to watch the show and not only enjoyed the fun, behind the scenes shady moments and fabulous one-liners, but also really enjoyed the personal stories of the Queens. Under the makeup and fancy outfits, it’s easy to forget that there is a very real person there with their own story on how they fought and worked hard to get on the show. For me, that is the best part. I think the allure for mainstream audiences (who would have thought drag would become mainstream???) is the sense of escape. No matter where these Queens come from, what their income is, or what hardships they’ve had, they have the courage to put on a wig, amazing makeup, and strut their confidence down the runway. Can you imagine if we could all be that confident? They are today’s superheroes.
GDG: In addition to On the Rocks with Alexander, you are hosting a new podcast, The Naked Truth. For folks who may not know, what is the premise of The Naked Truth? What do you love most about the podcasts you currently produce and host?
ALEXANDER: The Naked Truth is the official podcast for JustFor.Fans, the all-inclusive, industry award-winning site connecting adult content creators with their fans. On the podcast, we chat with the top names in the adult industry about their personal life, their careers, and hot topics that affect sex workers, the LGBTQ community, and entrepreneurs. We talk candidly about sex, adding a ton of comedy. Being raised in an ultra-conservative Catholic household, we NEVER talked about sex. I still haven’t had the straight sex talk with my mom, not to mention the gay sex talk. I serve as the “everyman”, asking the questions that we’ve always wanted to ask but were too afraid to ask. The more comfortable we are talking about sex, the more likely we are to be better educated about the health and mental aspects of sexual relationships and experiences. It’s never vulgar – it’s just a fun, educational, and entertaining peek in the sexual world – my mom even listens! Maybe someday soon we will finally have that talk. LOL
GDG: Although we haven’t convinced you to make Palm Springs your new home, you do have a history with the desert that predates your involvement with community events like Palm Springs Pride, LGBT Days. Tell us about the personal significance of this community?
ALEXANDER: I am so proud to say that Palm Springs has been a part of my life since 3rd grade. My grandma and her husband used to own El Poco Lodge on Arenas (on the other side of the gay block!). I stayed there every summer from 3rd grade through college. Back in the day, I would spend my days riding my bike through the town, enjoying the architecture and history of the city. The hotel itself has its own history, many of the Hollywood stars would come stay there in the early days as a private escape from the cinema world. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were frequent visitors and Little Ricky took his first steps in one of the rooms! El Poco is now known as The Andalusian Court and the new owners, Tony and John, have returned it to its splendor. Who could know that Palm Springs would play such a big part in my entertainment career as well? As I progressed in my podcasting, I started networking in the community through appearances at some of the nightclubs, working with Gay Desert Guide, and continuing to serve as emcee for Palm Springs Pride. Being named as Media Grand Marshal for Palm Springs Pride 2019 was an extremely special moment, riding in the parade with my mom, knowing my Grams would be so proud and feeling her presence around me. Life does come full circle, and I’m more than proud to call Palm Springs Home 2.0
GDG: An entire year now and COVID has proved to have quite the stamina…. in fact, it may even make a third comeback. How did you spend the Year of the Pandemic? And, what would you do if yet another year is lost to shutdowns and surges?
ALEXANDER: The pandemic has certainly tested us all. Artists in the LGBTQ community have had to reinvent their brand, discover new skills, and learn (gasp!) technology. After our studio was closed due to COVID, I sat in front of Netflix ordering Postmates ten times a day. Two weeks into that, I realized that I was going to have to modify what I was doing or else I would get lost amid the shuffle. Digital drag shows, Zoom Pride celebrations, and the uptick in podcasting would inspire me to readjust our marketing plan and do the show remotely. With nightclub and Pride events canceled, I had to supplement my income by trying new things. I started consulting for other podcasters in the community and took on more writing jobs. I also started hosting two other podcasts, besides On the Rocks. I can’t say that my pants fit, but I can say that when all of this is over, I can hit the ground running with a new set of tools in my arsenal. We have proven that our community is resilient and can overcome. I will be honest, if we were to go into another year of lockdown I would be a little easier on myself and enjoy some quiet time. I would probably finally finish that book…Stories I Shouldn’t Tell…it’s coming!
GDG: If internet, radio, and television ceased to exist, what would you pursue as your rebound career?
ALEXANDER: I have really enjoyed my somewhat recent career in journalism. What started out as a companion to some of my podcast celebrity interviews has initiated its own path as the lead writer for Metrosource Magazine, GED Magazine, and the Andrew Christian blog. Sooo, I would just sit at my typewriter all day and attempt becoming the next Truman Capote…just with a better hairdo.
#GDGManCrushMonday #GayDesertGuide #ILoveGayPalmSprings #ilovegay #ilovegaycatcity #ilovegaycv #mancrushmonday #gdgmcm #palmsprings #mcm #justforfans #dragrace #community #leadership