May 23, 2017
Being forced into exile can certainly be demoralizing. After all, it undermines the comfortable certainty and attachment we have with the world around us.
Paul talks to genre defying rapper, DJ, and writer, Chippy Nonstop, about how she has sustained the courage to be herself, despite being deported to Canada and prohibited from entering her home in the United States. Throughout her bizarre performances in colourful hip-hop videos and openly revisiting sexual encounters in diary-style articles, her refusal to conform to the ordinary is readily apparent. It is at the same time a refreshing change to the conventional and, arguably, oppressive forms of "being a woman", which Chippy’s work seems at once to both mock and reject.
Follow Chippy @chippy_nostop
May 15, 2017
Many maintain that being a mother is, as Oprah Winfrey has remarked, the world's "toughest job". But what does it actually take to be a mother and how is that experienced?
Exploring the question on The Dark Room’s first Mother’s Day Special, Paul and Jordan talk to a diverse and insightful group of mothers: Isabel Michaels, Lucia Catania, Olga Ruiz, Gianna Patriarca, Teresa Gramano, Sebastiana Aprile, and Handzia Feloniuk. The group candidly discusses the strength and courage of being a mother, the sacrifices of child rearing, and different--perhaps even conflicting--cultural styles of mothering.
This episode is in memory of Maria Salvatori, Paul's mother, and the inspiration for the Mother's Day Special.
May 8, 2017
The idea of a doctor unable to help himself is a frightening one, after all, we are accustomed to viewing them as responsible healers, curing or helping those in need. On the eve of his two year incarceration for drug crimes, Paul and Jordan talk to unlikely former physician and recovering fentanyl user, Darryl Gebien, about how--despite a seemingly happy life as a well-regarded doctor of his community and beloved husband and father--he became powerless to the opioid. As Darryl reveals, fentanyl not only cost him his health but his most cherished relationships. Darryl describes how, after having fallen into the hell of addiction, he has been able to stay clean while going public about how such illness destroyed his life, in order that others avoid the same (unnecessary) fate.
Follow Darryl on Twitter @DGebien.
April 24, 2017
Does skin colour ultimately determine race? Can our "true" race be different from the one we are biologically born as?
Paul and Jordan talk to arguably one of the most controversial persons in recent news media, Rachel Dolezal, about why--despite being born white--she identifies as black. Having provoked much public ire and losing her job as a professor and position at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for having hid this, Rachel reveals how being "transracial" is not an option for her.
On the heels of the publication of her memoir, In Full Color, this episode explores what events in Rachel's life directly contributed to viewing herself as black and, rather contentiously, how she feels she does not fit into whiteness as a “social construct” .
April 10, 2017
Is loving yourself unhealthy or necessary to personal survival? What happens when those who love themselves too much come into contact with those who do not?
Paul and Jordan talk to writer and expert in narcissism, Sam Vaknin, about when self-love turns “malignant” and why those who experience it may manipulate others for their own gratification–without guilt or shame. Sam weighs in on whether we, as many believe, live in an age of narcissism where many have become preoccupied with their own “uniqueness” and the selfie a ubiquitous form of individual aggrandizement.
Learn more about Sam at samvak.tripod.com
March 27, 2017
Criminal defense attorneys often get a bad rap, thought to stone-heartedly defend criminals for fame and fortune, all the while ignoring the suffering of victims.
Challenging these perceptions, Paul and Jordan talk to John Henry Browne about the personal toll of being a criminal defense attorney. Revisiting his experience as former lawyer to one of America's most notorious serial killers, Ted Bundy, John shares how advocating for "evil" is not only psychologically testing but dangerous. Despite this risk, he has taken on over 200 cases, numerous of which have been of unspeakable crimes. John, while emphasizing the importance of criminal defense attorneys in a just society, reveals why.
Learn more about John at jhblawyer.com
March 13, 2017
How responsible are online classified boards for the content that appears on them? Should the companies that run them be penalized for third-party advertisements that harm others?
Paul and Jordan talk to acclaimed filmmaker, Mary Mazzio, about her new documentary "I Am Jane Doe", which takes an unflinching look at how major online classified board, Backpage, has been responsible for the sexual trafficking of minors and largely with impunity. Drawing from her many firsthand exchanges with trafficking survivors and their families, Mary reveals how seemingly safe parts of the internet are in fact hunting grounds to exploit young women, as key stakeholders in the American justice system fight to change laws, guarding their predators.
Learn more about Maria and "I Am Jane Doe" at iamjanedoefilm.com
February 27, 2017
Little did Alexyss K. Tylor know, while appearing on community television in the 90s, that explaining "penis power" would eventually make her an internet sensation. Moving beyond the viral video of that appearance, Paul and Jordan talk to Alexyss about the largely unrecognized spiritual philosophy behind penis power, how she deviated from her traditional upbringing in the American South to become an advocate for female pleasure, and her recent (and impressive) musical tribute to her father--the soul legend, Jackie Wilson.
Learn more about Alexyss at alexyssktylor.net
February 14, 2017
In an era of female empowerment, where being "in charge" as a woman is emphasized, Del chooses to do what seems the opposite. Paul and Jordan speak to her about what it means to be a professional "submissive". Identifying as someone who enjoys pain, Del describes how she feels playing a submissive role can be empowering, discusses the strangest fetish requests she’s received in the dungeon, and criticizes the Fifty Shades saga on its ignorant and abusive portrayal of sub-dom relationships. In this Valentine's Day week episode and debut of its second season, The Dark Room delves into the stranger sides of sex.
January 3, 2017
As the first season of the podcast comes to an end, Paul and Jordan weigh-in and share their most memorable moments on The Dark Room, and reflect on what some of their guests are up to now. The two reveal how the 69 episodes they co-hosted over the year both challenged them to rethink their views on the strange and controversial, as well as what gaining the "truth" about people means to them.
Stay tuned for the second exciting season of The Dark Room, early 2017. Also be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes or Podbean to receive the newest episodes and where you can continue to rate and review it.
Thank you for being part of the birth of The Dark Room!
December 20, 2016
In recent years, "the end of men" has become a popular term to describe the “losing” status of men in the work world and other areas of influence, compared to their female counterparts.
Paul and Jordan speak with controversial gender advocate and blogger, Karen Straughan, about whether men are actually a disadvantaged group. A leading voice in the "men's rights movement", Karen shares why she believes this to be so and caused by feminism. In her view, feminism, in villainizing men as “oppressors”, perpetuates their mistreatment in various legal, social, and political institutions.
Learn more about Karen at owningyourshit.blogspot.ca
December 12, 2016
In Western culture, combat is often associated with physical hostility, a zero-sum game where only one side wins through the violent or even fatal use of force.
Paul and Jordan talk to real life ninja and weaponsmith, Matthew Wright, about the Eastern view of combat and, perhaps surprisingly, just how much of it has less to do with fighting than restraint. Having first met Matthew at Toronto's major Japanese animation festival, Anime North, Paul and Jordan also discuss with Matthew the search for deeper meaning among the festival's millennial attendees and how, drawing from the East, it is manifested in the impressive cosplay they take part in yearly.
Learn more about Matthew at ninedirections.com
December 5, 2016
Does one have the capacity to change after being convicted of manslaugher?
Paul and Jordan talk to Segun Akinsanya about how he transformed his life for the better, following his incarceration for manslaughter while still a teen. Today an educator and social entrepreneur, Akinsanya is now a role model for troubled youth, helping them avoid the same destructive path, causing harm to others and themselves, he once chose. Segun reveals how a positive outlook and taking responsibility for his past led him onto this redemptive path.
Learn more about Segun at segunsays.com
November 28, 2016
Scientology has for long been a controversial organization, regarded by many as a dangerous cult while others view it as a progressive religion in the service of humanity.
Paul and Jordan talk to former high-ranking Scientology member, Jeff Hawkins, about his troubling experience in the organization. Despite the legitimacy it has gained through its endorsement by celebrity spokespersons, notably Tom Cruise, Jeff's experience led him speak out against Scientology as a violent and manipulative organization, headed by an intolerant psychopath. After being a loyal members for over 30 years, Jeff finally left Scientology, and now helps others part from it as well.
Learn more about Jeff, including his books on the dark side of Scientology, at counterfeitdreams.com
November 21, 2016
Shoplifters are often regarded with a certain degree of contempt by society, thought to steal merchandise--from candy to designer clothes--to quickly posses what they would otherwise have to work to afford.
For thief Alisa, however, shoplifting is mainly about making a personal, arguably political, statement: “I will not play by the rules of capitalism that require us to buy.” Paul and Jordan talk to her about why she has, for years, enjoyed shoplifting for this reason, whether her regular urge to steal amounts to kleptomania, and her unusual shrine of stolen items, co-created with her boyfriend.
Learn more about the psychology of shoplifting, including compassionate ways of overcoming it at kleptomaniacsanonymous.com
November 14, 2016
Imagine a world where you are force someone to hand over money and in return they receive nothing. What is more, they enjoy it.
Impossible? Not so for financial dominatrix, Mona Wales, who demands her slaves pay her while she, online and in real life, humiliates them. While some may see this as a complete waste of one’s earnings, to her slaves, satisfying Mona’s material wants is sexually arousing.
Paul and Jordan talk to Mona about how she became a financial dominatrix, what her clients ultimately seek through her, and the extent to which she will be their “findom” before they go bankrupt.
Learn more about Mona (NSFW) at monawales.com
November 7, 2016
For some, pain is not only pleasure, it’s sexually gratifying. Though still somewhat taboo, this aspect of human sexuality has become relatively familiar and, perhaps, less shocking in popular culture, especially with rise of blockbuster erotica such as Fifty Shades of Grey.
But what is it like to actually administer pain to those turned on by it? And why are they willing to pay dear for something most of us wish to avoid? Attempting to answer these questions, Paul and Jordan speak with seasoned dominatrix, Mizz Barbie Bitch, about inflicting both physical and mental anguish on her clients and how her professional work complements her naturally sadistic side. In Barbie’s world, cruelty is bliss.
Learn more about Mizz Barbie at mizzbarbiebitch.com
October 31, 2016
Trick-or-treat? How far would you go for a scare?
All of us have a "fight-or-flight" response to readily perceive danger, prompting us to exit a situation before we are harmed. For those visiting Russ McKamey's San Diego-based haunted manor, testing how much harm they can endure is what draws them there in the first place.
Paul and Jordan talk to Russ about the alleged torture that occurs at the backyard manor, rumours about people dying as a result of experiencing it, and why some guests keep coming back. Despite the negative publicity and lawsuits surrounding the manor itself, Russ remains earnest to his attraction, where many visit worldwide to scare themselves near to death. Learn more about Russ at www.mckameymanor.com.
October 24, 2016
As the old rhyme about "sticks and stones” implies, words are too weak to harm. Yet, a controversy at the University of Toronto has recently erupted over the injurious use of gender pronouns.
Paul and Jordan speak with Dr. Jordan Peterson, psychology professor and centre of the controversy, about why he believes having to use the preferred gender pronoun of others is a violation of freedom of speech. Dr. Peterson has been cautioned by the university itself, warning him to discontinue teaching ideas that espouse not honouring someone’s preferred gender pronoun, but despite the strong opposition, Dr. Peterson reveals he is not changing for anyone.
Learn more about Dr. Peterson at jordanbpeterson.com
October 17, 2016
While typical sexual education recognizes the singular penis as the primary male sex organ, some men--approximately 1 in 5.5 million--have two. The rare condition, known as "diphallia", may, in addition to medical complications, cause the dually endowed to fear stigmatization. However, for Clark, an anonymous man in the United States known online as "Double Dick Dude", having two penises is a natural gift he has embraced.
Paul and Jordan talk to Clark about what life was like growing up with two penises, the unconventional sexual lifestyle he lives, and what his, seemingly endless, erotic encounters have taught him about the fluidity of gender.
Follow Clark on Twitter @DiphallicDude or learn more about his memoirs here.