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BOOKS Read this! Chatting with 'I Hope My Mother...' author Greg Scarnici
by Sebastian Saenz

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Saturday Night Live associate producer, comedian, filmmaker, YouTuber, musician, DJ and drag queen Greg Scarnici's new book, I Hope My Mother Doesn't Read This, is ready to lift eyebrows.

Experiences such as "Circuit Parties...with nuns" or hosting New Year's Eve parties while on mushrooms have helped to describe this book as "sick, sordid, and perverse." ( James St. James ) Scarnici's music videos have been viewed more than 10 million times on YouTube, and he has worked for MTV, VH1, Fox News, CNN and 30 Rock. Recently, he had a little talk with Windy City Times about his book and upcoming projects.

Windy City Times: Have you been to Chicago?

Greg Scarnici: Yes, I love Chicago. ... I love Smart Bar.

WCT: You should visit us some time soon. Now, can you please describe I Hope My Mother Doesn't Read This?

GS: A collection of humorous essays about growing up gay in New York City and working in entertainment.

WCT: In the book you say that your best writing comes from expressing your "unique super-gay voice." How is it reflected on the book?

GS: Time has passed, and I'm able to look back in an honest way, and with lots of humor. At the time it may have seemed a lot more tragic, depressing, or sad. ... I have no problem being open and honest with everything that I've done, as you can probably tell from reading the book.

WCT: Why did you name it after something sinful?

GS: A lot of these stories, to me, seem like diary entries. And there is a chapter in the book, Diary Entries, that as a teenager you'd be mortified if your mother read. So it goes back to personal journaling that you would write, and you wouldn't like other people to read.

WCT: But why should someone read this book now?

GS: It reflects a time in New York City that's no longer here. It's about a lot of night clubs and bars and what it was like to be gay in the early '90s. Everything in New York is becoming kind of boring and banal, and everyone's used to connecting through technology. So this reflects a time which people may not have experienced, or might have experienced and might want to relive it.

WCT: You state also that you are an "insecure mess." What would you recommend to young LGBTQ people regarding self-esteem?

GS: The way you feel when you're younger is not a reflection of anything that happens after you turn 21. Slowly but surely you begin to realize that who you truly are is all that matters. For some reason a lot of people have a lot of pressure to fit in, or have a certain image projected, and that does nothing to make you happy.

WCT: In the book you say, "Today, all an infant needs to do is reach for a Barbie doll, and his parents will start running around the house, screaming, 'John's transgender!'" So, what do you think of the new gay generation?

GS: I think it's amazing. I just watched the Emmys, and Transparent won a few times, and all the time there were references about how we're going through a transgender civil-rights moment right now, and I'm thrilled about that. And I'm thrilled that people like Caitlyn Jenner are bringing transgender issues to the forefront. ... All lives matter, but right now people need to focus on that issue: transgenderism.

WCT: You also state, "My mother totally should have known I was gay when I told her I wanted to be Wonder Woman for Halloween when I was 5 years old." You even describe yourself now as "flaming." So, what would you say to your younger self?

GS: I never really hid who I was. My way of not being beaten up at school was by being funny. The only thing I would say is that it really doesn't matter that you're gay—it's not that big a deal.

WCT: How would you define your music?

GS: Well, I create house music. So even when I create songs for my alter ego, Levonia Jenkins, is based on a style of music: '90s house in New York City.

WCT: And which projects are coming?

GS: Right now, I'm shooting a music video for my band Undercover—the song "Under The Lights." And then I'm coming up with season three of [my Youtube channel] Bitch, Please, in November. And then ... I think I'll need to take a break!

I Hope My Mother Doesn't Read This is available on Amazon, and is also available as an eBook.

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