Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-05-27
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



WEBSERIES 'Kissing Walls' creators on Chicago, sex scenes, independent TV
by Joshua Irvine

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Local webseries Kissing Walls has continued to challenge television's traditional boundaries in its second season with its upfront depiction of the lives of twentysomething gay men living on the North Side.

Windy City Times sat down with showrunners Zak Payne and Nathaniel Tenenbaum to talk about their take on Chicago's LGBTQ scene.

Windy City Times: Where did the idea for Kissing Walls come from?

Zak Payne: I had just moved to Chicago, and I was having a great time living here with the friends that I was making, a lot of people in the queer community. I hadn't really seen a show that really portrayed a world like that, where queer communities are prevalent. I brought Nathaniel into the fold, and the story became very much about our real-life friendship.

WCT: Nathaniel, what sold you on the project?

Nathaniel Tenenbaum: Zak and I met in a production of "Rent" at community college. In that production, he made a feature-length documentary of the entire process. I saw that documentary and it turned out being unbelievably compelling and really well-edited. So I had a lot of faith in his ability to tell a story really well, and once he presented me with the idea of the show I was all on board.

WCT: And the show continued to develop as a collaboration between the two of you?

ZP: Nathan was solely an actor in the first season, but there was the story of one of Nathaniel's, um, gay…

NT: You can say hookup.

ZP: …hookups involving a ladder that became an impetus scene in season one. [Note: The scene featured Tenenbaum's character humoring a casual partner's sexual fantasy.]

WCT: That happened?

ZP: Yeah [laughter from Zak and Nathaniel]. It was stuff like that, like, "Huh. Why is no one telling stories like these that are actually pretty real and common?"

In the beginning, I imagined it as a much larger ensemble story, and then I quickly realized that having the two of us in the room and on screen is what people wanted to see.

NT: The true essence of what makes it so special and so sincere and earnest is the fact that it is us, through and through.

WCT: What sort of shows or movies influenced Kissing Walls?

NT: It's hard to say artistically, because there's not a lot of that with people of color to draw from.

ZP: We weren't really drawing from TV as much as we were from film. I think we were very much looking at classic romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally. We were looking at The Apartment.

NT: Drew Barrymore's entire catalogue. Never Been Kissed, Legally Blonde, all of that.

WCT: What's it like playing characters who are very similar to yourselves, especially in emotionally intense or raunchy scenes—like the ladder scene?

NT: There's an element of disbelief that it's happening again. Zach got it very close to the original experience. It was kind of liberating in that we told the story in a way that didn't kinkshame. But my adopted parents are LDS [Latter Day Saints], so there's always this element of, "Dear God—now they know what their son is into."

ZP: It goes through the wash a few times so that you're distanced from it. It's a retelling of a retelling that goes into a script and is then rehearsed and then its edited. So it goes through so many washes that you're so far removed from what actually happened and it has a nice glow to the memory.

WCT: Many scenes in the show deal with the anatomical realities of gay sex. What sort of mindset do you bring when shooting those scenes?

ZP: We always went at it with a level of professionalism and respect. It was always off-frame: it's raunchy, but in a PG way. I didn't want to do the explicit, full-frontal nudity, because that isn't what the story is about.

NT: And we had a predominantly queer team. I don't think we're necessarily pushing any boundaries in the realm of us being queer people. These occurrences happen every day. It's a part of, as queer men and queer people, our day to day; we're just shedding a light on it artistically. Sleepless in Seattle had that whole thing where they're talking about cunnilingus and how women look at butts now.

Sex and the City constantly pushed the boundary of heteronormative sex. What we try and take on and champion is when it transitions from heterosexual engagement over to anything other than that. There shouldn't be, "well, this is an extra-deviant situation that we have to carefully navigate." That's not the narrative we're trying to promote. It's no different than when fucking Meg Ryan faked an orgasm in the middle of a restaurant. This is it, this is our day to day, and we're inviting you to see what happens in that situation.

WCT: Talk to me about how Chicago factors into the story.

ZP: Moving to Chicago was an awakening for me. I just fell in love with the architecture; I would see a new place every time I left my house, and I was like, "why is no one shooting this?" I wanted to show the Chicago that I was seeing. I think the show resonates with people that live in Chicago, and people that aren't are like, "that's so beautiful." People constantly throw around the term "love letter," but I don't know what else to refer to it.

WCT: Is there gonna be a season three; if so, what's it gonna look like?

ZP: There is gonna be a season three. We've begun the pre-production process and we're writing it. I'm really proud of what we were able to do between season one and season two, and I love this idea of independent television, that there's no studio that cancel us. It's up to Nathan and I to create this series, and find whomever wants to support that.

Watch Kissing Walls on OPEN TV here: .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Artemisia, A Chicago Podcast, features Julie Proudfoot interviewing Tracy Baim 2020-05-27 - On Artemisia, A Chicago Podcast #103, Julie Proudfoot interviews Tracy Baim, award-winning journalist and publisher, about her work in Chicago as an openly-gay ...

Gay News

NCLR honors SF 49ers Offensive Assistant Coach Katie Sowers, comedian Gina Yashere 2020-05-23 - SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The National Center of Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) today announced that they will be honoring San Francisco 49ers ...

Gay News

Ruby Rose leaving lead role in 'Batwoman' 2020-05-19 - Ruby Rose—the openly lesbian actress who starred in the CW's freshman drama series Batwoman—is leaving the Warner Bros. TV/Berlanti Prods. drama after one ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Idol' alum, PBS series, LGBT film, concert series, Bad Bunny 2020-05-18 - Openly gay American Idol alum David Hernandez has premiered his new song—"Sorry"—and the accompanying music video, a press release noted. "Sorry" is described ...

Gay News

'Matrix' co-creator cites Chicago LGBTQ organization in tweet 2020-05-18 - Matrix co-creator Lilly Wachowski cited Chicago LGBTQ organization Brave Space Alliance in a tweet, Variety noted. The transgender director was not happy ...

Gay News

Gerber/Hart Library hosts virtual panel on The 10% Show 2020-05-16 - The 10% Show was the focus of a May 13 virtual panel hosted by Gerber/Hart Library and Archives. A cable access Chicago-based LGBTQ ...

Gay News

Ravinia's production of Bernstein's 'Mass' on PBS on May 15 2020-05-13 - Ravinia's 2019 presentation of iconic conductor Leonard Bernstein's little-seen music theater masterwork Mass will be shown as an installment of the PBS series ...

Gay News

Comedian Cameron Esposito's new memoir digs into queer liberation, Catholic upbringing 2020-05-12 - Cameron Esposito's new memoir, Save Yourself, is the story she needed when she was younger. The lesbian comedian tracks the story of her ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE DRAG Eureka O' Hara,'Here' and now 2020-05-12 - Born in Johnson City, Tennessee, David Huggard transformed into drag personality Eureka O'Hara and began performing in the local gay club called New ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Lady Gaga, Quibi shows, Alexandra Billings, 'Queer Eye,' podcasts 2020-05-12 - Lady Gaga announced that her sixth studio album, Chromatica, will be released Friday, May 29, via Interscope Records, a press release noted. The ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.