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Empathetic EastSiders - Paul Bellini - MyGaytoronto

Empathetic EastSiders
03 January 2018.

Now in its third season, EastSiders is a gay television show created by and starring Kit Williamson as Cal. The story follows boyfriends Cal and Thom (Van Hansis) who, after a challenging year in New York City, hit the road to pick up the pieces of their old life. The show also features Constance Wu (Fresh Off The Boat), Stephen Guarino (I'm Dying Up Here), Wilson Cruz (Star Trek Discovery), Willam Belli (Rupaul's Drag Race), and even porn hunk Colby Keller. As I watched the first two episodes of the new season, one thing struck me - the chemistry between the actors. How did Williamson achieve that? I asked him that, and other questions, in an e-mail exchange. 

"At this point it's second nature," wrote Williamson. "We all have such an ease and rapport with one another. Honestly, I think good actors create chemistry, so I can't take credit for that, except to say that I do always ask myself if I'm creating a fun, easy environment."

"Do you ever get criticized for the cast being too white, or too male?"
"Cal and Thom may be gay white men but I want the world they live in to be as diverse as the world I live in. I think it's great that there's a movement towards more inclusive storytelling happening right now, and I definitely want to be a part of that!"

"I noticed a lot of criticism from imdb.com posters regarding the depictions of alcohol," I commented. "But wasn't that the point? Do you read this sort of internet criticism? Does it ever get to you? Can anything good come of it?" 
"Many of the characters in the show have a complicated relationship with alcohol, and one that isn't always easily categorized. EastSiders is not a cautionary tale about addiction, but overindulging and self-medicating with booze are definitely a running theme. I think it's unfortunate that some people view all storytelling as PSAs. I'm not here to moralize. I'm not presenting a thesis on the dangers of alcohol abuse, or telling people they should or should not have threesomes, or whatever. The only agenda I have is empathy; I think the more we can relate to and understand each other, even if we wouldn't make the same choices, the better."

The first two seasons of EastSiders are on Netflix, DVD and Wolfe Video. Season 3 is available at WolfeOnDemand.com as well as Vimeo, Amazon Video, Google Play and iTunes.

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