Several months after Amanda Waltz came on board as our senior A&E writer at Pittsburgh City Paper
, and just a few days after I was named editor, she came to my desk and confided a secret, whispering the words Generation X bosses overseeing millennial staffs are most fearful of: "I have a podcast."
I soon realized why she hadn't confessed this to our former male editor. It wasn't just any podcast, she explained. It was about ghosts ... and sex. Ghoul on Ghoul
, which Amanda records each week with her co-host, Sarah, promotes itself as "a supernatural sex-positive horror comedy podcast featuring first-person encounters with the paranormal."
It wasn't totally a shock. While Amanda is talented at writing both heavily reported news stories or diving head first into a multifaceted art review, she's also become known as the office deviate — the kind of person who will say anything
on her mind without thinking twice. I mean that quite affectionately. She's refreshingly honest and also unashamed to have serious conversations about her sexuality. In the realms that an office environment allows, of course, though I'll admit that an alt-weekly newsroom is probably much more lax than others.
My first response when she told me about her podcast was to beg her to let me promote it. We've been aiming to increase diversity at the paper over the past year, introducing sex and social justice columnist Jessie Sage to our pages, and including even more feminist and social justice causes in our news coverage. Showing our readers that our senior writer also is a sex-positive horror junky is good press! But while she's talked openly about it in the office since, Amanda asked me to keep it a secret to the public, wanting to keep her personal life separate from her professional life.
But months later, after immersing herself more and more in the local arts and nightlife scenes as a reporter, she realized it was getting harder not to mention it when asked, so I now officially have permission to out her as a Ghoul.
The podcast itself is more charming than shocking. Yes, it's NSFW unless you're wearing headphones — or working at an alt-weekly, and the women swear. A lot. A fucking lot. But listening to the podcast is largely like eavesdropping on a conversation between two girlfriends sharing a large bottle of wine.
They laugh frequently at themselves and each other, share secrets about their own sex lives, and both have a tendency to break into voices and impressions, from Björk to Bon Jovi. Basically, they're not afraid to sound like giant dorks.
Each podcast is nearly an hour, and guests keep the show interesting. They've had on everyone from CP'
s own Jessie Sage to Tobin Seastedt of Crickets to Betsy, who brought on mealworms and grasshoppers for the hosts to eat on air before talking about all-natural lube. If transitioning from discussing the crunch of a bug leg in a cookie to an admission that it's harder to get wet as you age sounds weird, just trust me. They make it work.
Ghoul on Ghoul also specializes in ghost stories and local horror folklore; serial killers and cults; true crime and hauntings. And sometimes, it combines both. There's at least one episode where the women discuss sex with ghosts, and on the episode with Sage, they discuss ovipositors, a sex toy that allows women to deposit an egg inside their vaginas so they can experience the joy of giving birth to an alien.
Tonight, Amanda and Sarah celebrate their first anniversary with the Rate / Review / Subscribe / Imbide: A PGH Podcast Party
at Spirit in Lawrenceville. The night includes DJ MB from the In Bed by Ten dance party and tarot readings. In addition to Ghoul on Ghoul, the pair have also invited other local podcasts to join the fun. Guests are encouraged to subscribe to any of the podcasts — Give Me Murder or Give Me Death, Neon Brainiacs, THRIFTY Podcast, Start The Beats w/SIKES, and Werewolf Ambulance — for a chance to win prizes.
The event is free and starts at 7 p.m., with the live show recording starting at 9 p.m.