Emmy Award Winning Careers & Award Winning Friends: Mark Mc/Nease & Rick Rose

Brad Shreve 00:00
This is Queer. We Are. Mark McNease and Rick Rose. I’m happy to have you as my guest. Welcome.

Mark McNease 00:10
Hey, good afternoon, at least it’s afternoon here in New Jersey. This is Mark.

Rick Rose 00:15
Yeah, I’m so glad to be here, Brad. This has been a long time coming. I know, you’re just starting things up. So thank you for having having us on as guests.

Brad Shreve 00:23
I’ve been looking forward to having the two of you on because you’ve known each other for many years, you won two Emmys together for co-creating a television series, which is on PBS and other networks. And it’s still running after over 20 years. But with time your lives have gone in different directions. Yet you’ve maintained your strong bond. Rick, you’re still with the company that which produces your show. Are you still in production?

Rick Rose 00:49
Yeah, for sure. And that’s what brought me back to Wisconsin. So I was living in Louisiana before I moved here. I don’t know I’ve lived in maybe 10 Different states, always involved in either one of two things, one television production, or two owning my own restaurant. Well, I’ve had far more success in the first scenario than the second last my ass quite frankly, owning a restaurant. Advice, If you’re listening to this show, and you want to be a restaurant tour, keep it like to yourself like wow, what a sexy, cool thing. Don’t do it. But if you want to get into TV production, there’s opportunities, you know, hit me up to Brad, send your information on to Brad and yeah, I still Mark and I mark we started on that show. That show has been around 21 years, looking at retirement probably five years from now. But yes, that’s when I’m off track just

Mark McNease 01:31
quickly here because you just brought this up about hiring do I need to send you a resume or package?

Rick Rose 01:38
Now you know, this mark is the first call I make? And if you say no, then I look for someone else.

Mark McNease 01:42
Well, you know, I’m you know, I’m waiting.

Rick Rose 01:47
There’s something good in the cards.

Brad Shreve 01:48
Oh, can they work remotely?

Rick Rose 01:51
Yes, they can.

Brad Shreve 01:53
Rick, you’ve got me thinking I need to beef up my resume.

Rick Rose 01:56
That’s gonna be fun.

Brad Shreve 02:00
Mark, you took a different path. You became an author?

Mark McNease 02:04

Brad Shreve 02:05
We’re gonna chat about that. How you two got together, how you’ve stayed so close over the years. And we’ll get into you co hosting a podcast that’s been running for a while now. So since we have so much to get into Let’s start the show. I’m your host, Brad Shreve.

Mark McNease 02:24
I’m Mark McNeese,

Rick Rose 02:25
and I’m Rick Rose, as we said

Brad Shreve 02:27
and Queer We Are. You’ve had that goal of accomplishing your dreams someday. And maybe that someday is today. I am Brad Shreve, and each week I sit with successful LGBTQ entertainers, activist politicians and average folk. And we learn what success means to them, how they made their goals a reality, so that you can do the same for all that plus entertainment and more. You are in the right place. Because Queer We Are. How long have you two been such amazing friends?

Mark McNease 03:07
I will chime in here Rick and I have been friends since actually, I’m the poster. It’s not in front of me. But Rick directed my late partner, Jim, who died in 1991. To where we met in the theater, Rick and I and he direct he was a director, he directed Jim and a play. It’s gotta be like, 88 or 89. I think Rick?

Rick Rose 03:26
Yeah, for sure. I mean, we met in LA, it was a theater company called Fate. And as it turns out, our fate really was secure. Then I remember specific moments in this 35 year old journey or 30, some year journey, Brad where I took Mark to the airport when he was moving from LA to New York. Then when I moved to Wisconsin, from LA Mark flew out to Wisconsin to do some writing for a TV program I worked on, which I’m sure we’ll talk about. So yeah, I mean, you hit it on the head, we have an amazing friendship. We weathered a lot of storms, whether the AIDS crisis together and early part of our friendship, and I think that’s really what drew us together. Mark, to be quite frank is just having that shared experience.

Brad Shreve 04:07
I’ll tell you, it really shows that you have been friends for that many years. I mean, you just really bond. And it’s quite obvious that you guys are not a couple as far

Mark McNease 04:16
No, no, that’s that was.

Rick Rose 04:19
I’m glad you clarified that.

Mark McNease 04:21
That was never in the cards. And I’m, and I’m married. So

Brad Shreve 04:25
ya know, it’s obviously we’re both buds. Anybody that can hear you.

Rick Rose 04:29
Real quick comment on that. Brad. I love that. Because so often, you know, we look at stereotypes and what people think and they think just because you’re especially back in the day, so to speak in the late 80s When Mark and I were in our early 20s Like people just make assumptions right like, Oh, two gay guys. Did you guys ever explore that relationship? It’s like, I love mark like a brotherhood from day one. And yeah, I’m glad we could set that straight on the show. Brad.

Brad Shreve 04:53
We not when I lived in the LA area and kind of near WEHO, I actually lived in WEHO for a while. Almost everybody that was friends started out as tricks, had some fun, and then they became, right.

Mark McNease 05:06
Very true.

Brad Shreve 05:07
I don’t think straight people can understand. I could be wrong straight people you can send. But when I talked to strip about that they just don’t get that concept.

Rick Rose 05:16
Yeah, it’s unique to our experience, that’s for sure.

Brad Shreve 05:20
Yeah, let’s, let’s get it on. Hey, you know what, you’re kind of a nice guy. I’m not gonna send you out the door.

Mark McNease 05:24
Yeah, no second date. But let’s go to a movie.

Brad Shreve 05:27
Yeah. Okay, Rick, I have to congratulate you. In the spring of 2022, which was last year, you were elected as a supervisor in the Dade County Wisconsin election. And what I noticed is I saw this online, you sponsored 40. Resolutions, and all of them passed. My Mark. This is incredible. Brad, does his research. I jump on the twist podcast and just go with it. But yeah, I know, you guys, by the way, have had a long relationship. You and mark. So it’s great. You did your research. Yes. And thank you. We are a more progressive board. So of course, people are gonna tend to be on your side of things. But I’m proud of those resolutions. A lot of them focused on LGBTQ matters a lot focused on, you know, abortion, transgender rights, all that kind of stuff. But yeah, so opioid recovery. Yes. Thanks for noting that any Yeah, I’m very pleased. That’s been since April. So we’re busy. In my research, I actually stumbled without trying on a YouTube video, where you were talking about how important the local level is. And I’ll tell you, it drives me crazy that people focus on the national election. And as you said, what affects our day to day lives is much more the local level. So people should be focused on their county supervisors, they should be focused on their city committees. That merit. That’s actually where I think LGBTQ people need to be folks. I

Mark McNease 07:00
want to chime in here because I don’t run for office. It’s it’s not something I want to do. But my husband Frank ran for Kingwood township Committee, which we live in Kingwood Township, New Jersey, very Republican, where we live. They haven’t even had a Republican on the ballot for like 40 years. So he ran it as a write in. And he didn’t win. But we are getting active. We have a king with democratic group, we’re meeting on Saturday, to start strategizing about this school board about this, about that, how we can raise our presence and get some Democrats, at least awareness of us and presence here. We’re getting politically active here in our little blue County, our blue Township, and we’re going to turn it purple.

Rick Rose 07:41
Well, and I love what Brad’s suggesting, you know, it does go down the local level. First of all, I ran on a tentative understanding what county government does a lot of people even want to get signatures to be nominated. You know, don’t understand that, as you both are suggesting it also does start in your local community. And one of the key things I ran on, and fellow supervisors that were elected this term, is to make people understand what county government does when I was getting my nomination papers, people are like, Oh, are you on the condo board, whatever. But the closer you are, you know, township first and county, the more you get things done, and I will tell you what I’m proud of being on the Dane County Board. As a matter of fact, tonight, there’s a celebration of five county board members that now have gone on to be as high as Tammy Baldwin, she started her career on the same board, same seat, I sit in, actually. And she is now a US senator. So she started her work with the LGBT community on a local level, and then was able to parlay that onto a larger level. But thank you for acknowledging that I really encourage people to get involved on the local level.

Brad Shreve 08:42
And, Mark, I heard you say on the podcast that you referred to the fact that the right has really dug themselves into the school boards, which is fucking scary. That’s why you made the decision that that’s what you need to be doing. And more of us need to

Mark McNease 08:56
go Yeah, the King Wood group that I’m part of. We’re just there were only five or six of us in the beginning. I think there’s going to be more there more than there are more Democrats net where we live but it’s a whole issue of trying to getting people out to vote and changing people’s minds and the school boards we’ve been to two school board meetings and where I am well actually that they’re they just they just started with a five to four majority with with I hate calling them conservatives, but you know who I’m talking about, they took over the school board here. Hopefully it’s not going to be a horror show. But in in Pennsylvania, right across the river in New Hope where I we love it. They’re in Bucks County, they’ve got a six to three majority. And they’re just, oh, it’s horrible what they’re doing and the things that they’re banning and the silencing that’s going on, and we have to show up and vote because as you as you know, at this point, for many, many years, school boards were boring. Nobody went nobody cared. Nobody cared really, except that people were on the school boards. And then it became a thing with Steve Bannon and the right Pushing it and taking over the school boards. But we have Michael Moore, I just highly recommend getting his podcast in his email. And he predicted we were not going to have a red wave in 2022, which we did not. And he’s very much now getting his listeners to go to school boards and show up and make your presence known because we can take these boards back.

Rick Rose 10:21
For sure. It’s such an interesting thing you brought up and we could talk forever, Brad. And that’s based on our history. But I want to say what’s unique about podcasting, you know, Mark, making the connection that Michael Moore, or even politicians that are of their own podcast. Yesterday, there was a young man in my office who ran for US Senate, out of Wisconsin, he got you know, he was in the Mandela race. Mandela obviously lost Ron Johnson here. But this young man of Indian descent that lives in Milwaukee wanted to run but he is also a color commentator on politics night, and I said, Are you going to run again or not? He goes, I’m not sure what I want to do. I said, Listen, dude, your podcast and what you do, as a commentator, have far more value and more influence sometimes. And I want to acknowledge that you know, Mark, and Brad, what you guys do and to open our platform of podcasts to speak to people and engage in community conversation is to me more powerful than mavens coming into the chambers every two weeks. I just want to say that there is power in what we do. And I’m fine mark every time you threatened to shut down the podcast. Well, I get pissed, because I need a voice dammit.

Brad Shreve 11:24
I think the Libertarians are a really good example of why the local elections are important. years ago, they were really focused on City Council’s and state level offices. And they actually were starting to make some headway. I think Alaska may even had a governor. But then all of a sudden, they took their whole shift and went straight to we need to elect a president. And now they’re gonna have no power. They’re virtually gone.

Rick Rose 11:54
Very good point. I’m glad you brought that up. It’s very true. The problem with this country is we have a two party system and we know that’s an issue but it’ll work out. Don’t worry. I’ll take care of things Dane County you guys handle your your neck of the woods.

Brad Shreve 12:10
Pardon my interruption for just one moment. But I am going to be bold, and I’m going to ask you to work. I love getting the emails and messages about how much you enjoy the show. Please keep them coming. They put a smile on my face. But I’m going to ask you go a little bit further. let others know by leaving a review. I know life is busy. But you’ll give me a bigger smile. And you’ll encourage others to listen to. And that is what’s really important. I want to get your podcasts because I think it is so much fun as well as getting more into your careers. But let’s back up a little bit and start from the beginning. I want to know what your lives were like Mark, what was little mark like when he was growing out and what was little mark. I don’t even know where you’re born. I

Mark McNease 13:05
was born in Mississippi, the last of nine children to a near do well, alcoholic father I never met. And then my mom, my mother. I don’t call her my mom. The woman raised me as my mom. But my mother Helen couldn’t really take care of nine kids. So three of us were farmed out. I was I was adopted. One of my sisters was adopted and other sister and brother were put into a foster home. Now that birth family all came back together. We all know each other. We all reconnected. Most of them are in Mississippi, except my one sister Patty was in New Jersey, and we visit her frequently. But I was adopted and raised in Indiana by Margaret and Emmett McNeese. That’s my name. My birth name was Green. But it’s, it’s your I know, you don’t want a really long story, just let’s just say I was raised in Indiana. I knew that I was gay as a child. I mean, I had a crush on my third grade neighbor, Randy, you know, I knew what I wanted. And to me that the being gay B is more really more of an identity that’s developed later in life. And in there’s a certain political element to that I was same sex attracted. I didn’t call it gay. I was in third grade. I’m not gonna I’m not gonna call myself gay in third grade. But I knew I knew what I wanted. And so my conflict was never in rejecting that part of me. My conflict was in no, in living in a society that I knew very well, was hostile to me. And still is really in a lot of ways we think we think, get out at least until the last couple of years when homophobia has made a comeback. We think that we’ve gained so much ground but it’s still okay for preachers in the Family Research Council to say horrible things about us. And I heard that as a child, I heard it at church. I heard it I got those signals all the time. So that was more of my conflict was I started Drinking when I was 12. Alcohol was a big part of my life for many, many, many years. And now it’s been eight years now since I’ve had a drink. But and also then lastly, I just gonna say that I started writing when I was about 10 years old writing. Wow. Oh, yeah, I wrote short stories. I did a book reading fretless last Friday, the best part of it and for the audience to they liked the excerpts of the book, but they really liked talking to me afterwards. And a bunch of them said, you’re really good at drawing an audience and and talking about the craft of writing and all these different things. I love doing that. So Rick, I need some students. I might have one. I might have one. But anyways, yeah. Oh my God, where is that one book saved my life. And I grew up in a house with no books. My father was the most incurious, man, he did not want me he adopted me to please my mother, because she couldn’t have any more kids. Wow, he didn’t like me. And I grew up knowing that my father didn’t like me. And I was gay. And so I drank, I drank a lot. And I wrote a lot. And it’s, it’s, you know, 55 years later, and I’m a writer, I’ve been writing since I was a kid. And the other night, I said to this group of people talking about it all. If you’ve been doing something for 50 years, I hope you know what you’re doing. So I do have a level of confidence. Partly because I’ve been doing it for a really, really long time. I’ve had good teachers. And that’s where I am now. I mean, my there’s I lived in LA through the AIDS crisis, spent 25 years in New York City, moved out to our house in New Jersey with my husband, Frank, and I’m at a very content place in my life now. And writing I cannot not write I get depressed, if I don’t write. It’s really weird. Like I get, I just get really depressed if I don’t write.

Brad Shreve 16:41
And we’re gonna get into that you’re making changes in your life. So you have more time to write, which is awesome. I’m glad you brought the author, prolific author, how many books

Mark McNease 16:50
on Amazon? I’ve written 11. It’s either 11 or 12. books, novels, I’ve written a lot of other things, short stories, plays a bunch of plays, produced TV scripts, but a movie a movie, a movie. Oh, movie. Yeah. 12 years ago, I wrote my first game history. And so I’m going to say, that’s where I’m going to start in your and reply to you is I’ve got I think, 11 books out.

Brad Shreve 17:18
And Mark has heard this story, but I want to share it with you listener. I tried to write a book for almost 10 years, but I thought the only books that LGBTQ people read were romance, because that’s all they ever saw. And as I said, if I’m going to sell a book, I’m gonna have to write a romance. So I was trying to write a romance kind of like you see on Hallmark all the time. It’s a romance. But there’s like a side story. That’s this mystery that’s really just there. I was miserable. I hated every second of it. And I stumbled on this book called Murder at Pride Lodge. It’s published in 2012, I think, or there abouts. So I must have got my hands on it. Right about the time it was published. And I read it. And I’m like, Oh, my God, this is like a real mystery. Just a great character. And then I found out there were more of these, I kept the mystery part of that story, and changed it and made it a mystery. And I’ve written two mysteries since then. So Mark, thank you, thank you

Mark McNease 18:19
story that I mean, I know from before, but that’s the kind of thing that makes me think, Oh, wait, yeah, but I gotta keep doing this. You know?

Brad Shreve 18:28
So Rick, what about you?

Rick Rose 18:29
You know, what’s cool about this is like, I want to add, I’m glad you shared a little your story, Brad. It’s always interesting mark, and I do our show, but there’s stuff I didn’t know, you heard me say wow, that Mark started reading at 10. I knew you know, his adoption story and other things because we’re intimate friends. But it’s always cool to think that here’s 360 year old guys are so that are just learning things about each other and and I also love this state of life where you can like just take a minute to pause, you know, power to people our age, like we get lost in the world right now. We’re kind of the minority. I am in the world like the the friendship group or work group. I’m around. Even my church group is younger. But the reality is, boy, there’s powers in our stories. And I’m, I’m grateful for both of you two gentlemen to create podcasts and platforms to share those stories. For me my whole life, kind of unlike you guys, I couldn’t even tell you when I acknowledged or understood I was queer. I just lived my life in Wisconsin, small town, Wisconsin and various small towns from zero to 17. And that’s just one period of my life that I kind of packed together as one I couldn’t really tell you my first memory at three years old like people do. I couldn’t tell you what high school is really like. All I know is I got on a plane and Rhinelander, Wisconsin, at 17. From a town of 1300 people I was the first foreign exchange students leave our high school, I went to Japan, and that’s where my real life began to be quite frank with you guys. Um, Tomorrow’s my birthday. So I acknowledge the fact that I’m grateful for my upbringing. I’m grateful my mom got me into the world. But yeah, my life started at 17 When I realized there was a world outside of Wisconsin, and that’s where my journey began.

Brad Shreve 20:10
So you both started in theater was that both of your now

Mark McNease 20:13
my plan was to attend the Iowa writers caucus. That was my dream because I knew about it. And I thought that’s where I want to go to back then I was informed by my parents that they would not pay to send a query to college now. That’s the kind of like violin thing, but I’m at a point in my life where I this is all water under the bridge. My mom ended up loving me Abby, she always loved me. But we, we made our peace and she apologized for some things that the way that I was treated. When they found out I was gay, but that didn’t happen. I didn’t go to I didn’t go to college. I always wanted to write fiction. That’s what I always wanted to write. I wrote poetry for 10 years. If you want to be a writer, anybody listening, read poetry, if you want to be a writer, read a bunch a lot of poetry. You learn how words sound and how to use them. I started writing plays I wrote plays for 10 years. And that’s how I met Rick now my late partner I met in the program, I met him at a recovery house. But he was an actor. And so he and I joined friends and artists theater ensemble, that’s where fate comes from. And that’s where I’m at Rick, and I wrote just plays for 10 years. My last one was done at New Jersey Repertory Company. That got to be almost 20 years ago.

Rick Rose 21:25
Yeah, and that’s the art connection was theater. So this is a great question for me. You know, I always did theater in high school. I was not the athlete. I was the theater kid. I loved it. And but we haven’t gotten to Japan. I miss my senior year. I got into politics, and my head was more about international relations and all that. So I applied to a small school in Vermont called Bennington College, and actually went there. When I came back from Japan to study international politics. The Exiled ambassador, the exiled someone from Iran was leading that program. But when I went to Bennington College is no more for its arts. Those of you that know the college, it’s a quite an incredible experience. Martha Graham in the dance community, taught on staff there my time. So I got interested in theater a little bit. Ultimately, I transferred from Bennington to a small school here in Wisconsin brought me home, Beloit College. And there I continued international politics, but acting in a play, met my mentor who was still one of the dearest people in my life. Second person I came out to, she’s a director in New York, Linda burst and I love you so much. Because of my connection with Linda, I changed my whole life, went into theater, moved to LA to work for Warner Brothers television. Lorimar actually first met Mark doing my side gig, which was theater directing. And so I think for many people, you may not end up in theater in life later, but I think theater is that very raw, basic place where we explore ourselves, explore our emotions, and, and make bonds. I mean, they say they’re working at a restaurant or doing theater, you know, seeing each other naked in the dressing room and having a run out on the stage. That’s a common thing that pulls you together very closely together. And Mark, I’m grateful that we had Curator of Orchids was the name of that play. Mark is his writer, his partner, Jim, who I knew was Michael is the actor and me as the director. That was it. Brad, it was the three of us. And it was an intimate time. It was against the backdrop of HIV AIDS, my partner at the time died of AIDS Mark’s partner died of AIDS. And there was certainly that raw experience of, you know, bonding over the stage and what we’re presenting to the public, as well as what was behind the scenes. As a matter of fact, we honored Michael, with his service marked on that very stage. He acted upon if, as you remember.

Brad Shreve 23:36
It sounds like it was good that you had each other at that time. Yeah,

Rick Rose 23:39
Mark, and I don’t really break down our walls about how much we love each other. So thanks for that opportunity. Mark. Yeah, there’s no question I, I have considered you a very dear friend ever since that moment,

Mark McNease 23:48
likewise, and you took me to the airport with three cats. I mean, that’s friendship.

Rick Rose 23:54
And I hate cats, Brad.

Brad Shreve 23:58
I knew Mark lived in Los Angeles. I didn’t know that you did, Rick. And the reason I know Mark lived in Los Angeles is his Marshall James thrillers take place in Los Angeles, which is actually my best series of books and I’m not happy that you stopped it. But he nailed LA

Mark McNease 24:13
there might be a time period.

Brad Shreve 24:17
Okay, you never know when it’s gonna stop. So that’s good. Murder at the Paisley Parrot is the first book in the series. I’m coming derailing us here for a minute. Murder at the Paisley Parrot is the first in the Marshall James thriller mysteries that Mark wrote, and it is my favorite crime novels. It was a lot of

Mark McNease 24:34
Tina. Several people have told me that so it’s like, oh my god, I gotta think I gotta think about another story for Marshall, but thank you.

Rick Rose 24:41
You’re right Brad. One thing I love about what Mark does is set a tone really captures environment you know like he gets the atmosphere in the setting. I don’t read I mean, I know how to read. I’m just not a reader. So when Mark but these on audio tape, I really enjoyed audio tape. I can’t believe I even said that. Isn’t that redundant? But when Mark did this on Oh, Do I really took a liking to Mark’s work? Now I will say I’ve referenced this movie we did. So Mark wrote, I was directing a show in the Louisiana film prize, which is a real active program. It’s the highest cash prize for a short film down in Louisiana, highest prize in the country. I think it’s $50,000. And when I heard the story I was going to do with a friend of mine, a lesbian woman that was sharing the story of her HIV AIDS experience. I brought it to mark and he was able to capture Shreveport Louisiana with had you visited by then marker had you never even been there? I can’t recall. Maybe you came one time. Well, I

Mark McNease 25:33
know the last week was nine years since we were there because we came there for your birthday.

Rick Rose 25:37
Right so you were there one time but beautifully captured, you know, life in the south, which I guess your roots from Mississippi kind of shine through there. But you know, I love what you’re describing. Brad Mark really knows how to set set the stage so to speak.

Brad Shreve 25:52
Mark was in LA long before I ever got here. It was during the 80s. Yeah,

Mark McNease 25:55
there in 1981. It was either go to it was either go to recovery or be a hustler. So I went to the I went to a recovery house in LA. That’s how I ended up there.

Brad Shreve 26:07
I know the Hollywood Boulevard area kind of is where the Paisley Parrot is off of that was really rough in the 80s. And it’s cleaned up a little bit. So I can tell you whenever my family comes out to visit, and they go to Avenue of the Stars, and they’re like, this is not what we thought. It’s still, it’s still pawnshops. You can see open air drug dealing, but not as bad as when Mark was there. But it was still enough of what Mark described that I’m like, Wow, I feel like that’s cool. You mentioned that because we do a thing on our show called the listicle. On The Twist Podcast, where we list top 10 things right. And so when I was exploring for this week were the 10 locations that everyone thinks you should see, but are let down. And Grauman’s is on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We’re right at the top of the list. And I would agree. I mean, for all three of us who have had experiences living there, guys, it’s nothing. It’s just a dirty little street with some stars on it. But it’s got meaning to other people, I guess.

Mark McNease 27:06
Yeah, people think they’re gonna go to Hollywood and see, you know, Jennifer Lawrence walking down the street. That’s, I mean, that might be Bel Air Beverly Hills, but it’s not Hollywood, right?

Brad Shreve 27:16
Well, I used to live in Studio City. So the supermarket’s I went to a lot of the celebrities and stars would stop.

Rick Rose 27:23
That’s where you’d see I’m not in Hollywood, both.

Brad Shreve 27:25
I see him in the supermarket. And I mentioned that to my niece when she came out to visit. And she was like, let’s go to hang out. No,

Rick Rose 27:34
that was great. Because I remember many times at work at the Warner Brothers Studios over your way. I lived in West Hollywood, like you referenced earlier. So all three of us kind of had a similar life. But where it started was on Laurel Canyon at a stop sign right and look to my left, and there’s Tom Cruise driving as explore, you know, that’s exactly it. It’s just part of the life out there. Why don’t you stay there, Brad, I mean, what’s kept you there?

Brad Shreve 27:56
We’re gonna turn the show on me, that’s fine. I left a job with Marriott Hotels, I took a job with a smaller company that I saw more opportunity that was in the LA area. And I also met a guy who I thought was going to be the most wonderful person in the world. I thought we were going to be married forever. Moving forward, I’ll be nice. And just say that man of my dreams was far from the man of my dreams. But eventually I met my wonderful husband who I’d been married to for 15 years. I actually don’t live in LA right now. I live about two and a half hours out in the desert because we moved in with my mother in law to help her out. But we loved LA but we knew it was not going to be our forever home.

Rick Rose 28:40

Brad Shreve 28:41
We knew it wasn’t our forever home because we didn’t always want to stay in a big crazy city. But I used to go walking on the beach two hours every day. And I do really miss that. I like the desert but I miss those beaches

Rick Rose 28:53
Yeah, it’s interesting. I’ve never had any desire to return to live in LA proper. But my best friend Donna, we bought a home in Palm Desert. So we will be moving out there. But we might we might get to be friends by the time I’m 75.

Brad Shreve 29:07
Yeah, you’re only like an hour and a half away. I thought Palm Springs was much further away than Yeah,

Mark McNease 29:13
Is this breaking news wreck you bought a house with her?

Rick Rose 29:17
Oh, you didn’t know that? Yeah, we don’t actually we did a smart thing as as, you know, it’s it’s interesting. For those of us that aren’t married like the two of you are, I have a lot of single older friends, right, that we’ve made the decision, you know, let someone fall from the sky on my lap and says, Here’s your new boyfriend, Rick, take care of him. I’m not gonna get married. I have no desire to really pursue that, you know, lots of desire to have a child now lots of desire to have a spouse. I’m not talking to a bitter old man. You can see I’m a very happy person. But we decided let’s be smart. So we have a home in Shreveport. We have a home in New Haven. We have a home in Madison and we have a home in Palm Springs. So when we retire we can hop from house to house. We can all be there one time, or one could be at one home. One could be at another home. Yeah, that’s our plan. I never shared that with you Mark.

Mark McNease 30:00
No, you haven’t Rick. So this is breaking. Thank you. Yeah, Brad, you did a good thing. This is therapy for my co host tonight.

Brad Shreve 30:07
And actually, I gotta say, I’m glad this is happening. Because if you listened to The Twist, which is the podcast that Mark and Rick do every week, right?

Rick Rose 30:19

Brad Shreve 30:19
I know, it just it downloaded into my phone, and I just listened to

Rick Rose 30:23
thank you.

Brad Shreve 30:25
I’m gonna sound like I’m downing your show. And I’m not in any way. These two guys that come from a broadcasting background and production, they have this podcast that breaks all the rules. It is it is not slick. It is to friends doing exactly what you just heard, oh, I didn’t know you bought it. And that I’m making it sound boring, but it is not in any way they have. Like you said, you have the listicles where you go through different lists that are going on, you guys read the headlines from the newspaper and talk about those. It’s like sitting in with what they are to friends just chit chatting. But surprisingly, it’s not boring in any way. It’s fine.

Rick Rose 31:11
You know, I appreciate that. I think that is based on again, the premise of what we’re talking about here is valued friendships and long friendships and shared experiences. That is really what you’re gonna get when you tune in. And by no means you know, I take that as a compliment. All that feedback, that consistent feedback we hear Mark is really like you guys are so funny. You guys are just yourselves. In listen, if I met Mark is going to know about it on the show. You know, like, we can push each other’s buttons and still end up the show by saying love you mean it? But yeah, please listen to us anytime you can find it. And where you can find Brad show, you’ll find our show. So we’d love to have you listen in.

Mark McNease 31:45
By the way, Brad, the reason we don’t have guests has been technical, because I have always used Skype. Yeah, it’s like a real hassle to get a third person on that. But we’re tomorrow we’re trying at Libsyn the podcast host has a new feature that’s like zoom like this where we can record it through a link and so we’re going to try it tomorrow. If it goes well. Hopefully, Rick, we’re gonna get some people on as long as they’re willing to call in at you know, 830 in the morning,

Rick Rose 32:12
that would be Brad, he’d be on our list.

Brad Shreve 32:15
I would love to read a listicle on it.

Rick Rose 32:17
Love it. I’d love to hear what you’ve got for listicles. So be thinking,

Mark McNease 32:20
oh, please Brad. Hey, Rick. Brad’s going to be our like our first listicle listicle love it, man. All you got to do is come up with a listicle and email it to me. That’s it.

Rick Rose 32:30
You heard it? Yep, you heard it here on the show, guys. Yep. Breaking news.

Brad Shreve 32:35
I’m popping in to say yes, you did hear breaking news. I did a listicle. And I can’t deny it was fun. But I did not end up being the first. So they may have heard from my attorney by now because they did break a verbal contract. But you can hear it on episode number 213. Even better, I did have the honor of being their first actual guest on The Twist. It’s episode number 216. I’ll put a link to both episodes in the show notes for you.

Rick Rose 33:15
I will tell you, I know where I stand with Mark all the time, right. But what people don’t see is Mark will always like if he knows he rubbed me wrong, or you know, he’ll text me after and kinda like Mark, you know, you do this. And then you’ll go well, I didn’t you know, and I liked that balance. I think any good friendship, any good marriage, whatever is, is based on that I’ve, and I appreciate your comments. I am kind of just wired to kind of be a hyper upbeat, let’s see the positive side of life guy. And I love it. But I’m not gonna lie. There are moments that I just want to hide and cry, especially in the last few years. But maybe we bond because of that mark. I don’t know. But I’ve heard people say it too. They’ll come on like a boy. He’s grouchy. And then three episodes into the podcasts are like, that guy is funny as fuck.

Brad Shreve 34:00
Mark is hysterical.

Rick Rose 34:01
He is

Mark McNease 34:03
we don’t take offense at what we say. And when we do we know it. Like you said, like, if I cross a line, I know I know it. And I don’t ever mean to do that. And but you know that right? Yeah, I do. And vice versa. Because you know, once in a while you say some things. Do you know,

Rick Rose 34:19
I know. I know. I and Brad, you’ve had a slew of wonderful guests want to applaud you for the show you’re putting together because I’ve enjoyed some good lessons.

Brad Shreve 34:27
I’ll tell you why people are like surprised how I got the guests that I’ve gotten. And the reason is why tell them what the show is about. They’re like, Oh, I love it. And after they’re on the show, they refer me to other high profile people. I mean, I don’t search out guests. They’re contacting me. Mark, you were with Rick in Wisconsin, the show that you too launched? Well, actually recuse started to show before that.

Rick Rose 34:55
Right. So it’s a family company. So 35 years ago, you In a fishing boat in northern Wisconsin, my dad was a professional fishing guide. And he was he took out a guy named Tommy Thompson. For those that know government history, which we talked about earlier, are for those that know the history of Wisconsin, Tommy ended up being the first governor in the United States to have four terms. So he served as governor 16 years, Tommy became governor, my father was invited to go talk to him about creating a show on tourism in Wisconsin. So it’s called Discover Wisconsin, it’s the longest running tourism show in the country. When I came back to this company that my dad and mom had started, I took on the one my father died was the first time I came back to work for the company. I took on Discover Wisconsin. So Mark wrote several of those episodes, I brought a lot of LA friends in to experience Wisconsin from their point of view, then about 10 years into that maybe a little less five years into that mark, and I were approached by the Department of Natural Resources, similar to the conversation I shared about tourism. And they said, We got a problem here, we got kids that are not enjoying the outdoors that are on their computers, right. This is still a problem today, as we all know. So Mark, and I had to creatively work together to create a project that was funded with three quarters of a million dollars by government money to get kids off computers and into the outdoors. And when we launched that program, 20 years ago, we had it at Minolta terrace, which was our conference center or convention center here, Madison. That was the last designer Frank Lloyd Wright, by the way, they had found this design and built it, Mark, and I went, and we met Tommy Thompson and the Secretary of Tourism and all the kids were there. And that very year, we won our first Emmy Award. And I’m proud to say, Brad, that show has now won 19 Emmy Awards for the work gets accomplished.

Brad Shreve 36:40
I knew that the two of you at least I knew mark one won Emmy. And I was surprised. Just the other day when I found out that you want to second me last year

Mark McNease 36:50
last year, because the thing with an assess me submission is you have to be listed. So like if Everybody Loves Raymond, because we watch it every night, they submit a show, they submit an episode for consideration. And you need you have to be Rican, correct me if I’m wrong. You’re right. But you have to be listed writer, producer, whatever your name has to be on that submission. My name was on the submission the first year, and then it wasn’t and I never pushed it because I was fine with that I had moved on to other things. But then, last year, a year and a half ago, they did a submission and somebody decided to put my name on it. And we won. So I have Emmys that are years apart. For the same show, for the same show. Oh, yeah. I’m really proud of the whole thing. And Rick, you just brought back a memory of going there and doing a presentation for them. That was fun. I would never have, I would never have remembered it.

Rick Rose 37:41
I just remembered it because the kids were there. And if you remember your partner at the time, Michael, who was executive producer of Sesame Street, he came and he spoke about this show. Remember,

Mark McNease 37:50
when we when we launched the show? He did go as and he was he was introduced as the executive producer of Sesame Street. Oh, yeah. It was cool. Because I worked at Sesame Street Brad

Brad Shreve 37:59
Did you really? Yeah. Were you Mr. Hooper?

Mark McNease 38:02
I was

Rick Rose 38:05
I was his big bird. Yes.

Mark McNease 38:07
No, I was an administrative assistant. And I ended up as the story editor for international co productions, which is something I never really talked about, you know, because it was cool. But it was it was also cool. I ended up just sitting in a room reading really bad scripts from China. It was not fun.

Rick Rose 38:24
But I love that you get to a point in your life where you can just whip that off as a side comment. Oh, yeah. My ex partner used to be the executive producer of Sesame Street. And I used to work on Sesame Street. I love that about our age, right? All these little, little

Mark McNease 38:36
moments in life and so much to forget so many things to forget. Yeah,

Rick Rose 38:40
it’s like, Oh, I forgot we did that.

Brad Shreve 38:43
I recently saw the very first episode of Sesame Street, and my God, it was awful.

Rick Rose 38:46
Oh, really.

Brad Shreve 38:46
And I loved it as a kid. So I’m glad they turned it around very quickly. So Rick, you got into Wisconsin, and you really settled there. For the most part. You’ve been doing your productions there. I know. You’ve been to every county in Wisconsin as part of your show. So you were kind of settled, continuing to do what you were doing. Mark? You took a fork in the road and went somewhere else. Why and where did you go?

Mark McNease 39:12
What happened was my partner Jim died. LA was a ghost town for me as it was for a lot of like, everywhere you went, I just saw ghosts. And I wanted out. I dated a man named Michael Loman, who is still alive. He lives in Palm Springs now. But he’s quite a bit older than me. And he six months after we were dating, he said, Do you want to move to New York City I got I got a job. And I’m like, Oh, well, I think about it. And the job was the executive producer of Sesame Street. So that’s how he ended up in New York. And it was a perfect timing for me to get out of LA. We became friends but we were not a good couple. And so I lived on my own in New York City for years. I worked at Sesame Street. I worked at Reuters news, the best job I’ve ever had for 11 years. I was so happy I had that job. And then I met my husband Frank. Yeah. I’m 16 years ago. And that’s it. And Frank had a house here where I’m at now in rural New Jersey that he inherited from his grandmother. And he retired, my company closed their office in New York City. And we moved out here. So that’s where I am. I love it here. I love living in the country love living in the Delaware River Valley. It’s gorgeous. I’m very happy.

Brad Shreve 40:20
And I’m happy that you’re retiring very shortly and will be writing full time.

Mark McNease 40:24
Yes. And I actually, as I’m listening to you, I came up with the germ of a title for the next Marshall James book. It’s called Aftermath,

Brad Shreve 40:32

Mark McNease 40:32
Aftermath. Because, as you know, I don’t want to spoiler alerts, but it has to take place it has to move into the present. Oh, he’s not going to do another story about Los Angeles in the 1980s. So yeah, now I got something to think about. Thank you.

Rick Rose 40:46
I love this. There’s so much breaking news here on Brad show. This is awesome.

Brad Shreve 40:52
I feel like MSNBC

Rick Rose 40:54
Yes, yes,

Mark McNease 40:55
Rachel. By the way, her her new her podcasts Ultra is awesome.

Rick Rose 40:59
Yes, we can talk about that on our show, Mark. We’ll keep it

Brad Shreve 41:04
you know, I love the things that Rachel does. She really does a research. But my God, I wish she didn’t repeat herself over and over and over again. Before moving to the next subject. We get it Rachel, move on, man. Anyway, I would rather be Ari Melber because he’s kind of cute.

Mark McNease 41:20
Oh, and he’s funny. And he does the rap. He does the hip hop.

Brad Shreve 41:26
So I have a question for each of you. And might require some thought. If you could remove all barriers and constraint, what project would you do? And would you want to be known only by that project?

Mark McNease 41:41
Is this in any form like a novel or TV or?

Brad Shreve 41:45
I’m tossing out to you?

Mark McNease 41:47
Oh, I would I mean, I would probably make a I’ve always thought the Kyle Callahan mysteries would make a really good game mystery for while the BBC certainly even though but they’d have to speak with British accents. I would love to I would love to turn one is that series certainly into a TV show. I mean, that’s that’s my, my dream project or even Marshall James, I think is a little too raw for that kind of thing. But I’ve always thought Kyle would make a really good, older gay male sleuth on television.

Brad Shreve 42:19
Rick, did that give you time to think about it?

Rick Rose 42:22
It did. And I’m grateful. This is the love I have with Mark I was put him in top dog position. It’s you know, the mark and Rick show not the Rick and Mark show for a reason. Yeah, for me, mine would be and you can both go come on nuclear while you go down that path. But for me, it’s a little more sweeping I just took I know my body is like, I can’t explain when I take a heavy sigh. It’s like, whoa, somebody’s got to the core of what I’m feeling or what I’m thinking. So I appreciate that. And mine does relate back to the work I’m doing now. And that is I knew I want to get out of TV. I’ve won an Emmy Award. I’ve done everything. You know, in that realm. I don’t care. Whatever it’s done, I decided to run for office because I want to make more sweeping changes. And I’ve been a CASA volunteer for years. And I anyone listening the show that is a CASA volunteer court appointed special advocate knows that we’re there to be for a child who was removed from their home because of abuse or neglect, right. And so you both sharing your stories. My story, you know, I referenced how much I love my mom, I drove up here to be with my mom on her birthday, my father died 26 years ago, I’m glad we made peace before he died. He was not the best dad, you know, did he do his best probably. But I never grew up in that father son relationship that I think everyone probably deserves. And that being said, if I could do a project, it would really be to go back to God, it’s so sweeping and deep. But to give everybody a fair opportunity when they’re born, you know, like people bring kids into the world. Sometimes not knowing what’s gonna hit them, and it is beyond their control. But others bring people in this world without a thought. And that breaks my heart, every kid should have an opportunity to have a full loving experience. And I would wonder, you know, Adversity has led to some great leaders and some great people who have made. I’m not suggesting that adverse growing up in an adverse situation. can’t produce a wonderful person that has many times. But can you imagine if we were all nurtured and loved from day one, how much different the world could be? So that’s all I know. It’s sweeping, but you asked, and you didn’t define it. That would be my project to give everybody a loving, stable home from day one.

Brad Shreve 44:25
So now you’re gonna get one of my favorite questions before we go. What makes you smile?

Rick Rose 44:31
I’m gonna jump in on that Mark.

Mark McNease 44:32
Yeah, you go first. So I can think of it’s in it is the Rick and Mark show. It’s not. It’s our show, Rick.

Brad Shreve 44:40
What you’re hearing is their show. I’m letting them just go. Actually, they kind of changed this show into their show and I’m just kind of become a part of it.

Rick Rose 44:51
We could actually do one of those cross collabs guys, we could share this on ours and you could hear this, but no for me, I’m smiling now. Right? It’s just laughter like Mark, you make me smile like what I love is just when something comes out of the blue and someone does something said something that just makes your gut laugh for no reason, like, my smiles come from my friendships. You know, I’ve always said this, let me leave it on this note. And I question any of your listeners. And I commented earlier about me like being happy in my life, even though I’m not married. And what I want to be married. Sure. I mean, I wouldn’t love that experience. Did I have the love of my life? Yes, I had two loves of my life. One was taken from death. One was taken because he was, you know, wasn’t a citizen of the country and had to leave the country. But nonetheless, I question my friends say if you could have the love of your life and have no friends, but you have the love of your life, or you can have all the friends in the world you wanted without having the level life, what would you choose in mind would really be choosing friends and that was all we would always be my consistent answer. Because they bring me smiles. And I mean that from my heart. So thanks for the question, Brad. You’re on Mark.

Mark McNease 45:53
Wow, these are abstractions I grapple with. I friendship definitely makes me smile. Kindness makes me smile. I like kindness. The Waking up makes me smile. Curiosity makes me smile. And then humor. I have to I want to put this in there because I believe that a sense of humor is why I’m still alive. And curiosity. I wanted to know what tomorrow brought so when there’s so many difficult things in life, I wanted to know what was going to happen next year. It was that curiosity that kept me from killing myself. I’m just telling you the truth and a sense of humor. When I when I don’t have a sense of humor. I’m in a really, really, really dark place. So that makes me smile. If that makes any sense.

Brad Shreve 46:36
It makes total sense. I like both of your answers. So thank you all for being my guest

Mark McNease 46:40
and a lot of fun.

Brad Shreve 46:41
It’s been a lot of fun. Thank you.

Rick Rose 46:42
Thanks, Brad. And thanks Mark.

Brad Shreve 46:47
Do you enjoy the show? If so, tell a friend because the number one way podcasts grow is word of mouth. So pass it on so others can enjoy Queer We Are
Do you enjoy the show? If so, tell a friend because the number one way podcasts grow is word of mouth. So pass it on, so others can enjoy queer we are

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