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Michael Kazarnowicz (far right, above) runs Sweden’s largest gay podcast, Bögministeriet (Ministry of Queers), with a group of good friends. Besides analyzing a host of LGBT issues, the show features inter-views with esteemed celebrities (like Edmund White and Jake Shears), in addition to discussing everything new and cool in Stockholm.
Where were you born?
I was born in Poland, and lived there the first seven years of my life. My mom remarried a Swede and we left then-communist Poland. Sweden was quite a contrast.
Now you live in Stockholm and run a popular queer podcast called Bögministeriet. Can you tell us what it’s about?
Mostly it's about a group of gay men’s experiences. We discuss our own stories about every-thing, from coming out, dating, sex, and fetishes, to topics like depression, traveling, and pretty much everything else. We always have an interesting take on the topics, and we cross the line between "personal" and "private" often enough for me to be very happy that my mom doesn't listen to podcasts.
How’d it start?
We are a pretty tight group of friends who wanted to create a project where we could meet in other ways than the usual social gatherings — bars, dinners, movie nights. We thought that it might be interesting to listen in on a conversation where a group of gay friends talk about every-day life.
Who’d you collaborate with?
There's six of us: Robin Olsson, Christopher Waldekrantz, Johan Svenson, Thomas Carlhed, Mårten Andersson, and me.
How’d you all meet?
Robin and I go way back, we've known each other for 15 years. The others joined organically, Thomas, for example, was friends with both Robin and me, and he was acquainted with Mårten and Christopher…
Who were some of your favorite guests?
I really like the episode with Courtney Act from RuPaul's Drag Race. I wasn't there for it, but I listened to it and felt like I really got to know the person better. The Jake Shears episode is great too.
Anyone cool we can expect to hear soon?
There will be some major celebrities coming to Stockholm Pride this year and we'll be doing live podcasts (and videos on Periscope!) from our sessions with them in Pride Park.
How can us American folks tune in?
We're soon going to launch an English channel called The Gay Ministry, until then the shows in English can be found at https://delicious.com/kazarnowicz/the%20gay%20ministry.
If you know Swedish—or want to learn!—you can listen to all our 100+ episodes at http://acast.com/bogministeriet.
What’s the gay scene like in Stockholm? Is there a gay neighborhood you frequent? What’s the vibe there?
Stockholm differs from other cities in that we don't really have a gay neighborhood. Or rather, perhaps that all neighborhoods are gay to some extent. Stockholm's gay scene is small for a city of its size. There isn't room for more than two gay clubs on any night. At the same time, the city is safe and open. The Pride celebration in late July is the biggest in northern Europe, lasts for a week, and still contains a lot of the original elements of politics, seminars, and debates. It's not all a party — it’s a lot of activism as well.
Any favorite gay bar/club?
When it comes to clubs: Candy on Fridays is my favorite. I love the space; it’s big with three dance floors and is very friendly. On Saturdays, King Kong is the place to be. You can't miss Mälarpaviljongen — also known from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo — in the summer. It's right down by the water and perfect for a happy hour or drinks before the club.
What would the perfect day in Stockholm be? Where would you eat, shop, walk around, etc.?
I think I'd start with a late breakfast at Urban Deli. Shopping would be either Södermalm, where you'll find more indie stores and specialties like Sneakers'n'Stuff (they have very cool sneaker collections). If you're more into posh designer brands I'd head over to Norrmalm/Östermalm (around Stureplan) and NK. I'd eat dinner at Barbro near Hornstull, where I'd have the spicy tu-na roll and the shiitake dumplings. They're very good. If you're into meat, I'd go to B.A.R. and eat the steak tartar. From Hornstull I'd take a stroll over Västerbron and then over to Mälarpaviljongen for a drink, and then if it's a Friday I'd head home to freshen up and go to Candy.
If you haven’t mentioned it already, what’s something that can’t be missed in the city?
If you want to see what Sweden is like in a nutshell, the open air museum "Skansen" is amazing. Architecture and traditions, and animals from all over Scandinavia (like wolverines, lynx and bears). The Vasa Museum is supposed to be awesome, but I have yet to go (I'm waiting until I get a visitor from abroad who hasn't seen it yet). Going for a stroll at Djurgården (a big green area very close to the city center, owned and maintained by the Royal Court) is nice on a sum-mer day.