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March 24, 2020

Cameron Esposito's Playlist for Her Memoir "Save Yourself"

Save Yourself

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Roxane Gay, and many others.

Cameron Esposito's Save Yourself is an insightful and often hilarious memoir of gender, identity, and much more.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Esposito brings her distinctive and queer-focused brand of humor to the memoir, combining laugh-out-loud moments with somber reflections on gender, sexuality, religion, social power dynamics, and how to start saving yourself."

In her own words, here is Cameron Esposito's Book Notes music playlist for her memoir Save Yourself:

Here are some queer songs and queer feeling songs to set the mood for a memoir about faith in self. Many were listened to during the years covered in Save Yourself: and others during the writing.

Faith, George Michael

This'll get you warmed up for a story about a super Catholic kid who wanted to be a priest and ended up a standup comic. As a bonus, gay! Listen to this before even cracking the book.

Fast Slow Disco, St. Vincent

The sexy, sped-up version of St. Vincent's haunting, lonely, ain't-it-awful-to-be-a-human anthem is perfect for the book's dedication and intro. You'll feel EMOTIONAL and OPEN and RAW and ABANDONED and those are perfect feelings to bring into my reasoning for writing the book to begin with.

Cabaret, Liza Minnelli

This song is going to feel jarring after those first two; the good news is it'd feel jarring following anything that wasn't the entire movie/musical Carabet. Liza's rendition is directly referenced in the intro, and will vastly improve your life any time you bless your ears with it.

Born This Way, Lady Gaga

Perhaps Gaga's antics feel stale, overblown or too on the nose for you. If they do, how terrifically sad. Her work with Bradley Cooper is not my person favorite--I'm a Gaga in a meat dress screaming about equality kinda gal and this song sings to that. Alternate Little Queer Kid anthem: Let It Go from the gayest animated film ever, Frozen.

Supermodel (You Better Work), RuPaul

My girlfriend is thirty-two and somehow that's younger-than-me enough to have missed this tune the first time it took over the airwaves & launched Ru's career. If you can listen to music and read at the same time--which for some reason I've been assuming you can do throughout this playlist--pop this on as you read about young Cammy's struggle with body dysmorphia. You're beautiful, little Cammy!

Bad Ones, Matthew Dear (ft. Tegan and Sara)

This song perfectly describes the feeling I had walking across campus at my conservative Catholic college after realizing I was queer; at first, I didn't question the faith teachings around me, instead internalizing rejection/homophobia and labeling myself a bad boi/demon/problem child. That's why I still own black leather jackets to this day.

This Year's Love, David Gray

This was my first girlfriend and my "song" which says a lot about where I was at the time, since I think it was my suggestion. This shit is the saddest, droopiest thing on the planet and I think to me it felt hopeful.

Then I Kissed Her, The Beach Boys

When I came out--which wasn't 1,000 years ago, but in the scheme of things pretty damn recently, out queer artists weren't really a thing. This song felt gay to me because, lacking anything else, I really relied on lyrics like "I kissed her in a way I'd never kissed a girl before" to get me through. And to Janelle Monae, Hayley Kiyoko, King Princess, Perfume Genius, Lil Nas X and many many more: love you.

Slip Away, Perfume Genius

Speaking of...look: Perfume Genius is amazing. And just put a new video out that you can watch from the comfort of your bunker. I'd really recommend watching the ways this person moves to the music they sing and listening to the whole PG catalogue but this one should get you started and should be paired with chapters on navigating difficult times with my family and my early loves.

Into the Wild, LP

And let's finish with a jam that sets a tone of openness and movement toward what's next. I have blazed paths for myself in comedy, queerness, love, family, community. The anxiety of the current pandemic, can make me feel like I've never done one thing to prepare for this moment; it's a helpful reminder that I've gone forward without plans and a path before and made it by adapting and staying honest.

Cameron Esposito is a Los Angeles-based comic, actor, and writer. Cameron's career has spanned everything from big-budget films to Sundance indies to animation. She costarred in and cocreated the much-lauded Take My Wife, now on Starz, has written for the New York Times, and has appeared as herself on TV, podcasts, and web series alike. Cameron hosts a popular interview podcast, Queery with Cameron Esposito, and her recent hit comedy special, Rape Jokes, raised almost $100,000 for rape crisis intervention.

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