Seth Bogart and Macy Rodman on Transphobes, Bath Salts, and Locker Room Dick

Seth Bogart

Photo by Nick Delisi.

Seth Bogart didn’t mean to lose his hands. The former Gravy Train!!!! electroclash king found himself in a love-hate relationship with the clay after selling the yields of a one-off ceramics class, and the rest was history. His latest show at the FIERMAN Gallery downtown, Mondo Blondo Ceramica Sculpturo, features a disembodied hand (lest you mistake it for a foot), a Kim’s Video matchbook, a stack of iconic gay lit from Gary Indiana to Susan Sontag, and a spray bottle of “Eau de Cheeks,” all fashioned from shiny ceramic. It’s a continuation of the California-based Bogart’s own pop-art, from his Wacky Wacko line of objects to his recent John Waters memorabilia collection at the Academy Museum. “I have too much going on but I feel like maybe I also don’t have anything going on,” says the artist, who’d just wrapped up his first album in a decade when he joined singer, comedian, and base-humorist Macy Rodman on Zoom last week. Art is boring, they declared, as they caught on biblical fantasies in Provincetown, salacious locker room memories, and sobbing on the treadmill to Britney Spears’ audiobook.


MACY RODMAN: What’s up?

SETH BOGART: You’re so pro, you have a microphone. I’m impressed with the technology on your end.

RODMAN: [Laughs] Where are you right now, Seth?

BOGART: I’m in bed. I was just creeping on your Instagram.

RODMAN: Oh, I was doing the same with you.

BOGART: I wish I had more time to creep.

RODMAN: I know. There’s not enough time in a day. 

BOGART: You look so good.

RODMAN: Oh, thank you. So do you. You’ve got so much going on right now.

BOGART: I have too much going on but I feel like maybe I also don’t have anything going on.

RODMAN: That’s how I always feel. I’m always like, “None of it actually is that serious.” 

BOGART: It’s all fucking jokes. Who cares? Is that a Tina Turner shirt?

RODMAN: Yeah, baby. Tina 24/7. RIP. I was just creeping your new exhibit in New York at the FIERMAN Gallery. That’s so exciting. 

seth bogart

All show photos by Christopher Francisco, courtesy FIERMAN Gallery.

BOGART: Thank you. I should have harassed you to make you come, but I always forget who I know in New York. It’s open for eight years, so you have a chance.

RODMAN: Excellent. The pieces look cool. You have one with the funniest name, “Have You Seen My Hand?”

BOGART: Yeah, I lost it. I can’t find it.

RODMAN: Oh, no.

BOGART: Everyone thought it was a foot. They’re like, “Oh, that’s a big foot.” I’m like, “It’s a fucking hand.” I know that I’m a little lanky, but it has a watch on, clearly. I haven’t seen it, though.

RODMAN: You haven’t seen it?

BOGART: I haven’t seen my hands.

RODMAN: Oh yeah, I haven’t seen mine in years.

BOGART: Yeah, same. [Laughs]

RODMAN: You also made a cover of Rosemary’s Baby, which is the same cover as the one that I got from the library in high school, which I thought was funny.

BOGART: I only judge books by their covers, and that was clearly the best one. There’s another Rosemary’s Baby cover that’s actually really cool where it’s just a cradle with a demonic presence coming out of it. But ultimately, I went with the most iconic cover. 

RODMAN: That’s great. 

BOGART: Then there’s some really bad ones.

RODMAN: There’s some like The Post, the movie. I love that one with the top of the Dakota, kind of creepy. How did you get into ceramics?

BOGART: There’s the fucking question.

RODMAN: Not to have that bitchy tone of voice.

BOGART: I know that tone. 

Seth Bogart

RODMAN: But how did you get into ceramics?

BOGART: That’s honestly the voice in my head. I’m like, “How is this happening?” I never set out to do ceramics. I was a musician and I got really into painting and all the other things I do, and then I tried to take a ceramics class and it was so stupid and hard and I hated it. So I took the clay and made these perfume bottles, and then I got obsessed with it and then started selling them. And now here I am.

RODMAN: Now, you have giant hands at the FIERMAN Gallery. I mean, that’s totally slay. You’ve always been DIY or die.

BOGART: That’s right. Not by choice.

RODMAN: I know, it blows.

BOGART: It’s funny because now I get approached by people with so much money, and they’re like, “You cost like $5, right? Because you do everything yourself?”

RODMAN: That is the double-edged sword of having autonomy as an artist. 

BOGART: Yeah, but now, I have a business manager who really takes these people out. They don’t know what’s coming. She’s like, “You owe a lot of money.” I shouldn’t say names, but big fashion companies will be like, “Can you do this gigantic thing for a dollar?” Thank you, but no.

RODMAN: I know. They don’t know how much clay costs these days. It’s a lot of money actually.

BOGART: Everything’s so expensive.

RODMAN: I have a Coke Zero here and it was like—

BOGART: $25.

RODMAN: [Laughs] Exactly.

BOGART: Are you at home? It looks so cool.

RODMAN: I’m at home in New York. My apartment looks like an old ski lodge. I was looking desperately for an apartment this year and the only affordable place was in this random neighborhood below Prospect Park. And it’s an old set from The Shining.

BOGART: It’s a ski lodge. I love it. It’s so you.

RODMAN: You’re in L.A. all the time.

BOGART: I mean, not all the time, but I’m definitely a California girl for life. Even when I grew up in Tucson, Arizona, in my head I was like, “I live in California.”

RODMAN: You were like, “Where’s Silver Lake? I need a lavender latte.”

Photo by Nick Delisi.

BOGART: It’s more like, “Where’s Disneyland and where’s the beach?”

RODMAN: Of course. It’s surf rock and Hollywood.

BOGART: Lavender lattes came later.

RODMAN: That might be my own obsession. I’m PNW, so I’m obsessed with coffee. 

BOGART: You are?

RODMAN: I’m from Juneau, Alaska.

BOGART: Oh my god, I didn’t know that. So in the summer, you have to put pillows over the window to sleep because it stays light out?

RODMAN: Yeah. It stays light out pretty late.

BOGART: I actually went there when I was a kid. I just remember we took a ferry and there were all these religious kids, and I had a crush on this religious kid.

RODMAN: Oh my god. Some of them were really worth it.

BOGART: Then we were pen pals.

RODMAN: The ’90s were crazy. I went to a Christian school and we would go on these basketball trips on ferries to other little towns in Southeast Alaska. The smell of a certain kind of conditioner still brings me back to the locker room because that was the first time I saw cock.

BOGART: I love that conditioner equals cock.

RODMAN: Yeah, but back to your work. You’re putting out records now with the likes of Dynasty Handbag.

BOGART: I put out a record maybe every 10 years, and she asked because we’re good friends and I’m a huge fan, so I said yes. And I just designed all this John Waters merchandise for the Academy Museum, which was fun.

RODMAN: It looks so sick.

BOGART: Thank you. They can’t keep that shit on the shelves. They can’t even keep one to send me. I’m like, “Hello, I want my fucking bath mat.”

RODMAN: Did you get to hang out with John?

BOGART: I’ve hung out with him a bunch of times because he hosts this punk festival in Oakland that I play at sometimes. I met him there. If I go to Provincetown, sometimes we’ll go to the beach or whatever. He likes to go to this beach where there’s an eight-foot shark warning. People literally get eaten by sharks.

RODMAN: Everyone else is in the breakwater. It’s not exciting enough for him.

BOGART: We’ll be gossiping as a huge wave is about to hit, and sharks are on the horizon. It’s really fun. One time someone got eaten by a whale there and spat back out, and I really want that to happen to me.

RODMAN: Okay, Jonah.

BOGART: It’s so biblical, but doesn’t that sound cool?

RODMAN: That sounds sick. That never happens anymore. People don’t really get eaten by whales as much as they used to. You two have very similar sensibilities.

BOGART: I feel like it’s because he ruined my mind as a nine-year-old. 

RODMAN: Yeah. What’s your favorite John Waters film?

BOGART: It’s very hard to choose but I really love Serial Mom. And I like Female Trouble a lot.

RODMAN: Serial Mom is the one that I go back to often, but I also love A Dirty Shame. It’s so wild. It’s very him during the Bush era, which is nice.

BOGART: I need to watch that again. 

RODMAN: Speaking of Cali, I first knew you as a San Francisco kid from Hunx and his Punx. Everyone was obsessed with Gravy Train!!!! when I was in high school in San Francisco, and the “Lust for Life” video. What’s your relationship to San Francisco?

BOGART: I lived mostly in Oakland but I moved to San Francisco when I was 18. My two friends had just started Gravy Train!!!! and they asked me to be the dancer, but very quickly, I was writing a bunch of the songs. I don’t know how we became a teen sensation but we were. And then later—

RODMAN: There was that rule about how many people could—

BOGART: Yeah, some of the shows were so crazy that we would be smashed against the stage by fans and all our equipment would be on the ground, and everyone would be yelling. I remember one time we played this show in the forest outside of San Diego and we had to hide in our van, and people were rocking it. It was like we were like the Beatles or something. Then this girl got into a fight with the security guard at the door and she had a fake leg, so she took it off and was going to hit the security guard with her leg. And then he took her leg and threw it into the forest. It was so fucked up.

RODMAN: Oh my god.

BOGART: It was real insanity. 

RODMAN: You’re like Hanson.

BOGART: Yeah, we were basically Hanson. But then later came Hunx and his Punx. We actually just finished recording a new album, weirdly.

RODMAN: “White Lipstick” is a banger. 

BOGART: Thank you. We haven’t made a record in 10 years, and I didn’t think we ever would but somehow we did. It took literally two years to do. We had to really spread it out because my bandmate, Shannon [Shaw], is like a celeb, and we all have so much stuff going on. I can’t wait for it to come out. What’s going on with your music?

RODMAN: I’m working on an album right now but it’s taking forever, and it’s so great.

BOGART: I was so sad I missed your last show in L.A.

RODMAN: I heard Frank Ocean was there. Someone started that rumor.

BOGART: I bet he was. He used to follow me on Instagram and then he unfollowed me. I’m like, “What did I do?”

RODMAN: Frank, come on.

BOGART: I didn’t even know, and my friend told me. 

RODMAN: I hate when that happens. When somebody’s like, “Did you see that Ann Coulter commented on your—” Well, not Ann Coulter, but a famous person.

BOGART: I like that that’s who you think of.

RODMAN: That’s at the forefront of my mind. But I would rather not have known.

BOGART: Yeah, I guess it’s because I found out. I would’ve probably tried to be horny with him.

RODMAN: I mean, that’s what Instagram’s for. It’s the only one that works. Twitter is a monologue of hornyness.

BOGART: It’s like, “Watch me jack off.”

RODMAN: Seen any good movies lately?

BOGART: This is really old at this point, but I loved Bottoms.

RODMAN: Bottoms was so fun. Unexpected crazy violence at the end. Have you seen May December yet?

BOGART: No, I think Netflix keeps emailing me about it. It’s in the theater? I love the ones where you can order things and people bring them to you.

RODMAN: That’s cute. Although I had an experience at Alamo Drafthouse. I got there 10 minutes late because it was pouring down rain and they were like, “Sorry. We can’t let you in. It’s our policy.” And I was like, “How dare you? I’m trans. You have to let me in.”

BOGART: Did it work?


BOGART: So Alamo Drafthouse is transphobic.

RODMAN: Leaving a wet trans woman out in the lobby. Wow.

BOGART: If you’re wet, hot, and trans, do not go to Alamo Drafthouse late. [Laughs]

RODMAN: No, get there early. Anything else you’re excited about this year? The year’s almost over.

BOGART: I just want to say that people should go see my show because I think it’s up until Christmas.

RODMAN: Go to the FIERMAN Gallery.

BOGART: Hot firemen are the people that work there.

RODMAN: You’ll be greeted with hot guys sliding down a pole, greased up—

BOGART: Shooting you down with the water.

RODMAN: And you’ll see Mondo Blondo Ceramica Sculpturo. How did you come up with that name?

BOGART: My friend’s child Arlo, who I’m obsessed with, calls me Blondo. I don’t know why. It’s just become a thing. I just like the way Mondo and Blondo sounded together, and then I just kept adding for no reason.

RODMAN: It could feasibly be an old Basilica or something.

BOGART: I guess Mondo because this is the first time I’ve made large ceramics. They’re always usually small but I went big. I couldn’t really think of a title, which is weird for me because I always have an idea. 

RODMAN: This might be a really dumb question, but how do you cook ceramics that are that big?

BOGART: They’re in pieces, actually. Some of them are three pieces stacked on top of each other. The ones that are just one piece, you ask your friend that has a big cooker machine to do it for you really nicely and bribe them.

RODMAN: Okay. Speaking of movies, did you see this movie Showing Up with Michelle Williams playing a ceramic artist?

BOGART: No. Art, especially galleries, are so fucking boring that I don’t want to watch a movie about that. But should I?

RODMAN: I mean, it’s based on your life. André 3000 is in it.

BOGART: Okay, cool. Thanks for the hot tip. I’ve been on the fence.

RODMAN: It’s basically your unauthorized biography.

BOGART: Wait, have you listened to Michelle Williams do the Britney Spears book?

RODMAN: I’ve heard clips of it and I think she does an amazing job.

BOGART: She’s incredible. I only listen to it once a week when I do cardio, so I’m only halfway through it. But I just passed the part where she’s imitating Justin Timberlake and it was so funny. 

RODMAN: That’s worth the price of admission.

BOGART: Seriously, the first part, I was on the treadmill sobbing.

RODMAN: Really?

BOGART: Kind of, because her childhood is fucked up. Of course she’s raised by abusive alcoholics. 

RODMAN: Sobbing at the gym is really funny, but cardio sometimes can release some emotion.

seth bogart

BOGART: I saw you in Cole Escola’s thing.

RODMAN: Cole is the best. They just screened the pilot for an old western show called Our Home Out West, and it’s on YouTube for free so everyone should watch it. Amy Sedaris was raffling off stuff from Strangers with Candy

BOGART: I’m also obsessed, obviously, with Amy Sedaris. She left her shirt for me but I’ve never met her. I do want to say in this interview, in case she sees it, that I really want her to see my show. I don’t care about being friends with celebrities, but she’s the only celebrity I really want to be friends with. Everything she does is incredible. I even like her weird arts-and-crafts home hosting books. So, take Amy to my show. Dear Amy, I love you. Bye.

RODMAN: Amy, if you don’t take me to Seth’s show, you’re transphobic.

BOGART: We’re going to put you down with the manager of Alamo Drafthouse.

RODMAN: Yeah, we’re building a list. We’ll put it that way. I’ve also been doing my podcast called Nymphowars. Are you a podcast girlie? 

BOGART: I’m not. I feel like I’m an aspiring podcast girlie, but I would love to listen to your podcast because I think you’re really smart and funny.

RODMAN: It’s very dumb. It’s very just like, poop and pee.

BOGART: I love dumb. I mean, when I saw BathSalts, I was like, “This person’s a genius.”

RODMAN: It’s very bad. Just poop and pee and base humor and stuff like that.

BOGART: I’ve been out-matured by my 10-year-old niece. Do you think you would do BathSalts again?

RODMAN: “Would you smoke bath salts again?” Yeah, I think so.

BOGART: Definitely.

RODMAN: Why not? We did it online during the pandemic and that was fun. We know it’s not going to make any money, so if it’s easy and fun, we’ll do it.

BOGART: I’m with you. I just want to do stuff that’s fun and easy or I’m going to get richer. If it’s fucking hard, I want money.

RODMAN: If it’s even slightly inconvenient, I need so much money.

BOGART: I’m not doing it for five dollars, corporation, even though you think I am.

RODMAN: Anything else that you want to say to the world?

BOGART: I’m just happy I got to talk to you. And next time I come to New York, I’m going to harass you.

RODMAN: Please. You can come to my chalet.

BOGART: We could really have fun being bashed out of a drafthouse or shopping or something.

RODMAN: Yeah, we could really raise a stink.

BOGART: Can’t wait. Love you.

RODMAN: Congrats on the show.