‘Sci-Fi Explosion’ celebrates Pride month with special show

On Thursday, June 24, the “cosmic cabaret of craziness” that is Sci-Fi Explosion celebrates Pride Month with a special show that celebrates groundbreaking LGBTQIA artists and creators.

“My show has always featured LGBTQIA+ content since it debuted in 2014, but I’ve never done a show that is explicitly queer-centric before,” explains Chris Cummins, curator of the show a writer who has contributed to Den of Geek and Archie Comics.

“I’ve always enjoyed an audience of individuals from all walks of life at my show, but as an out-an-proud man I wanted to really showcase my community with this new episode, and the fact that it coincides with Sci-Fi Explosion’s seventh anniversary is a nice bit of serendipity,” he states.

If you missed our interview with Cummins last year, you may be asking, “what is Sci-Fi Explosion?” The show began in 2014 in Philadelphia as an audio/video showcases of what Cummins refers to as “forgotten but essential science fiction ephemera.” In other words, if you are looking to see Robocop in a commercial for blue jeans or fried chicken, rare TV pilots starring sci-fi icons, or embarrassing interpretations of your favorite Star Wars characters, this is where you find it. 

More than just showcasing rare clips, Cummins makes his show a party atmosphere, with audience participation, nonsense trivia with jaw-dropping prizes from the show’s many sponsors (sample question: “Tom Baker is my favorite Doctor Who. Who is my favorite Doctor Who?), and live performances (Skeletor is a regular guest) helping to round out the festivities. Oh yeah, every show ends with a screening of the music video for Billy Ocean’s “Loverboy,” a jaw-dropping experience that replicates the experience of what it must be like to watch the Cantina sequence from Star Wars with a concussion. 

Over the past seven years, Cummins’ preaching the gospel of Billy Ocean –- and other ridiculous science fiction things -– has made his show a favorite on the comic con circuit, with Sci-Fi Explosion having played New York Comic Con, DragonCon, and Wizard World Philadelphia, among others.

Chris Cummins, host and curator of Sci-Fi Explosion

But make no mistake, Cummins isn’t goofing on the stuff he shows, but he has a genuine affection for all of it: “Fandom is such a negative place right now, so I have no interest in being a part of that. Instead, I want Sci-Fi Explosion to be a home for any and all bits of science fiction weirdness. It’s so easy to just shit all over stuff like bad covers of the Star Wars theme or low-budget local ads created to cash in on science fiction crazes.” When Chris says, “I believe this stuff has real value, and speaks to how pop culture permeates even the most mundane aspects of everyday life,” he means it. 

What Cummins demures away from is the fact that from the first week of pandemic closures last March, he has been taking providing his show for free once a week. I asked Cummins why he was giving up pay for the pandemic when he could be capitalizing on the captive quarantine audience. He said, “I love this stuff. Science fiction and fandom got me though the roughest parts of my life. I may not be working in a hospital, but I still wanted to help in the ways I could. I tried to give people what I needed, something to laugh at and someone to laugh with.” 

This celebration will continue on Wednesday’s show, in which Cummins has gathered some of his favorite creators and artists including Broadway legend Kevin Chamberlin (joined by collaborator Sam Kite to discuss their viral video “I Want to Be in a Marvel Movie”) and Wuvable Oaf creator Ed Luce, who provides insight into how his comic book bear icon came into being. Additionally, the pre-show will feature genre music videos from all LGBTQIA+ performers, and Cummins will discuss his own science fiction crushes. Pride month isn’t especially known for being nerdy, but with this edition of Sci-Fi Explosion it will go into hyperdrive.

Sci-Fi Explosion: Pride Edition will happen Wednesday, June 23 from 7:30pm EST/6:30pm PST. Tune in to the free event at twitch.tv/scifiexplosion to watch the show!

Visit @bionicbigfoot on Twitter and Instagram, and @scifiexplosion on Twitter and Instagram for more information!

Kyle Jackson

Kyle Jackson (He/Him) is Senior Staff Writer at Gray Jones Media, and additionally works as a writer, editor and theatre artist/actor. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he studied at Dillard University, received a BA in Theatre from Morgan State University, an MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University, and completed the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford Programme in 2017. Having lived in Baltimore, the Washington, DC area, Philadelphia and New York City, he now resides and works in London, United Kingdom.