Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez entered their ninth year of blogging at tomandlorenzo.com by trying something new: a podcast. The Philly celebrity-fashion writers have cultivated a devout following - referred to as "bitter kittens" - by critiquing celebrity fashion. They also love TV, taking time to talk about whatever they're watching.
Fitzgerald and Marquez have been together for 19 years and made it official when Pennsylvania legalized gay marriage. That's quite evident in the podcast, in which they lovingly banter back and forth in their Old City loft.
Q: So you guys sit on the floor to do your podcast?
Tom Fitzgerald: We want to keep it relaxed. That's why the cats are always bothering us. We tried to do it in the dining room, but we were gesturing and banging our hands on the dining room table.
Lorenzo Marquez: This is more informal.
T: We do it in the living room. That's where we spew our opinions anyway.
You mentioned the cats have become regular contributors to the podcast.
T: We discussed putting the cats in the bathroom.
L: But they would meow more.
T: Our cats are very freaking vocal. Just like us.
L: Miu Miu Prada is the loudest one. Then there's Amalita.
T: She's named after the Sex and the City character.
L: The old one is Aoife, that's Eve in Gaelic. That was in my Gaelic phase.
T: She's 17 years old. She has feline dementia. When she drinks out of her water bowl, she has to yell at it the whole time.
L: We're at opposite ends of the loft all day doing our thing. But in the middle of the day, we have this loud, extended conversation, and she wants to be a part of it, yelling her head off.
The cats give you guys an added layer of familiarity.
T: We're in the fourth or fifth month of this. It took us a few tries, but we learned we need to keep it informal. Let's just sit and talk for an hour. Life doesn't always give you that opportunity.
L: [Laughs] We're sick of each other.
T: It's nice to sit down and have these conversations.
You sound like two guys who have been married for a while.
T: We can call each other on our [B.S.]. We're talking over each other all the time.
L: As you can hear now.
T: I thought, let's just embrace that.
In the show we just recorded, we were doing listener questions, and we were talking about minimalist wardrobes. I said, "What do you think of that?" and Lorenzo said, "I'm for it." And I'm like "What?! You can't close this bitch's closet."
That's all part of this tone that you've cultivated on your site, though, as if you're talking about fashion with friends.
L: Our daily concern has been not to repeat ourselves. We want it to be us, our voice, but more informal than our writing.
T: People get the sarcasm more. After nine years of blogging, this has been so liberating. Blogging tends to restrict you. In writing, things are permanent, and people take it seriously. But I can say all kinds of stuff, and people can hear my voice and they can hear I'm just joking around.
Why did you decide to do a podcast?
T: When our book [Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me] came out, we did a ton of radio. We enjoyed it and thought we had a knack for it. We ruled out television. There were discussions and meetings, but nothing ever came out of it.
L: Oh, there's the cat! Do you hear her? With television, they see you as a product. They want to reshape you to the product they want: "You two are great, but here's how we want to change you."
Lorenzo, you've become a lot more vocal.
L: I'm a listener, that's how I converse. Tom is always the one directing the conversation. People said Tom should let me talk more, but that's just the way he is.
T: I've learned to pull him in if I've been rambling too much. On our book tour, we would look at each other before an event and say, "Dials up to 11." We had to go from the couple Tom and Lorenzo to "Tom Ampersand Lorenzo."
Talking about a visual medium, fashion, on a medium where you can't see, a podcast, seemed odd at first, but you guys talk more about the concept of fashion and how that interacts with celebrity.
T: That started when we worked on our book. When the podcast came along, we thought, "How the hell are we going to talk about fashion without pictures?" But we figured whoever was listening was already gong to be versed in celeb fashion that week. As long as you hit the high points, everyone knew what Caitlyn Jenner was wearing after the ESPYs or the Met Gala. It's not specific, it's what everyone is doing wrong at Comic Con. Everyone listening to the podcast has been exposed to that.
L: We're not as interested in celebrities; I'm much more interested in fashion.
T: I want to amend that: We're not interested in their personal lives, but we are interested in their image and how the media creates that image and how we accept that image.
Along with the podcast, you're working on a style book?
T: It's called Girl, That's Not Your Dress. We love it. There's a million style books out there telling women what they're doing wrong. We wanted to tread lightly as two people who are not women. Instead, we walk you through a certain way of thinking. It doesn't present you with a list of things you need.
L: It's more about the state of mind.
T: There are archetypes of style, from executive realness to the sporty girl to the hip-hop girl. If you don't know how to put a look together, pick from this list. You're a preppy princess? Here's what you do. If a dress looks bad on you, it's not your fault. You just need to figure out why it looks bad and go in the opposite direction.
When does it come out?
T: I'll let you know.