Show cover of The Electronic Lover

The Electronic Lover

The Electronic Lover is a serial podcast opera created by San Francisco Bay Area composer Lisa Mezzacappa and Brooklyn-based writer Beth Lisick. The story is set in chatrooms at the dawn of the Internet, in the moment when we first invited computers into the most intimate aspects of our lives. Season 1 follows a tech-curious cabal of young women, isolated and constrained in their own lives, who connect across vast distances to create a thrilling new virtual community. The opera features six dynamic lead vocalists with backgrounds in jazz, ska, art pop, punk, cabaret and classical music; a mini choir specializing in abstract vocalizations; and a versatile power trio of synth, drums and bass.


Episode 1: The Pilot Episode
It’s the early 1980s, and people across the US are connecting online for the first time. Internet service providers are setting up bulletin boards and chatrooms (also called forums, or “bands” after CB radio) for their customers, allowing people to discuss hobbies, politics, work, life and love with like-minded people they might never have met otherwise. Margot gets hired to be the Community Manager at a new online community. As women in the chatrooms find themselves talked over and preyed upon by men, Joan comes out of her shell and requests a forum for women only. She and Margot emerge as the leaders of a close-knit group of computer-savvy women, and bond over their newfound sense of purpose and possibility.
37:30 8/3/20
Episode 2: So Long, Quiet Lady
The members of the women-only chatroom begin to open up to each other about their lives, desires, and fears. Frankie is fed up with being undervalued by her male colleagues at work. We learn more about Joan’s personal journey as she emerges to become the group’s leader, confessor, and confidant. Even outside the women's forum, everyone is buzzing with the energy Joan has brought to the online community. Visit for episode libretto.
26:28 2/27/21
Episode 3: T-Rex Steps Out
T-Rex (Theresa) confides in Talkin’ Lady (Joan) about her frustrations as a disabled woman, and confesses a desire to someday meet some of her online friends IRL. Talkin’ Lady encourages her to conquer her fears and expand her horizons beyond the computer screen. Visit for full episode libretto.
20:40 6/14/21
Episode 4: Miz Stacks Cuts Loose
Talkin’ Lady (Joan) and Miz Stacks (Susan) cultivate an online flirtation as Go-Go (Margot) tries to protect Miz Stacks’ secret. Margot observes the dynamics unfolding in the chatroom with apprehension, and she and Joan have a tense confrontation about privacy and ethics in the forum. Visit for full episode libretto.
21:30 6/14/21
Episode 5: Talkin’ Lady Drops a Bomb
After a rollicking set of exchanges in the Relationships forum, Joan pulls the women into their private room to introduce her new love interest, Alex. Margot confides in Garrison about her concerns over Joan’s manipulative tendencies, which have hurt Susan’s feelings. Frankie reflects on her life as an adult student and the dynamic of having Joan as her patron, and Joan drops some big news.
22:21 8/26/22
Episode 6: Cyberwedding
Members of the forum convene to celebrate Joan and Alex’s nuptials at the world’s first online wedding, complete with virtual cake, flowers, champagne, and dancing. Members of the women’s forum bring gifts, and Frankie’s teenage daughter Marianne sings a song she wrote for the bride and groom.
20:42 8/26/22
Episode 7: The Silent Circle
Joan’s new husband Alex hops into the women’s forum to warn of imposters in the online community, prompting chatroom members to wonder who can be trusted. Alex opens up about his past, and Joan creates a secret society to protect the women in the forum from interlopers.
27:13 11/19/23
Episode 8: Compusex Compumurder Compuwhat!
Joan convinces Frankie to visit New York for a blind date with one of her psychiatrist friends. Meanwhile, Joan’s incessant gossip in the online forum is starting to make everyone uneasy. Margot calls an emergency meeting and the members of the women’s forum confront Joan about her behavior—but Joan still has more secrets to reveal.
40:07 11/27/23
Episode 9: Epilogue (2000)
Nearly 20 years have passed, and Frankie’s daughter Marianne pulls our narrator out of semi-retirement to play her some clips from her new podcast, The Electronic Lover. She’s been interviewing her mom’s old friends about the early days of the internet, and finally discovers what happened between Joan, Margot, Frankie, Theresa, Stan and Garrison all those years ago.
32:19 6/1/24

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