The Sporadic Beaver

It Was 110 Years Ago Today

June 16, 2014

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, James Joyce, Ulysses, Nora Barnacle, A History of Modern Pornography, Killarney Rose, Amazon, censorship

James Joyce, a writer banned in America for obscenity.
Happy Bloomsday to all those who are celebrating the 110th anniversary of the day that James Joyce's Ulysses takes place. Joyce chose June 16, 1904 because that was the day he had his first date with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle. The novel, in part, depicts protagonist Leopold Bloom's--hence Bloomsday--activities in Dublin, which include such things as voyeurism and public masturbation. That's why Ulysses was banned in America, and that's why, two years ago, I chose June 16 to celebrate the U.S. publication of Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography, at the Killarney Rose, an Irish bar on Beaver Street in downtown Manhattan.

At the time, Amazon had refused to make the print edition of Beaver Street available, and it was only after they got wind of the fact that the book-launch party was turning into a public demonstration against Amazon censorship that they managed to fix the “computer glitches” and “bureaucratic snafus” that had already cost me all pre-orders and three months of sales. “We would never censor a book,” an Amazon spokesman told me. (I’m pleased to report that sales have since recovered, and Beaver Street now routinely ranks among Amazon’s best-selling books on pornography.)

Bloomsday on Beaver Street was such a success that I decided to do it again last year, when June 16 fell on Father’s Day, and that, too, went rather well. It looked as if my literary celebration, featuring readings, music, porn stars, and theatrical performances, was going to become a New York City tradition.

This year, unfortunately, life (and a new job in magazines after a 14-year hiatus from the workforce) interfered with mounting Bloomsday on Beaver Street III. As much as I would have liked to, I just didn’t have the time to put together what’s become the equivalent of an Off-Off Broadway revue. This evening, however, I will raise a glass of something alcoholic (perhaps Guinness) and join in spirit all those who would have liked to gather in the Killarney Rose on Beaver Street and celebrate great books that were once denounced as obscene.

Lennonight

October 2, 2013

Tags: John Lennon, Nowhere Man, Yoko Ono, Eric Danville, Lainie Speiser, Mary Lyn Maiscott, Chapter 27, J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, Mark David Chapman, May Pang, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Lexi Love, Title TK

They were into wordplay, John and Yoko, especially when it came to their names, which lent themselves to a variety of combinations, like Lenono Music and Discono, a title John suggested for one of Yoko's LPs. In that spirit, I'm calling this post "Lennonight," which will take place at 8:00 PM, on Tuesday, October 15, in the upstairs lounge of the 2A bar in the East Village.

This is number four in the Tuesday night reading series that Eric Danville, Lainie Speiser, and I have been producing. We've christened our spoken-word collective Title TK, and Listen to This Reading is our celebration of John Lennon's birthday--he would have been 73 on October 9.

I’m going to read from my Lennon bio, Nowhere Man, specifically the opening chapter, “Being Rich,” the closing chapter, “Dakota Fantasy,” and “Chapter 27,” which is a reference to the nonexistent chapter of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, the novel that drove Mark David Chapman to murder.

Mary Lyn Maiscott, who’s more accustomed to performing with a guitar in hand, will read from “Birth of a Song,” the Nowhere Man chapter that explores the inspiration behind Lennon’s “I’m Losing You,” which Mary Lyn covered at the first Bloomsday on Beaver Street.

Lainie will read from May Pang’s memoir, Loving John.

Other readers include actor David Healy, adult actress Alia Janine, actor James Sasser, and radio personality Ralph Sutton.

As always, admission is free and there’s no cover.

In other Title TK news, Lexi Love has created a long-awaited Bloomsday on Beaver Street page on her Website. The page features some very cool photos and the complete audio of her reading that night. Check it out for a taste of the unexpected drama you can expect on October 15, at 2A

Let's Hear It for the Crowd

July 3, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Killarney Rose, Mary Lyn Maiscott, Hoop, Eric Danville, Laralu Smith, Byron Nilsson, Lexi Love

This is how it looked from Lexi Love's seat as she watched (left to right) Byron Nilsson, Laralu Smith, and Joe Gioco perform a scene from Mr. Sensitivity.
Who is going to come to a book event on a Sunday night on Father's Day? That's the question we confronted as we planned Bloomsday on Beaver Street II. And though it had crossed my mind to celebrate Bloomsday on Saturday, June 15, the whole point of any Bloomsday celebration is to celebrate it on Bloomsday, June 16. So, we stuck with the real Bloomsday, and we put out the word. And yes, I was concerned that like so many literary events I've attended as a spectator (and one event that I've participated in as a reader), the crowd would be negligible or worse.

Well, people came--thank God or the devil or whatever higher (or lower) power is paying attention for that. And though it wasn't the overflow crowd that packed the Killarney Rose last year, on a Saturday night, we did okay by the standards of any literary event.

The people to whom I’m most grateful—and you know who you are—are the dozen or so repeat customers, our hardcore supporters, our friends, neighbors, and family who came to Bloomsday on Beaver Street last year, and have come to more of Mary Lyn Maiscott and HooP’s shows than I can keep track of. They are the ones who can be counted on to buy our books and music, and have worked with us behind the scenes to help us make our way in an impossible business. We are lucky to have them in our lives.

Interestingly, two of the people who came as spectators last year, Eric Danville and Laralu Smith, made the transition this year to performers, with Eric reading his vintage ’70s-era Linda Lovelace advertising flyers and Laralu reading a Molly Bloom passage from Ulysses and performing in a scene from Byron Nilsson’s play, Mr. Sensitivity. It bears repeating that this is one of the unique aspects of our Bloomsday celebration—the way that the line between performer and spectator has been virtually erased, making for an unusually intimate setting.

And it goes without saying (though I’ll say it anyway) that it was great to see all the new faces, too, and that everybody’s enthusiasm and feedback was more than appreciated. As far as I know, everybody had a good time, audience and performers alike. So, thanks for joining us, and we hope to see you again next year, when Bloomsday falls on a Monday, the day after Father’s Day, which I’m sure will free up everybody’s complicated schedule.

What About Me?

July 2, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Bobby in Naziland, James Joyce, Ulysses

Robert Rosen prepares the audience for his reading from Bobby in Naziland. Photo © Cindy Rosen.
Having written about every Bloomsday on Beaver Street performer except for myself, it's probably time to say a few words about my own performance. Beyond noting that I know I've done better and I know I've done worse as a reader of my own work, I'm not going to get into a masochistic self-critique. But I will add that reading a piece of fiction as emotionally intimate as Bobby in Naziland was nerve-wracking--more nerve-wracking than reading from the so-called "dirty part" of Beaver Street, as I did at events last year.

It was, however, encouraging to hear laughter in the all the right places. And I took it as a positive sign when yesterday, one of my neighbors who came to the event stopped me in the street to say, as if she were surprised, "You really are a good writer."

In a lot of ways, Bloomsday on Beaver Street II was an experiment. It’s the first time I’ve ever organized an event with other readers, and it’s the first time I’ve ever worked directly with professional actors and a professional PR person. Which is to say that coordinating a show with 11 writers, actors, and musicians, all of whom are performing because they want to perform, is complicated and stressful, but ultimately rewarding. Again, I offer my humble thanks to everybody who participated.

It has also come to my attention that my aggressive promotion of the event surprised some people—especially those who know me, and regard me as a laid back kind of fellow. Having been on the receiving end of such promotions, I know how annoying this can be. But the promotion, too, was an experiment. I know that last year, despite the overflowing turnout, I didn’t promote the event aggressively enough. There were at least a half dozen people who told me that they would have come, but somehow got the date or the time wrong. I wanted to make sure that this didn’t happen again. Hence, the constant stream of reminders, on Facebook and elsewhere. Event promotion is still new territory for me, and I’m simply trying to get it right.

And I will try again next year, for Bloomsday on Beaver Street III, which will commemorate the 100th anniversary of when James Joyce began writing that damn book, which he called Ulysses.

Michael Paul: Paparazzo of the Self

June 28, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Michael Paul, Mary Lyn Maiscott

Many of the pictures you've been looking at on The Daily Beaver for the past ten days were shot by Michael Paul, whose work has appeared frequently on this blog, and who was, more or less, the in-house Bloomsday on Beaver Street photographer.

One of Michael's specialties is the group selfie. So, in case you've been wondering what the man behind the camera looks like--and who hasn't?--here he is, posing after the show with me and my wife, Mary Lyn Maiscott. Ain't we a threesome?

Stay tuned for more paparazzo shots of the non-selfie variety.

The Big Guy

June 27, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Byron Nilsson

If the 11 Bloomsday on Beaver Street performers were a football team, he'd be the all-pro fullback, the guy who anchors the offense and who you build your game plan around, the one you give the ball to when it's fourth and goal on the one-yard line, and you're trailing by six points with time running out.

But we're not a football team; we're a ragtag group of writers, actors, and musicians, and besides, he probably hates sports metaphors, anyway. He is, however, the guy who anchors Bloomsday on Beaver Street and whom I build the entire show around.

If you were at the Killarney Rose on June 16, then you’ll recognize Byron Nilsson as the emcee, my surrogate host, the big guy with the radio voice who did the opening monologue, all the introductions, performed in his own play, and to top it off, sang a cappella a dirty Irish ditty about a photographer and his Nikon.

Yes, there’d be a Bloomsday on Beaver Street even if Byron Nilsson didn’t exist. But the fact that he does exist, and is willing to travel 200 miles to perform at the Killarney Rose, makes my job of organizing, promoting, writing the script, and preparing my own reading, a task that’s not completely overwhelming.

It’s profoundly liberating for me to know that when I’m putting together Byron’s monologue and introductions, he can be counted on to deliver the jokes as professionally as any late-night talk show host, and he’ll know exactly where and how to improvise—all with minimal rehearsal.

And in the hours leading up to the show, as I’m getting progressively more nervous about my own performance, worrying if anybody is going to show up, and thinking I just want to get this over with and never do another event again, there’s Byron sitting on my couch, tapping away on his laptop, looking about as nervous as a man getting ready to eat dinner.

He is, in short, a calming influence who raises Bloomsday on Beaver Street to a level of professionalism that I wouldn’t be able to achieve on my own, and he makes me think that in years to come, anything is possible. Maybe we can even save literature.

The Music of Transgression

June 26, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Mary Lyn Maiscott, Hoop, Samantha Echo, Ulysses

Left to right: Mary Lyn Maiscott, Samantha Echo, and HooP, perform Angel Tattooed Ballerina at the Killarney Rose. Photo © Michael Paul.
Bloomsday on Beaver Street is a family affair in the Rosen-Maiscott household. I take care of the literary end of things, and Mary Lyn, whether she knows it or not, is the musical director.

This year, Mary Lyn and guitarist Gary "HooP" Hoopengardner--vice president of the New York chapter of Guitars Not Guns, an organization devoted to stopping school violence--returned to the Killarney Rose, along with backup vocalist Samantha Echo, who also sang two of her own songs.

The musical themes for the night were literature, Ulysses, and transgression, and every song performed referred to at least one of them. Mary Lyn opened with You Can't Do That, the Beatles classic that she sang 13 years ago, at the publication party for my John Lennon bio, Nowhere Man. (You can hear it on her CD, Blue Lights.) Samantha provided the soaring backup vocals for Mary Lyn’s next song, the just completed Angel Tattooed Ballerina, about a boy who wants to be a girl struggling with his (or her) sexuality. And she ended the set with Madam Olenska, a tribute to the scandalously divorced central character in Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocense, published in 1920, the same year as Ulysses.

The second set, which followed the readings, began with singer-songwriter Ray Fuld performing two originals, including a tune about a Brooklyn hooah, which seemed to be the perfect complement to my reading from Bobby in Naziland.

Next up was Samantha, who’d studied Ulysses in college, and sang her song about Gerty MacDowell, the character who was responsible for provoking Leopold Bloom to an act of public onanism, which was the passage that got Ulysses banned in the United States. (You can see Samantha perform regularly at the South Ferry Terminal in Manhattan, just a couple of blocks from Beaver Street.)

Finally, Mary Lyn and HooP returned for two more songs, Toxic City, Mary Lyn’s paean to Paris, where Ulysses was originally published, and Crucified, a religiously transgressive song about sex.

All in all, it was a night of good music and good literature, and you should have been there. But if you weren’t, we will have video in the coming weeks, and there’s always next year. Never too early to make plans.

Redefining the New York Literary Event

June 25, 2013

Tags: Eric Danville, Linda Lovelace, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, James Joyce

Eric Danville, author of The Complete Linda Lovelace, the original basis for the forthcoming film Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried, brought a touch of the avant-garde to Bloomsday on Beaver Street. Rather than read from his book, as he did at his own Whole Lotta Lovelace event last June, he read descriptions of Lovelace's 8mm loops from vintage '70s-era fliers put out by a San Francisco mail-order company, K.R. Enterprises.

Though Eric considers himself more of a "literary cover band" when it comes to live readings, his Bloomsday performance seemed to be an exercise in transforming objets trouvés into performance art. He read the flyers as if they were they were diverse bits of a surreal monologue featuring the sleaziest examples of illiterate porno hucksterism: ad copy for films about bestiality and "golden showers."

Like so much else that happened at the Killarney Rose, on June 16, Eric’s reading extended the parameters of what you might expect to see and hear at a New York literary event. The spirit of James Joyce, if I’m not mistaken, gave him a double thumbs up.

I thought that I heard him laughing.

New Horizons in Entertainment

June 21, 2013

Tags: Lainie Speiser, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Lexi Love

Lainie Speiser, a public relations professional who spent a decade at Penthouse, and was instrumental in bringing Bloomsday on Beaver Street to the attention of the masses (and Lexi Love to Beaver Street), also writes books about what she knows best--sex and porn stars. Her titles include The Little Bit Naughty Book of Blowjobs, The Manhattan Madam's Guide to Great Sex, and Confessions of the Hundred Hottest Porn Stars, an X-rated trilogy that adorns the shelves of erotic literature fans everywhere.

Like many writers, getting up in front of people and reading from her books is something that Lainie prefers not to do. But she also understands that in today's book biz, writers are expected to be performers, too, and if you want people to read your books, then you have put on a show.

Confessions of the Hundred Hottest Porn Stars is not the kind of book that writers normally read at literary events. But it is the book that Lainie chose to read on Bloomsday—to a crowd at the Killarney Rose that consisted mostly of people unfamiliar with the adult industry, and who considered it genuinely exotic to be able to chat with a porn star like Lexi Love between performances.

Lainie read her interview with Mia Isabella, known to her fans as “the cutest little TS chick with the biggest candy stick,” which, in plain English, means she looks like a beautiful woman, but if you reach inside her lace panties, you’ll find a 10-inch penis.

Among the lines that Lainie delivered with aplomb, and that provoked uproarious laughter in the appreciative audience were, “I enjoy looking at my tiny hand holding my great big cock,” “I have a wonderful boyfriend, and he tries to fuck me at least six times a day,” and “Hold the doors open and treat us like ladies,” which is Mia’s advice for “tranny chasers.”

Nothing like introducing literature lovers to new horizons in entertainment.

Off-Off-Broadway? No. More Like "On-Beaver"

June 20, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Laralu Smith, Joe Gioco, Byron Nilsson, Mary Lyn Maiscott, Lexi Love, Killarney Rose, James Joyce, Molly Bloom

Left to right: Mary Lyn Maiscott, Byron Nilsson, Laralu Smith, and Joe Gioco perform a scene from Byron's Mr. Sensitivity.
Bloomsday on Beaver Street began, last year, as a book launch party before morphing, this year, into a "celebration of James Joyce, banned books, and sex acts that have inspired great works of literature." If you're wondering where this event may be headed in years to come, look no further than Laralu Smith, Joe Gioco, Byron Nilsson, and Mary Lyn Maiscott's reading of a scene from Byron's play, Mr. Sensitivity, which debuted at the 2009 New York Fringe Festival.

The play is ribald comedy about a husband (Byron) who presents his wife (Laralu) with a porn stud (Joe) as a birthday surprise. (Mary Lyn read the stage directions.) Highlights included watching Laralu transform herself from the dramatically aggrieved Molly Bloom, whom she played moments earlier, to the comically aggrieved Tiffany Lawrence, and listening to Joe recite with feeling porn star Barry Woodman's doggerel, which contains the classic line, "You’re so refined, so full of class;/You taught me how to touch your ass."

Mr. Sensitivity made Bloomsday on Beaver Street seem like an Off-Off-Broadway revue of literature, music, comedy, and theatre, where the line between the audience and the performers is almost nonexistent, and as Lexi Love demonstrated this year (and Bernie Goetz demonstrated last year), the performances themselves are completely unpredictable.

I see the event heading in a more theatrical direction, something Saturday Night Live or Second City-like, with a touch of the avant-garde thrown in for good measure. But designations like “On Broadway,” “Off-Broadway,” and “Off-Off-Broadway” seem somehow inappropriate. How about we call it “On Beaver.” You know, just like the song: “They say the neon lights are bright on Beaver…”

They’re obviously singing about the neon lights of the Killarney Rose.

A Prayer to the Spirit of Joyce

June 19, 2013

Tags: Laralu Smith, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Ulysses, James Joyce, Molly Bloom

Laralu Smith's reading of an excerpt from Molly Bloom's soliloquy in Ulysses, at Bloomsday on Beaver Street, was offered as a prayer to the spirit of James Joyce. The passage also serves as a graphic example of why Ulysses was banned in America.

In the scene, Molly is thinking about her lover as she lies in bed next to her husband, Leopold Bloom. It contains the following lines:

“I wished he was here or somebody to let myself go with and come again like that I feel all fire inside me or if I could dream it when he made me spend the 2nd time tickling me behind with his finger I was coming for about 5 minutes with my legs round him I had to hug him after O Lord I wanted to shout out all sorts of things fuck or shit or anything at all…”

The reading was an electrifying moment. When Laralu stepped up to the microphone, something changed in her eyes, as if a switch had been flipped. The spirit of Molly Bloom, Irish accent and all, flowed into her, and took possession. It was almost frightening.

In the hands of a lesser actress, such a reading might have sounded smutty. But in Laralu’s hands, it became the deeply moving cri de coeur of a woman who has come to symbolize all women.

Bravo, Laralu!

A Different Kind of Naked

June 18, 2013

Tags: Lexi Love, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Lainie Speiser

"Bizarre" may sound like an inappropriate word to describe a woman's public breakdown. But that is one of the words I used yesterday in describing what happened to adult actress Lexi Love when she read from Cookie Mueller's memoir, Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black, at Bloomsday on Beaver Street. ("Stunning" was the other word.) To be clear, it wasn't Love's breakdown that I found bizarre. It's that I didn’t understand what was happening, and neither did a lot of other people.

Love seemed fine as she rehearsed before the event, reading the part about the narrator's lover suffering from infectious hepatitis--the part that would push her over the edge an hour later. Her main concern was the correct pronunciation of certain drugs and diseases referenced in the book.

“This is not the kind of book I usually read,” she said, professing a preference for the works of Malcolm Gladwell.

“You can feel pretty naked, sitting up there and reading,” I told her.

“I’m used to being naked in front of people.”

“It’s a different kind of naked.”

Love’s performance began smoothly enough, with the actress saying a few words about her career in X. She then turned to the book, and the breakdown began around paragraph three. That’s when I asked Mary Lyn Maiscott, one of the musicians, “Is she acting or is she really crying?”

“She’s acting,” my wife replied with certainty.

And I thought: Of course she’s acting. If she were having a breakdown, she’d stop reading and explain what was going on.

But Love bravely plowed on, finishing the chapter.

It was only afterwards that she explained that the scene reminded her of her own mother’s recent death from hepatitis, and that’s why she began crying.

“That’s what I loved about Lexi’s reading,” said Lainie Speiser, who read from her book Confessions of the Hundred Hottest Porn Stars. “That’s what readings used to be about—the excitement of not knowing what was going to happen.”

And that’s what Bloomsday on Beaver Street will continue to be about. Fortunately, we all have a year to recover.

Something Happened

June 17, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Lexi Love

Too much happened last night, at the second annual Bloomsday on Beaver Street, at the Killarney Rose, to process right now. If I'm counting correctly, there were 11 performers altogether, and I shall give them all their due over the coming days. But the one that everybody's talking about is Lexi Love, and her reading from Cookie Mueller's memoir, Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black.

I'm not sure I understand exactly what happened, or why. But as she read the book's opening pages, a scene in which the narrator visits her lover in a hospital, where he’s being treated for infectious hepatitis, Lexi began to cry--and it was impossible to tell if she was acting or going to pieces in front of us.

I, for one, thought she was acting. Lexi is, after all, an adult actress with more than 500 films to her credit. But, as it turned out, she was having a breakdown. Apparently—and I’m sure somebody will correct me if I’m wrong—the scene reminded her of her own mother’s death from hepatitis.

It was a bizarre and stunning thing to witness, and for the time being, I’m just going to leave it at that.

Sneak Preview

June 15, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Bobby in Naziland

The narrator and his non-fictional mother, circa 1957. Any resemblance between them and characters in Bobby in Naziland is purely coincidental.
I know certain people, specifically members of my family and perhaps some high school and junior high school classmates, are coming to Bloomsday on Beaver Street II: Father's Day Edition to hear me read the opening pages of my just completed novel, Bobby In Naziland, which is set in Brooklyn in the 1950s and '60s.

For them, I offer a preview of my introductory remarks, subject to modification:

For those of you familiar with my work, this is a bit of a departure. For those of you not familiar with my work, this is one way to get acquainted.

A lot of people have been asking me, “What’s this thing you’ve been working on for five years?” This thing is called Bobby In Naziland, and as this is my first public reading from the book, I’ll answer that question in detail in The Prologue, which I’ll read tonight along with the opening pages of the first chapter.

But before I begin, I want to say that this is the kind of book that I should prepare my mother for before I publish it, as there’s a character in the novel that the narrator, who might resemble me in certain ways, but is not me, calls “my mother.” I know there are some people here who talk to my mother and are related to my mother—my real mother, not the character in the book. I ask them: What you hear on Beaver Street stays on Beaver Street. So, please, let’s just keep this among ourselves for now. Don’t squeal on me, I believe, is the correct terminology. Or at least the terminology that the narrator would use.

One Night Only

June 14, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, James Joyce, Ulysses, Lexi Love, Hurricane Sandy

This event is happening five days after Bloomsday. But Lexi Love will be there, too, and she'll be auctioning herself off for a date to benefit the victims of the Oklahoma tornados. Check her out THIS SUNDAY in the more intimate Beaver Street setting.
By all outward appearances, this Bloomsday on Beaver Street thing is really happening in about 55 hours, and that means that I've got to put the finishing touches on emcee Byron Nilsson's script and remind my multitude of overbooked and date-and-time challenged literature-loving friends that the event is THIS SUNDAY, at 7:00 P.M., at the upstairs bar of the Killarney Rose, at 80 Beaver Street in New York City. That means if you're on my mailing list or a Facebook friend, you'll soon be receiving one last gentle reminder. And if you're a special case with a sense of time that can perhaps be described as "Majorcan," you can expect a personal phone call from me. So, pick up.

In the meantime, I'll share a fun fact about James Joyce's Ulysses, which is one of the books we'll be celebrating THIS SUNDAY: In episode 17, "Ithaca," in the wee hours of June 17, Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus's "nocturnal perambulation" through Dublin take them to Beaver Street. Joyce writes: "the visit to the disorderly house of Mrs Bella Cohen, 82 Tyrone street, lower, and subsequent brawl and chance medley in Beaver street (Armageddon)…"

And finally: Adult actress and CEO of Exotic Interludes, Lexi Love, who will be reading THIS SUNDAY, on Beaver Street, will also be auctioning herself off for a one-on-one date on June 21, Fleshbot Friday, at Headquarters, in Manhattan. The event is a benefit for victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes and all proceeds will go to the Red Cross. You might keep in mind that seven months ago, during Hurricane Sandy, Beaver Street and the Killarney Rose were underwater.

Read All About It!

June 13, 2013

Tags: Adult Video News, XBIZ, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Lexi Love, Eric Danville, Lainie Speiser, Mary Lyn Maiscott, Byron Nilsson, Hoop

Thanks to adult actress and CEO of Exotic Interludes, Lexi Love, the widely read porno "trades," AVN, GT XXXTREME, and XBIZ, have given Bloomsday on Beaver Street II a little ink today. So, click on the above links and read all about how Eric Danville, Lainie Speiser, Mary Lyn Maiscott, Byron Nilsson, HooP, Ray Fuld, and me, your host, Robert Rosen, will entertain you this Sunday, at 7:00 P.M., at the Killarney Rose on Beaver Street in New York City.

Or click here to see the helpful mention that Media Bistro has given Bloomsday on Beaver Street, where low culture meets high, and you never know who the hell is going to show up.

An American in Copenhagen; A Dane in New York

June 12, 2013

Tags: Thomas E. Kennedy, Naja Marie Aidt, Brooklyn, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Bobby in Naziland

Last night, for an infusion of inspiration, I went to a reading at 192 Books, a little gem of an independent store, about the size of my living room, in Chelsea. The event couldn't have been more different than what we have planned for Bloomsday on Beaver Street II, on Sunday.

The readers were Thomas E. Kennedy, an American novelist, originally from Queens, who's lived in Copenhagen for the past 30 years, and Naja Marie Aidt, a Danish writer, born in Greenland, who's lived in Brooklyn for the past five years.

While everything about Bloomsday cries “underground”—Porn Stars! Banned Books!—the sedate and respectful scene at 192 was more mainstream and literary establishment. Kennedy, probably best known for his Copenhagen Quartet, a series of novels set in that city, has published 27 books, and has been compared to James Joyce.

Aidt, whose novels, short stories, and poetry, are now being translated into English, was awarded what Kennedy described as “the Little Nobel,” the 2008 Nordic Council’s Literature Prize, for her novel Bavian, or Baboon, in English.

But the readings themselves, delivered to a crowd of about 30 people gathered around a table, were not sedate, and the availability of free Tuborg Danish beer, both light and dark, only enhanced the literary atmosphere.

Kennedy read from the opening pages his latest novel, Kerrigan in Copenhagen, a poetically rendered travelogue of a middle-aged writer’s efforts to “research” all 1,500 “serving houses,” or pubs, in the Danish capital, and he served up a good 20 minutes of irony, drinking, sex, and humor.

And though Aidt’s a short story, “Blackcurrant,” might have been a little on the sedate side, her poem, whose title I didn’t catch, contained a line about getting “fucked” against a wall, and held my attention throughout.

As Kennedy went to high school in Brooklyn, and Aidt now lives there, the readings were followed by a discussion about the enormous size and geographical complexity of New York’s trendiest borough. Aidt said that she’d like to get to know Brooklyn better, but no longer tries, because it’s too big and confusing. Kennedy then cited the Thomas Wolfe story, “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn,” reading the last line, “It’d take a guy a lifetime to know Brooklyn t’roo an’ t’roo. An’ even den, yuh wouldn’t know it all.”

The two writers both seemed like the sort of people who might enjoy what we have on tap for Bloomsday on Beaver Street. Kennedy, unfortunately, was leaving for Boston. But when I told Aidt that I’d be doing my first public reading of Bobby in Naziland, which is set in Brooklyn in the 1950s and ’60s, she asked, “What neighborhood?”

“Flatbush,” I told her, and handed her an invitation.

We’ll see if the Danish poet ventures across the East River for a taste of the New York underground, and to hear about a time when Brooklyn was a provincial burb and a place to escape from.

Sex! Comedy! Music! Drama! Celebrities! (And It's Free!)

June 11, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Eric Danville, Lainie Speiser, Lexi Love, James Joyce, Jamie Maclean, Erotic Review

Bloomsday on Beaver Street II: Father's Day Edition is five days away, and it's starting to feel like the run up to D-Day around here. The musicians are coming in a few hours to rehearse. A backup singer is coming to audition. There are set lists to finalize, technical issues to sort out.

Elsewhere in the universe, actors, writers, and porn stars are preparing their readings; an emcee is practicing his monologue and his song. A lot of people are doing a lot of things to make Bloomsday happen. Because a simple literary event just doesn't cut it anymore. In 2013, you can't have a couple of 20th century authors stand in front of a microphone and read from dusty old books. You need more if you want people to pay attention. You need sex, comedy, music, drama, celebrities. You need it live, and if you're doing it for love, as we are, then you may as well give it away for free, as we are.

So come to the Killarney Rose on June 16. Meet me, Eric Danville, Lainie Speiser, Lexi Love, the spirit of James Joyce, and all the musicians and actors who, at this very moment, are working to provide you with the best postmodern literary event that money can’t buy.

And a big New York City thanks to Jamie Maclean at the Erotic Review, in London, for running our Fab 4 invite in his distinguished magazine.

Obsessive? Moi?

June 10, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Eric Danville, Lainie Speiser, Lexi Love

I've heard it through the grapevine that some people, especially those who get my Facebook feed, are getting a little tired of hearing about Bloomsday on Beaver Street II: Father's Day Edition, which, in case you haven't heard, takes place this Sunday, at 7 P.M., at the Killarney Rose on Beaver Street. (You can download your invitation here).

In a perfect world, I'd prefer to be doing other things besides promoting a yearly literary/theatrical/musical event. There are books to write, bills to pay, groceries to buy, bathrooms to clean, meals to cook, cats to feed… Getting people to come to Bloomsday should involve no more than a couple of phone calls, maybe a group e-mail, and perhaps a handful of casual mentions to my neighbors when I see them in the elevator.

But in this overbooked world, where social engagements are in constant flux, and using a wall calendar to keep track of such engagements has become virtually obsolete, a constant social media and blog presence has proven to be a necessity, as I found out last year.

So, to those of you who’ve grown weary of my blog and social media obsessiveness, please bear with me. Bloomsday on Beaver Street is an event worth coming to, as those of you who came last year have been telling me all year. There are a lot of talented people working very hard behind the scenes to make sure that this will be the most entertaining Bloomsday party in New York. And if I didn’t think that was the case, I wouldn’t bother trying to get you to come. I mean, really, how often do you think I throw a party featuring writers, musician, actors, and porn stars?

Come to think of it, I never have, as the first Bloomsday lacked the presence of a genuine porn star. What more can I say?

Happy Anniversary, Deep Throat

June 7, 2013

Tags: Linda Lovelace, Deep Throat, Eric Danville, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Richard Nixon, Watergate, Lexi Love, Lainie Speiser


Amanda Seyfried shows off her porno skills in Lovelace
.

How did an hour-long loop shot in six days for under $25,000, about a woman whose clitoris was in her throat, earn over $600 million, and become the eleventh-highest-grossing film of 1973? How did the ability to swallow an enormous penis without gagging become, that same year, America's #1 topic of dinner-table conversation? How did buying a ticket to a dirty movie become an act of revolution and political protest? And how did Linda Lovelace become the world's first porno superstar?

Blame it on Richard Nixon. It was June 19, 1972, exactly one week after Deep Throat premiered in porn houses across America (and three days after Bloomsday), that the Watergate story broke on the front page of The Washington Post, and Nixon, in an attempt to distract the country from the emerging scandal and unraveling cover-up, ordered the FBI to shut down every theater showing Deep Throat, to confiscate every print, and to arrest the actors and the filmmakers responsible for it. And "Deep Throat" became not only the title of a film and a renowned sex act, but the code name for Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's FBI source, who was feeding them the information they needed to bring down a president.

We will be celebrating this anniversary on Bloomsday on Beaver Street II, as Eric Danville, author of The Complete Linda Lovelace, the book that was the original inspiration for the forthcoming film Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried, reads from a collection of over-the-top vintage 1970s flyers advertising the late deep-throat artist’s 8mm loops. And we will come to a deeper understanding of how, though Ms. Lovelace’s athletic skills, Deep Throat would become a cultural touchstone, its commercial success in the pornographic arena still unsurpassed.

Joining Eric will be authors Robert Rosen and Lainie Speiser, adult actress Lexi Love, and a host of musicians and actors. The event is free, and you can download your invite here. Hope to see you on Sunday, June 16, at the Killarney Rose on Beaver Street, for the best Bloomsday party in New York City.

A Really Big Show

June 6, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Ulysses, James Joyce, Eric Danville, Lainie Speiser, Lexi Love, Byron Nilsson, Mary Lyn Maiscott, Hoop

With ten days to go till Bloomsday on Beaver Street II: Father's Day Edition, I can now provide a rough idea of our literary, musical, and theatrical lineup.

Robert Rosen will read a historical passage from Beaver Street and the opening pages of his just-completed novel, Bobby in Naziland.

Eric Danville, author of The Complete Linda Lovelace, the original basis for the film Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried, will read from a collection of over-the-top vintage 1970s flyers advertising Lovelace’s 8mm loops.

Lainie Speiser will be read the Mia Isabella chapter of her book Confessions of the Hundred Hottest Porn Stars.

Lexi Love, AVN Award nominated adult actress and inventor of the board game Uncle Don’s Exotic Interludes, will read from Cookie Mueller’s memoir, Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black.

Actor and writer Bryon Nilsson will return as emcee and sing a song.

Laralu Smith will read a passage from the Molly Bloom section of James Joyce’s Ulysses that graphically demonstrates why the book was banned in America.

Joe Gioco, Laralu, and Byron will perform a staged reading of a scene Byron’s ribald play, Mr. Sensitivity, last seen at the New York Fringe Festival in 2009.

Singer-songwriter Mary Lyn Maiscott and guitarist HooP return to perform a selection of originals and covers.

Singer-songwriter Ray Fuld returns to perform original songs.

And if need be, we’ll go all night long.

The Real Joyces of County Killarney

June 5, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, James Joyce, Eric Danville, Lainie Speiser, Lexi Love

On the latest invite to Bloomsday on Beaver Street II: Father's Day Edition, you'd think we were the cast of a new reality TV show, Bob, Eric, Lanie, and Lexi: The Real Joyces of County Killarney. Tune in every week to watch James Joyce's dysfunctional, illegitimate offspring, each born of a different mother, squabble over who is the true heir to Joyce's spiritual legacy.

Bob's the "serious" older brother, the one who had the Lennon diaries all those years ago, and wrote a book about it, before going to work in porn.

Eric’s the “cute” younger brother, the one who knows everything about Linda Lovelace, and used to work at Screw. He writes books, too.

Lainie’s the “responsible” older sister, a public relations aficionado whose literary output includes books about threesomes, fellatio, and porn stars.

Lexi’s the “sexy” younger sister, the one with the degree in chemical engineering who became a porn star and invented an “adult” board game.

Okay, maybe we need to work on plot and character development a little more. And maybe we’re not really siblings, or half-siblings. Maybe we’re just four friends who are throwing the best Bloomsday party in New York City, at the Killarney Rose, at 80 Beaver Street, at 7 P.M. on Sunday, June 16. And we’d very much like you to join us in our celebration of banned books, James Joyce, and erotic acts that have inspired great works of literature. The admission will be free, the music will be live, and the readings will be provocative.

And, of course, the spirit of our patriarch, James Joyce, will be presiding.

It Takes a Porn Star

June 4, 2013

Tags: Lexi Love, Bloomsday on Beaver Street

Last year it was subway vigilante Bernie Goetz who galvanized Bloomsday on Beaver Street, not by his performance, or rather his non-performance, but by his very presence at the Killarney Rose. Bernie was what kept people talking about the event for the rest of the year, with new stories about his anti-social behavior surfacing long after the fact, and told with relish.

This year, for Bloomsday on Beaver Street II: Father's Day Edition, we're celebrating banned books, James Joyce, and erotic acts that have inspired great works of literature by having a more traditional celebrity join our distinguished lineup of authors, musicians, and actors. Our very special guest is a genuine porn star, one who has garnered seven AVN Award nominations in such categories as Best Oral Sex Scene and Most Outrageous Sex Scene, and has created an adult board game, Uncle Don's Exotic Interludes.

Ladies and gentlemen, please give it up for the gorgeous and talented star of Squirt Gangbang and Naked and Famous, Lexi Love!

Lexi will be reading from Cookie Mueller’s memoir, Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black, signing her board game (makes a great Father’s Day gift), and doing all she can to make Bloomsday on Beaver Street II a literary, musical, and theatrical event that you’ll still be talking about next year, when Bloomsday III rolls around.

Best of all, admission is free, and you can download your invitation here. So, mark your calendar now: Sunday, June 16, 7:00 P.M. at the Killarney Rose on Beaver Street in New York City. Lexi will be expecting you.

Makes a Good Album Cover

May 29, 2013

Tags: Mary Lyn Maiscott, Michael Paul, Bloomsday on Beaver Street

Now all we need is an album, and considering one of us is a musician--that would be Mary Lyn--I suppose an album is a possibility.

This photo, by Michael Paul (who will be the official Bloomsday on Beaver Street photographer), was shot late Sunday afternoon, as Mary Lyn and I walked past the Joe Strummer mural on East 7th Street, across the street from Tompkins Square Park. The dates on the mural, 1952-2002, always shock me when I see them--because Strummer, of The Clash, was 25 days younger than I was when he died, at 50, of a undiagnosed heart defect. So, for me, the mural has that extra-added jolt of poignancy.

What I like about the photo is its naturalness—we didn’t know that Paul was taking the picture, so we weren’t looking at the camera. And my and Mary Lyn’s slight blurriness brings to mind the cover of Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush.

But long gone are the days when people bought record albums as much for the covers as for the music. (Need I mention Cheap Thrills, Sgt. Pepper, and Volunteers?) So, Mary Lyn will just have to get by on her music, and you can hear some of it June 16, at the Killarney Rose on Beaver Street. And though I will be reading on Bloomsday, I will not be singing or playing an instrument—because I can’t. But I’ll still be happy to appear on the cover of Mary Lyn’s next album.

A Better Bloomsday on Beaver Street Invite

May 28, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Eric Danville, Lainie Speiser, Linda Lovelace

You now have a choice of invites you can download for Bloomsday on Beaver Street II: Father's Day Edition, which will be held June 16, at the Killarney Rose on Beaver Street. Download this invite if you're a fan of either Lainie Speiser and her masterwork, Confessions of the Hundred Hottest Porn Stars, or Eric Danville, whose book The Complete Linda Lovelace is directly responsible for getting the movie Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfreid, off the ground.

Or if you prefer a Rosen-centric invite, then please download this one.

Either invite will get you in the door.

The Writer's Dilemma

May 24, 2013

Tags: Bobby in Naziland, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Brooklyn, writing, book promotion

The main setting of Bobby in Naziland, East 17th Street, in Flatbush, as it looks today.
One of the things I'm going to do at Bloomsday on Beaver Street is read from Bobby in Naziland, the novel I'm in the process of fine-tuning. It's going to be a short reading, about 1600 words that will include the opening pages of the first chapter--just enough to give people a sense of the book's flavor and the voice I've used to portray "an adult consciousness channeling the thoughts and emotions of a seven year old," as I describe it in the prologue.

The book, I'm sure, will be of particular interest to anybody who's familiar with Flatbush, the Brooklyn neighborhood that Bobby in Naziland is set in, especially if they happened to have lived there in the 1950s and '60s, and think they might "know" some of the characters. And I'm sure that readers will derive a great deal of pleasure from my vision of a Brooklyn that no longer exists, a provincial burb filled with goyim and Jews, Auschwitz survivors and army veterans who fought the Nazis, a place where "World War II lingered like a mass hallucination on East 17th Street and large swaths of the surrounding borough."

What I’m not sure of is what I’m going to do with the book when I’m completely finished with it. The publishing industry, which never has functioned in a rational way, has changed so much in the past decade, that I don’t know if it makes sense to go with a traditional publisher (assuming I can find one) or to self-publish. The Internet is full of stories by and about authors, many of whom have successfully published with traditional publishers, who are now struggling with this same question. There are as many self-publishing success stories as there are stories of failure and unmitigated despair. For a writer like me, who’s had some success with traditional publishing but has not produced the blockbuster that publishers demand, there are no easy answers. The more I read, the more confused I get.

I can tell you this much: For the past two years I’ve worked as hard at promoting Beaver Street as I’ve ever worked at anything. I’ve gotten the consistently excellent reviews and the high profile mentions that theoretically sell books. But until I can get those Harry Potter-like sales, it’s unlikely that a traditional publisher will send a bushel (or even a cupful) of cash my way.

So, all I can do for now is spend this Memorial Day weekend putting the finishing touches on Bobby in Naziland, and banish from my mind all that other stuff. The correct answer to my question will present itself when it’s good and ready to do so. As it always does.

Your Personal Bloomsday II Invitation

May 20, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street

We're now in the process of sending out invitations for Bloomsday on Beaver Street II, at the Killarney Rose, on June 16, to all our Facebook friends and everybody on our mailing list. But if you didn't receive one, and are interested in attending what’s become our annual literary/pornographic/musical/theatrical event, please feel free to click on the image to the right and download an invitation.

You don’t need an invitation to come to the event. But, in these chaotic days of overbooked lives, we think it will serve as a helpful reminder. And the invite looks good hanging on your wall, right next to your calendar, assuming you still hang a calendar on the wall.

Hope to see you on Beaver Street!

Keeping Literature Relevant

May 16, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, pornography, literature

Bloomsday on Beaver Street II is one month from today, and as is always the case when you're coordinating a complex event with a wide array of independent-minded and highly creative people, there will be divergent opinions. In the interest of group harmony, these opinions must be addressed.

"The event is sounding too much like a celebration of pornography," is an opinion I heard expressed yesterday.

I respectfully disagree.

What we’re celebrating is literature that was once branded pornographic, not pornography itself. The main case in point, of course, is Ulysses, which was originally banned in the U.S. for its explicit sexual content. And some of that content will be read as an illustration of why certain misguided people chose to ban an extraordinary book.

Then there’s Beaver Street, which certainly explores the place of pornography in American culture, but is anything but a celebration of pornography. In fact, the critic Neil Chesanow, in describing Beaver Street, referred to my “deep ambivalence and frequent disgust” with porno. “Yes,” he writes, “the book mentions gangbangs and all manner of sexual acts, but none of these are lovingly described in salacious detail.”

And the other book that I’m going to be reading from, my almost completed novel Bobby in Naziland, has nothing at all to do with the pornography industry, and ties in directly with Bloomsday by paying tribute to James Joyce in the subtitle, A Portrait of the Author as a Young Jew.

The other two books we’re celebrating, The Complete Linda Lovelace, by Eric Danville, and Confessions of the Hundred Hottest Porn Stars, by Lainie Speiser, are about, and examples of, pornography as a mainstream cultural phenomenon. But they are not works of pornography.

Plus there’s the music. Some of it, like Mary Lyn Maiscott’s haunting new song, “Angel Tattooed Ballerina,” about a transsexual, simply touches on the theme of transgression.

And yes, it’s true, there will a porn star on hand, and she will be reading from a book. But if I understand correctly, it is required that every cutting-edge literary and art event in New York City have at least one porn star on hand. In fact, if the porn star is famous enough, and she’s sitting naked and ironically in a bathtub filled with money, she will be recognized as an object of beauty that has nothing to do with pornography.

So, if Bloomsday on Beaver Street II seems a little heavy on pornography, it’s only because we’re doing what we can to keep literature relevant in the 21st century.

My Discomfort Zone

May 15, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street

Some of the revelers at Bloomsday on Beaver Street I. It was kind of like a high school reunion, with a couple of celebrity interlopers from The Surreal World.
Putting together the second annual Bloomsday on Beaver Street: Father's Day Edition, is the equivalent of putting together a complex theatrical event, and it has taken me well outside my creative comfort zone, which generally involves sitting alone in a room and doing little more than putting words on a blank page.

I'm working with actors, musicians, other authors, and at least one porn star, several of whom live outside the New York area. There are auditions. There are technical issues involving sound systems and recording devices. There are invitations to deal with and press releases to write. Plus, I have to prepare my own performance, something that has never come naturally to me, and which will involve reading in public for the first time an excerpt from a novel that I've been working on for five years.

Bloomsday is keeping me awake at night.

But I keep reminding myself that the reason there is a Bloomsday on Beaver Street II is because last year’s event went so well, and was so much fun, people are still talking about it. It was a combination book party and reading, concert, open mike, high school and junior high school reunion, co-op meeting, family gathering, and drunken bacchanal.

So, as I work with my multitude of collaborators and potential collaborators to finalize this year’s festivities, I just want to say that the first round of invitations will soon be going out via Facebook, and everybody on my mailing list will be receiving a personal invitation via e-mail. And if you happen to be in New York on June 16, feel free to drop by the Killarney Rose. If it’s anything like last year, chances are good you’ll still be talking about Bloomsday II when Bloomsday III rolls around in 2014.

The Good Parts

May 10, 2013

Tags: Ulysses, James Joyce, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, banned books, Firesign Theatre


Go to the 27:00 minute mark to hear Philip Proctor as Molly Bloom

One of the things we will be celebrating on Bloomsday on Beaver Street II: Father’s Day Edition, on June 16, at the Killarney Rose, is the concept of Ulysses as a pornographic book that was banned, in 1920, by The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.

Last year, Byron Nilsson, our MC, read the passage that was directly responsible for that banning: Leopold Bloom masturbates at the beach as he watches a young girl reveal her "beautifully shaped legs." James Joyce's description of Bloom's orgasm--"O! in raptures and it gushed out of it a stream of rain gold hair threads and they shed and ah! they were all greeny dewy stars falling with golden, O so lovely! O so soft, sweet, soft!"--may be the most poetic description of masturbation in the English language.

This year, we’ve selected a 300-word erotic passage from the adulteress Molly Bloom’s soliloquy. It begins, “I had to get him to suck them they were so hard he said it was sweeter and thicker than cows then he wanted to milk me into the tea…”

We’ve been looking for the right actress to read this passage.

But it has come to my attention that we don’t necessarily need to limit our auditions to actresses. The Firesign Theatre’s comedy album, from 1969, How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You’re Not Anywhere at All, contains a surreal bit at the end of side one where Philip Proctor, playing car salesman Ralph Spoilsport, reads a close approximation of the final part of Molly’s soliloquy. You can hear it in the above video beginning around the 27:00-minute mark. This is the kind of thing that just might work on Beaver Street.

So, actors and actresses, if you’re in the New York area and you think you can do justice to the passage we’ve selected, as either comedy or erotica, please get in touch. We’d love to hear you read.

The Nazi Connection

May 9, 2013

Tags: Ulysses, James Joyce, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Bobby in Naziland, Mel Brooks, The Producers


Max Bialystock, Franz Liebkind, and Leo Bloom in a scene from The Producers.

Of all the Jews in all the books in all of literature, why did Mel Brooks steal the name Leo Bloom from the protagonist of James Joyce's Ulysses for his nervous and corruptible accountant in The Producers?

Played by Gene Wilder in the 1968 film, and Matthew Broderick in the original cast of the 2001 Broadway musical, Leo Bloom, in the course of auditing scam-artist producer Max Bialystock’s books, realizes that more money can be made from producing a flop than producing a hit. And the super-flop that Bloom and Bialystock scheme to produce is a musical titled Springtime for Hitler, written by a deranged former-Nazi playwright, Franz Liebkind (Kenneth Mars).

“I don’t know what it meant to James Joyce,” said Mel Brooks, “but to me Leo Bloom always meant a vulnerable Jew with curly hair. Enter Gene Wilder.”

There’s more: Before taking on the role of Max Bialystock in the film, Zero Mostel played Leopold Bloom in a Broadway production of Ulysses in Nighttown. And the film is full of Ulysses references. In one scene, Bloom asks Bialystock, “When will it be Bloom’s Day?” A calendar on the wall shows that it is Bloomsday—June 16.

I bring this up now because, though Ulysses seems to contain references to everything in the world, it contains no references to Nazis—the book predated Nazism. And since everything that will happen this June 16, at Bloomsday on Beaver Street II, at the Killarney Rose, will, in one way or another, be tied into the Ulysses theme, I thought that a direct connection to the title of my book, Bobby in Naziland, which I’ll read from for the first time in public that night, was lacking.

True, the subtitle, A Portrait of the Author as a Young Jew, is a direct reference to Joyce, and I figured that that was good enough. But now I know that, thanks to The Producers and Mel Brooks, which are both referenced in Bobby in Naziland, I do have the Ulysses-Nazi connection that I longed for.

Ulysses and Me

May 8, 2013

Tags: Ulysses, James Joyce, Bloomsday on Beaver Street

Yes, yes, yes, I really have read, from beginning to end, Ulysses, by James Joyce, the book we will be using as an excuse to have a party, on June 16, the day known as Bloomsday, at the Killarney Rose, on Beaver Street.

It was 1977 when I took down the book from my shelf, where it had been gathering dust for many years. Having recently embarked on a writing career, I felt it was a novel that every "serious" writer should read, and I'd managed to avoid doing so throughout college and grad school.

Ulysses is the most difficult book I’ve ever read, and it took me the better part of a year to get through it. There were pages where I literally had to look up in the dictionary every other word. And there were huge swaths where I had no idea what was going on. But finish it I did, dipping into it every spare moment I could find, and reading it on the subway, where it served as a conversation piece. Late one night, as I was returning home to Washington Heights on the Broadway Local, the guy sitting across the aisle from me pointed to the book and said, “It’s a joke book. You’ve got to read it like a joke book.”

Maybe.

Taken more by the idea of Ulysses than the book itself, in 1986 I went to Dublin for Bloomsday, named for the book’s protagonist, Leopold Bloom. On the morning of June 16, I visited the Martello Tower, overlooking the Irish Sea, in Sandycove, outside Dublin. This is where the book opens with the words, “Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.”

In the afternoon, led by a local guide, I took a walking tour of Ulysses sites throughout the city. The guide, a knowledgeable fellow, probably in his late 60s, kept referring to the fact that Bloom was an Irish Jew. “You’ve got to pay your Jews if you want to sing the blues,” was the line that got the biggest laugh out of the tour group.

In the evening, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I listened to a reading of the final part of the book, Molly Bloom’s soliloquy, the one that begins with “Yes” and ends with “yes I said yes I will Yes.” Then, in the finest tradition of Leopold Bloom and his good friend Stephen Dedalus, I went to the local pub and drank my fill of Guinness before stumbling back to my hotel for a good’s night’s sleep.

The next day, I embarked, via ferry, for Liverpool, where another pilgrimage awaited me.

Right Here on Our Stage…

May 7, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Paul Slimak, Erich von Pauli, Agnes Herrmann, Henry Dorfman, Bobby in Naziland, Byron Nilsson

…direct from Cleveland, Ohio, where he's just completed a critically acclaimed run as James "Jimmy Tomorrow" Cameron in The Iceman Cometh, let's give it up for Paul Slimak!

Actually, it's not a stage, just an area on the floor at the upstairs bar of the Killarney Rose, at 80 Beaver Street, that we like to call a stage. But it is where all the Bloomsday on Beaver Street performances will be taking place, on Sunday, June 16, beginning at 7 P.M. And we have just received word that Slimak, whom you may know as degenerate Nazi fugitive Erich von Pauli from the Beaver Street videos (and whom I call "Henry Dorfman" in Beaver Street, the book) will be one of the performers.

Slimak and his wife, Agnes Herrmann, who plays Diana Clerkenwell in the Beaver Street videos (and whom you may have last seen in The Road, as Archer’s Woman), will perform a reading from Mr. Sensitivity, a play by our MC, Byron Nilsson, about a man who gives his wife a porn stud for her birthday. (Mr. Sensitivity was performed at the Fringe Festival in 2009.)

As a special bonus, Slimak, in the character of von Pauli, will introduce my first public reading of my novel, Bobby in Naziland: A Portrait of the Author as a Young Jew.

He has ways of making you listen.

In Silence and Secrecy

May 3, 2013

Tags: Bobby in Naziland, writing, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Nowhere Man, John Lennon

My actual room is a little more cluttered, and I use a slightly more advanced writing machine.
This weekend, as I've been doing most weekends lately, I'm going to concentrate on fine-tuning Bobby in Naziland, the novel I began writing five years ago, and had not shown to anybody until last week. As I explained in an earlier post, I plan to read the opening pages at Bloomsday on Beaver Street next month, so it was time to show at least those pages to my editor (who happens to be my wife).

I suppose most writers (as well as most readers) find it peculiar that a writer would work in total silence and secrecy for five years, especially these days, when it's become increasingly common for writers to share works-in-progress online with readers who provide instant feedback.

This is the height of literary absurdity and the best of all possible ways for a writer to achieve a state of confusion. Book writing should be a solitary activity that takes place in a room of one’s own with a lock on the door (to paraphrase Virginia Woolf). And I’ve been doing this long enough that I trust my own editorial judgment.

Which is not to say I wouldn’t prefer to be working with an editor at an actual book publishing company who’s given me an advance so substantial, I could concentrate, to the exclusion of all else, on finishing Bobby in Naziland. But I’m not the kind of writer who gets advances, substantial or otherwise, on unfinished books. On the contrary, when I finish the book and begin submitting it, I think publishers will tell me, “Great read, but there’s not enough interest in Jews, goyim, Nazis, the Holocaust, UFOs, the Rosenbergs, or Brooklyn to justify publishing this.”

This is the kind of thing that publishers say reflexively to most writers about most books. It can’t be taken seriously. When I was struggling to publish Nowhere Man—a book that would be translated into a half-dozen languages and become a bestseller in five countries—I was told time and again, for 18 years, “There’s not enough interest in John Lennon.”

Which is one reason I waited five years before showing Bobby in Naziland to anybody, especially publishers. There’s nothing more demoralizing for a writer than to hear from a so-called voice of authority that your work-in-progress is unpublishable.

I also trust the judgment of my editor, and when she reads Bobby in Naziland in its entirety, I want her to read it with a fresh eye. So, I will continue to work in secrecy and silence.

Spring Siege

March 20, 2013

Tags: StorErotica, Adult Video News, LA Weekly, Bloomsday on Beaver Street

Somebody sent me this "lol" image yesterday, but I didn't get it. "Why is the beaver a liar?" I asked. "A beaver wouldn't lie."

"It's not a beaver," the sender explained. "It's a groundhog. It's a joke about the weather."

Though it has been winter-like here in New York City, spring did begin today at 7:02 A.M--which means that the Beaver Street Winter Assault, as I've insisted on calling the latest phase of my ongoing media campaign, has officially concluded.

Regular readers of The Daily Beaver are aware of the three successes that have continued to fuel Beaver Street’s quest to reach a more substantial audience. Allow me to recap:

· A major interview in the December 2012 issue of StorErotica, a trade magazine that goes out to every book-ordering sex shop owner in the U.S.
· A rave review in the February 2013 issue of AVN (page 53), which is the first time that Beaver Street has come to the direct attention of its core audience—people who work in the adult industry.
· An extensive photo feature posted March 6, in LA Weekly, which trended #1, and brought Beaver Street to the attention of that much sought-after mainstream audience.

So, it’s time to declare victory and move on to Spring Siege ’13, which will climax on June 16, at the Killarney Rose, with the second annual Bloomsday on Beaver Street: Father’s Day Edition.

See you there!

Bloomsday on Beaver Street II: Father's Day Edition

February 1, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Daddy Porn, Mommy Porn

MC Supreme Byron Nilsson introduces the first Bloomsday on Beaver Street.

It's only February, but already plans are being made for the second annual Bloomsday on Beaver Street, which will take place at the Killarney Rose, on Beaver Street, in downtown Manhattan, on Sunday, June 16, 2013. The event is a celebration of the day that James Joyce's Ulysses takes place, and of all literature that was once banned as "pornographic." Joyce, incidentally, chose to set Ulysses on this day, because on June 16, 1904, he had his first date with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle, and she gave him an epic handjob.

It's never too early to mark your calendars.

June 16 is also Father’s Day, which seems appropriate, as Beaver Street, the book, which I will again be reading from, is dedicated to my father. It’s also a prime example of what I like to call “Daddy Porn,” a counterpoint to the “Mommy Porn” of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Daddy Porn is sophisticated pornographic literature of the type my father used to sell in his Brooklyn candy store, like Tropic of Cancer and Last Exit to Brooklyn. Mommy Porn, a label that’s an insult to any mother who appreciates quality literature, is a Harlequin Romance with hardcore sex.

At this time, the lineup for Bloomsday on Beaver Street II is a work in progress, but MC Supreme Byron Nilsson will be returning. Other readers include Eric Danville, author of The Complete Linda Lovelace, and Lainie Speiser, author of Confessions of the Hundred Hottest Porn Stars.

Please stay tuned for more updates about some very special guests.

I'm Losing You

December 7, 2012

Tags: Mary Lyn Maiscott, Hoop, Ella Lounge, John Lennon, Bloomsday on Beaver Street


Mary Lyn Maiscott and HooP's Blue Lights Christmas show, tonight at Ella Lounge, is dedicated to the memory of John Lennon. Tomorrow, December 8, marks the 32nd anniversary of his murder, an event that I explore in my book Nowhere Man. To commemorate Lennon, here's a clip of Mary Lyn and HooP performing I'm Losing You at Bloomsday on Beaver Street.

Also tomorrow, December 8, at 11 AM Eastern Time, this link from Indies Unlimited will go live and take you to an excerpt from Nowhere Man.

A Librarian Brands Ulysses "Filth"

June 16, 2012

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Ulysses, banned books

In honor of Bloomsday on Beaver Street, my New York City book launch party tonight at the Killarney Rose on Beaver Street, I'm posting this letter from a librarian, circa 1930, who considered Ulysses obscene and banned it from his library. Though Beaver Street has not been officially banned, a certain major corporation seems to have had ongoing "technical problems" making it available. And at least one critic has branded the book "smut," and refused to review it.

A Cosmic Confluence of Coincidence

June 15, 2012

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Killarney Rose, A History of Modern Pornography

That day ten years ago that I was wandering around downtown Manhattan, near Wall Street, thinking that I needed a catchier title than A History of Modern Pornography for the book I'd begun writing, was miraculous on various levels. First of all, when I looked up at the street sign and saw that I was on the corner of Beaver and Broad, it was as if I'd received a message from on high. I knew instantly that this was the perfect title, and I laughed out loud. Never before had a title come to me quite this way. And I also knew instantly that I had to have the publication party somewhere on Beaver Street, though I had no idea where.

I walked the length of Beaver Street, from Broadway to Pearl, and the Killarney Rose seemed the only possible choice. So I went inside. It was an unusual bar in the sense that it went straight through the block, with another entrance on Pearl Street. But it wasn’t until I discovered the upstairs bar that I knew it was tailor made to host a Beaver Street publication party.

The upstairs bar had the intimate feel of a private club, or speakeasy. And there was a backroom that seemed more like a living room—perfect for music (yes, I knew that day there had to be music) and readings.

Now all I had to do was finish writing Beaver Street and find a publisher. Nothing to it, right? Who knew ten years would pass? And how often in my life have I made a plan that I was able to see to fruition a decade later?

Tomorrow it happens—Bloomsday on Beaver Street, a cosmic confluence of coincidence and celebration, and who can resist that?

A Certain Type of Father

June 14, 2012

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, James Joyce, Ulysses, Deep Throat, Watergate, Irwin Rosen, Mary Lyn Maiscott

Bloomsday on Beaver Street is a celebration of many things in the spirit of James Joyce: the U.S. publication of Beaver Street; other works of literature, like Ulysses, that the more close-minded among us have deemed pornographic; the 40th anniversary of the premiere of Deep Throat; and the 40th anniversary of Watergate, which gave rise to that other Deep Throat. (I write about all this in Beaver Street.)

As if that’s not enough to celebrate, this Saturday, June 16, is also the eve of Father’s Day, and Beaver Street is dedicated to my father, Irwin Rosen, who passed away in 2005. I dedicated it to him because I think he would have enjoyed the book, and I explain why in the Prologue, titled “A Kid in a Candy Store.”

My father used to own a candy store on Church Avenue, in Brooklyn, around the corner from where we lived. I spent a lot of time there, working and hanging out, and one of the things I witnessed was the passion that my father and his pals expressed for books like Tropic of Cancer and Last Exit to Brooklyn—so called “dirty books,” many originally banned in the U.S., that he displayed on a special rack in the back of the store. Beaver Street, I think, would have earned a coveted slot in that special rack.

In honor of Father’s Day, the Prologue is one of the two passages I’m going to read Saturday night. And I’d like to suggest that if you have a certain type of father, Beaver Street, now available in paperback and all e-book formats, just might make the ideal Father’s Day gift. If you buy the book at the event, as a bonus you’ll receive absolutely free a copy of Blue Lights, Mary Lyn Maiscott’s CD, which is dedicated to her parents; the title song is about their wartime romance.

So please join us on Beaver Street to celebrate more things than we can keep track of. It’s going to be fun.

The Musicians

June 13, 2012

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Mary Lyn Maiscott, Hoop, Killarney Rose

Bloomsday on Beaver Street, which takes place this Saturday at the Killarney Rose, at 80 Beaver Street in Manhattan, is my first New York book event in 12 years, since the publication party at Don Hill's for my John Lennon bio, Nowhere Man. Music was a big part of that event. The publisher had invited a dozen musicians to perform Lennon songs, and one of those performers was Mary Lyn Maiscott, who sang "You Can’t Do That," which you can hear on her CD, Blue Lights.

Music, performed by Mary Lyn and the gifted guitarist HooP, is going to be a big part of Bloomsday on Beaver Street, as well. The duo are slated to perform two sets of originals and covers to open and close a show that will also feature readings from Beaver Street and guest singers performing cabaret-style songs.

Some of the songs are favorites that HooP and Mary Lyn have performed in clubs like The National Underground and Ella Lounge. And most of them are, in one way or another, related to the theme of books—writing books, publishing books, promoting books, and reading books. I’m not going to give away the set list here, but will simply say that if you’ve heard HooP and Mary Lyn live, then you know how good they are. And in an intimate, living-room-like setting like the back room at the Killarney Rose, it promises to be very special night.

Hope to see you there at 7:00 PM on Saturday.

The Long Road Back

June 12, 2012

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Ulysses, XBIZ, XFANZ, Amazon, banned books

There's no question that Amazon's computer glitch/bureaucratic snafu, which virtually everybody perceived as an overt attempt to ban Beaver Street because of its explicit content, did tremendous damage to the book's sales. Amazon is the primary way that people in America buy books. And for the three months that the Beaver Street print edition was unavailable directly from Amazon, I was on the road and on the radio promoting the book and trying to explain to people why it wasn't available from Amazon.

Those months are lost, and I’ll never get them back. But that’s the book biz, where it often seems miraculous if anything goes right. And there’s nothing I can do but keep promoting and keep believing that over the long run, readers will recognize Beaver Street as the serious and “enormously entertaining” (as one critic said) work of literature that it is, and it will endure in the marketplace as has my John Lennon bio, Nowhere Man.

I feel like a sports team that’s come off a rough road trip, where I played well but got some bad calls. And now I’m about to play a crucial game on my home court. That “game” is Bloomsday on Beaver Street, which takes place this Saturday, June 16, at the Killarney Rose at 80 Beaver Street in New York City. It’s going to be a wild launch party, a celebration of literature that was branded pornographic, like Ulysses and Beaver Street. Some very special guests will be reading from Beaver Street and there will be live music provided by HooP, an extraordinary guitarist, and singer-songwriter Mary Lyn Maiscott, my wife. (You can listen to clips from some of her songs on CD Baby.)

Bloomsday on Beaver Street will be the first step in a long road back to attempt to make up for what was lost. As of last night, the event got its first bit of ink… in two “adult” trade mags, XBIZ and XFANZ. Let’s call it an auspicious start.

Throat

June 11, 2012

Tags: Deep Throat, Linda Lovelace, Eric Danville, Watergate, Bloomsday on Beaver Street

It's impossible to write about the history of pornography, or even the history of 20th century America, without talking about Deep Throat, the movie. In the world of XXX, Deep Throat was the atomic bomb, the event that changed everything and whose impact continues to be felt today.

In the Beaver Street Prologue, I describe how Ronald Reagan’s attorney general Edwin Meese used underage porn star Traci Lords “as a weapon to attempt to destroy the porn industry as revenge for every legal humiliation pornographers had inflicted on the government since Linda Lovelace and Deep Throat shattered box office records in 1973.”

Later in the book, I explain how Richard Nixon, in an attempt to distract the country from the emerging Watergate scandal, ordered the FBI to shut down every theatre showing Deep Throat, confiscate every print, and to arrest the actors and filmmakers responsible for it. The result: Lovelace became the world’s first porno superstar, buying a ticket to a dirty movie became an act of revolution and protest, and Deep Throat became the eleventh-highest-grossing film of 1973.

As if Bloomsday on Beaver Street, the New York launch event on June 16, didn’t have enough cosmic significance swirling around it, it also happens to be taking place four days after the 40th anniversary of Deep Throat’s New York premiere and three days before the 40th anniversary of a story that ran on the front page of The Washington Post, about the arrest of five men with ties to the Republican party caught burglarizing the Watergate Hotel, thus giving rise to that other Deep Throat, the one of Woodward and Bernstein fame.

All of which is to say, last night, in celebration of this 40th anniversary, I went to 2A, a bar in the East Village, to hear Eric Danville read from his book, The Complete Linda Lovelace. The book will be reissued in September, and the reissue will coincide with the release of Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried, which is based on the book.

Danville is somebody I’ve been aware of for years but had never actually met until last night. We were in the same New York Times article, published ten years ago, “A Demimonde in Twilight.”

Danville was dressed motorcycle-style for the event, “Live to Write/Write to Live” inscribed across the back of his denim vest. As his image was projected larger than life on the wall of a building across the street, he read from his Lovelace book for a full hour, to an appreciative crowd that include the son of Deep Throat director Gerard Damiano.

When it was over, I congratulated Danville on his performance and his stamina.

“One hour is a long time to read,” I told him.

“My throat,” he said, “was dry.”

This is, I imagine, a problem that never troubled the late Linda Lovelace.

My Encounter with a Girlfag

June 8, 2012

Tags: BEA, SCB, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Ulysses, Girlfag, Janet W. Hardy

For the past four days I've been wandering the aisles of Bookexpo America, and the experience has often left me feeling as if I were an invisible man exploring an exotic city in a forbidden country. With rare exceptions, I felt no connection to anything. I saw nobody I knew. Sometimes I wondered what I was doing there.

Happily, those feelings were alleviated when I strolled over to booth 4214—SCB Distributors. SCB is the company that gets Beaver Street into bookstores in the U.S. And there was Beaver Street, prominently displayed on their rack, nestled between a Gram Parsons bio, God’s Own Singer, by Jason Walker, and book called Girlfag, by Janet W. Hardy.

I was standing outside the booth, trying to draw some psychic energy from the sight of the Beaver Street cover, when a woman with a punky blonde haircut asked if she could be of any assistance.

“No,” I said, pointing to Beaver Street, “I just stopped by to take another look at my book. I wanted to make sure I still existed.”

The woman was Janet W. Hardy, author of Girlfag.

“Well, aren’t you smart,” I said. “You write the book and you work for the company that distributes it.”

“I’ve only been doing this for 18 years,” she replied, pointing out that Girlfag’s publisher, Beyond Binary Books, was her company as well.

I was impressed. Here was a woman who’d totally embraced the demands of modern-day book publishing—she was doing everything herself, leaving nothing to chance.

I told Hardy that I’d never heard the expression “girlfag.”

She explained that girlfags are not fag hags. They are, rather, women, like herself, who love, are attracted to, and identify with gay men. “But the title seems to make a lot of people angry.”

I liked Hardy’s vibe and invited her to Bloomsday on Beaver Street, on June 16. “I think it’s your kind of event,” I said, explaining that it was a celebration of literature, like Ulysses and Beaver Street, that had been branded pornographic.

I told her the story of how, when excerpts of Ulysses were published in the U.S. in 1920, the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice went to court, had the book declared obscene, and managed to have it banned it for 13 years.

“There’s one paragraph where Joyce describes Bloom masturbating. It’s probably the most poetic description of jerking off in the English language. But that’s the paragraph that did it.”

Laughing, Hardy said she that had to go home, to Eugene, Oregon, and would, regrettably, be unable to attend Bloomsday on Beaver Street. But she did give me a copy of Girlfag, which I plan to discuss in more detail in some future posting.

She also left me wondering if I should go to Eugene and do an event there. Oregon, after all, is the Beaver State.

Amazon Blinks: Beaver Street Gets Buy Box

June 5, 2012

Tags: Amazon, banned books, BEA, Bloomsday on Beaver Street

Score one for The Daily Beaver: Just as Bookexpo America opens in New York, Amazon has added a "buy box" to the print edition of Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography, thus ending a three-month battle to achieve what should have been routine. It's now possible to buy Beaver Street directly from Amazon and take advantage of free shipping with Amazon Prime. If I sound like an advertisement, please forgive me. This has been a long time coming.

An Amazon rep called yesterday to break the news. He sounded genuinely upset that anybody could think that Amazon had banned Beaver Street due to its content, as I’d been reporting here. He assured me that that wasn’t the case.

I told the rep that I believed him. But I also said that every time I tried to explain to a reader or an interviewer that, according to Amazon, the reason the book wasn’t available was because of computer glitches and weird bureaucratic snafus having to do with licensing, nobody believed me. “Dude,” everybody would tell me, “Amazon banned your book.” After hearing this for three months, and getting nowhere with Amazon, I started to believe it, too.

Amazon, however, is sensitive to the idea that they’d ever ban a book due to explicit sexual content. And what finally got through to them, what finally motivated somebody within their bureaucracy to wake up and add a buy box, was a letter I wrote to the Amazon public relations department, telling them about the Bloomsday on Beaver Street event scheduled for June 16, in New York. I said that one of the reasons for the event was to publicly protest Amazon’s banning of Beaver Street. This was clearly something that Amazon did not want to see happen.

I also talked to the rep about the issue of fairness, pointing out that because of what amounts to a clerical error, I’d lost three months of sales. “How is Amazon going to make that up to me?” I asked him.

Let’s just that that, as of today, this remains an open question, though I fully expect Amazon to do the right thing and use their vast resources to give Beaver Street a well deserved promotional boost.

In the meantime, I’ll return to organizing Bloomsday on Beaver Street as the celebration of literature, in the spirit of James Joyce, that I’d originally intended.

Some Thoughts on Book Banning on the Eve of the BEA

June 4, 2012

Tags: Amazon, banned books, BEA, Bloomsday on Beaver Street

I've been writing a lot about Amazon lately because of the absurd and destructive problems they've created for Beaver Street. If you've been reading this blog, then you know that despite my own efforts, and the efforts of the publisher and the distributor, Amazon has been unwilling or unable to make the print edition of Beaver Street available in the U.S. Concerned readers and members of the media who've asked me about this perceive the problem as a conscious effort on Amazon's part to ban Beaver Street because of its explicit sexual content. (This so-called book banning will be one of the themes of the New York launch event on June 16, Bloomsday on Beaver Street.)

I bring it up yet again because Book Expo America (BEA) begins tomorrow in New York, and one of the reasons I’m going there is the possibility (as slim as it may be) that somebody from Amazon will meet with me and be willing to work to resolve the problem. Treating the banning of Beaver Street as an aggrieved author has thus far gotten me nowhere. It occurs to me that it’s now time to put on my investigative journalist hat and demand answers from a stonewalling corporation.

If I seem obsessive about this Amazon issue, it’s because I am. And the longer it drags on with no resolution in sight, the more obsessive I become. Is it really necessary to point out that I spent seven years writing Beaver Street, another two years looking for a publisher, and the past 14 months running around Europe and the U.S. promoting it? One of the few things I expected in return for this decade-long ordeal was for the largest distributor of books in America to make my work available in all formats. Amazon has not done so, and that is unacceptable.

Epiphany on Beaver Street

May 31, 2012

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, James Joyce, Ulysses, banned books, Killarney Rose

In addition to the invitation to Bloomsday on Beaver Street, there's also a press release. This is what it says:

What: New York launch party for Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography, by Robert Rosen
When: Bloomsday, Saturday, June 16, 2012, 7 P.M.
Where: Killarney Rose (upstairs bar), 80 Beaver Street

Ten years ago, Robert Rosen, author of the international bestseller Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon, was searching for a title for the new book he’d begun writing, about the history of modern pornography. He found it while wandering around downtown Manhattan, not far from Wall Street. Looking up at a street sign, he saw that he was on the corner of Beaver and Broad, and realized he’d found not only his title, but nearby, at 80 Beaver Street, an ideal venue for a publication party—the Killarney Rose.

Now, after a series of sometimes raucous events in the Midwest and California, Rosen has come home to celebrate the New York launch of Beaver Street, and he’s doing so on Bloomsday, a day named for Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of the groundbreaking James Joyce novel Ulysses, which takes place in Dublin on June 16, 1904. Why did Rosen choose this particular day? Because Ulysses, like Beaver Street, was considered a “dirty book” in its time, a work of smut rather than literature.

When an excerpt of Ulysses, about Bloom masturbating, was published in the U.S. in 1920, the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice succeeded in having the book declared obscene and banned in the U.S.—until 1933, when the courts, in an epic decision that marked the beginning of modern literature, declared the novel non-pornographic, and Ulysses was officially recognized as a work of art.

Though some critics have branded Rosen’s book “smut”—and Amazon, claiming “technical difficulties,” has not made the print edition available in the U.S.—when Beaver Street, a Vanity Fair “Hot Type” pick, was published in the U.K. last year by London indie Headpress, other critics across the cultural spectrum and on both sides of the Atlantic recognized the investigative memoir for what it was.

“Robert Rosen’s history of modern porn is entertaining, insightful, and hot,” said Michael Musto, of The Village Voice.

Beaver Street captures the aroma of pornography, bottles it, and gives it so much class you could put it up there with Dior or Chanel,” said Jamie Maclean, editor of the legendary British sex journal Erotic Review.

Beaver Street… adds considerable depth and texture to any understanding of how the pornography industry worked…. The book is as much a literary as it is a conventional historical account,” said Patrick Glen, of the academic site H-Net.

So, in a spirit of new and vital literature that James Joyce himself might appreciate, Rosen is celebrating the U.S. publication of Beaver Street at the Killarney Rose, an Irish bar on Beaver Street, on Bloomsday.

Rosen and special guests will read provocative passages from Beaver Street. “Characters” from the book will be present. Recording artists HooP and Mary Lyn Maiscott will provide live music.

Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography is now available in New York City at Shakespeare’s, McNally Jackson, St. Mark’s Books, and Barnes and Noble, and in all e-book formats at all online booksellers.

Download Invite to Bloomsday on Beaver Street

May 30, 2012

Tags: Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Killarney Rose, banned books

Bloomsday on Beaver Street, the New York launch event for my investigative memoir, Beaver Street, is going to take place Saturday, June 16, 7 P.M., at the upstairs bar of the Killarney Rose at 80 Beaver Street. The event is free, open to the public, and will feature provocative readings from the book by me as well as special guests, and live music by HooP and Mary Lyn Maiscott.

To learn more about the event, you can download the invitation by clicking on the image to the left.

Hope you can join me on Beaver Street to celebrate literature and banned books that refuse to die.

The Banning of Beaver Street

May 29, 2012

Tags: Meese Commission, banned books, Amazon, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Ulysses

Beaver Street is a book that deals with explicit sexual themes while launching a full-frontal assault on the outrageous hypocrisy of Republican anti-porn warriors who were either convicted of multiple felonies and sent to jail or were forced to resign from office in disgrace to avoid criminal prosecution--notably Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Edwin Meese, Charles Keating, and Alberto Gonzales.

Because of this, I thought that there was a decent chance that somebody might try to ban the book, leading to controversy, a flurry of media attention, and a few more sales. What I had in mind was a group like Focus on Family, a fundamentalist Christian organization that I cited in Beaver Street because their founder, James Dobson, an “evangelical pediatrician,” had served on the Meese Commission on Pornography, which, in 1986, attempted to outlaw pornography in America.

Well, it’s time to file my little fantasy under: “Be careful what you wish for.”

Though Amazon U.S. has not exactly banned Beaver Street—they are selling the Kindle edition and allowing outside vendors to sell the paperback edition—they are not selling the paperback edition themselves, which means that they’ve made it extremely difficult for anybody who doesn’t want to read Beaver Street on a plastic machine to get their hands on it.

Amazon claims they’re doing this because they haven’t been given the right to sell Beaver Street in the U.S., which is simply not true. The distributor and the publisher have repeatedly reaffirmed Amazon’s right to sell the book in the U.S., but Amazon has repeatedly ignored them and continues to insist that they don’t have the right to sell the book in the U.S.

None of the readers, potential readers, and journalists whom I’ve spoken to about this believe that Amazon is so inept they’re unable to correct what amounts to a minor clerical error. They think that Amazon has banned the book due to its explicit sexual content, and nothing I say can convince them otherwise.

So, if perception is reality, then I’ve gotten what I wished for: Beaver Street, like James Joyce’s Ulysses, is a banned book.

Which is one more good reason to join me June 16 at the Killarney Rose on Beaver Street to celebrate Bloomsday on Beaver Street and express your distaste for any organization that, intentionally or by benign neglect, bans books.

And, if you’ve got a little free time, do me a favor: Write to Amazon. Let them know that you don’t appreciate them banning books of any kind, even if they swear on a stack of Kindles that they haven’t banned it, that they simply don’t have the right to sell it.

Loose Ends

May 23, 2012

Tags: Tiffany Granath, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Book Soup, Kendra Holliday, Shameless Grounds, Nowhere Man, Gli ultimi giorni di John Lennon, Paolo Palmieri

If you're one of those people with Sirius-XM radio, perhaps you heard me yesterday on The Tiffany Granath Show. I know somebody was listening because my 20-minute chat with the enthusiastic host, who was excited to get her hands on the paperback edition of Beaver Street, resulted in a modest surge in sales. I'd also like to thank Tiffany for assiduously plugging the New York launch event on June 16, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, which is free and open to the public.

Though my Book Soup event seems like ancient history at this point, I haven’t written about it yet, and I’ve been meaning to say that I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made in reading the so-called “dirty part” from “The Accidental Porn Star” chapter, which I’ll be reprising at the New York event. My performance, I dare say, is beginning to feel like a cross between a Lenny Bruce stand-up routine and a recitation of a Shakespearian soliloquy. What stands out in my mind about the reading was a man who was browsing through some art books off to the side, paying no attention to me—until I began reading. Then he looked at me with a huge smile, mesmerized, as if he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. The Accidental Porn Star had connected with The Accidental Listener.

Just before I left for L.A., my old pal in St. Louis, Kendra Holliday, posted a video of her interview with me, conducted moments before the event at Shameless Grounds coffee house. It’s an interesting document of a very nervous writer, with a lot on his mind, about to embark on a U.S. promotional tour. I have mixed feeling about this video. Some of it, I think, is outrageous and hilarious. In other parts, however, my nervousness is obvious, and I find it difficult to watch as I struggle for words. But this is the book biz in the 21st century, where every writer, no matter how reluctant, is forced to become a performer.

Finally, here’s a link to a Google-translated review, posted yesterday, of the Italian edition of Nowhere Man: Gli ultimi giorni di John Lennon, which has sold out its first printing. (Here’s the review in the original Italian.) The critic calls the book “daring,” “an unforgiving but truthful portrait,” a “must for… Beatles fans,” and praises the “excellent translation” of Paolo Palmieri. Made my day.