The Sporadic Beaver

Top 10 Events of May 2012

June 1, 2012

Tags: Beaver Street, Nowhere Man, Gli ultimi giorni di John Lennon, Tiffany Granath, Christy Canyon, Ginger Lynn, Book Soup, Amazon, banned books, Erich von Pauli

Christy Canyon and Ginger Lynn, hosts of the Sirius XM Playboy radio show You Porn.
It's been a helluva month. Allow me to share some of the highlights and lowlights:

10. A blogger in England puts my John Lennon bio, Nowhere Man, on his list of "Top 10 Books," among the works of such commercial powerhouses as Dan Brown, Stephanie Meyer, and C.J. Sanson. This has happened dozens of times before, and each time it does, it reminds me anew that 12 years after publication, Nowhere Man has achieved "cult classic" status.

9. A rave review of Nowhere Man: Gli ultimi giorni di John Lennon, in an Italian magazine, calls the book “daring,” “an unforgiving but truthful portrait,” and a “must for… Beatles fans.”

8. The Italian edition of Nowhere Man sells out its first printing, but Italy, like the publishing industry itself, is in such a state of economic and political chaos, nobody seems to know if there will be a second printing.

7. My wife and I spend a blissful week in Santa Barbara, at our friends’ house, “Casa de los patios,” as it’s called. We begin each day sipping coffee on one of five patios, gazing at the mountains in the distance. “Another goddamn beautiful day,” says the mistress of the house each morning, as she comes trotting onto the patio with her four dogs.

6. For the fourth consecutive month, this website hits a new high in traffic.

5. I read and sign Beaver Street at Book Soup, the legendary independent bookstore on Sunset Strip in L.A.

4. I’m interviewed about Beaver Street on The Tiffany Granath Show on Sirius XM Playboy radio.

3. After a year of hustling and promotion, the first printing of Beaver Street sells out in the U.K. There will be a second printing… sooner or later.

2. Christy Canyon and Ginger Lynn interview me about Beaver Street on their Sirius XM Playboy radio show, You Porn. Christy shows me her extraordinary (and ageless) breasts. Paul Slimak (Henry Dorfman in Beaver Street) calls in as Erich von Pauli, the character he plays in the Beaver Street promotional videos, and has everybody in the studio cracking up as he threatens to launch his V-2 missiles. It’s one of the best hours of radio I’ve ever participated in.

1. Claiming at various times “technical problems,” that they don’t have the right to sell the book, or that the book is “unavailable,” Amazon effectively bans the print edition of Beaver Street in the U.S. and there appears to be nothing anybody can do about 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.

How To Sell Books

May 21, 2012

Tags: Christy Canyon, Ginger Lynn, Book Soup, Beaver Street, Tiffany Granath

The author busts sod with a pickax in the Santa Barbara sun. Photo by Mary Lyn Maiscott.
I've returned from California jetlagged, upside down, and out of sync. My plan is to spend the next few days easing into New York reality and writing more about my Book Soup reading and my appearance on Christy Canyon and Ginger Lynn's Sirius-XM radio show, which went so well, the Spice Radio people have invited me back to talk about Beaver Street on The Tiffany Granath Show tomorrow, at 3 PM (EST). But before I embark on a day of dental appointments, laundry, and dealing with insurance providers, I want to share with you the most important lesson I learned in L.A. about selling books: The book itself doesn't matter. What's important is how you look when you're selling it.

If you want to move product, the best thing to do is get out in the California sun, take off your shirt, and wield the biggest, most macho tool you can find. So that’s what I did. And yeah, I realize I need to work on my tan. But if I say so myself, this ain’t too bad for a middle-aged author who’s generally loathe to venture into the afternoon sun. I’ll let you know how it works.

Going to California

May 7, 2012

Tags: Beaver Street, Christy Canyon, Ginger Lynn, Book Soup, Killarney Rose, Bloomsday

I'm leaving for California tomorrow morning, and since I tend not to post, or do much writing of any kind, when I'm on the road, this will probably be the last Daily Beaver entry for a few weeks. So I'll take this opportunity to remind whoever's reading this blog of the upcoming events in L.A. and in New York when I get back, and the general state of Beaver Street since its U.S. publication last month.

Thursday, May 10, 1 P.M. (PST): I’ll be talking about Beaver Street on Christy Canyon and Ginger Lynn’s Sirius XM radio show, You Porn, channel 103. It’s a live call-in show and you can reach us at 1(800) 774-2388.

Saturday, May 12, 4 P.M.: I’ll be reading from “The Accidental Porn Star” chapter and signing Beaver Street at Book Soup, L.A.’s coolest bookstore.

Saturday, June 16, 7 P.M.: Please join me for the New York launch party, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, at the upstairs bar of the Killarney Rose at 80 Beaver Street. There will be live music and readings, and the spirit of James Joyce will be present.

The State of the Beaver: Amongst a flurry of extraordinary reviews, which you can access from the home page, and a selection as a Vanity Fair “Hot Type” pick, Beaver Street continues to slowly find its way into independent bookstores such as Powell’s in Portland, Oregon, Book Soup in L.A., Left Bank Books and Apop Records in St. Louis, and Shakespeare’s, St. Mark’s Books, and MacNally Jackson (this week) in New York. You can also get it a Barnes & Noble in both the paperback and Nook editions.

Sadly and frustratingly, the paperback edition remains unavailable through Amazon U.S. due to ongoing “technical problems.”

And that’s the Beaver Street story up to this point. See you in L.A.!

Where to Buy Beaver

April 27, 2012

Tags: Book Soup, Left Bank Books, Powell’s, Shakespeare & Co., St. Marks Bookshop, Apop Records, Barnes & Noble

As Beaver Street remains unavailable from America's number one online bookseller due to "technical problems," I'd like to bring to your attention several brick-and-mortar bookstores where Beaver Street is available, both on the shelf and online.

Book Soup: This is L.A.’s coolest bookstore and a place that I visit every time I’m in town. And, hey, Beaver Street is a featured title of the week! I’m going to be reading here on Saturday, May 12, at 4 PM.

Left Bank Books: I read at this St. Louis landmark earlier this month to an enthusiastic crowd at the Central West End store. They were the first bookstore in America to have Beaver Street on the shelves. Kudos.

Powell’s: One of the largest independent bookstores in the world, this venerable emporium features five branches in Portland, Oregon and a website that can give any online bookseller a run for their money. They’ll ship Beaver Street anywhere on the planet.

Shakespeare & Co.: One of the many independent booksellers in my downtown Manhattan neighborhood, they feature an eclectic selection of popular and offbeat titles which at the moment includes signed copies of Beaver Street.

St. Marks Bookshop: An East Village institution since 1977, St. Marks carries a diverse assortment of books—including Beaver Street—and periodicals not generally found in the chains.

Apop Records: This is one of the edgiest stores in St. Louis, and they carry an offbeat line of books, magazines, records, and vintage clothing. I did a reading here, too, when I was in town. On their shelves you will find signed copies of Beaver Street.

Barnes & Noble: Yes, they carry Beaver Street in both the paperback and Nook editions.

If you know of any more places that carry Beaver Street, please let me know and I’ll give them a shout out.

Support independent bookstores!

The Christy & Ginger Show

April 24, 2012

Tags: Christy Canyon, Ginger Lynn, Beaver Street, Book Soup

Christy Canyon and Ginger Lynn, radio stars.
A week ago I was unaware that Christy Canyon and Ginger Lynn co-hosted a talk show called You Porn (not to be confused with the You Porn video site) on Sirius and XM radio, channel 103, from 11 AM-2 PM (PST), Monday-Friday.

The show is part of the Spice Radio lineup, and on Thursday, May 10, at 1 PM (PST) I’m going to be Christy and Ginger’s guest. We will, of course, be talking about Beaver Street, which I’ll be reading from and signing at Book Soup on Saturday, May 12.

Best off all, it’s a live call-in show. So, if you want to talk to Christy, Ginger, and me, here’s the number: 1(800) 774-2388.

See you on the radio and at Book Soup.

L.A. Story

April 18, 2012

Tags: Beaver Street, Book Soup, Fridays, Larry David

The cast of Fridays. Larry David, second row, far left.
My impending journey to L.A. for a May 12 event at Book Soup, where Beaver Street is currently a featured title of the week, is a bit of a homecoming. I lived in L.A. for a while, in 1980, at what was then the Montecito Hotel, on Franklin Avenue. Fridays, an upstart L.A. version of Saturday Night Live, had invited me to try out as a writer. Because of an ongoing writers' strike, it was a strange time to be in Hollywood; Fridays was one of the few shows in production.

At ABC studios, I met with the two producers, John Moffitt and Bill Lee, along with comedian Jack Burns, one of the show’s writers. They asked me to write some skits, and to give me a thorough understanding of how Fridays worked, they allowed me to attend meetings, rehearsals, and live broadcasts, and gave me access to their video room, where I could study tapes of all the shows.

Back at the Montecito, I sat in my room, gazing at the smog-enshrouded Hollywood Hills as I banged out on my portable typewriter a half-dozen skits, including a number of “cold openings” for the show, one of which involved a Charles Manson song-and-dance number.

Then I waited for what I was sure was going to be a job offer—and continued going to rehearsals, meetings, live broadcasts. But neither a job offer nor a rejection ever came. I found myself in a weird gray area, seemingly welcome at the studio, though not in any official capacity.

One afternoon at a writers’ meeting, Larry David, who was also a cast member, said to me, “Did they hire you?”

“No,” I answered. “Not officially.”

“Then,” he said, as everybody else looked on in utter silence, “you have to leave.”

David escorted me out of the conference room and then called security to have me thrown off the lot.

A few weeks later, back in New York, I turned on Fridays. The cold opening, which contained a few lines from a script I’d submitted, was a skit about a security guard ejecting a writer from the ABC lot.

My subsequent visits to L.A. have all been considerably warmer.

On the Shelves

April 17, 2012

Tags: Beaver Street, Left Bank Books, Shameless Grounds, Apop Records, Powell’s, Book Soup, Shakespeare’s, St. Marks Bookshop

Left Bank Books, in St. Louis, was the first bookstore in America to carry Beaver Street. There it was, well displayed on the night of my reading two weeks ago. Seeing it for sale, in three-dimensional reality, in a brick-and-mortar store made it real.

Other places where Beaver Street is available now or will be soon are: Apop Records and Shameless Grounds coffeehouse, in St. Louis; Powell’s, in Portland, Oregon; Book Soup, in L.A., where it’s a featured title of the week and where I’ll be signing and discussing it on May 12; and Shakespeare’s, on Broadway in Greenwich Village, which should have it in stock in a week or less.

Yesterday I walked into St. Marks Bookshop on Third Avenue in the East Village, and found three copies of Beaver Street on the shelf in the sociology section. I don’t know if I’d classify Beaver Street as “sociology,” but who cares? St. Marks is the first bookstore in New York City to have Beaver Street on the shelves. So, if you’d like to help out this venerable emporium, which is struggling to remain in business, buy your Beaver there and ask for it by name. Tell ’em the author sent you. And tell ’em to put it in the window where it belongs.

Beaver 2.0

February 27, 2012

Tags: Beaver Street, A History of Modern Pornography, Vanity Fair, Headpress, Kindle, Nook, Book Soup

A year ago tomorrow, I flew to London to begin promoting the UK edition of Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography, a process that I hoped might go on for a decade or two, if not forever. The book was published in England in April 2011, and if you look at the right-hand column, you can see some of what the critics had to say about it. Yes, words like "Enormously entertaining," "Entertaining, insightful, and hot," and "Shocking, evocative, and entertaining," did, indeed, help to sell a couple of books, thank you very much.

Now, here it is a year later, and I’m sitting in New York, awaiting the publication of the US edition of Beaver Street on March 28. The new cover (right), features one significant change: It says “Vanity Fair Hot Type Pick,” and Beaver Street will be in the “Hot Type” section of the April issue. But there are other changes, too. The critical response to the book made the editors at Headpress realize that Beaver Street is more a work of literature than journalism, and therefore, to give the book a more “literary” feel, the photo section has been removed. (If you want to see the photo section, e-mail me and I’ll send you a PDF. Or hurry up and buy a copy of the UK edition while they last.)

Then, of course, Beaver Street will be available on Kindle, Nook, and all the other formats that e-books come in. So, if you prefer reading books on your tablet or telephone, hey, be my guest. (The cover, incidentally, looks beautiful on the Kindle Fire and color Nook.)

And finally, I’m going to be doing Beaver Street events pretty much any place they’ll let me. There’s already a reading scheduled for Book Soup in LA on May 12, and I’ll be announcing more readings in other cities in the next couple of days. So, if you’ve been waiting to get your hands on a copy of Beaver Street, the wait’s almost over. And if you’d like to meet me, please come to one of my events. Because I’d like to meet you, too. I’m sure we’ll have a lot to talk about.

In the Soup

February 21, 2012

Tags: Beaver Street, A History of Modern Pornography, Book Soup

Ladies and gentlemen, mark your calendars. I'll be reading from Beaver Street at Book Soup in LA on Saturday, May 12 at 4 pm. This is one of many such events, in various cities across the US, including New York and St. Louis. Hope to see you there. Publication is only a month away, so keep checking back for updates.