The Sporadic Beaver

The Margaret Mead of Porn

August 26, 2010

Tags: Beaver Street, A History of Modern Pornography, Traci Lords, Dark Brothers, Ruben Sturman, Pamela Katz

A few days ago I sent the uncorrected proofs for Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography, which Headpress is scheduled to publish in the UK in October, to four “characters” in the book, former coworkers who knew they were in it, but had never seen it. Below is the response of the character I call “Pamela Katz,” an editor and filmmaker who once dated the late Ruben Sturman, who the government considered the most prolific pornographer in America. Let’s call this the first review:

I’ve just completed Beaver Street, and as you could guess, I could not put it down. Can not determine WHY this was not bought in USA because there is nothing like it...no comprehensive history of modern porn, especially The Golden Age, which we were so fortunate to experience. I used to call you Nosy Rosey. Did not know you were a diarist. But noted you were always asking “why” and were just (to me) nosy. You were like a visiting anthropologist, like Margaret Mead observing the Samoans. But you were in the thick of it, not just observing, which is what makes the book work. (As you call it an investigative memoir.) Perfect mix of personal experience, research, reporting, and conclusions.

Did I ever tell you that Traci Lords lived with Greg Brown and Walter Gernert (the Dark Brothers)? She was so into the porn lifestyle. It’s like I had totally forgotten how outrageous my life had been. I remember, as if it were yesterday, Ruben Sturman telling me (while seated on a banquette at a fancy French restaurant) how some book/video store didn’t pay him his cut and he’d had to firebomb it. Telling me that like any other guy chats about “my day at the office,” remembering having the diner next to us overhear all this. Remembering how very candid he was and how uncomfortably paranoid his candidness made me feel. Insanity, all of it. Remembering doing a photo shoot on Baltimore’s Block. Sex with a stripper. Owner put a loaded gun to my head. Remembered fighting with the Teamster’s Union over equipment rental for Raw Talent. So many stories...point is, I wish I had kept a diary. Because it was all pretty incredible compared to my life in porn now. The Eighties were insane.

Anyone reading the book will also be surprised how many female pornographers were working. You not only captured the past, you offered an overview of a huge, pervasive industry people know little about. You nailed it!