The Sporadic Beaver

Turn On, Tune In

November 23, 2015

Tags: Hollywood Scandals, Reelz, Nowhere Man, The Final Days of John Lennon, Mark David Chapman, diaries

The Reelz channel often rebroadcasts coast-to-coast the John Lennon episode of Hollywood Scandals. On the show, I discuss my book Nowhere Man, Lennon's diaries, his assassination, and the delusional motives of his killer, Mark David Chapman.

You can tune in on the dates and times below:

2017
Thursday, January 19: 10 A.M. ET, 9 A.M. CT, 8 A.M. MT, 7 A.M. PT

Saturday, January 21: 3 P.M. ET, 2 P.M. CT, 1 P.M. MT, 12 P.M. PT

Sunday, January 22: 9 A.M. ET, 8 A.M. CT, 7 A.M. MT, 6 A.M. PT

Monday, January 23: 10 P.M. ET, 9 P.M. CT, 8 P.M. MT, 7 P.M. PT

Wednesday, February 22: 1 P.M. ET, 12 P.M. CT, 11 A.M. MT, 10 A.M. PT

Sunday, February 26: 9 A.M. ET, 8 A.M. CT, 7 A.M. MT, 6 A.M. PT

Saturday, March 11: 8 A.M. ET, 7 A.M. CT, 6 A.M. MT, 5 A.M. PT

Friday, March 17: 10 P.M. ET, 9 P.M. CT, 8 P.M. MT, 7 P.M. PT

Saturday, March 18: 5 P.M. ET, 4 P.M. CT, 3 P.M. MT, 2 P.M. PT

Wednesday, March 22: 7 and 10 P.M. ET, 6 and 9 P.M. CT, 5 and 8 P.M. MT, 4 and 7 P.M. PT

Friday, March 24: 10 A.M. ET, 9 A.M. CT, 8 A.M. MT, 7 A.M. PT

Sunday, March 26: 9 A.M. ET, 8 A.M. CT, 7 A.M. MT, 6 A.M. PT

Monday, March 27: 8 A.M. ET, 7 A.M. CT, 6 A.M. MT, 5 A.M. PT

Friday, April 7: 1 P.M. ET, 12 P.M. CT, 11 A.M. MT, 10 A.M. PT

Saturday, April 8: 8 A.M. ET, 7 A.M. CT, 6 A.M. MT, 5 A.M. PT

Wednesday, May 3: 1 P.M. ET, 12 P.M. CT, 11 A.M. MT, 10 A.M. PT

Monday, May 22: 8 A.M. and 1:30 A.M. ET, 7 A.M. and 12:30 A.M. CT, 6 A.M. and 11:30 P.M. MT, 5 A.M. and 10:30 P.M. PT

Sunday, June 4: 11 A.M. ET, 10 A.M. CT, 9 A.M. MT, 8 A.M. PT

Tuesday, June 13: 1 P.M. ET, 12 P.M. CT, 11 A.M. MT, 10 A.M. PT

Thursday, July 13: 10 A.M. ET, 9 A.M. CT, 8 A.M. MT, 7 A.M. PT

Sunday, July 23: 9 A.M. ET, 8 A.M. CT, 7 A.M. MT, 6 A.M. PT

Thursday, August 3: 8 A.M. ET, 7 A.M. CT, 6 A.M. MT, 5 A.M. PT

Sunday, August 13: 4 P.M. ET, 3 P.M. CT, 2 P.M. MT, 1 P.M. PT

Sunday, September 17: 8 A.M. ET, 7 A.M. CT, 6 A.M. MT, 5 A.M. PT

Friday, September 22: 8 A.M. and 12 P.M. ET , 7 A.M. and 11 A.M. CT, 6 A.M. and 10 A.M. MT, 5 A.M. and 9 A.M. PT

2016
Wednesday, March 23: 9 P.M. ET, 8 P.M. CT, 7 P.M. MT, 6 P.M. PT

Saturday, April 2: 6 P.M. ET, 5 P.M. CT, 4 P.M. MT, 3 P.M. PT

Wednesday, April 20: 8 A.M. ET, 7 A.M. CT, 6 A.M. MT, 5 A.M. PT

Saturday, May 21: 12 P.M. ET, 11 A.M. CT, 10 A.M. MT, 9 A.M. PT

Tuesday, May 31: 10 A.M. ET, 9 A.M. CT, 8 A.M. MT, 7 A.M. PT

Wednesday, June 1: 8 A.M. ET, 7 A.M. CT, 6 A.M. MT, 5 A.M. PT

Thursday, June 9: 8 A.M. ET, 7 A.M. CT, 6 A.M. MT, 5 A.M. PT

Tuesday, June 28: 8 A.M. ET, 7 A.M. CT, 6 A.M. MT, 5 A.M. PT

Wednesday, August 3: 10 A.M. ET, 9 A.M. CT, 8 A.M. MT, 7 A.M. PT

Friday, August 26: 8 A.M. ET, 7 A.M. CT, 6 A.M. MT, 5 A.M. PT

Monday, September 5: 1:30 A.M. ET, 12:30 A.M. CT, 11:30 P.M. MT, 10:30 P.M. PT

Tuesday, September 6: 6 A.M. ET, 5 A.M. CT, 4 A.M. MT, 3 A.M. PT

Wednesday, September 7: 9 A.M. ET, 8 A.M. CT, 7 A.M. MT, 6 A.M. PT

Sunday, September 25: 9:30 A.M. ET, 8:30 A.M. CT, 7:30 A.M. MT, 6:30 A.M. PT

Wednesday, September 28: 9 P.M. ET, 8 P.M. CT, 7 P.M. MT, 6 P.M. PT

Saturday, October 1: 10 A.M. ET, 9 A.M. CT, 8 A.M. MT, 7 A.M. PT

Friday, October 21: 9 A.M. ET, 8 A.M. CT, 7 A.M. MT, 6 A.M. PT

Reelz (TWC 128/Fios 233 in New York City) is not available on demand, so set your DVR. Click here to find Reelz on your local cable or satellite system.

The Woodward and Bernstein of Rock?

November 2, 2015

Tags: Hollywood Scandals, Reelz, Nowhere Man, The Final Days of John Lennon, reviews, e-books, Beatles, Robert Christgau

If you missed my previous appearances on the John Lennon episode of Hollywood Scandals, the Reelz channel will re-broadcast the show, coast-to-coast, on the dates and times below:

Saturday, November 7: 3 P.M. ET, 2 P.M. CT, 1 P.M. MT, 12 P.M. PT

Sunday, November 8: 12 P.M. ET, 11 A.M. CT, 10 A.M. MT, 9 A.M. PT

Reelz is not available on demand, so set your DVR if you can’t tune in at the appointed times. (In New York City, Hollywood Scandals is on Time Warner Cable 128 and Fios 233 .) Click here to find the show on your local cable or satellite system.

If you’re wondering why Hollywood Scandals asked me to talk about Lennon and my bio Nowhere Man (which has just been re-released as an e-book), there are a lot of good reasons. You can find the latest one in a just-published book titled The Beatles: Having Read the Book, by Greg Sterlace. In this volume, the author, using Robert Christgau’s “Consumer Guide” format, reviews “the best and worst of the Beatle tomes.” In his Nowhere Man critique, he calls me “the Woodward and Bernstein of rock” and gives me an “A.”

That’s a title and a grade I can live with.

On Newsworthy Books, Richard Nixon, and John Lennon

July 18, 2015

Tags: Ozy, Richard Nixon, Beaver Street, A History of Modern Pornography, Deep Throat, Watergate, Bild, Hollywood Scandals, Reelz, John Lennon, Nowhere Man

Before Ozy called to talk about the history of pornography in America, I'd never heard of them. But that's not surprising. So fragmented and expansive is the media today, even a high-profile news site can slip beneath my radar.

In any case, adhering to my philosophy of treating like Oprah everybody who wants to talk about my books, I spoke at length to Ozy, and when they ran the story, "How Nixon Shaped Porn in America," about the connection between Watergate and Nixon's efforts to ban the film Deep Throat, I was amazed by the results.

Not only was Beaver Street prominently featured, but the story was shared a respectable 1,760 times (and counting) on Facebook; was published in the popular German tabloid Bild as “Mister President wollte eigentlich das Gegenteil ... Wie Nixon dem Porno zum Durchbruch verhalf” (roughly translated as “Mr. President wanted the opposite of it... how Nixon helped porn to its breakthrough”); and was cited in the Washington Post and Baltimore City Paper.

That Beaver Street has remained in the news for more than four years in an environment where just about everything is forgotten within 24 hours is nothing short of miraculous. But apparently, that’s how long it’s taken the media to catch on to one of the book’s central themes: The biggest crooks—notably Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Edwin Meese, and Charles Keating—cry “Ban pornography!” the loudest.

And speaking of books that people keep talking about long after publication, on Tuesday, July 21, at 10 P.M eastern time, and Saturday July 25, at 2:30 P.M. eastern time, the Reelz channel will broadcast the John Lennon episode of Hollywood Scandals, in which I discuss my Lennon bio, Nowhere Man. Click here to find the show on your cable or satellite system.

'Twas the Day After Christmas

December 26, 2014

Tags: Bobby in Naziland, The Independent, Dagospia, censorship, Beaver Street, Brooklyn, Hollywood Scandals, John Lennon

I'm not in the habit of discussing here, at least on a daily basis, the book I'm currently working on. But there are references to Bobby in Naziland on this blog dating back to October 2011, so it's hardly a secret that I've been writing a novel. And if you were one of the people who attended Bloomsday on Beaver Street II, in 2013, then you heard me read the opening pages of the book and have a sense of what it's about: a child's view of Brooklyn in the 1950s and '60s.

I haven’t posted here in nearly four weeks because I’ve been working on revisions for Bobby in Naziland, and it’s taken up what little free time I’ve had. Also, in the middle of doing those revisions, the British government passed a new censorship law, and The Independent, apparently fans of Beaver Street, asked me to write about it. The piece I wrote, “No Female Ejaculation, Please, We’re British,” went viral and was then picked up by Dagospia, an Italian political-gossip site. This was one of my two major-media highlights of 2014. (The other was an appearance on the John Lennon episode of Hollywood Scandals, which ran multiple times on the Reelz Channel.)

So, here it is, Boxing Day, Henry Miller’s birthday, and the day after Christmas—the traditional time to reflect on the year gone by. Judging by the horror that smacks me in the face every morning when I foolishly pick up the newspaper because it’s lying outside my door, 2014 seems to have been little more than a series of catastrophies. No need to innumerate them here; we both know what they are. Which is why I’m going to take a moment to feel especially grateful that I’ve gotten through this year relatively unscathed. Also, I’m going to put aside my cynicism for a day or two and look to 2015 with a sense of hope.

Call me crazy.

In the meantime, happy holidays to all, and I’ll see you next year, if not sooner!

Lennon Tripleheader

December 2, 2014

Tags: John Lennon, Nowhere Man, The Time Warped Hour, Purchase College, Reelz, Hollywood Scandals, Octavio Cavalli, Bendito Lennon, Mark David Chapman

As always happens around the anniversary of John Lennon's murder, which occurred 34 years ago on December 8, people want to talk to me about my Lennon bio, Nowhere Man. This year, three interviews are on tap.

The first one, tomorrow, Wednesday, December 3, at 7 PM ET, will be a live interview on The Time Warped Hour, Daniel Zuckerman’s radio show broadcast out of Purchase College. You can listen live here, listen to a podcast here, or get more information about the show on its Facebook page.

Also on December 3, at 11 PM ET, the Reelz Channel (128 TWC and 233 Verizon, in Manhattan) will rebroadcast the Lennon episode of Hollywood Scandals. Look for me in the opening minutes of the show and again in the final part, when I discuss Lennon’s years of seclusion in the Dakota, and his killer, Mark David Chapman. Hollywood Scandals is available coast-to-coast in the U.S. at 10 PM CT, 9 PM MT, and 8 PM PT. Click here to find the Reelz Channel on your local cable or satellite system, and remember to set your DVRs, as the show is not available on demand.

Finally, on Sunday, December 14, at 6 PM ET, I’ll be appearing live on Octavio Cavalli’s recently launched Internet radio show, Lennoncast. Broadcasting out of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Cavalli, author of the comprehensive Spanish-language Lennon bio Bendito Lennon, will be interviewing me in English and simultaneously translating our conversation into Spanish, which is a pretty good trick. You can listen live here, or download the podcast here.

Hope you can tune in to one or all of these shows.

"Your Shirt Was Terrific Too!"

August 30, 2014

Tags: Hollywood Scandals, John Lennon, Mary Lyn Maiscott, Salvatore Ferragamo

Still waiting for my mother to weigh in--she'll probably object to my not having worn a sport jacket--but I do appreciate all the positive feedback I've been getting about my appearance this week on the John Lennon episode of Hollywood Scandals. Most of the critiques have been delivered to my face (no "book"), with a significant portion coming via e-mail and telephone.

My favorite comment: "Your shirt was terrific too."

For that I give full credit to Mary P. Fox, who selected the shirt in a second-hand store in Santa Barbara and persuaded my wife, Mary Lyn Maiscott, to buy it for me. I'd also like to thank Salvatore Ferragamo, who designed it.

Must-See TV

August 21, 2014

Tags: Hollywood Scandals, Reelz, John Lennon, Nowhere Man, Yoko Ono, May Pang, Mark David Chapman

Should you find yourself in front of a TV tonight, Thursday, August 21, you might want to check out the Reelz channel at 9 P.M. ET or 8 P.M. CT. I'm going to be on a show called Hollywood Scandals, talking about John Lennon and his killer, Mark David Chapman.

I pop up eight times altogether, three times quickly in the opening minutes and five more times, somewhat more substantially, towards the end.

The episode is an accurate and surprisingly evenhanded rundown of Lennon’s life and death. But as the name of the show implies, they don’t hesitate to highlight the numerous “scandals” that punctuated his life—the “bigger than Jesus” controversy; leaving his first wife, Cynthia, for Yoko Ono; and his affair with May Pang, for example.

There is, however, nothing salacious about the presentation. Like Detective Joe Friday on Dragnet, which was also set in L.A., Hollywood Scandals wants “just the facts,” wherever they may lead.

It’s rare that I’m given the opportunity to talk about Lennon on national TV, and it’s extraordinary that they’ve allowed me to mention his diaries or any of the details of his final years, before he emerged from seclusion to record Double Fantasy. So this is must-see TV for Lennon fans, and especially for the ever-growing community of Nowhere Man readers.

Using the hashtag #HWDScandals, I’ll be making every effort to live-tweet the show.

In New York City, Reelz is 128 on Time Warner cable; you can click here to find it on your cable or satellite system.

The Lennon episode will also air on the following days:

Sunday, August 24 at 12 P.M. ET
Monday, August 25 at 2 A.M. ET
Thursday, August 28 at 8 P.M. ET


Hope you can all come together and watch this one.

A Question of Conspiracy

August 13, 2014

Tags: John Lennon, Nowhere Man, Proceso, Roberto Ponce, Octavio Cavalli, Bendito Lennon, Yoko Ono, conspiracy theories, Mark David Chapman, Hollywood Scandals, Playboy

Last December, Roberto Ponce, an editor at the Mexico City newsweekly Proceso, sent me four questions about the numerous conspiracy theories surrounding John Lennon's murder. A comprehensive Spanish-language Lennon biography, Bendito Lennon, by Octavio Cavalli, had recently been published and the book gave credence to one of the theories. My answers to Ponce's questions ran as a column, titled "Sólo creo en una conspiración: la de Yoko Ono en mi contra" (I just believe in one conspiracy: Yoko Ono's against me), in a special Lennon section in their December 8, 2013 issue.

My blog posting yesterday, "Imagine Yoko Watching," about an upcoming Lennon episode of
Hollywood Scandals that I’ll be appearing in provoked a flurry of questions on Facebook about the conspiracy theories.

Here are Ponce's questions and my answers in the original English.


1) Octavio Cavalli, author of the biography Bendito Lennon, told me that one of his important sources of information about John Lennon’s murder is an article by Salvador Astucia, “José Joaquín Sanjeanis Perdomo: John Lennon’s true assassin?” In another one of his articles, Astucia has accused you, Mr. Robert Rosen, of being involved in the killing of John Lennon. What can you say about this?

I’m aware that Octavio Cavalli has thoroughly researched every aspect of John Lennon’s murder and for a variety of reasons doesn’t believe that Mark Chapman was the lone gunman. Among the issues Cavalli raises is the presence at the murder scene of Dakota doorman José Joaquín Sanjeanis Perdomo, a Cuban exile and former CIA agent, according to “Salvador Astucia,” which is the pseudonym of a Holocaust-denying conspiracy theorist. Astucia says, among other things too numerous to recount here, that I’m the Zionist-funded CIA spymaster who gave the order to kill Lennon, after which, in order to disgrace his memory (as well as the entire antiwar movement), the CIA then paid me to write Nowhere Man. He also says that I, along with another Jew, Edward Teller, the “Father of the H-bomb,” and Ronald Reagan, felt that Lennon had to die (and his memory besmirched) so America could go forward with its “Star Wars” missile-defense initiative.

The mere fact that Astucia is still alive is proof enough that his theories are absurd. Because if anything he said were true, a real spymaster would have silenced him 10 years ago, when he started posting this stuff online.

I don’t know if Astucia says these things because he believes them, or to provoke and to get attention. My inclination is to dismiss outright everything he or any other Holocaust denier says about anything. That Cavalli was able to find one shred of truth in Astucia’s insane ravings is a tribute to Cavalli’s tenaciousness, and his abilities as a researcher.

Though I must give Astucia full credit for my inclusion as number two, alongside J. D. Salinger and Stephen King, on a list titled “Top Three Conspiracy Theories Revolving Around the Death of John Lennon.”

And I’m sure that he’d be pleased to know that I briefly considered dedicating to him the novel I just finished writing, Bobby in Naziland, about a kid growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950s and early-60s, alongside Holocaust survivors and World War II veterans who’d fought the Nazis. That dedication would have read: “For ______, my Personal Nazi, who reminded me I was a Jew and taught me anew the meaning of anti-Semitism.”

2) What do you think of the conspiracy theories that accuse the CIA, FBI, various ex-presidents of the U.S., Operation 40, and even the Jewish people of being behind Lennon’s murder?

I don’t completely reject all conspiracy theories. I’ve had 50 years to think about JFK, and the official explanation still strikes me as less than satisfying. But I don’t think Lennon was the victim of a conspiracy. I think Chapman was a lone nut, and I think if Yoko Ono believed that Lennon’s murderer, or an accomplice to the murder was still at large, she’d have conducted a private investigation—for her own safety. She’s done nothing of the sort.

I think most conspiracy theories—Manchurian Candidates, for example—are based on scenarios so complex, they’d be nearly impossible to execute. My understanding of the psychology behind conspiracy theories is that certain people cannot accept the fact that horrendous events, like murder, can be totally random and can happen to anybody. So they need to invent fairy tales, impervious to rational evidence, that give them a sense of control and show that it can’t happen to them. That’s why Astucia is the only so-called “journalist” I’ve ever refused to speak to. Because no matter what I told him, he’d use it as further “proof” that I work for the CIA and that I did order Lennon’s murder.

There is, however, one Lennon-related conspiracy I am aware of: The unsuccessful attempt by Ono, the New York District Attorney’s office, and G. Barry Golson, a former Playboy editor, to have me arrested on criminal conspiracy charges unless I signed a document forfeiting my First Amendment rights to write about Lennon’s diaries. The libelous article that Golson ran in the March 1984 Playboy is the root of all Lennon conspiracy theories about me. He took a comment from my diary (which Ono had given to him), about what I saw as Ono’s skillful exploitation of the Lennon legacy, and depicted that comment, “Dead Lennons=BIG $$$$$,” as my indictment of my own behavior, portraying me as a criminal conspirator drooling over Lennon’s corpse.

3) In your book Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon you created an interesting profile of Mark Chapman’s mind. How has your vision of the killer changed since then? Why did he kill John Lennon? Did he commit the crime alone or maybe not?

My vision of Mark Chapman has not changed since I wrote Nowhere Man. I still think he was a mentally unstable and possibly psychotic individual who acted alone and was motivated by envy and a desire to be famous, and believed that by shooting Lennon, whom he considered a hypocrite, he’d literally vanish into the pages of The Catcher in the Rye and become The Catcher in the Rye for his generation. I await definitive proof that this is not the case.

4) After your experience with the Lennon diaries, what ideas would you suggest to the new generation of Latin American students about how they can be more effective in their work and lives?

In 1982, I was an obscure freelance writer who’d uncovered a story that was the equivalent of Rock ’n’ Roll Watergate. That’s why it took me 18 years to publish what I knew about Lennon’s diaries. In the eyes of the mainstream media, in any country, it’s simply unacceptable for an unknown journalist to come out of nowhere and break the story of the decade. Also, what I learned from the diaries went against the myth that Ono remains determined to perpetuate—that in his final years, John Lennon was a content, bread-baking househusband. That’s why she used all the political and media influence at her disposal to try and stop me. So, I’d say to any journalism students that it’s not enough to uncover a great story, especially one that goes against powerful people or institutions (as great stories often do). You must be prepared to fight for years, if not decades, to get your story out to a mass audience. I’d also say that anybody who’s considering investigating conspiracy theories should be aware that you’re walking into a swamp that you may never come out of. Or if you do make it out, you’ll emerge with a bag of half-answers, shadows, suspicions, and more questions than you took in there with you.

Imagine Yoko Watching

August 12, 2014

Tags: Hollywood Scandals, Reelz, John Lennon, Nowhere Man

There's a show on the Reelz channel--128 on Time Warner cable in New York City--called Hollywood Scandals. In April, in L.A., they interviewed me for almost two hours about my John Lennon bio, Nowhere Man, going over the book point by point. It's the most comprehensive Nowhere Man discussion I've had with any media organization in the 14 years the book has been in print.

The show is scheduled to be broadcast on the following dates:

Thursday, August 21 at 9 P.M. ET
Friday, August 22 at 12 A.M. ET
Sunday, August 24 at 12 P.M. ET
Monday, August 25 at 2 A.M. ET


Here’s a capsule summary of the Lennon episode, taken from the Hollywood Scandals Website:

John Lennon is one of the most influential and important artists in music history. But the public face of peace, love, and revolution is a mask. Behind his righteous persona is a troubled man crippled by a traumatic childhood. John Lennon buries the pain of abandonment by spending his whole life building a myth. And when the private truth became public, it ultimately cost him everything.

I don’t know how much or which parts of my interview they used or who else they interviewed. I do know that during my interview the chemistry was right and I settled into a good story-telling groove.

I hope you’ll watch the show, and I hope to live-tweet at least one of the broadcasts.

And while I’m on the subject of Lennon, I want to send out a big thanks to the 6,074 (at last count) people on Facebook who liked the Nowhere Man Wiki mirror page. I’m sure you’ll all be watching.