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.

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.

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 Blast from the Past

December 10, 2012

Tags: Bernhard Goetz, Joyce Snyder, Pam Katz, Bloomsday, Beaver Street, Killarney Rose, Byron Nilsson


It's been almost six months since Bloomsday on Beaver Street, and even now when I run into people who were there, they still want to tell me stories about one particular guest at the event: Subway Vigilante Bernhard Goetz. It was only recently that I heard that "Bernie" was hanging out at the bar at the Killarney Rose, describing in detail to an enraptured audience how, on December 22, 1984, he'd shot four teenagers who'd accosted him on the subway. And it wasn't until long after the party that I heard about a lot of other things Goetz did that night, most of which are best not repeated here.

Goetz had come to the Killarney Rose because he's a porno fan and he's good friends with one of the main characters in Beaver Street, Pam Katz, whose real name is Joyce Snyder. Goetz had asked Snyder if he could read from the book at the launch event, and when Snyder passed along his request to me, I said, "Sounds crazy. Why not?"

In retrospect, I can think of a lot of good reasons why not. But Goetz showed up, took to the stage, and delivered a surreal non-reading. Here, at last, is the long-awaited video clip of his “performance.” That’s Byron Nilsson introducing Goetz and that’s Joyce Snyder calling out from the audience, “Read the book! Just read the book!”

The Official Bloomsday on Beaver Street Video: Part 1

December 3, 2012

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


It has been almost six months since the Bloomsday on Beaver Street launch party at the Killarney Rose for my investigative memoir, Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography. This celebration of banned books, James Joyce, Ulysses, and all literature that has been branded pornographic, featured readings, rock 'n' roll, opera, and a surreal non-performance by a man who once ran for mayor of New York City.

Though I've posted a few truncated video clips of some of the performances, it's only recently that I've come into possession of the official Bloomsday on Beaver Street video--a complete documentation of every moment of the event. Here's the first excerpt: MC Byron Nilsson's masterful introductory monologue.

Stay tuned to relive the entire night, clip by clip.

Bloomsday on Beaver Street Video Clips

July 25, 2012

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

Intro

Until the official Bloomsday on Beaver Street video is available, these clips, shot by Bette Yee on her iPhone, will serve as a record of what happened at the Killarney Rose, on Beaver Street, in New York City, on the extraordinary night of June 16, 2012, at the launch party for my investigative memoir Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography.

The MC (or “MC Supreme,” as I’ve come to call him) is Byron Nilsson. The videos above and below are in chronological order. If you were there, chances are you’re in one of these videos.

Byron Nilsson Reads from Beaver Street


Introduction of the Author


Robert Rosen Greets the Crowd


Robert Rosen Reads from Beaver Street

The X-Rated Adventures of Bornhard Goetz

June 22, 2012

Tags: Joyce Snyder, Pam Katz, Lou Perretta, Bernhard Goetz, Bloomsday, Beaver Street, Killarney Rose, Raw Talent III, Byron Nilsson

The author and Joyce Snyder in soft focus at the Killarney Rose. Photo © Bette Yee.
I’ve written frequently on this blog about Joyce Snyder, a former coworker at Swank Publications and a character in Beaver Street whom I describe as a “mutant pornographic genius.” I call her “Pam Katz” in the book for a variety of reasons, but since she filed an age-and-sex-discrimination lawsuit against our former boss, porn king Louis Perretta, I now use her real name.

Snyder, as I explained in an earlier posting, is a close friend of the so-called “Subway Vigilante,” Bernhard Goetz, who was one of the performers at the Bloomsday on Beaver Street book launch party at the Killarney Rose on June 16.

Those of you who were there know that Goetz didn’t exactly perform as advertised. He was supposed to read a passage from Beaver Street about Snyder-Katz, but instead delivered an incoherent monologue about the book as Snyder called out to him from the audience, “Just read the book, Bernie!”

In describing Snyder’s relationship with Goetz, I mentioned that in an outrageous display of John Waters-style tastelessness, at which Snyder excels, she paid tribute to Goetz in one of her classic porn films, Raw Talent III. The Goetz character, played by Jerry Butler, masturbates on four black women who accost him on a subway train.

What I neglected to say is that this scene is a parody film within the film, titled The X-Rated Adventures of Bornhard Goetz, and was nominated for Best Sex Scene at the Adult Video News Awards in 1989.

Snyder mentioned that she feels some responsibility for Goetz’s behavior at the Killarney Rose. “A book party is like a lady’s wedding,” she wrote to me yesterday. “It is always well planned and it must go perfectly. Bernie just refuses to do as told and as agreed, [and] has to go his own way. I don’t know what the problem is. Maybe too much testosterone?”

As far as I’m concerned, Joyce, Bloomsday on Beaver Street could not have gone better. The energy in the room was so good, there was nothing Bernie could have done (short of shooting somebody) that would have ruined the evening. Indeed, his presence added a surrealistic touch and an extra jolt of electricity.

The only one with any regrets, I think, is the MC Supreme, Byron Nilsson, who thought of the perfect introduction for Goetz only after he introduced him. That introduction would have been, “And now, ladies and gentlemen, here’s a real blast from the past…”

Bobby on Beaver Street

June 20, 2012

Tags: Beaver Street, Bloomsday, Killarney Rose, performance

The author in performance at the Killarney Rose on Bloomsday. Photo © Bette Yee.
Getting up in front of people and reading from my book is something I prefer not to do. I’m not a natural performer. The reason I became a writer is because I’m good at sitting alone in a room and writing. But the way things are in today’s book business, that’s not an option. Once a book is published, if you want people to buy it, then you’ve got to get out there and sell it. And one way to sell it is to organize events like Bloomsday on Beaver Street, as I did last Saturday, in New York, at the Killarney Rose.

If I’ve improved as a performer, it’s because I’ve done more readings in the past three months than I’ve done in the past 12 years, and I’ve come to look upon these events with excitement and anticipation rather than dread. I think I did a more than adequate job at the Killarney Rose, despite the fact that I slipped off the chair as I was attempting to balance the book on my thigh as I adjusted the microphone. I’ll blame that on Guinness. But I dare say that I recovered nicely.

Rather than critique my performance, which I’ll leave to others, I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned recently about performing in general, and reading from Beaver Street in particular.

1. I read better when I’m sitting down then when I’m standing up. It’s more relaxing, it gives me less to think about, and it allows me to get lost in the book. The ideal setup, which I didn’t have at the Killarney Rose, is sitting behind a table on an elevated stage, with a microphone, good lighting, and a bottle of water within easy reach. After about ten minutes, my mouth tends to get mighty dry.

2. The so-called “dirty part,” from “The Accidental Porn Star,” about how I posed for an X-rated photo shoot as an experiment in participatory journalism, is something that I wouldn’t read in a lot of bookstores. But it was just the right passage for a New York crowd at the Killarney Rose. The excerpt is one of the comic highlights of Beaver Street, and what makes it work as a performance piece is the fact that it’s written in my natural speaking voice—a perfect rendition of the way I’d tell the story if I were sitting at a bar and talking to a good friend.

3. I found this bit of advice last week on the Internet, and it came as a revelation: Read the funny parts as if they’re not funny.

In previous readings I’d been putting emphasis on certain words and phrases to accentuate the fact that they were supposed to be laugh lines. I didn’t do this at the Killarney Rose, and it seems to have worked.

4. Like any performer, I feed off the energy of the crowd, and the energy Saturday night was electric. I felt the love. It was, simply, the best crowd I’ve ever read to.

Bernie on Beaver Street

June 19, 2012

Tags: Bernhard Goetz, Bloomsday, Beaver Street, Killarney Rose, Pam Katz, Joyce Snyder, Raw Talent

Bernhard Goetz stands before the microphone, contemplating a copy of Beaver Street. Photo © Robert Rosen.
In analyzing the events of Bloomsday on Beaver Street, it's best, I think, to begin with the elephant in the room--the room being the upstairs bar of the Killarney Rose and the elephant being Bernhard H. Goetz. I suppose it's possible that some people reading this or even some people who were at the event don’t know who Goetz is.

Allow me to recap: On December 22, 1984, a time when crime in New York City seemed to be spiraling out of control, Bernhard Goetz, a self-employed electronics engineer who lived in Greenwich Village and had recently been mugged, boarded a downtown No. 2 train at 14th Street. Four black teenagers accosted him, demanding money. Goetz pulled out an unlicensed .38-caliber revolver and shot them, wounding all of them and crippling one. As one of the teenagers was lying on the floor, Goetz is reported to have said, “You seem to be all right, here’s another,” and shot at him again, apparently missing. He then fled the train and went on the lam for eight days before turning himself into police in New Hampshire.

Some people saw Goetz as a folk hero, a real life Paul Kersey, the Charles Bronson character in Death Wish, while others, believing that the teenagers were panhandlers, not muggers, saw him as violently insane and racist. (Years later, one of the assailants would admit that they did intend to mug Goetz because he looked like “easy bait.”)

The media labeled Goetz “The Subway Vigilante.”

On June 16, 1987, Bloomsday, a jury acquitted Goetz of attempted murder and first-degree assault, but convicted him of third degree criminal possession of a weapon. He was sentenced to one year in jail, one year of psychiatric treatment, five years of probation, 200 hours community service, and fined $5,000.

The events transformed Goetz into an enduring celebrity, one who paparazzi still photograph when they spot him on the street. In 2001, he ran for mayor of New York.

And Goetz, it so happens, is a good friend of one of my former coworkers, Joyce Snyder, who plays a significant role in Beaver Street. (I call her “Pam Katz” in the book.) Snyder, a devotee of John Waters-style bad taste, has written and produced four classic porno films, Public Affairs, and Raw Talent I-III.

In Raw Talent III, she pays tribute to Goetz with a scene that’s, arguably, the epitome (or nadir) of bad taste. The Goetz character, played by Jerry Butler, is accosted on the subway by four black women. He takes out his penis and masturbates on them, and then says to one, “You look like you could use another,” and ejaculates again.

“Bernie wants to read,” Snyder told me before the event. “Is that okay?”

“Sounds insane,” I said. “Let’s do it.”

The plan was for Goetz to read a passage from Chapter 9, “Divas with Beavers,” where Snyder/Katz meets with the publisher, Chip Goodman, as they go over the mechanical boards for X-Rated Cinema magazine. It’s an edgy scene involving sexual harassment, photos of enormous penises, and incest. “Bernie,” Snyder told me, was going to practice the reading.

Well, if you were there, then you know that “Bernie” didn’t read from the book. He stood before the microphone, Beaver Street in hand, and launched into a disjointed monologue about how he didn’t want to read because it was about “office politics,” and he only wanted to talk about the book because, he said, “That’s what makes sense to me.”

“Just read the book, Bernie!” Snyder cried out.

Goetz ignored her, and rambled on for a few minutes before leaving the stage to a smattering of polite applause.

Goetz, however, believes he electrified the audience, and this may, at least in part, be true. I, for one, was stunned. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to press the button on my camera.

A Night to Remember

June 18, 2012

Tags: Bloomsday, Beaver Street, A History of Modern Pornography, Killarney Rose, Joyce Snyder, Pam Katz, Bernhard Goetz, Mary Lyn Maiscott, Hoop, Sonja Wagner, Byron Nilsson

Saturday night, Bloomsday, a whole lot of people came to the Killarney Rose on Beaver Street to celebrate the New York launch of Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography. My family was there. My neighbors were there. My friends were there. People from my high school and junior high school, who I hadn't seen in more than 40 years, were there. Some of my former coworkers, notably Joyce Snyder ("Pam Katz" in Beaver Street) and Sonja Wagner, were there. A few members of the media were there. Gary “HooP” Hoopengardner and my wife, Mary Lyn Maiscott, provided live music, with a little help from our friends and neighbors. Byron Nilsson, a writer/actor/singer/pornographer, did an amazing job as MC. And, of course, I read from the book--the so-called "dirty part," that I've been reluctant to read in certain bookstores, but read without hesitation for Bloomsday on Beaver Street. And then, as you may have noticed, there was the surreal appearance of Bernhard Goetz--yes, that Bernhard Goetz--who had asked to read from Beaver Street, but instead refused to read from the book and--how shall I put this?--delivered a disjointed dissertation that seemed to have something to do with Beaver Street.

Many things were spoken of at the Killarney Rose on Bloomsday: literature, pornography, book banning, censorship, Amazon, Watergate. In future postings, I’ll write in greater detail about this night to remember. But for now, as I sort out my thoughts and await photographic evidence of some of the things I mentioned above, I simply want to thank everybody for coming to the best Bloomsday party in New York City and reminding me why I became a writer.

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?

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.

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.

Why Bloomsday?

May 25, 2012

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

Funny thing, the unconscious. Somehow you know things, but you don't know how you know them, or even that you do know them. That's what happened when I was looking at the calendar, trying to select a day for the New York Beaver Street launch. I knew I was going to have it in on a Saturday in June and I knew I was going to have it at the Killarney Rose on Beaver Street.

June 16 jumped out at me.

Yes, I knew it was Bloomsday, named for Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of the James Joyce novel Ulysses, which takes place in Dublin on June 16, 1904. I was in Dublin once on Bloomsday, and participated in the daylong festivities, which included readings from the book. So, I figured: Bloomsday, Irish bar on Beaver Street, people will read from the book—perfect.

But I didn’t realize until yesterday how perfect it was. That’s when I remembered something I’d known all along: In 1920, a literary magazine published an excerpt from Ulysses that contained a description of Bloom masturbating. He’s at the beach, pleasuring himself as he watches a young girl, leaning back and revealing her “beautifully shaped legs.”

Joyce describes Bloom’s orgasm: “And then a rocket sprang and bang shot blind blank and O! then the Roman candle burst and it was like a sigh of O! and everyone cried O! 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!”

The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice considered this passage pornographic, took the matter to court, and succeeded in having Ulysses declared obscene and banned in the U.S. for 13 years.

Beaver Street has not actually been banned—though in the eyes of many attentive readers, Amazon’s failure to make the paperback edition available comes pretty close. And some critics have, indeed, branded the book “smut.” (Happily, most recognize it as literature.)

Bottom line: Celebrating the publication of a “dirty book” in an Irish bar on Beaver Street on Bloomsday is the way to go. And I hope to see you all there for Bloomsday on Beaver Street. It’s free and it could be fun.

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.!

Bloomsday on Beaver Street?

May 3, 2012

Tags: Beaver Street, Killarney Rose, Bloomsday, James Joyce, Ulysses

Yesterday, I floated the idea of having a Beaver Street launch party at the Killarney Rose, at 80 Beaver Street, in New York, sometime in June, probably on a Saturday night. A number of people responded enthusiastically to this suggestion, and wanted to know the exact date so they could plan their lives accordingly. Though I wasn't going to set a date until after I return from L.A., in late May, a glance at the June calendar gave me an idea: Bloomsday, June 16.

June 16, 1904, is the day that the James Joyce novel Ulysses takes place in Dublin. And for the past 57 years, this day has been celebrated in Dublin and elsewhere, generally with readings from Ulysses, as the events of the novel and its protagonist, Leopold Bloom, are relived.

What better day to celebrate Beaver Street in an Irish bar with readings from the book and live music?

So, let me float that date—Saturday night, June 16—and see how that works, especially for the musicians and the people who want to perform dramatic Beaver readings. I think James Joyce would approve.

Two Pornographers Walk into a Bar on Beaver Street

May 2, 2012

Tags: Killarney Rose, Beaver Street, Byron Nilsson

For years I've been thinking that when Beaver Street is published in the U.S., I'm going to have the New York launch party at the Killarney Rose, at 80 Beaver Street. This old Irish bar is not far from the spot on Beaver and Broad where I looked up one day and saw the street sign that gave me the title of the book. Though I've poked my head into the Killarney Rose a couple of time to make sure it really exists and is not a figment of my imagination, I've never sat at the bar and had a drink.

Yesterday, my friend Byron Nilsson was in town. Byron’s a writer with an expertise in computers whom I met on the Internet in the mid-90s when I was editing a few dozen porn mags, and he became a regular contributor to such distinguished titles as D-Cup, Sex Acts, and Plump & Pink. We decided to walk down to Beaver Street and have drink at the Killarney Rose.

We went to the upstairs bar (there’s another bar downstairs), which seemed like a cozy private club because there was only one other person sitting there. The Australian bartender, Michelle, greeted us as warmly as I’ve ever been greeted upon walking into a New York City bar. As she drew a couple of pints, she asked us why we’d come to the Killarney Rose. I told her that I’d written a book called Beaver Street and thought this might be the perfect place to have the launch party—there’s a great back room that seems ideal for readings. Michelle immediately summoned the owner, John Moran, who was enthused by the idea of a Beaver Street launch party, especially after I told him, “I’m going to invite everybody I know in New York.”

Moran said that he'd give my guests a good price on food and drink and that musicians would be able to plug in their amps and provide live entertainment.

I said that perhaps I could even persuade Headpress to kick in a couple of quid so we could have an open bar, at least for the first guests to arrive. (Are you reading, David?)

By the time we’d finished our beers, the friendly barmaid, Michelle, the woman sitting at the bar, and the owner were all eager to get their hands on a copy of Beaver Street.

So, here’s where it stands: I’m leaving for L.A. next week for the Book Soup event, and will be back towards the end of May. I’m thinking that early-to-mid June is the time to launch Beaver Street on Beaver Street. I’ll read from the book—the “dirty part,” of course. Mary Lyn Maiscott and guitarist extraordinaire Gary Hoopengardner will provide the music. And Byron, who’s also an actor, has volunteered to read from the book as if performing a Shakespearian monologue. Hell, anybody who wants to read from Beaver Street is welcome to come up to the microphone and show their stuff.

Everybody’s invited and I look forward to seeing you on Beaver Street in June.