The Sporadic Beaver

Scenes from a "Deep Throat" Panel

October 7, 2014

Tags: Deep Throat, Kristin Battista-Frazee, The Pornographer's Daughter, Strand, Eric Danville, Beaver Street, Linda Lovelace, Richard Nixon

I was among the people who Kristin Battista-Frazee asked to participate in a panel discussion at the Strand bookstore, in New York City, to launch her memoir, The Pornographer's Daughter. This honest and unadorned depiction of what it was like to grow up with a father who was a major distributor of Deep Throat provides an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the fellatio flick that changed the way America saw pornography. Joining us on the panel were Dr. Belisa Vranich, who moderated, and Eric Danville, author of The Complete Linda Lovelace.


I’ve posted two short clips of my performance on this memorable night. In the above video, I read a key passage from Beaver Street that explains how Richard Nixon helped make Deep Throat the 11th-highest-grossing movie of 1973. And in the clip below, I talk about the possibility that Linda Lovelace was forced at gunpoint to perform in the film that made her America’s first porno superstar.


Click here to see the complete discussion.

Even Nobel Honorees Do It

September 10, 2014

Tags: Kristin Battista-Frazee, The Pornographer’s Daughter, Deep Throat, David Koechner, Strand, Eric Danville, Beaver Street, Linda Lovelace, Paul Slimak, Erich von Pauli, Agnes Herrmann, Mary Lyn Maiscott, book promotion


Ever since YouTube achieved global dominance, book trailers have become de rigueur for every author, from Nobel laureates, like Mario Vargas Llosa, to self-published scribblers who give away their e-books on Amazon.

A well-done trailer can create awareness that a book exists and can attract media attention, which can lead to… more media attention, which can be helpful if you've written a book that's worth reading.

The Pornographer’s Daughter, by Kristin Battista-Frazee, is a memoir that vividly depicts the trauma and chaos of growing up with a father who was a sex-club owner and a major distributor of Deep Throat, the fellatio flick that changed everything.

To promote The Pornographer’s Daughter—and her September 26 panel discussion about pornography’s impact on pop culture (in which I’ll be participating), at the Strand, in New York City—Kristin has released the above trailer, starring David Koechner, best known as Todd Packer on The Office and Champ Kind in Anchorman and Anchorman 2.

Koechner plays two roles in the trailer: himself and a character named Gerald “T-Bones” Tibbons, an obnoxious reporter who interviews Kristen about The Pornographer’s Daughter even though he hasn’t read it and thinks it’s a filthy book, like Fifty Shades of Grey.

Kristin holds her own against both incarnations of this bona fide comic heavyweight. And maybe the trailer will persuade you to venture out to the Strand to see our porn panel, which also includes Eric Danville, author of The Complete Linda Lovelace, and will be moderated by Dr. Belisa Vranich, author of the self-help book Get a Grip.

In the meantime, for your edification, please contrast and compare The Pornographer’s Daughter trailer with my own trailer, below, Erich von Pauli on Beaver Street: Episode 1—there are four episodes altogether—starring Paul Slimak as renegade Nazi Erich von Pauli. Shot on a budget of approximately £1, a few months before Beaver Street was published in the U.K., the video features Agnes Herrmann’s voiceover and Mary Lyn Maiscott’s performance of the Beaver Street theme song (with apologies to Ray Davies and the Kinks).

Gerald Tibbons, meet Erich von Pauli. Long may you run.


Delighted to Be Invited or: Deep Throat + 42 Years

September 3, 2014

Tags: Deep Throat, Kristin Battista-Frazee, The Pornographer’s Daughter, Strand, Eric Danville, Beaver Street, Linda Lovelace, Patti Smith

The Strand might be the best bookstore in New York City, if not in the entire country. It's been around for 87 years, the last 57 at its current location, at 828 Broadway, on the corner of 12th Street.

Despite the digital upheaval now roiling the book world, the store continues to flourish and remains the go-to performance space for such literary luminaries as Patti Smith and Junot Diaz.

I've spent many entertaining hours browsing the Strand's aisles, in search of reasonably priced out-of-print books. And whenever the pile of books on my coffee table gets out of control, the Strand is where I go to convert them to pocket change.

These are among the reasons why I’m delighted to have been invited to participate, on Friday, September 26, from 7-8 PM, in a launch event at the Strand for The Pornographer’s Daughter, a memoir by Kristin Battista-Frazee, whose father achieved notoriety in the 1970s when he went from being a respectable Philadelphia stockbroker to a major distributor of Deep Throat, the dirty movie that changed everything.

Here’s my mini-review of Kristin’s book:

An honest and unadorned depiction of what it’s like to grow up in a house where hardcore pornography and live sex shows pay the bills. Set in a twilight zone somewhere between All in the Family and The Sopranos, the cast features a father facing federal obscenity charges in Memphis, a mother washing down Nembutal with shots of Wild Turkey, and a daughter taking it all in with the eye of a budding journalist. It’s miraculous that Battista-Frazee was able to persuade her family to tell her in such unsparing detail what went down when she was a child. The most surprising plot twist, however, is that Battista-Frazee emerged from the chaos and trauma to lead a shockingly normal, middle-class life.

Deep Throat expert Eric Danville, author of The Complete Linda Lovelace, will join us for a free-wheeling panel discussion about porn’s impact on American pop culture, moderated by Dr. Belisa Vranich, author of Get a Grip.

If you’d like to attend the event in the third floor Rare Book Room, please buy The Pornographer’s Daughter or a $15 Strand gift card, which is good toward the purchase of Beaver Street or any other book in the store.

There will be wine.

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.

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 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.

There Will Be Porn Stars

April 25, 2013

Tags: Bloomsday, Beaver Street, Eric Danville, Linda Lovelace, Deep Throat, Lainie Speiser, Bobby in Naziland, James Joyce, Nora Barnacle, Ulysses

As this cruelest month winds down, I find myself thinking seriously about what, exactly, is going to happen, on June 16, at the second annual Bloomsday on Beaver Street event, at the Killarney Rose, in downtown Manhattan. Last year was easy. My book had recently been published in the U.S., and Bloomsday was a book launch party celebrating not only Beaver Street, but other literary works, like James Joyce's Ulysses, that had once been branded pornographic and banned.

This year, I'm expanding the theme to include other authors whose works lend themselves to what is actually being celebrated on June 16, the day that Ulysses takes place. On that day, in 1904, Joyce had his first date with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle, and to put it in the most explicit terms, she gave him an epic handjob.

This much is definite:

Eric Danville will be reading from his book The Complete Linda Lovelace, which he’s now revising, and will re-release in September to coincide with the release of Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried as the deep-throat artist. I suspect that Danville will read, among other things, a zombie story he’s working on titled “Dead Throat.”

Lainie Speiser, author of many books about sex, will read from her latest work, Confessions of the Hundred Hottest Porn Stars.

There will be porn stars present. Musicians will perform. Byron Nilsson will MC, read, and sing.

I will again be reading from Beaver Street, this time a historical (rather than a personal) passage. And I will also, for the first time in public, read from my novel-in-progress, Bobby in Naziland, for which I offer no apologies to James Joyce for the subtitle, “A Portrait of the Author as a Young Jew.” He would have understood.

Mark your calendars now, and stayed tuned for more news about additional performers.

It's Complicated

January 24, 2013

Tags: Linda Lovelace, Eric Danville, Deep Throat, Andrea Dworkin

In an earlier post, Throat, I'd written about Eric Danville reading from his book The Complete Linda Lovelace. The event was a celebration of Deep Throat's 40th anniversary and the reissue of the book. I'd said that the upcoming film, Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried, was based on the book.

I'd like to issue a correction. As Danville reported on his blog yesterday, the just released Lovelace is not based on The Complete Linda Lovelace, though it was originally supposed to be based on the book. As for what happened and what the film is based on, well, it's complicated, and Danville explains it at some length in his own post.

Suffice it to say, lawyers were involved, producers were involved, demands were made, and most telling of all, the late Linda Lovelace’s “confidant and advisor” Catharine A. MacKinnon was involved. MacKinnon, as I explain in Beaver Street, is a radical feminist lawyer best known for her association with anti-porn activist Andrea Dworkin, who’s best remembered for dedicating her life to outlawing pornography and for equating sexual intercourse with rape. In 1980, Lovelace (her real name is Linda Marchiano) denounced Deep Throat and became an anti-porn crusader.

This should give you some idea of what Lovelace is about. So, if you want to see what sounds like, according to critics, an OK movie set in the world of XXX, then see Lovelace. But if you want accurate history, then read a book. May I suggest The Complete Linda Lovelace by Eric Danville.

Great Moments in Literature

October 5, 2012

Tags: banned books, The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger, Linda Lovelace, Eric Danville

Last night, when I read from The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger, at 2A, in New York City, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Banned Book Week, I learned that it's easier to read from something you didn't write and feel detached from, than to read--as I've been doing for the past six months--an intimate passage from my own book Beaver Street, about how, as an experiment in participatory journalism, I got a blowjob for a photo shoot in a sleazy porn mag.

And speaking of blowjobs, last night may have been the first time in the history of Western Literature that a reading from the works of Linda Lovelace, author, was followed by a reading from the works of Salinger. And though few would argue that Lovelace is a better writer than Salinger, she is, arguably, a more prolific writer, and it's beyond question who's more skilled at the art of swallowing nine throbbing inches--a disciplined act of athleticism that Lovelace describes well in her banned book, Inside Linda Lovelace, read by event co-host Eric Danville to the appreciative audience.

I could go on talking about all the outstanding performances by a motley collection of writers, porn stars, and rockers, who included Lainie Speiser, Zoe Hansen & Raffaele, Shannon Conley, Rev Jen, Lisa Ann, and especially Puma Perl, who delivered an extraordinary reading of “To Fuck with Love,” by Lenore Kandel. But it’s all been documented on videotape, so you’ll soon be able to see it for yourself. I’ll post the video here as soon as I get my hands on it.

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.