The Sporadic Beaver

Crucifix Lane

January 14, 2014

Tags: Mary Lyn Maiscott, Hoop, Rew & Who?, Ella Lounge

It was October 1990, and I was in London on business. (You can read about the exact nature of that business in Beaver Street, in a chapter called "The D-Cup Aesthetic.") Mary Lyn Maiscott had joined me there, and one weekend we crossed over the Thames to lose ourselves in the distinctly non-touristy streets of the South Bank. That was where Mary Lyn, standing under the Shand Street viaduct, snapped this picture. Wearing the black "jumper" I'd just bought on Portobello Road and my new Dr. Martens, I was reading London A-Z, trying to figure out where the hell Crucifix Lane was. For more than 20 years, that picture has sat on top of our piano. (Click here to see what Crucifix Lane looks like today.)

Last month, as Mary Lyn was searching for artwork for the cover of her soon-to-be-released EP, Crucified, guitarist Gary “Hoop” Hoopengardner pointed to the photo and said, “That’s it!” And so it was—with the minor addition of that naked silhouette in the window.

Tomorrow, at 4:00 P.M. Eastern Time, Mary Lyn will be appearing on Rew & Who to talk about her EP and EP release show—featuring Hoop, Peter Weiss and a surprise guest—at Ella Lounge, 9 Avenue A in New York, on January 18, at 9:30 P.M.

In the meantime you can listen to another song that will be on the EP, Time.

And yeah, it’s kind of cool to be on the cover of a record album, looking as if I might be about to get some.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

December 13, 2012

Tags: Mary Lyn Maiscott, Hoop, Rew & Who?, Michael Paul, Louie Free


Yesterday, after appearing on the Louie Free Radio Show and singing a capella a few verses of her Christmas song, Blue Lights, my wife, Mary Lyn Maiscott (aka the Mistress of Syntax) made her annual appearance on Rew & Who? With Gary Hoopengarden (aka HooP) accompanying her on guitar, she performed a Blue Lights encore and sang an especially touching rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin. (Both songs are on her CD, Blue Lights, available for download on CD Baby.)

Michael Paul shot the above video of Mary Lyn and HooP’s performance. You can watch the entire Rew & Who? segment here.

Madame Olenska

December 11, 2012

Tags: Mary Lyn Maiscott, Hoop, Bloomsday, Beaver Street, Rew & Who?, Louie Free


Bloomsday on Beaver Street was a celebration of literature of all kinds. Here is Mary Lyn Maiscott and HooP celebrating Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence with Mary Lyn's song about one of the novel's main characters, Madame Olenska.

Mary Lyn will be performing her Christmas song, Blue Lights, tomorrow on ReW & WhO?. You can watch the show live on the Internet, beginning at 4:00 P.M. Eastern Time. (Mary Lyn is scheduled to come on at 4:45.)

You can also listen to her songs on the Louie Free Radio Show: Brainfood from the Heartland, streamed live on the Internet from 8 A.M. to noon, Eastern Time, Monday-Friday. All her songs are available for download on CD Baby.

Learning from a Master

October 17, 2012

Tags: Stephen King, Craig Ferguson, Rew & Who?, John Lennon, J. D. Salinger, conspiracy theories


Like most writers, Stephen King does what he can to get the media to pay attention to his books, and he does it very well. The above video, from August 6, 2012, is King’s impressive appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and it should serve as an instructional video for any author out there doing promotion. Comfortable, articulate, and clearly into it, King shows us all how it’s done as he discusses the writing process, the contrast between what an author says in his books and his real-world personality, the afterlife, Jung, and the collective unconscious.


Ironically, at the 14:10 point in my interview on ReW and WhO? last week, Rew brings up Holocaust denial, and I mention my Holocaust-denying “personal conspiracy theorist” who also thinks I’m the CIA spymaster who ordered the hit on John Lennon.

“I heard someone else did it,” Rew says.

“Yeah, it was Stephen King,” I jokingly reply.

I am, of course, referring to the fact that King, too, has his own personal conspiracy theorist who believes he killed John Lennon. (Other conspiracy theorists believe Mark David Chapman received the order to kill Lennon through The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger.)

Ferguson, however, chose not to go there with King, though King’s take on the twisted psyche of conspiracy theorists, Holocaust-denying and otherwise, would be fascinating. Perhaps it’s a job for Rew.

Autumn Offensive: A Look Back

October 15, 2012

Tags: Bloodsprayer, Shu-Izmz, Rew & Who?, banned books, Bookgasm, Marv Montag, Book House, Louie Free, Indies Unlimited

As the summer was winding down, I announced the launch of a Beaver Street Autumn Offensive—a rebooting of my publicity campaign following an absurd and exhausting (though ultimately successful) struggle with a certain mega-corporation that had refused to make available to the reading public the print edition of Beaver Street. With mid-October upon us, and the Autumn Offensive in full swing, I’m going to take a moment to recap the blizzard of rave reviews, interviews, blog postings, and assorted articles, that have recently sprung up on the Internet, not only about Beaver Street, but also my John Lennon biography Nowhere Man, which has been reaping the whirlwind of the Autumn Offensive, as well.

The Bloodsprayer: This webmag, which covers horror films and all kinds of pulp media, took a liking to Beaver Street and posted a review and a two-part interview. Here’s Part 1 and here’s Part 2.

Shu-Izmz: Like The Bloodsprayer, this webmag also revels in gore and pulp and they loved Beaver Street. Here’s Bryan “Shu” Schuessler’s rave review, and here’s his interview with me on Core of Destruction Radio.

ReW & WhO?: My return appearance to this TV show, broadcast live on the Internet, was a blast. I talked about Beaver Street as much as I talked about Nowhere Man. You can watch the “15 minutes of fame” interview here.

Banned Books Week: I was delighted to participate in this event and read from one of my favorite banned books, The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger. You can read all about it here.

Bookgasm: This Oklahoma City-based website, dedicated to “reading material to get excited about,” shows that Middle America has a passion for Beaver second to none.

Marv Montag’s Magnificent Echo Chamber: A review site dedicated to the adult industry discovers Beaver Street and pronounces it “excellent.”

Louie b. Free Radio Show: Louie Free has not yet archived my October 9 appearance on his show, celebrating the life of John Lennon, but you can listen to Louie live here.

Metroland: The local alt-weekly in the Albany, NY, area provided some nice coverage of my appearance at the Book House.

Indies Unlimited: They’ve posted an essay I wrote titled “How Nowhere Man Became a Bestseller,” and a Book Brief about the book.

Miscellaneous: Finally, here are five more assorted links from a variety of book-oriented sites: Pulp Informer; Celebrating Authors; Pat Bertram Introduces; Benjamin Wallace Books; and Talk Story TV.

Rew's World

October 11, 2012

Tags: Rew & Who?, Beaver Street, Nowhere Man, John Lennon

Robert Rosen, Rew Starr, and the “Who,” Outlaw Bobby Steel.

Yesterday, I returned to ReW & WhO? for my second dose of Rew's Warholian "15 minutes of fame." I talked about Beaver Street. I talked about Nowhere Man and John Lennon. I talked about Holocaust deniers and conspiracy theorists. I talked about Bobby in Naziland. I talked about a skeleton in my closet that may surprise even some of you who think you know me well. And I had a blast. But enough talk. Let's go to the videotape!

Thank You, John

October 10, 2012

Tags: Nowhere Man, John Lennon, Louie Free, Rew & Who?

That's just the way it's been on John Lennon's birthday, since 1999, when word first seeped out that Nowhere Man, after languishing in limbo for 18 years, was going to be published. The phone rings, and somebody in the media wants to talk to me about Lennon. That's what happened yesterday. My old friend Louie Free, longtime host of The Louie b. Free Radio Show, called me.

Back in early 2000, he was one of the first people to interview me about Nowhere Man, our scheduled 15-minute chat turning into a four-hour free-form radio marathon. I've lost count of the number of times I've been back on Louie b. Free since then, but it's enough that I consider the show my home on the radio.

Yesterday, during our spontaneous conversation--and I hope some of you heard it--Louie suggested that, because I'd read Lennon’s diaries, I know him better than virtually anybody.

“I don’t know about that,” I said. “Yoko Ono knew him pretty well. But yes, it’s true, reading John’s diaries gave me a great deal of insight into what was going on in his mind during his years of seclusion. It allowed me to show what the world looks like through Lennon’s eyes.”

And that’s why, 12 years after publication, in a world where most books have the shelf-life of yogurt, people still want to talk to me about Nowhere Man. And that’s why, every year on October 9, I give thanks to John Lennon.

Today, at 4 P.M. Eastern Time, the celebration of Lennon’s spirit will continue on ReW & WhO?, broadcast live from Otto's Shrunken Head in New York City. I’ll be talking about Nowhere Man (and Beaver Street), and I hope you can join us.

And if you missed my Nowhere Man posting on Indies Unlimited yesterday, here’s the link again.

October 9

October 9, 2012

Tags: Indies Unlimited, Rew & Who?, John Lennon, Nowhere Man, Beaver Street

Normally, I'd never intentionally post a link that that takes you Nowhere. But I'm making an exception today. If you're reading this before 2 P.M. Eastern Time, the following link to a site called Indies Unlimited will take you to a blank page. But if you're reading it after 2 P.M., then it will take you to my essay on how Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon, a book that was rejected by everybody before it was finally published by a tiny independent press that operated out of tenement basement on New York's Lower East Side, became an international bestseller. Why is Indies Unlimited running this piece today? Because it's October 9, John Lennon's birthday. The former Beatle would have been 72.

Which is also why tomorrow, October 10, at 4 P.M. Eastern Time, I'll be returning to ReW & WhO?, the internet TV show that’s broadcast live from Otto's Shrunken Head in New York City. Rew and I will be talking about Lennon, Beaver Street, and skeletons in my closet. It's a lot to jam in to the "15 minutes of fame" that Rew bestows upon each guest. But Rew and I are pretty good at jamming. So, if you find yourself in front of a computer, please tune in. Or, if you find yourself in New York, please join us in the back room of Otto's, and help us celebrate the life of John Lennon.

Return to ReW

October 8, 2012

Tags: Rew & Who?, John Lennon, Nowhere Man, Beaver Street

Tomorrow, October 9, is John Lennon's birthday; he would have been 72, a numerologically significant number for the ex-Beatle: 7+2=9. (If you need further explanation, please refer to my Lennon biography, Nowhere Man, specifically the chapter titled "The Book of Numbers.")

This year, to celebrate Lennon, on Wednesday, October 10, I'll be returning to ReW & WhO?, the internet TV show with the Warholian premise that each guest receives 15 minutes of fame. The New York Times describes the show as a quirky blend of "live musical performances and interviews" featuring guests who are "a broad spectrum of East Village talent ranging from drag queens to lounge acts to published authors to museum curators."

In addition to talking about how, more than 30 years ago, I was given Lennon’s personal diaries to transcribe and edit, I’ll also be talking about my new book, Beaver Street, and Rew will be asking me about skeletons in my closet, because that’s what Rew does. Last year I told her that I don’t have any skeletons in my closet. “I put them all in my books,” I said. When she insisted that I divulge something, I told her about my “experiment in participatory journalism” that I describe in Beaver Street: posing for an X-rated photo shoot. So I guess I better do some research and find another good skeleton.

You can watch the live broadcast, from 4-6 P.M. Eastern Time, here. Or, if you’re in the New York area, you’re welcome to join the studio audience in the back room of Otto’s Shrunken Head at 538 East 14th Street.

Media Events Past and Future

September 17, 2012

Tags: Book House, Julia Widdop, Talk Story TV, Shu-Izmz, Rew & Who?, banned books

Metroland acknowledges a literary event in the Albany area.
Back in New York City after a four-day stay in the Albany area, which included a lot of excellent food, an enlightening visit to a dairy farm, and a Friday-night reading at the Book House that I shall always remember for a clerk's intimation that my responsibilities included store security. I'm pleased to report, however, that nobody stole a copy of Beaver Street, and even if somebody had, busting shoplifters is not my job, man.

I have a busy couple of weeks in front of me, so let me take this opportunity to run down some upcoming media events, which I'll elaborate upon in future postings.

Last week’s live Internet chat with Julia Widdop of Talk Story TV, postponed due to technical problems, has been rescheduled for Wednesday, September 19, 9 P.M. Eastern Time.

On Tuesday, I’m recording an interview with Bryan Schuessler of Shu-Izmz, which will be broadcast on his Internet radio show. As soon as I have a date for that, I’ll post it here.

On Thursday, October 4, at 8 P.M., in celebration of Banned Book Week, I’ll be reading from The Catcher in the Rye at 2A Bar, 25 Avenue A, in New York City. Other authors will be there, as well, reading from a wide assortment of banned book.

On Wednesday, October 10, from 4-6 P.M. Eastern Time, in celebration of John Lennon’s birthday, I’ll be making an encore appearance on ReW & WhO?, which is streamed live on the Internet. If you’re in New York, you’re welcome to join the studio audience at Otto’s Shrunken Head, 538 East 14th Street.

In the meantime, happy New Year to those of you acknowledging the year 5773.

Autumn Offensive

August 31, 2012

Tags: Beaver Street, Nowhere Man, John Lennon, Talk Story TV, Julia Widdop, Book House, banned books, Rew & Who?, Otto’s Shrunken Head


My first appearance on ReW & WhO?

As the Labor Day weekend and the official beginning of the Beaver Street Autumn Offensive approaches, I'm posting a schedule of all the upcoming events that I'll be participating in over the next several weeks. This is as much for my own reference as for everybody who'd like to meet me, either virtually or in person.

Wednesday, September 12, 9 P.M. Eastern Time: Join me online for a live chat with Talk Story TV host Julia Widdop. I’ll be answering questions about Beaver Street, Nowhere Man, and pretty much anything else you want to ask me about.

Friday, September 14, 7 P.M.: I’ll be reading from and signing Beaver Street at the Book House, 1475 Western Avenue, in Albany, New York.

Thursday, October 4, 8:00 P.M.: In celebration of Banned Book Week, I, along with several other authors, will be reading passages from banned books at the 2A Bar, 25 Avenue A, in New York City. My passage, which I’ve not yet chosen, is from The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, a book I discuss in detail in Nowhere Man. I’ll post a link to this event as soon as one is available.

Wednesday, October 10, 4:00-6:00 P.M. Eastern Time: Rew Starr has invited me to join her again on ReW & WhO?, her long-running Internet TV show broadcast in front of a live studio audience at Otto’s Shrunken Head, 538 East 14th Street in New York City. I’ll be talking about John Lennon (October 9 is his birthday), Nowhere Man, Beaver Street, and possibly even my work in progress, Bobby in Naziland.

Here’s wishing everybody a great holiday weekend! I hope to see you somewhere soon!

Live from New York It's Rew & Who?

December 9, 2011

Tags: Rew & Who?, Otto’s Shrunken Head, Nowhere Man, The Final Days of John Lennon, Beaver Street, A History of Modern Pornography, May Pang, Mary Lyn Maiscott, Hoop, Bobby in Naziland



Two days ago I made my debut on the Rew & Who? show. If you were unable to watch the live webcast from Otto's Shrunken Head in New York City, here are the two video clips of my interview with Rew and her co-host, Alan Rand.

In addition to talking about and reading from Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon, I also spoke at some length about my new book, Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography, which is out now in the U.K. and will be published here in March 2012, and the book I’m currently writing, tentatively titled Bobby in Naziland.



Among the people appearing with me for this tribute to John Lennon and Rew’s brother Richard “Dicky” Kesten were May Pang, whom I haven’t seen since 1981; my wife, Mary Lyn Maiscott, who sang Lennon’s “I’m Losing You” and her own Christmas song, “Blue Lights;” and Hoop, who played guitar for Mary Lyn, and sang his original song about Lennon, “Oh, John.”

You can see clips of all Rew’s guests on YouTube.

Lineup for NYC Dec. 7 Lennon Tribute

December 6, 2011

Tags: Rew & Who?, Otto's Shrunken Head, John Lennon, Nowhere Man, May Pang, David Peel, Hoop, Mary Lyn Maiscott

The show's called Rew & Who and is dedicated to the memory of John Lennon and Rew's brother Richard "Dicky" Kesten.

Wednesday, December 7
4:00-6:00 P.M. (local time)
Otto's Shrunken Head
538 East 14th Street
New York City


Or watch it live on Internet TV.

Alan Rand is the “Who?”
4:00: May Pang
4:15: Hoop
4:30: Mary Lyn Maiscott
4:45: Robert Rosen
5:00: Adam Bomb
5:15: Violet The Cannibal
5:30: Joff Wilson & David Peel
5:45: Gail/GRGR