The Sporadic Beaver

Stand By Me

October 12, 2015

Tags: Nowhere Man, The Final Days of John Lennon, e-books, Louie Free, The MacWire, 10 Mathew Street, Absolute Elsewhere, The Time Warped Hour, Shu-Izmz

Never have so many people, in so many places, done so much, for so long, to keep one book alive and relevant. Most of these people I've never met in person.

If the original publication of Nowhere Man was "like the end of the Vietnam war and I'm the Vietcong" (as I told M. A. Cassata when she interviewed me for Goldmine magazine in 2000), then the release of the e-book edition has been like a Ho Chi Minh Day parade celebrating 15 years of postwar survival.

A core group of supporters have been doing all they can to help me introduce the digital edition of Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon to a new generation of readers.

Louie Free, the book-loving host of The Louie Free Radio Show: Brainfood from the Heartland, remains a rare independent voice carrying on the nearly forgotten tradition of free-form radio. In early 2000, during our first interview, a scheduled 15-minute chat turned into a four-hour Nowhere Man talkathon. Since then, from his base in Youngstown, Ohio, Louie has interviewed me dozens of times, most recently on October 9, for Lennon’s 75th birthday. I’ll be back December 8, and you can listen live here. And be sure to tune in for the holidays, when Louie will be playing Mary Lyn Maiscott’s “Christmas classic” (his words) “Blue Lights.”

M. A. Cassata and I once worked for the same publishing company. She edited and wrote for rock magazines; I edited men’s mags. Now she runs The MacWire, where she’s posted an interview and an article about the e-book.

The passion of the Spanish-speaking world for Nowhere Man took me by surprise when the book was first published in that language, in 2003. Nowhere is that passion more evident than on 10, Mathew Street, a Beatles Website based in Madrid. To celebrate John Lennon’s 75th birthday and the release of the e-book, they’ve run an interview with me in English and Spanish.

Fifteen years after Lady Jean Teeters and I first spoke about John Lennon for her Absolute Elsewhere site, I’ve come to regard the interview as a classic—an empathetic conversation that took place just as my life was undergoing a radical transition. For the e-book edition, Jean has posted promos on AE and on History Unlimited, another site she runs. You can also connect with her on Facebook’s The Spirit of John Lennon page.

Daniel Zuckerman’s The Time Warped Hour podcast and Bryan Schuessler’s Shu-Izmz site and podcast are two recent arrivals to the circle of support. Stay tuned for links to their upcoming John Lennon shows.

And a special thanks to Chris Reeves who designed the cover, an homage to the original design by Celia Wiley; to Ann Schneider who helped me secure the rights to the cover photo; and to everybody else who’s stood by me over the years. You know who you are. If you don’t, you should look here.

That Was the Week that Was

March 8, 2013

Tags: Beaver Street, LA Weekly, Nowhere Man, Shu-Izmz, Core of Destruction Radio

Media exposure is the oxygen that keeps books alive, and this week Beaver Street and Nowhere Man both got a nice infusion of it. Between the Beaver Street pictorial in LA Weekly--trending #1 last time I checked--and the Nowhere Man interview on Shu-Izmz (which will be streamed this Sunday on Core of Destruction Radio), I can unconditionally call this a good media week. Since it's Friday, it's snowing in New York City, and the Mistress of Syntax has taken a day off from work, my inclination is to end this post right here and go out and play in the snow.

I'll follow my inclination. See you next week!

Shu and I

March 7, 2013

Tags: Shu-Izmz, Nowhere Man, John Lennon, Core of Destruction Radio, Mark David Chapman

The other day I wrote about recording a radio interview about my John Lennon bio, Nowhere Man, with Bryan "Shu" Schuessler, whom I described as "a culture vulture for the new millennium." His site, Shu-Izmz, is full of information and opinions about everything from death metal to cutting-edge literature. The interview is now available for download, and it will also be streamed on Core of Destruction Radio, this Sunday, March 10, at 1 P.M. Eastern Time. (Daylight savings time begins that day.)

If you're unfamiliar with Nowhere Man, the interview is a good, in-depth primer on how I came into possession of Lennon's personal diaries, transcribed them, and over an 18-year period was able to transform the information in the diaries into a book that takes you on a journey through Lennon's consciousness. I also talk about how, in the final part of Nowhere Man, I got inside the head of Lennon's killer, Mark David Chapman.

As I tell Shu in the interview, I’m just happy that people still want to talk about Nowhere Man 13 years after it was originally published. If you want to know why people are still talking about the book, then give the interview a listen.

Hope to see you on the radio.

Folks Like Shu

March 4, 2013

Tags: Shu-Izmz, Nowhere Man, John Lennon, Beaver Street, reviews

Sometimes things happen as they should, even in the world of book publishing. What I'm referring to is the idea that if somebody reads one of your books and likes it, they might seek out another one of your books. Though I'm sure this has happened to me on numerous occasions, I rarely hear about it, as the average reader tends not to communicate with the authors he reads.

But this time I heard about it. Bryan "Shu" Schuessler, who runs the culture site Shu-izmz, read Beaver Street, ran a rave review, interviewed me on his radio show, and then read my John Lennon bio, Nowhere Man, not because he had any interest in Lennon or the Beatles, but because he liked my writing style and Nowhere Man has a number of true crime elements, which fascinate him. Up went another rave review, and last night we recorded another radio interview, which Shu will post sometimes this week and which will be available for download as a podcast.

For the most part, we talked about the background of Nowhere Man—how I came into possession of Lennon’s diaries, how I transcribed them, how they were stolen from me, how I recreated them from memory, and how it took me 18 years to find a publisher for a book that’s now considered an underground classic.

In the course of our conversation, Shu said something about Nowhere Man that I’d never heard before—that’s it’s a good book for people with attention deficit disorder because it has short chapters. To which I say, “Hey, ADD people, welcome aboard. Hope you like my book.”

And as our conversation ended, I said to Shu, “Thank you. It’s folks like you who keep folks like me going.”

“We’ve got to support those whose talents and endeavors we enjoy,” Shu replied.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

The Making of an Underground Classic, 2013

January 16, 2013

Tags: Shu-Izmz, Nowhere Man, John Lennon, reviews

This wouldn't be the first time I've pointed out that most books have the shelf life of yogurt, and anytime people are still talking about a book that's been out for nearly 13 years, it's nothing short of miraculous. Well, that, happily, is the case with my John Lennon biography, Nowhere Man, which at this stage of the game appears to have established itself as an underground classic.

The latest review appeared today on Bryan Schuessler’s site, Shu-Izmz. Schuessler, as regular readers of this blog will recall, is a fan of porn, death metal, gore, and true crime who writes from the perspective of regular guy whose mind is in the gutter. So taken was he with Beaver Street, he felt compelled to read Nowhere Man, too.

And, yes, Schuessler enjoyed the book, despite the fact that he’s not a fan of the Beatles or Lennon. This, of course, is what’s kept Nowhere Man alive all these years—it takes people by surprise, transcending the genre of rock ’n’ roll bio.

Here’s a blub from the review: “The manuscript is so personal that one would think John Lennon himself was telling Rosen exactly what to write.”

I urge you all to read his entire critique. And then get your own copy of Nowhere Man. See for yourself why it’s an underground classic. Hell, you don’t even have to buy it. You can get it at the library. Someday, somebody might even make it available as an e-book.

Top 5 Blurbs of the Beaver Street Autumn Offensive

December 21, 2012

Tags: reviews, Little Shoppe of Horrors, Bloodsprayer, Shu-Izmz, Neil A. Chesanow, Review 31

Just in case the world ends today, on this first day of winter in the northern hemisphere, I'm going out with the "Top 5 Blurbs of the Beaver Street Autumn Offensive."

In the event that the world doesn't end today, the Autumn Offensive will be followed by the Winter Assault and Spring Siege, the latter climaxing, of course, with the Second Annual Bloomsday on Beaver Street. (Make your plans today!)

Optimist that I am, I'm planning on taking off for St. Louis for the holidays, which is where the Beaver Street Spring Offensive of 2012 began in April. So, this will probably be my last posting of the year (if not forever). Here's wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Hope to see you in 2013!

And here are my fave blurbs and the reasons I chose them:

5. “Rosen excluded female pornographers entirely from his history. I suspect he was too caught up in his own juvenile dabbling to notice their existence.” —Kate Gould, Review 31
What does a review look like when it’s written by a reviewer who’s made up her mind that she’s going to trash a book before reading the first word? It looks like this. I include this classic hatchet job because of the backlash it inspired, which ended up bringing more attention to Beaver Street than if the reviewer had read the entire book and written an honest critique.

4. “Tender and tawdry all at once.” —Neil A. Chesanow, Review 31
This eloquent point-by-point takedown of the above hatchet job does what Gould’s review should have done in the first place: It provides an accurate and insightful picture of what Beaver Street is about.

3. “A fascinating peek inside a world of sex, indulgence, and exhibitionism.” —Shu-Izmz
Horror mags love Beaver Street, and Shu-Izmz, a site overseen by Bryan Schuessler, is one of three such sites that gave the book a rave review. Schuessler writes from the perspective of a regular guy whose mind is in the gutter; he loves porn, death metal, and gore. Also, this review led to a very cool interview on Core of Destruction Radio.

2. “Incredibly thoughtful, engaging and entertaining.” —The Bloodsprayer
Written by a chubby chaser who also happens to be a trained historian, the critic “J. D. Malinger” (as he calls himself) offers an intellectual lowbrow take on Beaver Street. The review resulted in an epic two-part interview, which allowed me to elaborate on a number of themes I touched upon in the book, such as the contempt with which many porn publishers treat their employees.

1. “A gem of a read… You will find yourself fascinated by the cast of characters.” — Richard Klemensen, Little Shoppe of Horrors
Even if LSoH editor and publisher Richard Klemensen hadn’t said in a comment on this blog that Beaver Street was one of his “favorite reads,” I’d still have chosen the above blurb as my favorite of the Autumn Offensive. Klemensen, who’s celebrating the 40th anniversary of his venerable publication, gets to the heart of the matter in his critique, which serves as yet another direct repudiation of the Review 31 hatchet job. Beaver Street is indeed a character-driven page-turner, whose vibrant cast will defy your expectations of what kind of people work behind the scenes in pornography. Since LSoH is only available in a print edition, if you’d like to read the entire review (and a whole bunch of stories about Dr. Phibes), you’ll have to buy a copy. Happy anniversary, Richard, and here’s to many more!

Little Shoppe of Beaver

November 14, 2012

Tags: reviews, Little Shoppe of Horrors, The Bloodsprayer, Shu-Izmz, Review 31, Beaver Street

It's interesting that a number of sites primarily devoted to horror, like The Bloodsprayer and Shu-Izmz, have taken such a liking to Beaver Street. Now you can add Little Shoppe of Horrors to that group. The venerable film mag--they've been around for 40 years--has run a delightful review of my investigative memoir in their latest issue, #29. It almost sounds as if it could be yet another rebuke to the hatchet job posted on Review 31 last month. That rather unpleasant critique put forth the opinion that, though Beaver Street was basically an anti-feminist piece of shit, certain low-minded individuals might find it "titillating."

Since the LSoH review is not available online, I'll take the liberty of quoting the last paragraph in full:

“If you are looking for some titillation, this isn’t the book for you. If you want to read about people, situations, a time and place in an industry that was looked down upon by many people (while many secretly gobbled up the magazines), this is a gem of a read. You won’t find yourself embarrassed reading it. You will find yourself fascinated by the cast of characters. This is a book both men and women would enjoy (even if the women were only trying to find out why men would even have been interested in that crap!)”

Well said, LSoH! Now I’ve got to go out and track down a copy.

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.

24 Hours

September 19, 2012

Tags: Shu-Izmz, Core of Destruction Radio, Beaver Street, Nowhere Man, John Lennon, About Cherry, Gail Dines, Lorelei Lee, Indies Unlimited, Talk Story TV

Here's a brief rundown of the events of the past day:

Last night, I talked to Bryan Schuessler, who'd recently posted an enthusiastic Beaver Street review on his site Shu-Izmz. In the course of our extensive conversation, we covered a slew of topics that included pornography, politics, John Lennon, Nazis, and writing. The interview will be broadcast this Sunday, September 23, on Core of Destruction Radio and will also be available as a podcast. Check their site for details.

The review of About Cherry that I posted here yesterday came to the attention of a number of people on Twitter, including the film's co-writer, porn star Lorelei Lee, who retweeted the last line: "Guaranteed to piss off Gail Dines." Among other things, I said that About Cherry was the best movie about the porn industry since Boogie Nights. Then, out of curiosity, I read a few other critiques, and was surprised to see how savagely critics had trashed the film. The Hollywood Reporter, for example, called About Cherry "dramatically feeble and fraudulent." Well, obviously I disagree, and I can say with some authority that this particular critic doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about. Bring on the controversy, baby!

A site called Indies Unlimited asked me to write a guest blog about how my John Lennon bio, Nowhere Man, became an international bestseller. My essay will run on Lennon’s 72nd birthday, October 9, and you can read it here after it goes live at 2 P.M. Eastern time.

Finally, please remember to visit Talk Story TV tonight at 9 P.M. Eastern Time for my live chat with Julia Widdop about Beaver Street. The technical problems we experienced last week appear to have been solved.

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.

Brushfire in the Blogosphere

September 10, 2012

Tags: Beaver Street, Bookgasm, Rod Lott, Shu-Izmz

I knew from the outset that if Beaver Street was going to find an audience that went beyond the literary "underground," then I was going to have to bring it to people's attention reader by reader, blog by blog, event by event. And this is exactly what I've been doing since the book was first published in the U.K., in April 2011.

I'm happy to say that the past couple of weeks this strategy has been bearing fruit. A series of interviews and reviews have, indeed, sprung up in cyberspace, and today the deluge continues. Allow me to bring your attention to the two latest Beaver Street reviews.

The first is on a site called, appropriately enough, Bookgasm, the brainchild of Rod Lott, an Oklahoma City-based journalist who also writes for the alt-weekly there, the Oklahoma Gazette. In his appreciative critique, Lott, who says he’s fascinated by the porno world, calls Beaver Street “a smart book on a really sleazy venture.” I will vouch for the accuracy of that statement.

The second review can be found on Shu-Izmz, a site that takes you deep inside the id of its creator, Bryan Schuessler. Though Schuessler is primarily devoted to horror films, he’s also a fan of adult entertainment, and his enthusiasm for Beaver Street is infectious. The book, he says, is “a fascinating peek inside a world of sex, indulgence, and exhibitionism.” From the outset, I prayed that Beaver Street would find its way into the hands of a reader like Schuessler.

Before I go, let me again remind you to please join me for a live chat with Julia Widdop on Talk Story TV on Wednesday, September 12, 9 P.M. Eastern Time; and for a Beaver Street reading and signing at the Book House in Albany, NY, on Friday, September 14, at 7 P.M.