The Sporadic Beaver

Blast from the Past

June 17, 2014

Tags: StorErotica, Beaver Street, A History of Modern Pornography, Traci Topps, Marcia Resnick

It took a year and a half, but my interview that ran in the print edition of the December 2012 issue of StorErotica, a glossy trade mag for sex-shop owners, has finally found its way online. The print edition was unusual; it was two issues in one, featuring two “front” covers--one on the front and the other on the back. In the online version, which is now available as a downloadable PDF, the second issue begins with the front cover on page 27; my interview begins on page 46.

I was in good form the day I spoke to StorErotica, and the interview is one of my better efforts. I hit all the right notes, I think, especially if you happen to own a store that sells adult novelties. The article also features some photos of me and a couple of porn stars, including Traci Topps, and a great half-page shot taken by Marcia Resnick. So, if you haven’t already seen this interview—and if you’re not in the sex-shop business you probably haven’t—I invite you to check it out. StorErotica and I were on the same wavelength, and they were indeed able to fully appreciate the myriad charms of Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography.

Spring Siege

March 20, 2013

Tags: StorErotica, Adult Video News, LA Weekly, Bloomsday on Beaver Street

Somebody sent me this "lol" image yesterday, but I didn't get it. "Why is the beaver a liar?" I asked. "A beaver wouldn't lie."

"It's not a beaver," the sender explained. "It's a groundhog. It's a joke about the weather."

Though it has been winter-like here in New York City, spring did begin today at 7:02 A.M--which means that the Beaver Street Winter Assault, as I've insisted on calling the latest phase of my ongoing media campaign, has officially concluded.

Regular readers of The Daily Beaver are aware of the three successes that have continued to fuel Beaver Street’s quest to reach a more substantial audience. Allow me to recap:

· A major interview in the December 2012 issue of StorErotica, a trade magazine that goes out to every book-ordering sex shop owner in the U.S.
· A rave review in the February 2013 issue of AVN (page 53), which is the first time that Beaver Street has come to the direct attention of its core audience—people who work in the adult industry.
· An extensive photo feature posted March 6, in LA Weekly, which trended #1, and brought Beaver Street to the attention of that much sought-after mainstream audience.

So, it’s time to declare victory and move on to Spring Siege ’13, which will climax on June 16, at the Killarney Rose, with the second annual Bloomsday on Beaver Street: Father’s Day Edition.

See you there!

Prisoner of Porn

January 11, 2013

Tags: StorErotica, Beaver Street, Traci Topps, Plump & Pink

These three photos ran with my interview in the print edition of StorErotica (December 2012). They do a nice job of encapsulating the final years of my career as an editor of adult magazines. I've come to call this my "Prisoner of Porn" phase--the post-modern sweatshop chapter of my X-rated odyssey, when I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to make it out of the business alive.

The photo on the left was taken in California, in 1998, where I'd gone to direct a series of shoots for Plump & Pink magazine. The model, whose name escapes me, was a P&P covergirl. Fittingly, I seem to look like a cross between Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Allen Ginsberg.

The middle shot, taken in the same California studio, is the photo that I used on page one of Beaver Street, and which I explain in detail in the Prologue. If you’d like to know why I’m wearing a headband and heart-shaped sunglasses and sitting between two models who are about to pose for a shoot for Shaved magazine, please click here.

The photo on the right was taken in my office in Paramus, NJ. The model, who appears to be sitting in my lap, is none other than Traci Topps as you’ve probably never seen her before--in her street clothes.

The complete interview will soon be available online.

The Art of the Interview

January 9, 2013

Tags: StorErotica, Beaver Street

One thing I've always liked about speaking to knowledgeable interviewers is that their questions can be challenging, and I'm often surprised by how much I know about things I didn't think I knew that much about--like erotic novelties, for example. Though I write about them in Beaver Street, and in 1976 I wrote a story for a local newspaper about The Pleasure Chest, I hardly consider myself an expert on the retail side of the subject. But after working on men's magazines for 16 years, I did learn at least two things:

1) Advertising for erotic novelties was a big money maker for the mags.
2) Anybody who chooses to open a sex shop better have a good lawyer.

So, when StorErotica, the glossy trade mag distributed to sex shops in the US and Canada, asked me, “If you had the opportunity to sit down with 1,000 adult store owners, what would you tell them about the ups and downs of the industry?” I was surprised to hear the following words come out of my mouth—words that were used as the pull quote:

“I just think that adult toys and fantasy playing are a very healthy way to pursue a sexual relationship, and that a store that anyone can walk into and feel comfortable is a good thing. It is absurd that there are so many jurisdictions in this country that try to make this illegal.”

My favorite part of the piece, which will be available online in the near future, is what they said in the intro about Beaver Street’s “immense readability.” It’s a quality I worked for many years to achieve, and one that I hope will soon be recognized at a sex shop near you.

Daddy Porn

January 7, 2013

Tags: StorErotica, The Pleasure Chest, Fifty Shades of Grey, Beaver Street, A History of Modern Pornography, Mommy Porn, Daddy Porn

The first story I ever wrote for my local newspaper, The Villager, was about The Pleasure Chest, an upscale sex shop that's been at the same Greenwich Village location for 42 years. It was the summer of 1976--the Bi-centennial Summer, as The Pleasure Chest staff preferred to call it--and my assignment was to spend an entire shift in the store and describe what went on.

What went on was that a lot of well-dressed and decidedly non-sleazy men and women came into the store and bought some very expensive fashion accessories, most of them made of luxuriously soft black leather--S&M hoods, corsets, bras, etc. The Pleasure Chest, I thought, was more akin to a clothing store than a sex shop.

When I walked by The Pleasure Chest a few weeks ago, the stark and simple window display stopped me dead in my tracks. It consisted of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and a riding crop.

For those of you who’ve somehow missed the news, Fifty Shades of Grey is an overtly pornographic S&M epic and one of the best-selling books of all time. As I recently learned, an entire industry has grown up around it. Walk into any sex shop in the world and you can not only buy the complete trilogy, but you can buy any product mentioned in the books—ben wa balls, handcuffs, whips, you name it. The trilogy has made porn so respectable, it’s now being advertised on the sides of New York City bus shelters.

Because Fifty Shades of Grey is, essentially, a Harlequin Romance with explicit sex, it’s been dubbed “Mommy Porn.” And though it is an undeniable commercial mega-success, I’m unaware of any men who have read the book—probably because the average male is interested in reading something grittier and more sophisticated.

Perhaps, then, it’s time to offer an alternative to Mommy Porn. Let’s call it “Daddy Porn.” In fact, let’s call it Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography, a book that’s dedicated to my father and that opens in his Brooklyn candy store, in 1961, with a bunch of the “neighborhood regulars” hanging out and deconstructing the latest volume to appear in his “special rack,” a display of sophisticated pornographic literature that featured such classics as Tropic of Cancer and Last Exit to Brooklyn.

Or Daddy Porn, if you will.

I have a dream. Next Christmas, when I walk by The Pleasure Chest, I want to see Beaver Street in the window, alongside some of the products I mention in the book, like a “plug-in vibrator the size of a small baseball bat” or maybe a cat o’ nine tails, to name but two.

And I believe I’ve taken the first step to achieving this “dream.” The December issue of StorErotica, a glossy trade mag that goes out to every sex shop in the US and Canada (and will soon be available online), features an extensive interview with me, in which I discuss Beaver Street and the sex-novelty business in general.

Let’s call it the first shot of the Beaver Street Winter Assault. In fact, let’s call it a direct hit.