The Sporadic Beaver

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.

On the Road Again

September 12, 2012

Tags: Book House, Beaver Street, pornography, Julia Widdop, Talk Story TV

Since I tend not to write anything more substantial than a tweet when I'm traveling, this will be my last blog post until Monday. I'm leaving for Albany, NY, on the Megabus (who could resist the price?) tomorrow morning for my Beaver Street event at the Book House, on Friday, September 14, at 7 P.M. So, if you're in the Albany area and in the mood for a provocative discussion about pornography, please do drop by. I see that according to the "What's Happening in Literary Circles" listings in the Albany Times Union, I'm up against Vijay Prashad, at the Oakwood Community Center, where he'll be discussing his book Uncle Swami. He's charging five bucks. My event is free. It's a tough choice, I know, but I really do hope to see you at the Book House.

For those of you not in the Albany area, one more reminder about tonight: At 9 P.M. Eastern Time, I’ll be available for a live Internet chat hosted by Julia Widdop, of Talk Story TV. AMA, as they say, especially if you’ve read one or both of my books.

My Book Promotion Philosophy

September 6, 2012

Tags: reviews, Amazon, Nowhere Man, Beaver Street, Talk Story TV, Book House

It happens to the best of them. Herman Melville, for example. Moby Dick, published to mixed reviews in 1851, didn't find a lot of readers in Melville's lifetime and wasn't recognized as a great book till long after Melville was dead. I've heard writers say (though not recently) that they're writing for future generations.

I was never much into the idea of "making it big" after I was dead. I mean really, what's the point in spending years writing a book that nobody reads when you're alive? Yes, I write for money, but the thing that keeps me going day after day, especially during those long stretches between fat (and not so fat) paychecks, is a primal need to communicate, which I'm not counting on being able to do from beyond the grave.

That's why I've always done everything possible to bring my books to the attention of people who might enjoy reading them while I’m still here. My philosophy has always been: Talk to anybody who wants to talk to you about your book for as long as they want to talk about it, and go anywhere people are interested in your work. I’m the only American writer I know who’s traveled to Chile to do book promotion, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat if the opportunity presented itself.

Since 2000, when my John Lennon bio, Nowhere Man, was published, I’ve done more than 300 interviews, treating journalists from the most obscure websites as if they were Oprah. Cause you just never know. In fact, I’ve turned down only one interview request ever—from a Holocaust-denying conspiracy theorist who believes I’m the Zionist-funded CIA spymaster who gave the order to whack Lennon.

But there’s one thing I’ve never done and never will do to sell books: Pay for a positive review. A recent article in The New York Times pointed out that Amazon has been flooded with bogus five-star reviews written by critics who don’t read the books they’re reviewing and which authors are paying for: one review for $99, 50 for $999.

I wouldn’t do it because fake reviews sound fake; few people believe the reviews they read on Amazon; and even real five-star reviews (or rave reviews anywhere) don’t help much when it comes to selling books. (If they did, Beaver Street would be selling a lot better than it is.)

Which is to say, if I’m going to get more people to read Beaver Street while I’m alive, then I’m going to continue doing it the old fashion way—speak to anybody who wants to speak to me and go anywhere I’m invited.

So, I hope to see you next week on Talk Story TV and in the Book House in Albany, NY.

Fifty Shades of Beaver

September 5, 2012

Tags: Fifty Shades of Grey, E. L. James, Beaver Street, pornography, S&M, Book House, Talk Story TV

Say what you will about the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Call it bloated. Call it amateurish. Call it Ishmael. The bottom line--and it's literally a bottom line--is that this series of S&M novels has sold nearly 50 million copies, and in so doing has made the book world safe for smut.

If it weren't for E. L. James, the British TV executive and mother of two, who began writing Fifty Shades as online fan fiction, I doubt that I'd have been invited to participate in a live Internet chat about Beaver Street on Talk Story TV on September 12 or to read from and sign my investigative memoir at the Book House, in Albany, NY, on September 14.

Fifty Shades of Grey and Beaver Street are both entertaining books about sex that contain explicitly pornographic passages. And there are, indeed, a number of S&M scenes in Beaver Street. But the similarities end there. Fifty Shades is fiction. Beaver Street is nonfiction that reads like fiction. Fifty Shades was written to arouse. Beaver Street, though arousing in many parts, was written to inform—to show the history of the late 20th century through a pornographic lens.

Ironically, critics have panned Fifty Shades of Grey and acclaimed Beaver Street across the cultural spectrum, from highbrow to lowbrow—which only goes to show that nobody cares what critics say. Which is to say, if, over the course of my lifetime, I can sell 1/100 of the number of books that James has sold, I’ll be a very happy author.

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!

The Beaver in Autumn

August 29, 2012

Tags: Beaver Street, Talk Story TV, Marv Montag


Julia Widdop interviews Robert Rosen on Talk Story TV.

The Beaver Street autumn offensive is in full swing, and there's so much going on, I'm having a hard time keeping track of it all. So, let me start by sharing a video and two articles that have popped up in the past 24 hours.

The above interview, with Talk Story TV host Julia Widdop, will be broadcast Wednesday, September 12, at 9:00 P.M. Eastern Time. Click here to join Julia and me live in the chat room.

Author Benjamin Wallace is kind enough to devote a portion of his site to asking guest authors “20 Questions” that are more or less in the same vein as Vanity Fair’s “Proust Questionnaire.” These sometimes absurd inquires give writers an opportunity to show off their wit. You may decide for yourself how much wit I have.

Finally, here’s a great Beaver Street review by Marv Montag on his Magnificent Echo Chamber blog. Montag, who writes mostly about porn, had this to say about my book: “An excellent account of the author’s nearly two decades in the adult industry…. An intriguing and dirty [story] that’s well worth a read.”

And remember, if you’re in the Albany, NY area on September 14, come meet me at the Book House.