The Sporadic Beaver

Why St. Louis?

March 14, 2012

Tags: Beaver Street, A History of Modern Pornography, St. Louis, Kendra Holliday, The Beautiful Kind, Left Bank Books, Shameless Grounds

"You live in New York," people in St. Louis have pointed out. "Why do you want to come here to launch your book?"

The short answer: I'll go anywhere in the world where people have expressed an interest in my work. I've traveled to Mexico City and Valparaiso, Chile, where I didn’t even speak the language, to present my John Lennon biography, Nowhere Man. Those journeys proved to be two of the most rewarding experiences of my professional life. And I'm going to St. Louis because the city is offering me a unique opportunity to present both the pornographic and the literary sides of Beaver Street.

I made the decision months ago, after The Beautiful Kind editor, Kendra Holliday, interviewed me for her website. Kendra, who described my book as “a surreal, perverted mindfuck,” strikes me as the Annie Sprinkle of the Midwest—a creative, literate woman with the courage to put the darkest realms of her sexuality on public display both on her website and, recently, in Hustler magazine. The event she organized at the Shameless Grounds coffeehouse, on April 3, is the perfect venue to discuss some of the darker, X-rated aspects of Beaver Street, mainly a chapter I wouldn’t dare read publicly anyplace else. In “The Accidental Porn Star” I describe in graphic detail what it was like posing for a porn shoot, and the high social price I paid to conduct this “experiment in participatory journalism.”

Then, Left Bank Books, the foremost independent bookstore in St. Louis, invited me to do an event there on April 4. What better place to discuss the literary aspects of Beaver Street, a book that I describe as an investigative memoir? At Left Bank, I’ll read from the prologue and discuss a literary journey that began in my father’s candy store, in Brooklyn, where he sold numerous controversial books, like Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller, and Last Exit to Brooklyn, by Hubert Selby, that had made it to his “special rack” only after enduring protracted censorship battles.

So, my literary journey is now taking me to the turf of such people as Mark Twain and Jonathan Franzen. Boy, am I looking forward to the trip.

Meet Me in St. Louis

February 29, 2012

Tags: Beaver Street, St. Louis, Kendra Holliday, The Beautiful Kind, Shameless Grounds, Left Bank Books

My wife's family is from St. Louis, so I've spent a bit of time there in the past 20 years, enduring some brutally cold winters and scathingly hot summers. But I like the city, especially Soulard and Benton Park. I like the Mississippi River and the Gateway Arch. I like the Cardinals--the team and the bird. I've even considered living in St. Louis on those days when New York felt like too much. Well, in April, I'm going back for two big Beaver Street events.

The first one, hosted by Kendra Holliday, editor of The Beautiful Kind, takes place on Tuesday, April 3, at 7 pm, at Shameless Grounds, a “sex positive” coffee shop, where you can already find Beaver Street in their extensive lending library. There’ll be an informal talk, a Q&A, and I’ll be reading from Beaver Street.

Twenty-four hours later, on Wednesday, April 4, at 7 pm, I’ll be reading, signing, and answering questions at St. Louis’s foremost independent bookstore, Left Bank Books, where such luminaries as Salman Rushdie, David Sedaris, and Jimmy Carter have gone before me.

So, if you’re in the area, please drop by to one or both events. I always want to meet the people who’ve read my books. As for my in-laws, I expect you all to be there, no excuses. And bring all your crazy friends.

A River of Fire

November 4, 2011

Tags: Kendra Holliday, The Beautiful Kind, Beaver Street, pornography, Jimmy Swaggart

Kendra Holliday, editor of The Beautiful Kind, has titled the third part of my Beaver Street interview "Sex Is a River of Fire."

I don't believe that sex is a river of fire. Rather, I'm quoting one of the many things Pentecostal pastor Jimmy Swaggart said after being caught up in a prostitution scandal in 1988. And it's typical of what Americans say about sex as they spend billions of dollars per year on pornography and prostitution.

Why is America such a hypocritical country, especially when it comes to sex? That is the question I discuss in the final part of this interview.

The Kendra Holliday Interview, Part 2

November 2, 2011

Tags: Kendra Holliday, The Beautiful Kind, Beaver Street, child pornography, Traci Lords, Annie Sprinkle, Ron Jeremy

In part 2 of my Kendra Holliday interview, "How the U.S. Government Really Feels About Child Pornography," the editor of The Beautiful Kind interrogates me about Traci Lords, Annie Sprinkle, Ron Jeremy, and my literary influences.

I tell her everything I know.

Stay tuned for part 3 on Friday.

The Beautiful Kind of Reader

October 31, 2011

Tags: Kendra Holliday, The Beautiful Kind, Beaver Street, A History of Modern Pornography

In the course of my writing career I've done hundreds of promotional interviews. Most of them are a blur of canned questions asked by people who didn't read the book and in some cases probably didn't even read the press release. This is typical. Most writers will tell you the same thing. However, since I began promoting Beaver Street six months ago, I've been lucky. All of my inquisitors have been passionate about the book.

Kendra Holliday, whom I’ve been communicating with by e-mail and telephone, is the editor of The Beautiful Kind. She describes herself as “a 38 year old bisexual mother located in St. Louis,” and “a passionate sexplorer” of “kinks, fetishes, BDSM, swinging, and polyamory.”

Well, I can certainly vouch for her passion, at least when it comes to Beaver Street. She’s the kind of reader every writer hopes for.

I consider myself extremely fortunate that Kendra thought enough of Beaver Street to conduct an extensive interview. Here’s a link to Part 1, titled, “Does Nothing Shock You?”