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Flatbush Flashback

Autumn Offensive

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! Read More 

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Summer Reading

Though more stuff about Beaver Street continues to pop up daily on the Internet, the latest being a questionnaire-type interview on author Pat Bertram’s site, I’d like to take a day off from promoting my investigative memoir and bring your attention to a book I just finished reading. Dublinesque (New Directions), by Enrique Vila-Matas (translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean and Rosalind Harvey), is a novel that I began on a train on the first day of my summer vacation, and I couldn’t put it down. Here's a capsule review:

A retired publisher of “serious literature,” who’s a recovering alcoholic about to turn 60, travels from his home in Barcelona to Dublin on Bloomsday to hold a funeral for the “Guttenberg Galaxy,” as he calls the age of printed books. Well done and deeply troubling, especially if you happen to be a writer who, a month before his 60th birthday, threw a launch party called Bloomsday on Beaver Street for his latest book. Read More 
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The Beaver in Autumn

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 HouseRead More 
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Their Prices Are Insane!

It's been quite some time since Amazon finally overcame their "computer glitches" and made the paperback edition of Beaver Street available to the reading public. But in the entire time the book has been for sale, Amazon had never offered it at a significant discount, as they do with virtually every other book they sell. Well, that's changed. Suddenly and for no apparent reason, Amazon has gone all Crazy Eddie on Beaver Street.

Those of you who once lived in the New York area and are of a certain age will remember Crazy Eddie as the stereo discount store whose omnipresent radio and TV commercials ended with the pitchman, Crazy Eddie Antar, screaming, “Our prices are insane!”

Though I wouldn’t call a 32 percent discount on the $19.95 cover price certifiably crazy, by Amazon standards, this is pretty nuts. Yes, it's true, you can now buy a paperback copy of Beaver Street for the unbeatably low price of $13.57, and if you’re an Amazon Prime member, shipping is free.

So, if you’ve been hesitant to buy Beaver Street because of the price, now’s your chance to act. And keep in mind that Crazy Eddie’s prices were so insane, he finally went bankrupt. Read More 
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117 Across

How does a writer know if his books are being read--I mean really read, and that his words are penetrating the reader's consciousness and taking up permanent residence there? Sales alone don't tell the whole story. How many books--Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections comes to mind--are bought in mass quantities only to end up as an intellectual art object on a coffee table or carried around as the latest fashion accessory? (E-readers, of course, are putting an end to this practice.)

Letters from readers and blog posts on sites like Tumblr are true indications, I think. But how many times have you read a book that you loved (or hated), and meant to tell the author about it, but just never got around to it?

Another way to tell if a book is really being read is when the book’s title or the author’s name turns up as a clue on a game show or in a crossword puzzle, indicating that the work has, indeed, become part of the popular culture. It’s happened three times that I’m aware of with my John Lennon bio Nowhere Man. The first was in December 2003, when it was a Jeopardy answer—“Rock ’n’ Roll Bookstore” for $400, Alex!” (“Nowhere Man is Robert Rosen’s take on “the final days of” this Beatle,” was the clue.) The second was two years ago, when “Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon author Robert” was 118 across in the L.A. Times syndicated crossword, which was picked up by dozens of newspapers. (The link is to the Palm Beach Post.)

It happened again in the crossword puzzle in the May issue of Buffalo Spree, a venerable regional magazine from Western New York State—same clue as the L.A. Times, but this time it was 117 across, a number more in keeping with the book’s numerology themes.

So yes, I take these incidents as irrefutable and encouraging evidence that Nowhere Man has fully penetrated the popular culture. And I can only hope that Beaver Street isn’t far behind. (And if you don’t know the answer to 117 across, you can click here.) Read More 
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Tumblr Loves Beaver

I found this post on Tumbler last night and it's the kind of thing that always gives me a much-needed jolt of inspiration. A complete stranger, who's obsessed with sex, loves Beaver Street. In other words, Kelly from Leicester is my perfect reader. Well, thank you, Kelly!

If you click on the picture, it takes you to a page that also includes a posting that went viral a few months ago--an excerpt from my other book, Nowhere Man: the Final Days of John LennonRead More 
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For Adults Only

In May, I discussed Beaver Street with Christy Canyon and Ginger Lynn on their Sirius XM radio show, You Porn. It was one of the most entertaining hours of radio I've ever participated in. Recently I came across this video of Christy in action as she discusses penis size with porn star Nikki Hunter on another Sirius XM show, Night Calls. This is totally filthy stuff, and though I can't say my interview with Christy got quite this down and dirty, it is a good example of Ms. Canyon's superior journalistic skills. Read More 
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Let Us Now Praise Interesting Porn Books

Penny Antine, whose nom de porn is Raven Touchstone, has written the screenplays for nearly 400 X-rated films. In short, she's an industry veteran who knows the business inside out, and is currently working on her own book about pornography. Antine wrote to me a few weeks ago to say that she'd read Beaver Street, and "enjoyed it immensely."

She then posted on Facebook’s Adult Films 1968-1988 page a brief review, which I’d like to share with you:

I read a very interesting book, Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography. It’s not about the adult film industry but about the history of magazines like Swank, what they called “men’s” magazines back in the day. It was written by a terrific writer who worked in that biz for 16 years and tells it like it was. Lots of interesting tidbits in this book, i.e.—the man who created Swank and other such mags also created Marvel Comics. True. And Mario Puzo worked in that field while he was writing The Godfather. Yes. So anyone interested in this subject would enjoy this book. I got it through AmazonRead More 
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The Beaver Is Back

Rosen at rest in Maine with a martini. That’s the multitalented Mistress of Syntax, Mary Lyn Maiscott, playing the guitar. Photo © Cindy Perry Rosen.


I took the summer off to concentrate on the new book I’m writing, Bobby in Naziland, and to recover from my exhausting battle with Amazon to make the print edition of Beaver Street available. For the past ten days I've been chilling with my family in Jonesport, Maine, in a house on the ocean, doing little more than eating too much lobster and blueberry pie as I watched the gothic fog roll in every day, and thought that if I stayed there long enough I'd start to write horror stories. But I wrote nothing while I was there, not even a postcard, and let me tell you, it feels good to go ten days and write absolutely nothing. Now that I'm home and feeling fully recovered, I'm more than ready to launch the Beaver Street autumn offensive, which I'll kick off by getting back in the blogging groove (though not necessarily every day just yet) and preparing for the first event since Bloomsday on Beaver Street.

On Friday, September 14, at 7 P.M., I’ll be reading and signing Beaver Street at the Book House in Albany, New York. And I can thank none other than E. L. James, author of Fifty Shades of Grey, for this opportunity. Ms. James’s mega-blockbusting trilogy has made filth, especially of the S&M variety, palatable to the masses. In tribute to Fifty Shades, I will consider reading an S&M scene from my book. Though I’d like to point out that there is at least one major difference between James’s S&M and my S&M—Beaver Street is nonfiction. So, you 50 million S&M fans, if you’re in the Albany area and you like your S&M real, I hope to see you in September. I suspect you can all use a little literary discipline, if not necessarily a little bondage. Read More 

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