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Flatbush Flashback

Bloomsday on Beaver Street II: Father's Day Edition

MC Supreme Byron Nilsson introduces the first Bloomsday on Beaver Street.

It's only February, but already plans are being made for the second annual Bloomsday on Beaver Street, which will take place at the Killarney Rose, on Beaver Street, in downtown Manhattan, on Sunday, June 16, 2013. The event is a celebration of the day that James Joyce's Ulysses takes place, and of all literature that was once banned as "pornographic." Joyce, incidentally, chose to set Ulysses on this day, because on June 16, 1904, he had his first date with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle, and she gave him an epic handjob.

It's never too early to mark your calendars.

June 16 is also Father’s Day, which seems appropriate, as Beaver Street, the book, which I will again be reading from, is dedicated to my father. It’s also a prime example of what I like to call “Daddy Porn,” a counterpoint to the “Mommy Porn” of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Daddy Porn is sophisticated pornographic literature of the type my father used to sell in his Brooklyn candy store, like Tropic of Cancer and Last Exit to Brooklyn. Mommy Porn, a label that’s an insult to any mother who appreciates quality literature, is a Harlequin Romance with hardcore sex.

At this time, the lineup for Bloomsday on Beaver Street II is a work in progress, but MC Supreme Byron Nilsson will be returning. Other readers include Eric Danville, author of The Complete Linda Lovelace, and Lainie Speiser, author of Confessions of the Hundred Hottest Porn Stars.

Please stay tuned for more updates about some very special guests. Read More 
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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. Read More 
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