From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ultradamno A.D.)|
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 99 09:28:03
Subject: Review; Book: Tales Of Times Square by Josh Allan Friedman
Anyone here ever see the movie Times Square? It's about an approximately 15 year old middle class white girl who runs away from home, lands on Forty deuce and rather than getting mugged, molested, murdered and dumped in the Hudson River (we'll have to wait for the director's cut to see that) she hooks up with a schizophrenic punkette, who squats in a lovely, dockside loft that makes the apartments on Friends look like disaster areas, and together they take over a radio station, sing a tune rummaged out of Iggy's garbage and in the end they make the times square sex industry safe from ranting clergymen and greedy gentrifiers (no feminists appear in this film, wonder why).
In the real world, when push came to shove, no lovers of N'Sync or The Backstreet Boys siezed the means of public communication to show that cobra Rudy Giuliani the error of his ways and stop the shameful erection (a movie which used to play in this neighborhood) of a shrine dedicated to the memory of an FBI spook, raving anti-semite, idea thief (the fucking mouse was filched!), skinflint millionaire and friendly witness in the McCarthy hearings (source: "Walt Disney; Hollywood's Dark Prince: A Biography" by Marc Eliot). Nope, when push came to shove the proprietors of the theaters and the peeps and their raincoater clientele slunk off with out much fanfare or even a muttered word of protest. But that's rights for you, if you don't use 'em, you lose 'em.
Anyhow, this guy Josh Allan Friedman, who,by the way, has a brother (Drew Friedman) who's an illustrator, whom he sometimes collaborates with and whom gave this book a gorgeous wraparound cover, he wrote for Screw throughout much of the square's heyday and they originally printed the articles of otherwise to be forgotten history found in this book. Friedman is an excellent writer, possibly the finest writer to seriously address the sex industry that I've come across. His style is classic gonzo (in the literary, Thompson/Wolfe sense of the word) which serves him well in relating the sights, sensations and smells of times square.
Some of the highlights include the Plato's retreat from the inside stories which include detailed descriptions of Tara Alexander's bid to be queen of the gangbang and Larry Levenson taking Al Goldstein's bet that he could not ejaculate more than 18 times in 24 hours, in both of these articles it is not so much the main event as the atmosphere and the sideshows, the peripheral strangeness that Friedman is so adept at noticing and bringing to life, which commands your attention.
In this vein, we read fascinating stories of the religious crusaders, feminists and midget doormen whose contribution as neighborhood color and necessary context really set this book apart. Friedman has an eye for human sadness, subtle weirdness and the just flat-out pathetic need of the people he encounters that manages to indicate the common denominator which connects all the characters who amble through this book's pages. It is a talent that puts his work right at home in the Feral House stable, with their general working aesthetic of callous shadenfreude and ironic detachment. Which, of course, I mean in a good way.
Other articles of particular interest to this group are a jaw-dropping interview with Long Jean Silver, a tour of the peeps and some rare background on the loops they showed there (by the way, one of the posters above indicated an interest in flicks starring Susaye London, it is indicated here that Miss London appeared in a Club International pregger loop called "Maternity Ward Sex" take note she was in her ninth month at the time) and an article about Raven De La Croix and the Melody Burlesk in general. And this really just scratches the surface.
I'd highly reccomend this book to any- one reading these words. Now.Publisher:Feral House Books
Rating(1-10 scale): 8.5
---------------------------------------------You might think this is
the finest pearl.
BUT it's only cardboard balls,
seamed in glue.
Done through diligence,
it's all happening from the inside,
done from the inside where it barely shows
from the outside.
-Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band
"Best Batch Yet"