Give a nice shout-out: The Perfect Sunday Nove 28: go to the park, the Whitney, a Broadway show, the Blue Note, & Sex Worker Literati, @ Bowery Poetry Club, 7pm.
Month: November 2010
The sultry sensual wild thing animal Rosabelle Selavy dirty dances at Sex Worker Literati.
Rose, a sarcastic sex worker, gives some money back after Steven, in his shit-stained tighty whities, buys 2 1/2 Masturbation shows, read by writer poet Aimee De Long at Sex Worker Literati.
A sarcastic fantasy booth sex worker chick services a military dude who puts a glowstick up his ass, and when he’s done, tells her: “You’re the real heroes.” By writer Aimee DeLong at Sex Worker Literati.
As Thanksgiving rolls its turkey neck towards us, Christmas looms ominously around the corner, and one more year of my life expires, we’re super stoked about the next stop on the Essential Guide Rocks America tour: We’ll be rocking LI, NY, Thursday, Dec 2, 7pm. Pitchapalooza: Book Revue in Huntington Long Island, with special All-Star publishing celebrity guests James Levine of the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, and Mauro DiPreta, Vice President of It Books, ( HarperCollins). Everyone who buys a book gets a free consultation, worth $100. http://bit.ly/dlNa6p
It’s been an insane month, an insane fall, an insane year. We just performed in 13 cities over the course of three weeks: from the Big Apple to Tinseltown; Miami to Seattle; Portland to Pittsburgh; Denver to St. Louis to San Francisco. We had dizzying triumphs and brutal failures. Our book, The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published was officially released on November 3, and we haven’t even had time to celebrate yet. I’ve toured by myself, with the Sex Worker Arts Show, with Arielle, and with the stars from the Chippendale’s Male Strip Show. I’ve never toured with a three-year-old. Especially a three-year old who is Olive. She more fun than all of them. We were worried about what was going to be like to shlep her around America with us, but she proved by far the most resilient and cheerful member of the team. Here are our reports from the road, deep in the trenches of the publishing wars.
Denver Pitchapalooza on New Books West http://bit.ly/9yG2on
Big Love from the Big Read Festival in St. Louis bit.ly/akI1Xg
Movie: Great Book Pitch: Winner of St Louis Pitchapalooza, Zach Stovall pitching his book about being a fat bald white guy http://bit.ly/hV6LAU
The Essential Guide Rocks America Tour Kicks Off: http://bit.ly/dbk39k
#2: 1st Stop Washington DC: the Borders Incident: http://bit.ly/cQ11fj
#3: NPR Love in DC: http://bit.ly/9bCUcl
#4: Pat Conroy & Scarlet O’Hara On the Road to Pittsburgh: http://bit.ly/aVBAH5
#5: Death @ the Bookstore – The Murder of Joseph-Beth in Pitsburgh: http://bit.ly/dpYTnj
#6: Miss Ida, Daryl & Olive Chillin in Steel Town http://bit.ly/aLZS22
#7: The Beauty of Loganberry Books & the Universe’s Lollipop http://bit.ly/abOTPR
#8: Dawn Cracks Early in Cleveland http://bit.ly/axLCDP
#9: An NPR Homey, Finding Happiness @ Books & Co & the Dayton Airport Blues http://bit.ly/cwd6lo
#10: Stuck in Dayton on the Day That Would Never End http://bit.ly/cfipH1
Our awesome Editor Goddess Savanna calls it as she sees it on our Pitchapalooza Barnes & Noble, 86th St., with publishing titans Larry Kirshbaum and Bob Simon. http://bit.ly/bcHFaZ
The Art of the Pitch and our B & N Manhattan Pitchapalooza on Publishers Perspective. http://bit.ly/bcHFaZ
#11: I Love LA! –Hollywood & the Jewish Men-Scared http://bit.ly/9Ci5dB
#12: Vromans Versus Dancing with the Stars, Riding a Donasaur, & a Minnie Mouse Who Needs $ http://bit.ly/bXYdQ8
Arielle talks about five books that will help you turn your passion into income, and dispenses wisdom from her years as a literary agent and entrepreneur on LearnVest. http://bit.ly/hGG1OW
Bradley Charbonneau of Likoma Island & the Book Doctors talk about Effective Author Websites http://bit.ly/bmW8Fj
Arielle interviews Robert Grey of Shelf Awareness on seven ways to get an independent book store to stock your book. http://bit.ly/ea3UJ2
Sex Worker Literati – Sun Nov 28, 7pm, Bowery Poetry Club
The story of How Hos, Hookers, Call Girls & Rent Boys Ended Up in Bed with TV’s Friends Co-Creator http://bit.ly/hG8nVN
Very excited to be riding herd with Zoe Hanson over another cavalcade of Glamorous yet seedy art babes, Ivy League pornographers, filthy poets and nasty dancers from the belly of the beast.
MOLLY CRABAPPLE http://mollycrabapple.com/ – Illustrator for Marvel Comics, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Neil Gaiman, & your neighborhood fire eater. Creator of Scarlett Takes Manhattan and The Puppet Makers, an upcoming web series for DC Comics. Creator of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, alt.drawing salons in over 100 cities. Speaker at Museum of Modern Art, & South by Southwest. Caffeine addict.
SAM BENJAMIN http://www.ivyleaguepornographer.com/ – Brown University graduate, a former go-go dancer, and the director of over one thousand Los Angeles-based interracial gangbangs, gay and straight. His book, “Confessions of An Ivy League Pornographer,” is a memoir of a youth well spent.
PUMA PERL http://pumaperl.blogspot.com/– Puma Perl is a lower east side poet/writer/performer/producer/ex-narcotics enthusiast/recovering junkie who relives it all in her work. She is the author of Belinda and Her Friends and knuckle tattoos, and, with Big Mike, is half of DDAY Productions. She believes in the inclusion of gratuitous sex and pointless profanity in her writing and performance art..
BIG MIKE – Creator of “Big Mike’s Big Show,” author of two books, Sibling Rivalry and 81 Pounds, and was crowned Best Neptune in the Mermaid Parade, 2004.
DR. ALEX KINNEY – PhD in Pornology, Professor of Filth & Debauchery, elocutionist, professional dominator, rough trade specialist, hedonist scholar, and hung like a horse.
DAVID HENRY STERRY – Former teen manchild ho, satirist, muckraker and author of 12 books, including Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys, which is being made into a dance piece to take the Lincoln Center by a top Hollywood producer, as well as Chicken, which is being made into a TV show by Showtime. www.davidhenrysterry.com
ZOE HANSEN – L.Z. Hansen came to New York City in and as an is a1984 at seventeen years old from London England searching for the American Dream. She found it wearing crotchless panties and 6 inch f*ck-me pumps, running a high-end Manhattan brothel. Now she writes and performs about it. Check it out. http://lzhansen.com/
MISS MARY CYN – classically trained actor with a BFA from NYU who takes her clothes off in bars. She is the founder and co-producer of Original Cyn, the partingest show in New York, and a member of the troop Epic win, Burlesque FOR nerds, BY nerds. Find her on facebook or look her up at www.marycyn.com
With Thanksgiving a couple of days away, I feel very thankful. For our amazing publisher, Workman http://www.workman.com, our Editor Goddess, Savannah, and all of our family there, from Susie Bolotin to a beloved colleague who passed away recently, the extraordinary copyeditor Lynn Strong, http://bit.ly/gVdcz. Thankful for all the amazing panelists we had, Larry Kirschbaum of LKJ http://www.ljkliterary.com/ Bob Miller new Publisher of Workman, Martha Moody http://www.marthamoody.net/ Nancy Martin http://www.nancymartinmysteries.com/ Lee Montgomery of Tin House http://www.tinhouse.com/ Michael Schaub of bookslut http://www.bookslut.com/authors.php?author=Michael%20Schaub and Alison Hallet of the Portland Mercury http://www.portlandmercury.com/ Vince Rause, Anne Trubeck http://www.annetrubek.com/ Sharon Short, author of Death by Deep Dish Pie http://www.sharonshort.com/ Allan Fallow of AARP http://www.aarp.org/ Electroboy himself Andy Behrman http://www.electroboy.com. Betsy Lerner, author of Forest for the Trees http://betsylerner.wordpress.com/ . Johnny Evison http://www.jonathanevison.com/ and Kurtis Lowe in Seattle. I’m thankful for the enormous kindness we received from our good friend Jessica Goldstein, who threw an amazing book party for us in Washington DC, and invited all for NPR friends. I’m also thankful for all the incredible booksellers and lovers who gave us so much generosity and expertise. Jim Levine of Levine Greenberg Literary Agency http://www.levinegreenberg.com/ Steven Sorrentino, Director of Author Promotions for Barnes & Noble, and Edwin Tucker, CRM of 86th St. B & N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ Harriet Logan of the incredible Loganberry Books http://www.loganberrybooks.com/ Kevin Sampsell http://kevinsampsell.com/ of Powell’s at Barnes & Noble, Dayton NPR book guy Shaun Yu http://www.dpr.org/people/shaun-yu.htm, Sharon Kelly Roth at Books and Company http://www.booksandco.com/ Ed Nowatski of Publishers Perspective http://publishingperspectives.com/, Mitchell Kaplan of Books and Books http://www.booksandbooks.com/ and the Miami International Book Festival. My sister Liz, Daisy White, and all the other great babysitters who help us out with Olive. Thanks to all the great writers for all their amazing pitches. And of course I give thanks for Olive and Arielle, my ex-agent and current wife.
This story starts when I was 17, alone in Hollywood with $27 in the pocket of my nuthugging elephantbells. I had just arrived to begin my collegiate career at Immaculate Heart College, where I planned to study existential under a bunch of radical nuns. That night, while admiring Marilyn Monroe’s handprints in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, I was approached by a very charming man wearing a shirt emblazoned with the word: SEXY. He invited me back to his place for steak. Turned out to be the most expensive steak of my life. The steak was drugged . SEXY raped me. I escaped with my life. But the happy-go-lucky lad who breezed into that apartment died in that room. SEXY killed him. I sprinted out of there broken and bleeding. Within the week I was in the sex business. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. The part of my brain responsible for emotion was engorged, and the part responsible for communication shriveled. I was a living breathing fully-loaded semi-automatic weapon just looking for an excuse to go off. So given my economic situation, (making minimum-wage frying chicken), my alienation from my parents, and my newly acquired mental illness, it seemed absolutely like my best option. I was in the sex business for nine months. One human gestation period. But it changed me forever, and in ways I wasn’t even aware of for years to come. Certainly I had great times in that world, and made gigantic money for a person my age and with my work experience. But I also downloaded the sexual trauma I encountered in that world, and it infected me like a virus.
I became a sex addict and a cocaine addict. Which is not nearly as much fun as it sounds. In my mid 30s I realized that if I didn’t change I was going to die, or my penis was going to fall off. I’m not sure which scared me more. I knew I had to find a panic mechanic. Fast. Since I was living back in Los Angeles, naturally I found a hypnotherapist. She gave me some tools to stop my sick twisted behavior, and helped me unraveled the huge gnarly knots inside myself. I was a professional screenwriter at the time, so she suggested I write about my experiences. Thus was born my memoir Chicken. Writing down the most miserable things that ever happened to me helped me understand why I became a man child rent boy. It helped me embrace my inner ho. See myself as the survivor not the victim. Accept responsibility and not blame everyone else. Appreciate the good and not obsess about the bad. Do things that made me happy and healthy instead of miserable than sick.
When that book came out it changed my life and I was so grateful I was overwhelmed by a fierce desire to help somebody. Be of service. So I decided to start a writing program for people who’d been arrested for prostitution. For two years every Tuesday me and my ex-literary agent/current wife would go down into a basement of a nonprofit organization and run a writing group. The hos, hookers, call girls and rent boys we worked with wrote shocking, funny, smart, mind-blowing, jaw-dropping stories. And they always left the workshop in a better mood than they arrived. As did we. Part of my mission became to put a human face on these people who are glorified and stigmatized, worshiped and reviled, spat upon and paid outrageous sums of money. Thus was born the anthology, Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Boys.
One of the great things about prostitutes is that they are amazing networkers. They pretty much have to be. So I put out the word that I was looking for writing by people in the sex business. Me and my partner Richard Martin were flooded with submissions. I was already the author of a bunch of books by then so I started shopping the anthology. I showed it to my agents. Not interested. I showed it to other agents. Even less interested. I showed it to publishers I knew at HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Random House, and lots of the big boys of publishing. They laughed at me. Or ignored me. On to the small publishers. Nothing. University presses seemed like the next logical choice, since this is really a piece of American oral history. No pun intended.. I actually got the head guy at Duke University on the phone. He told me in a disdainful, dismissive, condescending, adenoidal and freezing cold tone that this was certainly not the kind of book published by Duke University. He told me they preferred material that was much less vulgar, rude, crude and illiterate. Finally I approached places like Joe’s Publishing Co., where you call the number listed on the website and a guy answers, “Hi I’m Joe, can I publish your book?” Even Joe turned me down.
After a year my partner Richard was ready to give up. I was furious. I knew I had something valuable. Even though “experts” from the top to the bottom of the food chain told me that I was a deluded, moronic ex-ho. Objectively, in the face of universal rejection, I should’ve quit. I did not. Me and Richard worked our asses off to make the proposal better, refining, buffing and polishing. Then I came up with the title. I did it with this game that we use to come up with titles. You get a bunch of your intelligent friends, if you have any, you get a bunch of drugs and alcohol, and you write down every single word you can think of related to your subject. Then you just start mixing and matching. That’s how I came up with Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Boys. And I kept asking every single person I knew, wherever I went. Finally I got connected to a guy named Richard Nash, who ran Soft Skull Press. A week later we had a book deal. They gave us such a tiny advance that by the time we ended up paying all the writers, me and Richard lost money on the deal. But we were ecstatic.
We were even more ecstatic when our Little Ho Book That Could, the redheaded step-child nobody wanted, ended up on the front page of the New York Times Book Review. I happened to be in Hollywood doing my Sex Worker Literati show to promote the book, when I got a call from my agent. Marta Kauffman, co-creator of Friends, wanted to talk to me about the anthology. I was excited yet slightly confused. Why was someone in the center of American culture interested in our book, which was so rooted in America’s dark, dank, filthy underbelly? I tried to imagine a show about a group of perky, attractive, funny, fresh-faced BFF-sex workers trying to deal with life, love and turning tricks. Sure, I thought, why not? As I drove up to our meeting, I was expecting much Hollywood slickness. But Marta was just like people I worked with in the theater for 20 years. After we had our getting-to-know-you chat she told me how taken she was by Hos, Hookers. How she had a vision of the characters and stories being brought to life as a modern dance piece, realized by some breathtaking choreographers. Would I be interested in something like?
My eyes popped while jaw dropped. I would’ve never imagined this scenario in million years. But I liked it. Sex is, after all, the ultimate primal dance. And when sex is exchanged for money, a window opens into the human soul. What a great way to let people to take a peek.
Yes, I said. Yes.
Writing down the worst thing that ever happened to me was the final piece of my odyssey from out-of-control self-destruction, working at Chippendales, acting on Fresh Prince of Bel Air, writing screenplay for Disney, living in a fancy house in the hills; to getting my head cracked open, almost dying from a massive coke overdose, having my house stolen, and going bankrupt; to making Ross, Rachel, Joey and Chandler end up in the same sentence as Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Boys.
David Henry Sterry is the author, with Richard Martin, of the anthology Hos, Hookers, Call Girls & Rent Boys. He runs the monthly reading series Sex Worker Literati, giving voice to sex workers telling their stories about the exchange of sex for money, at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC. The next show is November 28, 2010. https://davidhenrysterry.com/ http://www.facebook.com/sexworkerliterati
Publishing Perspectives Pitchapalooza 2010: Tips for Perfecting Your Book Pitch
“A must-have for every aspiring writer.” – Khaled Hosseini, New York Times bestselling author of The Kite Runner
The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published
This e-mail was written with voice recognition software and management apologizes in advance for any malfunctions in grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Tests indicate that speaking the incorrect words out loud gives the reader a 79% of figuring out what the write words are supposed two bee.
@sterryhead 4 twttification
http://www.facebook.com/TheBookDoctors 4 facebookization
A public letter from Annie Sprinkle, and your invitation to join us.
“Green River Killer,” Gary Ridgeway said, “I picked prostitutes as
victims because they were easy to pick up without being noticed. I knew
they would not be reported missing right away and might never be reported
missing. … I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without
getting caught.” He confessed to having murdered ninety women. Sadly some
Seattle prostitutes, their boyfriends or pimps, knew the Green River
Killer was Gary Ridgeway for years, but were afraid to come forward for
fear of getting arrested, or the police didn’t believe those that did
come forward, or the police didn’t seem to care. Ridgeway’s killing spree
went on for over twenty years.
Violent crimes against sex workers go underreported, unaddressed and
unpunished. There really are people who don’t care when prostitutes are
victims of hate crimes, beaten, raped, and murdered. No matter what you
think about sex workers and the politics surrounding them, sex workers
are a part of our neighborhoods, communities and families.
When Ridgeway was finally caught, I felt a need to memorialize my whore
sisters that had died so horribly and needlessly. I cared, and I knew
other people cared too. So I got together with Robyn Few, Founder of the
Sex Worker Outreach Project, and SWOP members Stacey Swimme and Michael
Fowley, and we claimed Dec. 17th as the International Day to End violence
Against Sex Workers. We invited people to do memorials, vigils, and their
chosen kind of events in their countries and cities. We produced a vigil
at San Francisco’s City Hall. To date hundreds of people around the world
have done dozens of memorials, actions, and events of all kinds, and the
participation is growing. Won’t you join us? Here’s how.
TEN WAYS TO PARTICIPATE IN INTERNATIONAL DAY TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST SEX
(EVERYONE IS INVITED)
1. Organize a vigil/memorial/gathering in your town. Simply choose a
place and time. Invite people to bring their stories, writings, thoughts,
related news items, poems, lists of victims, performances, and memories.
Take turns sharing.
2. Organize or attend a candlelight vigil in a public place.
3. Do something at home alone which has personal meaning, such as a
memorial bath, or light a candle.
4. Call a friend and discuss the topic.
5. Send a donation to a group that helps sex workers stay safer. Some
teach self-defense or host web sites that caution workers about bad Johns.
6. Do let others know about any planned Dec. 17 events by listing them on the
site. (Although sadly this site is not current and I’m not sure if someone
is following through on this.) There is also a wikipedia entry about Dec.
17 which you can read.
7. Spread the word about the Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
and the issues it raises; blog, email, send a press release, forward this
text to others.
8. Attend a Dec. 17th Day to End Violence event/action/memorial.
Everyone is welcome.
9. Organize a panel discussion about violence towards sex workers.
Procure a community space and invite speakers like sex workers, police,
and families of victims.
10. Create your own way to participate. People have done celebrations,
Xmas caroling, protests at jails, lobbying at City Halls, naked women
reading whore writings, performance art, visual art projects, and other
creative, fun and moving things.
Each year when I attend a gathering on Dec. 17 for International
Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers it is always a deeply
moving experience. I take some moments to feel grateful that I
worked as a prostitute for twenty years and came out alive and
well. I remember those who didn’t survive and I fear for those
who won’t until some real changes are made.
In San Francisco we are in the process of organizing a whole events for
Dec. 17. A city hall press conference, a memorial ritual at Center for
Sex and Culture, and “Naked Women Reading” sex worker writings (Lady
Start organizing now! You’ll be glad you did. The fact that sex workers
themselves organize the Dec. 17 day creates good press interest (it has
been in many papers including NY Times) and helps garner compassion and
understanding of how the bad, unfair laws against prostitution hurt so
many. But then sex workers of all kinds (legal sex work) can be targets
of acts of violence as well.