David Henry Sterry

Author, book doctor, raker of muck

David Henry Sterry

Category: Reviews

Mort Morte: Post-Modern Fairy Tale about Young Serial Killer

“A lyrical roller coaster ride through the dark mind of a young serial killer. A post-modern fairy tale about what happens to a boy who is continually abused and bullied. The plot is surreal, but somehow all too real! I was quickly sucked in and enjoyed the book.” – Mateo

To buy the book click here.

mort cover

mort morte the-mother pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johns Marks Tricks & Chickenhawks Beautiful Review from Publishers Weekly

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johns coverThis collection of personal essays by sex workers and their clients vacillates    wildly from hilarious to depressing but never strays from being utterly captivating. Among the more amusing stories are a client with a “sweater fetish”, a woman who paid for her family’s Christmas presents by stepping on a man’s testicles in a pornographic film, and the dominatrix who got fired because she could not remove a client’s tooth. The phone sex operator asked to do cartoon animal voices for a caller is also not to be missed. Candid essays cover everything from the anonymous “captain of industry” with an appreciation for transsexual prostitutes, to the human misery of a pimp who turned out his own girlfriend. Some pieces are more meditative: Fiona Helmsey recalls meeting a kind client at a bachelor party who later died on 9/11, while Dr. Annie Sprinkle discusses her 40 years in the sex industry and her wish for “a more compassionate sex-positive society” in which “prostitutes and johns would be government-subsidized”. Though obviously not for the faint of heart, this book contains some courageous, raw, and intelligent writing that breaks taboos and smashes misconceptions. (Apr.)

http://v2.publishersweekly.com/978-1-59376-507-1

to buy the book: http://amzn.to/Yg0Lp8

book trailer: Who Really Buys & Sells Sex

 

Lovely Review from Spun Stories by Cynthia Haggard

THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO GETTING YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED by Arielle Eckstut & David Henry Sterry

Here is another book from my pile of how-to books on self-publishing. THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO GETTING YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry covers just about everything you need to know about the Wild West World of publishing today. Earlier this year, I reviewed Dan Poynter’s classic book about self-publishing and praised it to the skies. The only shortcoming with that book was that it focused on publishing an actual physical book. In a way, this book takes up from where Dan Poynter left off. In addition to the usual advice about how to get an agent, and how to publish a softcover book, this book also looks at e-book and social media.

The book is divided into three parts:

  1. Setting up Shop, which covers how to get an idea for your book, how to develop your author platform, how to package your book with a title and a pitch, how to get an agent, the agonies of the submission roulette and what to when (not if) you get rejected.
  2. Taking Care of Business covers selling your book, contracts, working with your publisher, and self-publishing.
  3. Getting the Word Out covers publicity and marketing, the book launch, how to keep your book sales alive and royalties.

There is no better recommendation I can give than to tell you that my softcover copy is bristling with those sticky markers, which indicates that I found plenty of nuggets inside. If you are trying to publish your book, I recommend that you read this one carefully. You might find exactly what you need inside. Five stars.

–Cynthia Haggard writes historical novels. She has two completed manuscripts that will be published in the coming year. THWARTED QUEEN is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear.FAMILY SPLINTERS is a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.


Source

Carpe Dealum on The Essential Guide to Getting Your book Published

Very nice article by Andrea Pyros

http://blog.deals.com/learn-it/publish-your-novel.html?ajax=1

Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys Gets Big Love

hos cover JPEG

Purchase the Book

Paperback : Amazon.com | Barnes & Nobles | Indiebound | Softskull | Powells
Ebook : Kindle | Nook | iBookStore | Kobo
Signed Book : Contact me

Discuss the Book

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Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys featured on the cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review.  Written by Toni Bentley. To buy the book click here.


“An eye-opening, occasionally astonishing, brutally honest and frequently funny collection from those who really have lived on the edge in a parallel universe…unpretentious and riveting — but don’t worry, their tales are also graphic, politically incorrect and mostly unquotable in this newspaper…”

“Lele,” a piece by Jodi Sh. Doff, who “grew up in the suburbs as someone else entirely,” recalls Henry Miller’s in-your-face exposition. She tells of a night at Diamond Lil’s on Canal Street, where “Viva’s sitting onstage, legs spread wide.” While her customer is buried and busy, she holds a cigarette in one hand, a drink in the other, and chitchats with a girlfriend about another girlfriend. “Every two minutes or so Viva taps him on the head and he hands her a 20 from a stack of bills he’s holding, never looking up.” We see in this wonderful set piece the whole money/sex connection enacted with raw charm and an immediacy that reaches far beyond this strip club, as the man’s stack of 20s, one by one, becomes hers. Multitasking Viva holds them “folded lengthwise in her cigarette hand.”

“Very brave, very moving.”

“This collection is a wonderful reminder that good writing is not about knowing words, grammar or Faulkner, but having that rare ability to tell the truth, an ability that education and sophistication often serve to conceal. While we are all, I suppose, in the business of surviving, some really are surviving more notably than others. The collective cry for identity found in this unsentimental compilation will resonate deeply — even, I suspect, with those among us who pretend not to pay for sex.” – New York Times


“Sterry — who has written a number of other books, such as “Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent” and “Unzipped: A True Story of Sex, Drugs, Rollerskates and Murder” — spoke with Express about his idea for the collection, America’s most commonly held misconceptions about the sex industry and whether the book should go in the ‘entertainment’ or the ‘educational’ portion of your bookcase.” –Express interview in the Washington Post 


“’Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys: Professionals Writing on Life, Money and Sex’ is graphic in nature, but full of raw, unfiltered and enlightening tales regarding a side of life not many want to know about; the sex trade. What’s so fascinating and downright addicting is that many of the entries are from individuals one would wrongfully assume to be illiterate, stupid or unworthy to hear from. While proving the stereotype wrong, each contributor delivers his or her side of a lifestyle with poise, passion, nuance and heart.

Real and undeniably shocking, “Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys…” made its debut to encore readers last winter, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since. So, it’s one of the most impacting reads yet to strike my world. It widened my eyes, opened my heart and oddly made me want to listen to Madonna’s “Human Nature”—and that’s a good thing.” -Tiffanie Gabrielse, Top Five Reads: Tiff ranks her fave favorite page-turners Encore Online


“This kaleidoscopic portrait of sex work in America is all the more striking for its breadth.” –SF Weekly


The sprawling project offers insight into seemingly all aspects of the sex trade: high-profile celebrities like Xaviera “Happy Hooker” Hollander and Nina Hartley make notable contributors, but it’s the unknown writers who will stick. The selections from the book’s closing section alone, written by members of a writer’s workshop for sex workers, range from triumphant to harrowing, making up for a lack of style or form with passion. Aside from exposing the complex web of relationships among phone sex operators, dancers, massage parlor workers, prostitutes and their customers, the book is heavy with raw emotions ranging from celebratory to shameful, giving armchair sociologists plenty to ponder. It’s not all dark and heavy: Sterry’s own account of his experience as a birthday present for an 82-year-old grandmother is touching and sentimental; veteran performer Annie Sprinkle is characteristically blunt, funny and honest. This volume houses some real gems.” – Publishers Weekly


“The prose in this volume is fresh and the tales are both heart-rending and hilarious, sometimes simultaneously. What’s most striking about the volume is how relevant these intimate and detailed chronicles are for any reader, whether they’ve sold their bodies or just their souls. It’s not just about sex. Rather than ghettoizing prostitutes, strippers and porn actors, editors David Henry Sterry and R.J. Martin have brought together essays from a broad sampling of sex workers, keeping it balanced. There are gripping accounts of writers who struggle to pay bills and get their lives together, who have families, who are human beings. How this crew differs from the straights is they all opted for sex work rather than a drone job.” – New York Press


“In these dark days of brokedom, who amongst us hasn’t lingered a bit too long in the Etc. section of the Craigslist job postings? I mean, I do have dainty feet with nicely trimmed toenails, and if I could make my rent just by stepping on some random businessman’s face, well who’s to judge?? Granted, I am not brave enough (or hard up enough) to go through with such an evening’s work (just yet), but the selection of writers featured in the anthology, Hos Hookers, Call Girls, And Rent Boys were not only brave enough to do it, and keep doing it, but were equally brave enough to write about it.  The first hand accounts, interviews, and poems featured in this book are so well written and organized, that the fact that they all center around the exchanging of sex for money falls into the background, and what’s left is an intimate offering of on-the-job gossip and late night horror stories that have you wanting to spend more time with the writer than the three or four pages a pop you’re given with each one.” – Kelly McClure, Bust Magazine


“In a reading that brought down the house at Busboys and Poets, Sterry’s rendition of “I Was a Birthday Present for an Eighty-Two-Year-Old Grandmother” was both incredibly funny and a fascinating anti-ageist commentary on the things we’re all afraid to ask for (namely, women asking for oral sex).” – Allison McCarthy, Womanist Musings


“Sterry and Martin have managed to bring together a crazy quilt of essays, and work the fabric of the anthology into a rich tapestry… Some of the narratives are polished and savvy, some are as hard and rough as drug addiction that dogs a body and soul. Others reveal a tarnished realism about the painful truths of being in the life. The most compelling are those which give voice to the most vulnerable, in the chapter written by sexually exploited youth. Helping Daddy Pay the Rent is a devastating indictment of societal neglect and despicable acts of parental desperation combust in one abused child that will tear at your heart… The writing is diverse and eclectic, a mirror into the nature of the industry itself. Sex workers with advanced academic degrees, porn stars and anonymous phone operators, exotic dancers in various states of gender and undress, have more in common than sex for money; they are united in their courage to tell their stories. They unabashedly relate their emotions, actions and reactions, in situations from victimization to domination, hunger to satiation; size twelve stiletto wearing cross dressers, full body massage providers, plaster casted exhibitionists all tell their tales in gripping first person I-live(d)-it-so-there’s-no-sugar-coating-it manner. Hearts, heads and other assorted body parts, seedy strip joints, broken down bars and spirits, upscale hotels and high rollers are exposed with unflinching candor and gritty authenticity, bringing to light the world of industrial sex workers.  This book is more than an interesting and affecting read. In its entirety, in its insistence that the gamut of personal histories about sex/money/power/frailty is a reflection of the human condition, it speaks to a broad audience. A bit of paraphrasing may serve to place the content in its most valuable context: Roman philosopher, Terence, said nothing in humanity can be alien to man; and renowned psychoanalyst Carl Jung said that light is revealed by uncovering shadow. HHCG&RB presents the universality of ancient archetypal themes playing out in modern day scenes, and in doing so, uncovers shadow for all.”  –Barnes & Noble.com


“Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys is an extremely valuable and necessary book, not because it tells you what your perspective ought to be, but because it provides more perspectives than pretty much any other book on the topic. It covers more ground than I would have imagined possible. What I love is the fact that, for once, so many different voices are represented within the same space…I can’t help but feel that it should be required reading… precisely because it addresses, head-on, so many of the issues and schisms that have kept those conversations stalled for so long.” – Tiger Beatdown


“There’s something unique about being a member of the sex worker club, an instant camaraderie that bonds one to people who would otherwise be strangers, and this chemistry is something of which Sterry can’t get enough. You might be one of those people who doesn’t believe that sex workers are interesting. You may downright resent the cultural fascination with those who take money to titillate and masturbate strangers. Maybe you’re convinced that the only thing these men and women have going for them are passable looks and a wildly miscalibrated moral compass, and that paying attention to their déclassé life of the body glamorizes underachieving and turpitude.
If you belong to this camp, you probably don’t actually know any sex workers—at least none who would come out to you, and why would they? You’ve made up your mind about them already. You say things like: “Stripping is 1) a way to make a lot more cash than other “unskilled” service jobs [and] 2) incredibly degrading,” then add, “I’ve never been a stripper and I don’t know any strippers.” Never, for that matter, will you actually ever know anything about strippers, because they aren’t going to talk to you. Sex workers just don’t feel comfortable around you. But many do feel comfortable with David Henry Sterry, a former gigolo best known for his memoir Chicken, and what they share with him should convince even the grouchiest non-believers that sex workers are an engaging, unusual tribe. In Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys, Sterry and co-editor R.J. Martin have assembled an array of poems, interviews, and essays in a professed attempt to humanize sex workers. The mission is an admirable one, but raises the question of how many individuals who don’t already believe in sex workers’ humanity are going to pick up this hefty anthology. It also masks the true motivating energy behind the collection, which is Sterry’s exuberant love of his fellow pros and his desire to celebrate their histories and personalities. There’s something unique about being a member of the sex worker club, an instant camaraderie that bonds one to people who would otherwise be strangers, and this chemistry is something of which Sterry can’t get enough. He refers frequently to this sense of kinship and stresses the uncommonness of his access to such candid and diverse workers. (This bragging about connections ultimately seems a little silly, given that many of the book’s contributors are well-established go-to writers like Audacia Ray, Annie Sprinkle, and Xaviera Hollander.) Sterry’s enthusiasm also manifests as frequent, ill-advised introductions to pieces written by individuals whom he personally knows. As he details first meetings with contributors such as Surgeon and mochaluv, the focus is directed on himself rather than the person he’s touting, and it creates the impression that the writing itself isn’t good enough to hold one’s attention—that without knowing how beautiful Lorelei Lee or Carla Crandall or April Daisy White are, we won’t care about their essays. We do care, though, because in addition to being porn stars and prostitutes, many of these people are talented writers with strong voices and precise observations. They’re natural born storytellers who manage to encapsulate an aspect of their experiences in wonderfully succinct (Sebastian Horsley: “Brothels make possible encounters of extreme intimacy without the intervention of personality.”) and stark, unsentimental ways (Brenda: “I have been arrested eight times for prostitution. It messed up my life.”) Among the most effective pieces is Melissa Petro’s “Mariposa,” an essay on her time spent in Mexico as a white American stripper, an unforgettable script-flip of the highest order (our girls go there to make money?)  Candye Kane reminisces about her sweet and genuine childhood friendship with an exotic dancer, while Sadie Lune explores the decadent excitement that comes from self-consciously inhabiting the role of an archetypal whore. Sterry himself reflects on his session with an 82-year-old woman, an encounter he initially dreads but eventually delights in: ‘I am making this happen. I have such a sense of joy and satisfaction.’ The standout offering, however, is Juliana Piccillo’s “Vice,” an exploration of her relationship with an invasive and needy client that rendered her alternately gratified and repulsed. Piccillo relentlessly mines the conflicting emotions that come with clients who want to play the white knight, a common but relatively undiscussed topic in most sex worker literature. “His fatherly concern co-existed with his hard-on,” she writes. “He left me to reconcile this.” She also admits to coming unintentionally (and practically unwillingly) while working in a job that generally disgusts her, and not wanting to leave in spite of hating the routine—paradoxes that many prostitutes shy away from acknowledging. Some of these essays barely even explicitly address sex work, particularly those culled from SAGE (Standing Against Global Exploitation) workshops. The focus is instead on struggles with addiction, particularly clear and affecting memories, and current personal relationships. The inclusion of these selections may be the book’s greatest, albeit most subtle triumph. It serves as an invaluable reminder that hos and rent boys aren’t as prone to filtering their complex lives through the sieve of clients’ orgasms as are the civilians who debate about and condemn them.” – The Rumpus

Excerpts

Featured Books by David Henry Sterry

chicken-10-year-anniversary-cover-198x300 Master-ceremonies-cover-199x300 essential hos
johns mort HobbyistFinalPRINTCover5.375x8.25inchesCMYK300dpi confessions

“My Favorite Book: Chicken”

I’m an avid reader, but when trying to figure out something suitable for my favorite book entry, I had to think of something that I can read over and over again. My book shelf is overflowing with books that I love, and some of them I’ve read more than once. But most books, I read once, love, and then never read again. Other books I read, and then re-read some years later. But this book I’ve probably read a dozen times. This is the book I generally re-read when I run out of things to read.

It’s called (long title) Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent, by David Henry Sterry. I don’t even remember how I came across this book. I don’t know if I bought it or it was given to me, but I know that I’ve never loaned it to anyone or sold it, because I just can’t part with it. Around the time I came across it, I was probably 19 or 20, and I only wanted to read edgy things, whatever that means.

It’s about a guy that moves to Hollywood to go to college and gets caught up in the world of male escort services. It’s not as bad as it sounds, really. It’s hilarious. The sarcasm written into the pages is unparalleled to anything I’ve ever read. Every single chapter makes me laugh out loud. The characters are unique, and each one of them has their own quirk.

The best part? It’s non-fiction. I highly recommend it for a good laugh, and just a good read.

Find Chicken at your local independent bookstore:  Indiebound chicken 10 year anniversary coverAmazon

http://www.luuux.com/entertainment/day-4-my-favorite-book

 

Bizarre (but nice) New Review of Chicken

from a website that helps treat psoriasis naturally. don’t quite see the connection between itchy skin condition & being a teen rent boy, but so it goes.

http://psoriasisnaturaltreatment.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/review-of-chicken-self-portrait-of-a-young-man-for-rent-paperback/

The Glorious World Cup

To buy the book click here.

glorious world cup_If a guide book was a riot, then this is it. The Glorious World Cup is a smash and grab read with propellant laughs, and wicked satire. Expect some crunching tackles on the establishment with profiles on hooligans, World Cup villains and serious national grudges. Stuffed with country and player profiles, bags of footie history, and all you need to know about South Africa. Shooting on target are contributors Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting, best-selling author Po Bronson, and the world’s best soccer writer, Simon Kuper. This is the rebel guide for the soccer masses and the fanatic. Score one.

Now you know…

*1 million condoms have recently been shipped to South Africa.

*USA v England on June 12, the second day of the tournament, around the 60th anniversary of one of the World Cup’s most famous matches – USA’s shock 1-0  victory over England in the 1950 tournament in Brazil.

*The first recorded soccer game in America took place at Plymouth Rock on what is now known as Thanksgiving.  They used a pumpkin for a ball.

*Henry Kissinger is soccer mad. Kobe Bryant too.

Welcome to the club.

The Glorious World Cup getting a very nice shout out from Washington Post: Original article.

From Library Journal:

A fun yet informative guide to the World Cup, this inexpensive volume provides group match ups, player and country profiles, trivia, and brief histories to cups of the past. Generously illustrated, the book is ideal for reading on your flight to observe the World Cup firsthand-or for browsing between television viewings….a useful guide to casual or serious soccer fan.

 

NY Times Book Review: Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys

HosHookersHos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys featured on the cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review.  Written by Toni Bentley. To buy the book click here.

“An eye-opening, occasionally astonishing, brutally honest and frequently funny collection from those who really have lived on the edge in a parallel universe…unpretentious and riveting — but don’t worry, their tales are also graphic, politically incorrect and mostly unquotable in this newspaper…”

“Lele,” a piece by Jodi Sh. Doff, who “grew up in the suburbs as someone else entirely,” recalls Henry Miller’s in-your-face exposition. She tells of a night at Diamond Lil’s on Canal Street, where “Viva’s sitting onstage, legs spread wide.” While her customer is buried and busy, she holds a cigarette in one hand, a drink in the other, and chitchats with a girlfriend about another girlfriend. “Every two minutes or so Viva taps him on the head and he hands her a 20 from a stack of bills he’s holding, never looking up.” We see in this wonderful set piece the whole money/sex connection enacted with raw charm and an immediacy that reaches far beyond this strip club, as the man’s stack of 20s, one by one, becomes hers. Multitasking Viva holds them “folded lengthwise in her cigarette hand.”

“Very brave, very moving.”

“This collection is a wonderful reminder that good writing is not about knowing words, grammar or Faulkner, but having that rare ability to tell the truth, an ability that education and sophistication often serve to conceal. While we are all, I suppose, in the business of surviving, some really are surviving more notably than others. The collective cry for identity found in this unsentimental compilation will resonate deeply — even, I suspect, with those among us who pretend not to pay for sex.”

 

 

 

NY Times raves on Hos, Hookers

hos cover JPEGNew York Times review has hit the streets for Hos, Hookers, Call Girls & Rent Boys: Professionals Writing on Life, Love, Money & Sex, I am ecstatic about this truly min boggling turn of events and want to thank the amazing contributors and everyone who helped w/ special shout out to my boy RJ Martin who partnered w/ me on this labor of life which has given birth to such a flourishing child. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/23/books/review/Bentley-t.html?em

“An eye-opening, astonishing, honest and funny collection from those who really have lived on the edge in a parallel universe… Unpretentious and riveting, their tales are also graphic, politically incorrect and mostly unquotable in this newspaper.” Toni Brantley, NY Times

Ho’s Hookers, Call Girls & Rent Boys: Professionals Writing on Life, Love, Money & Sex

HO’S, HOOKERS, CALL GIRLS & RENT BOYS:
PROFESSIONALS WRITING ON LIFE, LOVE, MONEY & SEX
AVAILABLE ONLINE & AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE

The miracle is manifest.  The anthology has hit the streets.  Half a decade in the making, this love’s labor, the product of so much blood, sweat, tears and other assorted body fluids, has finally traveled down the birth canal, and has been delivered by an able-bodied team of midwives, editors, dulas, copy editors, birth coaches, art directors and sweaty worried nerve-wracked family and relatives.  Below please find information about the website and events.  Many thanks to all involved.  We are very proud of this book.

HosHookersSmash Review on cover of Sunday New York Time Book Review.

“An eye-opening, astonishing, honest and funny collection from those who really have lived on the edge in a parallel universe… Unpretentious and riveting, their tales are also graphic, politically incorrect and mostly unquotable in this newspaper.” Toni Brantley, NY Times

REVIEW FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“The sprawling project, grouped loosely by topic (Life, Love, Money, Sex, etc.), offers insight into seemingly all aspects of the sex trade: high-profile celebrities like Xaviera “Happy Hooker” Hollander and Nina Hartley make notable contributors, but it’s the unknown writers who will stick. The selections from the book’s closing section alone, written by members of Sterry’s San Francisco writer’s workshop for sex workers, range from triumphant to harrowing… Aside from exposing the complex web of relationships among phone sex operators, dancers, massage parlor workers, prostitutes and their customers, the book is heavy with raw emotions ranging from celebratory to shameful, giving sociologists plenty to ponder. It’s not all dark and heavy: Sterry’s own account of his experience as a birthday present for an 82-year-old grandmother is touching and sentimental; veteran performer Annie Sprinkle is characteristically blunt, funny and honest… This volume houses some real gems.”

Hos, Hookers, Callgirls, and Rentboys is a collection of short memoirs, whore war stories, confessions, nightmares, journalism and poetry.  It contains new writing from sex worker literati: art-porn priestess Dr. Annie Sprinkle; the infamous Happy Hooker, Xaviera Hollander; author and LGBT activist Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore; star of The Devil in Miss Jones, Georgina Spelvin; best-selling memoirist David Henry Sterry and sex educator/movie star Nina Hartley. But it also includes crack hos, male hustlers, pimps and the teenagers they exploit.  Funny, terrifying, tragic and inspiring, this collection of oral history, short memoirs, war stories, confessions, nightmares, social criticism and poetry is unprecedented because it includes people from all walks of the sex for money world.

From back-alley Tenderloin massage parlors, to glittering Beverly Hills hotels, to Times Square porn palaces, to the meanest streets in Harlem, Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys is a collage of sex and money, shining light on this hidden underbelly of America, from sea to shining sea.

NY Press – 8/11/09

“The prose in this volume is fresh and the tales are both heart-rending and hilarious, sometimes simultaneously… What’s most striking about the volume is how relevant these intimate and detailed chronicles are for any reader, whether they’ve sold their bodies or just their souls. It’s not just about sex.”

Tiger Beatdown 8/26/09

“Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys is an extremely valuable and necessary book, not because it tells you what your perspective ought to be, but because it provides more perspectives than pretty much any other book on the topic… hilarious… Sexy and sunny pieces (the sunniest, actually, often come from Sterry himself) coexist with downright harrowing narratives; sex workers who choose the work freely and love doing it are represented, as are sex workers who were forced to do the work and suffered immensely. The book is free of any agenda but a commitment to giving voice to sex workers.”

The Rumpus 8/26/09

“In addition to being porn stars and prostitutes, many of these people are talented writers with strong voices and precise observations. They’re natural born storytellers who manage to encapsulate an aspect of their experiences in wonderfully succinct (Sebastian Horsley: “Brothels make possible encounters of extreme intimacy without the intervention of personality.”) and stark, unsentimental ways (Brenda: “I have been arrested eight times for prostitution. It messed up my life.”)

Daily Beast – 9/12/09

“The book never feels like a naïve glamorization of the industry. ‘Ultimately, the stories in Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys are all about money, says Sterry. ‘In our culture, happiness means money, a big house, and an expensive car. So when I, as a 17 year old, could make $100 by pleasing an 82-year old woman, that to me was a great American success.’

Style – 9/15/09 

“Taboo, clever, wrenching and compulsively readable, you’ll be stripped of your stereotypes between the covers of this book.”

Antalffy Tibor honlapja 9/27/09

“Rögtön a hívás után a fejemben megjelent egy szörnyű kép: egy ráncos, löttyedt, aszott nagymama átlátszó hálóingben közvetlenül előttem áll, és az én szegény, picurka péniszem egy élettelen, használhatatlan, húsdarab ott lógott a lábaim között, és a pénzt vissza kellett adnom, miközben szégyenemben el akartam bújni a szőnyeg alá, mert a nemi szervem brutális cserbenhagyása megszégyenítő volt. És ez a kép egészen addig nem múlt el, amíg az előkelő Swank Swish szálloda megadott ajtaján be nem kopogtam.”

Revista Fuscia

“Hace poco me encontré un libro realmente sorprendente, que trata de historias de profesionales del sexo. Se llama Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys, en español sería Putas, prostitutas y muchachos para arrendar. Se podría argumentar que para qué pierde uno el tiempo leyendo libros basura, pero la verdad es que desde el punto de vista de las relaciones humanas, es un texto muy interesante, a veces brutalmente honesto, pero también con sentido de humor.”

Acik Radyo

“Kitabın adı  Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, And Rent Boys, Professionals Writing on Life, Love, Money, and Sex. Yani Kevaşeler, Orospular, Telekızlar ve Kiralık Oğlanlar, Profesyoneller Hayat, Aşk, Para ve Seks Üzerine Yazıyor. Yepyeni bir kitap bu, temmuz ayında Amerika’da Soft Skull Press tarafından yayımlanmış. Kitabın elimize geçiş hikâyesi ayrı ilginç. Mahallenin Fahriye Ablası’nın bir kıyağı bize diyelim teferruata girmeden ve hemen kitaba dönelim.”

Bust 10/06/09

“The first hand accounts, interviews, and poems featured in this book are so well written and organized, that the fact that they all center around the exchanging of sex for money falls into the background, and what’s left is an intimate offering of on-the-job gossip and late night horror stories that have you wanting to spend more time with the writer than the three or four pages a pop you’re given with each one.”

SF Weekly – 7/25/09 “This kaleidoscopic portrait of sex work in America is all the more striking for its breadth.”

Book Marks 11/30/09

“Sassy, sexy and certainly informed essays by sex workers. the oral histories by hos and hookers that conclude this collection – funny and tragic, matter-of fact and terrifying – give the book its authentic heft.”

NoPornNorthampton 11/17/09

“This fascinating anthology of personal essays by current and former sex workers gives readers a glimpse into the complex emotions of those who make a living selling intimacy… Fascinating, moving and darkly funny… humor, tenderness, pain, and aggression… unexpectedly sweet… it’s a great read.”

The Skinny 11/23/09

“From the big screen to the street, phone sex to stripping, and incalls to escorting… they’ve experienced sex work as an empowered choice, as a living hell, as a drug-fuelled necessity. They cover migration, burnout, criminalisation, violence, keeping secrets, coming out to family, and interactions with clients and colleagues.  It delves deep and illustrate the complexities of the writers’ experiences. Alternately eye-opening, funny, moving, and devastating, this book should be required reading for those who still think any kind of sex worker is ‘representative’.”

Womanist Musings 11/24/09

“The book unflinchingly represents the voices of survivors of pimping, rape, abuse, thrust upon those who are forced into the sex industry.  Editor David Henry Sterry has successfully etched out a safe space for these survivors’ sharp, sensitive prose… In a reading that brought down the house at Busboys and Poets, Sterry’s rendition of “I Was a Birthday Present for an Eighty-Two-Year-Old Grandmother” was both incredibly funny and a fascinating anti-ageist commentary on the things we’re all afraid to ask for.  I sat in the audience, enraptured by Sterry’s uncanny vocal impressions and gesticulating… Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys is a must-read for anyone who wants to experience first-hand the voices of contemporary sex workers.”

Meet, Pay, Love

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By TONI BENTLEY

Published: August 20, 2009

Money and sex. Sex and money. Sounds dirty already. Is it the money that makes the sex dirty? Or the sex that makes the money dirty? Or, rather, the puritan strain that says they’re both dirty? How sexy! I mean, how inappropriate! And yet here we are again and again . . . and again. It’s former Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York spending $80,000 on escorts, the parents (the parents!) of Senator John Ensign of Nevada distributing $96,000 to their son’s mistress and her family, Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina using taxpayer dollars to visit his South American “soul mate” and the $4 million rock on Kobe Bryant’s wife’s finger after his adulterous mishap. Money to get the sex, and money to make it go away.

If you are thinking this dynamic pairing is only for public figures, just contemplate your own divorce, past, present or future. And yet, still, it is taboo to regard sex and money as inextricably interwoven, to openly speak of them together. Why is sex supposed to be free? It never is. Ask anyone. Like Sebastian Horsley, England’s low-rent Oscar Wilde. “The difference between sex for money and sex for free,” he writes, “is that sex for money always costs a lot less.” Money is the elephant in every bedroom, making your parents’ constant presence look positively bourgeois.

But the connection is seeping into the mainstream. Witness Steven Soderbergh’s recent film, “The Girlfriend Experience,” which is about an expensive call girl and stars the real-life porn star Sasha Grey, and the new HBO series “Hung,” about a nice middle-aged dad who becomes a gigolo. The show, however, plays it safe, making him a financially strapped, reluctant gigolo and not, God forbid, a lusty one. Here, ironically, sex for money is more decent than sex for pleasure.

But if you want to know the real price of pleasure, ask the strippers, streetwalkers, Craigslist prostitutes, phone-sex operators, madams, pimps, drug addicts, porn stars and “performance artists” who offer themselves up in “Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys,” a collection of essays, vignettes, rants and poems, edited by David Henry Sterry (who wrote the very good 2002 memoir “Chicken,” about his life as a young hustler) and R. J. Martin Jr., the director of development for the SAGE Project (Standing Against Global Exploitation) in San Francisco, which offers support of all kinds for sex workers. While good girls require dinner, trips, “commitment” or even an engagement ring for sex, here is a book by those who simply get the cash upfront.

From the unappealing title, you might think this is a truly trashy paperback. Far from it: it’s an eye-opening, occasionally astonishing, brutally honest and frequently funny collection from those who really have lived on the edge in a parallel universe. Their writing is, in most cases, unpolished, unpretentious and riveting — but don’t worry, their tales are also graphic, politically incorrect and mostly unquotable in this newspaper.

There are some well-known names here. Xaviera Hollander informs us that “it’s much harder to be a writer than a hooker,” and the ever-sprightly Annie Sprinkle gives “40 reasons why whores are my ­heroes” and then asks, “Do you have what it takes to be a whore?” Probably not. (Easier to be a writer, I think.) But the joyous glibness displayed by Hollander and Sprinkle is nowhere to be found in the best of the entries.

“Lele,” a piece by Jodi Sh. Doff, who “grew up in the suburbs as someone else entirely,” recalls Henry Miller’s in-your-face exposition. She tells of a night at Diamond Lil’s on Canal Street, where “Viva’s sitting onstage, legs spread wide.” While her customer is buried and busy, she holds a cigarette in one hand, a drink in the other, and chitchats with a girlfriend about another girlfriend. “Every two minutes or so Viva taps him on the head and he hands her a 20 from a stack of bills he’s holding, never looking up.” We see in this wonderful set piece the whole money/sex connection enacted with raw charm and an immediacy that reaches far beyond this strip club, as the man’s stack of 20s, one by one, becomes hers. Multitasking Viva holds them “folded lengthwise in her cigarette hand.”

Audacia Ray, who now teaches human sexuality at Rutgers University, certainly earned her degree out in the field, having at one point paired up with a woman named Lily as a massage team offering happy endings. “Money got us hot and bothered,” she writes, and one evening, after Lily cashed a disability check from the federal government for $10,000 (she had no bank account, of course), she poured the money — “mostly $20 bills” — onto the bed. They shut off their phones, bathed together, got “very, very high” and then rolled around “naked in the cash. . . . Even now, when I think of the hottest sex we had, I think about currency stuck to her flesh.” Now there’s an image to promote the beneficence of Uncle Sam.

One online dominatrix, Sadie Lune, pooh-poohs all the knowing talk of the “natural power” of a domme making a “proud man” stoop — you know, the lawyer, doctor or judge who wants to clean toilets on a leash. “What we talk about, often off the Internet and out of leather, is the power of money. . . . More often than not the money tops the scene. . . . Money demands slow heavy bondage when all we feel like is smacking a grateful subject around. . . . The biggest trick is really coming to terms with the fact that money is the boss’s boss.” So which is more powerful, money or sex? I forgot.

There’s plenty of useful information in this book for those of you planning a little adultery or prostitution, or even just some old-fashioned phone sex. Lilycat describes the protocol of “Feed Me the Line”: “We couldn’t use any sexually explicit words or phrases till the caller used them first. . . . And strangely enough, getting a very horny man to talk dirty to you isn’t as easy as it seems.” The women were permitted to use medical names for body parts, but “Baby, I would like to do something pleasurable with your penis” was not — surprise, surprise — what the client wanted to hear (though it’s all you’ll get in this review). If the caller refused to talk dirty first, moaning was the fallback, and Lilycat reports the little-known fact that “if you moan for long enough you can become lightheaded and almost pass out” — “so baby, use your dirty, dirty words” and help the lady out.

The most devastating section of the book — its broken heart, its guts on the page — is found in a few horrifying stories that came out of a writing workshop Sterry gave for severely abused young women. For example, Jessica Bertucci writes about her “weekend visit with my dad”: “I begged my mom not to take me but she did anyways. Oh, by the way, my dad raped me when I was 2 years old.” After being blindfolded in a room with her father’s drinking, crack-smoking buddy, she heard her dad “whispering in my ear, ‘Don’t be scared, you’re helping Daddy pay the rent.’ Oh, by the way, I was 9 years old.”

Sterry, as editor, inserts himself considerably more than necessary, introducing many of the writers in such relentlessly lengthy and glowing terms as to patronize them. On the other hand, the actual bios for the contributors make for provocative reading and can leave one feeling like an unadventurous slacker. Berta Avila, “a Chicana from El Segundo Barrio of El Paso,” is now a translator but has been an “exotic dancer, escort service worker, brothel worker, waitress, medical-legal assistant and instructional assistant for elementary-school children.” Zoe Hansen “achieved stability through methadone maintenance and felt it was time to open her own brothel, Sterling Ladies, which was on Park Avenue and 21st Street. It was the first of five brothels she opened during the next three years.” (I’m starting to get a brothel-opening feeling myself.) Carol Queen “got a Ph.D. in sexology so she could impart more realistic detail to her smut.” (Dr. Queen writes about her “oral clairsentience,” but I can’t explain here.) While many, perhaps most, of these writers use pseudonyms, they are everything but anonymous.

Kirk Read tells the magnificent story of Ray, a rich, hairy, middle-aged Texan, who hired Read to be his witness as he methodically enclosed his entire body in numerous “stretchable layers, one upon another.” With the final touches of “gold gloves that reached up past his biceps” and a black spandex hood, “he turned and faced me, holding his hands up into the air like a victorious Mexican wrestler. Humble. Brave.” Very brave, very moving. The scene, in its inherent perversity, has the feel of a crucible, a kind of spandex crucifixion bestowing grace on one who has the courage to go “to the underworld” and find “erotic freedom by any means necessary.” The two men shook hands, the only time they touched, and parted ways, an encounter with more tenderness and dignity than many a marital one.

This collection is a wonderful reminder that good writing is not about knowing words, grammar or Faulkner, but having that rare ability to tell the truth, an ability that education and sophistication often serve to conceal. While we are all, I suppose, in the business of surviving, some really are surviving more notably than others. The collective cry for identity found in this unsentimental compilation will resonate deeply — even, I suspect, with those among us who pretend not to pay for sex.

Toni Bentley danced with New York City Ballet for 10 years and is the author of five books, including “Winter Season: A Dancer’s Journal” and “Sisters of Salome.” She is working on a book about Balanchine’s ballet “Serenade.”

 

 

Caroline Leavitt on Master of Ceremonies: “Heart, Punch, Fun!”

Read This Book!

David Henry Sterry’sMaster of Ceremonies: A True Story of Love, Murder, Roller Skates & Chippedales is written with  punch,  heart, and so much energy, that there’s a virtual jolt on every page. Sterry tells the story of how, during the 80s, as a green, new-to-NYC actor, he finally found a job– as Master of Ceremonies at Chippendales, of all places, a glamorously sleazy gig which didn’t sour until the brutal murder of his boss.  From Brooke Shield’s party to behind-the-scenes glimpses at the “men of Chippendales” and the women who hoot and holler at them, Sterry chronicles a world that is as seedy as it is fascinating.  A tough-talking book with a tender heart, Master of Ceremonies is moving, real, and a whole lot of fun.

Master ceremonies cover

NPR

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I am proud and pleased to announce that my essay was broadcast on NPR Monday morning. I’m very happy with the way it turned out. If you have a moment, check it out. it’s only two minutes long. Thanks, David

http://www.kqed.org/epArchive/R810270737l

Library Journal Review of Master of Ceremonies: “Dizzying, tender, hilarious”

“Master of Ceremonies” is the dizzying, tender, and true story of a
fledgling actor whose first break results in a two-year stint as the
emcee at Chippendales, in this work that is resplendent with seedy
glamour, hilarious backstage madness, and unflinching honesty. Sterry
chronicles his adventures as a struggling comic after he is hired as
the host of the popular all-male strip show Chippendales in the early
Eighties. He more than delivers on the promise of his title, and
readers looking for sex, drugs, and New York-style debauchery will
find it in spades. There is a tabloid-level sleaziness inherent in the
material, which Sterry utilizes for maximum entertainment value. He
avoids providing direct sociological commentary on the sexual power
dynamics at play in Chippendales, preferring to let events speak for
themselves. There are two underlying love stories, one between Sterry
and a coworker, and one between Sterry and his craft; both enrich the
narrative with genuine heart. Sterry possesses an engaging writing
style, and fans of his earlier memoir, Chicken: Self-Portrait of a
Young Man for Rent, will not be disappointed. Recommended for large
public library collections and cultural and media studies
collections.-Katherine Litwin, Chicago Library Journal (07/15/2008)

to buy click here

Master ceremonies cover

 

Chicken reviewed by Janet Maslin of The New York Times

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“Sterry writes with comic brio … [he] honed a vibrant outrageous writing style and turned out this studiously wild souvenir of a checkered past.”

— Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Rave Reviews for Chicken

Chicken CoverCHICKEN: THE BOOK

Chicken was published by HarperCollins (ReganBooks) in 2002, then Canongate in the UK in 2003, and de Kern in Holland in 2004. It came out in German (Rowohlt, 2005), Spanish (Grupo Planeta, 2005), Croatian (Celeber, 2005). It is coming out in Italian (Adelphi, 2007), and Russia (Red Fish, 2007).

“Sterry writes with comic brio… [he] honed a vibrant outrageous writing style and turned out this studiously wild souvenir of a checkered past.” – Janet Maslin, New York Times

“This is a stunning book. Sterry’s prose fizzes like a firework. Every page crackles… A very easy, exciting book to read – as laconic as Dashiell Hammett, as viscerally hallucinogenic as Hunter S Thompson. Sex, violence, drugs, love, hate, and great writing all within a single wrapper. What more could you possibly ask for? -Maurince Newman, Irish Times

“A beautiful book… a real work of literature… wonderfully written.” – Vanessa Feltz, BBC

“Insightful and funny… great stories… captures Hollywood beautifully…” – Larry Mantle, Air Talk, National Public Radio

“Priceless material.” -Details Magazine

“Humorous and charming… Outrageous and entertaining…” – Michael Williams, BBC 1

“A breezy read, pleasingly free of self-pity… very funny.” -The Observer

“Jawdropping… A carefully crafted piece of work…” -Benedicte Page, Book News, UK

“A 1-night read. Should be mandatory reading for parents and kids.” -Bert Lee, Talk of the Town

“Few rites-of-passage tales can match up to this one.” -The Weekend Scotsman

“In een eigenzinnige stijl en met een superb.” -Dutch Journal

“Hilarious.” -The Guardian (London)

“Alternately sexy and terrifying, hysterical and weird, David Henry Sterry’s Chicken is a hot walk on the wild side of Hollywood’s fleshy underbelly. With lush prose and a flawless ear for the rhythms of the street, Sterry lays out a life lived on the edge in a coming-of-age classic that’s colorful, riveting, and strangely beautiful. David Henry Sterry is the real thing.” –Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight

“The overall effect is jarringly surreal, like an X-rated Boogie Nights narrated by a teenage Alice in Wonderland. Sterry’s anecdotes… expose Hollywood at its seamiest, a desperate city of smut and glitz. I read the book from cover to cover in one night, finally arriving at the black and white photo of the softly smiling former chicken turned memoirist.” -Places Magazine

“Farcical… sad… perceptive… Reality porn for the sophisticated reader.” – The Sunday Herald

“Compulsively readable, visceral, and very funny. The author, a winningly honest companion, has taken us right into his head, moment-by-moment: rarely has the mentality of sex been so scrupulously observed and reproduced on paper. Granted, he had some amazingly bizarre experiences to draw upon; but as V. S. Pritchett observed, in memoirs you get no pints for living, the art is all that counts-and David Henry Sterry clearly possesses the storyteller’s art.” – Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait of My Body – Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait of My Body

“Snappy and acutely observational writing… It’s a book filled with wit, some moments of slapstick, and of some severe poignancy… a flair for descriptive language… The human ability to be kind ultimately reveals itself, in a book which is dark, yet always upbeat and irreverent. A really good, and enlightening, read.” – Ian Beetlestone, Leeds Guide

“Brutally illuminating and remarkably compassionate… a walk on the wild side which is alternatively exhilirating and horrifying, outrageous and tragic… Essential reading.” – Big Issue

“Visceral, frank and compulsive reading.’ –City Life, Manchester

“Sparkling prose… a triumph of the will.” -Buzz Magazine

“Pick of the Week.” -Independent

“Generous and refreshing… colorful and entertaining.” -The List, Edinburgh

“Unflinching and perceptive …often very funny.” -Independent on Sunday

“Farcical… sad… perceptive… A rollercoaster… Reality porn for the sophisticated reader.”-Vicky Allan, The Sunday Herald

“Buy it, read it.” -Ladsmag

“Fresh and fascinating… highly amusing, deeply shocking, … and rather sweet.” -What’s On

“Impossible to put down, even, no, especially when, the sky is falling…Vulnerable, tough, innocent and wise… A fast-paced jazzy writing style… a great read.” -Hallmemoirs

“Full of truth, horror, and riotous humor.” -The Latest Books

“His memoir is a super-readable roller coaster — the story of a young man who sees more of the sexual world in one year than most people ever do.” – Dr. Carol Queen, Spectator Magazine

“Terrifically readable… Sterry’s an adventurer who happens to feel and think deeply. He’s written a thoroughly absorbing story sensitively and with great compassion… A page-turner… This is a strange story told easily and well.” – Eileen Berdon, Erotica.com

“An intriguing and compelling read… Lively, honest prose which cleverly combines the past with the present.” -Carol Anne Davis, Tangled Web UK

“Love to see this book turned into a movie, Julianne Moore might like to play Sterry’s mum…” – by Iain Sharp The Sunday Star-Times, Auckland, New Zealand).

“Chicken expands our understanding of who does sex work and what it involves; of how family dislocation, dysfunction and desertion affect children and adolescents; and of the complex interplay between social norms, sexual practices, “deviant” behavior, and identity. Academics might use Chicken profitably to help students explore non-fiction and memoir writing, or substantively in courses on gender, sexuality, adolescence, deviance, the sexual revolution, the 1970s, southern California, and related topics. As a floodlit slice of life or an object lesson about attempts to counterbalance (dare I say “straddle”?) propriety and impropriety, Chicken is highly recommended. The writing style in Chicken is brash and engaging. Reminiscent of “gonzo journalism” and Lewis Carroll, Sterry’s style includes vivid descriptions, trenchant metaphors, creative compound words, and a taste for alliteration. Yet the book is more than just flashy, over-the-top recounting of colorful anecdotes. Rather, Sterry’s writing style serves his substance well, clearly evoking the milieu of 1970s sexual-revolution-era Hollywood. At the same time, the book is visceral and brutally honest about Sterry’s emotional and physical ordeals during his year as a sex worker. He expresses both sympathy and anger for his clients; in regard to his own behavior, he is subtly introspective, smoothly moving between an account of his feelings at the time and a retrospective evaluation of his actions and motives. While his account does not appear to temper the meanness, sadness or vapidity of many of his customers, he does not shrink from reporting his own failings, either. For example, his recounting of his displaced rage on the basketball court is unflinching and heartbreaking.” Dr. Ann Lucas –Sexuality & Culture, an Interdisciplinary Quarterly

CHICKEN: THE SHOW

#1 Play in Great Britain. -The Independent

“Poignant…a rare pleasure… moving and original… revealingly honest… Sterry is a sharp comic, using his limber body and versatile voice to create memorably portraits of the hungry, lonely, wealthy women who employ his services…Sterry needs no other prop than a wooden bench to get full mileage out of the ludicrousness of sex… But what gives it depth is the hard, sad reality beneath its Rabelaisian humor… Richly entertaining and thought-provoking… Speaks cleverly and provocatively to anyone who’s ever been or had a child.”
—Robert Hurwitt, Head Theater Critic to The San Francisco Chronicle

“Full of energy… fast, provacative, and highly engaging… Simply unmissable…” – The Hearld

“Irresistible… very enjoyable… radiates honesty… funny, physical, and fast…” -The Scotsman

“What a rare pleasure it is to see a writer perform his own work… dream-like profundity…Sterry’s portrayal of his 17-year-old self is immediately honest and believable… juxtaposed with his masterful control of poetic dialogue balances the show.” — SF Examiner

“Sterry summons up in glorious technicolour an amazing array of characters… Extraordinary… engrossing and touching… a great story… It’s a must!” —Daily Mail

“Graced with insight and empathy—Sterry finds a literary rhythm as fluid and alluring as the strut of his ‘nuthugging elephantbells’… a sense of humor as bright and ridiculous as a ‘blood-engorged wangdangdoodle- hammer’.” —S F Weekly

“Disturbing, heartrending, and so funny it makes you choke… intoxicating energy and magnetic storytelling charisma… the poignancy and honesty hits you hard.” – Brighton Argus

“A tour-de force.”—SF Bay Times
“Sextacular.” – Beth Lisick, SF Gate
“Frank, funny and surreal.” –The Stage
“Pick of the week… Hysterical.” – The Guardian
“Hard-hitting and universal.” -Time Out San Francisco
“Sterry is a man you should know” -Year-End Best Of SF Weekly

“Sterry tells a sad and harrowing story with humor, energy, and a sharp eye for the sort of characters an ‘industrial sex technician’ might meet in the weird aftermath of the ‘60s.” —Michael Scott Moore, The San Francisco Weekly

“Hugely compelling to watch… real skill… The story is told in deft snippets… the language is poetic, and a 1970’s soundtrack gets the audience in the mood… [a] triumphant story… it’s clear that this is a comedy hiding in a tragedy.” -The Independent

 

Chicken in Erotica.com: “A page-turner”

“Terrifically readable… Sterry’s an adventurer who happens to feel and think deeply. He’s written a thoroughly absorbing story sensitively and with great compassion… A page-turner… This is a strange story told easily and well.”

— Eileen Berdon, Erotica.com

To see more & buy book, click here.

What People Said About Chicken: A-1 Ho Show

Chicken: A 1-Ho Show

“The show was great to see! David is an awesome performer/actor/writer. Pure poetry in motion. Nice to finally get the hetero male perspective of sex work.”
– Annie Sprinkles.

***

“The show was absolute amazing and to let me know if he’s showing it again as I’d love to invite more friends!”

***

“I loved the show. What struck me most was the love you had for your life and how it came through in the show (healing is so wonderful ain’t it? I loved the simplicity in set and the choice to use only the bench as a prop/set piece … the choreography/direction was marvelous… your writing is wonderfully poetic, and your love for words comes shining through.”

***

“I wish I knew enough superlative adjectives to use in praise of Chicken. All I can say is that it was wonderful. He was mesmerizing and pulled me into the life of a naive Texas boy thrown out on the street and into the arms of the wolves in Hollywood. He is truly a gifted actor and the way he not just described in words but make real through his body language and movement the people in his world to life was awsome – man or woman they were equally real to me. I felt not only his truths but theirs. Thank you David for letting me (and the rest of the world) so truthfully into your experiences.

***

“The performance last night was nothing short of spectacular. Your writing is so wonderfully poetic, funny, and sad. I love works that can make me laugh and cry. Yours did the trick. And I loved the physicality of the show. You really brought the writing to life–so animated, very rich 3D imagery and characterizations. I’m certainly going to tell everyone I know to see the show.”

***

“L-O-V-E-D the show. Honest and truly. We talked about it the whole walk home.”

***

“You are not just a great actor. You are a shape shifter. I saw you look different for each character. I SAW Sunny, his ‘fro, his caftan, SAW Kristi, I SAW the teenie bopper runaway. I saw your face go silly-putty-sideways, and your Dad come out….You could wipe the floor with Robin Williams in a goofy character face-off. I LOVED Sunny. Some of my best friends have been 70s black hippie faggots. Vocally, just for the pure Barry White honey of the voice, I loved Sexy. You have transmitted your pain into art, and now the artistic rendering of your tormentor brings pleasure. That’s alchemy. Shamanism, magic, healing. Of course, laughter is the strongest medicine… You’re also a word candy daddy, West Coast writers’ school: Tom Robbins, Rob Brezhney, David Sterry dishing out chewy delicious mouthfuls of succulent syllables. Basically, you rock. Love the opening stroll down H’wood blvd, with those split second portraits. Dynamite, dude.”

***

Time Out San Francisco

“A funny, poignant story that examines issues both hard-hitting and universal.”

— Time Out San Francisco

The San Francisco Weekly on Chicken: “Humor, energy, & a sharp eye

sfweekly.jpg“Sterry tells a sad and harrowing story with humor, energy, and a sharp eye for the sort of characters an ‘industrial sex technician’ might meet in the weird aftermath of the ‘60s.”

— Michael Scott Moore, The San Francisco Weekly (Theater section)

 

To buy Chicken, click here.

chicken 10 year anniversary cover

 

The San Francisco Examiner on Chicken: “A Rare Pleasure”

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“Experiencing [Sterry’s] natural ear for rhythm and timing, we are reminded of what a rare pleasure it is to see a writer perform his own work. Much like beat poetry, Sterry’s carefully crafted, simple language infuses mundane situations with dream-like profundity…Sterry’s portrayal of his 17-year-old self is immediately honest and believable. In fact, the character’s insecure teenage naiveté juxtaposed with Sterry’s masterful control of poetic dialogue is what balances the show…Sterry remarkably creates and portrays his characters.”

— Emily Klein, The San Francisco Examiner

To buy Chicken click here.

The San Francisco Chronicle Reviews Chicken, the 1-Ho Show

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“Poignant, humorous…a rare pleasure…funny, moving and original…an exceptional, comically idiosyncratic and revealingly honest look at life in difficult times…Much of the material in the 85-minute one-act is hilarious…Sterry is a sharp comic, using his limber body and versatile voice to create memorably funny portraits of the hungry, lonely, wealthy women who employ his services…Sterry needs no other prop than a wooden bench to get full comic mileage out of the ludicrousness of sex in some wonderfully varied and graphic guises. But what sets “Chicken” apart and gives it depth is the hard, sad reality beneath its Rabelaisian humor…[“Chicken”] is richly entertaining and thought-provoking… [It] speaks cleverly and provocatively to anyone who’s ever been or had a child.”

— Robert Hurwitt, Head Theater Critic to The San Francisco Chronicle

To buy the book on Amazon.  To buy the book on Indiebound.

Josh Cohen, WZZR on Chicken: “I Couldn’t Put it Down”

“Written so well… eloquent, amazing… I couldn’t put it down!”

— Josh Cohen, WZZR Radio

To buy, click here.

chicken 10 year 10-10-13

Chicken Review: “Dark wit and considerable compassion… wickedly funny, baroque”

“Jawdropping… Even as confessional memoirs go, David Sterry’s Chicken stands out from the rest. Alternately farcical, grotesque, brutal and sad… A carefully crafted piece of work… Gives the famous encounter between Dennis Hopper and Isabella Rossellini in “Blue Velvet” a run for its money.”

“Dark wit and considerable compassion… wickedly funny, baroque… sadly, even touchingly human, thanks to Sterry’s matter-of-fact empathy for his disturbed customers… Chicken gets its soul from Sterry’s nuanced portrait of his growing anguish as the work takes him to increasingly scary places, physically and emotionally.”

— Wendy Smith, Amazon

To see more & buy Chicken click here.

chicken 10 year anniversary cover

Spectator Magazine Dr. Carol Queen on Chicken: “Super-readable roller coaster”all

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“His memoir is a super-readable roller coaster — the story of a young man who sees more of the sexual world in one year than most people ever do.”

— Dr. Carol Queen, Spectator Magazine

To buy Chicken click here.

chicken 10 year anniversary cover

Readers Write About Chicken: “Like Kerouac, I HAD to read it in one sitting”

Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent – to buy click here.

chicken 10 year 10-10-13Incredible… your book, it’s like Kerouac. I loved it so much, I HAD to read it in one sitting. I can’t wait for the next book.

I really can’t express how splendid, wonderful, excellent, clever…. (I’m running out of adjectives) your presentation was yesterday. You held a very tough audience absolutely RIVETED for 3 full hours! the beautiful prose coupled with your performance talent is a killer combination. (I kept wanting to stop your reading in order to point out specific narrative techniques you used–how *skillfully* the “technical” aspects of writing contributed to the power of the book. I guess I’ll have to wait until the book is out, and assign it as a classroom text in order to deconstruct it on that level. Alice La Plant – SF State University Professor

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I tore through your book in a matter of hours: read it while walking to work, on the BART, in line at the store. Loved it. – SF

***

I am really looking forward to reading your next book – you are an incredibly gifted writer. The book broke my heart, turned me on, and gave me the vicarious thrill of walking in a man’s shoes (yours) for a day. Thank you for sharing your experiences, and yourself, with me and the world. As with all great books, the last page left me screaming No Wait- I Still Don’t Know What Happened – Juline Koken – NYC

***

I just finished the book. First, my gratitude for the testimony, for positing the story in the world. Then for the cockygiddyjoygift of your style, grace, clarity, humour and generosity. all this seeping and fuming between bouts of mouth-drying horror and lumpy-throat sexiness. Thanks – Dr. Leon Johnson, University of Oregon

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Very powerful–sad, funny, accomplished… Susan Boloton, Workman Press

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I was skeptical about reading this memoir because the sex industry is not a subject that I’m especially drawn to. My friend read and loved this book and strongly suggested that I read it. I took her advice and once I began to read I was completely unable to put Chicken down. The writing style of this book flowed so smoothly and was crafted so skillfully that I felt that I was watching the story happen rather than reading it off of a page. This book was fascinating and I commend David Sterry for his honesty and courage. – San Francisco

***

Just finished you book and enjoyed it very much. Thought I’d reach out and let you know that you touched at least this reader. You have an excellent and articulate voice – looking forward to your next work. Adios, Patrick

***

Your book has been such a sumptuous meal, a feast on this day where I starved for inspiration. Thanks! For being not only so brave to tell your story but also for being such a true artist. You are so lush, your poetry so rich, phrases pop out at me like valuable diamonds never before seen, never before measured. The juxtaposition of your childhood and the narrative story is brilliant. You taught me so much, you are a magic beacon of light. Grazie mille, Daisy – Hollywood

***

I hate to invade your email privacy, however, I must tell you that since I received “Chicken” by mail yesterday, I was able to put it down only twice before finishing it. I could all too well identify with your horrors and through your confessions am finding catharsis. (Even though I only finished it ten minutes ago) Congratulations, and thank you. Kyle Bastien – Vancouver

***

Ye flipping gods. The first passage I peeked at was howlingly funny, so I was expecting something lighter, more tongue-in cheek, maybe even flippant. What I have here is merciless writing, zero to wrenching in less than fifteen pages, at a pace that leaves no time for the reader to wallow. – Oregon

***

Wow, not only was your book incredibly interesting but your style of writing was THE MOST engaging and enjoyable book I have ever read. I read nonfiction and memoirs, about a book every week and yours was awesome. Good for you with your survival, courage and talent not to mention all of your hard work. I so much appreciate the opportunity to have read your book. I hope you are creating another book that I and others can enjoy. Your perspective, your style, your visions, descriptions and feelings, the way you ran words and sentences together for an amazing affect was a joy to participate in and I thank you again for sharing. Good Luck to you. Congradulations on a fabulous piece of art! Sincerly, Nancy Malone

***

I love your book. You are so poetic. You have the same wonderfully vivid style. Candye Kane, San Diego

***

i just wanted to tell you how incredible your book, “chicken” is. it reads “on the road”, like a chicken kerouac. i loved it so much, i HAD to read it in one sitting. i can’t wait for your next book. -a fan. – Alger Batts

***

I was so moved by your first chapter. I myself am a survivor of sexual abuse so hearing you talk about it definitely makes me feel strong and hopeful for my own situation. (I have been dealing for a year now… I was abused as a five year old by my stepfather… and haven’t been able to write–much less talk–about it yet.) I was one of those teary eyed people after hearing you both read and talk about it, and I wanted to come up to you after class…. but it still has a huge emotional impact on me and I’m one of those girls that hates to cry. Anyway, I didn’t e-mail you to write you my life story, I only wanted to thank you for the generosity to express yours. And to express it so beautifully. So thank you very much. I wish you much luck and lots of return on your book! I’ve already told three people they HAVE to read it… and buy it! UC Berkeley Student – Megan Allen

***

I nabbed his review copy of Chicken. It obviously took a rare amount of courage to write and publish it – such candour and humour about such a dangerous and soul-destroying situation. Your book describes perfectly the dark split between double lives – I am unfortunately well familiar with it. Aside from this being fan mail, would you like me to send you a check? I feel guilty about reading Chicken without buying it. – Dawna Rae from Toronto

***

I was blown away. Not just a reading of good material, a performance…It was very intimidating and awfully impressive. – Jan Nash

***

I love his writing style; it brings you into the story. You will not want to put it down. The fact that this is an autobiography makes the story even more horrifying. Yet since it is a catharsis of a true survivor, it seems that David brings somehow to an unexpected redemption. You must read this book

The Observer on Chicken: “Very funny. A side of the sex-worker’s story that’s rarely heard”

observer-329.jpg“It’s a breezy read, pleasingly free of self-pity. Sterry judges the tone carefully. He’s unflinching and perceptive without being mawkish, and often very funny. And the side of the sex-worker’s story he tells is a rarely heard one.

— The Observer

To buy Chicken click here.

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Details Magazine

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“Priceless material…”

— Details Magazine

BBC 1

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“Humorous and charming… Outrageous and entertaining…”

— Michael Williams, BBC 1

BBC Radio

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A beautiful book… a real work of literature… wonderfully written.”

— Vanessa Feltz, BBC Radio

Chicken Review, Book News, UK

“Jawdropping… Even as confessional memoirs go, David Sterry’s Chicken stands out from the rest. Alternately farcical, grotesque, brutal and sad… A carefully crafted piece of work… Gives the famous encounter between Dennis Hoppe and Isabella Rossellini in ‘Blue Velvet’ a run for its money.” — Benedicte Page, Book News, UK

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The New York Times Review of Chicken

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“David Henry Sterry has honed a vibrant outrageous style, and turned out this studiously wild souvenir of a checkered past.”

— The New York Times

The San Francisco Bay Guardian Reviews Chicken

San Francisco Bay Guardian[A] refreshingly affectionate portrayal of a naïve young man’s first taste of Los Angeles in mid 1970s…Sterry expertly and economically brings the parade of pimps, nuns, debutantes, rapists, and sexual deviants who populate his past to life…he attacks his evocative prose like a grizzled beatnik poet hitting a home run.

— The San Francisco Bay Guardian

To buy: Indiebound.  Amazon.

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