David Henry Sterry

Author, book doctor, raker of muck

David Henry Sterry

Tag: Book Revue

Chicken Staff Pick @ City Lights: “Hilarious & sad…serious thinking about family & sexuality & addiction.”

“Just published in its 10th anniversary edition, I’ve never read anything quite like this memoir.  David Henry Sterry performs a high-wire act in his vaudevilliain telling of life as a prostitute in 70s Hollywood.  Alternately sad and hilarious, Sterry provokes serious thinking about family, sexuality, and addiction.”
Picked by Stacey chicken 10 year anniversary cover

Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent, Ten Year Anniversary Edition

“Ten years ago, this debut memoir from Sterry burst upon the literary scene with an energy and inventiveness that captured his little-known subject matter—teenage life in Los Angeles as a rent boy working for a benevolent pimp named Sunny whose “rich, generous, horny friends,” Sterry explains, “pay good money to party with a boy like me.” Now back in print, Sterry’s memoir still crackles with its unsparingly honest approach: “I catch myself in the mirror, seventeen-year-old hardbody belly, pitprop legs, zero body fat, and huge hands. I’m seduced by the glitter of my own flesh.” Scenes from Sterry’s early dysfunctional family life not only add pathos to this tale of fall and resurrection but assure readers that he never sees himself as better than his clients, such as Dot, the wealthy 82-year-old, whose only desire is to experience cunnilingus for the first time—a desire that Sterry readily fulfills. “Even though I have no home and no family except for a bunch of prostitutes and a pimp, even though I have no future… at least I’m good at this.” (Oct.) – Publisher’s Weekly

Find Chicken at your local independent bookstore:  Indiebound Amazon

“I walk all the way up Hollywood Boulevard to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre: past tourists snapping shots; wannabe starlets sparkling by in miniskirts with head shots in their hands and moondust in their eyes; rowdy cowboys drinking with drunken Indians; black businessmen bustling by briskly in crisp suits; ladies who do not lunch with nylons rolled up below the knee pushing shopping carts full of everything they own; Mustangs rubbing up against muscular Mercedes and Hell’s Angels hogs. It’s a sick twisted Wonderland, and I’m Alice.”

This is the chronicle of a young man walking the razor-sharp line between painful innocence and the allure of the abyss. David Sterry was a wide-eyed son of 1970s suburbia, but within a week of enrolling at Immaculate Heart College, he was lured into the dark underbelly of the Hollywood flesh trade. Chicken has become a coming-of-age classic, and has been translated into ten languages. This ten-year anniversary edition has shocking new material.

“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

“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.” – Vanessa Feltz, BBC

“Insightful and funny… captures Hollywood beautifully” – Larry Mantle, Air Talk, NPR

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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).

Rocking Long Island, Death at Joseph-Beth, Killing in the Big Apple, & an Ivy League Pornographer

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

http://www.bowerypoetry.com/

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=158916630815835&index=1

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.

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