Archive for actress

Everything Happened to Susan by Barry Malzberg (Belmont Tower, 1972)

Posted in Barry N. Malzberg, Midwood Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Like A Way with All Maidens, this one is about the dream of acting — sort of.  A young lady named Susan goes to New York to chase the acting dream, “but, the fact is, she has very little talent and no luck” (p. 13).  So she gets into porn — she answers an ad for actors and actresses needed, $100 a day, not knowing it’s for an adult film.  Needing money, and naive enough to believe porn can lead to legit and mainstream work, she falls into it.  A common story told a million times in the lives of porn actresses, and in sleaze books — but this is Barry N. Malzberg, for Pete’s sake, and no one tells a common tale like Malzberg! Things get meta:

In the script, Susan is playing a young girl who has come to New York to look for a legitimate break in show business but instead has been forced into the making of pornographic films to support herself […] she suffers from a deep sense of shame and seeks to degrade herself. All the characters in the film are seeking degradation. In the course of the role, then, she is to have intercourse three or four times, as well as much petting, and one incident of sado-masochism with a tall man holding a whip. (p. 11)

Susan also came to New York several months ago to look for legitmiate work in show business […] she gas been forced into making pornographic films to support herself. Presently she is living with an unpublished writer named Timothy West who feels he is on the verge of a major breakthrough in style and technique but, at the present time, is an assistant supervisor for the New York City of the Department of Welfare […] “You have no idea how doomed the welfare system in this country is,” he told her. (p. 13)

As we know, Malzberg also worked for the NY Dept. of Welfare, resulting in books like The Day of the Burning and The Social Worker.

This was also reprinted as The Masochist, that edition harder and far more pricey to locate than Everything Happened to Susan.

Everything does indeed happen to Susan, in life and in porn — she does every possible type of porn, even beastiality…

Continue reading

The Many Faces of John Dexter #1: Sin Festival penned by Robert Silverberg

Posted in Nightstand Books, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , on October 4, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Dexter - Sin FestivalJust about every Cornith/Greenleaf/Nightstand/Hamling writer was John Dexter and J.X. Williams at one time or another, the two main house names.  John Jakes was the first Williams, it’s unknown who was the first Dexter but there is some rumor it was Lawrence Block, who didn’t want to hone up to it.

Robert Silverberg did a few as Dexter, such as this one, Sin Festival (NB # 1572) and The Bra Peddlers, reviewed here. As Dexter, he also wrote Stripper! and Sex Thieves.

Dexter - Sex ThievesDexter - Stripper!

Like Snavely’s The Big Flick (reviewed below)  this is a film industry novel, but about the process of getting a movie out there after it’s done.  The movie here is Helen of Troy, and the production company is at Cannes to sell it to European distributors.  At Cannes are Cal Warner, the publicist for Jupiter Films, Elayne, an actress in the film, and Mr. Ronwieser, the studio mogul.

Warner’s job is to drum up buzz — a fake romance between Elayne and a French actor, Elayne’s swimming nude, etc.  She’s a nympho and needs sex often and sometime she keeps her happy, sometimes he doesn’t.

Warner meets a French actress, Jeanette, desperate to go to Hollywood.  To get a contract, she has to have an “interview” with Mr. Ronweiser — that is, have sex with him.  He’s a short, elderly, disgusting man who liked “kinky” sex (it’s never said what) and Jeanette feels dirty for doing this for her dream, as many actresses wind up feeling.

Elayne is jealous of Jeanette because something is developing between Warner and the French actress.  In one day, though, she has sex with three men — Ronwiser, an old flame she meets at the festival, and Warner.

Part of Warner’s job is to also find women for her boss to fuck.  He’s a $35K  a year yes man (about $350K back then) and he’s starting to hate it.

The novel is set in the first week of the Cannes Film Festival, with colorful French Riviera settings. Silverberg catches the atmosphere and the reality of film distribution, publicity, and what it takes well — there’s more to just writing a screenplay and making a movie; once it’s done, you need to get people to see it, buy it, review it, want it.

But something falls short here…I have not yet read a Silverberg softcore I did ‘t finish or like, but this one falls into the average category, with a somewhat sappy romantic ending after an explosion of seedy, drunken violence.

On a personal note, I had a short documentary (“Life in Zona Norte”) screen at Cannes, at the Palace K Theatre on May 16, 2009, and later exhibited in the Short Film Corner.  Cannes is the tops, with Sundance and Tribeca, but never what you expect.

I’ve been to many other film festivals and they are a lot like how Sin Festival depicts — no art, it’s all about commerce and publicity,  with a lot of parties, drinking, sex, and sex for favors going on at night.

Want to get laid by hopeful actors at a film festival? If you’re a director or producer, it helps…as a writer, who knows, maybe if your film is in pre-production and you can get them a part…

The Big Flick by Adam Snavely (Kozy Books, 1961)

Posted in Orrie Hitt, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Snavely - Big FlcikAlong with Jerry Goff, Max Collier, and John Turner, Adam Snavely is my next “big find,” and he’s at the top of the heap.  I have no idea who he really was, but he did a dozen or so books for Kozy.

Snavely may have been a house pseudonym, as a quick glance at a few titles I have, the writing styles look different.  One of them, Love Drive, credits Snavely on the cover, but on the title page the book is called The Love Drive by Orrie Hitt, also listed that way in the back of book catalogue of a number of Kozy books I have.  I’m not sure yet if Love Drive is Orrie Hitt, haveb’t scrutinized yet, but it’s set in L.A., not Hitt territory. Could be Kozy had titled a Hitt book Love Drive and changed it in favor of Snavely…

The Big Flick is also set in L.A. and the film industry.  The protagonist is 20-something Terry Wilson, a young writer with a smash first novel and a collection of stories on th way.  An old college friend, Zip Zachery, has established himself as a hot young producer with a couple of hit indie films under his belt, and has brought his old buddy Wilson to Tinsel Town to write his next film.  What that film is is anyone’s guess — there is no script, not even a treatment or idea, as  Zachery has rounded investors and studio backing based on the strength of Wilson’s hit novel. He’s also casting small parts for actresses, in exchange for investment from parents and sex from the eager starlets.

Whoever wrote this odd little Hollywood novel wrongly packaged as a sleaze wank book knows the business of filmmaking and the seediness of behind-the-scenes machinations of sex, lies, and double-speak required to get stories on screen.

This is territory I know well myself, having dealt with producers, agents, actors, and other types in Tinsel Town. (See the indie flick I wrote, The Watermelon, now distributed on DVD and Blu-Ray; plus I have had published novels and screenplays optioned here and there,won some screenwriting and festival awards, have optioned and pitched TV pilots, had a short documentary screen at Cannes last May, and soon.) There are some scenes and situations in this book that ring true to my experience, and probably just about any other writer whose virgin eyes have been popped when the illusion of Hollywood is shattered like a cheap wine bottle, and the whole tawdriness and ugliness of how things really work is revealed like a drunk, old, and worn stripper in a dark hole-in-the-wall bar.

Why The Big Flick wound up with Kozy is anyone’s guess  — was the author unable to place it with a mainstream house?  It could have been a Dell, Avon, Pryamid, or Ace title at the time, companies that surely paid better than Kozy.

The sexual stuff is minimal, as the case usually is with some sleazecore books; the core is a well-written yarn of a reclusive literary author’s slow corruption with sex, booze, and drugs as people chase after dreams of the visual image on the silver screen and all the lies fame and fortune Hollywood presents to the neophyte, writer, actress, directors alike.  It is a business truly run by fast-talking “producers” who are two steps away from the label con artist or thief.

Although published decades before Robert Downey, Jr., there is a Downey-like character, a damn fine actor who keeps having to go to detox, running off sets with models and hookers, and just a mess…

Wilson is placed in a hotel room, then an  apartment, to write the script.  He has been assigned a “secretary” who takes care of his any sexual need, but he has his heart set on this actress, Harriett.  Eventually he moves in with her.

Zachery goes over budget and to get more money, he signs a three-film contract with the distributors to do some monster movies. “Find me a lizard!” he cries.

When the movie screens, Wilson thinks it’s horrible but the audiences like it, get gets more writing work, the reviews are good…he doesn’t understand how Hollywood can like the crap the movie came out as, but he takes the money, the actress, and the life…