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Jane Dickson’s art reminds me of lively lonely nights in sleazy old Times Square…

I recently caught up with “All That Is Solid Melts Into Air,” an exhibit of paintings by Jane Dickson which bring to life the Times Square of the old sleazy era in the 80s and 90s. Her style is her own but its impact reminds me of Edward Hopper’s, evoked primarily through urban night scenes; as in Hopper’s works, deserted streets and places have a loneliness that’s not entirely sad, but also thoughtful, introspective, almost peaceful, and sometimes even inviting—as in this picture of a guy with a placard for a club called Dreams (I vaguely remember that club’s name, although I don’t remember if I ever went there)…

Jane Dickson: “Dreams” 2018

Dickson’s paintings in this excellent show at the James Fuentes Gallery on NYC’s Lower East Side (on display through February 17, 2019) feature a woman’s face looking through noirish Venetian blinds; a boy at a bus stop in an ominously red full face mask; a girl dancing in peep show with a customer on the other side (we get the peep show’s window eye view)…

Jane Dickson: “Peep,” 1992-96

 

There’s a painting of a low angle on a woman navigating a baby stroller down a stairs; the front of the big Peepland that was situated mid-block on the south side of 42nd between 7th and 8th Avenues; cops running on the street in some kind of frenzied police action; an evocation of the Terminal Bar that used to be (if I recall correctly) at 40th and 8th Avenue; and my favorite painting, showing a long hallway leading to the “employees only” area of a strip club, with a solitary half-naked dancer, almost out of eye view, leaning against the wall–you can almost imagine the rasping sound the linoleum would make beneath her high heels…

Jane Dickson: “Employees Only,” 2000

The colors of Dickson’s paintings and their varying sizes suggest indirectly a complex mix of personal emotions, those of the painter or (more vaguely) of the subjects of the pictures, just as Hopper paintings do for their era. One painting I also particularly liked, and one of the largest, was a vertiginous angle on the stairway/escalator leading downstairs in the old Nathan’s Hot Dogs that used to be at 43rd and Broadway…

Jane Dickson: “Nathan’s,” 1984-86

I went down that stairway many a time to eat a frank in the forlorn expanse of the lower level dining room (I lived in Times Square myself in the 80s, only a few blocks up).  This painting in particular reminds me how the old raunchy neighborhood (I never called it “The Deuce” myself back in the day) might have made you feel lonely, or was a place you went to hang out when you were already feeling lonely (or horny); but it didn’t necessarily make you feel ashamed of being lonely (or horny), as the new overly technological tourist-filled Disneyesque miasma of 21st century Times Square does for me. Once you were allowed to sit in your solitude in Times Square, perhaps feeling forsaken but not defective for not having a wife or family in tow; knowing that you could find distraction only steps away in any number of strip clubs or peep shows or in library-like adult bookstores where you could stand wordlessly side-by-side with other strangers and browse through assemblages of erotica that sometimes, depending on the particular store, could appear to the scholarly-minded almost Smithsonian in their range. After all, it was in places like this that I found rare mint copies of the original John Willie BIZARRE magazines from the 1940s, at prices so low it was clear the merchants had no idea of the value of what they were selling.

So if you have a casual interest, a deep nostalgia, or a fascinated yearning for the bygone Times Square depicted in HBO’s series The Deuce (see my own thoughts on the show here), check out Jane Dickson’s beautifully evocative paintings at the James Fuentes Gallery, located at 55 Delancey Street. Here is a link to more info, and another link to an interview with Ms. Dickson and a preview of the paintings. Also check out this interview by Ben Yakas in The Gothamist on the occasion of the publication of her book of street photography and art, Jane Dickson in Times Square, which you can find on Amazon here.

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Postscript: It’s funny, but I just realized, in looking this over as I was editing, that my selection of the pictures to illustrate this review really evokes a typical night for me back in the 80s or early 90s. I didn’t assemble the pictures consciously with this in mind, but studying them now I see how they match the pattern of my many lively lonely travels through Times Square. Seeing a guy advertising a club, I might have gone to the venue, or maybe first to a peep show, then to the club; later, in the strip joint and having had a few beers, I would invariably head to the men’s room and might well have seen a dancer having a cigarette back near an “Employees Only” area; and finally, having had my raunchy fun at the club (or even been disappointed, as could frequently happen), I’d stop at Nathan’s for a hot dog and Coke…a meal that could be lonely, yes, but also satisfying in a quasi-Romantic “I’m a lone wolf” kinda way…  😉 You know, “lone wolf” as in David Janssen in the great old 60s tv series The Fugitive? Except that I was probably just running away from having to spend too much time alone with myself…

But that’s the subject for another post someday.

 


All examples of the paintings shown here are by Jane Dickson, as displayed at the James Fuentes Gallery NYC January 16 through February 17, 2019.

 

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Silk stocking magazines set me off on the quest…

Silk stocking magazines…just the name is so evocative!

I’ve written here before how I’m always fascinated walking around Manhattan and remembering what occupied a particular space long ago. For example, this decrepit building at the northwest corner of 46th Street and Eighth Avenue housed a fantastic video store, DVD BLOWOUT, that sold obscure cult movies like stuff from Something Weird Video in addition to its hardcore porn; and next to it was the Full Moon Saloon, a place where I did a good amount of drinking back in the day…

This is what has replaced it: shiny, tall, and a hub for tourists.

I also remember, when I pass by an Asian noodle shop near the southwest corner of 49th St. and Eighth Avenue, that long ago in the 70s its space was occupied by a used magazine store, where I first came upon these magazines (scans taken from my own copies, some of which I’ve sold at memorabilia shows):

I recall asking the slender gray-haired middle-aged guy behind the counter near the door what these magazines were. I had never seen these publications before, packed with the nylon-sheathed ladies of the late 40s and 50s. “They’re called ‘silk stocking magazines,’ ” he said. Amazingly, they were only $2.50 or $3.00 a piece, so I bought three or four. Now they go for about $25 a piece, even in just good, not necessarily, great condition. They’re hard to find. BEAUTY PARADE, TITTER, FLIRT…these are the titles of the mags in which Bettie Page and other popular models frequently appeared. They were published by Robert Harrison, who later in the 50s went on to great notoriety with the scandal-mongering CONFIDENTIAL magazine.

Little did I know that my lifelong quest to collect vintage girlie mags and endless pinups had begun! I still have the copy of FLIRT, which I bought in 1977 from the late Art Amsie, the dealer and collector who was a cornerstone of the pinup revival, and who even photographed Bettie Page himself. It’s a mint copy which I’ve only looked at a few times, wanting to keep it in as perfect condition as possible—not because it’s worth so much, I probably couldn’t get more than $100 for it; it’s just nice to have an issue so well-preserved from so long ago, when most of them are so fragile they fall apart as you turn the pages. You can read my profile of Art Amsie here.

You can see how un-seriously these mags were treated by some folks before the interest in pinups was renewed in the early 80s. The price $3.00 was casually scrawled on the gorgeous Peter Driben-painted cover of TITTER, along with the date!

If you’re interested in seeing more of these covers and the insides of the mags, look on Amazon here for a Taschen book called 1000 PIN-UP GIRLS, and your orbs will get their fill of the fillies! Note their variant spelling of “pin-up.” Me, I always spell it “pinup.” 😉

 

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FATE OF A STRIPPER: when she goes too far~~

In the coming year 2019 I’m going to try to get my novel FATE OF A STRIPPER out there to more readers. It’s a damn good piece of work but so far has not found the audience it deserves. I may also make it available in a paperback edition as well as in the current ebook format.

Check out the lengthy free sample right here, below, and see what you think…it’s not porn, not erotica, but a psychological suspense story about a young woman who goes too far in trying to control her life, and the older guy she gets mixed up with.

For the time being, it’s still only $2.99, and can be read on phones, tablets, computers, and of course on Kindles.

What a great movie it would make, too!

 

 
 

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The unattainable fruit of his sin!

Should she damn him or thank him? When Ginny’s husband Rafe strays for the first time in their eight-year marriage, she punishes him by transforming herself from a nerd into a mouthwatering blonde hottie whom he can’t possess. True, it wasn’t right for Rafe to cheat on her, but his sin did provide Ginny the initial impetus for an amazing transformation…and to truly torment Rafe, newly gorgeous Ginny simply refuses to have sex with him, although she allows him to masturbate sometimes while he watches her work out…

This is the plot of my sexy crazy and funny new femdom erotica ebook REVENGE THRU FITNESS, available worldwide in the Kindle stores on Amazon. Read it on your phones, Kindles, laptops, and tablets. Check out the free sample here!

Her desperate husband comes up with an idea to bring them back together. It involves a little pink sock…

 


The incredible cover image, a stock photo which inspired me to come up with this storyline, was done by photographer “indiraswork” whose portfolio can be found here. Check it out!

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2018 in Amazon.com, ebooks, Erotica, Femmes Fatale, Kindle

 

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The “sex workers at work” genre in films and fiction…

One of my favorite sub-genres of film and fiction is the “sex workers at work” story–examining the mundane details of the jobs people do in erotic businesses. (By “sex work” I mean the most general use of the term, including all kinds of adult endeavors including stripping.) I thought about this when I saw an interesting film the other night from the 1940s: Glamour For Sale, about the women working for escort agencies and clubs.

This film was shown on Turner Classic Movies during its Anita Louise day as part of TCM’s August 2018 “Summer Under the Stars” programming.

It wasn’t a great movie, but I loved one detail of how the B-girls operated the drink hustle, as explained by Anita Louise’s character: they would get brandy in a glass, and soda in a second glass. They’d sip the brandy with a straw, and then move the straw to the soda glass and let out the brandy. That way they didn’t get drunk. When the waiter came by, he would take both glasses away and, if the customer agreed, bring a fresh pair of brandy and soda glasses to the hostess. It was hoped that the customer would never be wise to the fact that the hostess was not actually imbibing the expensive drink.

This practice degenerated in the 1970s and early 80s, when I was going to strip clubs that heavily featured the drink hustle: the dancer (who would hustle drinks when she wasn’t onstage) would sip her champagne but then spit it, literally and obviously, into a second, and empty, tall glass. (For some reason or other, I remember how those tumblers were made of frosted glass.) In this way it was clear that the thing the customer was actually paying for was her time, and not the “champagne.” Unless the girl chose to actually drink it, which occasionally happened too.

Two of the X-rated films I wrote in the 1990s were of the “sex workers at work” genre: Masseuse 2 and Masseuse 3.

This was one of my most personal screenplays, inspired by Japanese movies about brothels such as Mizoguchi’s Street of Shame. The masseuse’s story enabled me to explore my own feelings about working in the erotic business.

 

This won Best Film in 1998 from the X-Rated Critics Organization. It has some intense scenes exploring femdom themes.

 

In both of these original stories (not related in any way to the original hit The Masseuse or to each other except in title) I tried to weave as many little details about the actual work of masseuses as I knew into the dramas. I guess I succeeded as the films were very successful and continue to be watched more than twenty years after they were made. I even had a small and funny little role in Masseuse 3 as a lapdance customer. You can find it at this adults-only link here under the scene title of “Sexy Chicks Eat Pussy and Finger Each Other.”

Also, my scripts for Sweetie Baby and Boom Boom Valdez depicted both the jobs and personal lives of topless dancers and, in the case of former, a waitress at a strip club:

And of course my psychological suspense novel Fate of a Stripper (see sample here)  includes all sorts of details about the stripping profession which I gathered from the dancers themselves through the many years I hung out in those clubs, and through the hundreds of hours of interviews I did with strippers for various adult magazines.

I wouldn’t be surprised if, one of these days, I wrote yet another story examining some aspect of the erotic trade…

 

 

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Mostly kinky, but with a dash of vanilla!

You guessed it–I’m talking about my writing in the title! 😉 We can discuss my personal life another time, or you can just read a few of my femdom ebooks to get a sense of that—my predilections, that is, if not all my actual experiences. 😮

So here’s a little update on what I’ve been working on lately…

I pride myself on being a versatile erotica writer. My freelance jobs include everything from articles to fiction to interviews to reviews to video/model descriptions to social media (Twitter). And whatever other new interesting projects that come up in the ever-evolving world of erotica.

With the decline of the adult magazine business, I’ve concentrated on my online work. One enjoyable assignment recently was the copy for the webcam chatroom site MistressCamShow.com. I wrote the copy for many sites like this, but I particularly like the heading of this landing page copy, which was fun to write. Fun to read aloud, too…

I also work well with tags and keywords and SEO (Search Engine Optimization), blending them all seamlessly into the paragraphs to lift the sites in the Google rankings. The subject matter of my recent writing is mostly kinky, but with a nice hearty dash of vanilla, too: a recent project on the vanilla end of the spectrum (and I like the flavor vanilla, by the way) was writing all the copy for the excellent new pretty girl site EroticDesire.com.

 

Shifting from lovely young women in the open air to those tightly bound on the floor of a mysterious warehouse, I’ve also done a lot of video descriptions for the provocative BDSM women-in-bondage site FetishPros.com:

I obviously still like to do magazine writing when I can get it. Most adult magazines have ceased publishing, but here and there I find a print publication I can write for. Nothing like having copies of your work to hold in your hands! One of my specialties is doing interviews (I estimate I’ve done around a thousand over the years, primarily for magazines such as Leg Show, Black Tail, Swank, D-Cup, and Fox), and a recent one I’m proud of was with the online dominatrix and clip producer Princess Sheridan, in a recent issue of Forced Womanhood magazine, issues of which you can find here. This publication focuses primarily on the “forced feminization” fantasy, which I discussed with Sheridan, as well as her other femdom interests in a broad survey of her career. Here are the first two pages of the piece…Sheridan always makes me think of feisty Pre-Code Hollywood actresses like Barbara Stanwyck, transplanted to the modern world of kink. One of the most memorable people I’ve ever profiled. (Her website is here.)

 

As of this writing (early August 2018), I’m involved also in the editing of the upcoming issue of Forced Womanhood, as well as doing a very exciting new feature interview for it, about which I’ll write more in a few weeks when it hits both the brick-and-mortar and digital newsstands.

Another of my ongoing assignments is doing the daily Twitter for the femdom site DommeAddiction.com here. I write about the various dominatrices the site covers, ladies largely involved in the BDSM video clip scene. The DA Twitter can be found at @DommeAddiction here. A few samples…

 

Finally, as ever, I write and sell erotica ebooks on Amazon…Blonde Meets Bookworm is the most recent. And I continue to promote my psychological suspense novel Fate of a Stripper on Amazon too. You can find them all here at the U.S. Kindle store, and they are also available at the Amazon Kindle stores worldwide.

 

So that’s a quick update on some of the things I’ve worked on recently. I’m always ready for new and interesting challenges in my trade—erotica. You can contact me via the email address in my full portfolio elsewhere on this blog here, or via Twitter at @irvoneil here.

I look forward to helping you with your projects!–Irv

Awaiting a hamburger at the diner. Pic by my good buddy Dave!

 

 

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January 29, 2018: the 45th anniversary of my moving to New York

I moved to New York City for keeps on January 29, 1973. That was the day I got in a U-Haul with a college girlfriend and drove from the Midwest to the Big Apple, as it was popularly known back then (I don’t hear that moniker used much anymore). We arrived the next day and checked into a residential hotel on the Upper West Side, but I always date my “New York Adventure” as starting on January 29th.

Actually I’d been here the two previous summers, working part-time jobs and living at the YMHA, and with my father’s side of the family in Brooklyn and New Jersey, the area was always part of my life even though I grew up in Chicago.

I came to NYC hoping to get into the film business but when that didn’t work out I shifted to writing. Sold my first porn novel in the fall of 1974 and the rest, as the saying goes, is “history”—the personal history described in many of the earlier posts on this blog.

Of course dotted throughout the city are the landmarks that have a personal meaning to me. For example, on the ever-changing 42nd Street, between Broadway and 6th Avenue, is the Bush Tower, squarely in the shadowy center of this picture…

That was the address from where such legendary “big boob” girlie magazines such as BUF and GEM were published back in the day. Circa 1978 I sent the company an article about collecting movie soundtracks, a “socially redeeming” feature as they used to be called in that era when sex magazines had to run non-erotic items to appease the censors. One day out of the blue the publisher sent me a check for $40 for the article, and I believe that was the only time in my writing career when I sold an unsolicited piece via the “slush pile.” The rest of the time I’ve written either on assignment or expressly for an editor who was favorably inclined to my work.

So every time I walk past Bush Tower I think of that lovely $40 and how nice it was to make that sale!

Nowadays of course. along with writing for porn websites and the occasional sex magazine that is still around, I’ve become a publisher of some of my own stuff, both of my femdom erotica here

 

…and of my full-length novel FATE OF A STRIPPER here. Although to my disappointment it has not sold well, I’m proud of the novel and keep promoting it, hoping it will eventually find an audience for its very New York story of the relationship between an unbalanced lonely stripper and her lonely lovestruck customer, a noir tale flavored with some passionate descriptions of Times Square and its remaining strip joints.

And as ever I continue to enjoy wandering about the city, taking pictures like the ones in this post, inspired by the surprising urban vistas just for their own sake and as possible backdrops for new fiction.

For example, I wonder what kind of an erotic story I can come up with from the picture below…as in, what fictional characters might I imagine living on this street, and how might they satisfy their lusty cravings? 😉

 

 

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