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Category Archives: Pulp fiction art

Elizabeth Taylor and The Cleavage of Cleopatra…

Elizabeth Taylor’s epic starring vehicle Cleopatra came out in June 1963, but I didn’t see it until 1964, for a fifty cent ticket on its third run in a small theater on the North Side of Chicago. I was almost thirteen years old. I remember thinking the movie was pretty good, even though people had said negative things about it. And I remember saying at the time that fifty cents was really a good price to pay for a four hour trip into the ancient world!

I hadn’t seen the whole film again since, so when Turner Classic Movies ran it the other night I gave it a watch from start to finish. I enjoyed it, although I didn’t think it was a great film. But its mix of politics, romance and spectacle was absorbing.

But what most struck me now was how it was quite a showcase for Taylor’s cleavage.

The admiring fellow is, of course, Richard Burton as Mark Antony.

I wonder now how that cleavage affected me back in 1964. Cleavage displayed like this was not something that I saw much of growing up in the sexually conservative Jewish middle class neighborhood of West Rogers Park. So the constant focus on boobie vistas in Cleopatra may well have blown my mind at that tender, impressionable age. As it also did in June 2019 when I watched the film again from beginning to end.

As Cleopatra gives Caesar daring political advice, Mark Antony (out of frame) falls for her hard.

Now I can’t help but think that Cleopatra may have had something to do with my utter fascination with cleavage in recent years, a fascination which really didn’t start until I was in my late forties/early fifties after I got an amazing lapdance from a stripper with two utterly beautiful large natural breasts. Until then, I think a fetish for cleavage existed “underground” in my subconscious, and I’m not sure of the reason(s) why. Perhaps the ubiquity of cleavage in the media and on the street nowadays is what brought it back to the surface for me, big time.

Cleopatra in her regal finery, cleavage dazzlingly displayed!

 

In any case, I therefore conclude that perhaps my long-ago viewing of Cleopatra on that fifty cent ticket (plus a dime for buttered popcorn) had something to do with my writing of femdom erotica ebooks like this one…available on Amazon here…try the free sample just by clicking…

One of my best femdom ebooks. Yolanda is charmingly merciless with her “boob for boobies,” the haplessly cleavage-addled Orwell Jarvis.

 

…and the imprinting of Cleopatra’s CleavageScope (oh, that’s just my silly invented word!) probably had something or other to do with my ever-burgeoning admiration for the gorgeous and b-b-busty Goddess Lycia, about whom you can learn m-m-more here. And I want to emphasize that her talents are by no means limited to her sharing tantalizing glimpses of her, um, her c-c-cleavage, but are but one aspect of her entrancing hypnodomme erotic powers as conveyed through her skillful writings, striking images, intoxicating videos, and especially her mind-enrapturing audio files. For adults only, of course.

Goddess Lycia is a true Mistress of the Selfie as well as of men’s minds.

 

Back in the early 2000s, there was a magazine entitled Cleavage put out by one of the publishers I worked for. It never seemed to hit big, perhaps because the magazine showed full bare breasts, instead of obsessively concentrating on the tease of cleavage alone. Although it probably wouldn’t have been practical on the marketplace to do an adult magazine without showing some bare tits and nipples, I would have photo-edited it very, very carefully to emphasize tease over exposure and nudity. And given the way I feel about cleavage, it might have been a success like the other fetish magazines I did for many years: the ass-crammed Cheeks (1988-2005), the toe-and-sole utopia of Leg World (2004-2010), and the mature ladies sexual paradise of Girls Over 40 (1988-2008).

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Images of Goddess Lycia are ©GoddessLycia and used by courtesy of Goddess Lycia. Screencaps of Cleopatra, 1963, by yours truly. And the photographer’s credit for my ebook Rule By Cleavage is prominently displayed right on the excellent cover above.

 

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The great face-slapping fetish novel of the 1940s

I took some time off over Memorial Day weekend, urgently needed relaxation. I saw friends, watched movies, took some walks, and sat in the pleasant spring shade and read…

The book was wild and grim…

 

…but the day was sunny and warm.

 

BEHOLD THIS WOMAN was noir specialist David Goodis’ melodramatic saga in richly entertaining purple prose about Clara Ervin, a malignant, monstrous narcissist of a woman, who dominates her husbands with all the techniques at her disposal: lush redheaded beauty, entrancing eyes, a mindfucking manner of taking control of conversations, an erotic style of cigarette smoking, and most dangerous of all, a penchant for doing whatever it takes—from cuckoldry to murder—to get where she feels she deserves to be in prestige, money, and luxury.

But what makes BEHOLD THIS WOMAN even more extraordinary, and it’s something I haven’t seen written about before (although I may have missed it since so much has been written about Goodis since the rediscovery of his work here in America in the 80s with the Black Lizard reprints): this is also a fetish novel, and the fetish is face-slapping.

Now, I had first read this novel around 1996, when I got my copy at a paperback collector’s show. Oddly, though, in the intervening years I just seemed to remember that Clara had just slapped around her defeated husband, backhanding him too. But when I re-read the novel Memorial Day weekend, I discovered anew that Clara not only slapped her husband, but also her lover and her stepdaughter, and repeatedly, in long richly detailed scenes that (as a writer of fetish fiction myself, of course) I recognized as designed to be erotic, definitely for the author and for all other connoisseurs of face slapping action. The result of all the slapping is to so discombobulate her victims that they are then ripe for “Stockholm syndrome” style capitulation to her control, wherein they turn from fear to zombie-like submission to her will—and even a sick kind of adoration or love (in the case of the stepdaughter). Although in the case of her husband, the face-slapping does wake him up to the true nature of this woman by whom he was once so entranced. The scene of their first date, wherein she entices him both with her eyes and cigarette smoking, is a classic of subtle seduction by a dominant female over a susceptible male.

In the intervening years since I first read the novel I also became far more knowledgeable about the femdom and fetish comic art of Eric Stanton, particularly where women are fighting other women or abusing men—and BEHOLD THIS WOMAN has the equivalent in scenes so vividly described it’s almost as if they’re drawn, not written, because you can see them so clearly. Clara Ervin would not be out of place in a Stanton story of female domination. There is a physical confrontation between Clara and her stepdaughter that could have been drawn by Stanton.

This vintage drawing by Stanton, which was posted online at Twitter by the German writer/photographer/model Pitt Prickel here, perfectly captures the kind of face-slapping with which the book is filled:

This is the kind of feminine fury captured in Goodis’ prose. I wonder if Goodis knew of Stanton’s 1950s and 1960s artwork, which came long after the 1947 publication of Behold This Woman. It’s possible.

 

This bizarre and entertaining novel—which is also very alarming and disturbing in its relentless portrayal of how narcissistic personalities manipulate and conquer more reasonable  types of people—came out in 1947, the same year as BORN TO KILL, a film noir starring Claire Trevor as another psychopathic female. Goodis was working out in Hollywood as a screenwriter at the time, and as I read the book it occurred to me that Claire Trevor would have been perfect casting as Clara Ervin. And Phillip Terry, who played her handsome, even-tempered fiance in BORN TO KILL, could have been excellent casting as Clara Ervin’s besotted and befuddled lover Leonard in a film version. But it was never made. Here is the poster for BORN TO KILL; Claire Trevor really looks like the embodiment of Goodis’ femme noir, although since Clara as described is a bit on the plumper side, Trevor would have had to pack on a few more pounds to be letter perfect physically.

BEHOLD THIS WOMAN is currently out of print, and that’s a crime in itself. This saga belongs in an affordable reprint edition or ebook so more people can see what it takes to stop a narcissist like Clara Ervin: a comeuppance so grotesque it borders on something out of Hieronymous Bosch! Which isn’t a spoiler because damn you know it’s coming and hell you know Clara deserves it!

Here are two other editions of BEHOLD THIS WOMAN. First, the 1949 Bantam paperback cover:

The man looks suitably awed and astonished but Clara looks too svelte and posed here.

 

And this is the original dust jacket of the 1947 hardcover. This perfectly captures Clara’s red hair and charismatic and overpowering personality, but she still a bit too trim! The book definitely describes her as curvy and plush in her contours and flesh.

Clara Ervin: master manipulator of men and women, and one of David Goodis’s most memorable creations.

 


If you’d like to read more about David Goodis and the strange backstory of how he came to write BEHOLD THIS WOMAN after an unhappy marriage to a woman who, apparently, intensely teased and dominated him, you can find the story in the legendary 1984 French biography Goodis: A Life in Black and White by Philippe Garnier, which is now available in a recent English translation here.

And visit a webpage here , which I just found, that gives excerpts of BEHOLD THIS WOMAN that give a good flavor of Clara Erwin’s dominating power.

And if you want to learn more about Eric Stanton, check out Richard Pérez Seves’ incredible new book Eric Stanton and the History of the Bizarre Underground here.

 

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READ ABOUT THE STRIPPER…who loves her own way!

For your spring and summer reading pleasure, get your copy now! Only $2.99 on Kindle, available at Amazon stores worldwide, and you can read it on your phones, ebook readers, computers and tablets.

Enjoy the free sample (link below the cover) and read some of the reviews…

Review by P. Slim:

Review by Kandy Kane:

And the latest review from famed dominatrix SpoiltPrincessG. Check out her site here for more! Adults only, please.

She enjoyed it so much that…she’s going to read again on her next trip! I’m in good company as some of her other favorite authors are Anne Rice and Charles Dickens…

So it’s about time…for your own FIRST TIME …with Valerie…in FATE OF A STRIPPER.

A novel of psychological suspense!

 

 

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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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Hail the Great Tower of the Mighty Queen!

A few months ago I entered an online contest at the Westgate Gallery in Los Angeles; the task was to come up with a storyline for a sexploitation film of which there only remained a title and a poster. To my delight, I won, received some store credit, and got to pick any poster I wanted. Not surprisingly for me, given my love for the ancient and the lurid, I selected something from the sword-and-sandal genre: Slave Queen of Babylon, Italian title Io Semiramide (for Semiramis, the legendary queen of the title).

A poster worthy of an epic film! Dig that mighty tower, and her obedient minions in the shadows behind her.

 

I’ve never actually seen this entire movie; it’s posted on YouTube, but only in Italian, so I figured I’d wait until a dubbed or English-subtitled version showed up. Although we can get a lot from the visuals in these movies, I like following the nuances of plot through the usual pithy dialogue in these flicks…

Anyway, although I tweeted about this contest and poster after I won last April, I never got around to blogging about it until now. The poster is very large; from top to bottom, it could take up almost the length of a wall; but I hope sometime to rearrange my apartment and have it framed and displayed, and then invite my friends over to join me in worshiping Semiramis. 😉

Here’s a little quote from an old book telling you about this mighty lady:

That tower in the poster looks a lot more interesting than the ones going up in Manhattan nowadays! Maybe we need a reincarnation of Semiramis to work on the skyline here before it just becomes stuffed with more boring glass phalli.

Be sure to check out the Westgate Gallery. They have a lot of cool stuff!

 

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I miss my floozies…

I have a friend, George, with whom I’ve sometimes watched films noir. He has an endearing habit of saying, “Here’s the floozy music,” whenever the music on the soundtrack obviously indicates the entrance of a so-called tramp or femme fatale.

Well, I don’t need music to know when I’m in the presence of a floozy. I use the term affectionately, meaning to me “a woman of the demimonde.” Strippers are my chief floozies, although in my time I’ve known some nice hookers too. But with the decline of the adult magazine business in which I worked for more than 40 years, and the greater difficulty of making a buck as a porn writer online, I just don’t have the disposable ca$h to spend time with “floozies” much anymore.

That’s one reason why I enjoy noir films and noir novels…I get to spend time with floozies without going over my budget. 😉 (Can you tell I drank a 24 ounce can of ready-made margaritas before writing this post?)

While I drank the margaritas I watched Joan Bennett in 1948’s Hollow Triumph on TCM’s Noir Alley series, although in this film Joan is not particularly floozy-ish. I love Joan Bennett, her tart affectionate dames are just my cup of tea, and I’ve known a few in my time, especially barmaids at the old Times Square strip clubs like the late lamented Club 44 on Eighth Avenue near 44th Street. I sometimes have a gloomy disposition, after all I am a kind of noir guy myself; and one of the Club 44 barmaids, a older Brazilian lady named Elizabeth, used to try to cheer me up by giving me clippings to read, in a plastic baggie, of humorist and toastmaster Joey Adams’s joke columns from the New York Post.

Anyway, I digress. Here are a couple of recent novels I’ve read that had their happy share of floozies…

This cover scene is actually in the 1952 book, as a streetwalker tries to pick up the detective hero at 51st and 6th Avenue, a location I know quite well. But although a nice interlude, the sequence feels inserted into the story simply to justify the cover; it’s not pertinent to the plot, which is a pretty good one about political corruption in NYC.

 

This is a really tense 1954 novel about two gay drifters who kidnap a narcotics agent as he drives out to Los Angeles after a undercover job on the New Orleans docks. It has two well-drawn floozy portrayals, one of an affectionate stripper involved with the agent in the Big Easy, and the other of a not-too-bright but good-hearted female drifter from Tennessee who gets swept up by one of the male drifters, who is bisexual.

 

When I wolfed down these fun books, I got to enjoy the company of classic-style noir floozies. You can easily meet the two dames in Death Hitches a Ride by checking out the double-novel reprint at Sinister Cinema’s Armchair Fiction line here. It’s a really well-done story, and in fact I read it twice for the way it builds character and tension; the only flaw is that the ending is a bit too abrupt. But the characterizations are terrific. I wonder whatever happened to author Martin L. Weiss—a very talented fictioneer indeed.

 

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Christmas Classic For Kinksters!

It’s funny, I was just belly-aching the other night that I hadn’t gotten any comments on my blog lately, when the next day I saw that I had indeed just gotten a new comment, and quite a nice one, on my story DEPARTMENT STORE DOMINA which can be found by clicking above on the link COMPLETE SHORT STORY just under the logo.

“I cannot tolerate sexual harassment of college girls by my department store Santas!”

 

Here’s the comment. Thank you, Gina!

Funny how the Internet can sometimes take us to a place totally different than where we first intended to go. Gina has a point about the candy cane, too; it probably could have been teak instead of rattan, painted the bright holiday colors. Painful either way, though, no doubt, when applied to a miscreant Santa’s buttocks.

Spurred by Gina’s comment, I hunted down the quote she was looking for, too, and I put a link to the answer in my reply to Gina’s comment on the short story page.

It’s a holiday story, yes, subversive in some ways I guess, but melancholy and horny in the manner I often feel around the holidays. Check it out, and if you like it, maybe to go to Amazon here and explore some of my ebooks too. I have a new one out, BLONDE MEETS BOOKWORM (here is a link to a free preview) that has some of the same introspective yet erotic feel, although it takes place in the summer.

And as you can see when you look at this new book as well as my entire “Irv O. Neil Erotic Library” here, I’ve moved on from crudely drawing my own covers in the old school style of sleazy Times Square porn pamphlets to instead purchasing rights to beautiful images from a stock house! You can see the portfolio of talented artist kharlamova, whose image I used for BLONDE MEETS BOOKWORM, here.

It’s not a femdom story, as most of my ebooks are, but it has some kinky elements toward the end, as you’ll see…

 

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