February 2013

Posted by Carole Stuart on February 03, 2013

 

ED KOCH

When I heard the news of Ed Koch’s being hospitalized again last week, I looked out the window of my apartment in Ft. Lee at New York Presbyterian Hospital. I silently thought, “that’s probably the last time.” 

And so on February 1st, the news of Edward I. Koch’s death appeared on Page One of the New York Times, and went on at great length about his career.  Articles suggested Koch was both admired and detested, but all agreed he was one of the more colorful people in New York politics.

I knew him as one of our authors.   Barricade published his GIULIANI: NASTY MAN in 1991. It is a collection of articles Koch wrote for the New York Post and New York Daily News chronicling Giuliani’s two terms in office.  Koch thought Giuliani was a good administrator but believed he had a tyrannical streak, a nastiness, that was an impediment to effective governing.

We came to know Koch by way of Allen G. Schwartz, who was Lyle’s partner when Barricade Books started. Within a few years he was appointed a federal court judge and gave up his association with Barricade.

Allen was Koch’s law partner when they were both new attorneys.  They shared one desk, sitting opposite each other in a very modest office.  As Koch’s political career grew he promised Allen that one day Koch would be mayor of New York and Allen’s son, David, would have his bar mitzvah party in Gracie Mansion.  He kept that promise.

Allen remained one of Koch’s closest friends and after the first mayoral win, Koch called him the morning after his inauguration and asked Allen, “What job do you want?” Allen took only a moment to respond, ”Corporation Counsel,” and Koch granted him his wish. They remained great friends until Allen’s death in 2003.

Koch, who was remembered by many for his standby remark, “How’m I doing?” was a great promoter of himself and his books. We had a book signing for GIULIANI: NASTY MAN at Bookends, a terrific independent bookstore in Ridgewood, New Jersey, where he sold more than 160 copies.  People were lined up outside the store waiting to get in to buy a book and listen to his stories.

I will always remember him as a good guy.

 

SCIENTOLOGY….

A recent book, “GOING CLEAR: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief” by Lawrence Wright exposing the Church of Scientology just appeared on the New York Times best seller list high up on the non-fiction list. Good job!

Many of the readers of this blog will not be surprised that Barricade had its own expose of Scientology written by Bent Corydon and published in 1996.

Corydon had left Scientology and wrote about the Church as a number of other ex-Scientologists had done.  The run-up to publication was quite an adventure, much of it unpleasant.  I went with Lyle to the celebrity headquarters of Scientology in Hollywood where they put on a great show trying to convince him not to publish the book.  If you knew Lyle, you would know it only made him more eager to publish.  

In the months before publishing, Scientologists were turning up in the parking lot of our offices in Secaucus, N.J. and also in front of our apartment building in Fort Lee in an attempt to discourage bringing the book out.

They are determined “good soldiers” who work for their Church.  They use threats and intimidation against those who write about them in any negative way.  What they didn’t realize was that Lyle was fearless.  And, of course, Barricade published the book.

There’s an interesting aspect to the story.  When Lyle came out of military service after World War II, with the help of the G.I. Bill he took a few writing classes at New York’s New School.  In his class were such budding writers as William Styron, Mario Puzo and, yes, L. Ron Hubbard.  Hubbard, went on to his first success as a science fiction writer. But back then he said to Lyle,  “If you really want to get rich, you should start a religion.” 

Until next time

Carole

 

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Hot News January 2013

Posted by Carole Stuart on January 02, 2013

HOT NEWS  January, 2013

 

 

 

“And now let us welcome the New Year,

Full of things that have never been."

Rainer Maria Rilke

 

 

A brief look back… at 2012 and a hopeful look forward to 2013

 

HURRICANE SANDY

 

A disaster never before experienced by those who live in the Metropolitan New York, New Jersey, Long Island, Staten Island and nearby states. It destroyed many homes and businesses in places close to water where there was no power. Many homes are still uninhabitable.

 

 How weird it was in New York City where the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel was flooded with seawater.  Apartments at the Battery were disabled while at the same time the Upper West Side was another world entirely, untouched.  My view south from our apartment building, lucky not to lose power, was total darkness that persisted for more than a week.

 

“Sandy” brought forth the spirit of community and charity.  Friends who were displaced camped out in apartments that were not damaged by the storm. Just plain folks volunteered to help neighbors in any way they could --packed boxes of disaster relief goods ranging from diapers and soap to canned goods and blankets and baby toys. The New York Food Bank in the Bronx, The Community Food Bank of New Jersey are only two of many organizations, that were filled with volunteers. In the Bronx, at the end of one half day more than 1300 boxes were packed that would help 3000 people. That was just one day and one organization.  Many people got themselves to where help was needed – Staten Island, The Rockaways, Long Beach, The Jersey Shore… to lend a hand. 

 

 

 

DEPARTURES

 

Good people I knew died this past year - some I’ve already mentioned but are worth noting again.

 

Mike McGrady,

whose international best seller, NAKED CAME THE STRANGER Barricade published. A brilliantly choreographed hoax written by twenty-four newspaper reporters from Long Island’s Newsday, each writing a sexy, funny chapter in a book that became an international best seller.   He was also the  co-author of two books with Linda Lovelace: ORDEAL and OUT OF BONDAGE

 

Donald Smith,

in recent years started the Mabel Mercer Foundation that each year produces a week of cabaret music that has boosted the careers of performers like Karen Akers, KT Sullivan, Barbara Carroll, Steve Ross, and Andrea Marcovicci to name just a few.

 

In an earlier career Donald was a brilliant publicist.  Years ago Citadel Press published THEY HAD FACES THEN, an oversized coffee table book illustrated with photos of the most famous stars in Hollywood written by John Springer, also a top PR man. Donald arranged a party at the now gone Rainbow Room. There was non-stop music, dancing on the famous revolving dance floor and lavish food and drink. The hosts were Henry Fonda and Joan Crawford.  The cost: only $1500.  How he managed that, we never found out.

 

Donald was loved and charmed by many who were eager to sing a few songs and hope to become famous.  Many did.

 

 

Helen Gurley Brown,

whose SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL made history and was republished by Barricade Books along with SEX IN THE OFFICE, was not only a legend but a great gal.  She and her beloved husband, David Brown, were the nicest people and great sports.  We also published David’s THE REST OF YOUR LIFE IS THE BEST OF YOUR LIFE.  Both of them would willingly travel to towns far from New York City to promote their books.

 

Patrick (Bob) O’Connor,

who many knew as Pat, and was Uncle Bob to a large, loving family, was a legend in book publishing, having worked at Washington Square Press, Pinnacle Books, Popular Library, New American Library and Warner Books. (He certainly got around.) He published Ayn Rand, (Father) Andrew M. Greeley, Lincoln Kirstein and Janet Flanner among many others.

 

He wrote as well and in a memoir told the story of taking up skiing at the age of about 65.  A friend convinced him to try.  He described going down the easiest hill on skis as wide as ironing boards.  By the time he reached the bottom, he was hooked.

He soon became a ski instructor and for years took up winter residence at Killington in Vermont where, as he described, he specialized in teaching the old and infirm. 

 

He was funny, and smart and generous.  At his memorial his family talked about “Uncle Bob” who never forgot a birthday, sent cards and whatever else he thought might be of interest to a long list of friends and relatives, and was  a frequent visitor to his extended family of nieces and nephews. He was a poet too. His “No Poem for Fritz” was published in 1978 by Colorado Quarterly

 

 

ARRIVALS

 

Moving from the past to the present, I wish a big welcome to the babies of friends, and relatives and pals, some recently born, others a bit older. Their smooth faces and bright eyes and ready smiles should make us optimistic about the future. I only mention first names of the parents to honor their privacy, even if many are on Facebook for the world to see.

 

Jeff and Rachel welcomed twin boys Jack Thomas and Benjamin Marshall who are growing rapidly and keeping the family very busy.

 

Amy and Michelle‘s Conrad is not so little any more but is very cute.

 

Holly and Dan’s darling Talia Jeanne will always remind me of her grandma, Jeanne.

 

A bi-coastal baby girl made doting grandparents of Joan and Skip.

 

Matt and Dawn’s Sebastian and James are close cousins to Arianna and Billy’s son Benjamin – all west coasters who add to our extended family full of lively boys.

 

This list of children closes with my niece Carla’s twin boys, Daniel and Benjamin, growing and thriving and my daughter Jen and son-in-law Brad’s family of three boys, Dylan, Justin and Jackson whose little sister, Sloane completes their family.

 

 

Until next time, a poem by Patrick O’Connor from the above mentioned book:

 

 

 

                                                          GOING BLIND

 

Father Lynch, that wise and holy man, used to say

In the dark depths of the Saturday confessional:

“If you continue to masturbate you will go crazy.”

He was absolutely right.

God rest his soul…

 

 

 

 

My best wishes for a Happy New Year !

 

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You Can Dance a Tango…Easy

Posted by Carole Stuart on August 13, 2012

When Helen Gurley Brown’s name is mentioned, her famous ground-breaking book, SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL is always spoken in the same breath.  As it was in the obits for Helen who died this week (August 13th) at the venerable age of 90.   Her devoted husband, David Brown, died in 2010. He was 94.

I don’t know how many would associate Helen with Argentine tango, but here goes.

A few years ago, Helen and David, and Lyle and I, met for dinner.  Lyle went on about my obsession with tango.  I had been taking lessons for years with Paul Pellicoro and dressing up nights to go tango dancing. 

Helen was intrigued.  I made her an offer.  “I’ll treat you to a lesson with Paul.  He’s wonderful.  You’ll love it.”  She took me up on the offer.  I suggested she keep taking lessons with Paul, but being famously thrifty, she thought he charged too much.

Months later, on one of the morning television shows they were  doing a piece about how people can enjoy life at an age when most would be thinking of  retirement. 

And there was Helen.  And she was in a tight red dress.  On television. Doing the tango!  What a gal!

 

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OLD BOOKS, NEW AGAIN

Posted by Carole Stuart on June 10, 2012

 

After I wrote about Mike McGrady, there was a burst of interest in the book that Mike choreographed and became a best seller, NAKED CAME THE STRANGER.  After Hot News and the widespread report of his death, interest started coming in about the book.  As of this date we have made an arrangement for a digital edition to be rushed out by Jane Friedman’s dynamic new company, Open Road Media. There will also be an audio release by Audible.  Our edition has been available in the UK by Turnaround, our distributor. I expect they’ll see a bump in sales.  All in all, an old book has new life.

                                                             ****

What follows is a piece about a young man who worked for us for a brief time.

He was not the ordinary fellow. We were so impressed by Matt Kent, Lyle asked him to work for Barricade and he came on board as our youngest Publicity Director at the time, at the age of 22.  He was a very independent spirit.

Very creative, too.  We published his book “gasstationthoughts” demonstrating talent and a unique voice.  His employment didn’t last very long but we kept in touch.  Now 35, he has taken his writing career to the next level.  Although he still goes by his nom de plume, Wheeler Antabanez, Matt is making quite a name for himself these days writing for Weird NJ magazine.  His stories and videos about abandoned buildings have been featured regularly in the magazine and WNJ published a special issue about his adventures on the Passaic River.  The special edition called Nightshade on the Passaic follows Matt on his trips down the river in his canoe through urban blight and toxic pollution.  In his latest story for the magazine he recovers discarded gravestones from the banks of the Passaic River in Newark.  To find out more about Matt Kent's comings and goings take a look at his website. http://luckycigarette.com

 

                                                                        ****

 I close this Hot News with a piece about Paul Krassner,  a friend of many years.

For the very few people out there who don’t know the influence of Paul Krassner, I’ll bring you up to speed briefly.

 Paul started publishing “The Realist” in 1958. This free thought  ground-breaking satirical magazine drew its audience from the very hip readers and writers of the time.  He was a key figure in the counterculture of the 1960’s with Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters…and was a founding member of the Yippies.

 Paul was a protégé of Lenny Bruce whose autobiography, HOW TO TALK DIRTY AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE he edited. His bold face, trouble making friends included, Abbie Hoffman, Tim Leary, Mort Sahl to name only a few.

He very briefly edited Larry Flynt’s Hustler ­magazine but when Larry got shot, there was a cash-flow problem and Althea, Larry’s wife, had to fire him.

 I got to know Paul by way of Lyle when I started working as a gal-Friday (there’s a term you don’t hear these days) for Lyle Stuart, Inc.  Paul was working on another floor at 225 Lafayette Street sometimes surrounded by cartons. I was good friends with Jeanne Johnson Paul’s former wife and mother of Holly Krassner, their daughter.  Even after they were no longer together, they had an amicable relationship.  Jeanne and I worked together and Holly was an occasional baby sitter for Jenni, my daughter. (When I think about how Holly was only a few years older than Jen I can’t believe it. But she was a very mature kid. That’s Holly, not Jen.)

The article that follows was written by Paul about his 80th birthday. It is how the expanded and updated edition of his autobiography, "Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut: Misadventures in the Counterculture," will end. The new edition will be published by Soft Skull Press in October and will be available in an audio version produced by Audible. I admire Paul’s energy.  He’s just put the finishing touches on "The Best of Paul Krassner: 50 Years of Investigative Satire."

                                                            • • • •

 “When I mentioned to my daughter Holly that on April 9, 2012, I would be eighty years old, she said, “Dad, that’s crazy.”

         “I know,” I said, “but you can’t fight chronology.” To celebrate the occasion, we had a family reunion. My brother and his wife came from Maine, my sister came from Florida, and Holly and her husband Dan came from Napa with their adopted-at-birth three-month-old baby, Talia Jeanne Dawson. Holly and Dan had been present in the delivery room, and he cut the umbilical cord.

The highlight of my birthday was meeting my granddaughter for the first time. While I held Talia in my lap, Holly put the radio on for some music, and Talia started conducting. Holly turned the radio off and Talia stopped conducting. Holly turned the radio back on and Talia began conducting again.

I showed Holly The Onion’s review of the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards:

“The first ‘pre-show performance,’ by someone called Cobra Starship. Because I am very old, I experience a shiver of terror at the thought that they might be the latest iteration of the cryogenically frozen leftovers of Jefferson Airplane. They turn out to be a briskly paced anthology of everything I thought was cool when I was nine: shiny pants, sunglasses insouciantly thrown aside, fog machines, lots of G-rated writhing. I am not entirely sure that the disembodied head of Paul Krassner isn't directing all this from behind the wings . . .”

I remarked, “To become a joke reference is even a bigger honor than my PEN lifetime achievement award.”

And Holly said, “A good joke lasts longer than a lifetime achievement award.”

 

    Until next time…..

 Carole  

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STRANGER THAN NAKED - Mike McGrady

Posted by Carole Stuart on May 15, 2012

Mike McGrady, who had been a prizewinning reporter for Long Island’s Newsday died a few days ago in Lilliwaup, Washington.  He was 78.  Many readers of Hot News will know about NAKED CAME THE STRANGER, one of the most talked about literary hoaxes in America. It was supposedly written by a demure Long Island housewife but was actually a collection of tawdry, tacky, funny and sexy pieces written by 24 reporters who wrote for Newsday.  You can get the story of the book elsewhere but less known, and worth repeating, is how it all came about.

Mike came to the office of Lyle Stuart, Inc. and hatched the plan.  His sister-in-law, Billie Young, would bring the novel to our office and pose as the author.

Each chapter was written in the style of that reporter’s beat:  the crime reporter wrote about sex with a mobster, others wrote chapters about sex with a rabbi, a toll booth attendant and so on.  The aim was to write as bluntly and tackily as Jacqueline Susann and other similar novelists of the day.

Mike had promised the exclusive story to a handful of newspaper pals if they promised not to run it until he gave them the okay.  Well, the book started to sell…all by itself without revealing the truth.  Before long, he couldn’t hold off the reporters and stories appeared everywhere – nationwide newspaper coverage.  That was quickly followed by Walter Cronkite helicoptering out to Long Island to do an interview with however many of the writers Mike could wrangle.

I was a very young gal at the time doing publicity.  In most cases, publicity people have to beg and plead to get a story. In this case the phone never stopped ringing.  NBC, CBS, ABC, magazines, radio, television. It quickly went viral and soon there was international coverage and many foreign translations.  It was great fun.

The kicker was this.  When the contract was put together Lyle asked Mike if he had releases from everyone who participated in the book.  All told, there were 24 participants.  There are only 14 chapters in the book, but everyone of the group was part of the profits.

“What about your sister-in-law?” Lyle asked.  “Don’t worry about her, she’s family,” Mike said.

You might guess what happened next.  As the book took off, Billie Young (aka Penelope Ashe, the non-de-plume, refused to turn over the royalties.  Her name

was on the contract and she didn’t want any part of sharing.  Much family turmoil ensued but eventually it was sorted out.  I don’t think any of the 24 got rich but they got checks regularly for a long time.  Billie Young, having had a taste of literary fame went on to write her own books – using the name Penelope Ashe.

Mike was a delight.  He brought two more best sellers to us:  Linda Lovelace’s “Ordeal” and a follow up book, “Out of Bondage.” 

Farewell, friend.  It was a great time.

 

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