Ask Dr. Mueller: The Writings of Cookie Mueller

Overview

"Ask Dr. Mueller" captures the glamour and grittiness of Cookie Mueller's life and times. Here are previously unpublished stories—wacky as they are enlightening—along with favorites from "Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black" and other publications. Also, the best of Cookie's art columns from "Details" magazine, and the funniest of her advice columns from the East Village Eye, on everything from homeopathic medicine to how to cut your cocaine with a healthy substance. This collection is as much autobiography as it is a map of
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Overview

"Ask Dr. Mueller" captures the glamour and grittiness of Cookie Mueller's life and times. Here are previously unpublished stories—wacky as they are enlightening—along with favorites from "Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black" and other publications. Also, the best of Cookie's art columns from "Details" magazine, and the funniest of her advice columns from the East Village Eye, on everything from homeopathic medicine to how to cut your cocaine with a healthy substance. This collection is as much autobiography as it is a map of downtown New York in the early '80s—that moment before "Bright Lights, Big City," before the art world exploded, before New York changed into a yuppie metropolis, while it still had a glimmer of bohemian life.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
About a third of the pieces in this collection of work by late wild-woman-cum-actress-cum-art-critic-cum-advice-columnist Mueller have not been published before. The rest derive from small-press books and from her columns in Details and the East Village Eye. Mueller was exposed to several zeitgeists, and here she provides interesting glimpses of San Francisco in the '60s, Provincetown in the '70s and New York in the '80s. She has a certain hipness (augmented here by an introduction from John Waters), but following her scatterbrained style is trying, and ultimately she is never quite as funny or original as she thinks she is. In an essay about her appearances in Waters's films, Mueller takes her artistic persona a little too seriously and tells how she picked up acting technique by watching Divine at work. An essay about dropping acid in San Francisco meanders along with cameo appearances by Charles Manson and the Grateful Dead. She is easily impressed by bad behavior, thrilling to a Brooklyn man's confession of murder or excitedly recalling how she smuggled drugs into Germany in 1981 by stashing them in a padded bra. In her health column, which ran in the East Village Eye during the '80s, Mueller doled out advice and information, instructing a reformed drug user to take up painting to make money and revealing that cocaine can be lethal; but learning in the preface that she wrote her own questions is disappointing. Her self-conscious art reviews from Details are amusing in that they rarely mention the work under consideration. Mueller died of AIDS-related complications in 1989. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Mueller (1949-89) was a writer, underground actress, and world vagabond. Having come of age in the late Sixties, she did drugs, cruised the New York City art scene, and bummed rides. This compilation of Mueller's semiautobiographical essays, columns, and fiction begins with nine previously unpublished pieces and includes stories from an earlier collection, Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black (Autonomedia, 1990). There are also excerpts from a humorous, unorthodox medical-advice column that Mueller fabricated for readers of the East Village Eye and reprints of an anecdotal column she wrote as an art commentator for Details magazine. Her unabashed reflections reveal her to be a talented social critic made wise by her subcultural life. Her stories are amusing, unpretentious, and sometimes lewd, providing insight into a risky, bygone lifestyle that the more adventurous baby-boomers will recall with nostalgia. Recommended for all general collections.-Carol A. McAllister, Coll. of William & Mary Lib., Williamsburg, Va.
Kirkus Reviews
Engaging, depressing, and remarkably free of artifice, these vignettes of 1980s low life by the late downtown actress and performance artist may not succeed in capturing her scene as well Henry Miller did his—but they make an impressive attempt.

Mueller died in 1989 of AIDS, but she left behind a considerable body of fiction and journalism on the wildly inventive, indulgent (and frequently self-destructive) '70s and '80s. A nice suburban girl from Maryland, she dropped out early and in the mid-1960s ran away to Haight-Ashbury. After some time there (and in a few mental wards), she came back to Baltimore and began hanging out with John Waters, who was just then starting to set up one of the strangest shops the movie world had yet to see. Mueller's career in show business began with Pink Flamingoes, Waters's masterpiece of tasteless excess that seems, with its coprophiliac climax, to have lost none of its shock value in the intervening years. After that, she became a part of Waters's entourage, moving with Divine and the rest of his crew to New York or Provincetown or farther afield as their whims or fortunes suited them. Most of Mueller's account is a straightforward autobiography, and even the fictionalized segments (with such titles as "Abduction & Rape—1969" or "Sam's Party—1979") seem to be narratives of actual events. For a while Mueller wrote pieces for Details and the East Village Eye, and some of those included here—like an advice column on how to shoot up properly—could have been consigned to oblivion without much loss. But the portrait of the author that emerges in general—a humorous, self-destructive, intelligent, self-sufficient, strangely likable young woman—is compelling enough to overcome the many gaps in this spotty and rambling narrative.

Essential reading for bohos, dropouts, and poseurs of every stripe and era.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781852423315
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail Publishing Ltd
  • Publication date: 2/28/1996
  • Series: High Risk Books Series
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.01 (w) x 8.01 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
No Credit, Cash Only - Baltimore, 1967 1
John Waters and the Blessed Profession - 1969 10
Provincetown - 1970 15
Jamaica - 1975 21
The Stone of New Orleans - 1983 30
Out of the Bottle and Into a Danish Remedy 40
The Italian Remedy - 1982 46
Dogs I Have Known 54
Another Boring Day 58
The Mystery of Tap Water 66
Brenda Losing 67
The One Percent 71
A Last Letter 78
Two People - Baltimore, 1964 81
Haight-Ashbury - San Francisco, 1967 84
The Pig Farm - Baltimore & York, Pennsylvania, 1969 94
Abduction and Rape - Highway 31, Elkton, Maryland, 1969 102
Sailing 114
The Birth of Max Mueller - September 25, 1971 121
Pink Flamingos 127
British Columbia - 1972 135
Go-Going - New York & New Jersey, 1978-79 145
Sam's Party - Lower East Side, NYC, 1979 155
The Berlin Film Festival - 1981 163
My Bio - Notes on a American Childhood 172
Fan mail, Frank Letters, and Crank Calls 178
Cookie Mueller 199
Alien - 1965 201
Breaking into Show Bizz 202
Waiting for the New Age 205
Edith Massey: A Star 208
Tattooed Friends 212
Female Trouble 216
Divine 220
Fleeting Happiness 223
The Homeless 226
Ask Dr. Mueller (from East Village Eye) 229
Art and About (from Details magazine) 247
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2007

    Ask Dr. Mueller: The Writings of Cookie Mueller

    Unsurmountable example of bravura at its finest. Great detail of an intriguing woman's life. Mueller's persona is bolstered with her many descript accounts of life and times. Excellent. Familiar to 'On the Road' but more visceral and introspective!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2007

    Ask Dr. Mueller: The Writings of Cookie Mueller

    Excellent Montage of a pure ingenue's life. Truly mesmerizing. I can't underscore it enough...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2007

    Work Noir From A Queen of Prose

    Cookie Mueller was one of those few one-of-a-kind characters who experienced her life in her own way-with spontanaeity, zest and unpredictability. Each one of her writings illustrates the details and moods of her accounts, from subtle and grey to joyous and whimsical. Her essay about living with Divine in Provincetown during the 60`s imbues one with a sense of gratification and elation, while her funny accounts, especially about accidentally setting a house ablaze in British Columbia are assuaging and uplifting. This rare woman gives an individual insight into an unconventional niche of life which most of us will never vaguely experience. Though Cookie is gone, her legacy survives with such puissance through her works of writing and are pieces of sacred art. Those devotees of Cookie will always remember her pressence. Her voice reverborates in the soul quite commonplace.

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