Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography

Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography

by Robert Rosen
Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography

Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography

by Robert Rosen


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For sixteen years Robert Rosen worked behind the X-rated scenes of such porn magazines as High Society, Stag, and D-Cup. In BEAVER STREET: A HISTORY OF MODERN PORNOGRAPHY, Rosen blows the lid off the lucrative and politically hounded adult industry, providing a darkly engaging account of its tumultuous decades-from the defining Traci Lords scandal and the conception of 'free' phone sex to the burgeoning success of smut in cyberspace in the twenty-first century. When Robert Rosen came to international awareness with NOWHERE MAN, his critically acclaimed portrait of Lennon's last days, few knew that the author had spent two decades toiling as a publisher, copywriter, editor and photographer in the pornography industry. As a jobbing writer looking to make ends meet, he stumbled into porn at the moment his new employers, publishers of the 'adult' magazine HIGH SOCIETY, invented phone sex. Initiating the latest phase in the historical alliance of sex, money and technology, the culmination of 'dial-a-porn' would begat the internet 'free' pornography boom and ultimately condemn the entire industry to commercial extinction. The intervening years are the most tumultuous, and lucrative in the history of smut, and Rosen was present at the dead centre of its darkest hour: the infamous TRACI LORDS scandal, and the ensuing moral and legal crusades of the left and right, which would see him and hundreds of colleagues staring prison in the face. In BEAVER STREET, however, this former pornographer bites back. On the one hand BEAVER STREET is a portrait of an exceptional American workplace, full of tyrants, cynics, perverts and drug addicts, the owners getting filthy rich while Rosen and his colleagues sweat blood to fulfil the demanding and squalid responsibility of ensuring millions have something new to masturbate to every other week. On the other hand (and this is why the author has christened his work an investigative memoir), Rosen's intellect, curiosity, insight and penmanship hoists BEAVER STREET high above the average porn memoir, with Rosen not only unveiling the mechanics of the porn profiteers, but fixing the unbelievable events that rocked his entire sordid career in their fascinating political, technological and cultural contexts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781900486842
Publisher: SCB Distributors
Publication date: 12/01/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
File size: 587 KB

About the Author

Robert Rosen is the author of the international bestseller Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon. His work has appeared in a wide array of publications all over the world, including Uncut, Mother Jones, The Soho Weekly News, La Repubblica, VSD, Proceso, Reforma and El Heraldo. Over the course of a controversial career, Rosen has edited pornographic magazines and an underground newspaper; has written speeches for the Secretary of the Air Force; and has been awarded a Hugo Boss poetry prize. Rosen lives in New York City with his wife, Mary Lyn Maiscott, a writer, editor and singer.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1:
How I Became a Pornographer.
Even now, thirty -five years later, I can
see myself sitting in the Mini Cinema, on Forty-Ninth Street and Seventh Avenue,
just off Times Square. I was a twenty-one-year-old college senior–a veritable
innocent–transfixed by grainy images on a movie screen. I was watching
a chubby, though not unattractive, young woman, a "Danish farm girl," as she'd
been described, being fucked by her dog, a collie named Lassie. It was only my
third porn flick, but it was definitely the most interesting one yet. Unlike Deep
Throat, which I'd seen a few months earlier and found shocking and bizarre,
though hardly erotic, or It Happened in Hollywood, which featured a sex scene
with Al Goldstein, the obese, barely functioning publisher of Screw magazine,
Animal Lover was real and intimate... too real. The dog and the woman were
hot for each other, familiar lovers, fucking with passion, as if there were no camera present. The woman would go on to make love, somewhat less successfully,
to her pig and her horse.
An alternative City College newspaper called Observation Post, or OP, had
sent me to the Mini Cinema to review Animal Lover; the editors felt that the
film was a work of artistic transgression worthy of critical attention. And based
upon the merits of the dogfuck alone–"the most erotic scene in any of the
porn movies I've seen"–my critique was positive. Reading it today, however,
I'm struck only by my naïvete and the fact that I didn't even come close to capturing
the deranged essence of what was really happening in the film. But that
didn't matter at the time.
Soon after my Animal Lover review was published in OP, the staff anointed
me editor-in-chief–because they believed, in those waning days of the Vietnam
War and Richard Nixon, that, based on this callow bit of critical writing,
I was well qualified to carry out the paper's newest mission. Though OP was
founded in 1947 by World War II veterans and evolved in the sixties into a
radical journal of antiwar politics–the voice of the SDS and Weather Underground–
by the time I enrolled at City College, the paper had mutated into a
blunt instrument primarily used to test the limits of the First Amendment. OP
had become a student-funded incubator for an emerging punk sensibility soon
to burst into full flower; it was an anarchist commune whose members performed
improvisational experiments with potent images and symbol

Table of Contents

Authors Note ix

Prologue A Kid in a Candy Store 1

Chapter 1 How I Became a Pornographer 5

2 The Invention of Phone Sex 11

3 I Found My Job in The New York Times 17

4 High Society 21

5 The House of Swank 43

6 The Secret History 67

7 Natural-Born Pornographers 85

8 The Accidental Porn Star 103

9 Divas with Beavers 117

10 So You Want to Talk About Traci Lords? 129

The D-Cup Aesthetic 165

Epilogue The Skin Mag in Cyberspace 173

Final Words The Naked and the Dead 185

Appendix A Prelude to Modern Pornography 195

About the Author/Acknowledgments 205

Index 207

About this book 214

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