Misadventures in the (213)

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What Tales of the City did for San Francisco, Misadventures in the (213) does double for L.A. in this audacious, satirical tale of a struggling screenwriter, his media-whore best friend, and their circle of celebrity-seeking pals.

"(213)?" you'll likely ask.
Well, the area code, of course.

Just the high jinks underemployed Tinseltown wannabes are usually up ...

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What Tales of the City did for San Francisco, Misadventures in the (213) does double for L.A. in this audacious, satirical tale of a struggling screenwriter, his media-whore best friend, and their circle of celebrity-seeking pals.

"(213)?" you'll likely ask.
Well, the area code, of course.

Just the high jinks underemployed Tinseltown wannabes are usually up to. Like making off with fish from Tina Louise's koi pond. Or harassing Alicia Silverstone with tales of watermelon-loving porn stars. Or auctioning off Andrew Shue's chicken wing and Heather Locklear's lip print for charity. You know.

Packed with Hollywood life lessons and more B-level celebs than you can shake a casting sheet at, Misadventures in the (213) is a brilliantly witty dagger straight through the heart of the L.A. entertainment machine.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Make no mistake: Dennis Hensley knows Los Angeles like the back of Angelyne's hand. Hensley's novel, Misadventures in the (213), is packed to the brim with countless name-droppings, but don't let this put you off: This is one of the best, most insightful Hollywood coming-of-age novels ever penned. Forget the white noise of Less Than Zero, forget the Hollywood confessionals that are public relation coups — get this novel for the real stuff. Hensley's novel is hilarious, and his hero, Craig Clybourn, is a terrifically naive Everyman who has come to the City of Angels to hang.

I tried to resist this novel's spell. I really did. I'd lived in Los Angeles 13 years, which makes me something of a native by West Side standards, and I didn't believe any writer could get a handle on that town in the '90s. But Hensley does it, and more important, he does it through the eyes of a gay young man who has gone west not for fame or fortune, but to exist.

Sure, Craig writes, and temps to pay the bills. But he is very much acted upon by Hollywood, so much so that I began to see him as a lighthearted version of Nick Caraway, Gatsby's observant neighbor. But Gatsby, in Hensley's novel, is played by Dandy Rio, a Sally Bowles-ish television starlet who never lets real life get in the way of her fun. Dandy is truly larger than life, a diva in training whose sitcom is just taking off. Craig manages to wander the periphery of small-screen fame and fortune via Dandy's life, watching her flop in her audition for "Circus of the Stars." Craig is just coming to terms with hissexualorientation after his star-crossed affair with hunky Sergio when he gets on the cable game show and meets Bink Darlington, an aging game-show maven who wants to fix Craig up with his son, Damon.

Damon is what Craig terms "a member of the Cute Club." Craig admires the club members from afar, those adorable young men who look so good that one almost doesn't want to talk to them so as to avoid spoiling the illusion. But Damon, who plays Aladdin in the warm-up show for the Disney cartoon at the El Capitan Theater, is immediately hot for Craig. Quickly the potential affair disintegrates, but not before a strong friendship begins between them. Craig, in fact, becomes a friend of many in Hollywood, and his life as a burgeoning screenwriter intersects with some of the most intriguing and off-the-wall characters ever to grace the printed page.

Misadventures is truly outstanding. It reads very true of young people in Los Angeles, those who are hunting for fame, those who have lost it, those born to it, and those who will never achieve it. But they all circle around one another as if life itself were its own circus of the stars, and Craig is there to marvel at it all, the ultimate audience.

Do not miss Misadventures in the (213), particularly if you're partial to well-told tales of Hollywood. Hensley writes sharp prose, and more than once I had to stop and wonder at the author's dead-on portrayal of people and their chatter in Tinseltown. Craig's journey as he discovers the ups and downs of the California Dream is told with wit and sparkle, but the dazzle never overshadows a very moving story about one young gay man and his friends as they discover how to survive in the absurdity of Hollywood. With Misadventures in the (213), Dennis Hensley scores a hit!

Douglas Clegg is the author of numerous horror and suspense novels, including Dark of the Eye and The Children's Hour. His recent critically acclaimed short story, "O, Rare and Most Exquisite," can be found in the anthology The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Volume 10.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this comic novel of Hollywood's outer circle, essentially a book-length version of Hensley's lightly fictionalized? gossip column for Detour magazine, the in-joke is more than a gesture it's a lifestyle. Celebrity-crazed Craig Clyborne has an edge over the other L.A. schemers and dreamers he hangs around with. His best friend is Dandy Rio, the sexually voracious, hilariously Machiavellian star of a new sitcom. The book's plot, which involves Craig's moving to Hollywood to peddle his script, is just a device from which to hang various sketches, mostly about Dandy scheming, alternately, to bed various stars for example, Bill Maher, the host of Politically Incorrect and to redeem her career, which, midway through the book, begins to bomb. Dandy is by far Hensley's most enjoyable creation: Craig's always-a-bridesmaid litany of disastrous dates with a waiter, with the son of a game show host, with the star of a rock 'n' roll band soon grows tiring. The novel's considerable gag sense and rapid-fire one-liners will be best appreciated by fanatics of TV trivia; others, especially those outside 213, may start to feel like intruders on an infernal party line.
Library Journal
This titular first-person escapade stars some Hollywood staples: a gay wannabe screenwriter and his pals, who include a busty nympho sitcom star, a still-struggling chunky actress, a randy studio flack, etc. These folks, like author Hensley, are singularly celebrity/brand-name obsessed, and this first novel is constantly amusing, smart-alecky, and bitchy. Of course, it's endless fluff, paper-thin, but it's also almost over before it all starts weighing a ton and sounding like what it is: Hensley's cobbled-together columns from Detour magazine. Not recommended.

--David Bartholomew, NYPL

Library Journal
This titular first-person escapade stars some Hollywood staples: a gay wannabe screenwriter and his pals, who include a busty nympho sitcom star, a still-struggling chunky actress, a randy studio flack, etc. These folks, like author Hensley, are singularly celebrity/brand-name obsessed, and this first novel is constantly amusing, smart-alecky, and bitchy. Of course, it's endless fluff, paper-thin, but it's also almost over before it all starts weighing a ton and sounding like what it is: Hensley's cobbled-together columns from Detour magazine. Not recommended.

--David Bartholomew, NYPL

Austin Bunn
Misadventures in the (213), the debut of Detour columnist Dennis Hensley, may be the first novel that really should have been a Web soap opera: It's woefully episodic, feverish for attention and utterly confused about just what makes the medium interesting in the first place. Since the medium we're talking about here is the bound, papyrus kind, it makes for rough going when the novel reads like shorthand for some other form -- the chatty coverage of a hyperactive B-movie. But the structural problems here are just the beginning. Hensley's opus is so shallow you could wade in it without getting wet.

Hensley's alter ego is Craig Clybourn, a soi-disant "Hollywood clichT: the new kid on the cul-de-sac with a script to schmoose." Craig, an ex-cruise ship worker, arrives in L.A. to bang out revisions of his screenplay "Deck Games," fumble his way out of the closet and support the never-ending sexcapades of his friends Dandy (a sitcom star), nber-publicist Miles and his earnest pal Ulysses (who seems to be commuting over from another sensibility entirely).

Hensley is the kind of writer whose characters "devour the new issue of Movieline," compete to be on "Circus of the Stars" and seem unable to process the world without referring to the Olsen twins, Adrian Zmed, Charo or the rest of the human patio furniture of Los Angeles (the back cover provides a handy list of the book's "special guest stars"). Hensley even makes his rallying cry explicit: "Give me E! or Give me Death." Not surprisingly, AIDS, addiction, even River Phoenix's sidewalk martyrdom make no appearance in the book, save for one lethargic, attenuated suitor -- who turns out to be a malnourished vegan.

Hensley, it seems, was brought up on reading script treatments, but the failure's not entirely his fault. L.A.'s an easy target, and better writers like Bret Easton Ellis (OK, marginally better) have, like him, inadvertently created valentines. For all its flat depravity, "Less Than Zero" still came off as romanticized. Misadventures wants you to giggle along, and this is where the novel really chafes. In a typical passage, Hensley writes, "Claudia glares at Cliff, who's leaning on the chain-link fence like an overgrown Outsider looking on as an octet of spirit-pushers in bra tops spell out victory, which, for your information, is 842-8679 on the telephone keypad."

The jacket tries to connect Misadventures and Armistad Maupin's far more tender and touching Tales From the City, but the real precursor is Douglas Coupland -- and by comparison, the Canadian author is a Proust of pop-cult. I'm not a huge fan, but at least Coupland can be credited with some of the first and best integrations of contemporary media and fiction ("Generation X" and "Microserfs" come to mind). At least Coupland is listening. In Misadventures, the compulsive nattering of brand names, TV shows, bands, gum and guest stars are place holders for the work of description and observation. The props of Misadventures lead such brief half-lives that it'll be a wonder if two years from now anyone will get the expired references. Salon July 14, 1998

Dizzyingly fast-paced...a pop-culture panacea.
This summer's funniest read.
Kirkus Reviews
Vacuous, gossipy-gay, MTV-voiced debut novel meant for readers hip to all the sub-level film-folk and soap actors mentioned in Premiere and Entertainment Weekly and on Hard Copy and Entertainment Tonight, by a columnist for Detour magazine. Craig Clybourn, an assistant director for Empress Cruise Lines, gives up his job and heads for Hollywood, summoned there by his friend and old college chum Dandy Rio, who left her role on the Lifestream soap for her own sitcom, That's Just Dandy. Dandy depends on Craig, although she goes through men as if attacking stalks of bananas. So he squats in ground-floor digs that sport a stagnant swimming pool while he writes his first script, Deck Games, about his old cruise line. During her lonelier hours, Dandy has Craig escort her about. To pay the rent, meanwhile, Craig temps, often at Jupiter Studios, where he also photocopies his screenplay at the nod of his fag-hag boss, Carolyn. When he auditions for the game show Razzle, Bink Darlington, the show's dashing hetero host, asks Craig to date his gay song-and-dance-man son, Damon, who plays the live Aladdin for Disney's stage show, and the story proceeds to get stuck in dense L.A. lifestyle reportage: arch chat, chat, chat. Craig has no luck selling Deck Games until he's in a car accident with famed Dandy, who gets a broken leg and tons of get-well cards from Molly Ringwald, Ben Vereen, Brooke Shields, and Josephine Taylor Thomas. For his part, Craig gets script inquiries and at last a sale. He's in heaven until the first day of shooting, when he discovers that all his dialogue has been translated into Italian: Deck Games will be an Italian movie, never to be seen here. Caviare for those whoslurp up glitterprint. Nathanael West it's not. (Author tour)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688171285
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Series: Harper Perennial
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Dennis Hensley is a writer, journalist, and sometime friend to the stars. For two and a half years, he wrote the column "Misadventures in the (213)" under the pseudonym Craig Clybourn for Detour magazine. He is also a regular celebrity profiler for Detour and has contributed articles and profiles to Cosmopolitan, Out, and Movieline. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Read an Excerpt

My biggest fear has always been that if my life were to pass before my eyes during a moment of life-threatening duress, it would be rated PG. Now that it's happening-with a furious sixtyish redhead in a floral jumpsuit named Loretta aiming a shotgun at my palpitating chest-I decide I might as well go for a PG-13 and swear a little.

"Oh fuck," I gasp.

"It's all your fault!" Loretta hisses. "And now you're going to pay." A part of me always knew this day might come. I've been an assistant cruise director for Empress Cruise Lines for nearly five years and, as such, part of my job is to hand a loaded trapshooting shotgun to passengers who can't even control their own bladders. An accident seemed inevitable. But this is no accident. This woman wants me dead.

I catch the eye of my fellow assistant cruise director, Mitch, who gives me an I'm-going-for-help look, then disappears inside.

"What's my fault?" I stammer, trying to stall for time.

"Don't play dumb with me," Loretta growls, as she circles the gun around, causing everyone here on the Aloha Deck to do what might best be described as the opposite of the Wave. When she finishes, she returns the business end of the shotgun back to me. I watch in frozen horror as her wrinkled trigger finger starts to contract and I entertain my last hope: that after I'm gone, Valerie Bertinelli might be willing to cut her hair and play me in the TV movie.

"Prepare to die," Loretta says.

"No . . . no . . . no .. ." I cry.

"Well, then we also have nice tortellini."

I slam open my eyes to see the perplexed face of a redheaded woman, but this one's young and not nearly so unfoxy. And she's not wielding a gun.

"That's fine," Isay.

The flight attendant slides over my pasta dinner and moves on to the next row.

"Are you okay?" asks the blond housewife type sitting next to me. "I think you were having a nightmare."

"Yeah, I was," I respond, in regards to what in the last four months has become my version of a recurring Vietnam flashback. "But I'm fine."

"Are you from Phoenix?" she says, referring to our destination.

"No, but I went to college at Arizona State," I say between bites. I'm actually from a small town in northern Arizona called Holbrook. Though geographically qualified, Holbrook was left out of the song "Route 66," a fact that I've always resented. Perhaps there were just no kicks to be gotten there.

"Wow! I work at ASU," says the woman excitedly. "My name's Rhonda Whiting."

"Craig Clybourn," I say with a smile so forced that I might just as well be back on the Lido Deck emceeing a limbo contest to Buster Poindexter's "Hot Hot Hot."

After our dinner trays are cleared Rhonda decides she wants to show me pictures of her adorable spawn. I ooh and aah politely, then start digging in the seat pocket in front of me, hoping to find something to read or inject.

"What did you study at ASU?" she asks.

"Broadcasting," I say as unenthusiastically as whenever someone asked me that question at the time. It wasn't that I didn't have any interest in broadcasting. Quite the contrary. But at the time, planning for my future took a backseat to going to movies, hanging around with my friends from the theater department and playing bass in my roommate Ulysses's garage band.

"Where do you live?" Rhonda asks as I thumb through a left-behind copy of Star magazine I was lucky enough to find behind the barf bag.

"Phoenix now, I guess, but I'm moving to L.A.," I say before glancing down to the tabloid and noticing a familiar face. With this woman here, I nearly add.

There, under the headline "Would You Be Caught Dead in This Outfit?" is my best friend since college, Dandy Rio. Sporting plaid bell-bottoms, a crochet top that even on the page reeks of thrift store, and a big fuck-you smile, Dandy seems to be replying, "You're damn right I would."

I smile when I recall the day Dandy and I met back at ASU. It was at the first rehearsal for the theater department's spring '88 production of that old toe-tapper Anything Goes, in which Dandy and I were partnered together in the chorus. Looking like a brunette Ann-Margret circa Viva Las Vegas in black tights and a clingy fuchsia sweater, Dandy burst into the room with such panache that I could practically see the cartoon thought bubble that appeared over the threatened lead actress's head, which read, "Who does this bitch think she is?"

"Do my tits look big in this sweater?" was the first thing Dandy ever said to me.

"Do you want them to?" I replied.

"Of course," she answered.

After rehearsal, we went to 7-Eleven for a Slurpee and while we were checking out, Dandy picked up the Star, opened it to the "Would You Be Caught Dead" spread and said, without a trace of irony, "Someday, Craig, that's going to be me."

Since then, Dandy's been caught dead more times than I can count. "She's on my show," Rhonda says, imbedding a Lee Press-On nail into Dandy's forehead. "I can't stand her."

"Rhonda's show" must be Lifestream, the daytime drama that Dandy's been on for nearly six years doing double duty as twins Nola and Manohla Hughes. Dandy's big break came via Milt Greene, a smarmy New York agent whom Dandy endeared herself to on one of his annual talent scouting visits to ASU. Perhaps endeared is the wrong word. A better word might be, um, blackmailed, since Milt had nothing but malice for the would-be starlet until the moment when, in a last ditch attempt to get him to give Dandy's monologue a listen, we caught the Star Searcher banging some blond business major in the bathroom at Sky Harbor Airport. Dandy agreed that she wouldn't tell Milt's actress wife about the indiscretion if Milt would represent her in New York for six months. Five and half months later, Dandy landed the gig on Lifestream. The day after that, she changed agents.

The last time I saw Dandy was nearly four months ago. She and a handful of her photogenic cast mates had come on board the Regal Empress to shoot a few scenes and sign a few autographs as part of a special Lifestream Takes to the Ocean cruise. It was on the day she arrived, while strolling down a cobblestone street in Old San Juan, that Dandy announced she was leaving Lifestream to move to L.A. and star in her own sitcom.

"The network guys like it when I do funny stuff on the show," she chirped. "They want the sitcom to be ready in time to be a midseason replacement. You have to come out there with me, Craig." Dandy flashed me a mischievous smile, then shouted, "Cocksucker!" before disappearing into a gift shop.

It wasn't until a few seconds later that I realized Dandy wasn't calling into question my murky sexuality, but giving the appalled tourist couple videotaping a few feet away a nice audio souvenir. It was a pastime we'd indulge in repeatedly over the next ten days.

"Do you have a girlfriend?" wonders Rhonda.

"Not anymore," I shrug, as though the only girlfriend I ever had didn't dump me my sophomore year at ASU.

After two semesters of cohabitative bliss, would-be ballerina Michelle Lee (not the one from Knots Landing, the one from hell), ran off with the hirsute hoofer who played Rum Tum Tugger in the touring company of Cats. Hence Dandy's nickname for her, "The Catfucker."

"Single, huh?" says Rhonda. "I should introduce you to some of the gals I work with."

I beat a hasty retreat to the can and when I return, Rhonda's fast asleep and drooling onto the Star. She doesn't come to again until we're on the ground. As we file off the plane, she offers to give me a ride to my aunt's house in Tempe, in lieu of the Supershuttle I had originally planned to take.

"I may not need a ride after all," I say delightedly, as we clear the gate and I notice a sign poking up from the awaiting crowd that reads VANILLA ICE.

"What are you doing here?" I say to the bearer of the sign.

"I wanted to make sure you didn't chicken out about coming to L.A.," says Dandy, before slapping me on the forehead with the sign and giving me a hug.

We're about to make our way to baggage claim when I notice Rhonda shuffling by with her brood. Recalling my row partner's distaste for the two-dimensional Dandy, I'm curious to see how she'll react to her in 3-D.

"Rhonda," I call. "I want you to meet my best friend."

"Oh my God," she says, dumping her two-year-old onto the ground. "I watch your show every day."

I smile as Dandy scrawls Rhonda an autograph, knowing that she's recently taken to writing, "If you don't love me, I'm sorry," a salutation she ripped off from the porn star Savannah, confident (perhaps erroneously) that the pair have no fans in common.

While we wait for my bags to tumble out, Dandy grabs the Star from my carry-on and regards the cover photo of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee walking through an airport and grimacing.

"It looks like she just farted and he's smelling it," I observe.

"Smelt it," Dandy says flicking her middle finger at Tommy. "Dealt it," she adds, flicking Pam.

Copyright ) 1998 by Dennis Hensley

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Interviews & Essays

On Tuesday, July 14th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Dennis Hensley to discuss MISADVENTURES IN THE (213).

Moderator: Welcome, Dennis Hensley! Thank you for taking the time to join us online this evening. How are you doing tonight?

Dennis Hensley: I am doing great, having a great time.

Pac87@aol.com from New Jersey: How did you first get involved in writing your column?

Dennis Hensley: I pitched the idea to Detour when they were undergoing a redesign and they said yes. The fact that I had been writing for free for them for three years probably helped.

Martin from Summit, NJ: Do you think the national stereotype for Los Angeles stands true? That being a cold, snooty, "Who you know" city where cell phones are way too abundant and everyone has written a screenplay?

Dennis Hensley: I think that the clichés are there if you look for them, but I also think that there are wonderful, genuine, kind people that are there as well. But you have to choose that.

Lexi from New York City: How autobiographical would you consider these stories? Are they going to make a TV series out of your book like Candace Bushnell's "Sex in the City"? Are you a fan?

Dennis Hensley: Not everything that happens to Craig has happened to me, but the sensibility and his attitude about life, work, love, and sex are similar. In terms of some of the events depicted -- like, say, if there was an show I probably went there, took notes, and thought to myself, What ridiculous thing could happen to my characters here? As far as the TV show, there has been some interest, but nothing has been signed yet. I would love to be involved in something like that. And I haven't seen "Sex in the City." Please, I barely had sex in the city. But I hear it is cool, and I love Sarah Jessica Parker, though what was with that flyaway hair on "The Tonight Show" last night? Confusing, too giggly.

Andy from Hoboken, NJ: Good evening, Mr. Hensley. Were you a fan of the movie "Swingers"?

Dennis Hensley: Yes, very much. I got to interview Vince Vaughn, and he really sort of talks like that, and it made me feel really cool. He was saying something to me like, "You have crazies, bro. I can see it in your eyes." Meaning I was impulsive and unpredictable. I coasted on that for weeks. The scene where they talk about the (310) and (818), I was pulling out my hair because my column had already begun and I felt I had been scooped.

Niki from Niki_palek@yahoo.com: What are some of your favorite books? Who would you consider your literary influences?

Dennis Hensley: One of the books that I think is sooo funny is BLUE HEAVEN by Joe Keenan. I like Mark Leyner, David Sedaris...Carrie Fisher is actually a big influence. I got to interview her, and she gave me an expired Today spermicidal sponge as a souvenir. I still cherish it. Armistead Maupin, both as writer and in terms of his kindness and generosity. I got to interview him for Out and was impressed with how he balanced his artistic integrity with being a gentleman. I promised I would smoke my first joint with him, but that day is yet to come.

Craig from Sudbury, MA: Did you create Craig Clyborn's name with any desire to make it similar to Craig Kilborn?

Dennis Hensley: No, when I started, "The Daily Show" wasn't on yet. Craig Clyborn is actually my middle name and my street name. How incredibly unoriginal of me. Next thing you know I will be naming a porn star after my childhood...

Elise from Brooklyn, NY: I am curious to get your take on the nightlife in Los Angeles. Are you a fan?

Dennis Hensley: I don't go out that much, and I am afraid I am becoming more and more VH1 as the days go by. I do like a place called Club 80's, Wednesday nights at Cherry. I have recently rediscovered that it is quite cathartic to dance to the song "Footloose" with strangers. I also love when they play "Venus" by Bananarama.

FalconPac from Chicago: I loved your picture on the front of the book. How long did it take to do your makeup?

Dennis Hensley: There was somebody who did my makeup, and it took her about five to ten minutes. And I wish she could do my makeup every day. I wish I could travel with her. I saw her again when I was interviewing Robert Urich -- "Spenser for Hire," if you will. I like to think I took less time than him. But I could be wrong.

Johannes from Boston, MA: Have you ever performed some of the celebrity pranks described in your book? Any examples?

Dennis Hensley: I have not stolen fish from a koi pond, unfortunately. The story about trying to take pictures in the Sky Bar and being told not to because Bob Sagat was there didn't happen to me, but it happened to a friend of mine. Most of the other celebrity stuff is made up.

Dinah from Glen Ellen: Loved the book! Did you ever really have sex in a McDonald's playland like Craig?

Dennis Hensley: Not yet. But I have been scouting locations. I am looking for one with a good-size crawl ball. Employee sight lines are also very important. A partner would also be a nice touch -- although if push comes to shove, I will go at it alone. God bless you, Dinah. I am hoping it will start a copycat trend. Be the first, Dinah, then tell me about it.

Simon Weston from Tilbury: I read the book twice at the beach and loved it. I couldn't figure out the significance of the flowers around your eyes on the front of the book. Is that the setup for the sequel perhaps?

Dennis Hensley: First of all, that is not me on the front of the book. Some people think that it is me. Actually, I recently interviewed model Rebecca Romijn, and she called me later because her fiancé, John Stamos, was convinced it was me. And they had a $100 bet going. Unfortunately for him, he lost 100 bucks. As for the cover, my publisher thought it was eye-catching, and it has more to do with the spirit of the piece than anything literally in the book. I loved the cover when I first saw it, but my friends who had read the book didn't "get it." But we decided that the cover's job is to attract new readers. But I think that Dandy isn't above applying yellow petals above her eyes if she thinks it will get her attention or laid. Perhaps she'll get out the eyelash glue in part two.

Joe E. Lawrence from the 213: So what's the 411 on Dennis? Anybody on call waiting, anybody ringing your bell?

Dennis Hensley: I am single in the way that the sun comes up in the morning, although I am taking applications. Are you sure you are not Joey Lawrence from "Blossom"? I don't mind saying I own both his records and drop whatever I am doing when his video comes on the box. I have actually gotten a couple of potential suitors who wrote in based on an interview I had in Genre. They sent pictures, so I am currently having them investigated by my personal PI. See McDonald's Play Place question....

Missy Pierce from Los Angeles: What is your favorite episode in the book? Mine is anything with Dandy in it. My mother's name was Dandy!

Dennis Hensley: Does your mother sleep with anything that moves? Just kidding.... My favorite episode? I like when they try to steal the fish. I would love to see that realized visually, just Craig and Godfrey swiping around in a dirty pond as foreplay. I am also partial to the Melrose Place episode where Dandy gets herpes and blames it on Heather Locklear. My favorites are anything with Dandy, come to think of it. After the second or third column, that character took on a life of its own.

Richard from Gretna, LA: Where you scared prior to moving to Los Angeles?

Dennis Hensley: Yes. I grew up in a town with one stoplight, then moved to Phoenix for college, big city. But nothing like L.A. I first moved to L.A. to do a 12-week musical comedy workshop as a performer. I didn't know if I would stay, so I had that sort of escape hatch but then ended up adjusting and staying. Still, I think it takes new people about a year to feel like they don't watch to pitch themselves off the Hollywood sign.

Clyde R. from Valparaiso, IN: Hi, Dennis! I also read your interview with Celine Dion in Cosmo. Great stuff! In your book, the character's sexuality is very matter-of-fact, not necessarily a driving force behind the action. Do you think this is where contemporary fiction is heading?

Dennis Hensley: I hope that some contemporary fiction is. In terms of the gay content, I don't feel like enough of an expert or opinion shaper to let that drive my stories. And I am not that angry and I don't have a chip on my shoulder about any of that stuff, though I am glad to be out and hope and want to work to help gay-rights causes. I try not to have it define me too much, not because I am ashamed of it but because I want to be defined by something I am good at; mine and Craig's love/sex life isn't exactly the Zalman King movie ready to happen.

BigCougher from Evanston: I read in a review of your book that it was compared to TALES OF THE CITY. Is that intimidating?

Dennis Hensley: A little bit. I am a big fan of TALES, so I find it very complimentary. I think they are similar in that they both began in column form, and the cities that they take place in are major characters in and of themselves. And there are boys making out. But the tone and style are very different. Armistead, in our few meetings, has been so kind to me that I am thrilled to be mentioned in the same breath. I can only hope that my work will affect some people the way his has for so long.

Julie Wilder from Pitchville: Is it true that you were a magician on a cruise ship? I'm trying to get a job on a ship. Any suggestions?

Dennis Hensley: No, I wasn't a magician, I was a singer/dancer/assistant cruise director, though I did perform with a magician once who was this crazy, racist British guy. As far as the job, if you are not a performer, check out opportunities in the gift shop, photographers, casino staff, and whatever else might be staffed by Americans. If you are a performer, call the companies and find out when they are auditioning, then wear a lot of spandex and smile your butt off. You might want to brush up on the lyrics to "I Go to Rio" and learn the Macarena.

CheeseHed from Madison, WI: So what section of Barnes & Noble would have your book? Fiction? Autobiography? Self-help?

Dennis Hensley: Fiction. What I know about self-help I already joked about doing in a McDonald's PLay Place, and people don't need books about that. Also in the fiction section, I'd like to be next to BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY so that when people are browsing, they can make our books kiss. (Because she has a face on her cover, too.)

Mike from Marlboro, MA: Are there any novels with a similarly strong sense of place and time that were of particular inspiration in your writing of this one?

Dennis Hensley: The only thing I can think of is TALES, because from what I know of his process, he was really turning it out as it happened. I would go to events in L.A. and put my characters there, and a month later it would be out. So the nature of the magazine aspect of it made it seem more immediate than if I was just going to write a book.

Louise from Studio City, CA: What are you writing next?

Dennis Hensley: I am working on cowriting a play called "Off the Cuff" starring Felix Pier, who won awards in New York for the one-man show "Men on the Verge of a Hispanic Breakdown." I am also finishing up a CD as a singer-songwriter called "Afterthoughts" that I will be whoring on every street corner that is not already taken up by some hooker. Then there is talk of another book with my same publisher, but nothing has been signed yet.

Moderator: Thank you for joining us tonight, Dennis Hensley! It has certainly been fun, and we wish you the best of luck with your book. Before you go, any closing comments?

Dennis Hensley: I will be reading in Chicago, July 15th at Unabridged Bookstore at 7:30; then July 16th in Atlanta at Outright Books; July 24th at L.A.'s Different Light; and July 28th in San Francisco at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books. My web site is fun: www.misadventures.com. Thank you for reading -- it is so thrilling that it has gone beyond my friends and family.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2000

    What a wacky, funny, excellent read.

    This book made me laugh out loud. There were so many different characters with their own dysfunctions. I could relate to a piece of every character. There was so much going on, but I never lost interest. I read the book rather quickly because I wanted to see what bizarre adventure was going to occur next. If you are in the mood for something off the wall and hilarious, read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2000


    This book was absolutely fabulous! I loved it from beginning to end and recommend it to anyone with a sense of humor.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2000

    Clever wordings bring satisfying entertainment...

    I admit your not supposed to be attracted to a book by its cover. But its attractive 60ish flower-petals-on-the-eyelashes look got me to wanting to open the cover and read the first few thin papers of the story. I picked it up, looked through the first page and broke into giggles in the middle of Barnes and Nobles. I got addicted to the wording and the comparisons I saw in it. I sure hope that Dennis comes out with some more novels like this... Or even a sequal. While buying the book the lady who checked me out said it was a marvelous book which made me look forward to reading it even the more. Dennis has a certain stereotypical way of making his charactors. But the way he explains it is amazing.The constant reminiscents of having charactor after charactor head to Japan was season to the story. The novel was brilliant and certainly something I will find my self involved in reading once more. Craig Clyborn has a wicked sense of humor that astonishes me even though he is a fantasy charactor, or maybe he is real... At least to the revelous Dennis Hensley. I took a special noticement to Claudia.. Craig's good friend. The way her and Dandy would lash it out in two minute intervals was a charming addition to the book. Its sort of a manual to being a homosexual in Los Angelous, or any human in Los Angelous with a perpetually circling job of low pay, a good sense of humor and a few comedic friends. I believe that is us all... Excluding the simple chance of homosexuality. But in my conclusion, Misadventures would certainly be an agreeable book to take to L.A. with you in your movement there... I know I certainly would. Just read the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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