Best-selling author Mike Sager has been called “the Beat poet of American journalism, that rare reporter who can make literature out of shabby reality.” The Lonely Hedonist: True Stories of Sex, Drugs, Dinosaurs and Peter Dinklage is Sager’s sixth collection of true stories—sixteen intimate profiles of larger-than-life Americans, both famous and obscure:
The founder of a Beverly Hills sex club who has everything he ever wanted but misses his old life. The most amazing dinosaur fossil ever found—and never seen by the public. The forgotten sixth founding member of the seminal rap group N.W.A. The whirlwind lifestyle of California’s busiest marijuana physician. The Most Interesting Man in the World, in retirement. The former marketing man who is living off the grid on a small plot in suburbia. The secret life of a clown—what happens when the people you’re trying to please begin hating you?
Plus, Game of Thrones' Peter Dinklage, Hollywood genius J.J. Abrams, TV pitchman Ron Popeil (Operators are standing by!), the male supermodel who spent twenty years as a member of a cult, the tiny island in the Pacific where dominating football players are made and exported in astounding numbers, and the secret community of underground hash oil makers known as Wooks.
“Mike Sager writes about places and events we seldom get a look at,” said Pulitzer Prize–winning author Richard Ben Cramer. “But with Sager in command of all the telling details, he shows us history, humanity, humor, sometimes even honor. He makes us glad to live with our eyes wide open.”
“For four decades, Mike Sager has been one of our finest practitioners of feature magazine writing, picking up where the New Journalism Gods—Wolfe, Talese,Thompson, et al—left off. This latest trove of Sager’s irresistible brand of social anthropology shows him in peak form, whether writing about celebrities, like J.J. Abrams and Peter Dinklage, or the usual gathering of bonafide American originals that find their way into his stories–a family-owned sex toys factory, a family farm, a weed doctor, a clown, a man who started a sex club in Beverly Hills, and more.” –Alex Belth, Editor, EsquireClassic.com
“Filled with unforgettable personalities and muscular sentences that mean business, Sager’s incredible stories of celebrities, dreamers and capitalists take readers through the warped frontier of new American excess and commerce, and they locate the pain and beauty in the dark circles under America’s eyes. Thankfully, Sager has a great sense of humor.” –Aaron Gilbreath, editor, Longreads.com, author, Everything We Don’t Know
“I have been a fan of Sager’s work roughly since I learned to read. Whether he’s profiling the actor Peter Dinklage, a professional clown, or almond farmers in California’s Central Valley, Sager gives you a peek into his subject’s soul. How he does it remains a mystery.” –Elon Green, contributor, Harvard University’s Neiman Storyboard, The New Yorker
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About the Author
Mike Sager is a best-selling author and award-winning reporter. A former Washington Post staff writer under Watergate investigator Bob Woodward, he worked closely, during his years as a contributing editor to Rolling Stone, with gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Sager is the author of more than a dozen books, including anthologies, novels, e-singles, a biography, and university textbooks. He has served for more than three decades as a writer for Esquire. In 2010 he won the National Magazine Award for profile writing. Several of his stories have inspired films and documentaries, including Boogie Nights, with Mark Wahlberg, Wonderland with Val Kilmer and Lisa Kudrow, and Veronica Guerin, with Cate Blanchette. He is the founder and CEO of The Sager Group LLC, which publishes books, makes films and videos, and provides modest grants to creatives. For more information, please see www.mikesager.com. [Show Less]
Table of Contents
The Lonely Hedonist
The founder of Beverly Hill’s most elite sex club left his wife, rented a mansion and filled it with debauchery. Why is he still unhappy
The Day Peter Dinklage Watched Someone Die
Everywhere he goes, the Emmy- and Golden-Globe-winning star of Game of Thrones causes a stir. Of course, it’s been that way his entire life
The Life of a Clown
Sparky has a white face, a red nose and a deep seated need to please. He loves to make people laugh. Please don’t hate him because he’s clownish.
The Samoan Pipeline
How does a tiny island, 5,000 miles from the U.S. mainland, produce so many professional football players?
The Golden Child
J. J. Abrams is the most influential film and TV maker in Hollywood. He’s not just reanimating Star Wars. He is what Star Wars begot.
The craftsmen on the outlaw edge of the hash oil boom call themselves Wooks. Once a year they converge on the Secret Cup Finals in Las Vegas.
The Pot Doctor Will See You Now
A long and jangled day with one of the country’s busiest (and most charismatic) cannabis medical professionals.
The Most Interesting Man in the World, In Retirement
A cross between James Bond and Don Juan (with a dash of Don Quixote), he was internationally known and loved—until Dos Equis decided to send him to Mars.
Growing Almonds in the Desert
Despite a crippling drought, a family farm in California’s Central Valley harvests a banner crop.
Will the Public Ever Get to See the “Dueling Dinosaurs”?
America’s most spectacular fossil, found by a plucky Montana rancher known as the Dino Cowboy, is locked up in a secret storage room. Why?
The Bone Diggers
Every summer, groups of scientists and students converge on the Badlands, searching for fossils and working to solve the riddles of the earth.
The First Family of Dildos
At Doc Johnson, sex toys are a family affair. How one small LA business survived the dark days of the Reagan/Bush War on Porn and is thriving in its second generation.
Will Ron Popeil’s Final Product Be His Masterpiece?
It boils eggs! It steams clams and lobsters! It bakes bread! And best of all, it can fry a 15-pound turkey in 46 minutes!
The First Male Supermodel Was a Cult Member
Hoyt Richards was one of the 1990s’ most successful male models. No one suspected he was under the sway of a doomsday cult.
Arabian Prince Has No Regretz
The forgotten sixth founding member of the seminal hip hop group N.W.A. is doing just fine. Like the fifth Beatle, he’s the one who walked away.
Living Off the Grid in Suburbia
Part Henry David Thoreau, part Robinson Carusoe, this former marketing man chucked it all to live on a utopian island in the middle a San Diego suburb.
At San Francisco’s Zen Hospice Project, death is a creative act, not a tragedy–the ending of one beautiful thing and the beginning of another.