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THE ORGAN READER
by Howard J. Pearlstein, Richard A. Lupoff and Fender Tucker
A DREAM REALIZED
EVER SINCE I was a young altar boy, I’ve had a dream: to be a pornographer. And now, thanks to Print-On-Demand Publishing, the Supreme Court and a couple of old ex-hippies, I have realized that young boy’s dream.
I guess it all began back in the early 50s when I had to endure countless hours of ennui taking part in long-forgotten Latin rituals, one of which was attending Mass on Sundays at the Catholic Church in Farmington New Mexico. The only bright spot was the official Catholic newspaper, Our Sunday Visitor, which always included a list of condemned films — condemned by the stalwart defenders of niceness and censorship, The Legion of Decency!
I devoured the list of about 50 films, none of which ever had a pissant’s chance of ever being shown in Farmington. I had the titles all memorized, though, just in case. The Moon is Down, I am a Camera, a bunch of foreign films, and the one film that I thought I had at least an outside chance of seeing: Tennessee Williams’ Baby Doll.
My aunt Ivy Mae from New Orleans told about the time it showed in the Big Easy. The archbishop had shouted from the pulpit that all Catholics were prohibited under the threat of mortal sin from seeing see this filthy, condemned motion picture, so naturally when Ivy Mae went to see it the next day she spied dozens of her church friends’ silhouettes in the sinfully dark theater. It was an ecumenical event.
My mother and I asked her what was so bad about it and she said, “Eh, maybe there was a little bit too much cleavage.”
That was good enough for me and I eventually did see the film — which I found quite boring — many years later. By then, cleavage was the shallowest of the crevises I was looking for.
But then the great sexual revolution of the 60s took place and my dream of becoming a pornographer was thwarted not by censorship, but by economics. You had to have money and a publishing company, or at least be a hard-working author, to be a pornographer. Sure, I could write my own sleazy prose, but who would read it?
So instead of pornography, I played guitar in bar bands during the 60s, 70 and 80s and got into publishing only in 1987, when I moved to Shreveport, Louisiana to take over editorship of a computer magazine, LOADSTAR. No pornography in that field! In those early days of home computerdom, we were too busy writing games, puzzles, small applications, utilities, etc. to be concerned about porn. The internet was still years in the future, especially for us Commodore 64 users.
But it was publishing, and I was steadily inching closer to my dream. If I could just get the 20,000 subscribers to my computer magazine to remove one hand from the keyboard and . . . But no, I was no Bill Gates.
Then, in 1999 my programming buddy Jim Weiler accepted my challenge to come up with a way we could publish real books by using our various computers and printers. Jim is a scientist in the best sense of the word and a few reams of paper later he developed what became the Ramble House bookmaking method, a system of printing books on cheap laser printers and binding them using a $5 clothes iron, after — and this is the secret of RH’s process — microwaving each sheet of paper. Between 1999 and 2007 I made by hand over 5000 of the little, dust-jacketed paperbacks that bear the Ramble House Fillmore-fonted imprint. If you’re lucky or prescient, you may have one or more of these highly collectible craftworks in your library.
So I now had the means to be a pornographer. All I lacked was the substance, the gist, the actual feelthy words and pictures to publish. I took a stab at writing some of my own, usually involving half-remembered sordid escapades from my bar band days, but the problem remained: how to get people to read them? I tried reprinting some classics of porn and met with mild success. So far I’ve sold over 120 copies of Philip José Farmer’s 1969 masterpiece of Gothic porn, LOVE SONG. If you have to start somewhere, why not with the very best? I found a few other sex books from the gray zone of orphaned, copyrighted books, such as SEX SLAVE by Dion LeClerq, Robert Sewall’s THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, and some Ed Wood books. I even was introduced to Jim Harmon by Richard Lupoff and contracted to bring back Jim’s classic sleaze novels from the early 60s, such as VIXEN HOLLOW, THE CELLULOID SCANDAL, THE MAN WHO MADE MANIACS, SILENT SIREN, APE RAPE and WANTON WITCH with more to come.
But it was only with the fat, tumescent volume you now hold in your meaty fists that my dream has at last come to a climax. With the words from THE ORGAN now under my publisher’s belt, I am a full-fledged pornographer and if only Sister Edwina could see me now. She-Who-Damn-Well-Better-Be-Obeyed would shit in her habit!
Not that I had anything to do with the actual feelthy words that you have in your near future. That honor all belongs to Richard Lupoff, Howard Pearlstein, Jon Stewart (okay, okay, not THE Jon Stewart), Gerard van der Leun and the other writers who realized their dreams back when I was just getting out of the army and singing Proud Mary five times a night. The only radical newspaper I knew of back then was the odd issue of SCREW that somehow managed to ooze its way across the mighty Mississip and the state of Texas to the hinterlands where I lived.
Howard, Dick and I met at Dick’s house in Berkeley in May 2007 and looked over each page of the nine issues of THE ORGAN. Howard had a story about each article, every story having several subplots, and Dick was soon looking forward to the Burmese restaurant we’d all be going to later that evening. So was I. But by the time we got to page 36 of Issue IX, I knew we had a hell of a book on our hands.
We all have our dreams. Can you imagine the dreams of Dick and Howard back when they were stumbling to the Chicken Factory after a weekend of depraved debauchery (my fantasy of life in Berkeley)? Maybe they hoped that one day more than just hippies who could afford fifty cents for a 36-page newspaper would read their sweated-out words? Maybe they dreamed that a big pornographic publisher would one day turn their work into a real book — a real big book — one that would sit on coffee tables all over the world, enticing space-suited futurians to read about long-lost days of sex, drugs and rock & roll.
Well, I can dream, can’t I?
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