Bosom Buddies

Soulful staredown of two pretty sharp dressers.

I’m not sure when Time Magazine begins the nominating process for its Person of the Year. If the vote were held today, Stormy Daniels would have to be the pick.

When she first gained prominence last Spring she was pigeonholed as a publicity seeking bimbo. But in her published comments and the way she handled herself in live interviews, it was apparent she was an intelligent woman who knew exactly what she was doing. Making porn was not her most defining quality. It was just the way she happened to earn a living.

Recently she’s objected to the constant prefix of “porn star” to her name. “They’d never refer to me as librarian Stormy Daniels.” As a former one I can say the two professions easily intermingle.

One fault I do find with the librarian’s judgement was in accepting the original settlement of 130K. After lawyers fees and taxes there’s barely enough for a week’s stay at a thrice bankrupt luxury hotel.  Like the now-defunct Trump Taj Mahal in loser-ville, Atlantic City. A true deal artist would demand seven figures.

The steamroller Stormy created continues to gain momentum today. As seen in last week’s capitulation of National Enquirer Chairman, David Pecker. Getting the Peckers of the world to cooperate is no small feat.

If not Person of the Year at least Miss Congeniality in the Trump International Miss Universe Contest.

As Stormy emerges to become the paradigm for the new librarian, we say farewell to a landmark of porn’s past. Last Sunday I attended a barbecue celebrating The Nob Hill Theater’s final day. The home of gay porn and famous All Male Review closed its doors on Bush Street after 50 years. For 30 of those years I passed it daily on my walk to work.

It was the solitary gay establishment in a neighborhood of Chinatown tourists, cable car riders, Union Square shoppers, Tenderloin overflow and residential apartment dwellers. Laid out as a small theater with proscenium and large screen, it later added strippers, a back room, and a video arcade to help patrons meet  “new friends.”

I lived three blocks away for four decades and occasionally dropped in. Friendships did, indeed, spring up.

One buddy was a kid in his early 20’s from Hillsborough. He had an elaborate story about being an Ivy League graduate who worked as a lawyer for the CIA. I saw him on the sly and at his bidding. There were always time limitations and he never gave me his number. Even though I had caller id, the sex was good so I played along.

I saw him several times and started sharing details with friends. When one pointed out Princeton didn’t have a law school I realized I looked foolish pursuing this folly. I gently called his bluff and never heard from him again.

His lying was not malicious nor was he a scammer. He was just another insecure closet case who resorted to fantasy because he had trouble accepting his homosexuality. Practicing it, however, was never a problem.

Another affair that began over art films at the Nob was with an aspiring interior decorator. His fetish was the definition creating properties of lycra, which carbon dates the fling as mid to late 80’s.  We had regular conjugal visits at his place, languishing in steaming hot baths over deadly gin martinis.

I tried not to mix my personal and professional lives. Sometimes it was unavoidable. Like the night in the Nob Hill lobby when I saw an attorney from work browbeating the porn star Rick Donavon into an assignation. Members of prestigious international law firms who have graduated from top flight law schools aren’t used to taking “no” for an answer. And they have the cash to close their arguments.

Compartmentalization also failed me one day walking to work. I looked up at the marquee to see the week’s featured performer was J.D. Powers.

Besides honorary librarian Stormy, Time might also give serious consideration to George W. Bush this year.  His legacy ranks him with Metternich, Wilson, and Acheson as one of the most influential statesmen ever. When he took a break from clearing non-existent, photo-op brush off his Texas ranch, he gazed into Vlad’s baby blues and saw the Impaler’s soul. GOP diplomacy was changed forever.

Look ’em in the eye, give ’em a nickname, go with your gut, then quickly end the meeting to win the daily news cycle–that was W’s style of statesmanship. And it’s provided a road map for subsequent Republican Presidencies as evidenced in Singapore and Helsinki this summer.

The technique requires a level of intelligence rarely seen in the White House.

Don Jong Trump had difficulty seeing Seoul.

Back Pages

How could something that was worthless 45 years ago still be worthless today? In the mind of a collector this should never happen. The mere act of preserving something fragile for that many decades should add some value.

In the case of tabloid newspapers it doesn’t. My stack of Jackie National Enquirers, International Tattlers. and Weekly World News that cost me 10 to 50 cents back in the day don’t even fetch the $4.95 of a current issue.

After all that effort, the archivist in me couldn’t allow them to be tossed or destroyed. I thought of salvaging them as bathroom art but who among us wants to see another door papered with Jackie Kennedy covers?

Then I decided rather than focus solely on her I would celebrate the toilet bowl genre of journalism that fed her celebrity so effectively.  There are a few Jackie front pages included but they are among more hard-hitting pieces like: the tallest known traveling salesman in the world at 8′ 2″; the woman who sprouted porcupine quills; and, the first ever pictures of the Antichrist.

To honor her lifelong struggle of protecting herself and her children from the hordes, Privacy Film was used to cover the articles. And the borders are neon yellow to warn of potential hazard: there are some dangerous ways of thinking out there.

It’s fascinating to think how appalled this refined woman must have been to have her gawkish likeness on two-bit tea towels and coffee cups. Then how she was turned into a cartoon character for the tabloids by the Kennedy publicity machine. They had no problem using her because it only increased the power of the family brand among the masses. Plus it gave her a few bargaining chips in life.

It’s also hard to reconcile that figure with the one who studied art with Bernard Berenson and debated philosophy with Andre Malraux; who was the only one ever to convince the French to temporarily lend the Mona Lisa; whose influence brought the Temple of Dendur to the Met; and, who would charge clothing to Onassis’ haute couture accounts then immediately sell them to second hand shops to pad her cash on hand. You gotta do, girl, what you gotta do. It was the perversity of how she got ahead, and not so much idolatry, that appealed to me.

That was the inspiration for starting the collection 50 years ago. I was so much older then I’m younger than that now.