Disasterama (Three Rooms Press)
Disasterama! is the true story of Alvin Orloff who, as a shy kid from the suburbs of San Francisco, stumbled into the wild, eclectic crowd of Crazy Club Kids, Punk Rock Nutters, Goofy Goofballs, Fashion Victims, Disco Dollies, Happy Hustlers, and Dizzy Twinks of post-Stonewall American queer culture of the late 1970s, only to see the “subterranean lavender twilit shadow world of the gay ghetto” ravished by AIDS.
In Disasterama!, Orloff recalls the delirious adventures of his youth—from San Francisco to Los Angeles to New York—where insane nights, deep friendships with the creatives of the underground, and thrilling bi-coastal living led to a free-spirited life of art, manic performance, high camp antics, and exotic sexual encounters. Orloff looks past the politics of AIDS to the people on the ground, friends of his who did not survive AIDS’ wrath—the boys in black leather jackets and cackling queens in tacky frocks—remembering them not as victims, but as people who loved life, loved fun, and who were a part of the insane jigsaw of his community. Includes more than 60 rare photos of the underground counterculture, club flyers, drag queens, and queer icons of era.
Praise for Disasterama!:
“Alvin Orloff’s memoir of San Francisco queers facing the mounting AIDS crisis and freaking, caring, denying, performing, and carrying on is a witty remembrance that avoids cheap sentiment or easy responses. Tackling a mass of contradictions with unflinching realness, this book both entertains and inspires.” —Michael Musto, columnist, author, Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back
“Disasterama takes us deep into the 80s and the daily creative resistance that saved the culture’s soul during the plague years. With wit and flair Alvin Orloff gives us a guided tour of the era’s vibrant subcultures; glittering, pointed reactions to a cold-hearted status quo. Heartbreaking and hilarious, sexed-up and political, Disasterama is a deeply personal coming-of-age story." —Michelle Tea, author Against Memoir and Modern Tarot
“A book that all at once reads as a memoir, a eulogy and a love letter to San Francisco—set in those critical years between the death of disco and the first tech boom—Disasterama offers up a chronicle of fags, dykes, punks, freaks, and club kids partying on the Best Coast and the impact of AIDS, art, and activism on the post Baby Boomer/pre-Millennial van garde. SPOILER ALERT: the last three chapters will completely rip yr heart out.” —Brontez Purnell, author, The Cruising Diaries
“I’ve never read a better story of the true love of friendship. Alvin tells the story of the San Francisco I lived in when I first arrived, when all kinds of social misfits and cultural weirdos could call it home. No matter who you were, you could come here and find a place to not only fit in, but to shine.” —Bucky Sinister, author, Black Hole
“An irresistible and seminal work that gives us a glimpse into an explosive era of outspoken and unprecedented art, breathless interpersonal discourse and dysfunction, dug-in protest culture, and mind-bending fashion that put the word “flamboyant” to shame." —Richard Loranger, author, Sudden Windows
Alvin Orloff began writing in 1977, while still a teenager, by penning lyrics for The Blowdryers, an early San Francisco punk band. He spent the 1980s working as a telemarketer and exotic dancer while concurrently attending U.C. Berkeley and performing with The Popstitutes, a somewhat absurd performance art/homocore band. In 1990 he and his bandmates founded Klubstitute, a floating queer cabaret devoted to the ideal of cultural democracy that featured spoken word, theater, drag, and musical acts. In 1995 the club, whose staff and patrons had been ravaged by AIDS epidemic, closed its doors and Orloff suddenly remembered that all he’d ever wanted to be was a writer. He subsequently published three rather whimsical novels, I Married an Earthling, Gutter Boys, and Why Aren’t You Smiling? before producing his memoir of life amongst San Francisco’s queer underground during the height of the AIDS crisis, Disasterama! Orloff currently works as the manager of Dog Eared Books, a literary hot-spot in the heart of San Francisco’s Castro District. He lives in San Francisco.
Falling (University of Wisconsin Press)
In award-winning author Trebor Healey’s newest collection, Falling, characters lose their way, figuratively and literally, and confront the profound displacement of modern life.
These are stories of hard-won redemption and transformation — a widower who finds meaning adopting refugee children, a painter who reconnects with his son after losing everything, a nun victimized and haunted by state terror, and a peripatetic gay man in utter despair and fatigue who finally bonds with his dying father.
In Healey’s skilled hands, there is a flicker of hope in the hopeless, a way forward in the pathless wood, and a bridge — though rickety and swaying — across even the most harrowing chasm.
Together, these vignettes cover a dizzying breadth of the human experience. From a contemporary reimagination of the life of Evita Perón with a gay man in the starring role to the story of an abandoned building full of ghosts in the center of Mexico City, this collection suggests other ways of seeing in a world overburdened by history.
Praise for Falling:
"Trebor Healey has shown us in these utterly original stories how the English-speaking part of the Americas confronts the Spanish-speaking part. In "The Orchid," he has written a masterful exploration of the inner politics of Argentina. This is a wise, brilliant story that will be read for many years to come." — Edmund White, author of A Boy’s Own Story
"In this beautifully drawn collection, Trebor Healey takes the reader into vividly imagined worlds, each story absorbing in its details and spiraling, surprising complexities. In the stories set in Mexico, he paints a dreamscape tinted with magic realism, never losing sight of the very real humanity binding us all." — Sarah Van Arsdale, author of In Case of Emergency, Break Glass
Recipient of a Lambda Literary award, two Publishing Triangle awards and a Violet Quill award, Trebor Healey is the author of three novels, A Horse Named Sorrow, Faun and Through It Came Bright Colors, as well as a poetry collection, Sweet Son of Pan and three collections of stories — A Perfect Scar, Eros & Dust and the recently-released Falling. He co-edited (with Marci Blackman) Beyond Definition: New Writing from Gay and Lesbian San Francisco and co-edited (with Amie Evans) Queer & Catholic. He lives in Mexico City. www.treborhealey.com