Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thank You, Uncle Al....

I don't have the archival links, but I want to pay homage to this Grand Schvantzer, Al Goldstein who died at age 77. Al was a pornographer, in the most technical sense of the world, but he was a hero of freedom of the press and fighting the good fight even if there was a lot of messy pubic hair and body fluids involved. He gave me and a lot of my friends back in the early 80's much needed support and artistic creds as cartoonists and alternative artists. If you had asked me at the time, "How old is Al Goldstein?" I would have probably guessed 77 years old...he was always an old fuck and ageless.
After working as a press photographer and tabloid journalist, Goldstein began publishing the pornographic Screw weekly magazine in 1968, six years before Larry Flynt’s Hustler magazine, and outlined its mission statement in first issue.
“We promise never to ink out a pubic hair or chalk out an organ,” read the manifesto. “We will apologize for nothing. We will uncover the entire world of sex. We will be the Consumer Reports of sex.”
Goldstein fought similar legal battles to his notorious competitor, having been arrested 21 times on indecency- or obscenity-related charges and sued by Alabama Gov. George Wallace in 1977 for publishing the claim that the one-time presidential candidate had learned to perform sexual acts by reading Screw. Wallace and Goldstein settled for $12,500 and Screw agreed to print an apology. 

Goldstein produced the 1973 pornographic film, It Happened In Hollywood, featuring Wes Craven as assistant director and editor.
He also debuted the long-running “Midnight Blue” late-night interview show in 1974 on New York public access cable television, which he used to curse his many enemies, his family and anyone else who offended him.
I’m infantile, compulsive, always acting out my fantasies,” he told Playboy in 1974. “There’s nothing I’ll inhibit myself from doing.”
Goldstein hired underground cartoonists to illustrate Screw, publishing such artists as Robert Crumb, my old friend, Milton Knight, Danny Hellman and Art Spiegelman as well as myself back in 1982. That simple decision by Al gave me a few good years as a credible artist back in the days. I was the Art Editor, cartoonist and an illustrator of a Lower East Side Art Journal, Red Tape. I was also the staff incoherent rock star who bit the tip of my tongue off live on stage at Danceteria ( great theater, lots of blood, but it only fueled my guitar solo!)...but that is another story.....Goldstein supported many alternative cartoon illustrators and gave them the credentials they needed to make their art more mainstream and lucrative...this is not about capitalism, it is about survival......
His magazine eventually began to lose advertisers to free weekly publications, and Goldstein failed to invest heavily enough in video or Internet pornography.
He was convicted in 2002 of harassing a former secretary in print, and he published doctored photos of his son having sex with men and his own mother, Goldstein’s third ex-wife, after the son asked him not to attend his graduation from Harvard Law School. Screw filed for bankruptcy in 2003, and Goldstein lived in homeless shelters and Veterans Administration hospitals until his friend, the magician Penn Jillette, paid for an apartment for him. His cause of death was believed to be renal failure. 

1 comment:

Ol'Buzzard said...

He brought clarity to an otherwise crazy world of status quo.
the Ol'Buzzard