Today’s Guest: Josh Alan Friedman, singer, author, Black Cracker, Tales of Times Square, I, Goldstein.
Al Goldstein broke the mold of the men’s magazine publisher.
In an industry in which Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner was that nice pornographer next door, Penthouse’s Bob Guccione Sr. was its Caligula, and Hustler’s Larry Flynt was the equivalent of comedy’s Gallagher 2, Screw magazine publisher Al Goldstein was off-the-charts ridiculous and scandalous – frequently at the same time.
But in many ways, Goldstein – described in the headline of his New York Times obituary as “A Publisher Who Took the Romance Out of Sex” – was also the most human of the bunch, never seeking to elevate himself through his sex rag so much as to use it to expose a world of hypocrisy and bullsh*t.
JOSH ALAN FRIEDMAN podcast excerpt: “Al Goldstein was arrested once for showing pubic hair. He enjoyed being arrested; it was a great pleasure for him! The first arrest was eight hours after putting New York City Mayor John Lindsay’s erection — a composite photo — in the paper. That was the first time the NYPD raided Screw magazine’s offices and took Al out in handcuffs… He was a Hebrew pitbull. I wouldn’t say he was a defender of the First Amendment. The First Amendment may have been his defender. But he was the one who tested it and flexed the First Amendment’s muscles more than any other publisher in America, to see how far it would go for freedom of the press. And he made it go far. And he proved how strong it is.”
He also endeared himself to a legion of loyal followers, employees and creative types – typically New Yorkers, because he was one of them.
Goldstein died on Thursday, December 18, at a nursing home in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. He was 77.
My guest today, Josh Alan Friedman, was already scheduled to be on the show before Goldstein’s passing. He is my fourth Friedman male, following his brothers Drew and Kipp and father Bruce Jay. My original plan was to talk about Josh’s unique body of work, from his autobiographical novel Black Cracker and sordid but true collection, Tales of Times Square, to his sonic compositions, including a musical based on the life of the world’s worst film director Ed Wood (Plan B from Outer Space), appropriately titled The Worst.
We’ll still talk about all that, but we’ll shift our focus to Al Goldstein, with whom Josh wrote the Screw magazine publisher’s autobiography, I, Goldstein: My Screwed Life.
And stay tuned for two exclusive performances of original compositions performed by Josh. Trust me, you won’t want to miss them.