Screw Magazine

 

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By late 1991, Sue was again working pretty frequently for Screw

Magazine.

I didn't know until much later how deeply and early Sue had involved

herself into the slimier side of the East Village, and eventually, the

whole of the New York/New Jersey sex industry, touching upon those

aspects of underworld life I had ignored during my off-and-on residents

on East Sixth Street and Avenue B. I learned later she had already made

contact with people from Screw Magazine, establishing her publishing

credits side by side with tits and ass, one more blonde-haired body for

the gritty teeth of the ever-hungry porno meat machine.

 

Sue still had that rosy-checked bloom pimps crave, the kind of look they

like to show off as their prize possession, telling Johns: "Hey, friend,

you want to fuck a virgin?"

 

 

 

I could have warned Sue against associating with this scene. Friends of

mine, who had started out on the Greenwich Village Other, slipped over

the edge early on into Screw., thinking they were being revolutionary,

discovering only later had badly their dreams and talents had been

abused.

 

Like playboy was to the 1950s, Screw marked a major turning point in New

York Sexuality, taking advantage of more liberal publishing laws while

defining the slimy underbelly of New York in its vain attempt to give

the sex industry legitimacy. It became a phone book for prostitutes,

pimps and perversion, declaring itself cutting edge, the industry

publication for every pervert in New York City. The whore houses it

advertises made 19th century sweat shops look tame, women -- many of

them immigrants or drug addicts, plied their trade for as long as 16

hours a day, seven days a week, often displayed behind bullet proof

glass for selection.

 

Screw magazine evolved out the underground press. Goldstein, suckled on

the politics of such institutions as WBAI-FM, actually emerged on the

scene after editing "Hush Hush" and "Confidential." It was Goldstein who

broke the story about industrial spying in the auto workers union. But

Goldstein thought the East Village Other lacked balls, and believed RAT

too politically corrected. But he did notice how many people purchased

EVO for the sex ads. So in November, 1968, he and Jim Buckley, editor of

the New York Free Press launched Screw.

 

Goldstein, bolstered by two important US Supreme Court Decisions, went

further than any other magazine of its kind into what the Village Voice

then called "Dildo Journalism." Goldstein disliked the left's attitude

towards sex, claiming it was just as frustrated as the political right.

Although my friends of EVO struggled to publish several other

publications to counter Screw, none proved successful, and eventually

succumbed to the temptation and worked for him.

 

In many ways Screw rose out of the frenzy of free love, and became the

handbook of every horny redneck from every hillbilly corner of the

metropolitan area, cowboys coming into Manhattan for the dual purpose of

getting drunk and getting laid. Screw guided them through the Disneyland

of Sex, giving rating in hard-ons, instead of stars, part of that

pre-aids era of Plato's Retreat when the tender love-making of the

hippie culture gave way to a co-opted commercial variation.

 

Some the professional trades had suffered a hard time with hippie chicks

giving away sex, and Screw marked a return to the pay-as- you-go

mentality of the 1970s, directing out-of-towners to public places where

men could gang bang unsuspecting hippies.

 

Screw magazine tried to model itself after the Village Voice, providing

reading material most of its customers didn't bother to peruse, rating

sexual performances, houses of ill repute, sex shows, even massage

pallors.

 

By the time Sue came on board in 1980, the magazine had become the bible

of the underworld, an everyman's guide to how to get laid in New York.

At college, Sue's contributions to Screw attracted little significant

comment, few on campus actually read these early works, nor to my

knowledge, has anyone preserve a sample. But by 1991, Sue's abilities

shone through, writing brilliantly about an industry she knew very well

from the inside.

 

But Screw Magazine did serve a valuable service, allowing its readership

to avoid the rip-offs the New York sex scene historically produced,

directing horny men and women to services which were for the most part

as respectable as the seedy nature of the industry could provide. Few

suffered the knock out drops and missing wallets in such places as men

and women had in the distant past. Fewer men found themselves confronted

by thugs when they sought shistorically produced, directing horny men

and women to services which

 

Al Goldstein, publisher of Screw, said he met Sue in person in 1992. She

was hanging around an S & M club in Manhattan researching an article for

his magazine. He was trying to find a diversion for what he called "a

bad marriage." Sue was at the Vault then, doing an article for his

magazine.

 

Goldstein seems to be a character out of 19th Century New York City,

when the Bowery was a poor man's entertainment center and sex was as

much an art of seduction as it was of grinding limbs. Goldstein dislikes

the technical nature of modern sex scene, criticizing the cyber sex

generation for getting away from the personal contact sex traditional

meant. He also said cybersex may even exploit women in ways never

dreamed in the past.

 

" there will be pretty much a one-shot deal. They'll digitize her

voluptuous images, and then she'll be available to anyone who has sweaty

palms and the price of admission. I doubt if she'll get royalties," he

said. "I've just hit sixty, gone gray and gone to Florida, but I've

spent a lifetime in the world of commercial sex. I should have known it

would come to this. I've watched as the human urge for zipless sex has

played itself out in endless variations. A cyberbrothel may be the end

of the line."

 

He said he saw the trend begin back in the 1970s when the first VCRs

brought video taped pornography into men's living rooms and bed rooms,

and closed all the public venues where such films were shown in the

past.

 

"Times Square missed a step on its hustling gait, on its way to becoming

the Mickey Mouse real estate boondoggle of the present day," he said. "I

stood by and watched when the phone sex bandwagon careened through the

world of adult entertainment. Once again, biology subsidized technology.

There was a long stretch of time when the New York telephone monopoly

was unable to convince public utility commissioners to let it hike

pay-phone rates from a dime to twenty-five cents, primarily because the

phone company could make so much coin off phone sex."

 

While Goldstein's magazine still flourishes, he fears the cybersex may

bring down a big brother reaction from the government.

 

Goldstein said he is opposed to censorship, against the exploitation of

children, but believes adults should be allowed to express themselves

sexually.

 

"Any adult who uses children sexually should have his balls cut off and

the death penalty," Goldstein once said but added: "I'm sick of

hypocrites who focus on children, as a way to take away freedom of

adults."

 

In various communications on the internet, Goldstein asked why people

think porno is exploitation.

 

" Why do they argue that women are so childlike and retarded that they

must be protected by society?" he said. "If a woman sits on my face

voluntarily, is she being exploited?"

 

When Sue set her sights on Goldstein, is was hard to determine just who

exploited whom. And yet, four years later, when compared many of the

more respectable men in the publishing industry who exploited Sue,

Goldstein comes across looking like an angel of mercy, providing Sue

with ample opportunity to write.

 

Rob Hardin saw Goldstein as a sign of Sue's downward spiral.

 

"I was vehemently opposed to her involvement with Goldstein, and even

Ridgeway, to the extent that he told her to continue dancing," Hardin

said. "Even Melissa was not a person for Susan to be hanging out with.

Susan kept insisting that I knew all the "cool people," as if I knew

them for any other reason than because we all wrote and played music.

None of my friends cruised nightclubs, yet for her, they embodied a

circle she was insufficiently east village to join. It was a construct

that existed entirely in her head, like the lacuna between my IQ and

hers, and the conclusion that only the sex business offered her any hope

of distinction. Her impression was false. My friends absolutely loved

her.

 

"For years, Susan did what I asked and stayed out of the sex business

and even took her medication. But then one day I chose to separate from

her--she seemed cloying, desperate, I can't justify what I did--for

about three months. Then we got back together; but by then, supposedly,

Melissa had "talked her into dancing. Then I separated from her again,

thinking we wouldn't ever really last as a couple. But she continued to

visit once a week, to sprawl across my bed and offer herself

nonchalantly; and after I'd realized how much I really loved her, it was

too late: my influence was posthumous. She had completely distanced

herself from everyone. After that, I doubt she ever told the whole truth

to anyone.

 

"But the truth is, I feel even worse for David than I do for Susan. I'd

thought that my rejection of her (broke up with her three times toward

the beginning) was partly responsible for her return to the insect

kingdom. After finding out more, I have my doubts that any of us could

have helped. She was so hell-bent on descent that she lied to everyone.

Not one person whom I've met has got the same story. Poor lost little

thing. I remember the day she told me that, after I'd stopped seeing

her, she made the decision to be shallow. I've been haunted by that

moment for years. But now it seems she made the decision to bury her

spirit long before she met me. Gotta go. I must work with people today.

Can't cry. Can't think about this."

 

A flawed child?

 

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