By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Hooked: The Return of Xaviera Hollander
Hollander: “I’ll try anything.”
She doesn't look like a onetime superwhore whose first book -- The Happy Hooker, published 30 years ago -- gave an entire generation of young men their first boners. Fifty-nine years old, her thick frame swathed in a simple wrap, she at first comes across as almost plain. But then she greets you with a twinkly smile and a Zsa-Zsa Gabor-esque "DAH-ling!," and when she asks if you might fetch her a cup of water or, better yet, some tea, you gladly obey. People instinctively do things for Xaviera Hollander. She's had lots of practice getting what she wants. In fact, she's had a willing slave for years.
Yes, Hollander has a slave, so she claims -- and who's to question her? She also has a full-time female lover, and a young male buck on the side. She says she's become what's known as a "stone butch" lesbian -- happy to please a woman in bed, but unable to really get off without male penetration. On a recent stop in New York, Hollander had a carnal reunion with a 50-year-old man whose cherry she popped back in her hooking days, when he was 19. Now he's wealthy, owns horses and shaves his balls.
She tells me all these things, unprompted, within about five minutes of saying "Hello." And five minutes after that, I find myself telling her about a few fetishes not even my own girlfriend knows I have. Hollander's L.A. handler -- dispatched by her publisher, Regan Books -- understands what's happening to me. "I've told her things I haven't told anyone," she whispers confidentially as Hollander is ushered into the KPCC studios. "She's never offended by anything."
The atmosphere at KPCC is like that of a lot of daily news-gathering operations -- genial but serious. There are deadlines to be met and issues to be discussed, and the authors interviewed on the station's two daily talk shows tend toward the Pulitzer Prize end of the literary spectrum. So when Hollander's mic goes live and she starts gaily reeling off anecdote after titillating anecdote about life as a trisexual ("I'll try anything," she smiles), the entire station perks up.
"I had champagne tastes and a beer budget," Hollander says, recalling her '60s transformation from Dutch Consulate secretary to whorehouse madame. "So a friend of mine said, 'Xaviera, look at you. You're sitting on a gold mine down there -- why not cash in?'" The volunteers manning KPCC's call-in phone lines, who 30 seconds earlier were discussing in muted tones Internet filtration in public libraries, now burst into laughter.
Hollander quotes from perhaps the least politically correct passage of The Happy Hooker, comparing the sexual mannerisms of men of different ethnicities. The safest example: "The French have excellent technique, but very bad hygiene." Then she tells a story from her childhood, about the day her father spanked her and she had an orgasm. This is not something she considers unnatural, or even uncommon. The control room erupts in animated ä conversation. A father-daughter spanking orgasm is healthy? Is this woman serious, or just pushing our buttons?
"I'm not easily shocked or anything," says the soundboard operator, "But I have to say I've been surprised several times this morning."
Me too, but not just by the Happy Hooker's ability to unleash a flood of torrid talk. These days, "sex-positive" writer/activists like Suzie Bright routinely get roomfuls of housewives gabbing about anal sex and three-ways. But Hollander has something Bright doesn't, something left over from the Playboy era of her youth -- she makes sex talk seem not merely naughty or liberating, but sophisticated, cosmopolitan. Even glamorous. Watching her in action, I can't help but feel a little nostalgic for a time 30 years ago, when the most stylish accessory a person could sport was a dirty mind.
Meanwhile, back in the studio, a KPCC volunteers asks, "Can someone tell me what exactly is polyamory?"
Spaghetti Jazz: Scoring, Italian Style
"IT WAS AMAZING, AMAZING!" SAYS Daniele Luppi, recalling the making of An Italian Story, his new collection of instrumentals inspired by the swinging film soundtracks of 1960s and '70s Italy. Since moving to Los Angeles three years ago, the Italian-born composer has contributed groovy, '60s-flavored music to such independent films as Robinson Devor's The Woman Chaser and Christian Taylor's forthcoming Showboy. But for Luppi, An Italian Story is much more than just a musical calling card -- it's a love story as well.
With its twangy baritone guitars, burbling Hammond organs, funky Minimoogs and whistled melodies, the collection vividly recalls the spaghetti-Western scores of Ennio Morricone, the Fellini work of Nino Rota, and the space-age fun of Piero Umiliani. Recorded at Rome's Telecinesound -- an all-analog studio built in 1968 that Luppi describes as "frozen in time" -- An Italian Story reunites many of the top-shelf session musicians who worked with those maestros. "I wanted to explore the many styles of Italian soundtracks of that era, and realized that it would be perfect to actually have these people play on it," Luppi says.
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