Ed Wood’s Sleaze Paperbacks


Yes, it’s that Ed Wood, Mr Plan 9 from Outer Space, who apparently supplemented his erratic film career by penning dubious porn novels and exposés of the erotic underworld. Most of what I know about him is culled from Tim Burton’s biopic so this was news to me. Ed Wood’s Sleaze Paperbacks is an exhibition at Boo-Hooray, New York, curated by Michael Daley and Johan Kugelberg:

The paperbacks are truly rare, even in an age of mass-searchable used book engines, and google ferocity. Ed Wood’s sleaze fiction is also as strange, idiosyncratic and out of step with his times and mores as his infamous movies. Wood would write porn inter-spliced with lengthy philosophical, sociological and psychological discourse, he’d write first person narratives of life as a transvestite in the buttoned up America of the 1950’s. He’d riff on psychosexual themes, and unleash his id, his ego and his superego in turn, sometimes in the same chapter. He’d write about sex and the human condition without veneer or filters, offering up the damaged and anguished voice of a desperately soul-searching drunk with a sense of self-worth that would stand in dichotomy to his self-pity.

Interesting to see Gay Black among the selected titles, a book I’d seen before in a Flickr collection of queer pulps. At the time I thought the credit must be coincidence, or some pseudonymous writer with a double-entendre name. The exhibition opens on November 2nd and runs to December 1st, 2011.

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3 thoughts on “Ed Wood’s Sleaze Paperbacks”

  1. I think Orgy of the Dead was also a film of his. Wood, in his unalloyed commitment to his own vision, is far more influential than people think. He’s the first director I can think of that used stunt casting. There’s something precious (not to be taken in a demeaning way) about his film making. He’s like a child expressing creativity without any need for grounding in reality. He can see a pie plate and find a space ship. He plays.

  2. Oh, duh! It says “Movie Now Showing” right on the cover of that book. Missed that amongst all the lurid artwork.

  3. Oh my. I had no idea about Ed Wood’s prolific authorial excursions. And now I suppose the likelihood of seeing any books is zero. The McCarthy era was quite an era for sleaze!

    This page on Wood at TV Tropes may interest some readers. After today I’ll never look at a photo of him the same way!

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