I, Fatty Tidbit #1 - Meet Jerry

by Jerry Stahl

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I, Fatty Tidbit #1 - Meet Jerry

Unread postby Liz » Mon Jun 06, 2005 9:20 am

Good morning, Noodlemantra’s. Today we begin our I, Fatty tidbits. This book is a tidbit heaven. We’ll start by introducing its author, Jerry Stahl……. :-O

Contemporary Authors Online
Thomson Gale, 2004.

In his memoir Permanent Midnight, Jerry Stahl explains in explicit language and vivid imagery his long, hard road from successful writer to street-living heroin addict and back again. A Publishers Weekly critic called it an "unabashedly lurid and often highly entertaining book," while Michael O'Sullivan of the Washington Post called the movie based on the book and starring Stahl's good friend Ben Stiller a "serious film about one man's sojourn in hell." Renee Tawa commented in the Chicago Tribune: "Stahl's memoir unfolds . . . with moments of self-loathing interspersed with irony and black humor. He writes, for instance, of injecting heroin at the hospital while his daughter was being born."

Raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by a father who eventually committed suicide and a mother who was severely neurotic, Stahl basically lived alone from the age of sixteen or seventeen, at which time he began using drugs. After graduating from Columbia University, he remained in New York City, where his drug use escalated. After winning the Pushcart Prize for a short story when he was twenty-two, Stahl received calls from publishers wanting to know if he had written a novel that they might publish. He told Erik Himmelsbach of Salon.com: "I always knew how to write. I never knew how to live. . . . I didn't know how to return a phone call. I didn't know how to take a meeting. . . . I was high all the time."

An editorial posting for Hustler drew Stahl to Los Angeles where, after beginning as a porn writer, he became a successful television writer for series such as Alf, Moonlighting, Twin Peaks, and Thirtysomething earning $5,000 a week. However, a $6,000-a-week drug habit cost him writing jobs. Not only could he no longer hold such jobs, at the age of thirty-eight he could not even hold a job as a McDonald's cook. He told Stevens: "I remember hearing my 16-year-old co-workers whispering, 'I think he's retarded.' It's hard to live that kind of stuff down." Even after rehabilitation and the success of his memoir, he relapsed.

By the time he wrote Perv--A Love Story, Stahl had been clean for about five years, and he felt he could safely examine issues such as sexual and substance abuse. "Somehow, because I have more distance from it, I can go deeper into it," he told Himmelsbach. "What's really the disturbing element is the ease with which you can enter a state of mind like that. I wish I could write about a happy accountant in Reseda."

Perv is a fictional account that draws on Stahl's experience during his teens. The central character, Bobby, is expelled from a prep school in Pennsylvania for having gang sex with a consenting girl. Bobby's father committed suicide, and his emotionally unstable mother seeks solace in pills and alcohol. Bobby and Michelle, a girl he had a crush on in kindergarten, decide to hitchhike to San Francisco. They meet Varnish and Meat--older, predatory, hippie junkies who lock them in their car and subject them to a night of verbal, psychological, and sexual abuse.

Himmelsbach called Perv "dark and gruesome . . . a disorienting, disconcerting, hilarious coming-of-age tale." Rhonda Johnson commented in Entertainment Weekly that it is "not for the easily confused, offended, or overstimulated." In fact, Stahl himself commented to Himmelsbach when asked why his fiction has received so much resistance: "Permanent Midnight is like a Hallmark card compared to Perv."

Stahl went on to write Plainclothes Naked, another darkly humorous novel described by Jeff Zaleski in Publishers Weekly as containing "Wanton violence. Crushing drug addiction. Sexual abuse. It's the world according to Stahl." The story line revolves around a photograph of George W. Bush having kinky sex with the mayor of a tiny town outside Pittsburgh. Characters include two blackmailing crack addicts and a private investigator with a serious drug addiction who happens to be the mayor's ex-husband--among others. "Stahl's talent for supplying a cast of mean yet oddly moving characters is evident, as is his talent for creating tactile, unsettling images," wrote Zaleski.

Stahl now describes himself as a "bearded soccer mom," or, as he told Pope, "I'm totally Fred MacMurray [the straight-laced actor of TV's My Three Sons] now. I don't do any drugs, and there you are."

PERSONAL INFORMATION

Family: Born 1954, in Pittsburgh, PA; married (divorced); children: Stella. Education: Graduated from Columbia University. Addresses: Home: Los Feliz, CA. Agent: c/o Author Mail, 7th Floor, HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd St., New York, NY 10022.

AWARDS

Pushcart Prize, 1976.

CAREER

Writer. Actor in films, including Permanent Midnight, 1998, 12 Rounds, 2000, Gun Shy, Hollywood Pictures, 2000, Zoolander, Paramount Pictures, 2001, Down with the Joneses, Paramount Pictures, 2003, and Hollywood High, Radical Media, Inc., 2003. Interviewed for the episode "Ben Stiller" for the television series Biography, A&E, 2001.

WRITINGS BY THE AUTHOR:

SCREENPLAYS
• (As Herbert W. Day) Café Flesh, VCA Pictures, 1982.
• Bad Boys II, Columbia Pictures Corporation, 2003.
Also author, with Ben Stiller, of the screenplay What Makes Sammy Run.

TELEVISION SERIES
• Moonlighting, American Broadcasting Company (ABC), 1985.
• Alf, National Broadcasting Company (NBC), 1986.
• "Born to be Mild," thirtysomething, American Broadcasting Company (ABC),1988.
• "Politics," thirtysomething, American Broadcasting Company (ABC), 1989.
• "Soapy Sanderson," Northern Exposure, Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (CBS), 1990.
• Twin Peaks (episode 2.4), American Broadcasting Company (ABC), 1990.
• "Felonius Monk," "The Hunger Artist," "Justice Is Served," "Slaves of Las Vegas," CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (CBS), 2000.

BOOKS
• Permanent Midnight: A Memoir, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1995.
• Perv--A Love Story (novel), William Morrow (New York, NY), 1999.
• Plainclothes Naked (novel), William Morrow (New York, NY), 2001.
• I, Fatty, Bloomsbury USA (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to magazines including Playboy, GQ, Village Voice, Esquire, and Hustler.

MEDIA ADAPTATIONS
Permanent Midnight, was adapted for film by David Veloz in 1998.
• Washington Post, September 18, 1998, Michael O'Sullivan, review of film version of Permanent Midnight, p. N56.

SOURCE CITATION

Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2005. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. 2005. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC


LIZ NOTE: Interesting how he wrote for 4 of my all time favorite TV shows.
Last edited by Liz on Mon Jun 06, 2005 9:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread postby Veronica » Mon Jun 06, 2005 9:31 am

It says CSI does that mean he is still the writter of that show or just wrote an episode? Thats the only TV show I watch.

Unbelievable story there. I think I am going to have to read Permanent Midnight.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jun 06, 2005 9:40 am

V, I think he writes occasionally for CSI, but someone correct me if I am wrong. I watched Permanent Midnight last weekend. Very powerful movie. Ben Stiller does an excellent job portraying Stahl.
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Re: I, Fatty Tidbit #1 - Meet Jerry

Unread postby luvdepp » Mon Jun 06, 2005 12:47 pm

Liz wrote:Good morning, Noodlemantra’s. Today we begin our I, Fatty tidbits. This book is a tidbit heaven. We’ll start by introducing its author, Jerry Stahl……. :-O

Contemporary Authors Online
Thomson Gale, 2004.

[color=darkred]LIZ NOTE: Interesting how he wrote for 4 of my all time favorite TV shows.


Funny you should say that Liz ~ I was thinking the same thing! I haven't read any of Stahl's books except I, Fatty, which I enjoyed. Has anyone read Permenant Midnight? I have the movie on order from netflix.
"So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself, who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on the shore and merely existed." ~HST~

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Unread postby lizbet » Mon Jun 06, 2005 1:25 pm

Liz - please tell me that Alf isn't one of "the four" :-?

some ride J. Stahl been on - glad he clean and writing and part of the human race again

am off to chapters to see what's holding up my copy - the author sounds almost as interesting as our subject :eyebrow:
trying to live in "a profound state of ignorance"

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Unread postby fansmom » Mon Jun 06, 2005 1:30 pm

lizbet wrote:Liz - please tell me that Alf isn't one of "the four" :-?
Laughing while eating lunch is not a good idea. I'm glad there was no one around to see me and my little mess.

And I hope you're right about Alf!

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Unread postby Veronica » Mon Jun 06, 2005 1:32 pm

fansmom wrote:
lizbet wrote:Liz - please tell me that Alf isn't one of "the four" :-?
Laughing while eating lunch is not a good idea. I'm glad there was no one around to see me and my little mess.

And I hope you're right about Alf!


Alf was a funny show! :blush: :clown:
Everything is always okay in the end,

if it's not, then it's not the end.



Today is a gift....Have Fun!

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Unread postby lizbet » Mon Jun 06, 2005 1:55 pm

Veronica wrote:
fansmom wrote:
lizbet wrote:Liz - please tell me that Alf isn't one of "the four" :-?
Laughing while eating lunch is not a good idea. I'm glad there was no one around to see me and my little mess.

And I hope you're right about Alf!


Alf was a funny show! :blush: :clown:



yes V - Alf had its moments but to see it on Liz's top four list would be toooooooooo much :banghead:
trying to live in "a profound state of ignorance"

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Unread postby luvdepp » Mon Jun 06, 2005 2:01 pm

lizbet wrote:
Veronica wrote:
fansmom wrote:
lizbet wrote:Liz - please tell me that Alf isn't one of "the four" :-?
Laughing while eating lunch is not a good idea. I'm glad there was no one around to see me and my little mess.

And I hope you're right about Alf!


Alf was a funny show! :blush: :clown:



yes V - Alf had its moments but to see it on Liz's top four list would be toooooooooo much :banghead:


If Liz is thinking of the same four as me, it would be Moonlighting, Twin Peaks, Thirtysomething and Northern Exposure.....but you're right V, Alf was pretty funny! :clown:
"So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself, who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on the shore and merely existed." ~HST~

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Unread postby suec » Mon Jun 06, 2005 3:36 pm

Interesting, isn't it, what draws writers to their subjects. Some familiar issues here for us.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jun 06, 2005 3:40 pm

Those would be my four too, luvdepp. Quirky, sometimes dark (okay Twin Peaks was just plain dark) and great humor. But count me as an ALF fan. It was goofy and corny but sometimes it was really funny. :blush: Remember cat stretchers? :lol:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Liz » Mon Jun 06, 2005 4:11 pm

I never watched Alf. :banghead: I guess you can't judge a book by it's cover. That could be taken two ways here, I guess. :lol: But I was referring to my judging Alf. :-/ BTW I didn't let my kitty read what you wrote, DITHOT. Too scary! :baby:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby gilly » Tue Jun 07, 2005 12:49 am

Johnny has a lot of empathy for writers like Stahl ,who have a host of demons,that they have managed to overcome or control..he sounds like he had a very hard life in the early days..he certainly lived to extremes....
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Unread postby Theresa » Wed Jun 08, 2005 2:32 am

Liz, thanks for the bio on Jerry Stahl.

I’ll admit I never even heard of him before this book…. *clueless* …so any and all information is appreciated.


But I guess I do know some of his work - Moonlighting was one my favorite series - even bought seasons 1 and 2 when they came out last week on DVD.


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