Dirty Brooklyn! Our borough spawned legendary pornographers!

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

County of Kings? More like county of pornographers!

Both Screw Magazine magnate Al Goldstein and Penthouse proprietor Bob Guccione are Brooklyn natives — and they’re two of the four XXX kingpins at the center of author Mike Edison’s raunchy (and that’s just the title!), “Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! Of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers: An American Tale of Sex and Wonder.”

On Dec. 8, Edison will wrap up his book tour by returning to the loamy loins of our indelicate borough, toasting himself and the seamy underbelly of publishing at the Way Station Bar in Prospect Heights.

“These guys are fearless,” Edison said, of Goldstein and The Gooch. “And that’s what you get coming up in Brooklyn — fearless, dirty Brooklyn.”

“Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!” is part porn history, part social commentary, part cultural criticism, all deliciously risque, and chronicles the rise and fall of Goldstein, Guccione, Hustler heir Larry Flynt and Playboy playboy Hugh Hefner — the four guys who took sex from the bedroom to the newsstand.

But this isn’t simply a history book about girlie mags; it’s a rumination on changing social mores, sexual liberation and American culture.

“America runs away from sex while simultaneously running towards it,” Edison said. “People are still shy on the subject because we have a hangover from our Puritan heritage. But at that same time, you push a button on the Internet and you can see all the pernicious filth you can think of. For free.”

And when he talks about filth, he knows it inside and out. As former editor of celebrated marijuana magazine, High Times; past editor-in-chief of Screw Magazine; and author of booze-soaked, porn-tinged, sex-steeped, smoke-enveloped memoir, “I Have Fun Everywhere I Go,” Edison and raunch are old familiar friends.

But Edison’s bread and butter is free speech — and ultimately, that’s what “Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!” is really about. All Four Horsemen of the Brapocalypse tangled with, and ultimately triumphed over, would-be censors.

Hefner’s publication was accused of obscenity from its first issue in 1953; his victories paved the way for Goldstein, who was arrested 21 times on obscenity charges, yet won a landmark trial in 1974. And Flynt famously defeated Jerry Falwell after the reverend claimed he was libeled by a cartoon in Hustler.

“These four guys did more for free speech than anyone,” Edison said. “Every American owes them — it’s because of them that we can be dirty, and that The Brooklyn Paper can do what it does.”

Mike Edison at the Way Station [683 Washington Ave. between St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place in Prospect Heights, (917) 279-5412]. Dec. 8, 9 pm. Free. For info, visit

Updated 5:28 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Old New York from Moved back to the Slope says:
I do miss the "old" New York sometimes. The only thing constant about change is change.
Dec. 1, 2011, 5:12 am
Tom from Park Slope says:
And these guys had the guts to label their publications pornography, and not just slip it into something that calls itself a community newspaper! The Brooklyn Paper's latest "slips" of bad taste make the Maggie Gillenhall fiasco look like nothing: now it's naked old crazy ladies and sex toys. Seriously, there's a lousy and escalating pattern here the editor should seriously question.
Dec. 1, 2011, 6:12 am
gimme from bk says:
and Henry Millah was da original OG
Dec. 1, 2011, 4:24 pm
anabdul from cobble hill says:
Is this article necessary? Why don't you combine it with an article about drinking until passing out at a local bar?
Dec. 2, 2011, 6:50 am
Sweet Jane Lane from Burough Hall says:
What about the publisher of hot anal weekly, Arthur McCarthy from ocean avenue?
Hot put anus on the map.
Dec. 4, 2011, 8:33 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: