Alvin Orloff

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Alvin Orloff

Goodreads Author

in Los Angeles, The United States



Member Since
April 2007

Alvin Orloff began writing in 1977 as the teenage lyricist for The Blowdryers, an early San Francisco Punk band. He spent the 1980s dabbling in avant garde theater, underground cabaret, performance art, and nightclub DJing before remembering all he ever wanted to be was a writer. His memoir, "DIsasterama!: Adventures in the Queer Underground 1977 - 1997" is coming out this fall. Alternately hilarious and heartbreaking, it details the author's coming of age during a period when youthful exuberance and flippancy collided with the deadly seriousness of homophobia and AIDS.

Average rating: 3.98 · 433 ratings · 79 reviews · 6 distinct worksSimilar authors
Disasterama!: Adventures in...

4.38 avg rating — 79 ratings — published 2019 — 2 editions
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I Married An Earthling: A N...

3.91 avg rating — 44 ratings — published 2000
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Why Aren't You Smiling?

4.15 avg rating — 40 ratings — published 2011 — 4 editions
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4.12 avg rating — 34 ratings — published 2004
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Pills, Thrills, Chills, and...

3.75 avg rating — 203 ratings — published 2004
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The Unsinkable Bambi Lake: ...

4.18 avg rating — 33 ratings — published 1996 — 2 editions
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More books by Alvin Orloff…

I was not prepared for the weirdness!

The English eccentric, Quentin Crisp, once said that, "Only a lie is boring," and I believe that truer words were ne'er spoke. I wanted my memoir, "Disasterama!" to be exciting, so I told the truth about my louche and feckless youth as a club kid, hustler, and somewhat delusional cultural activist. When, after 56 rejections, it was accepted by Three Rooms Press for publication in the fall of '19, Read more of this blog post »
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Published on June 17, 2019 11:35 Tags: aids, gay, memoir

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God in Pink by Hasan Namir
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One can't help but root for anyone unlucky enough to be queer in a traditional, religious society, but choppy prose, lack of character development, and an unconvincing theological element make this an unsatisfying read.
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Lost for Words by Edward St. Aubyn
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In a rather slapdash fashion LFW mixes a wee bit of deliciously witty satire with a lot of rather lazy satire and a tediously sexy and pointless subplot. The result is only mildly diverting.
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Milkman by Anna Burns
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It's 1970s Ireland. Small town parochialism combined with toxic masculinity and The Troubles to create a singularly stifling and menacing atmosphere. The unnamed 20 year-old narrator is being stalked by a paramilitary creepo, nagged by her mother, an ...more
Alvin and 163 other people liked Michael's review of Milkman:
Milkman by Anna Burns
"I read and reviewed this novel for BookBrowse.

A satirical novel about coming of age amidst the Troubles, Milkman offers incisive commentary on gender socialization and the pressure to conform during an era of political instability. From the vantage p" Read more of this review »
Alvin and 6 other people liked Karen's review of Outline:
Outline by Rachel Cusk
"This book is a slog. Despite its short length, large margins and sans serif font it took what felt like forever to finish, although it actually has been just two days.

The narrator sits on a plane, rides on a boat (x2), has dinner, has coffee, teache" Read more of this review »
Outline by Rachel Cusk
"This book was really disappointing for all the good reviews. I wish I had known this was part of a trilogy. A meandering tale of a female writer who tries to lead some sort of writer's workshop while on vacation in Athens distended from her body. She" Read more of this review »
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Napoleon by Paul  Johnson
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I was interested in Napoleon, but not all THAT interested, so I wanted a short book about him. This was the right length, and reasonably well written. Johnson despises Napoleon, which is OK with me since he was autocratic, warlike, and ultimately bet ...more
Alvin made a comment on his review of L.A. Woman
L.A. Woman by Eve Babitz
" Thanks! I read a book of her essays and enjoyed it. It may help that though I live in San Francisco, I've always had a crush on L.A. "
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Street People by Michael Nava
Street People
by Michael Nava (Goodreads Author)
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This read-it-in-one-sitting novella transpires in the sordid world of a queer L.A. gigolo. The atmosphere is classic noir, though it's set in the '80s, and in the best noir tradition it explores tortured intersections between the lives of marginal pe ...more
More of Alvin's books…
“Colin smirks, "The only things I have to do are stay queer and die.”
Alvin Orloff, Gutterboys

“Reagan's going to mess everything up, cutting taxes for the wealthy and getting rid of the safety net and all that. The rich and the poor won't be able to mix socially. The rich will be afraid of getting ripped off or asked for money and the poor won't be able to afford to hang out in the same places anyway. Society's going to be divided by class and instead of expressing themselves, people are going to spend all their time advertising their status. It'll be shallow, like the Eisenhower era. Parties will suck.”
Alvin Orloff, Gutterboys

“Unlike prostitution or promiscuity, stripping was entirely public. One foot on the state would forever mark me as a disreputable character, the sort respectable people called a sleaze. On the other hand ... I didn't know any respectable people and my workday would be a mere thirty minutes long. And, I had to face it, some quirk of my psychic constitution rendered the strictures of ordinary jobs insufferable to me. Restaurant work felt like a cross between the treadmill at the gym and one of those Japanese game shows on which contestants are abused and humiliated in front of a sadistic audience. Office work was even worse, calling to mind those B movies in which some poor soul--bound and gagged, but eyes wide with terror--is slowly walled up brick-by-brick in the dungeon of some damp, rat-infested Transylvanian castle.”
Alvin Orloff, Disasterama!: Adventures in the Queer Underground 1977 to 1997

“I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists.”
Chris Hedges, Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt

“It will be seen that, as used, the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.”
George Orwell

“As for the Republicans -- how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical 'American heritage'...) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.”
H.P. Lovecraft

“As my mother once said: The boys throw stones at the frogs in jest.

But the frogs die in earnest.”
Joanna Russ, The Female Man

“It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.”
Oscar Wilde

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message 2: by Alvin

Alvin Hi Debbie,

Wow, great to meet you!


Debbie "DJ" Hi Alvin, thanks for the add. I had no idea you wrote "Why Aren't You Smiling?," it's already on my TBR list!

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