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Poseur: A Memoir of Downtown New York City in the '90s

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  236 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Marc Spitz assumed that if he lived like his literary and rock ’n’ roll heroes, he would become a great artist, too. He conveniently overlooked the fact that many of them died young, broke, and miserable. In his candid, wistful, touching, and hilarious memoir, Poseur, the music journalist, playwright, author, and blogger recounts his misspent years as a suburban kid search ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Da Capo Press
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Average rating 3.40  · 
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 ·  236 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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May 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
Asshole might have been a more apt title but I suppose Poseur is close enough. One might forgive his self-serving humility and shallowness if he were not such an awful writer.
Chella Negro
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Is Marc Spitz a name-dropper?
Is Marc Spitz a great writer?
Were there typos all over this book?
Is Marc Spitz a terrible person?
...I guess. Maybe. Probably.

Did I enjoy the shit out of this book?
You bet I did.
If you like rock music, a little gossip, and new York city, you should read this book.

Dec 28, 2013 rated it did not like it
I could spew vitriol, but it's not worth the time. Blecch. Could have been so much more, but the extremely bad editing--extremely, extremely bad editing--really suicide-bombed this whole thing. I won't be donating this to the library I work in (as I had planned) because it would be an embarrassment to have it in the collection. I will spare our patrons.
Elwood D Pennypacker
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
The subtitle is misleading. It's not a memoir of downtown New York City in the 90's. It's a memoir of a drug addicted writer in the 80's, 90's and '00's and most of it takes place in New York.

But that isn't the biggest snafu. With more typos than I've ever seen in an officially published copy of a book, I can only assume there was a goof, and a rough edition slipped through to the printing plant. Because there is no way this could have been the final proofread copy. Spelling, grammar, missing w
Jeff Buddle
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
Let's begin this review with a Bukowski quote that Marc Spitz has probably read because he devotes several pages to his appreciation of the L.A.-based writer:

"Style is the answer to everything. / A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing / To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it."

I'm sure Mr. Spitz thinks he has style. He dedicates pages and pages to his affectations: his black nail polish, his feather boas, skinny jeans and yes, even heroin.

Rebecca McNutt
Poseur is kind of a fun book (and it briefly mentions the amazing film Leon, the Professional, far out!), not to mention its photographically-poetic style of describing New York's scenery and sights. But it seemed very short, almost like something was missing, and the writing in and of itself seemed a little crass.
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
While yes he name-drops a lot at most times I felt it was just part of telling of his story and also he knows the story will have more interest if he says who was on the scene. They were more the people he was around at the time. Not just saying the names to be impressive (Ok maybe a bit)

I found the book to be inspiring a bit, Maybe as a writer myself. I can identify with the feelings, thoughts and fears that plagued him. Though I can't say I have had as much of a glorious time filled with so ma
Barry Hammond
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young rock and roll fan, who went from being a wanna-be poet, Bennington College student, unpublished novelist, unsold screenwriter, to playwright, rock critic, DJ, heavy drug user, and finally a real writer, Marc Spitz's memoir runs the gamut. Ostensibly a memoir of downtown New York in the 90's, it's also a memoir of Los Angeles, drug culture, popular music, and a strange coming-of-age story about the difference between rock and roll and a "rock and roll lifestyle."

The story is also about th
Peter Knox
Apr 08, 2014 rated it liked it
A writer writing about becoming a writer, drug addict, a New Yorker, and pop culture obsessive, moved by music to finally break through as a playwright, blogger, columnist, feature writer, screenwriter, and author - while coming of age in Long Island, Manhattan/Brooklyn, and LA.

Basically, this was written with me in mind, as someone always interested in frontline subjective reporting on the music, drug, and culture scene - especially if it's in New York and from someone trying to become a writer
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
Just two years my junior, Spitz is nostalgic for the same NY I am, as opposed to Walcott, Smith, White, or Hell. He didn't hang at the same bars I did—I know because he names every one. I find it hard to believe Spitz never passed the threshold of Downtown Beirut but maybe it closed during that two-year gap. His tale is interesting, although the prose is stronger after the 50% mark (read this on a Kindle). But reader beware: the tale is told by a toad, who seems to revel in his toad-ness. Not su ...more
Cassandra McCall
Jan 07, 2014 rated it liked it
I have read Marc’s other books How Soon is Never and Too Much, Too Late, so when I saw he wrote a memoir I was all over it. Listen up kids, one time there was a magazine in print called Spin and I pretty much had every issue in the 1990s, and Marc was a writer. This book was like revisiting the 90s all over again. The author’s drug use, image of “cool” and his (in his eyes) attainment of same and the struggle of a rock n’ roll lifestyle that involves drug, the music scene and getting older. “Us ...more
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
You'd think that a person that titled their book "Poseur" would be self aware enough not to be a name dropping, self aggrandizing douche.
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Self indulgent. Name dropper.
I just feel if you are going to write about being a junkie and hanging out with famous people, I shouldn't fall asleep while reading.
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Aptly titled but the author grew on me as the book concluded. Sorry to learn he died last year. The editing was awful, as mentioned in several other reviews.
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
I find it interesting how (generally) men's memoirs seem more concerned with the WHAT and women's memoirs more about the WHY.

So, yeah. I picked this up from the library because I had just finished reading Lizzy Goodman's book about the 2000s, so I figured this book would be like the 90s version of that.

It was really just Marc namedropping through the 80s, 90s, and mid 2000s- which I enjoyed for the most part but Julie Bowen really?

Also, talking about how much you love drugs while telling other
Craig Spraggon
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Well....thats the first time I've enjoyed the first third of a book....then hated the next third .....stopped reading it for 4 months ....then returned to it due to the authors death and after reading Meet Me In The Bathroom ....and thoroughly enjoyed the last section of the book. Boy did it need an edit...I'd recommend reading it until you get bored of the heroin stories ....then skip to about page 290 .
Neil White
"Lifestyles Of The Poor & Fame-Adjacent" would be an excellent alternate title for this memoir. That, or "Name-Dropper" perhaps. Marc Spitz is not a likeable person, but fortunately he's as aware of that as anyone, although not necessarily while certain events are transpiring. I mostly enjoyed this memoir, although it went on a tad too long, and there's plenty of "and then I met this famous person and this famous person" parts that could have been trimmed, but for the most part it's not as unbea ...more
Jul 03, 2013 rated it liked it
If it weren't for the poor editing, I would give this four stars. I was predisposed to like this one, as I grew up an avid SPIN reader and felt like I watched (read?) the author grow in his career, at least that part of it. But there's much more to the memoir than just that period in his life, and I appreciated the stories and perspective.

Like others have said, I found it inspiring of sorts - I've been on a kick of "memoirs by artists and those who strive to be one, often in NYC," and while "Ju
Julie Stout
May 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Such a and nostalgic trek back to the 1990's scene when things were grittier in NYC and LA. Loved the familiar pop culture references from that time period and his experience in LA (where I did a lot of clubbing in the 1990's). Marc feels like family to me. I fantasized about the times I used to hang out with Rodney Bingenheimer (knew him well through my club promoter best friend, Jason Lavitt) at Canters, Cafe Bleu, Rodney's English Disco, lunch at IHOP on Sunset Blvd. one afternoon. It would h ...more
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
The author is so unlikable--a rebellious teen who never grew up and thinks wearing sunglasses indoors with cigarette in mouth makes him cool--and I'm convinced he only wrote the book so he could brag about his relationships with Julie Bowen and Chloe Sevigny and doing drugs with the Strokes and Ryan Adams. It really gets old when he qualifies every person he seemingly ever met. The book also could have benefited from a good proofreader; some lines are repeated and too many words are misspelled ( ...more
G.T. Burns
Cool read

Cool read

a very good writer, at one point a struggling artist. However, personally, he seems to be another middle class kid living off his parent's money for much of the book. Sure, he was hungry a lot in "the struggle," but it is one thing to live frugally from the money given to you than to actually have no support whatever. And to do heroine simply because you are a sucker for idoltry...I can relate to a young man's desire to walk in the footsteps of his heroes, but there is somethin
Elliot Chalom
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
For a writer used to writing about other subjects, it's remamrkabkle how self-absorbed Spitz is. Nevertheless, slog through the first half of this book and the payoff in the second half is well worth it. I say that as a native New Yorker, Gen X-er and music lover - not sure it would appeal to someone who wasn't all three.

Check out my detailed review over here:
I stopped short of reading this one. A favorable review piqued my interest, but then, when I saw the tiny print and many pages, I passed. I also recalled that I very much enjoyed the author's biography of David Bowie, save for the gratuitous bits about the author's own life mixed in. I feared "Poseur" may be just an excessive compilation of similar gratuitous bits. Also, I realized I don't care enough about New York in the 1990s to invest time reading this much about it.
Sep 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Loved learning about his journey to become a writer, but found many of the passages on his drug use to be tedious. Raises interesting questions near the end about what a gluttonous consumer of pop culture should do when he doesn't have an appetite for the new culture coming out anymore.

Most of the fun gossipy stories are captured well at the Awl -
david smith
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I Kissed Chloe Sevigny In The 1990's And Let Me Tell You About It.

Also I Saw The Pixies in 1992. Pavement Is A Cool Band. I Worked At Spin. They Played Cornelius Fantasma and Autechre In The Office. I Went On Tour With The Strokes.

I Then Penned A Book That Was About How I Was Intentionally On Heroin During All Of This Because I'm Very Very Edgy.

Did I Mention I Wrote A Novel About The Smiths
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on
I had to stop 50 pages in. This is nothing but info-dump after info-dump about every shitty band he listened to in college in the early 90s, and every celebrity he could possibly name-drop. I was hoping for a little more about the late 80s/early 90s NYC. Maybe there was more later, but I couldn't hang in there.
Catherine Dyar
Jun 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
I am crazy for a good drug memoir/coming-of-age book. This one did not fit the bill. It was tedious and poorly written with HORRIBLE editing. I kept waiting for some real self awareness or at least real self deprecation. It never happened. Spitz comes off as a humorless, self-aggrandizing dick who just wants to brag about having gone to Bennington and sleeping with semi-famous women. Ugh.
Martin Bihl
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
to read my review, please visit ...more
Jamison Spencer
Dec 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Good memoir of an artist in 90s New York. Featured all of the celebrities promised on the back, but just barely, and all in tangential anecdotes.
Francesca Wall
Dec 29, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Worst self serving name dropping book ever. Don't bother.
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Marc Spitz was a former senior writer at Spin magazine. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, Maxim, Blender, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Nylon and the New York Post. Spitz is the co-author (with Brendan Mullen) of the 2001 LA punk oral history We Got The Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk. He has authored two novels, How Soon is Never (2003) and Too Much, Too Late (2006), as ...more

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