“Heartbreaking and hilarious, sexed-up and political, Disasterama! is a deeply personal coming of age story.” —Michelle Tea, Against Memoir and Modern Tarot.
“Disasterama! offers up a chronicle of fags, dykes, punks, and club kids…and the impact of AIDS, art, and activism.” —Brontez Purnell, The Cruising Diaries
“An irresistible and seminal work that gives us a glimpse into an explosive era of outspoken and unprecedented art, breathless interpersonal discourse and dysfunction, dug-in protest culture, and mind-bending fashion that puts the word ‘flamboyant’ to shame.” –Richard Loranger, Sudden Windows.
“I’ve never read a better story of the true love of friendship.” –Bucky Sinister, Black Hole
DISASTERAMA! Adventures in the Queer Underground 1977–1997, is the true story of Alvin Orloff who, as a shy kid from the suburbs of San Francisco, stumbled into the wild, eclectic crowd of Crazy Club Kids, Punk Rock Nutters, Goofy Goofballs, Fashion Victims, Disco Dollies, Happy Hustlers, and Dizzy Twinks of post-Stonewall American queer culture of the late 1970s, only to see the “subterranean lavender twilit shadow world of the gay ghetto” ravished by AIDS.
In DISASTERAMA! (ISBN: 978-1-941110-82-9; Three Rooms Press; Trade Paper; 266 pages; October 8, 2019; $16.00), Orloff recalls the delirious adventures of his youth—from San Francisco to Los Angeles to New York—where insane nights, deep friendships with the creatives of the underground, and thrilling bi-coastal living led to a free-spirited life of art, manic performance, high camp antics, and exotic sexual encounters. Orloff looks past the politics of AIDS to the people on the ground, friends of his who did not survive AIDS’ wrath—the boys in black leather jackets and cackling queens in tacky frocks—remembering them not as victims, but as people who loved life, loved fun, and who were a part of the insane jigsaw of Orloff’s community. In DISASTERAMA!, Orloff tells their story: the true tale of how a bunch of pathologically flippant kids floundered through a deadly disaster.
DISASTERAMA includes more than 60 rare photos of the underground counterculture, club flyers, drag queens, and queer icons of the era.
DISASTERAMA!: Adventures in the Queer Underground 1977-1997, by Alvin Orloff; Trade Paper; 266 pages; ISBN: 978-1-941110-82-9; $16.00; October 8, 2019
Past Praise for ALVIN ORLOFF
“Insightful, lively prose and believable, adorable characters.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Hilarious.” ―The San Francisco Chronicle
“It’s rare to find such erudite and analytical displays of biting camp logic.” ―Bay Area Reporter
“A fun ride.” ―Comet Magazine
“A delightfully hilarious coming of age story that asks us to laugh at ourselves, at pop culture and religion, and at all those things people just don’t laugh at quite enough.” ―Lambda Literary Journal
“Alvin Orloff writes with a sharp mind and a gentle touch.” ―K. M. Soehnlein, LAMBDA award-winning author of The World of Normal Boys
“Quirky, insightful . . . glam as hell. . . iconic.” ―The Bay Area Reporter
“Highly enjoyable.” ―The San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Wonderfully whimsical yet astutely political . . . Strangely and defiantly cheerful without being trite or sentimental.” ―Trebor Healey, author, Through It Came Bright Colors
About Author Alvin Orloff
ALVIN ORLOFF began writing in 1977 as a teenager, penning lyrics for early San Francisco punk band, The Blowdryers. He spent the 1980s working as a telemarketer and exotic dancer while concurrently attending U.C. Berkeley and performing with The Popstitutes, a somewhat absurd performance art/homocore band. In 1990, he and his bandmates founded Klubstitute, a floating queer cabaret devoted to the ideal of cultural democracy that featured spoken word, theater, drag, and musical acts. In 1995, the club, whose staff and patrons had been ravaged by the AIDS epidemic, closed its doors and Orloff suddenly remembered that all he’d ever wanted to be was a writer. He subsequently published three rather whimsical novels, I Married an Earthling, Gutter Boys, and Why Aren’t You Smiling? before producing Disasterama!, his memoir of life amongst the queer underground during the height of the AIDS crisis, Orloff currently works as the manager of Dog Eared Books, a literary hot-spot in the heart of San Francisco’s Castro District. He currently lives in San Francisco.