“Orloff’s delightful romp paints a picture that many audiences will find fun and enlightening.” Library Journal

“A brilliant, scorched, vodka-soaked love letter to the San Francisco queer art scene.” —Mike Albo, author, Another Dimension of US

A whirlwind tour of San Francisco’s fabled queer bohemia in the waning days of the 20th century, as the city’s budget bon vivants work to save their eccentric lifestyles in the face of tech gentrification by LAMBDA award finalist Alvin Orloff. When San Francisco’s most annoying gay barfly, Harris McNulty, is thrown out of his apartment by Maxine, his long-suffering roommate, a crisis ensues. The year is 1999 and cheap rent has suddenly become a thing of the past thanks to a mysterious development people are calling the “dotcom boom”. Unable to rent a place of his own on a telemarketer’s salary, Harris tries to finagle one after another of his deeply bizarre and quasi-dysfunctional friends into letting him share their lodgings. Meanwhile Maxine needs to find a replacement for Harris, which would be a lot easier if she weren’t a frighteningly moody drag-cabaret singer with a small substance abuse problem. Can these marginalized misfits find a place for themselves in their newly hyper-gentrified city?

VULGARIAN RHAPSODY: A Novel by Alvin Orloff
978-1-953103-38-3 | 212 Pages | TRP-106 | Trade Paper | $16.00
Pub Date: 10/17/23

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High Praise for Vulgarian Rhapsody

“Orloff’s delightful romp paints a picture that many audiences will find fun and enlightening; it will have other readers ruminating on their own scene circa Y2K.” —Library Journal

“I’ve been a fan of Alvin Orloff’s work for 20 years. His latest novel (I’ve coined the term “New Wave Gothic”) takes a slightly darker tone but does not spare the wit, sharp observance, and ultimately the generosity he gives to the most unlikely antiheroes. He never shies from camp but stays true to his ear for Classic English tone. I’m forever a disciple.” —Brontez Purnell, author, 100 Boyfriends

“In his trademark fanciful style, Alvin Orloff takes us to 1990s San Francisco, when the city was still kind of fun, to meet a motley assortment of sassy talkers and soul scroungers as they haunt the city’s thrift shops, bars, and coffee houses meeting the same four or five people over and over again. Within this tiny, tiny world gigantic dramas unfold.” —Jennifer Blowdryer, musician and author, Kicked Out: The 86’d Project”

“Even though its often hilarious and wickedly paced, Vulgarian Rhapsody isn’t just a delicious romp. It’s a smart, gimlet-eyed portrayal of the drag queens, poets, artists, alcoholics and assorted legends in their own minds that have roamed up and down Market street for decades. A brilliant, scorched, vodka-soaked love letter to the San Francisco queer art scene.” —Mike Albo, author, Another Dimension of US, The Underminer, and Hornito

“I laughed out loud! Vulgarian Rhapsody is an incisive portrait of a shiftless, hapless, uber-critical gay-bar-fly named Harris and the queer / trans / arty friends he torments, set against San Francisco’s oppressive “Dot Com Boom” of the late 1990s. And the pansophical narrator is both saucy and wry. Brilliant!” —Phillip R. Ford, director, Vegas in Space; “honorary straight man” in legendary 1980s drag troupe, the Sluts A-Go-Go

Past Praise for Alvin Orloff

“No one is cooler than Alvin Orloff.”  —Andrea Lawlor, author, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl (for Disasterama!)

“Both beautiful and heartbreaking all in one.” —Michelle Tea, author, Against Memoir (for Disasterama!)

“Thoroughly original.”  Publishers Weekly (for I Married an Earthling)

“Alvin Orloff writes with a sharp mind and a gentle touch.” —K. M. Soehnlein, author, The World of Normal Boys (for Why Aren’t You Smiling?)

“Quirky, insightful . . . glam as hell.” The Bay Area Reporter (for Gutter Boys)


Alvin Orloff began writing in 1977, while still a teenager, by penning lyrics for The Blowdryers, an early San Francisco punk band. 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/homo- core 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. Orloff is the author of three previous novels, I Married an Earthling, Gutter Boys, and Why Aren’t You Smiling? (all Manic D Press) in addition to Disasterama! Adventures in the Queer Underground 1977-1997 (Three Rooms Press), a LAMBDA Literary Prize Finalist for Best Gay Memoir. Orloff currently lives  in San Francisco and works in the heart of the historic Castro District as the proprietor of Fabulosa Books. 



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