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

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




For Disasterama:

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

“Both beautiful and heartbreaking all in one.” —Michelle Tea, author, Against Memoir

“Orloff’s memoir constitutes a valuable work of cultural history, as well as a heartrending portrayal of his own lost friends.” —Lambda Literary

“If you really want to relive the retro-camp glories, thrift store marathons, punk-rock Tupperware parties, illicit Castro ice-cream parlor after-hours, New Wave hooker adventures, and amphetamine-fueled art projects of a hallucinatory period equally split between AIDS tragedy and in-your-face, nothing-to-lose queer rebellion, than snag a copy of Alvin Orloff‘s new Disasterama!—48 Hills

“A fascinating look back at time in LGBTQ history that was always tinged with the lurking horror of the AIDS epidemic… For any fan of San Francisco queer history and anyone who adores the current crop of San Francisco stars (Heklina, Peaches Christ) here’s a fascinating look at the era that preceded them.” —Seattle Gay Scene

“Orloff can finally tell others what this time in history was like—sad but also wonderful. VERDICT An important memoir to add to any library’s collection about the turbulent beginning of the AIDS epidemic.—Library Journal

For Previous Fiction:

“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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