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Veronica Vera joins The Rialto Report to talk with April Hall about her life in the New York sex scene in the 1980s, with tales of adult films, parties, wild clubs, testifying before the Meese Commission, lost weekends, writing, Gerard Damiano, the making of ‘Consenting Adults’, Marc Stevens, Sharon Mitchell, Candida Royalle, Al Goldstein, cable TV shows, Marco Vassi, Robert Mapplethorpe, Al Goldstein and… Joy Behar and Conan O’Brian?
With special guest appearance from Annie Sprinkle.
This episode running time is 116 minutes.
Veronica Vera was at the heart of the New York sex world in the 1970s and 80s; she appeared in porn films, made cable sex shows for New York television, modeled for the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, championed prostitute’s rights, was a regular at clubs like Hellfire, and founded Club 90, a porn star’s support group, with Annie Sprinkle, Gloria Leonard, Candida Royalle and Veronica Hart – that still lives on today.
Not bad for a good, Catholic girl from New Jersey who worked for many years on Wall St.
Yet at the same time as being a sexual adventurer, she was also an outsider – observing, documenting and chronicling her experiences in a series of magazine articles. She was the George Plimpton of the scene, not content with standing on the sidelines but committing fully to every carnal experience, and then writing about it intelligently and honestly. She was the original blogger, the gonzo journalist of the sex scene.
She seemed to know everyone, try everything, and be everywhere. No wonder that when President Reagan ordered a comprehensive investigation into pornography in the mid 1980s, Veronica was the one who headed to Washington to testify before the Meese Commission.
And then she founded world’s first cross dressing academy, Miss Vera’s Finishing School For Boys Who Want to be Girls, writing two books on the subject and appearing on countless television shows.
Veronica Vera is living an interesting life. And this is her story.
Visit Miss Vera’s Finishing School for Boys Who Want To Be Girls here.
Buy Miss Vera’s books here.
Buy Consenting Adults, directed by Gerard Damiano starring Veronica Vera and Annie Sprinkle here.
Visit Annie Sprinkle’s website here.
Veronica Vera photos:
Dear April and Ashley. Thank you for putting together this amazing piece about my adventures and sexual evolution. Thanks to Annie Sprinkle to for those loving comments. And to all of you who listen, enjoy and thank you for sharing in my life.
The honor was all ours – and everyone else who listens.
Once again The Rialto Report presents a compelling, immensely moving, but ultimately uplifting slice of humanity.
But most of all thanks must go to Miss Vera, a most generous, intelligent and wise person.
Everyone could do with someone like Veronica in their life. Thanks for telling your story – I found it and you inspiring.
Ok – so this is the longest podcast yet from the Rialto team – and IMHO the best episode too.
As Annie Sprinkle points out in the intro, Veronica Vera didn’t have the high profile that others had – but what an interesting and compassionate chronicler of the time she is.
We love VV!
Oh Rialto, why do you often make me cry by the end of your shows?
Truly an emotional rollercoaster… Someone needs to make a movie about her experiences.
I enjoyed listening to the short clip of her talking to Conan.
Question: Is that Michael J. Anderson – from TWIN PEAKS – standing between Ms. Sprinkle and Ms. Vera?
Yes! That was the first thing I noticed!
I hope you have plans to interview the other members of Club 90. (The Annie Sprinkle and Gloria Leonard interviews were also great.)
Yes – plans are already afoot to in interview the wonderful Candida Royalle. Stay tuned!
Yes, P.I. that is absolutely Michael J. Anderson who lived in New York and at the time did lots of wonderful crazy performances as “Little Mike” Anderson. One of my favorites (and I think I have the cast right) included tattooist Spider Webb as Elvis, Annie Sprinkle as Priscilla and Little Mike as their love child. I think there was also a coffin involved.
That photo on this site is from a Pride march circa 1987. The other side of our signs read “We love and support our friends with A.I.D.S.” #cherchezlafemme, VV
If you’re reading this… Thank you very very much for your reply, I didn’t see it before.
What a revelation! What a life!
Any individual part could have been an entire podcast… such as Marc Stevens and Jill Munroe, Marco Vassi, or.. Phil Berger?! (I love his books… who knew that you knew him..?)
Who shall be cast as Veronica in the movie?
Yes, Jane Shhh. I knew and loved Phil Berger. He was a terrific writer and totally confident in his abilities. Included in his archives are audio tapes of his interviews with some of the greatest sports stars and comedians. btw, Phil thought if a movie was ever made from his book on the NY Knicks, Miracle on 33rd St, Adrian Brody would be a good choice to play him.
Veronica and I have only met once, I think, and it was just really long enough to only shake hands at that, but for many, many years — people that I have come to love like Candida, Gloria, Jane, and Annie — have all spoken of their love for Veronica — and now I know why.
April, thanks for asking so many of the right questions!
. . . and Veronica, thank-you for telling us your story . . . but far more . . . thanks for being you!
Howie on the other coast
Thank you, Howie. The admiration is mutual. I think we met either at Kat Sunlove’s 50th in S.F. or the First World Pornography conference in L.A. mid-80’s, or both. I’m so excited now to hear your podcast, and to read your book. Congratulations on completing it. I wish we had gotten to know each other better over the years, but now we can, and I’m so happy that the Rialto Report has brought us and so many others together. xox Veronica
The Rialto is a strange bird. It purports to be about old school grindhouse and sleaze – which I guess it is, being the most insightful source of documentary material out there on this genre.
But then… it is so much more. These are perfect fragments of American history, of humanity even.
Thank you Veronica for opening up and sharing your part in this tapestry. You are a special one.
‘…one of us must know.’
Regrettably, I never met Veronica.
There’s still time.
This is one of the best interviews, on any topic, that I have heard in a long time. Part of it of course is the intelligence and life history of the subject Veronica Vera, a real pioneer and artist who is ,to put it mildly, most interesting and inspiring. But I have to say that there is an art to doing an interview and April Hall has mastered the art. Never disrespectful, always compassionate ready with bright questions. Made my month and many thanks.
Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know! It’s easy to be respectful and compassionate when talking to someone like Veronica Vera. Hope you’ll keep listening.
Thanks Veronica! I loved hearing the stories about Marco Vassi, what a great writer he was – and I wish he’d get more attention today. I’ve been looking for more information about him so this was very satisfying.
When are you going to write your memoirs now, Miss Vera?!
Dear Yasmine F. There is a quite a bit of info about Marco Vassi on the web. You may already be aware of the facebook page of his fans. Just search on FB “Marco Vassi” and you can join this open group. My favorite of his books, that I have read, are The Stoned Apocalypse, which is largely autobiographical, and The Metasex Manifesto. I think MM was re-issued as The Erotic Comedies. VK once told me that when he neeed cash, Marco would drop in at Penthouse Variations (which he once edited), sit down and dash off 3 stories in an afternoon. Of course, those stories were no where near as complex, profound or perversely erotic as his more personal work. Happy reading.
Truly one of the quickest and most enjoyable 2 hour journeys I’m likely to have in a long time. I will be listening to this again and again.
I feel like I know Veronica as an old friend now. Thanks for this.
Veronicas interview is probably the best and most positive interview Ive heard so far on the Rialto report. It has been my dream to attend her academy and i would love to meet Her one day, thank Her for being who she is and for opening the academy even if i cant attend and kiss Her feet in submission. She is a hero of mine
Dear Nylon Steve,
I hope that you were wearing something sheer and sexy while you listened. That is your homework.
#Cherchez la Femme!
Dearest Ms Veronica,
i didnt the first time. i am sooooo thrilled that You answered i am putting on my favorite brown pantyhose and full black slip and listening again. Hope i get an A
Rialto Report once again matchless. Vera interview was just
stunning. No other work being done like this anywhere .
Your standards keep rising to uncharted levels. The times,
the personalities,the(as VV says)politics of it all…long over-
due for in depth exploration….and time is running out!
More first hand memories need to be uncovered and you
Obviously have the people to do just that. Please keep on.
Distinctly remember her hostess hotness from Times Square Comes Alive, a fun movie that had a 42nd St. campy east coast feel to it. Was rooting for her to become a bicoastal star here out west but never knew that she preferred to be more of a literary personality. So whatever happened to Barbie Dahl and Bobby Spector?
This was simply beautiful. Bravo.
I knew very little about Veronica Vera before listening to this podcast, but within the first five minutes, I had fallen in love with this woman. By the end of the interview, I was in a heap of tears. Such a lovely soul who has been through so much tragedy, yet who maintains her beautiful soul and dignity.
This is quite simply the best Rialto Report podcast yet. And Ms. Vera is, quite simply, my new heroine.
Hi Patrick and All. Once again, thank you all for your wonderful comments. Reading them over is a great birthday present. (November 1). I recently learned that a professor of human sexuality has assigned my interview as an option for her students’ class report. I hope someone chooses that option! I’d love to read that class paper! Thanks again to April and Ash for The Rialto Report. I’m so proud and happy to have done this interview.
Cherchez la femme!
Veronica good day !!!!! Please tell me you today continues to act in porn films?
I first saw Veronica in a catfight/wrestling video. Wow! What a beautiful, sexy woman who looked as if she enjoyed the victory!
I am not sure if she leaves that part of wrestling out of her life? If so please delete my comment.
If so, could she or someone elaborate?
Since then I followed her career and couldn’t believe the helpful impact she made in many avenues.
You are a Goddess, Veronica!