Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Al Goldstein died in December 2013. He’d been the founder of Screw magazine, which helped break down legal barriers against pornography and raged against politicians, organized religion and anything that suggested good taste.
On this special extended episode of The Rialto Report, we look back at Al’s life and legacy – with Al himself in one of his last interviews.
We’re also pleased to be joined by special guests – Steven Heller (Screw magazine’s first art director), Josh Alan Friedman (Al’s biographer), and Herald Price Fahringer (Al’s attorney).
This episode running time is 118 minutes.
Al started Screw with partner Jim Buckley in November 1968 as a weekly tabloid in response to his “dissatisfaction with the sex literature of the day”, and from the start he was the New York anti-Hugh Hefner.
He was crude, loud and obnoxious. He railed against sacred cows in the magazine’s pages; in 1973, when the magazine printed nude photos of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, his critics were outraged, and half a million New Yorkers snapped up copies.
There was much to enjoy: outrageous cover artwork, adult films reviews, descriptions and adverts for New York swingers clubs and massage parlors, and scathing editorials exposing religious leaders and the government for justifying war while imprisoning erotic magazine publishers like him.
Most importantly he was angry. And often he used his irritation to good effect. He quickly took on authorities and won a series of nationally significant obscenity cases. In fact during the magazine’s first three years, Goldstein was arrested 19 times on obscenity charges.
You can read The Rialto Report memories of Al here.
We’re proud to be joined by the following guests:
Steven Heller was an art director at the New York Times for 33 years. He’s lectured extensively on the history of graphic design and is the author of over 100 books on design and popular culture.
And in 1968 at the age of 17, Heller became Screw’s first art director.
He knew Al and Jim Buckley before Screw was thought up when they worked together at the New York Free Press, and he worked closely with them in the early years of Screw magazine.
Visit Steven Heller’s website here.
Josh Alan Friedman probably knew Al as well as anyone. His first published work was for Screw magazine back in the mid 1970s, and he covered the Times Square beat for Screw during time when few, if any writers, ventured there.
Several of his Screw pieces would later appear in his 1986 collection, Tales of Times Square. Friedman continued to write for the magazine eventually holding the position of Senior Editor, and he also worked as a producer on Screw’s cable television show, Midnight Blue.
Visit Josh Alan Friedman’s website here.
Herald Price Fahringer, has spent more than 50 years representing high-profile clients such as Claus von Bulow, jazz drummer Buddy Rich, and Hustler magazine publisher, Larry Flynt. He was there when Flynt was gunned down in front of a Georgia courthouse in 1978.
But he’s perhaps best known for his lifelong advocacy of First Amendment rights, where he’s been a pioneer in representing people and products that have shocked and offended the mainstream.
Fahringer represented Al in numerous court cases since the inception of Screw in 1968.
Thanks to Shane Brown for musical support!
Al Goldstein photos:
Wow – really looking forward to this!
Sadly most of Al’s obituaries seem to have been put together with the blogger’s 3 best friends: Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube. Thank goodness for the RR to actually get out there and get original insight by speaking to the people who matter.
A masterpiece effort about The Master Baiter of XXX. At the time of his death, I said that Al was the defiantly raised middle finger on the hand of Adult Entertainment. And thanks to The Rialto Report, that middle finger has been gleefully given the chance to poke our minds.
Wonderful episode! Thanks so much!
A tribute worthy of the great man himself. And that’s saying something.
Long live Al Goldstein.
And please Rialto guys, don’t stop this great effort. Your documenting of history should be in the Library of Congress.
If somebody can be called ‘the grand daddy’ of the free speech movement during our era, it certainly is Al Goldstein. An amazing two hour edition of the Rialto Report with insightful queries from Ashley Spicer and answers directly from the mouth of the man who fought the good fight from the 60’s until the end and craved eating pussy as much as he did a pastrami sandwich. BRAVO!
Goldstein was a porn Dickens character, Screw was his Sketches by Boz and NYC was the center of the 70s print media sex scene. There will never be a more fun and colorful personality in blowbiz. And he never lost his sense of humor.
The best fucking podcast on the globe.
In the great man’s words:
“also my fucks are about… why don’t women honour me by saying to me, and that’s never happened to me, even when I published Screw: ” I heard you are a good pussy eater, go down on my Al!” What a Dream! I hope it happens before I die.”
P.S. Ashley, many thanks!
Another great podcast! Thanks folks!
Just found this doc about Al Goldstein
PORN KING: The Trials of Al Goldstein
I agree that the material collected by The Rialto Report should be in the Library of Congress. This was a hell of a tribute to Al Goldstein. After many fascinating stories from interesting people who knew him, finally we heard from Al, and boy, he did not disappoint. He was wonderful to listen to. Honest, interesting, emotional and in great voice. It’s a tragedy what happened to his mental health and to his finances. He deserved a better life and a far better old age. Al Goldstein was a treasure. He should still be alive now. We need him.
Really enjoyed this episode. Wonderful stuff. I feel honored to have worked at SCREW, although I never got to meet Al himself. After this episode, I feel like I know him better, and that’s about the best compliment I can give.
So many “legends” and “icons” in this business
have self destructed. So many more to talk to
before they do. So few seem to be living rich
and fulfilling lives “in retirement”. A business
notorious for wringing out its participants like
Wet Kleenex and disposing of them with even
More disdain. Hindsight being 20/20,it’s hard
To imagine any other outcome for A.G. I shudder
At the literary gymnastics that the biopic
Screenwriters will have to concoct when they
Pitch this one to the money guys. The Mitchell
Bros. Story will seem like My Little Pony in
Al gave me what I needed for many years . I disagreed with most of his rants but Screw was the best . those were the days…RIP Al.
The thing that I find so disturbing about Mr. Goldstein’s late years is that when he became homeless, it was his old friend Gillete Penn that took him in and not his own son, Jordan! My God, Goldstein put Jordan through Harvard Law School! Al raised him, fed him! Did the father/son relationship deteriorate so badly that the son didn’t give a damn about his elderly father living on a street curb?!
Sorry. I meant Penn Gillette