Sunday, December 2, 1990

The New York Times reports on Richard Grayson's PAUPER, the Perfect New Magazine for the Current Recession

The New York Times Sunday business section reports today (December 2, 1990) on Richard Grayson's PAUPER, the perfect new magazine for the current recession.

Monday, October 15, 1990

Laughing Bear Newsletter reviews Richard Grayson's THE GREATEST SHORT STORY THAT ABSOLUTELY EVER WAS

Laughing Bear Newsletter #23 (Fall 1990) reviews Richard Grayson's The Greatest Short Story That Absolutely Ever Was.


By Richard Grayson

(price unknown; Lowlands Press, 6109 Magazine, New Orleans, LA 70118; 64-page chapbook)

Richard Grayson's short stories have been a delight for the past 15 years or so. They add spice to innumerable magazines, and here, in his sixth book, they're gathered in an irresistable collection.

Wednesday, August 22, 1990

Graduate Coursework at Teachers College, Columbia University

Richard Grayson earned 34 credits in graduate education courses at Teachers College, Columbia University, from fall 1985 to summer 1990.

Friday, August 17, 1990

Laughing Bear Newsletter reviews Richard Grayson's NARCISSISM AND ME

Laughing Bear Newsletter #29 (August 1990) reviews Richard Grayson's Narcissism and Me:

Narcissism and Me
by Richard Grayson
($5.00 + $1.00 p&h;
Mule & Mule, Publishers,
350 West 85th Street,
New York, NY 10024-3822)

Grayson's humor is best presented straight-forward and deadpan. This book's coated white cover and bold black type are clean, sharp, and demand attention.

Richard's work deserves a well-designed showcase. His experimental fiction combines humor with tragic touches to create real stories instead of jokes, and he's willing to take chances rather than go for an easy laugh. At the heart of his work, he can create sympathetic characters. Humor without strong characterization falls flat. Richard's short fictions are full of real people who stumble into the surreal and surreal people who happen to be real.

Tuesday, August 14, 1990

New York Newsday features Op-Ed Column by Richard Grayson: "A Rap Smuggler Sings the Blues"

New York Newsday today (Tuesday, August 14, 1990) features an op-ed column by Richard Grayson: "A Rap Smuggler Sings the Blues," about his efforts to send 2 Live Crew's As Nasty as They Want to Be CD's to South Florida, where they are banned as obscene.


By Richard Grayson

I am a writer living in exile in New York City. Currently I am involved in smuggling forbidden works to the people of my homeland, whose government would immediately arrest me if I were caught. But I'm not a Chinese dissident, or a member of the African National Congress, or a freedom fighter from a totalitarian nation.

I'm a snowbird.

I live in South Florida much of the year but return to New York every May. I enjoy the contrasts between the streetlife on Manhattan's Upper West Side and the palm trees and swimming pools of Broward County. And I dislike northern winters and tropical summers.

For months I had followed the controversy involving the rap group 2 Live Crew and the sexually brutal lyrics on their album, "As Nasty As They Wanna Be." Two judges have ruled that the band's songs violate Florida's obscenity laws. I have listened to people argue the issues on Miami talk shows and in the local newspapers, and I have discussed censorship with my writing classes at South Florida colleges.

Several months ago, Broward County sheriff Nick Navarro arrested a record store owner for selling the album.

As a writer who has received government funds for my fiction, I had been shocked when Sen. Jesse Helms succeeded in placing content restrictions on grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Helms and his right-wing allies kept saying that the issue wasn't one of censorship but of abuse of government funding. They assured us they would let the free marketplace take care of art they deemed obscene. But apparently the free market wasn't working in 2 Live Crew's case; their album has sold over a million copies, and not one penny from the taxpayers was involved.

I thought a lot about this as I took a 40-block stroll on upper Broadway one evening. Stopping in at record stores along the way, I found a few copies of "As Nasty As They Wanna Be" in most of them. It seemed absurd that in New York I could buy the album with no problem, but in Fort Lauderdale I could not.

Late that night I hit on a way to fight the Florida censors. I wrote a press release announcing the formation of Radio Free Broward, dedicated to sending the 2 Live Crew album to fans in the "captive counties" of South Florida that were covered by the federal judge's ruling. Calling myself a member of the "snowbird exile community," I faxed the press release to South Florida news organizations. Soon I was giving interviews to local radio and TV stations and newspapers.

Since the Radio Free Broward story was covered in the media, including on MTV, I've received over 20 letters and calls from South Florida residents asking how to get a copy of the 2 Live Crew recording. I send back letters quoting a price and explaining that I'm not making any profit, just covering my costs. I've filled half a dozen orders so far, sending the obscene materials via the U.S. Postal Service. (It's not obscene on my end, so it's legal to ship the recording, postal inspectors have told me.) Almost every day, another query or order arrives.

There have been some interesting letters. One, from a Miami Beach man who told me he was born in Cuba, said the actions of the federal judge and the Broward County sheriff, both Cuban Americans, made him feel as if he were still living in a communist country.

The saddest query came from someone who was afraid to give me his name. The writer had me send the album to a post-office box and paid me cash. Perhaps he feared entrapment, but it disturbs me that a U.S. citizen who just wants to buy a record feels like a criminal.

I also got an unsigned postcard (palm trees on the back) that read: "You are a pig and your mind is in the sewer. . . Stay in New York!"

The truth is, I haven't heard a single cut from "As Nasty As They Wanna Be." I have no interest in the kind of lyrics 2 Live Crew's songs contain. But as a writer, I can't abide any words, however vulgar or sexist or anti-Semitic or homophobic, being banned in the United States.

So while I'd prefer that people spend their time and money on different kinds of music - or better yet, on my own books - I'm determined to give my fellow Floridians the same rights I enjoy while I'm living in New York. The last time I checked, Broward County was still covered by the same Constitution as Manhattan
and Brooklyn.
Richard Grayson's most recent book isNarcissism and Me (Mule & Mule). He teaches English at Florida International University and Broward Community College.

Sunday, June 10, 1990

CNN Report From June 1990: How Richard Grayson Rescued Donald Trump From Disaster

Miami Herald Article About Donald Trump's Business Failures Mentions Richard Grayson's Trump Rescue Fund

Today, Sunday, June 10, 1990, on page 17 A, The Miami Herald has a story by Dave von Drehle, "Trump's Lumps Good for a Thousand Laughs," which features an account of writer Richard Grayson's Trump Rescue Fund.
The article begins:

NEW YORK--Billionaire. . .er, embattled billionaire. . . make that, embattled former billionaire. . .heck, just call him Donald Trump. 

He's in trouble. Trouble with the wife, trouble with the bond-holders, trouble with the banks. Trump's got them lowdown cash-flow blues. 

But you know that already. What you may not know is that, in an incredible outpouring of warmth and sympathy, America's comics, cartoonists and commentators are rallying to the side of the wounded entrepreneur, comforting him in his sorrows even as they once rejoiced in his successes. 

Just kidding. 

They're loving every minute of the Trump Slump. The Donald is down, and they're kicking him like crazy.
. . . Coming on the heels of his much-publicized separation from his wife, Ivana, and in the fading spotlight of his most recent Grand Opening -- of the garish Taj Mahal casino resort in Atlantic City -- Trump's business problems have been a godsend to hungry comedy writers and gag peddlers from coast to coast. Johnny Carson, David Letterman and the rest of the nightly talk-show hosts have all chimed in gleefully.

But New York has a special relationship to Trump -- as shown by writer Richard Grayson's campaign to raise money for the Trump Rescue Fund. All last week he worked the streets, tongue firmly in cheek, soliciting funds to help the Baron of Blowhards through difficult times. So far, no  one is chipping in.

Meanwhile, headline writers at The New York Post, the city's sauciest tabloid, are in heaven. The day of Trump's announcement, they came up with this for the front page: UH-OWE!

Saturday, June 9, 1990

Miami Herald reports on Richard Grayson's Radio Free Broward

The Miami Herald reports today (Saturday, June 9, 1990) on Richard Grayson's Radio Free Broward protest, mailing copies of 2 Live Crew's As Nasty As They Wanna Be to South Florida, where a federal judge has declared it obscene.

Sunday, May 27, 1990

South Florida Sun-Sentinel article profiles author Richard Grayson

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel today (Sunday, May 27, 1990) has an article by Book Editor Chauncey Mabe profiling author Richard Grayson, "The Writer's Life at Ground Level."

Thursday, February 1, 1990

Richard Grayson Reading at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts on February 1, 1990

Richard Grayson will read at 7 p.m. tonight, Thursday, February 1, 1990, at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, 6048 Perrier, New Orleans.