“No one is cooler than Alvin Orloff. This is memoir in the classic (or classic Hollywood) sense: a witty and glamorous raconteur who’s lived a wild life tells all.” —Andrea Lawlor, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl
"Alvin Orloff's memoir . . . a witty remembrance that avoids cheap sentiment or easy responses. Tackling a mass of contradictions with unflinching realness, this book both entertains and inspires." —Michael Musto, Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back
“Heartbreaking and hilarious, sexed-up and political, Disasterama is a deeply personal coming-of-age story. —Michelle Tea, Against Memoir and How to Grow Up
DISASTERAMA: Adventures in the Queer Underground 1977 to 1997, is the true story of Alvin Orloff who, as a shy kid from the suburbs of San Francisco, stumbled into the wild eclectic crowd of Crazy Club Kids, Punk Rock Nutters, Goofy Goofballs, Fashion Victims, Disco Dollies, Happy Hustlers, and Dizzy Twinks of post-Stonewall American queer culture of the late 1970s, only to see the “subterranean lavender twilit shadow world of the gay ghetto” ravished by AIDS in the 1980s.
In Disasterama, Orloff recalls the delirious adventures of his youth—from San Francisco to Los Angeles to New York—where insane nights, deep friendships with the creatives of the underground, and thrilling bi-coastal living led to a free-spirited life of art, manic performance, high camp antics, and exotic sexual encounters.
Orloff looks past the politics of AIDS to the people on the ground, friends of his who did not survive AIDS’ wrath—the boys in black leather jackets and cackling queens in tacky frocks—remembering them not as victims, but as people who loved life, loved fun, and who were a part of the insane jigsaw of Orloff’s friends. In Disasterama, Orloff tells their story: the true tale of how a bunch of pathologically flippant kids floundered through a deadly disaster.
Includes more than 60 rare photos of the underground counterculture, club flyers, drag queens, and queer icons of the era.