Sunday, January 23, 2011
I Smoked Pot With Linda Lovelace
During my 20-plus years in outlaw publishing, I’ve done lots of interesting things with lots of interesting celebrities. I’ve smoked pot with comedians, snorted lines with rock stars, and entered various states of altered consciousness with porn stars, professional wrestlers, and other newsmakers. But nothing quite blew my mind as the night I smoked pot with Linda Lovelace.
I first met Linda in Colorado in early 2000 to get her blessing for—and hopefully involvement with—The Complete Linda Lovelace. She picked me up at Denver International Airport and drove me back to her modest condo in Englewood. Along the way she showed me how beautiful the mountains were, told me how much she liked living there, and asked me what I had in mind with the book, seeking assurance it would have nothing to do with my old job at Screw magazine or my even older boss, Al Goldstein (whom she told me in the DIA parking lot was the only man she hated more than Chuck Traynor).
On the way we stopped briefly at a restaurant called Black-eyed Pea, where her family was having lunch in a show of support for her son Dominic, who was starting his first day of work. Linda introduced me to a few members of the family including her ex-husband Larry Marchiano, a gruff, stout guy who looked me up and down suspiciously before giving me a handshake that was a little more firm than necessary.
I couldn’t blame him for giving me the once-over. I was, of course, a dirty, rotten New York pornographer there to exploit his ex-wife’s history and good nature. And I was, of course, dressed in my usual gear: dyed black hair, black jeans, black t-shirt and a black (vinyl) motorcycle jacket underneath a long black rain coat. The massacre at nearby Columbine High School, carried out by “Trenchcoat Mafia” thugs Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, had taken place less than a year earlier, so no, all things considered, I couldn’t blame him.
After wishing Dominic good luck we again hit the road, where Linda asked if I wanted to stop at a local liquor store. That didn’t surprise me just because of her headline-making liver transplant almost 15 years earlier, but also because it was about 3 in the afternoon and even I wasn’t used to giving my liver a workout that early, my customary in-flight double gin and tonic on the plane ride notwithstanding. But stop for some booze we did. After saying hello to the cashier Linda asked if I wanted some beer, and what kind I drank.
“Sure,” I said. “Heineken.”
“You want one or two?”
“Two’ll be great, thanks.”
I was even more surprised when, instead of the two bottles of Heineken I was expecting, she pulled two six-packs out of the cooler. I kind of laughed and said I was okay with just one (six-pack), so she got some beer for herself, I paid the cashier and we headed back to her house.
Where we got drunk.
We spoke for a few hours about the project and, boring part of a long story short, after hearing what was in it for her, she agreed to give me the book-ending interview I’d been hoping for.
That night we went to dinner to celebrate. I asked her about Colorado and her life as a mother and a celebrity; she asked me about New York and my life as a pornographer and a writer. When the conversation turned to my stint at High Times magazine, she got a smile on her face and told me that she liked to smoke pot. “When we’re done here you want to come back to my place and smoke a bowl?”
I think you know my answer.
Back at her condo, she pulled out a small tin of weed and a well-used pipe and we got stoned. Good shit, too. . . . At one point I had to laugh to myself—at least I think it was to myself: There I was, a proud, prolific and dedicated pornographer, getting high with Linda Lovelace! (Well, I knew it was really 50-year-old suburban mother-of-two Linda Boreman, but I went with it, just that once.) Most of that conversation is lost to the passage of time—and some real good pot—but I remember we really bonded, making each other laugh and getting friendly in ways I never imagined.
We talked about drugs (she also had a taste for ice), the celebrities she hung around with (she loved Alice Cooper and Robert Plant and told me that name deleted at insistence of author’s lawyer was a dyke) and her taste in music (she loved Led Zeppelin, really dug Vanilla Fudge and said that listening to Janis Joplin was the only thing that got her through her time with Chuck Traynor). I think I was most surprised to hear that she owned a gun.
We hung out again the next day before I headed back East to get ready for my return visit, when she’d give her first interview to a pornographer in over 25 years. I was stoked about that, to be sure, but on the trip home, squeezing a lime into my customary in-flight double gin and tonic, I couldn’t help laughing about the most surreal part of the trip: I smoked pot with Linda Lovelace!