Unveiling Secrets and Stories: LIAR, ALLEGED
In the 50s, gays took on stereotypical roles David Vass did not embrace. “I wasn’t a top, bottom, butch or fem - I scared the shit out of all the homos I met!” Entertaining, humorous, and shocking, he reveals secrets of the record labels (how he became a mafia money runner), juicy, never-before-told anecdotes about legendary celebrities - Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe and Tony award winners that he technical directed. Over 100 World Class difficult personalities were kept in line by Vass. Many shared their secrets with him.
“At seven, I stopped talking for two years because of a speech impediment and started writing. Diaries were the first of my addictions. I wrote down everything that happened to me for seven decades. These outrageous experiences are the bones of my book; I hope none of the mobsters I knew will leave a horse’s head in my bed!”
David’s story is still relevant, given today’s political backpedaling of our civil liberties. His life is raunchy, hilarious, twisted, and brutally honest. A laugh-out-loud page-turner: gay little boy of the 50s, stumbles into the dangerous world of strip clubs in the 60s where he learned his talent as a technical director. Working the hottest clubs and iconic theatres, record labels lined up to contract him for his ‘celebrity-whisperer’ talents and his connections to the mob in the 70s.
The fun he had in prison; “best sex of my life”, thrills with pills, robbing his mother in drag thinking she wouldn’t recognize him. She did. His salacious adventures in a pre-AIDs world. A homo-hobo, Vass’s mash-up is brutally honest and a cautionary tale laced with inspiration.
David Vass comes from a long line his mother once foolishly listened to. He is an accomplished Monologist, Performer, Diarist, Writer, and Activist, as well as the creator of the one-person play, What Could Go Wrong: Musings of an Eccentric Raconteur Who Happened to be at the Right Places at the Right Times. His one-man show is performed at intimate theaters, clubs, private engagements, and festivals in the United States, the UK and Australia. He has been partnered with his soulmate and husband Paul for forty-six years, the last sixteen of which have included a marriage license, finally. David’s hobby is explaining everything to everybody.
During his years behind-the-scenes in show business, he was a road manager, technical director and/or lighting and sound designer for 200+ clients, including over fifty Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe and Tony award winning legends and celebrities.
A proud member of The Authors and The Dramatists Guilds, David believes there is no such thing as a politically incorrect or unusable word—a word is a word is a word. It is how a word is used that creates its true meaning and can make it glowingly positive and reinforcing, or hateful, demeaning, and mean-spirited. Nipsy Russell, Larry Kramer, Lenny Bruce and many others knew this. He feels our First Amendment rights are in jeopardy and wishes those in the “Woke Movement” who embrace censoring words without taking into consideration how and why they are used (or using one letter and some ***s) would rethink their position.
David’s personal website, www.davidvass.com has a pictorial history of his life over the decades. His LIAR, ALLEGED website (www.davidvassbook.com) affords readers an opportunity to keep abreast of current endeavors by joining his mailing list. He adds the occasional pop-up short story and has links for his speaking engagements, book signings, one-person show schedule, and his next book. As a hybrid-published author, he urges readers that enjoy his writing to support him by making their friends aware of his book and via reviews on Amazon, Kindle and Goodreads. Five-star reader reviews look like this ★★★★★ and will bring you great fortune.
Intrigue and Candor
Reviews From the Pros
A Kirkus Starred Book
An engrossing show-biz account, deftly mixing sexual energy with poignant character sketches …Vass’ writing is full of brilliantly revealing, nuanced profiles of celebrities, informed by his years of raptly studying their flaws so as to soften them with artifice … a perceptive examination of the truth lying beneath the entertainment industry’s surface fakery … an absorbing account of the art of lighting and sound mixing in stage acts, with many vivid details and acerbic commentary … raucous memoir
5 Star Review - Gold Badge
Review by Michael Beas
… a crazy trip across the decades in this tell-all that is equal parts outrageous exposé and lively humor, while remaining utterly genuine … a tone as audacious and self-assured as the writer, Vass describes his remarkable existence, dispelling myths and negotiating the perilous entertainment world … defying the expectations of the 1950s gay scene … the mood for a story that is unabashedly surprising, hilarious, and engaging … reveals his surprising position as a mafia money runner and shares delicious, never-before-told anecdotes about great celebrities, pulling back the veil on the record labels … Unexpected turns occur, including a stint in prison that he calls the "best sex of my life," drug-fueled delights, and a bold event where he robs his mother while disguised as a drag queen—a moment that skillfully blends humor and intimacy. Vass's candid assessment of his scandalous adventures in a world pre-AIDS lends the narrative substance and emphasizes the perseverance required to get by during a time when the LGBTQ+ community faced unique challenges … more than just a memoir; it's a moving story filled with inspiration that should be read carefully. Vass's blend of sardonic humor and ruthless honesty results in a story that is still relevant, particularly considering the political landscape of today and the continuous fight for civil rights … a moving story filled with inspiration that should be read carefully. A blend of sardonic humor and ruthless honesty results in a story that is still relevant, particularly considering the political landscape of today and the continuous fight for civil rights … the narration is brazen, his voice unapologetic … captivating and thought-provoking, drawing readers into an absurd and inspirational universe that stays with them long after the last page is turned.
Review by Marc Vitali, PBS (WTTW) Chicago, Arts & Entertainment
…a wildly entertaining narrative of gay life in the 1950s and ‘60s. The book moves through the hedonism of the ‘70s, the tragedy of the ‘80s and why it all matters now. He sends the reader ping-ponging from the last days of burlesque to backstage dramas to the gay liberation movement to addictions and neuroses. It’s like David Sedaris wrote the script to a John Waters movie … “Lying made my showbiz career, tell ‘em whatever they want to hear and then they’ll trust you, and once they trust, you can ask serious questions and get real answers. Because if I’d told performers the truth from the get-go — like, ‘You sound like crap and you’re 20 pounds overweight, and I’m never going to make you look good on stage,’ they would not have told me what they told me. When you’re a Debbie Reynolds or a Bette Davis or an Ella Fitzgerald, you are so used to hearing what you want to hear. So you do it in layers. I earned people’s trust and confidence in layers, and it all began with a lie. … Besides salacious stories about stars, sex and stimulants, this endearingly schizophrenic book offers an appreciation of the people in the entertainment world who keep it spinning. It’s dedicated to, among others, the stagehands, designers and artists whose alchemy makes magic on stage…
Marc Vitali, PBS Chicago (WTTW) Arts & Entertainment
Review by Chanticleer Book Reviews
Author Vass exemplifies his background in a forthright and emotional manner that will bring readers to laughter and tears alike. The narrative is intense and unapologetically honest, leaving a lasting impact, with unfiltered, vulnerable storytelling. Vass refuses to hold back, offering readers a front-row seat to all the dark, raw, and unflattering drama. This memoir is conclusively enticing and well-crafted, and a worthy recommendation to those seeking a blunt and well-told raw and mature memoir, the account of a resilient individual … who had felt 'instinctively' different and shunned since he was a child. Highly Recommended!
Review by B. Drizller,
The Book Commentary
A great, brutally honest and at times self-deprecating narrative from a gifted storyteller, a writer who creates compelling imagery in the minds of readers and warms hearts with his humorous recounting of events… gorgeous prose, a gripping voice and writes in a tone that is unapologetic, pulling readers into a world that offers a vivid portrait of the intersection between drugs, sex, the mob and exciting anecdotes about celebrities who didn't just cross paths with him but enjoyed his presence and influence… more than an autobiographical tale; it is the portrait of a historical moment and this author has the extraordinary ability to reconstruct social conundrums that are as real and resonant today as they were then.
D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
Midwest Book Review
Vass adopts a tone of truth and insight that pulls no punches … The blend of sexual experiences and observations combined with the practicalities and politics of show biz come to light in a memoir replete with startling events, head-shaking moments, opportunities for enlightenment, and debauchery at its highest level. Not an exposé for the light-hearted, but a solid and fact-packed reflection … Readers also won't anticipate the sense of humor that often accompanies such revelations … a lively, sassy and compelling story that will prove a 'must' … a welcome home in the hands of readers interested in 'tell all' stories that take the next step.
R.Kohn, NUVO Cultural Foundation Reviewer,
Midwest Daily e-Paper
Vass imbues the ‘epitome of urbane’ … in the tradition of Quintin Crisp, David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs – all cringe memoirlists. He invites us into venturing, not merely adventuring, upward from a troublesome childhood to troubleshooting impeccable performances for a cadre of beloved stage legends. Along the way we're alongside in pursuit of a life well-lived with grace and a wink at anyone who said he couldn't, wouldn't, make his and our collective world joyful.
James Arntz, Primetime Emmy Award producer,
PBS Great Performances (Liza’s at The Palace)
… crazy show-biz stories capture the exciting, sometimes seedy, often moving gay world of the ‘60s thru ‘80s. Especially admired his profiles of the great jazz and cabaret artists of that period. A very fun read and a page-turner!
Inkhorn Writers Review
…invites the reader to the vividly engaging and often disturbing underbelly of show business with a potent insight and keen eye on what makes a star, and how their trainwrecks come to be … all of this sandwiched in a tragic childhood, a sexualized coming of age and a take no prisoners candor about his own addictions … a shockingly deep dig into turning a broken life around … I couldn’t put it down. His is a totally unique insight into the end of the 20th century and the breaking apart of stereotypes … Highly recommended.
What Readers Are Saying
Reviews: "LIAR, ALLEGED" has left readers captivated and craving for more. Here's what they're saying:
A note from the author
I’ve never cared much for memoirs and biographies that begin with childhood and work their way up the sequential ladder. I usually skip forward to when ‘whoever’ develops pubic hair. I dig in then, because that’s usually when it becomes interesting, at least for me. I share this to lubricate you, the reader, so my over-sized narrative slides right in, like those books about handsome ice hockey players or bull riders (my newest addiction).
This is my book, warts, cock sucking, bubble butts, strippers, addictions, legendary and horrible celebrities and all the rest. If I’ve lost your attention for a few pages in the ‘necessary’ beginning, take a break and scoot to the ‘Bonus Chapter Celebrity Profiles’ at the end, for a little gossip about said legendary and horrible celebs, then come back to where you left off. Think of the memoir as great sex and the bonus chapter profiles as quick jerk offs in the bathroom, okay?
My chosen writing approach is minimalist, the essence of what I experienced, without loads of gilded descriptive paragraphs – a ‘just the facts, please’ slant. Where more intimate descriptions are required, I opt to use ‘dialogue’, both from my dairies and my memory. Two of my favorite writers are Dominic Dunne and Truman Capote, both of whom also embraced a tailored approach to their work. They give me hope.
‘Voice Tonic’ from
Nat King Cole
Access the bonus short story and Nat King Cole’s vocal tonic recipe
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