Wednesday, March 17, 2021

As Andy Warhol once said..."In the future...everybody will get their 15 minutes of fame." And he was right. You Tube has afforded everybody that opportunity. But not for me or some dozen or so of my cab-driving colleagues. Ours came from a different source.

I was a night shift type of guy. I couldn't stand daytime traffic in the city! So my shift was 5 PM - 5 AM. Ripping through the streets of the Big Apple looking for a fare after 1 AM on a weeknight was mostly an exercise in futility. Idling in front of a club or bar was better - and easier on the nerves. The science to this pursuit was to find a bar that most cabbies didn't know about - and whose patrons took long rides. Like when that big tranny suckhole Edelweiss broke at 4 AM...there were lots of she male whores going to Queens or Brooklyn. Or Flashdancers in front of the Ed Sullivan Theater. Those skanks took long rides as well.

But I didn't normally work Edelweiss or Flashdancers, because I knew a place right on my block that offered a steady stream of Upper East Siders who would come downtown to be hip, but in actuality end up in an East Village bar filled with their neighbors from uptown. I mean...what's the point? But I didn't give a crap about that. All I knew was virtually every ride out of the 10th Street Lounge was heading 80 blocks north. And that definitely worked for me!

Well night I got a guy from that very spot...who sure enough...was going to 89th and York. His name was Mark...and he worked at MTV, which also owned Nick At Nite, a station poised to embark on a publicity campaign to launch the premier of the old "Taxi" reruns on the network. And he wanted to know if there was a taxi publication in which the corporation could run a big, splashy ad. Given that I sold ads and wrote for the premier taxi rag in the city, he had clearly approached the right guy. So we exchanged numbers and thus began the mini saga.

Nick At Nite decided that the ad would offer free car washes for any cab driver who reported to the Houston Street Car Wash on a certain date, which I believe they called New York City Taxi Driver Appreciation Day. They would also run open auditions for a Nick at Nite Taxi Chorus, and have said taxi choir perform at the event.

Pretty ingenious if you ask me. Whatever...the open call was also advertised in the paper to any driver who wanted to join. If you could carry a tune...and produce a current hack license, you were in! And the "singers" would be paid to rehearse and perform. Back at the office, Crawford was tone he didn't even audition. But Mikey and I weren't...and we made the cut. The audition tune? "New York, New York!"...with the sheet music to sight read from. A total snap!

The funny thing was...Nick At Nite hired an excellent Broadway piano player and choreographer to whip us into shape. Those guys were no pikers. They were pros. I felt sorry for the frustrated duo - what with having the job of making a rag-tag bunch of hacks sound like ANYTHING. But to everybody's amazement, within a few rehearsals, we weren't half bad.

Taxi Driver Appreciation Day rolled around and go figure...hundreds of cabs lined up at the Houston Street Car Wash for their freebe! The Nick people were so scared before the event, they almost went out to find and pay 50 cabbies to show up - just in case. But their apprehension was not well-founded. Offer a New York City cab driver some kind of freebe - and he'll be there!

Well anyway...we donned these ridiculous yellow robes with checkered scarves or whatever, and sang our hearts out for the appreciative crowd. End of story - or so I thought! That night Crawford called to say "Hey! I was pounding a few brews down at the Blarney when the Channel 4 News came on and you and Mikey were singing for the crowd!"

And then the next day, Nick At Nite called the office to say they were negotiating for the entire chorus to sing on the Letterman Show. But right there was when the 15 minutes ended. Mikey (who you may recall had already been handsomely paid for stealing a previous gig on Dave's show), hit the guy up for AFTRA scales on behalf of everybody in the chorus. And that would mean a hefty payment from CBS. I admonished my starstruck diva of an employer that maybe his overture would be the deal breaker that would kill the opportunity...and I was dead right! We never heard from the Nick people again, though we DID get our checks for $325 a week or two later. Not bad! Paid AND paraded on the 6 o'clock news? If that doesn't qualify as my 15 minutes of fame, I don't know what does.

But that wasn't quite the end of the story. A couple of months later, the Editor of SCREW MAGAZINE called me up. "Hey, Billy! I was waiting for 'Welcome Back Kotter' to come on the television tonight and I saw you and that asshole you work for singing some stupid song! What the fuck was that?!?!" Ah! Residuals! They're the best! Pardon me while I bask in the glow!

Friday, October 23, 2020


 The following is an article I wrote over 20 years ago. It does not represent the Asian pay-for-play trade as I came to know it years later. Once a boiling cistern of dysfunction, their subculture eventually became the class of the escort trade. But it wasn’t when I wrote this. It was the scourge. Prepare for a look back at the naughty 90’s — and what it was like at Asian mega whorehouses before the turn of the century.

Sunday, October 18, 2020


Yesterday, I received a private note from a Medium editor who suggested I install Grammarly to correct some issues on the submitted piece. Specifically, he noted that the article contained more than one run-on sentence. I read through what I'd written and found that indeed, the very first sentence seemed a little long.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020


 Jeez! How many jobs can a guy lose within two days? The answer is two for this guy! First I lost the soup kitchen job. But that doesn't really count, because I wanted to lose that job. I got laid off just before I was going to quit. 

But this morning, a medium publication, "Sexual Tendencies," fired me for referring to women who pretend to care for a guy and have sex with him just to get at his money as skanks and whores. I don't know. That doesn't seem like that big of a deal given the context. But the editor saw it differently.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

GOODBYE JEFFREY - My last night with my best prison buddy

My apologies for posting so intermittently on this blog. I've been working on medium like crazy and don't want to double post - although there's no law against it. Here's a brand new one that has been accepted for publication in one of medium's many sanctioned digital magazines. 

If you've never been to prison, let me give you a hint. It's a really strange place for a civilized inmate. Especially when you miss the train to Camp Cupcake and end up in a shithole like MCC federal prison - surrounded by a division of drug and gun slingers. Generally tax fraudsters like me get locked up with other white collar criminals. But because I suffered a state charge I needed to address - and was a local with a "short" sentence (a year and a day), the Bureau of Prisons parked me 300 yards from New York State court - at the aforementioned MCC. (Transporting inmates to different jurisdictions for court appearances is a bureaucratic nightmare for both the State and Fed. Having me close by was a no brainer.)

Friday, October 2, 2020


 Many years ago I sold advertising to a girl who called herself Dallas. And man…could this girl make money! She didn't want to fall asleep for fear that she might miss a client! That's how hell bent she was on piling up mountains of cash!  

Yup! Dallas made a fortune in the escort business until the girl found Jesus - and a real estate license - and faded into mainstream obscurity hustling rentals for a major real estate outfit. Now that should have rated as the barracuda's crowning achievement. But no! To my mind, it was the night she made her landmark racist comment, that truly defines Dallas's memory.

Thursday, October 1, 2020


Back in my youth when I was a journeyman musician intent on making a living while I expressed my soul musically, word was going around the New York City musician community that CBS had a huge star in the making named Meat Loaf...and that everybody was gonna be hearing about this guy soon. And given that we'd heard the same thing about Springsteen before he exploded, nobody had any reason to doubt the rumor.

So one day...there it was: A big ad in the musicians wanted section of the Village Voice seeking a guitar player for Meat's band! And being an unaffiliated freelancer not on the road at that time, I answered the call.

Usually, responding to those ads involved showing up with your instrument and playing with the band. But for Meat, the ad said to bring a tape with your guitar work. No guitar required. And instead of walking into a rehearsal studio which would be the norm, I found myself commuting to a big building in Midtown which housed a corporate publishing company (can't remember which) with a big name. 

When my turn came, I entered a room with about 3 or 4 suits...and Meat...sitting there in judgement of the applicants. I figured the suits for publishing or management guys and whatever, handed over my tape for them to hear. 

I had a lot of samples on tape or record at that time and chose a semi-blues tune which contained crisp and clear Eric Clapton style riffs with which to impress Meat (and staff). I truly felt that this was most impressive offering.

Sure enough, as soon as the tape began, Meat sat up straight in his chair as a big smile lit up his face: "I love the blues," said Mr. Loaf. "This sounds great." So what happened? The fucking suits jumped in to say "No! Not enough distortion! This guy's not right!" 

There were no questions as to whether I played distortion or not (which I did)...and no recognition that good musicians played all styles. Their attitude was one of "If that's the tape you chose to audition're the wrong guy!" And that was that! Meat had no say. The suits' word ruled!

So I gave them some attitude as if to say "you're just a bunch of publishing assholes. What the fuck do you know?"...and managed to convince them to give me an appointment so I could audition my songs at a later date as it was clear I'd made Meat's audition if not theirs. Well...they at least gave me that - but rejected my songs a week later when I returned to play them.

And the rest is history! Meat went on to fame, fortune and the sale of millions of records...and me? I went on to infamy as an adult ad agency owner, escort blogger, and then federal inmate who cellied with Paul Manafort and became Jeffrey Epstein's best prison pal before he killed himself.

Saturday, September 26, 2020


 Nobody likes to get fired from their job, right? Not always - if I'm any indication. Yesterday was cause for a major celebration. I've been hating my covid-era job for almost as long as I've had it. Yes, helping the underprivileged  is a saintly thing to do. But when you suddenly have to get up at 6 AM and do it on a 5 day a week schedule, the luster wears off - and in a hurry. Especially when you do way more work than the guy who's supposed to split the work load with you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020


Now that my string of feature articles about Jeffrey Epstein and Paul Manafort appears to have run its 15 minutes, life has become really unfulfilling and boring. What with covid, probation and job-related restrictions, I can't travel. And with virtually no outlet (save this) to bare my soul creatively, I'm simply marking time. And marking time at age 70 is a problem (as much time do I really have?) Well recently, I rediscovered a previous failed effort and am hell bent on making it work. 

Saturday, September 19, 2020


No, I never actually drove a truck (I don't have the license and wouldn't even know how) but there was one point in my life when I found myself wondering whether I was a truck driver or musician.

The occasion for this narrative dates back many years to when I was a "Starlighter" accompanying Joey Dee, a 60's phenomenon who capitalized on the twist craze with a hit tune titled "The Peppermint Twist." The record rated #11 for 1961 on the Billboard year end pop chart...and combined with "Shout" (a lesser hit as a follow up), Joe was poised to work the oldies circuit for the rest of his life! And for six months (until I quit), I got caught up in the madness.

Thursday, September 10, 2020


More than a year has passed since my concurrent friendships with Paul Manafort and Jeffrey Epstein were cultivated at MCC federal prison where I served 311 days for tax fraud and surreally found myself with Paulie as my celly, and Jeffrey as a suicidal inmate I watched and spent hours of one on one time part in parcel of my position as inmate companion coordinator. Notwithstanding the passage of time, both continue to be front and center in today's news.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020


Unlike most of America who I assume reveled in their paid day off, I did not party on Labor Day. Volunteering at the Meatloaf Kitchen Saturday and taking a long bike ride on Sunday was enough activity for me. I spent most of Monday binge-watching a Vice channel marathon on "The Clinton Affair," and reading a book on the same subject I found in the laundry room of my building recently while washing my clothes.

Sunday, September 6, 2020


Just over a year ago while I was lying in my bunk at MCC federal prison, I asked my celly Paul Manafort if there was any collusion with the Russians. Generally, I didn't get political with Paulie as I figured a) the last thing he wanted to do was talk politics with an inmate and b) I didn't want to start a feud with a felon with whom I shared 70 square feet.

Saturday, September 5, 2020


After pleading to tax fraud and promotion of prostitution (the second charge was questionable while the first was undeniable), and going to prison for a year, I find a hole in my life left without all the associations and friendships of practitioners in the escort industry I used to enjoy (or suffer depending on the day).Whether or not that's a good thing is irrelevant to the following.

Saturday, August 29, 2020


Now that the conventions (the political ones) are over, I might as well weigh in with my opinion on those pitiful showcases of democracy in action. I've never heard so much name-calling and bull shit in my life. Fortunately, I didn't watch a whole lot of either one (just enough to be nauseated) because I know what they are: attacks on the other party's candidates and programs. Who cares? And who knows what's really going to work for the country and what isn't?

Tuesday, August 25, 2020


Do you think Attorney General William Barr is familiar with the content of the first amendment of the constitution? I'm wondering upon discovery that the Trump-appointed Postmaster General of the United States doesn't know how much it costs to mail a post card. I'm not surprised given that the President thinks Trinidad and Tobago are two different countries, that Thailand is pronounced Thighland, and Yosemite is pronounced Yozamight. Exactly who is it that drinks Trump's brand of Kool-aid?

Monday, August 24, 2020


Up until just a few days ago, I'm one of the few people who realized a profit from the covid disaster (if you discount my stock market losses). I got a job (albeit not a very good one - and not one I wanted) as a direct result of the pandemic.


Jeffrey Epstein might be dead. But his legacy and legend live on. Which is not good news for Bill Clinton. We're all well aware that our ex-prez was a significant womanizer. I don't think there's a lot of debate on that issue. But while Clinton's sex life is behind him (according to a statement Jeffrey Epstein made to me while I suicide-watched him at MCC federal prison), that moribund existence lives on as part of Epstein's legacy.

Sunday, August 23, 2020


We all know about genetics - and how they in great part, determine who we are. Take my maternal grandmother for example. She had to be the cheapest person on earth. I'm a close second. But this post isn't about being cheap - necessarily. 

Saturday, August 22, 2020


Before surrendering to prison, I did a fair amount of hiking in the Hudson Valley. At least twice a month between March and November, I'd take a day trip north and climb a mountain. Then came a year of inactivity in prison followed by a Covid winter/spring and a fully employed spring/summer. The bottom line is I've mountain-climbed twice in the past two years. I also don't ride my bicycle near as much as I used to.