Friday, July 29, 2016

Chicken Ranch anniversary: Marvin Zindler (1921-2007)

On this date in 2007, KTRK consumer affairs reporter Marvin Zindler died of pancreatic cancer.

Zindler, of course, is forever linked with the Chicken Ranch, as his series of exposés on the brothel directly led to its closure. And for that reason, many people (mostly men) who are old enough to remember curse his name. Despite being a raging egomaniac, he was a powerful champion of the downtrodden in his lifetime, and did a tremendous amount of good. Where the Chicken Ranch was concerned, he let his lust for fame and the spotlight get the better of him, and this allowed people with a vendetta against the Chicken Ranch to manipulate him from a distance. Zindler was a person who firmly believed in his own righteous infallibility, and once it became clear the vast organized crime conspiracy behind the Chicken Ranch's operation did not exist, well, Zindler doubled down on the conspiracy angle rather than admitting he'd been duped. He went to his grave insisting on criminal conspiracy and corruption, although he was never able to prove any of his claims.

Despite this, nobody could argue Zindler wasn't committed to his job. Despite constant pain from the cancer destroying him, he insisted on delivering his restaurant report from his hospital bed on Aug. 20. It proved to be his final report. Just over a week later, he was dead.

Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse is now listed on both Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com for pre-order.

Title: Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse
Author: Jayme Lynn Blaschke
Publication Date: August 1, 2016
ISBN: 978.1.46713.563.4

Ghosts of the Chicken Ranch is still available:

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Aggie Song vs. the Tony Awards

If you've ever seen The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas--either the play or the movie--then you're likely to remember "The Aggie Song." This is the part of the show where the Texas A&M football team, having successfully vanquished their arch-rivals during the annual Thanksgiving Day showdown, celebrates in anticipation of an all-expense-paid trip to the legendary Chicken Ranch brothel. It's a funny scene, simply for the sheer absurdity of it. Texas A&M gave the film crew full access to the football locker rooms when they were making the 1982 film, but I have a sneaking suspicion they wouldn't be so cooperative today if approached about a remake.

But that's neither here nor there. Back in 1978, after some fits and starts, the play exploded on Broadway and became a major hit. In fact, it garnered a bunch of Tony Award nominations in 1979, including one for best musical (it lost out to Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which I suppose means that cannibalism is more socially acceptable than prostitution). Strangely enough, they picked "The Aggie Song" to represent the play. Out of all the songs, I'd have thought they'd choose "Little Ole Bitty Pissant Country Place" or maybe "The Sidestep." But no, they choose the song where a bunch of men wax poetic about visiting a brothel. All I can figure is that somebody decided Tommy Tune's creative choreography would look good on TV... and it does. But the censors went absolutely nuts with the bleeping out of words, making the song sound far dirtier than it actually is. And instead of simple bleeps, they use a xylophone, which makes the whole thing that much more surreal. And is it possible for poor Henry Fonda to look any more uncomfortable during his introduction? This is one of those "You've got to see it to believe it" things. Enjoy!

Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse is now listed on both Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com for pre-order.

Title: Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse
Author: Jayme Lynn Blaschke
Publication Date: August 1, 2016
ISBN: 978.1.46713.563.4

Ghosts of the Chicken Ranch is still available:

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Chicken Ranch Central

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Chicken Ranch report no. 77: The first review!

I have my first, genuine, for-true book review of my new book, Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse. It appears in the current issue of the San Antonio Current, on newsstands today. I knew Bryan Rindfuss was working on something, but I hadn't realized he'd actually received an advance review copy. Here's a taste of what he thinks:

Ahead of its August 1 publication date, author Jayme Lynn Blaschke’s Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch comes hailed (by former Texas Lieutenant Governor William P. “Bill” Hobby Jr.) as “the best account of the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas ever written.” Preceded by a 1978 Broadway musical and a 1982 film (both titled The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and based on a story by Larry L. King) and Jan Hutson’s 1980 book The Chicken Ranch: The True Story of the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Blaschke’s update delivers much more than its title suggests — shedding light on the history of prostitution and brothels in the Lone Star State in the processing of building a compelling portrait of “that home out on the range” immortalized in ZZ Top’s 1973 classic “La Grange.”
If you're not in the San Antonio area, you're still in luck, because the review is published online: Jayme Lynn Blaschke Ventures Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch. Read it! Share it! Call the neighbors and wake the kids! This thing is real, and it's happening now...

Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse is now listed on both Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com for pre-order.

Title: Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse
Author: Jayme Lynn Blaschke
Publication Date: August 1, 2016
ISBN: 978.1.46713.563.4

Ghosts of the Chicken Ranch is still available:

Now Playing: Jerry Jeff Walker Live at Gruene Hall
Chicken Ranch Central

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Armadillocon off the port bow!

Armadillocon 38 is coming up this weekend, and I'll be in attendance as I have been for the past 15 years or so (my first was Armadillocon 13, but there were some gaps after that). This year, I'll only be there Friday and Saturday (July 29-30) because of my pre-existing commitment to appear at Sunday's Best Little Whorehouse in Texas performance at the Playhouse San Antonio. And that brings up the $64 question, doesn't it: Will I have copies of Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse available at the convention?

Unfortunately, the answer is "I don't know." The book's official release date is August 1, and History Press will only begin shipping the books out July 27. That's tomorrow. So it is possible I could get them in by Saturday, or even Friday with a good tail wind, but Monday is just as likely--which, for the purposes of Armadillocon, does us little good. Even without the book, I'll have some goodies to give out and there's always the August 15 signing at BookPeople. So, we have options. Here's my schedule for the weekend (I've got no programming on Friday, but I'll be around):

Saturday, August 29
  • Autographing
    11 a.m.-Noon, Dealers' Room
    Allen, Blaschke, Cardin, Swendson, Wells

  • Learning from Others' Mistakes
    9 p.m.-10 p.m., Ballroom E
    Blaschke, Bracken, Dimond*, Fung, Jewell, Marmell
    "Stories from the trenches." Panelists will discuss writing mistakes and how to avoid them.

  • Doing Research for Your Story
    10 p.m.-11 p.m., Ballroom E
    Blaschke*, Marmell, Moyer, White
    Panelists will discuss the strategies for doing effective research for stories, including examples of what has and has not worked.

Now Playing: David Bowie Best of Bowie
Chicken Ranch Central

Monday, July 25, 2016

Inside The Texas Chicken Ranch | Official Book Trailer

We're in the home stretch now, folks! Less than seven days before Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch drops! In anticipation of that, today I share with you the official book trailer! Special thanks goes out to Ron Rose for permission to use "The Ballad of the La Grange Chicken Ranch." If you like it, share it!

Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse is now listed on both Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com for pre-order.

Title: Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse
Author: Jayme Lynn Blaschke
Publication Date: August 1, 2016
ISBN: 978.1.46713.563.4

Ghosts of the Chicken Ranch is still available:

Now Playing: Blondie The Best of Blondie
Chicken Ranch Central

Friday, July 22, 2016

Chicken Ranch report no. 76: Texas Matters

I am very pleased to report that an extensive interview of my self by David Martin Davies aired today on the syndicated National Public Radio program Texas Matters. The program airs in select Texas cities 3:30 p.m. Fridays, 6:30 a.m. Saturdays and 9:30 p.m. Sundays in San Antonio on KSTX. Other stations may air it at other times, but here's the really cool part: you don't have to be near one of the stations that airs the show, and you don't have to wait for a pre-determined time to listen to it. You can check it out right now, as it's archived online for all to listen: Texas Matters: The History of the Chicken Ranch.

I've never done a radio interview before. Sure, I've give a few soundbites to radio folk as well as television reporters as a matter of course with the day job, but those have always been fairly terse answers to specific questions of limited scope. This was different--an extended discussion where the focus was squarely on me. Anyone who's ever had any kind of extended discussion with me knows that I tend to ramble and veer off on wild tangents when the notion strikes. I also get... animated. None of that translates well to radio. Fortunately, I was able to maintain focus for the most part and not come off as sounding like deranged Uncle Otis after a few too many beers. I did go off on a couple of tangents and may have babbled incoherently a time or two, but David was kind enough to edit those out so I didn't sound like a complete nincompoop.

One thing we touched on in the interview that, on second listen, I don't think I made clear at all was the two competing strategies used to deal with prostitution in the 19th and 20th centuries--prohibition and regulation. Without getting into a deep discussion of either, let me just say that neither approach has proven effective or satisfactory. Both have proven to be deeply flawed and do little to eliminate prostitution or control corruption or curb exploitation of women. A new strategy is needed, but that's a discussion for another time. Until then, let me know what you think about the interview!

Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse is now listed on both Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com for pre-order.

Title: Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse
Author: Jayme Lynn Blaschke
Publication Date: August 1, 2016
ISBN: 978.1.46713.563.4

Ghosts of the Chicken Ranch is still available:

Now Playing: Jimmy Buffett Hotel Buffett
Chicken Ranch Central

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

It's been a stressful week, so how about something a little chill to set the mood for the weekend? Here's Santana with "Samba Pa Ti", live in Mexico.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Falco.

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Chicken Ranch Central