Monday, August 15, 2016

Chicken Ranch report no. 80: BookPeople and more!

First things first: Tonight at 7 p.m. I'll be at Austin's landmark book store, BookPeople, for a 7 p.m. signing and discussion of Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch. I've been looking forward to this for a long time, and hope the weather cooperates so we can get a good turnout (I've checked the hourly forecast, and chances of more wet stuff drop off significantly this evening, so yay!). This kicks off my busiest week thus far on the book tour front--Thursday, I'm in Columbus at the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Friday I'm at the Twig in San Antonio, and Saturday is the official book release party at Casa de Blaschke. So yeah, I'm going to be busy.

In all honesty, my busy week actually started a couple of days ago, when I made the trip over to Bryan/College Station for the Theatre Company's production of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." I had a fantastic time, and was welcomed by everyone I encountered, from the performers to the staff to the audience. I met several La Grange natives who were excited by me book, and met several more former customers of the brothel who joked about "the good old days." The play itself was fascinating. Sure, it was rough around the edges as community theatre often is, but what struck me was how different it was from the San Antonio production I'd recently attended. Both used the same book--essentially, the version reworked for the Ann-Margret national touring show from 2001 (I've found out that the Samuel French Company is currently not allowing any productions of the original 1978 book, presumably so as not to conflict with the proposed Rob Ashford/Kristin Chenoweth Broadway revival). Simple direction choices and line delivery by the actors made this play very different, even though the lines and songs are all the same. Some lines in Bryan got huge laughs that didn't play as remotely funny in San Antonio, and vice versa. And the characters were very different as well. Harold Presley's version of Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd was all rapid-fire dialogue and fluster, whereas Paul Galindo's version in San Antonio was stoic and brooding. David Blazer played Melvin P. Thorpe as an over-the-top televangelist with zero self-awareness in San Antonio, whereas Corey Barron took the character in an entirely different route, channeling the late Marvin Zindler by way of Elvis Presley, complete with sneering, self-aggrandizing arrogance. Finally, I have to give a big shout-out to Ellen Wilcox's choreography. She took a limited number of athletic men and created a wonderfully entertaining "Aggie Song" despite not having nearly enough bodies to replicate Tommy Tune's original choreography. And she took a real sow's ear in the revamped "Angelette March" (the 2001 Ann-Margret version does away with the blow-up dolls and balloons and attached social commentary) and made it a seamless and entertaining part of the production, as opposed to the awkward speed bump it was in San Antonio. It's amazing what talent and passion can accomplish, even when resources are lacking.

Oh, and finally, I've got several more media interviews lined up in the coming days, along with these two stories that just hit. I'm not sure if this media attention is moving the needle any as far as book sales go, but I'm doing my darnedest to pull my own weight.

This ‘little whorehouse’ in Texas helped a president relieve stress: New York Post

The president's favorite brothel: Lyndon Johnson would 'relieve stress' by secretly visiting a prostitute named Penny in Texas... And introduced her as a 'family friend': Daily Mail (U.K.)

Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse is now available from both and It's also available as an ebook in the following formats: Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo.

Title: Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse
Author: Jayme Lynn Blaschke
ISBN: 978.1.46713.563.4

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