Godfather of Grappling
By Gene LeBell w/ Bob Calhoun
Hardcover: 295 pages
Publisher: Gene LeBell Enterprises (Jan. 17, 2005)
The autobiography of martial arts master, pro wrestler and legendary
Hollywood stunt man Gene LeBell. “Judo” Gene taught
Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris how to break arms, fought in the first
pro MMA match back in 1963 and even wrestled bears. Click
for more info
Edited by Alan Black & Luke James
Paperback: 174 pages
Publisher: Public House Press; Pap/Com edition (Nov. 2004)
This anthology is a collection of authors
who have done readings at San Francisco’s Edinburgh Castle
pub over the years. Featuring a short story by Calhoun as well as
works by Irvine Welsh, Mary Roach, Anthony Swofford, Po Bronson,
Alan Black, and Jack Boulware.
California Budget Crisis Guide to Arnold-Free Action Flicks
Open Salon Editor's Pick, July 17, 2009
Hears the Lamentation of my Salary
Open Salon Editor's Pick, July 14, 2009
Wrestling's Grim Anniversary
Open Salon Editor's Pick, June 24, 2009
Chang Caine, RIP
Open Salon Editor's Pick, June 4, 2009
Former Small-time Grapplers view of The Wrestler
Open Salon Editor's Pick, Jan. 6, 2009
It's no wonder — he's acted in
films and TV shows for decades.
San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 30, 2006
Bass Player, March, 2005
Dire Straits founder David Knopfler
talks about his DIY solo career, Bush and Clear Channel's deals
with the devil and why he hates "Sultans of Swing."
Salon.com, Nov 10, 2003
Former "Star Trek"
star Wil Wheaton was the main
attraction on G4, the fast-rising video-game TV network. Until he
quit, embroiling the network in a 21st century "Quiz Show"
Salon.com, May 8, 2003
Bob Crane's son Scotty
is proud of his dad's reputation as a video horndog — in fact,
he retails Pop's home porn on the Web. But
Paul Schrader's "Auto Focus,"
he insists, gets
it all wrong.
Salon.com, Oct 21, 2002
An obscure Bay Area filmmaker launched
an empire in 1977. No, not that one. Fluke Starbucker, Oggie Ben
Doggie, Ham Salad and Princess Anne-Droid are back in a "special
edition" of the original Lucas spoof.
Salon.com, May 21, 2002
other works by bob calhoun |
you are an effete literary creationist, then I suggest that
you read Bob Calhoun. His writing is the Big Bang! A storyteller
who takes you on trips to the edge of the craziest universe.
Like riding a comet. Buy this book now!”
The Balls: An Offensive Suburban Oddessey”
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been scribbling
stories on whatever piece of paper I could lay my hands on. Before
I could spell or read even, my tales were composed of a hieroglyph
of my own devising, gleaned from the pages of the superhero comics
that I begged my dad to buy me from the spinner rack at our local
grocery store. My sagas were filled with gods, heroes, monsters,
spacemen, mad scientists, cosmic swashbucklers and sharks. Yes,
sharks — during that short gap of time between the release
of “Jaws” and “Star
Wars,” sharks were everywhere.
When I was old enough to read, I realized that
Stan Lee and Forrest J. Ackerman had the coolest jobs of all time.
Stan in the Marvel Comics (that always bore the “Stan
Lee Presents” header on the first page) and Forry in
“Famous Monsters of Filmland”
magazine put their puns and personality on almost every page of
their pulpy publications. As editors and publishers, they were the
captains of twin empires of imagination, whose products were easily
purchased at 7-11s along with Pop Rocks and Lick ‘M Aid. Because
of them, I knew I had to be a writer.
In high school, some pals and I slapped together
a Xeroxed ‘zine called “Obscuria,”
which we ineptly tried to sell at punk rock shows. We covered the
local Black Flag and Dead Kennedys shows but also wrote articles
about strange television personalities such Doctor Gene Scott (a
crazed UHF preacher who beat on mechanical monkeys with a stick)
and conservative firebrand Wally George. All of that, when combined
with our regular reports of poorly attended AWA pro wrestling cards
at the Cow Palace, made for an odd mishmash to be sure.
But a detour happened on my way to being a writer.
I became one of the gods, heroes or monsters (take your pick) that
I’d previously created as a kid sitting cross-legged on my
living room floor. In my mid-twenties, I started a band called
Count Dante and the Black Dragon Fighting Society, where
I played the part of a kung-fu comic book hustler. I later took
that character into Incredibly Strange Wrestling, San Francisco’s
punk rock/lucha libre spectacle. Instead of merely putting my passion
plays down on paper, I programmed them in front of drunken audiences
who pelted me with corn tortillas for my trouble. With ISW, I wrestled
in the Fillmore and toured the US and Europe. But during the Bush
years, my time in the subversive circus came to an end. It was back
to being a writer.
Starting around 2001, I sold stories to Salon.com,
the San Francisco Chronicle, “Filmfax”
and whatever other magazine would take a pitch from me. I wrote
about strange celebrity deaths (Bob Crane and George Reeves), the
Zodiac Killer, martial arts masters, a short film spoof of “Star
Wars” filmed in Pacifica in the 1970s and the flower
guy by Union Square who had acted in movies since the 1950s. I interviewed
rock gods like Lemmy, Ian Hill from Judas Priest, Roger Glover from
Deep Purple and (still a relative demigod) Josh Homme from Queens
of the Stone Age. My choice of subject matter didn’t really
change all that much from my high school punk zine days.
In 2003, I co-authored the autobiography of master
grappler and Hollywood Stunt legend “Judo” Gene LeBell
titled “The Godfather of Grappling.”
Writing Gene’s story was a trial by fire that taught me how
to put a book together. After that, I decided to turn my pen on
myself and wrote my punk rock wrestling memoir,
“Beer, Blood and Cornmeal,” which is at the printers
even as I write this.
Right now I’m preparing to plug my
new book while figuring out what the next project will be. There’s
a point, however, where reason will go out the window during the
latter process. Some crazy concept will take a hold of me and compel
me to compose it before I’m even aware of what it really is.
It always seems to shake out that way but I never stray too far
from that kid struggling to scribble sci-fi comics with a #2 lead
pencil and a piece of binder paper.
Daly City, California
March 4, 2008