Strange de Jim, author and self-proclaimed town fool, was signing his latest book, Billions of Virgins in Ecstasy: The Memoirs of Strange de Jim, at Given on April 5th, so I took advantage of the occasion to interview this seasoned queer icon, who previously wrote The Strange Experience (1980) and the pictorial San Francisco‚Äôs Castro: Images of America.
As a special surprise, Assemblyman Mark Leno sent over a certificate to Strange, via his assistant, Anna Damiani. ‚ÄúIt is always a pleasure to have the opportunity to offer praise to people who have played a role in the history and culture of our city,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúIt is my great pleasure today to offer such praise in the form of a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Assembly on behalf of Assemblyman Mark Leno to Strange de Jim.‚ÄĚ The words said: ‚ÄúCongratulations as you gather to celebrate and rejoice in the publication of your new book. I further commend your many years as a historian and raconteur of the countless tales of our city. It is through the memories and unique stories captured by individuals such as you that the rich history of our community will long be preserved. Congratulations and thank you for all you do!‚ÄĚ
(Sister Dana) Who is Strange de Jim?
(Strange) He‚Äôs my alter ego. I just don‚Äôt know who I am.
When did he arrive on the planet?
Probably in the 1960s, when people would call me and ask, ‚ÄúWho is this?‚ÄĚ and I‚Äôd answer, ‚ÄúJim,‚ÄĚ and they‚Äôd ask, ‚ÄúWhich one?‚ÄĚ and I‚Äôd say, ‚ÄúThe strange one.‚ÄĚ And that seemed to satisfy them.
Tell me about the Castro, in ten thousand words or less.
I moved to the Castro in ‚Äô78, and here I am. That‚Äôs pretty much it. The rest I don‚Äôt remember.
Yes, and anybody who says they were here in the late ‚Äė70s and remembers anything ‚Äď is obviously lying. But there have to be some highlights, right?
Well, massaging hundreds of cuties was definitely a highlight. Friends would blindfold them and bring them over, and I‚Äôd give them a massage.
No, there was no sex or violence, no matter how hard they begged!
Did you know Harvey Milk?
I met him at a party once, but I didn‚Äôt move here until he was already assassinated.
Any impressions at that time?
I don‚Äôt know WHAT he thought!
I just love how you turn everything around to YOU, Strange!
Which is what his book, Billions of Virgins, is all about. He will tell you how he found the secret of True Love through massage on men and women: all ages, sizes, shapes, colors, and persuasions: ‚ÄúI realized we‚Äôre all just folks, and everyone‚Äôs tingly portions are perfectly fine. Through this acceptance, I was able to tap into the sex drive ‚Äď the greatest energy in the universe. The results were pure magic.‚ÄĚ
In your journey from virginity, in this book you will run into ‚Äď among others - Herb Caen, Andy Warhol, Dame Edna, a baroness, and a blonde stud who perpetually gets too excited and shoots all over his paramours before he can begin to penetrate. Oh, and AIDS, and the healing nature of massage on AIDS. The book is partly true and partly fictional. Funny stuff. Sad stuff. But mostly fun. And definitely orgasmic!!! Check out StrangeBillions.com and this self-published book by Ash-Kar Press. Do not reveal the exciting ending to anyone ‚Äď unless they‚Äôre virgins in ecstasy!