Great Demon Kings: A Memoir of Poetry, Sex, Art, Death, and Enlightenment by John Giorno

If you’ve ever wanted to know all the smoldering details of the quintessential 20th-century gay life of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, Great Demon Kings is the book for you. John Giorno came of age with the Beats of the 1950s, bedded some of the great New York painters of the 60s, and took part in the wild abandon of the post-Stonewall 70s. Fueled by vast amounts of vodka, marijuana, and LSD, plus slightly smaller doses of speed and psychedelic mushrooms, Giorno was a proud gay artist who was one of the first performers to marry poetry, music, and technology.

In private, the charm of his boyish face and a significant (and insatiable) protuberance aided an unquenchable appetite for star fucking. This alchemy propelled him through affairs with Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns (following the time Rauschenberg and Johns had been lovers); decades-long friendships with Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs (including one rather unsatisfactory three-way with the two); a couple of close encounters with Jack Kerouac; subway bathroom sex with Keith Haring; and thousands of other copulations before, during, and after the predictable side trips to Tangier (to visit Paul and Jane Bowles) and the mysterious East, where he immersed himself in the ecstasies of Tibetan Buddhism. (The drug intake was usually reduced during Giorno’s Buddhist studies, but these were still punctuated by weekly visits to a nearby opium den.)