Doll Head Eater (1998) — This is my first book of fiction, published by Kevin Sampsell’s Future Tense. It got reviewed well by the underground press. I was proudest to get favorable reviews in Your Flesh and Factsheet 5. As the book jacket said, “Doll Head Eater takes readers on a high-octane, hit-and-run joy ride through the outskirts of sanity and reality. You get 17 pedal-to-the-metal stories. Highlights on your trip include an inspired nut who swallows doll heads, and a weird bee-worship cult in the Deep South, to a New York City detective in love with a faceless dead woman, and Frank Sinatra & the Rat Pack making an art movie under the influence of LSD. The scenery includes nifty black & white photographs — inside and out — by the author. Thankfully, books don’t get much stranger than this.” Nuff said.
“Gregory Tozian has a delightfully skewed — and accurate — view of things. Not to mention gnarly sex and drugs out the yang. Doll Head Eater is the long-awaited collection of his finest fabulations. A revelation.” — Rudy Rucker.
Review by Factsheet 5
The Aloha Shirt, Spirit of the Islands (2000) — Although I mostly wear cuff links, vests, coats with pocket squares, et al, I did enjoy writing the definitive book on the Hawaiian (a.k.a. Aloha) shirts with shirt expert Dale Hope. The book took me to Hawaii for he first time (and multiple times). The book was reviewed favorably by many papers around the world, including the Sunday New York Times. It was also published in multiple languages, including Japanese, German, and in England (where they speak better, uhm, English). It’s a beautifully put together coffee table tome, thanks to the publishers, Beyond Words (in the U.S.), and designers Engle+Murphy.
Fidel’s Cuba (1998) — I could have applied to the U.S. government to get a visa to go to Cuba in the mid-90s to write this book. But when I sold the book to the New York/Oregon co-publishers (Avalon/Beyond Words), the 40th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution was in less than a year. I had to get down to Cuba, multiple times, quickly. I flew through Mexico. The Cuban people were very inviting. It’s not a pro-Castro book. It’s just a documentary of the photos that were taken of Fidel, Che, and all those other people who made history the day after Batista fled the island. The book has been published in hardback and paper, and in French, German, Spanish, etc. The photos, by Osvaldo and Roberto Salas, are remarkable (made on the short ends of documentary movie film, since the Cuban’s didn’t have access to roll film in those days). The book received positive worldwide press, four pages in Newsweek, and got on us on radio and TV. But I’m most thankful for it taking me to Cuba for a year — before, during and after its writing. Jon Lee Anderson, the New Yorker’s international investigative reporter, who wrote a popular biography of Che Guevara, and who knew Fidel in the day, wrote the introduction for us. I’m also grateful to the talented art critic Heather Joyner for editing my manuscript.
The Non-Toxic CEO, Protecting Your People, Planet, and Profits Through Better Chemical Management (2003) — I ghost wrote this instructive business book with Mark Wysong (a great guy), who was at the time the CEO of a forward-looking company called Dolphin Software. The book outlines how major companies can reduce their toxic footprint. It’s important information. More than three million U.S. companies report to the government on the toxic chemicals they use in their business. The book was one more (well documented, and how-to) plea of greening major corporations. I also wrote and executive produced a documentary film that was related: Non-Toxic Business, also working with Mark/Dolphin, and such experts as Dr. Paul Anastas, the head of the Green Chemistry Department at Yale University.
Temple Beth Israel, A Temple for the Ages (1858 – 2002) (2002) — I wrote this book with the Rabbi Emanuel Rose. It chronicles both the lives of Jews in Portland, Oregon in the years in the books’ title, and the temples (including Beth Israel) in which they worshiped. It’s a lovely book, with great photography by Michael Mathers, Henry Knowski, and Edmund Keene. Principia Graphica and Wes Wait did a wonderful job with the layout, as well. The book was printed in five colors (with silver, actual being one of them).
I’ve written five plays that have been produced around the country, here are some of my favorites:
Fort Byron — Produced in Portland, Oregon in the 1990s, Fort Byron is about a disturbed young man who is trying to become a house plant. He walls himself up, literally, in his bedroom on the night of his 30th birthday, when his father (the world’s richest man) and mother (an ex-rodeo rider) come bearing gifts, accompanied by Byron’s business-minded girlfriend, and the parents’ trigger happy, ex-CIA bodyguard. In other words, it’s an auto-biographical play. It enjoyed a long run at Portland’ Stark Raving Theatre, and was nominated for the Oregon Book Award. I particularly enjoyed getting nominated for the award since they sent me enough money to get a nice stereo system at the time, and the food was great at the awards ceremony. Myra Donnelley did a great job of directing, as did all the actors, including my old friend Ritah Parrish.
Postcards — This was my first produced play, done at Wendy Leigh’s Loft Theatre, in Tampa, Florida. Val Day did a great job of directing. The play contains eight short plays (mostly monologues) on as many different subjects, from comedy, to drama. It received a great review from the St. Petersburg Times, which meant a lot to me at the time, since it was one of my favorite U.S. newspapers. The play was revived in Portland, Oregon under the name Palm Readings. That was produced by the remarkable Steve Patterson (a very talented playwright in his own right), as part of his Pavement Productions.
Topless Eggshell Thin Aluminum Body — This was a one-man short, about James Dean. It was produced in Portland by Steve Patterson’s Pavement Productions. I still have fond memories of this one. I believe it was produced at Theatre Theatre, on Belmont.