Golden Shower of Advice

Dan Savage will be happy to field your kinky queries this Monday at Left Bank

Dan Savage loves us -- Midwesterners, that is, and not just because his Chicago upbringing makes him one of us by birth. The renowned love adviser, editor of Seattle's alt-pub The Stranger and author of three books thinks some of his best live audiences are found in Middle America. How fortuitous, then, that the "Savage Love" scribe will be appearing at Left Bank Books (399 North Euclid Avenue, free admission) at 7 p.m. Monday, October 13, to answer questions and read from his newest work, Skipping Towards Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America.

"I think I have a really Midwestern aesthetic," Savage says. "All the really good advice columnists are from the Midwest -- Dear Abby and Ann Landers were from there. Midwesterners have a really direct, no-bullshit ability to say what's on their minds and not hold a grudge when others do the same. Maybe it's something about the winters and the floods there that makes things like people's opinions seem pretty minor."

With Skipping Towards Gomorrah, Savage makes his most prominent political stand, and his bullshit meter hits the red zone. After voicing his displeasure with right-wing morality crusades in his advice column and his second book, The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant: An Adoption Story, Savage comes out swinging against "cultural conservatives who maintain that you're either sober or you're a heroin addict, and there's nothing in between.

"We exist in between sin and virtue," Savage continues. "Most of the people I know who are engaging in vices do so with a great deal of restraint and moderation. But you never hear anything about the vast millions who just use drugs and other indulgences recreationally. It's not like we all move on to heroin in a year's time, and we're obviously not a country full of wasted stoners with no lives or careers. Yet all you ever hear is, 'Oh my God, put down the Ecstasy or you're gonna die.'"

The book's title plays off former Supreme Court Justice nominee Robert Bork's tome Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline, one of a handful of conservative volumes Savage read a few summers ago ("I'm a masochist," Savage explains) that prompted him to pen his 320-page retort. "I felt like we'd been scolded by people like William Bennett and Bill O'Reilly for about a decade now," says Savage, "and I just wanted to pee on them."

Speaking of peeing on people, Savage is still happy to field kinky sex queries during his live Q&A sessions -- even though, he admits half-jokingly, "Not everyone has the temerity to stand up in front of a crowd and ask questions about their own sex lives, and those that do are usually the last ones whose sex lives you want to know about." But shy folks needn't shy away from Savage. "Anyone who's too embarrassed to ask something out loud should write their question down and hand it to someone working the reading," he says. "I'll make sure they get to me."

 
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