-- From The Village Voice, Tristan Taormino
In 9 ½ Years Behind the Green Door, readers are taken back to 1980s San Francisco and into the world of Simone Corday, a stripper working during the heyday of the infamous Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theater. Opened as an X-rated movie theater by brothers Jim and Artie Mitchell, the O'Farrell was and remains one of America's oldest, most notorious adult-entertainment establishments. This nightspot was the major force behind the normalization of lap dancing in strip clubs nationwide. Corday's memoir is a lengthy peek at the lives of the theater's management and employees, most notably her lover of ten years, Artie Mitchell.
Cool recollections of porn star Marilyn Chambers and an early Missy (the star of Behind the Green Door, the Sequel) feel much like the blase recital of the latest Katie Holmes sighting from your favorite jaded New York friend--gossipy and entertaining for their ordinary, unpolished delivery.
9 ½ Years Behind the Green Door falls into the long and illustrious tradition of stripper memoirs. Just as much of the great Gypsy Rose Lee's writing was centered on her mother, Rose, Behind the Green Door's heart is Artie Mitchell. That said, the detailed descriptions of Corday's novelty acts will entertain and nourish those interested in strip performance, just as the intimate tidbits about the production of several of the brothers' films will intrigue the porn history enthusiast. Finally, current and former strippers will find the nuances of the strip club and the interactions among dancers to be interesting, warm, and familiar. Overall, while 9 1/2 Years Behind the Green Door probably won't leave the reader sharing Corday's interest for Artie, it certainly will leave them with a deep respect for what a tough badge of honor being an O'Farrell girl in the 80s truly was.
-- From Spread Magazine, Shakti Ziller
If there's such a thing as a typical stripper, Simone Corday wasn't one. When she first went to work at the Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theater in 1981, she was in her 30s with a master's degree in English from UC Berkeley. By the time she left that world behind, a decade later, she had become a longtime lover of Art Mitchell, who was shot and killed by his brother Jim in 1991.
Corday writes near the beginning of her book that she doesn't regret being part of a sexually uninhibited place at a sexually uninhibited time. "Of course, it is unrealistic to claim that women never experience inequities and abuses when they experiment with sex. Sometimes, even I did. . . . I live in a different century and place now, but to say I regret my experience during this turbulent time would be false to who I am, and to the spirit of this book."
So, what, exactly did go down at that Tenderloin establishment in the `80's? Not much suitable for a family newspaper. Orgies, drugs, politicians and, of course, Hunter S. Thompson play roles in Corday's story, although no figure looms larger than Art Mitchell. While he was an inexcusable jerk, Corday says she couldn't help loving him. She is still incensed at the sentence the now-deceased Jim Mitchell got after his manslaughter, not murder conviction.
There are many times in the book when one would like to shake some sense into Corday regarding Art Mitchell's behavior. But in recounting that tumultuous time, she doesn't aim to impart many lessons. "I'm a bit of an outlaw. I got to live through a very exciting time," she says, and it gave me tremendous material."
-- From the San Francisco Chronicle, Rehan Harmanci
Diablo Cody may be the ex-stripper-turned-writer It Girl of the moment, but Simone Corday is our local version: a former dancer at the O'Farrell Theater (with a master's in English) and the sometime girlfriend of Artie Mitchell, the club's flamboyant co-owner. Her self-published memoir is unpolished at times, although the prosaic rough patches, coupled with Corday's deadpan insouciance while relating sensational details of the sex industry, add to its authenticity. In addition to its main tragic element--not Mitchell's infamous 1991 murder at the hands of his brother, Jim, but Corday's unwavering love for Mitchell, despite his being a philandering, substance-abusing, all-around asshole--the book offers a wealth of lurid and surreal anecdotes. Shame over wearing a gorilla mask during a threesome? Apprehension about having sex with a dwarf? Check and check; Corday covers it all. Surprisingly, the cameo appearances by Hunter S. Thompson (at one point the club's "night manager") prove disappointingly tame. In what other setting could Thompson turn out to be the most levelheaded character? (Mill City Press)
-- From San Francisco Magazine, Henry Jones
"You've probably imagined her in your Hunter S. Thompson dreams: a sexy, unpredictable, brainy absurdist able to keep up with the drug-fueled antics of pornographers while also maintaining a serene humanity. Simone Corday is this woman. In her memoir, 9 1/2 Years Behind the Green Door, she describes life with the infamous Mitchell brothers when she danced and caroused at their peepshow theater in the 1980s. In the book, which is largely dedicated to describing her relationship with lover Artie Mitchell, she's often naked or making regular visitor Thompson giggle by chasing men around the strip joint in a gorilla suit. She also pontificates hilariously on hypocritical moralists and the pain they feel because of the success of the theater and those famous films. At a recent reading, her complete lack of bitterness, heartbreak, or regret were evident, and her genuine love of San Francisco, sex, and honesty made the stories even funnier. In the end, she writes on her Web site, "I bought the ticket, and it was a spectacular ride."
--Hiya Swanhuyser,, San Francisco Weekly
“Hunter S. Thompson a friend of the Mitchell brothers drifts in and out of this story. Reading it I can imagine him bounding around with his usual bow-legged gait, doing what he did best - plamasing everyone in sight, looking like he owned the place. He was at O'Farrell to do research for a Playboy article (which was never published.) He was dubbed "Night Manager" A title I`m sure he relished. He loved being around people, he loved to enjoy himself with the help of whatever substance happened to be around, and where better than O'Farrell Theatre. . . Even though Hunter's presence in the story is a selling point, that doesn't mean the book can't stand alone without him. It's a fascinating and sometimes disturbing account of a unique partnership ending in devastating circumstances, with little justice.”
--Martin Flynn, Editor Hunter S. Thompson Books, hstbooks.org
They are drawn by the beautiful strippers and the backroom hospitality of their outrageous porn king hosts, Artie and Jim Mitchell-who directed the groundbreaking porn film, Behind the Green Door, starring Marilyn Chambers.
Simone Corday, who danced at the O'Farrell and was a girlfriend of the late Artie Mitchell for nearly a decade, shares her unique story and her insights. She is the only woman insider to write about this insular but captivating world during this period, when she was close to the impulsive Mitchells, and a friend of the O'Farrell's honorary Night Manager, Hunter Thompson.
Corday's unusual background of having an MA in English, along with her honesty, irreverent sense of humor, and keen focus as an observer, make this a delicious expose. Corday gives a vivid account of three Mitchell Brothers films she took part in. They include the disastrous Behind the Green Door, The Sequel, a grandiose safe-sex epic with characters from Greek mythology, and their documentary on Hunter Thompson, titled The Crazy Never Die. She shares memories of her unconventional, passionate relationship with "Party Artie" Mitchell. His affectionate personal and domestic side, along with his love for his children, are remembered fondly. His taste for cocaine and advancing alcoholism-that led him to disappear on binges with a succession of young dancers-is also recaptured, as well as his volatile temper, his impish sense of fun, and his charismatic, macho persona.
Corday sheds light on Jim Mitchell's motives for shooting Art to death, and on the murder trial that follows. She reflects on her experience in the sex industry, and on her relationship with a notorious club owner. From the fun she had performing in the O'Farrell's spotlight as the theater's nemesis, then-San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein, to her heartbreaking visit to Artie's grave a few short years later, this is a sensational ride. To learn more about the book or contact the author, please visit the author's website http://www.greendoorbook.com