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Chicken: A 1-Ho Show 

A boy prostitute and the Beverly Hills ladies who love him

Wednesday, Feb 12 2003
We've all heard the story of a nice middle-class girl who works as a stripper or a prostitute to get through college, but what about the apple-cheeked, middle-class boy? David Henry Sterry worked as a Hollywood gigolo in the early '70s after arriving at the Immaculate Heart College with $27 in his pocket and no place to live. ("What do you mean you don't have dorms?" he asks the registering nun. His parents are oddly cash-strapped and stingy.) Sterry published a book last year about his experiences, called Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent, and this show improves on it, if only because Sterry puts so much life and energy into his onstage voices. A "chicken" is a boy prostitute. The first thing the young Sterry does on the streets of L.A. is get raped -- I mean, before he even becomes a prostitute -- and shortly afterward a fey, Southern-voiced black man recruits him to have sex with well-to-do ladies in Beverly Hills. This work Sterry enjoys, but he refuses to deal with gay customers, which in a chicken's line of work is hard to avoid. The consequences are ugly, and Sterry tells a sad and harrowing story with humor, energy, and a sharp eye for the sort of characters an "industrial sex technician" might meet in the weird aftermath of the '60s.


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