About

As an historian, I write about sexual politics, the law, gender, culture, and heterornormativity, particularly through the lens of obscenity and pornography. My first book, Perversion for Profit: The Politics of Pornography and the Rise of the New Right, came out from Columbia University Press a few years ago. My second, Obscenity Rules: Roth v. United States and the Long Struggle over Sexual Expression, arrived in September 2013 from the University Press of Kansas. I am mostly too lazy to blog rigorously about matters academic; cinematic depictions of Newark seem to be where things here tend, but I try to keep it updated in regard to more formal things I’ve written or occasionally cool archival documents I find.

Titling one’s blog after oneself is surely the height of pomposity, unless one’s profile in the world can bear such weight. And no Jack Balkin or Eugene Volokh am I. But what I have that those esteemed professors lack is simple: a name that ends with a B. Resistance is futile when it rolls off the tongue so smoothly. So strublog it is. Also, I didn’t have any better ideas when push came to shoving the enter key.

On my slightly cheesy Amazon profile, I claim to spend a lot of time taking pictures of my cats. It is a true claim, I assure you, but I’ll try not to get carried away with it here. They are pretty cute though, let the record show:

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Drop a line: wstrub at gmail dot com

Recent Posts

Newark’s Worst: Scraping the Bottom of the Local Film Barrel

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In blogging about films shot in Newark for nearly four years now, I’ve expounded at great length about the various pleasures of zero-budget filmmaking; sure, Kubrick and Hitchcock and Lumet shot here, but for me the real hidden treasures of Newark cinema are The Ironbound Vampire, Bride of Frank, and scrappy homegrown b-movie auteurs like Vaughn Christion and Bobby Guions. These are the works that best engage with Newark as Newark, and make inventive use of its spaces and ambiance.

But for all my Zero-Budget Newark boosterism, even I must occasionally concede failure at locating redeeming aspects in some of these flicks. Such as the following. I hate to kick a low-budget local film, because even a short YouTube video takes time and effort, and at some level I more or less respect anyone who makes any film (and isn’t also a Republican; in that case, it’s contempt all the way down, sorry; see below).

Here are my picks for Newark’s three worst. I’ve tried to find the redeeming qualities even here, though it got progressively tougher as I moved down the list. I ain’t sayin’ this is a great blog post, but I can confidently promise you this: reading about these films is more rewarding than watching them. You’ve been warned.  Continue reading

  1. Newark under Surveillance: Highlights of the COINTELPRO files, and Confessions of an Undercover Cop (1988) Leave a reply
  2. Newark Deserves a City Symphony: New Work: Newark in 3D (2009) Leave a reply
  3. Blogging against Trump Leave a reply
  4. Newark’s Greatest Film at Fifty: Troublemakers (1966) 1 Reply
  5. Juice in Newark: O.J.-Made in America (2016) and the Hertz ad campaign (1975) Leave a reply
  6. The Sticky Floors of History at the Little Theater (Pornography in Newark, Part 4) 1 Reply
  7. Sidney Lumet’s Newark Pitstop: Find Me Guilty (2006) Leave a reply
  8. Curt McDowell, with Love and Leather 3 Replies
  9. Archive Fever: New Jersey Lesbian Cat Poetry of the 1970s (and a brief election rant) 1 Reply