Every city-dweller has seen them, ever city-dweller could list the telltale signs: the fur, the gold, the hats, the cars. They are the original macks, the original players. They are Big City pimps—the heroes of gangsta rap. Bob Adelman and Susan Hall dive headlong into their world in the classic investigative docudrama Gentleman of Leisure: A Year in the Life of a Pimp, an in-depth exploration of the underworld figures that populate our streets at night.
The first book of its kind, Gentleman of Leisure, originally published in 1972 and now reproduced in a facsimile edition, is a collection of photographs and interviews dramatically documenting the private life of a pimp and his prostitutes. The people who appear in this book are not models: they are real people with real lives. Only their names have been changed to protect the guilty, their stories are real. Armed only with a camera and a tape recorder, Adelman and Hall entered the lives of the pimp Silky and his women. What they found flew in the face of prevailing prejudices; stripped of stereotype and myth, the pimps and whores that shared their tales were complex people embroiled in romantic dramas, with a code of behavior as intricate as the Mafia's, and a defined sense of self.
This stunning expose of Silky and his ladies, Lois, Linda, Kitty, Tracey, and Sandy, explains the passionate bond between a pimp and his "ho's"; why shrewd, street-smart working girls find glamour in their lives and choose to give all their money to their pimp; and why they stay with him through incarcerations, despite their jealousies, the burden of their work, and occasional beatings. You learn how a square girl is "turned out" to be a ho and a pimp's "wife." You visit the pimp's tailor and see the source of his fly applejack hats and his mink coats—the tools of his game. You spend evenings at family parties: one man and his many wives. You learn from his wives how this pimp commands such passionate devotion, and arouses jealousy and rebellion in the girls. He explains his game. This is a true story. The secret, intimate, and private world of a pimp and his whores is revealed, cinema veritas-style, in Gentleman of Leisure.
Publication Date: 2006
Signed by the artist
Available from the gallery for $55