The Rush. Turmoil. Chaos.
The Rush.

When young Joe Montaperto, desperately seeking to rise above the dreary negativity of his downtrodden New Jersey town, journeys to the gritty, but vibrant New York City of the early 1980’s – the chaos - and opportunity begin. Enrolling in a prestigious Russian drama school, he is determined to become the next great Stanislavski-trained stage actor – but when it doesn’t pan out, he is crushed.

Hitting the streets dazed and groping for answers, he scores a gig as a nut vendor at a grimy Hell’s Kitchen location. He strikes up a friendship with Vassant, an elderly, brilliant, but drunken Indian scholar, who introduces him to The Upanishads, the ancient texts of Eastern spirituality. Joe soon becomes completely obsessed. When Vassant dies unexpectedly, Joe vows to continue his search for a ‘Master’, finding work at a city ashram, where he commits himself to rigorous spiritual practices.

While deep in meditation one day, he is rocked by an epiphany – he may never attain enlightenment in this lifetime – no matter what he does! Shaken by this realization, he dives headlong into what he considers his true calling – stand-up comedy.

Rising up the comedy ranks, he parties and performs with the likes of Jon Stewart, Dave Attell, and John Leguizamo, quickly embracing the debaucherous nightlife scene. A regular at Rudy’s, a seedy Hell’s Kitchen bar, he gets caught up in the rush that ensues, needing evermore to maintain it. He begins reveling in the violent confrontations of the late night crack-infested streets. Still not enough. Hooking up with the sultry Vanessa, a Puerto Rican transgender ex-streetwalker, Joe’s life is thrown into turmoil and conflict, until a chance viewing of the movie, My Dinner With Andre, blows him away. Fascinated by the philosophy and ideas, he decides he must flee the city, abandon everything he knows, and pursue a life of travel and spiritual adventure.

Lovely Chaos

Lovely Chaos

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This book surprised me! I wasn’t sure what to expect, since I was stepping out of my comfort zone for the types of books I usually read, but Joe really hits it out of the park! This comedian take on an acting student-turned comedian’s life really hit me in all the right places! Joe is trying to figure out what to do with his life, and then one day he takes a Comedy class. Throughout this journey, Joe experiences all the 80’s tropes (parties, girls, drugs, etc.) but somehow this book feels real! Joe’s style of writing feels real. The realistic descriptions are insanely vivid and make you feel you are right alongside our narrator. The story also feels like Joe is literally talking to me, telling me his exciting tale. This raw style works really well within the story and is the reason I held onto this book for so long. Add in the hilarity of Joe explaining Chi-Chi Gonzalez and Doobs, and you’ve got one epic book! This is by no means a boring story. It will keep you addicted at every turn. It has the pull of a fantastical, fictional tale, yet it makes you feel like you know Joe. Seriously, I loved that personal touch Joe was able to get across to the reader. The best line in the whole book is definitely -“Thou shalt not be a cornball”, and I felt that literally summed up the memoir for me. The comedic, yet truthful take on a man trying to figure out what to do with his life worked oh so well!

If there are any cons to the book, it’s that the story jumps around a little bit. At times, I wasn’t sure how far apart in the timeline the chapters were, and it felt like there were parts of the narrative missing. Additionally, if you are a reader who doesn’t like this particular style (personal yet comedic), then this book might not sit well with you. I feel like this book is almost in it’s a little niche corner, which might turn some readers away. That being said, I really enjoyed this book! It was a fresh new take and is definitely a change from my normal reads. Joe Montaperto is an excellent author and I’d love to see more from him in the future.

Oh, and I definitely recommend this book!
— Brianna, Briar's Reviews

Just finished reading “Lovely Chaos” by Joe Montaperto. What an excellent read! Very relatable to those who grew up in the grungy streets of New York. Making the grittiness seem almost comical in many instances. The days of carrying a boombox on your shoulder and blaring obscene rock and roll is a great past time. Definitely recommend this book to anyone that’s looking for an excellent outlook on life in the 80’s NY style.
— Chris Otto

Joe is an excellent writer! His autobiographies ‘The Edge of Whiteness’ and ‘Lovely Chaos’ are page turners, I couldn’t put them down. His adventures in New York are unbelievable, you cannot stop reading. My imagination was active picturing the scenes he was writing about, bringing the characters alive in my mind! Again it is hard to believe he survived everything he writes about! Buy your copies today!!
— James Colgan, Actor

Some of the best New York stories I’ve ever read, anywhere. If you’re young, and you wonder what the city was like before all the gentrification, before the Disneyfication of 42nd Street, here it is in all its raunchy glory. But the stories reflect something deeper as well. Perhaps you could call it the soul of New York and the classic experience of finding one’s way in the city of endless options.
— Rob McCaskill, Acting Coach, Robert McCaskill Studios

Montaperto’s accounts as a young man on a quest for purpose, spirituality, love and laughter is nothing short of brilliant! Set amongst the crack riddled streets of New York City in the 1980’s he takes the reader along with him on a rollercoaster of chance encounters, memorable characters, comedic icons and near death experiences. Then amongst the mayhem, a message appears. Lovely Chaos is a lovely read indeed.
— Peter Schuberth, Web Designer

Joe Montaperto’s Lovely Chaos is vivid look of New York City during the 80’s through the eyes of a young artist. Great read, with interesting characters.
— Zane Stackhouse, Actor

Let’s journey back to the wild and wooly 1980’s when the Big Apple NYC gets turned into a head bashing tv comedy romp in Joe Montaperto’s latest memoir Lovely Chaos, a battle ground between reluctant motivation and fully embraced leisure, with, as anyone who knows Joe could predict, the latter winning. But hey, when pigs eat your nuts the day before xmas what’s a would be black Muslim living on the edge of whiteness to do but dedicate his life to finding nirvana in the form of Puerto Rican transexuals, Diana Ross wilding concerts, and a night out with the brothers to sex club Plato’s Retreat, tho nothing platonic going on there, and considering Plato hated women the stage is set for all manner of debauchery and mayhem Montaperto style. Are you interested in meeting actress Nastassja Kinski at the health food store Joe works at, wondering does he kidnap her the way Gandhi actor Ben Kingsley did as the rich sheik in the film Harem, or is Joe too poor to win such a beauty prize, well, when you consider her father Klaus was a madman maybe the answer isn’t readily discernible, for Joe is no pushover but an ex- prize fighting raging bull with a mean left hook. Did he kill that thug on the subway or was it all part of his training in the Stanislavski method of acting? Did his desire for his own personal harem inspire him to find work in Boomingdale’s Dept. store restaurant, or try out for a part on the hit TV show Fame, or take up a life of integral yoga or perform in comedy clubs in search of the elusive standing ovation. Well, hit or miss Joe does enjoy a summer afternoon sitting on the boardwalk at Brighton Beach laughing at Russians, not that it’s mean-spirited, he can’t help himself, keeping a healthy sense of humor intact is a necessary means of survival as anyone who’s spent a good deal of time in NYC knows. Folks say Joe reminds them of comic Billy Crystal but I think Crystal pales in comparison, I’d rather spend a day with Joe, the laughs are guaranteed, the beer is cold, and he has the heart of a saint. Isn’t that the way the saying goes, you never know when you’ve run into an angel, he’s the bum singing opera in Central Park you never forget, the Good Samaritan who appears out of the blue to push you clear of a speeding car, and he’s a guy with a laugh and smile as big as forever. So the next time you’re wondering which book to take to the beach or bed, grab Lovely Chaos and meet your new best friend, and keep track of the end, for once you get addicted to Joe’s witty banter there’s a sequel in the works you won’t be able to live without. Isn’t it nice to have something in life to look forward to? Joe wouldn’t have it any other way.
— Johnny Sauve, Writer

In his first book, Joe Montaperto took us deep into the psyche of a teenager with two forms of identity crises – first, a boy trying to transition into adulthood, and second, a walking a fine line between the various races of his Roselle, New Jersey town, passing himself off, often successfully, at alternate times as a member of different ethnic groups. Now, with his second effort, Lovely Chaos, Montaperto again takes us into the inner workings of his mind, this time as a young twenty-something trying to make a career as an actor and stand-up comedian. Like his first book, Lovely Chaos is written in the first person, and we are completely transported into the raw, uncut, and, yes, chaotic mind of the author.

Living an almost Zelig-like existence, Montaperto details multiple brushes with celebrities and situations which others can only imagine. Not many people can claim to have been by the Dakota the night John Lennon was shot, recount a random meeting with Nastassia Kinski, and discuss performing with both Jon Stewart and Martin Lawrence; but Montaperto can, and does. He does so with the same grittiness as his first book, an endearing quality that makes the reader want to sit down and have a cup of coffee with him, to further probe his mind and the multiple trains of thought that run throughout this book. The stories keep coming, and often take twists and turns that alternately surprise and frustrate the reader – because once you think you have Montaperto figured out, you realize that, much like his posse of characters, you cannot pin him down – or completely know the “true” Joe Montaperto.

Maybe he will have himself figured out by the third book. Until then, he is going to keep us guessing. The tale of Montaperto’s journey, as detailed in Lovely Chaos, is a rollercoaster ride of emotions, and is a trip well worth taking.
— Andrew Wolfenson, Author, Bloggin’ Baseball and In Her Defense