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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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