Quartzsite owner runs his store with very little cover.
Story by Stephanie Sanchez, Reporter - bio | email
Quartzsite--They say you can tell a book by its cover but wait till you meet a bookstore owner who runs his store with very little cover.
Reader's Oasis Bookstore is quite popular with folks in Quartzsite for over 20 years because of its great variety of books but maybe because of its unique owner.
Paul Winer is known as the naked man at the Reader's Oasis Bookstore in the small town of Quartzsite.
A town where nearly 4,000 people live but receives nearly 2 million visitors yearly.
Those who make a pit stop to grab some reading material are either unfazed by the owner's nudity or a little shocked.
"I was curious to see how soon it would be for the cops to be here," Dave McVicker said.
"I didn't think anything....probably eccentric," Rick Pavlicek said.
His store resembles a museum of nostalgia, with thousands of different titles sprawled out in different rooms.
Winer said before retiring as the 'naked bookstore salesman", he was known as the "naked pianist" who traveled all over the nation and performed under the name of "Sweet Pie" since the late 60's.
The 68-year old said he's been nude for his whole life.
"My skin was hypersensitive and everything I put on I can feel all day, its like being in a costume, you so aware of it," Winer said. "Oh it looks funny as if it's a clown suit or something and you tend to animate the clothing."
Winer said throughout his career he has performed for more than 1.5 million people.
His shows were a combination of comedy, profanity, race, religion and politics. He said it got him arrested dozens of times.
"I got arrested mostly because of my nudity. They just assumed this was indecent exposure, this had to be an obscene act and so forth and so forth," Winer said. "I won 68 court cases."
With the help of American Civil Liberties Union, he was able to continue his career till the 90's and retired.
In 2010, he came out of retirement to play a 1970's reunion concert in Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts where three generations of people waited for him.
"That's when I realized that the value of my entire career, wasn't that it was a funny night out but that it was a funny night that became a lifetime memory for these people," he said.
Now when winter rolls around, Winer puts on a "Boogie Woogie and Blues" shows in Quartzsite for its winter visitors...but G-rated of course.
"I decided that's what I'm going to do, be a piano thumper all my life," Winer said. "I'll die on stage doing it."
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