PRAISE FOR VINTAGE CONFIDENTIAL
From the author of Selling Dead People’s Things comes this collection of 30 irreverent, campy, tongue-in-cheek tales about vintage sales, house calls, cleanouts, and estate sales gone awry. Cerny is the co-owner of Chicago’s Broadway Antique Market and is also described as a “reluctant poet.” Press material for this book says it was “inspired by the gossipy, tell-all tabloids of the 1950’s” and this is no exaggeration. Cerny writes in hilarious, breathless prose about the trials and tribulations of trying to score in the antiques and vintage world.
— MAINE ANTIQUE DIGEST (View Review)
What is this book about? It ranges from screamingly funny—witty, sassy, deliciously snarky to wildly bewildering to God, I just love spending time with Duane Scott Cerny! And contrarily, “Retail Loses Wag; Resale Finds Swag” is a wonderfully observed essay—worthy of publication in the New Yorker—a serious assessment of retail and resale. The fact that it didn’t make me laugh didn’t dampen my interest. Go figure! I don’t give a fuck about Marge and Jack or Evelyn and George, but I LOVE when Duane is in the story . . . I want to hang around him because I love his sense of humor and his way with words. I want to see things through his eyes. He makes me laugh like a crazy person! Broadly, this is a book about resale, Vintageland, but then again, some of the funniest stories don’t have anything to do with that. (FYI: I loved the episode about his stint as the president of his co-op board.) I don’t know what trip I’ve been on, but I’m always on his side!
—GRETCHEN CRYER, playwright/actor/writing coach
Selling Dead People’s Things is a classic book and one of a kind. If you’ve read it, you wanted to read more. Now Duane Scott Cerny delivers . . . Vintage Confidential is extra crispy, offering new excursions into the inevitable world of What They Left Behind but also more about this unique, witty, never-say-die (until they’ve amassed enough good stuff) entrepreneur. At times laugh-out-loud funny, other times quietly touching, it has everything—from lint, limoncello, and Lucite to Phyllis Diller, Mr. Peanut, and the Lost in Space game I’d somehow never heard of. This book is universally relevant, for, as Duane is famous for saying, everyone’s an estate sale waiting to happen!
—BOZE HADLEIGH, author of Scandals, Secrets, and Swan Songs and Elvis Forever
Rosebud. That material thing, forgotten, or neglected, or tossed into the junk heap, but is, in fact, the concretization of the ineffable forgotten thing, the thing most tender. The ever-irrepressible Duane Scott Cerny in his marvelous new book, Vintage Confidential, takes us on a kaleidoscopic ride, telling juicy stories of vintage from A–Z, with detours and wicked flights of fancy. Entertaining for sure, Cerny then gives a sophisticated analysis of the how and why of the vibrancy of the vintage/resale market as retail suffers a decline. Vintage speaks to us. For me, this book at its heart is the eternal loss and gain of human enterprise. Follow the love stories: Jane (and Duane) and the monkeys, and Evelyn’s opening salvo to George regarding his jacket: “Buffalo plaid?”
—BRENDA CURRIN, actor/educator
An important connection revealed itself between this reviewer and Duane Scott Cerny, author of Vintage Confidential. The TITANIC. No, not the ship but the greatest board game ever made. How could I put a book down by someone whose deepest desire also includes winning the Titanic board game? The bonus here is following the author on a deeply personal level while he finds his way in this wacky treasure hunt. This book is for everyone who wants to find their own niche, their own way, and thinks it can’t be done. It can. It’s never just about the “stuff.” The people, stories, emotions, and memories are what make Vintage Confidential a most absorbing, if not compelling, read.
—MELISSA SANDS, dealer/promoter, Vintage Garage Chicago
From basement to penthouse, Lucite to Bakelite, this read is one heck of a ride! Through hoarders, schnorrers, dreamers, and schemers, Duane Scott Cerny takes his reader on an exhilarating expedition through territory heretofore unconsidered, let alone explored. It’s a zany, poignant, and unforgettable glimpse of trash, treasure, fantasy, and reality. The author’s mind is as eclectic and eccentric as his subject matter, and he shares both with generous abandon.
—JULIE GOLD, Grammy Award–winning songwriter
Anyone who loves David Sedaris will want to take this HILARIOUS yet extremely personal and heart-touching ride with reluctant poet and comic memoirist Duane Scott Cerny. There are so many fascinating too-good-tobe-true stories to share within these pages: you’ll travel through the bedrooms, garages, and erotic escapades of eccentric collectors and their descendants, with vivid descriptions of interiors worthy of Architectural Digest in some cases and Hoarders Weekly in others. This was a pure joy to read; the writing is so original and quippy. I was blown away by the author’s previous book, Selling Dead People’s Things, but I love Vintage Confidential even more and look forward to reading any and all future stories told by this delightful literary talent.
—SALLY SCHWARTZ, Randolph Street Market
Vintage Confidential takes a colorful, speedy whirl through dozens of offbeat stories, essays, and musings that spring from the seasoned mind of the author of Selling Dead People’s Things—weird real-life images cobbled from decades of perusing the claptrap that presents itself to those who buy up the remains of those who no longer remain. Characters appear: Phyllis Diller, Chicago milliner Raymond Hudd, an unmarried and unnamed couple who design a high-rise private sex den for in-town assignations, Mr. Peanut, Warhol’s superstar Paul America, and gender-bending silent film star Julian Eltinge, along with Magnolia Bakery cupcakes and Marie Kondo. Truly a wild ride, all in rat-a-tat prose. The author delivers rapid-fire turns of phrases that can only be described as life seen through the lens of sotto voce, and the reader is taken, like a metal ball slam dancing inside a pinball machine, through poignant personal essays about childhood and the bizarre characters met along the way in showing up to buy (and then sell) the detritus of the lives of others. Far-out fantasy interactions with unlikely characters (such as Donald Trump) help form a crazy quilt of stories that together tell a story of life in the fast lane of the vintage dealer.
—CHIP CORDELLI, Vintage Treasure Snack
In Vintage Confidential, best-selling author Duane Scott Cerny takes readers on an enjoyable, eclectic, episodic ride from mid-century modern to Grandmillennial style, in shades of understated gray scale and vibrant Technicolor. Throughout, Cerny serves a delicious slice of Americana pie with a little kitsch, a little pop culture, a little melancholy, and a lot of life mixed in.
—BRAD FORENZA, podcast series creator of Around the Sun
On the heels of his highly lauded memoir, Selling Dead People’s Things, Duane Scott Cerny has upped the ante with his latest offering, Vintage Confidential. Imagine if John Waters and O. Henry somehow birthed this untamed child, creating a banquet of witty, funny, and mischievous stories, some endearing and others that will have you laughing so hard you might pee your pants. This collection of essays and tales about everyday people and personalities celebrates the more kooky and eccentric side of being human, flush with all its peculiarities. I truly recommend reading Vintage Confidential for its variety of vignettes that together make for a real showstopper.
—MARK CONTORNO, composer