Jamie Brickhouse

Critically-acclaimed memoirist & champion storyteller; speaker on alcoholism, suicide prevention, Lewy body dementia, memoir

“Jamie Brickhouse has lived an amazing life—in and out of publishing—and he provides audiences with a vivid and insightful talk that will be sure to provoke and inspire.”

—Shaye Areheart, Director of the Columbia Publishing Course

A born raconteur, acclaimed memoirist and champion storyteller Jamie Brickhouse’s talks are moving, prescriptive, and loaded with humor. They are based on his lived experience as a proud gay, alcoholic-in-recovery, HIV-positive, two-time SAS (suicide attempt survivor), writer and former publishing executive, who lost his mother, Mama Jean, to Lewy body dementia. Pick an issue. He can cover it. His essay in the Science section of the New York Times about overcoming the shame of a suicide attempt received an outpouring of responses from other SASs, suicide survivors, and recovering alcoholics. As a keynote speaker, Brickhouse covers a range of topics from alcoholism / addiction / recovery, suicide prevention and survival, the art and craft of memoir writing, overcoming HIV stigma, dementia (specifically Lewy body dementia), storytelling (as performer and instructor), book marketing and publicity, and GLBTQ issues.  He has spoken and/or taught at the New York State Suicide Prevention Conference, Alzheimer’s Association (NYC Chapter), Columbia Publishing Course, BookCon/BookExpo, San Miguel Writers’ Conference, HippoCamp: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction, Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference, the Northern California Writers’ StoryTellers Conference & Expo, Atlanta Writers’ Club, and at writing festivals, literary arts groups, and book clubs across the country.

Jamie Brickhouse is the critically-acclaimed author of Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir of Booze Sex and My Mother (St. Martin’s Press), which is “Required Reading” in Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir, an Amazon “Best Book of May 2015,” a Book Chase “2015 Nonfiction Top 10,” and received stellar reviews from publications such as Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly, Interview, and The Washington Post. He has been published in The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Salon, Out, Amtrak’s Arrive, and he is a guest blogger for the Huffington Post and POZ. He has appeared on the national radio shows “The Michelangelo Signorile Show,” “The Marilu Henner Show,” “The Mother Love Show,” Pacifica Radio’s (KPFA San Francisco) “Book Waves on Cover to Cover with Richard Wolinsky,” and Northeast Public Radio’s “Roundtable.”

A comedic storyteller, Jamie Brickhouse is a three-time StorySLAM champion of The Moth, the acclaimed, not-for-profit worldwide organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling and performs a solo show based on his memoir. He is also a Literary Death Match champion, has performed stand-up comedy and recorded voice-overs for the legendary cartoon TV show Beavis and Butthead, and has performed at countless storytelling shows including Kevin Allison’s acclaimed Risk!

Jamie Brickhouse spent over two decades in the publishing industry, most recently at two major houses as head of their publicity and lecture divisions. He is founder and CEO of redBrick Agency, a lecture bureau for authors. A native of Beaumont, Texas, he is a graduate of Trinity University (San Antonio) and the Radcliffe Publishing Course (now the Columbia Publishing Course). Brickhouse lives in New York City with his common-law husband Michael. He is at work on his next book, I Favor My Daddy, a memoir about his father Earl.

Praise for Jamie Brickhouse’s Talks

“Jamie spoke at the NYC Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to 30 support group leaders who lead support groups for adult children and spouses taking care of their relatives with dementia like his Mama Jean. He was amazing. Jamie is a natural born storyteller and performer. He mesmerized his audience (including me), which you need to understand, is up to its eyeballs with stories about people with dementia. I, for one, was laughing and crying and everyone around me was too. I highly recommend Dangerous When Wet for anyone struggling with addiction and/or close to a person struggling with dementia.”

—Wendy J. Panken, LCSW Psychotherapist and former

Manager of the Support Group Program NYC Chapter, Alzheimer’s Association

“The subject of suicide is an uncomfortable subject for us all. With courageous honesty and gentle wit, Jamie Brickhouse tells his story. His is a story of struggle but most of all of resilience and strength—strength in staring down the weighty shame attached to an attempted suicide; and strength in his call to action for us all to do better for the many that find themselves alone and in similar straits.”

—Dr. Jay Carruthers, Medical Director, Bureau of Psychiatric Services, Director, Suicide Prevention Office NYS Office of Mental Health; New York State Suicide Prevention Conference

“Jamie Brickhouse is a funny, smart and brutally honest speaker who brings flair and a glamorous warmth to tough subjects. It’s hard to imagine having a conversation with someone about alcoholism, suicide, HIV/AIDS, Lewy body dementia, and family heartbreak—and basically laughing all the way through it.”

—Alex Kuczynski, Hostess of Southampton Arts Center’s Lecture Series

“Jamie Brickhouse has lived an amazing life—in and out of publishing—and he provides audiences with a vivid and insightful talk that will be sure to provoke and inspire.”

—Shaye Areheart, Director of the Columbia Publishing Course

“Jamie Brickhouse spoke at our Young Presidents Organization international forum…and received across the board ‘tens.’ Jamie captivates with his stories and wit, educates with his insight into culture and publishing, and unites with his thought provoking workshop. A highly recommended speaker. One of our great storytellers.”

—David Ellis, GemCap Solutions, YPO Member

“Jamie’s reading was entertaining and brought much laughter and applause to the room; he brought his memoir to life in such an animated, relatable way. It was truly a joy to hear him read. As part of our diverse debut author’s panel, he offered advice not just from the perspective of a published memoirist, but as someone who spent decades in publishing. Jamie is an asset to the literary community—in his writing, in his readings, through his wisdom, and, my favorite part, his personal interactions with attendees. Jamie is just a pleasure to be around.”

—Donna Talarico, Director, HippoCamp: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers

“Jamie Brickhouse is a marvelous guest speaker. When he appeared at the Atlanta Writers’ Club, the audience was totally rapt not only by his conversational and witty style, but also thought-provoking commentary on writing and his life journey. A very enlightening and entertaining experience.”

—Michael K. Brown, President, Atlanta Writers’ Club

“When the New Atlantic and New England Independent Booksellers Associations were looking for a keynote speaker for our retreat on successful bookstore events we looked no further than Jamie Brickhouse. Over our years in bookselling and publishing we had heard what a dynamo Jamie was. When it turned out that the publication of his memoir, Dangerous When Wet, coincided with our retreat, we knew we’d struck gold. Jamie was fabulous! On time! Prepared! He knew his audience! He imparted a mother lode of useful information wrapped in quick wit, real smarts, great anecdotes and a blazer that was the envy of every man and woman in the room!  We loved Jamie and you will too.”

—Steve Fischer, Executive Director

NEIBA  (New England Independent Booksellers Association)

“Jamie spoke to a crowd at BookCon during the very last hour of BookExpo weekend. Tough audience! But he captivated them with stories and lifted the energy in the room. He’d be a great speaker in any situation.”

—Martin Quinn, BookCon

“Jamie Brickhouse is a very exciting presenter. At our Northern California Writers’ StoryTellers Expo Jamie was full of important knowledge about the publishing industry and gave an incredibly insightful and helpful speech that had our attendees raving about him. Jamie made the attendees laugh (and sigh) as he described the ups and downs of working with traditional publishers. He unanimously received high marks from both the attendees and the staff. We will definitely be asking Jamie to return next year, as he was a true Southern gentleman throughout the entire Expo and couldn’t have been a better presenter.”

—Anne Jordan, President Northern California Writers

“To hear Jamie Brickhouse read from and discuss Dangerous When Wet is to be invited into a funhouse of memory. His outsized reflections make you laugh and shudder and laugh some more. You find afterward that his strange recollections linger, and you realize then the truth of it; how he and Mama Jean have changed and enlarged your idea of what it means to love. My students who attended Jamie’s panel discussion all raved about it and how refreshing it is to get a male perspective on memoir. I agree.”

—Donna Johnson, author of Holy Ghost Girl & moderator, Texas Book Festival

“Jamie Brickhouse is a live-wire of wit and compassion. He brought such a relaxed yet urgent insight to our ‘Recovery Panel,’ and it was the talk of the town for weeks. We’re already figuring out ways to bring him back to Woodstock Bookfest!”

—Martha Frankel, Executive Director, Woodstock Writers

“Jamie Brickhouse gave a terrific presentation for Dangerous When Wet at the 2015 AJC Decatur Book Festival. He kept the attention of everyone in attendance who hung onto every word of his talk and conversation and it was followed by a lively Q&A. The whole audience was engaged and entertained.”

—Philip Rafshoon, Program Director AJC Decatur Book Festival

“We could not have been more impressed with Jamie’s presentation. His story had something for everyone and he delivered it with humor, warmth and panache. Others have made lemonade out of lemons, but he added effervescence and created a cocktail all his own. Jamie holds out hope for the hopeless—and draws on his considerable acting talent to captivate a very demanding Dallas audience.”

—David Davis, Director of Public Relations, “Authors at the Adolphus,” Dallas

“Hilarious, warm, magnetic, and charming, Jamie Brickhouse made the evening a sparkling success. We only wished we could have listened to him all night.”

—DeLauné Michel, author and founder of Spoken Interludes

“Jamie Brickhouse brought that rare and invaluable blend of professionalism and panache to our event. Where others might have shared a reading from their work, Jamie brought one of the characters from his work to life. As a result of Jamie’s humor and the quality of his writing, our forum at the Baltimore Book Festival was not only informative but it was great fun as well.”

—Nancy Murray, Organizer, Baltimore Book Festival/CityLit Project

“Jamie Brickhouse was an engaging, often humorous presence on the LGBT memoir and bio panel at the 7th Annual Rainbow Book Fair. He helped attract a large audience, and was a sparkling addition to the panel, talking about his first book and the rewards and challenges of memoir writing.”

—Perry Brass, founding coordinator the New York Rainbow Book Fair

“Jamie’s presentation was phenomenal and ranks among the best author speaker we’ve ever had. His story really touched me and made me think. He is an amazing human being—a true inspiration.”

—Paula R. Fenner, CPCE, Director of Catering, “Authors at The Adolphus,” Dallas

“We had a full house for Jamie’s presentation to the Atlanta Writers’ Club. From his opening remarks until the last book was signed, he kept the audience completely engaged and entertained. We’ll definitely invite him back!”

—Valerie Connors, VP of Programming, Atlanta Writers’ Club

Praise for Brickhouse’s Book Club Talks

“It was a joy and very entertaining to interact with Jamie! His sensitivity, humor, and visceral account of a symbiotic relationship with Mama Jean was touching and memorable. His answers to our questions, plus his questions for us, certainly added to our understanding and appreciation for his book, and most especially for his mother, Mama Jean. Jamie’s stories added laughs to our dinner and we all had a wonderful evening!”

—Rhonda Peck, Austin Teachers Book Club

“Jamie helped bring his book, Dangerous When Wet, to life when he made a guest appearance at our book club. It was wonderful to be able to hear the book in his wonderful Southern cadence.”

—Jennifer Ferguson, Melody Book Maids Book Club of New York

“Our book club was fortunate to be able to Skype with Jamie for over an hour during our December meeting after reading Dangerous When Wet. He answered the many questions asked by our group with integrity and some humor. Jamie tells his story about his struggles with alcoholism and his tumultuous relationship with his mother, Mama Jean, with openness and candor. He presented his downward spiral to the depths of depression followed by his ascent to happiness and confidence with amazing honesty. I would recommend this book for any book club!”

—Anne McClellan, Rookie Book Club, Beaumont, TX

Dangerous When Wet: Soaked in Praise

“Jamie Brickhouse has written a blisteringly funny, wrenching account of wrestling way too close to—and later loose from—booze, sex and drugs and his adorable, infuriating mother. Believe me: the gator wranglers from his Texas backwater hometown have it way easier. It’s packed with multiple fine threads in a rich tapestry. Bravo—the first of many from Brickhouse.”

—Mary Karr, author of The Liars’ Club, Cherry, and Lit

“…Dangerous When Wet never feels like an Augusten Burroughs knockoff because the central characters—Brickhouse’s grande dame of a mother, Mama Jean, and Brickhouse himself—are such true originals. . . Brickhouse has written a chronicle of his often tumultuous but deeply loving relationship with his mother that’s as multifaceted as Mama Jean herself. Like her, it’s glamorously tragic and howlingly funny in equal measure.”

— Entertainment Weekly, A-

“As a blackout drinker and a ‘serial fornicator,’ Jamie Brickhouse was guided by two interrogative mantras: ‘Sure. Why not?’ and, courtesy of singer Peggy Lee, ‘Is that all there is?’ But Dangerous When Wet is far more than a witty chronicle of gin-soaked debauchery. It is, more importantly, a poignant, hilarious, and sharply-observed story of a gay man’s exchange of self-destruction and self-loathing for a quest for wisdom and a mature understanding of love. Move over, Augusten Burroughs. You’ve got company.”

—Wally Lamb, author She’s Come Undone,

I Know This Much is True, We are Water

“Mama Jean takes center stage in Brickhouse’s colorful memoir. . . There’s never a shortage of drama—or humor—as Brickhouse chronicles his early years running behind his mother’s (high) heels, his wild days in Manhattan and his struggle with addiction. But in the end, this raucous memoir is a testament to his mother. . .”

Washington Post

“Jamie Brickhouse plunges into his dark days of boozing in Dangerous When Wet.”

Vanity Fair

Compelling and funny. . . Dangerous When Wet, [is as] as tightly constructed as a well-crafted novel and as funny as an evening with Carrie Fisher.”

Interview magazine

“Jamie Brickhouse’s Mama Jean must take her place in the hall of fame where infuriating and unforgettable American mothers wreak havoc, break hearts, but finally instill survival. Surely there is a pedestal available far from Harriet Nelson and Mrs. Brady, close to the rowdy regions where Mary Tyrone lifts a cocktail and Joan Crawford waves a hanger. I loved this book. It made me laugh more than anything in years. Jamie is an original, entertaining voice and a totally wonderful talent.”

—George Hodgman, author of Bettyville

“Everyone’s got a mother, but Jamie Brickhouse was lucky enough to have a Mama Jean, a boisterous, loving, and bouffant Texas tornado. In Dangerous When Wet, Jamie’s delicious and touching memoir, we find out precisely how Jamie became the sort of guy to purchase, at auction, ‘a six-and-a-half-foot long, chestnut brown, ranch mink scarf,’ which had once belonged to Joan Crawford. Under Mama Jean’s tutelage, Jamie also came to appreciate the joys, and dangers, of a champagne cocktail. In exploring family uproar, the Holly Golightly allure of Manhattan, and the free fall of alcoholism, Jamie creates a literary cocktail all his own: witty, blisteringly honest and wickedly intoxicating.”

—Paul Rudnick, playwright, author, and New Yorker columnist

Dangerous When Wet is anchored by a character destined to become iconic: Mama Jean. The outrageously bold and bawdy Mama Jean teaches more about life in a single one-liner than a shelf full of self-help books. Brickhouse’s memoir is as revealing as it is riotous…a dark journey studded with gems of hilarity.”

—Josh Kilmer-Purcell, co-star The Fabulous Beekman Boys,

author I’m Not Myself These Days

Must-read: Dangerous When Wet. . . not every son can capture such a complex relationship with as much verve as Jamie Brickhouse in his memoir, Dangerous When Wet. . .  Brickhouse’s blunt account of addiction and recovery is laced with twisted humor, a testament to the long shadow his mama cast over his life. That same shadow will be following you around days after you finish this book.”

Out

“Jamie Brickhouse’s flame-red hair may have faded, but his no-holds-barred account of his fairy-tale life gone bad sets the pages of Dangerous When Wet on fire. Taking the reader on an alcohol, drug, and sex-fueled roller-coaster ride through the 1990s and early twenty-first-century New York City, Jamie spares us—and himself—nothing. Yet despite how much we might want to shake him into consciousness over the wreckage he leaves along the way, when he finally hits bottom after a suicide attempt, we wind up cheering him on as he struggles to find himself, sobriety, and redemption.”

—Eric Marcus, author of Why Suicide? Questions and Answers About Suicide, Suicide Prevention, and Coping with the Suicide of Someone You Know

“Packed with laugh-out-loud humor and biting, rich pathos—reads like a novel. . .”

Huffington Post

“Jamie Brickhouse has seen the darkness, and emerged a happier, stronger person. His book is sensitive and thoughtful, tinged with hilarity and heartbreak, and as bubbly as a champagne flute of Asti Spumante. Drink it.”

—Henry Alford, Humorist, author of Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?

and New York Times columnist

“Top 10 Nonfiction Book 2015: Dangerous When Wet is as outrageously frank and honest as a memoir gets. It is funny (Mama Jean almost steals the show sometimes), poignant, and gut wrenching—often at the same time.”

Book Chase

“There’s no shortage out there of addiction memoirs. . . but few include a mother figure as towering as Mama Jean. . .”

Texas Monthly

“Brickhouse is an energetic, witty narrator with a très gay eye for detail who keeps it fresh…”

POZ

“At its big heart, Jamie Brickhouse’s memoir Dangerous When Wet is about communication and relationships with loved ones across time. . . An overly mature and flamboyant redhead, Brickhouse lived under the protective wing of his mother, a larger-than-life character named Mama Jean, whose personality could easily carry a Broadway musical.”

Houston Chronicle  

Dangerous When Wet is a fabulous new memoir… [at times] terribly sad, [it] is equally hysterical [and] well written. Dangerous When Wet shows us that with humor, hard work, support and hope, [addiction] can be conquered.”

Lambda Literary Review

“It’s hard to do justice to Brickhouse’s dance-, song-, and celebrity-filled prose, escapades, good-natured storytelling, and unflagging hope. A funny, sad, and fine first book.”

Booklist

“Not only would Mama Jean always be ‘a bigger star to [Brickhouse] than Joan Crawford or Elizabeth Taylor,’ but he would never be able to outrun his attachment to her because it ‘was love in its purest form.’ Unabashedly campy but always candid.

Kirkus Reviews

 “Dangerous When Wet is one wild-ass ride filled with lurid sex, drunken treks, late night phone calls to the rich and famous, and secret upon secret that no one has any business revealing. Jamie Brickhouse serves up a riotous, rollicking memoir that, ultimately, is as sweet as it is outrageous.”

—Neil White, author, In the Sanctuary of Outcasts