Quartzsite lost one of its most noted residents earlier this year.
Paul Winer, the longtime owner of Reader's Oasis Books in Quartzsite, Ariz., who gained international notoriety as the "naked bookseller," died May 7. He was 75. Also known as Sweet Pie, Winer moved to Quartzite two decades ago and "could often be found walking around town nearly nude."
Describing Paul Winer as one of Quartzsite's "most noted residents," Parker Live wrote that Winer "was well known as the much-loved owner of the Reader's Oasis bookstore, who would usually be seen in the nude with just a little 'pouch' for modesty. As 'Sweet Pie', he was also a boogie-woogie piano player and possibly the first legally nude performer in the United States. Paul Winer has held concerts at the QIA to sell out crowds. He has in the past brought some very talented musicians with him too! Ralph Martin - Tub Bass; Jerry Mullins - Guitar & Vocals; Buddy Apfel - Trombone & Tubba; Will Pirone - Harmonica, all the way from Boston!
Paul Winer, (aka Sweet Pie), is a boogie woogie and blues pianist. He rose to fame in the 60s and 70s performing his cabaret act all across Canada and the U.S., and was deemed a "grandfather of punk." He's charming enough to get away with the dirtiest lyrics, funny enough to win over even the most skeptical crow, and so entertaining that his act is just as relevant today as it was decades ago. Once rumored to be dead, Paul Winer is very much alive. One of Quartzsites more eccentric local personalities, he runs Readers Oasis Bookstore. The twinkle in his eye is brighter than ever, and if you ask him, he performs better now than he did 30 years ago.
"When Winer became a parent, he settled in Quartzsite, where he sold books and T-shirts at the famous flea markets. He's been there for the better part of 30 years now, with a sprawling 180,000+ title bookstore, including space carved out in the middle for his piano. Lucky visitors to the Oasis Bookstore could be treated to a boogie-woogie performance by Paul, and thousands of them left with photos taken next to him."
Many tributes and photos were posted on the Facebook page for the Desert Messenger, which noted: "Quartzsite has lost a true legend. Our dear friend Paul Winer, aka Sweet Pie, died in his sleep last night, after a lengthy illness. Paul loved our community with all his heart. We send our love, prayers, and condolences to his wife, Joanne."
"Boogie on, Paul! Thanks for the memories! ... RIP"
Quartzsite Improvement Association (QIA) - 235 E. Ironwood St ~ PO Box 881 ~ Quartzsite, AZ 85346
Regular Email (Non-Powwow) : Info@QIAArizona.org Tel: 928-927-6325