In this week’s City Paper cover story, writer Will Sommer catches up with Dennis Sobin.
If you lived in D.C. in the 1980s, you might remember Sobin as the king of District sleaze. He published dirty newspapers. He ran escort services. He posed naked, with a sex doll, on the cover of our newspaper. He ran for mayor on a pro-drug, pro-prostitution platform. And—how innocent we all were!—this smutty track record actually made Sobin controversial. Local infamy, apparently, was a lot easier to obtain in the days before online porn.
Sobin disappeared from the local scene after being busted on legitimately infamous charges of filming a naked child in Florida.
Since his 2003 release, he’s worked with prisoner advocacy groups, self-published a memoir, put on a self-justifying musical at the Kennedy Center and briefly run for mayor again. But he somehow doesn’t get the attention he once did.
All the same, for people who weren’t quite old enough to vote for Sobin’s attention-seeking political campaigns, the strongest memory of his presence may be the cheesy phone-sex TV spots he brought to late-night local airwaves. He was no Captain 20, but in his own way Sobin was a local broadcast legend. And he did at least this part of it without naked people! Check out this piece of his handiwork—and read the whole story here.