Paul Winer, Quartzsite’s ‘naked bookseller’, dies

One of the town of Quartzsite’s most noted residents, Paul Winer, has died in his sleep after a lengthy illness at the age of 75.

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.

They don’t come much more unique than Paul. As a rebellious child, he took to wearing as little as possible, and had a penchant for the outrageous as he took to van life in the 60s and 70s.

Wearing only his long hippie hair and beard, he would travel as the ‘First Male Stripper’ to venue after venue, performing from the piano, doing comedy, singing obscenities and showing everything – literally – to his audiences from the stage.


Contains repeated, graphic nudity and strong language. Viewer discretion advised.

This often got him into trouble. Winer challenged state obscenity laws, claiming to have won 68 court cases against him, including a lengthy federal case in Vermont in which he was backed by the ACLU and which paved the way for nudity in performance in the United States. Male stripping emerged shortly thereafter.

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.

In the last year, Winer’s health took several turns for the worst after cancer, according to the Desert Messenger. Messages of condolence poured into Quartzsite on social media from the town’s many visitors, who recognize Winer as a staple of the town who fit in perfectly.

24 comments

  1. Blake Brintz

    Weenie man passed away.

  2. Rick Spurgeon

    Kelli’s favorite place there…😎

  3. Ray Cornelius

    Marilee Cornelius and I bought many books from him. His music was great.

  4. Ambrose Buford

    The book he sell was best in Quartzsite do to his caring and freedom.

  5. Laurie Cotten

    Rest in paradise Paul πŸ™

  6. Debra Vitali

    Met him once years ago when I lived in Parker. Very unique individual. Sad to hear of his passingπŸ™

  7. Carol Wilson

    Beyond sad. Quartzsite will never be quite the same. RIP Paul.

  8. Gayle Prentice

    We lost a very important guy from our community today, smart, passionate, kind, talented, and friend, God Speed Paul, it was our pleasure to have known you,.❀ JoAnne, we are with you πŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌ

  9. Julie Munson

    This world has lost a truly unique individual. He will be missed.

  10. Angelina Castro

    Regina Baldenegro awwwww

  11. Anthony Lane

    Blake Brintz damn he was a legend haha

  12. Jill Brintz Lane

    Who knew?! Wow!!
    Sad to hear of his passing.

  13. Melanie Sarino

    Rest in peace, sir! I visited your bookstore several times and you were so intelligent, kind and compassionate. Condolences to your family.

  14. Ron & Ann Lazenby

    Joanne:

    Paul was unique. We are honored to have known him.

  15. A wonderful man, and. great musician! I was honored to have him play at my club, on his last tour, to his old stompimg grounds “Salisbury Beach” Massachusetts! Wearing only his pouch, he thrilled the Beach crowd , 2 summers ago! May God bless him…

  16. Rest in peace Sweet Pie. You were a legend and will live on in our memories

  17. Sad to hear of the passing of “Sweet Pie”. In 1970-ish, I drove 104 miles round trip to Springfield, MA on a work night to hear him play his honky tonk piano and see his loose fitting loincloth flap in the breeze as he bounced around on his piano bench. He had such an entertaining show, was a great songwriter, and a piano playing style reminiscent of Chico Marx. He always cracked me up and I still treasure my Sweet Pie album that I almost sent to Jay Leno when he mentioned “Pie” on The Tonight Show one night. Glad I didn’t.
    Now you are free! R.I.P.

  18. Paul has been part of my family since 1979.. He would spend his Sundays with us always entertaining with his wild stories and he had many.. I also got the pleasure of booking him in Canada and meeting his wife and daughter.. We lost touch for almost 25 yrs but I tracked him down and I was able to visit him in the hospital in Yuma.. He wanted me to hear his newest songs and I had the pleasure of having my very own show. Our family is very sad of his passing and we are sure he is tickling the ivories with the angels and naked too.. May God Bless you.. Always in my heart.. The entertainment world has lost one hell of a great entertainer.

  19. An Icon has passed, and will be missed. A good entertainer. He and his wife did much for the community.

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