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Part 2: Moments with Tara Lynn Foxx

by Rich Moreland, April 2014

Here is the second part of my work with Tara Lynn Foxx a few years ago. Over the last thirty years, adult film feminists have redefined sexual pleasure for themselves and to their own satisfaction. TLF is doing this every day, taking control of what pleases her. Among her turn-ons is her submissiveness and BDSM fans are forever appreciative. At websites like Kink.com they can see their favorite blonde pursuing what she loves.

I first met Tara at Kink and have adored her performances and her personality ever since. But a word of caution is advised. A friend of hers saw a Kink shoot Tara did when she first entered the business. Thinking she was objectified and abused, he reacted with alarm. Far from being degrading or humiliating, Tara assured him the performance was fun and rewarding. This is the nature of BDSM, a fetish that is perplexing for many. So, read on and find out who this porn charmer really is, at least from her submissive side.

*          *          *          *          *

Before we go further, here’s a photo from the 2014 Adult Video News’ Award Show Red Carpet. Like the old sideshow barker on the carnival midway and the hustler outside the strip club, this is to get you in the front door. We’re going to play bait and switch because glamor is not on the agenda at Kink as you shall see in the article I penned in 2011!

Stunning. Photo by Bill Knight for 3hattergrindhouse.com

Stunning.
Photo by Bill Knight for 3hattergrindhouse.com

“Bondage, Ball Gags, and the Castle”
Rich Moreland, June 2011.

Gonzo queen, interracial hottie, vanilla starlet? Take your pick when (go)ogling Tara Lynn Foxx. But, be sure to add BDSM kinkster to your shopping list of TLF pics and vids you want to see. Tara is a sexy bottom (if you’re not a BDSMer, bottom is a submissive with added nuances) who can “rule” a bondage shoot, flipping her submissiveness into a feminist attitude of empowerment that marks her (pun intended for BDSM fans) as an emerging star in adult film kink.

A little sassiness before shooting for Ultimatesurrender.com Photo courtesy of Kink.com

A little impertinence before shooting for Ultimatesurrender.com
Photo courtesy of Kink.com

Tara’s visits to San Francisco’s Kink.com porn edifice, affectionately known as the Castle, are repeated homecomings. As of this writing, she’s shot over fifty times for Peter Acworth and has a particular fondness for two of the Armory’s repertoire of websites—ultimatesurrender.com, all-girl wrestling in front of an audience, and hogtied.com., the company’s original bondage site.

Ultimatesurrender is “my favorite right now,” Tara says. Not surprising, the girl is competitive.

Bondage shoots beg for good directors and Kink has them. So, who tops Tara’s list?

Her first love was Hogtied’s Lochai who has since returned to his native Baltimore. “Sweet and very caring,” is how she describes him. His replacement Matt is high on her list now.

Working with Matt. Photo courtesy of Kink.com

Working with Matt.
Photo courtesy of Kink.com

Tara adores Princess Donna, whom she amusingly characterizes as a pervert, and Isis Love, a close friend Tara trusts. “She knows how to push my boundaries in a good way,” Tara says of Isis.

Ississ Love applies the flogger to our darling. Photo courtesy of Kink.com

Isis Love applies the flogger to our darling.
Photo courtesy of Kink.com

Wait a minute, how does a porn girl define “pervert?”

Perverts “have naughty thoughts,” Tara says, responding to my interruption of our conversation, “and are not afraid to share them.”

“They love sex as much I do,” she adds.

TLF flashes that impish smile again. “I’m a perv ‘cause I think dirty things and then act on them!”

Makes sense to me. Now back to Kink’s webmasters.

“I really like all the directors to be honest with you,” she says. “I love a lot of their sites so it’s hard to pick favorites.”

In bondage and ball gag scenes, confidence among the players frames a sexually hot experience. A director wants to seduce a restrained model into ethereal moments of ecstasy. That means eliminating doubt and hesitation.

A superb dominant can lure a sub into a space-time continuum, referred to as “subspace” or “mindspace,” that shapes the eroticism of a BDSM experience. The inner journey is reflected in a model’s eyes and Tara’s entice the camera with a tantalizing vulnerability.

I ask TLF to comment on a Kink shoot she did with Wolf Hudson, a much-admired performer who divides his time between hetero and gay filming. Tara’s scene with Wolf was one of the steamiest I’ve witnessed in BDSM film.

“I know Wolf and love him as a person,” Tara says. “He’s really cool, he’s very talented, and his dick is amazing.”

The shoot was for the Training of O website. Tara was tied, legs spread, warmed up with some flogging and ready for penetration. Wolf worked the scene slowly. As he nestled his lips near hers, Tara gazed into his eyes before retreating deeper into subspace. Her head tilted just enough for that succumbing “fuck me” look Kink members pay to see.

“We had really great chemistry,” Tara remembers, brightening in recognition of a memorable experience. “I felt so comfortable with him, I think that really showed.”

Indeed it did.

The scene was condom friendly and for Tara that ensured her personal satisfaction. There is no cajoling at the Armory to eschew safer sex.

“I was able to relax and really have sex,” she comments.

In the porn universe, there is a distinction between sex and “real” sex. The first is a paycheck; the second is pleasure rewarded with a paycheck.

Tara reinforces what I’ve heard repeatedly among adult performers. Having “real sex” is all too rare. “You don’t get to do that a lot on camera,” she explains, “you really have to get comfortable fast.” Waiting on the set creates a need to move forward when the time is ripe to sustain the emotions for good sex.

Ready and Waiting Real Sex. Photo courtesy of Kink.com

Ready and waiting for real sex with a condom while James checks his agenda.
Photo courtesy of Kink.com

Of course, condoms are the prescription for the sweet and salty of “real sex.” Anal is now routine and the question of what co-stars did the night before and with whom they did it with is always in the back of a girl’s mind when the penetration moment arrives. For Tara, condoms spell relief and elevate the connections she seeks with favorite performers.

The Girl Likes to be Punished, Sometimes . . .

I’m curious about the punishment segments of her BDSM shoots and reference the T of O episode under James Mogul’s direction. Mogul’s a master psychologist, tough on models, keeping them off balance emotionally to probe their inner sexual core. And he uses his whips with efficiency.

James likes scenes to constantly evolve under his orchestration. “[He] just kept the shoot going,” Tara recalled, and “kept me on my toes because I had to think fast.” James’ style is to pose lots of questions and demand immediate answers.

“If I didn’t answer, then I would get punished,” she says.

But hey, sweetheart, you’re a hot sensuous bondage model with a fan following, what do you expect?

“Yeah, I like to get punished,” Tara concedes with a slight giggle, “but not all the time!”

She confesses that she was naïve about the BDSM community, “almost stupid,” when she ran headlong into James. A newbie to bondage play, Tara quickly got an education.

Having seen James at work, I can appreciate TLF’s next point. “He kept me feeling safe,” she says.

Precaution is a hallmark of James’ directing, as it is in every Kink production. A Kink episode is stressful and draining on a model; it can be intimidating and painful if she is a novice to BDSM play. But with James and the other directors, a baby in a blanket could not be more secure than a performer in their hands.

Sound like fun? Before you get out a flogger or cane to induce a little playtime with your lover, keep in mind it’s more than just a stroke or two on the canvass of back or butt.

Getting into her head. Photo courtesy of Kink.com

Getting into her head.
Photo courtesy of Kink.com

Pay attention perverts and listen to Tara.

Here’s Why . . .

Working at Kink is a “mindfuck.”

Tara is upfront and direct. “Anybody can sit there and whip you with a flogger, but for me to get pleasure out of it you have to really be in my head.” The Kink pathway into the brain is tactile and verbal; directors caress and talk to the models during shoots.

“The things they do to us are more painful when they’re in our heads. At the same time, when they’re in our heads the pain gets turned into pleasure,” Tara affirms.

Princess Donna Photo courtesy of Kink.com

Princess Donna
Photo courtesy of Kink.com

It’s a process and Tara comments that Princess Donna is a fascinating example of how it is accomplished. She is a champion at inducing models to “feel what she is doing” and making certain they are sky-high with the seduction of bondage play. Donna is “intriguing” Tara adds, because BDSM is her personal lifestyle.

Failure to guide a bottom through the transition into “subspace” defeats the experience of BDSM play. “If they’re not in my head,” Tara is adamant, “it’s just going to be pain and I’m not into it or them.”

Tara relishes her submissiveness; however, to be a good bottom is to be demanding. She knows that her pleasure is cerebral. If the shoot isn’t working for her, she will mentally invert the scene. “I actually feel dominant over them,” she remarks, adding that if her tops can’t induce the “mindfuck,” then her feistiness vaporizes her “subspace.”

My bet is that in time TLF will follow well-known Kink subs like Bobbi Starr, Dana DeArmond, and Lorelei Lee who now “switch” (shoot as doms) for Acworth. All three are feminists, as is Princess Donna by the way, and Tara’s sassiness mirrors theirs. TLF has learned from the best to get what she wants.

The ball gag and Lorelei Lee waiting in the background. Photo courtesy of Kink.com

The ball gag and Lorelei Lee waiting in the background.
Photo courtesy of Kink.com

There’s more I could tell you like how our sweetie sizzles with a huge ball gag between her pouty lips and what a lovely gape shot she had in a Kink shoot with the aforementioned Lorelei Lee. For now I’ll relate what Tara appreciates about filming in the City by the Bay.

It’s being in the Spanish Revival fortress on Mission Street, reveling in its Victorian architecture and socializing with the terrific people who work there. It is home. Tara popped her bondage cherry with her first Kink shoot and she’s been loved there ever since.

“One of my favorite things about going to the Castle is bumping into Peter,” she says. “He is just so . . . words don’t describe that man. But I love getting a hug from him.”

I'm not Peter, but the hug is the same! Photo courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse.com

The author is no Peter Acworth, but the hug is the same!
Photo courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse.com

How the little things make a difference!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Be sure to visit Tara Lynn Foxx’s blog. It can be found here.

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Farewell, Aurora Snow

by Rich Moreland, July 2013

An acquaintance of mine is leaving the adult business after four years in front of the camera, a lifetime by porn standards. It’s time to move on, she told me recently, though her exit strategy is a work in progress. She admitted that all the pieces must fall into place for her to make the final move.

The business still has its appeal for her; she continues to pop up on internet shoots and in an occasional DVD. In truth, unless she has established a direction out, a hasty departure may not serve her well and I believe she knows this. Should her post-porn road be paved with fits and starts, a return may be in the cards, something adult actresses do more often that is generally imagined.

For ex-performers, the “civilian” world often resembles barbarians at the gate waiting to consume anyone who ventures beyond the adult film cocoon. Transitioning out can be culture shock. Coping with new demands and curious people, whose knowledge of the adult film universe is hearsay at best, is ever present. For instance, dealing with a potential employer who wants to know how the previous working years were spent can be a nervous and formidable experience.

However, in the process of adjustment a performer may discover qualities she never imagined she possessed.

Photo Courtesy of New Sensations.com

Photo Courtesy of New Sensations.com

Consider the retirement of Aurora Snow. The adult industry is going to miss her intelligence, controversial opinions, and legendary film performances. During her lengthy career, Aurora joined an elite few recognized within the business. She was Adult Video News’ 2003 Performer of the Year and was enshrined in the XROC (X-Rated Critics Organization) Hall of Fame in 2011. These are not minor accomplishments. The number of women who have bared it all since porn’s modern era began in 1972 runs into the tens of thousands.

After a decade of filmed sexcapades, Aurora leaves on a positive note. Her recent article in The Daily Beast, “How a Porn Star Retires: Aurora Snow on Life After Porn,” examines some of the shortfalls performers face and offers timely advice for the day a model walks away.

It should be required reading for every newbie who is considering an adult film career.

A Master Plan

Aurora Snow reflects on what I’ve heard from industry people, too many girls lack the responsibility to manage their affairs. They can earn into the six figures, but find themselves impoverished when their days are done. Too many dollars are wasted on expensive apartments, clothes, cars, facials, and partying. Because they know a couple of bookings will replenish their bank account, a rainy day fund is far from their thoughts.

The adult industry offers no retirement plan, film residuals, or health insurance, and does nothing to prepare a performer for the day the phone stops ringing. Needless to say, there is no union like mainstream Hollywood’s equity system. A performer is left on her own.

Nevertheless, Aurora explains how difficult it is to leave the biz, especially if sex-for-money is all a girl knows. She tried to do it gradually but was continually caught in a spiral of shooting scenes to pay the bills.

Extracting herself was problematic, so she went cold turkey, packed her bags and got out of town.

But the emotions hung on, Aurora says. Pulling away from the spotlight and fan adulation is a downer. Yet, a girl eventually must figure out how “to do something with your clothes on,” she insists, a real challenge because the usual options are not the long-term answer.

Too many female performers rely on archived web cam shoots as their retirement ticket, Aurora points out, and some continue with a dancing career (she is mum on escorting). But everyone ages, so exit preparations need to be on the table. Timing is important, Aurora indicates, and quotes talent agent and former performer, Shy Love. “‘Don’t quit until you have a master plan for what comes later.’”

Aurora Snow’s departure is an opportunity to encourage all performers to take responsibility for their future. She goes over the list. Develop investment alternatives early on. Experiment with daily life constrained by a budget and curtail the urge to blow away dollars on unneeded and fanciful wants. And, don’t ignore that nagging feeling to improve educational opportunities. At the very least, consider picking up college credits on a regular basis.

Photo Courtesy of MrPOV

Photo Courtesy of MrPOV

Eventually, Aurora took decisive action to break the pattern of doubt that was not serving her well. The result introduced new horizons she never expected.

“Once I hit the eject button and became far enough removed from the porn machine,” she says, “I found that brand-new opportunities eventually presented themselves.”

Aurora Snow’s exit tells us that porn people have more skills than they realize. They are truly people-friendly, just ask their fans. Personally, I’ve seen this up close. Circulating among industry people has proved to me that everyone has something to offer once the last shoot wraps up and a career is concluded.

So, farewell Aurora Snow, I wish you Godspeed. You leave a legacy of top-notch performances and an articulated wisdom. Your message is clear for every girl in the business: invest “wisely” and remember there is “life after porn.”

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“We Evolve to Now”

by Rich Moreland, October, 2012

On a recent Los Angeles evening, I sat down with the husband and wife team of Carlos Batts and April Flores. He is a film director; she is his artistic muse and leading lady. A couple of years ago at the Feminist Porn Awards in Toronto, we informally exchanged brief “hellos,” but accomplished little else beyond that. This time around, with the help of Coast Anabelle Hotel staff, we made arrangements to talk. I wanted to delve into their views on making film and the porn community to which they belong. I got something I never anticipated, a profound insight, artistically and intellectually, into the genre we call feminist pornography.

Here are some segments of our discussion.

Making a Statement with Your Body

When we discussed definitions for feminist pornography, April began with her background in film work.

“I did my first scene in October 2005,” she began, emphasizing that an adult career was not her goal. The shoot was an intended “one time thing.” “I wanted to experience it and move on,” she said. Her thoughts reflect those of other performers I have met.

For April, her professional horizon quickly expanded. Stepping into the adult genre opened doors leading to friendships and an enrichment of her art. A “natural progression” began, she said, as one film led to another.

However, like other women who have entered adult film, April had the expected moment of reconsideration.

“By my third or fourth film I had to take a step back and evaluate what I was doing. If I’m going to keep doing this, why am I going to do this? It’s my body and I’m exposing myself on a really intense level.”

April’s hesitancy was not unusual; it was her resolve that shaped her future. She discovered feminist porn and wanted to be a part of it. “If I’m going to do this [appear in adult film],” April decided, “I want to have a message behind it, not just do it for frivolous reasons.”

Searching for meaning in her work, April found that feminist porn offered “real feminine pleasure.” Women create the product, defining a comfort level for her. “My peers and I are enjoying what we do and some of us are running businesses and using this medium as a creative outlet.”

Her selectivity has enriched the genre. Mention the name April Flores around those who are knowledgeable about feminist porn and affirmative nods result. She is an established star.

April and Carlos
Photo by Bill Knight

April sees a mission in her work. The projects she accepts are carefully chosen. “I have turned a lot of work down because I knew it would portray me and fat women and just women as a whole in a bad way,” she declares. For her, feminist porn is film with a woman-friendly attitude.

Incidentally, money is not central to her work. “Adult has never been my primary source of income,” April says. Her approach is a fit with the makers of feminist porn. The “primary motivators” for feminist filmmakers and performers is “expression,” she confirms, “making a statement with your body and your work.”

Feminism is not new to April. “I always considered myself a feminist,” April says, a feeling that is rooted in her childhood. She moved out of her family home at eighteen, becoming instantly independent. April never considered herself to be a “weak woman,” as she puts it, though she didn’t develop her sense of feminist empowerment until she matured into her late twenties and early thirties.

Carlos took his turn at defining feminist porn and credits Annie Sprinkle as his starting point. Adopting a feminist lens in shooting adult film, Carlos discovered April and other feminist performers to be “very strong and powerful” with “their own spirit and energy.” He considers himself lucky.

“I’m fortunate to be around people that have a very strong vision to not only create in that environment but be inspired by it,” Carlos believes. He goes on to affirm that “women artists can be strong spirited, feminist in their own way, and independent with their own voice or vision. Women record their sex and want to perform and fuck from a creative point of view.”

His words bring my thoughts to feminist talent like performer/directors Courtney Trouble and Madison Young.

Carlos identifies April, Jiz Lee, and Dylan Ryan as “a progressive group of performers, a very unique trifecta.” He praises them for caring about the product they make and his ability as a director. They believe in him, Carlos says, “there is no judgment and they are comfortable in their sexuality.”

Carlos credits feminist performers with caring “a little bit more about the outcome and how they are being portrayed which keeps you on your toes.” He’s blunt about mainstream film and television, pointing out that “there is a difference between an actress that cares about her performance and one that just shows up.” The same thing, I might add, can be said for mainstream adult film.

Asked about a timeframe for a movie, Carlos delves further into his filmmaking philosophy. “My own personal process is four to six months,” he answers, “we make one or two movies a year.”

Of course, budget is a consideration. If Adam and Eve or Good Vibrations are in the mix, things are done more quickly. For example, Carlos references one big budget film he made for Adam and Eve. The movie, Voluptuous Biker Babes, was “inspired” by the 1960’s classic sexploitation film, Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill, Kill, and was nominated for an Adult Video News (AVN) award.

Photo Courtesy of Carlos Batts

No matter the financing picture, Carlos emphasizes that to do a film is a “personal process” that entails casting and examining shooting locations, among other things. Because “the sex is a very small percentage of the film,” he moves more slowly in determining “exactly what I want to do.” By comparison, a Porn Valley director once informed me that a two and one-half hour film may only have 20 plus pages of script. The average sex scene can last up to fifteen minutes or more.

Outsider Porn

I want Carlos and April’s take on San Francisco’s Queer Porn Mafia, a self-identified cadre of directors and performers. As a historian, I see the QPM as a film community and an informal support group. Carlos expanded my understanding of the QPM by suggesting that it is part of a movement, as we shall see momentarily.

April notes that they are late comers to the group. The QPM was around before Carlos and she “heard about it and met Courtney [Trouble].”

In 2009-2010, Carlos and April became part of the San Francisco film making scene. Inevitably, they met the QPM. “We became friends with them and started shooting with them,” April says, in an atmosphere that was different for Carlos and her. San Francisco is not Southern California. It’s “a different city,” she explains, “it’s small and the sexual presence is way more huge than it is here [in LA].”

April and Carlos share common perspectives about casting and filming with the QPM that are “very different” from “mainstream porn.” The QPM is a group of artists with “like-minded ideas,” April says, who are frustrated with the mainstream. We’re “outsiders from mainstream porn,” she declares, but we are “sticking together” and, she adds with conviction, “we are going to continue moving forward.”

Carlos points out that the QPM is “a select group to work with” which made developing and sharing an artistic vision “fun.” He pays them the ultimate compliment, “with all due respect to April and Courtney and Jiz, everyone works really hard. I respect them and their work ethic,” he says.

April defines their collective product as “indie porn,” sometimes referring to it as “outsider porn.” In short, feminist porn is apart from traditional adult film and the annual Feminist Porn Awards celebrates this difference.

Vanilla is Becoming Smaller

My final question concerns the overarching term queer as an umbrella identifier of a variety of sexualities. Carlos sees it as “more like an ideology” that revolves around “individual taste.” April describes her queer sexuality as “fluid, not straight or gay or bisexual,” simplifying her description by saying that it’s about “the person rather than their genitals.”

What I hear from Carlos and April is typical of what other adult film feminists associated with San Francisco say. Exactly what it means to be queer is difficult to define and individually based. April repeats the accepted norm. To be queer is a personal statement and “I guess you would have to ask them,” she says.

I mention to Carlos that I tend to categorize things into boxes. He agreed, saying, “When you are a historian and you are looking back, things do fall into compartments.” Taking the historian role a step further, I ask him if feminist porn is a movement, or merely a collection of individual attitudes. His observations summarize what I suspected, but needed to be confirmed.

From Carlos’s perspective, we are living in “an interesting time.” “Fifty percent of the population is like vanilla and the other fifty percent is filled with thirty-one flavors,” he says. “Everyone thinks that everyone is having the sexual desires of their parents.” But this idea is being challenged. Carlos points out that now all manner of sexualities are coming out. In other words, our parent’s sexuality does not have to be ours.

“The outsiders are maybe fifty-one percent, vanilla is becoming smaller.” Marginalized sexualities are recognized, voluptuous women are seen as attractive, he asserts. There is this “whole consciousness of what we want to see and how we want to feel. It’s not like it was fifteen years ago.”

Carlos characterizes this new revelation as “our movement” that’s “been cooking since the Nineties.” Then he adds, it has “spawned a bigger broader generation of understanding whether it is sexuality or color or culture.”

At this moment, he is drawing my research into feminist porn together.

“The biggest secret about the feminist movement,” Carlos proclaims, is its creativity. “It is dominated by the consciousness of freedom and expressing yourself.”

This is the Toronto scene where electric audiences at the Feminist Porn Awards turn the work of these artists into a love fest.

“The movement just happens,” he believes. “We will inspire another set of women to make movies, and people of color will make movies they want to see themselves. I just see the consciousness and being different. More young women will see April and say, ‘hey I want to do that,’ or Courtney or Jiz and say, ‘I look like them, that’s how I want to express myself.’”

“I don’t think anyone is purposely or consciously trying to be different. I think people are just expressing themselves in a very bold way.”

There’s more. Referring to marginalized sexualities, Carlos states, “We are all kind of banning together to make it more comfortable with coming out.” He believes technology is the tool that encourages people to “feel a bit more comfortable in expressing themselves.”

The movement is in the present, continually redefining itself. “We evolve to now,” he says, and hints that the end of this evolution, or revolution depending on point of view, is nowhere in sight.

April authenticates her husband’s analysis. I get “a lot of emails from girls saying I want to do what you’re doing and how do I start this?” She concludes, “So I do think it’s spreading.”

We indeed have evolved to now. And the journey is just beginning.

It’s time for dinner. The waiter offers us a table and our conversation continues, the remainder totally off the record.

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Recognition of the Cameraman

by Rich Moreland, March 2012
A few years ago an adult film called Pirates (2005) and its follow-up Pirates II (2008) hit the DVD market. Lots of hullabaloo expended over dropping big bucks to make pornography. There was plot, character development, adventure, everything that cloaked what it was, fun with sex in a historical setting.

In the language of the industry, Pirates is a feature. Making it required lots of props, crew, industry stars, and hype in order to turn a profit. It’s a throwback to porno chic era of the 1970’s when films like Deep Throat, Behind the Green Door, and The Devil in Miss Jones carried a plot of sorts and the female star had repeated sexual encounters to fit the storyline.

Long before the feature, the stag or loop was porn’s showpiece; a short film with no real narrative, just sex, cheap to make and easy to hustle among a gathering of males in social clubs and fraternities. That’s how the business of selling sex on film got started. The first stags go back to the early 20th century’s Great War days.

The explosion of porn created by the VCR hit America in the eighties; a time of “smut glut” as director and writer David Jennings calls it. San Fernando Valley became porn central and America had a new corporate entity in the boardroom. The challenge was money. Selling a feature is no easy task and profit margins can be especially troubling if a huge amount was expended in its making.

Circumstances brought opportunity and old traditions were challenged. A new kid on the block emerged by the 1990’s: gonzo. The word entered the porn lexicon and today industry people throw it around as if it’s been a part of the business since its inception. It hasn’t and I wanted to know exactly what it is and how it got started.

John Stagliano Talks Gonzo at the Hard Rock

John Stagliano Talks Gonzo at the Hard Rock

Not a Feature
This I did know. Gonzo is used to describe any adult film that is not a feature, which isn’t terribly informative. The word is so ubiquitous now that it has lost its identity. Current industry people bounce gonzo around like a napless tennis ball at a dog park. It rolls around the entire space and all dogs play with it.

I always assumed gonzo was John Stagliano’s creation, but my research-oriented mind had to check with him personally to clarify the genre’s history. John is an industry icon, “the Speilberg of porn” I once heard a director say, and legend has it that the old vids of his “Buttman” Series gave gonzo traction.

I remember one “Buttman” episode John did with old friend Bruce Seven. In one scene, John is sitting on the living room floor in a hillside house editing film, telling the camera about the girl in the video who is doing her thing for the viewer. The tape continues to roll and John shows the visitor/viewer around his makeshift editing set up and comments on shoots that appeared in previous “Buttmans.” This is a movie within a movie because John will become director and performer again within moments. All it takes is that knock on the door.

A cute blonde stands on the door stoop and says she just been tied up by Bruce for one of his bondage videos and she was sent to John next. Bit of a reversal of the traditional stag film formula, handyman comes to the house where the housewife is ready for sex. In this case, the girl just shows up without rhyme or reason and wants to make film. Perfect gonzo: no script, no set, no cast; just another impromptu opportunity for the camera to capture an eager and naked female for “Buttman.”

This is the Stagliano genre and the concept is widely admired in the industry.

Doing Back Flips
Granting me a few minutes at the recent adult expo in Las Vegas, John explains how the gonzo he was “alleged to have started” came about.

“In the eighties,” he said, “all we did was try to imitate a TV show or regular movie. We’d cast parts, write dialogue and do the best we could to find somebody to fit into that role.”

Script writing was the challenge. It was like “doing back flips,” he said, “to try to have a story with a beginning, middle, and end with characters!”

He often had one girl to showcase, but in today’s porn, unlike the old days of the golden age, she’s not going to do all the scenes in the finished product. As a result, John points out, it was “not necessary to have all the scenes build up into a feature.”

Variety drives the porn dollar. The viewer wants a collection of fresh faces to feed what internet entrepreneur Danni Ashe refers to as a male’s “harem fantasy.”

John recognized that to have  more girls is always desirable but to integrate them into a storyline was unneeded. In other words, gonzo reintroduces porn to its old stag roots, ten  minute loops of different girls strung together independent of script and casting with one caveat, the girl will often have sex with the director/cameraman. The camera is a participant because the sex is shot from the director’s POV (point of view), especially when he gets involved with the model.

Other performers may be in the scene, but Stagliano does not leave the stage to them. He is arranging people, talking with them while he is filming, and might choose to shoot through the mirror in a hotel room so that the viewer can see the performers and the director at work; the action becomes a scene within a scene.

Setting aside creativity as a driving force in adult film, porn is about money. Stagliano collapsed the always prohibitive financial hurdle by stringing together his POV version of the old loop into a few hours of sexual variety and sold it all for the same dollars the feature guys were making.

Despite John’s downplaying of plot, characters, and the like, the “Buttman” series always had a loose “man on the street” theme, such as “Buttman goes to Europe” or “Buttman v. Buttwoman,” which highlights an exclusively female version of gonzo. The shtick was always “let’s see what’s going on over here.” To follow “Buttman” around on his adventures was like chatting with your pal at a club while checking out the partygoers. It had the flavor of a hunt.

Some of the individual shoots within a “Buttman” film reflect a feature. Characteristically, the final episode in the overall package might be a sexcapade that focuses on one guy and two girls. It has a loose narrative and can last up to a half hour, surpassing the time limitations of stags.

No matter its nuances, gonzo became profitable.

“I proved that I could be successful and sell them (gonzo shoots) for the same price” as features, John pointed out. “So people started imitating me and that made the business much more creative and interesting.”

First Person Reaction

In our conversation, John remembered that gonzo came from a specific form of journalism.

“It did,” I said, mentioning Hunter Thompson of San Francisco literary fame.

“It was a first person reaction to events,” John said, explaining that from a film perspective, gonzo means “there isn’t a wall between the performers” and the director. John puts the director/cameraman in the scene; his personality is deliberately part of the shoot. He emphasizes that gonzo is “a recognition of the cameraman” in which his “ideas” as composer/arranger of the action are driving the scene. The viewer and performer acknowledge the camera, John notes, the girl is encouraged “to look directly into it and be sexy.”

Most important, he reiterates, the shoot is “not a regular story” that touts script and requires a filming crew.

How does this differ from other directors? Some feminist filmmakers like Tristan Taormino hand the cast the basic theme of the shoot and stand back, letting them do what comes naturally. She likens her product to reality TV and invests time in filming mundane activities and chatting with performers, leaving the sex to find its own way.

A more traditional feminist producer and director is Candida Royalle, whose films have a more erotica flavor, and are based on the feature model.

Well-known directors like Michael Ninn, Axel Braun, and Andrew Blake work with cast and script, producing a mainstream product noted for spectacular visuals.

But John has created a different type of film with notable success. He emphasizes that gonzo has replaced the feature in today’s business environment. There is a drawback. Success has encouraged popular usage of the term to broaden its definition to include anything that is not scripted. “But that’s not really accurate,” Stagliano concludes, offering that authentic gonzo revolves around the cameraman and the creative ideas he’s putting into the scene.

I returned with a final question.

“Can a woman do a gonzo film?” I said.

“Yeah,” John replied, “from her point of view it would be different ideas and different reactions and different feelings.”

He notes directors Bobbi Starr and Belladonna, both work for his Evil Angel Productions, as doing gonzo from a female POV and doing it well.

Before we wrapped up, John mentioned Paul Fishbein and Gene Ross of Adult Video News as part of the story. I made a mental note the give Fishbein a call.

I didn’t have to. He contacted me. John is one of the good guys in the business.

Indescribable New Style.

“While it’s true that AVN coined the term gonzo, I will not take personal credit for it,” Fishbein’s email began. He pointed out that Gene Ross, who worked at AVN for 17 years, was the originator of the word.

Here’s the story from Paul’s perspective. The eighties saw the development of what would be called “reality porn if it had it occurred today,” he said. Accommodating that reality concept, everyone participates in gonzo. Stagliano began this idea when he talked with performers on camera and interacted with them as characters “playing themselves,” Fishbein explained.
The technique broke a barrier, “the fourth wall, but these movies were clearly no documentaries,” he added.

It was an “indescribable new style”and AVN searched for a way “to distinguish this new form of erotica from traditional movies or just collections of sex scenes,” Paul said.

The AVN staff, all trained journalists, brainstormed ideas. Finally, Gene Ross, an editorial staff member, offered up the term “gonzo” as a tribute to Hunter Thompson, a legendary writer admired by everyone in the room. (For the record, Thompson’s “gonzo journalism” heralded first person narratives with an upfront “tell it like it is” manner that ignores the polished effect of editing.)

“It became the industry standard,” Fishbein said, “and AVN absolutely deserves credit for it.”

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What has this investigation revealed about the state of gonzo now?

“Gonzo has come to mean more than I really think it should,” John says. “It’s not useful if it describes everything that isn’t a feature.” Pausing for a moment to reemphasize his point, John adds, “It’s not so broad as to include anything that isn’t a feature” which has happened in his opinion because “words get their definition from how they’re used by people.”

He personalizes gonzo in his final remark. There isn’t a name “for how I describe it,” John declares. His gonzo is “a personal reaction” to his craft, a type of expression that he sees in Hunter Thompson’s literary style.

Gonzo may be a personal application in shooting porn, but it is now global in its use. It is a recognized success story because like John Stagliano’s politics, gonzo is a true libertarian artistic method that has an “everyman” feel.

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A Porn Tale Wagging the Dog

The Deep Throat Sex Scandal Playbill courtesy David Bertolino

By Rich Moreland, January, 2012

A United States’ President watched porn while on the taxpayer’s dime and he was not a liberal.

Or, so the story goes.

Odd, considering he proclaimed in an October 2, 1970, speech that pornography had the power to “corrupt a society and a civilization.”

You guessed it, the words of Richard Nixon. The man, whose personal playfulness was only exceeded by the mating habits of two-toed sloths, apparently was willing to finesse his shadowy ways. In 1974 he ventured into the erotic, at least for an evening at the White House.

Nixon wanted his porno and an off Broadway play uses the President and his government to teach us a lesson about freedom, truth, justice, and porn.

But first . . .

It’s mid-January in Las Vegas and I’m chatting with Bill Margold over morning coffee at the Tuscany Suites. We were there for the annual Adult Video News convention, in reality  a carnival for fans and a weeklong grind for the industry. Bill and I have known each other for a time and I was anticipating more porn biz news to go with the cream in my java. Little did I realize that within a few minutes I would have the immeasurable delight to meet a clever entrepreneur named David Bertolino. Sandy haired with a cherub’s face and an amicable personality to match, David is the kind of guy who’d buy you lunch (or a beer) and top it off with a fascinating story as a kicker.

You’d leave with the feeling that you have a friend for the duration.

Within a short time, David interested me in his off-Broadway show, The Deep Throat Sex Scandal. He’s brought it cross-country from New York to L.A. for a six month run. Now, I know nothing about drama or film criticism and I haven’t seen his play yet, so I’ll pass judgment on it as entertainment at this point. But I do know history, so we had something instantly in common. When David mentioned the famous 1976 Deep Throat Memphis trial in which actor Harry Reems and organized crime’s Perainos (brothers, father and sons) were indicted on obscenity charges, the native Bostonian was playing ball in my park.

Incidentally, Deep Throat’s director Gerard Damiano and actress Linda Lovelace of oral gratification fame were granted immunity for their participation in the opening curtain of porn’s hardcore age. Harry and his manhood were not so lucky.

Over a second cup and an order of Danish, David treated me to a story I knew nothing of. My ears perked up like a hunting dog sensing its prey. Historians are always seeking their precious droplets from the Holy Grail known as “the past,” meted out in anecdotes, folklore, whispered secrets, and the like. That unknown incident, the new twist no one else has considered, is what transforms us into Indiana Joneses.

The tale came to David via Raymond Pistol, owner of Vegas’s Showgirls Video where Margold holds his annual “Legends of Erotica” inductions. Pistol bought the rights to the Deep Throat in the 1990’s from Anthony Peraino. Originally costing $25,000 to make, the film grossed over $600 million, David relates, a figure I’ve heard confirmed elsewhere. Organized crime’s Perainos were in the thick of the profits, or so the government was convinced.

Before we move on, a little background is necessary.

In 1970, a Presidential Commission appointed by former President Lyndon Johnson delivered its findings on pornography to the new chief executive, Richard Nixon. Because of its rumored liberal slant, Nixon had attempted to influence the panel after taking office. He added Charles Keating, an outspoken anti-porn crusader, to the group. (Yes, this is the same Keating who perpetrated California’s S&L scandals in the “go-go” eighties. Remember, he went to jail for conspiracy and fraud. Morality has no boundaries unless one gets caught, except of course, when it comes to sex.)

Nixon’s efforts were futile. To his outrage and Keating’s frustration, the commission’s findings did not substantiate the horrors in porn that conservatives were convinced existed.

Without personally reading the final document, Nixon panned it, declaring quite pompously in that famous October speech, “American morality will not be trifled with.” In short, Tricky Dick wanted nothing to do with the perceived corruption of adult film.

So it seems. . .

It’s no secret that good citizens and porn performers don’t always operate on different planets. After all, sex sells to everyone, including high-minded moralists who have the habit, as Bill prophetically says, of pushing smut away with the left hand while satisfying themselves with the right.

From what David could learn, Raymond Pistol claims that Nixon actually wanted to see Deep Throat and called for a print to be delivered to the White House. To seek legitimacy, the Perainos had opened a company in the San Fernando Valley, soon to be the mecca of adult film, as a way to dodge the organized crime tag. Their business, Bryanston Pictures, was instructed to hand over a copy of the movie to a limo momentarily arriving on their doorstep. The print ended up on a Presidential plane bound for Washington and a “Nixon-and-friends” screening that evening.

For verification, I contacted Pistol; he added that the story came from Lou “Butchie” Peraino, one of Tony Peraino’s sons.

Such generosity did not dissuade Nixon from lowering the legal hammer on porn. “As much as he enjoyed viewing it,” David said, “he still went after it.” Because of jokes and criticism emanating from Hollywood about the emerging Watergate scandal, Nixon, according to Bertolino, wanted to “go after the actor community.”

For those of you who aren’t up on Presidential history, Nixon was famous for his “enemy’s list.”

As we talked, David pointed out that the whole affair was a “true example of the tail wagging the dog.” Censuring the adult film community offered Nixon the opportunity to send a message of harassment to Tinsel Town.

Nixon wanted indictments to excoriate the evils of Deep Throat. He ordered Keating, now his attorney general, to find a conduit for the government’s pursuit of porn, in particular its distribution by the crime bosses.

The State of Tennessee was destined to become Nixon’s partner in purification. It had a smut chasing US attorney named Larry Parrish and a judge already on board to secure a conviction of any sexually explicit material that menaced the sanctity of the family. But political righteousness does not always come easy. Keating discovered that Parrish was unable to “find a single theater” that ran the film by the time the Perainos took over its distribution.

A Memphis grand jury had already handed down indictments based on a showing at the Tri-State Theater in November 1973. The Perainos came on board as distributors in December 1974, or so they claimed. (For those of you following the timeline here, Nixon left office in August 1974.) By that time, no theater would dare put reels of Deep Throat in its projectors.

What to do? David relates that the Attorney General was undaunted, instructing the prosecutor to “keep going, we have to have the trial there.”

An ingenious solution was proposed. A quick phone call from Keating to Parrish was required and that moment is reenacted in the play.

One of the Perainos’ distribution centers was in Florida; a small fact that influenced everything.

Here’s the tale as told to David via trial lawyer Alan Dershowitz of O.J. Simpson fame.

American Airlines and the Greyhound Bus Company provided transportation over and through the Volunteer State giving the feds the silver bullet for their porn target. You see, Tennessee is on the way to the Sunshine State. The prints carried on the planes as they made their way to the Atlantic coast and the film copies on the buses motoring over the roads that served the solid citizens of the Bible Belt tainted the state. The populace was endangered; morality teetered on the abyss of oblivion.

What little choice did Nixon have?  “Citizens were harmed,” David tells me with tongue firmly implanted in cheek. Prosecutions were the only answer. Please note that corporate America, the play pal of politicians, dodged the bullet. American and Greyhound would end up as un-indicted codefendants.

The story of the trial and its challenge to free speech and justice is the essence of The Deep Throat Sex Scandal. It’s in two acts and I’ll comment later on how Betolino blocked out the scene when Linda does Harry, an cinematic flashpoint that brought filmed pornography to Middle America’s doorstep and showed every woman that sex is more than a poke. It is ingenuity that even Nixon and Keating would love, done with obfuscation and a collision of sobriety and tomfoolery!

A note of interest on this production that tells us everyone involved has a great time. Alan Dershowitz was Harry Reems’ lawyer for his successful appeal of his Deep Throat conviction. It turns out Alan has quite a sense of humor. David says the attorney saw the show in its early previews, loved it and lingered afterward “for a generous photo session with all the cast and crew.”

Here’s the best part. After the performance, Alan complimented everyone on reenacting a significant moment in the history of free speech. Then, turning a little somber, he commented there was a small problem. I’ll let Alan speak for himself.

“The actor that played my role should have looked more like Brad Pitt!” he said with an impish twinkle in his eye.

There certainly is a lot of wagging of assorted tales in this production!

See The Deep Throat Sex Scandal if you have a chance. I suspect the tale wagging is worth the price of admission.

—————————–

For a link to the play check out http://www.deepthroattheplay.com/

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Corseted in Vegas without a Ticket

TLF signing in Vegas, 2011

by Rich Moreland, December 2011

It’s an old cliché, but small acts of kindness do matter.

Last year I took my research assistant to the Adult Video News (AVN) convention in Las Vegas. It was Brandy’s first visit to the Nevada playground though the trip was a working assignment, not a vacation. She did “Girl Friday” things when she wasn’t pointing me in the right direction. Brandy is top notch in getting through the rush of airports. She knows exactly where to go and keeps track of everything, which includes reminding me to have my business cards and digital recorder handy.

She was the best assistant I’ve had. I use the past tense because she has relocated to the southwest to finish her degree.

Brandy harbored no reservations about my research and is unfazed by the adult industry, always a plus when doing this type of work. She was invaluable when we studied film, offering interpretations and observations. Needless to say, the word “exceptional” can’t begin to describe her.

And, I might add, she is irreplaceable.

I really do miss working with her and for that reason I want to tell you a story that otherwise would be lost in the glitz and glam of Vegas. If you believe adult film performers are all bimbos with overcooked oatmeal for brains, your preconceived thoughts will be challenged.

A note. Part of this account is, as they say on TV, Brandy in her own words.

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Settling into Vegas . . .

Brandy enjoys meeting adult industry people and we were fortunate to network with some of the ones I know from my research work.

Among them was Tara Lynn Foxx.

Tara is a rising star in film pornography. She’s had “rough patches,” as she puts it, in her short career and has grown up too quickly by her own admission. TLF, as she is affectionately known in the business, jumped into adult film a couple of years ago at age eighteen, younger than most, and paid an early emotional price.

She’s one of the sweetest girls in the business I have met and cares about her fans, a characteristic not every adult film performer possesses. I first met her in San Francisco and if you check out her blog (the link is at the top) you’ll find three parts of an ongoing series I doing on her. Writing about TLF remains a pleasure.

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Now for our story . . .

The AVN awards show, the Oscars of Adult Film, is held on the Saturday night that concludes a week of busy floor time and self-indulgent parties that mark the adult convention.

On Saturday morning Brandy and I faced a rushed schedule that included interviews, seminars, and floor cruising to do some last minute networking. Over a late breakfast conversation with industry personnel, Brandy unexpectedly secured the promise of a ticket to a post-awards show party where she could mingle with the questionably famous, not so well-known, and hangers-on.

She was excited!

As the day moved into the afternoon, Brandy finally meets Tara and a friendship was born.

We set up a quick interview with Tara during an unanticipated break from her signing. Finding a quiet spot to block out the cacophony of the floor was not on the table, so Brandy and I joined TLF outside the entrance to the hall. The move was by necessity. Tara had neglected to wear “foundation garments,” as slight as they are in the industry, and it was suggested that she had to find some quick. Her mini dress was fairly snug, as is typical on the floor, and I could understand her reluctance to have “lines.” But rules apparently are rules.

Frankly, I was amused by the whole episode. Thongs, with no other covering are everywhere, and jeans, for those who prefer them, are cut way below the mowed lawn if you get my drift, leaving a girl’s torso more than a little revealing.

And need I mention the pole dancers scattered all over the place?

Tara’s break was short. A guy from her support network showed up promptly with the goodies and she excused herself.  We agreed to continue with the interview after her signing hours.

A shopping trip was in order to get Brandy the hottest “look” possible within our conservative east coast backwater culture . . . and our budget. Her passion for dressing up focused on a corset she wanted from a floor vendor. Armed with the credit card she disappeared while I talked about obscenity issues with an attorney for the Free Speech Coalition, the industry’s political wing.

By nightfall we finished our time with TLF, moving the second interview to her make-up artist’s penthouse suite in the Palazzo Hotel—very chic and very Hollywood in its environs.

The evening scooted by and around midnight Brandy headed out to the party. She maintained text contact with her ticket source and arrangements to meet were made.

The saga of her adventure, its disappointments and pleasure, would became known to me around four in the morning.

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The adventure begins . . .

When Brandy left our hotel for the Pearl Theater the cab driver was a bit of a problem, or should I say a nuisance. He kept trying to get to “know” her in a non-professional sort of way. Brandy’s a tough babe and his efforts were for naught. As you might have suspected he failed to get her to the theater on time. Her contact had disappeared; this is the adult industry after all and nothing is certain. So Brandy was, to use a tired and worn phrase, all dressed up with nowhere to go, or in this case corseted without a ticket.

Here’s Brandy . . . .

“The cab driver was horrible! Not only was he attempting to flirt, pick me up, or however you want to phrase it, his driving was horrendous. I mean, most cab drivers in Vegas are bad, but this guy took the cake. When we got to the hotel where I was supposed to meet up with my contacts, the driveway was crowded with people and cars everywhere. I wanted out so bad that I let him drop me off in the middle of the street in front of the hotel. People were yelling and screaming at him. I couldn’t get away fast enough. It was awful! When I got inside, my contacts were nowhere to be found. I later found out they left way earlier.

With no options other than bag the evening, Brandy pondered her next move. She was not ready to come back. Our plane was to leave in the morning and she wanted to at least socialize with somebody!

Brandy decides to linger . . .

“I did not want to pay for another cab ride right back to our hotel without doing anything! So I sat at a table in the lobby to see if anyone I knew walked by. I happened to be right outside the Pearl Theater entrance where the talent enters and leaves. It was the lobby where I was supposed to get my ticket.

That’s when I saw Tara. I walked up to her, (she hadn’t seen me yet) and we said ‘hi.’”

You’ve guessed the rest of the story if you have figured out that Tara was not yet twenty-one.

Brandy lets us in on what happened next . . .

“I asked Tara what she was doing, and she said she was going back to her hotel to chill. I asked if I could go with her and told her how my contacts were not there and I was unable to go to the after party. She couldn’t go either because of her age. She said that she was just going to hang out, and not do anything special. And if I didn’t mind then I could feel free to come along.

I just want to say that while Tara was dressed elegantly, as were some other people at the awards (lots of suits and ties), others wore the most outlandish outfits, at least for me. One group looked like they belonged on the convention floor. High heels (stilettos, four inches or more), brightly colored tights, short puffy skirts and tight, low cut, brightly colored shirts (if there was enough there to call it a shirt!) I was amazed.

Tara had brought her car from home and her roommate, the guy who brought her panties that day when she was on the floor, met us out front. There was some drama, something about a girlfriend (and I use the term loosely) who had borrowed her car and then when she returned it, left the car keys with the car. Tara was not happy, as you can understand.”

Later Tara told me she questioned her girlfriend’s common sense. She had placed the keys on the front tire where they were a sitting invitation for theft.

At any rate, it’s off to the room. The girls just had to work around the boyfriend who was sleeping, a little on the “I’d rather be home in my own bed” side.

Brandy is impressed . . .

“When we got to the hotel, we went up to Tara’s room. The first thing I noticed was that the room looked like a teenager lived in it and I mean that in a good way. Shoes piled everywhere, clothes scattered around. When you walked in you didn’t feel like the room belonged to someone above you. Like sitting down and kicking off your shoes was the next logical thing to do.  It was very homey, a really relaxed feeling.

Her boyfriend was lying in bed, he said he had been sick and was not feeling well. Tara then changed clothes, from her extravagant dress to more comfortable clothes.”

A look inside the room of a porn chick who perfects her ability to land anywhere on the Southern California continuum of glamorous to slutty was a treat for Brandy who looked pretty good herself, corseted in black.

Brandy continues . . .

“I was awed by the piles of shoes, jewelry, and stuff Tara had for when she had to look her best. She had one suitcase just for all the shoes she carried, from high stilettos to comfortable neon green chucks. Really cool.

We sat in her hotel room and just hung out. Watched a little TV, talked with her boyfriend. Her roommate had left to go hang out with some girl and Tara was not happy about that.

What do you talk about with someone who is a rising porn star, has lots of so-called friends, and is super beautiful? Well, the answer is easy . . . and pretty boring. We chatted about regular stuff, like my daughter, her job, how long her boyfriend had been sick, and the weather.

Not very exciting, I know, but it was nice to have someone to hang out with who seemed so down to earth, especially after spending so much time on the convention floor where so many of the girls seem so much larger than life.

What made it more interesting for me was that I had seen some of her professional work from Kink.com and then I got to just sit and chat with her. It almost seemed like a conflict that she could be that ‘wild child’ that I saw on Kink and then also be that sweet home girl that I was sitting with in a room. And then every once in a while, she would say something random that would remind me that she was more than just that girl next door. She had experiences that I couldn’t even fathom.

Over all it was a great experience, even though I did not end up where I thought I would that night. I enjoyed the opportunity to just sit and get to know Tara a little more as just another person (which she is) instead of just being an actor or performer.

After a while she walked me to the front of the hotel so I could get cab.”

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Tara told me some months later that when she got to the room that night she was “not on anymore,” that she didn’t “keep her face on.” Brandy saw Tara’s human side, not the porn girl caricature that the public so often sees at trade shows and TV reality programs.

It reinforced something Brandy and I talked about often; porn performers are everyday people in a most remarkable business.

They’re not drugged out hookers trapped in a wasted life without interests, family, or relationships because they are addicted to sex. As a matter of fact, they know and value the difference between “work sex” and “private sex,” with the latter the most cherished.

Adult film performers are average people, quite like you and me, with the same feelings of elation, sadness, anger, and compassion we experience.

I know some people don’t like to hear that and won’t believe it anyway because putting others down comes easier. But it’s the truth.

There is a lesson in this tale. Goodness shows up when least expected. Tara Lynn Foxx never imagined how extending her friendship to someone she hardly knew meant so much to a single mom working to get an education and move forward with her life.

Take a moment to visit Tara’s blog for a closer look at one of the authentic “good guys” in a sometime suspect business.

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