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Under the Radar: Karlie Montana, Part 2

by Rich Moreland, November 2014

Karlie Montana Photo courtesy of naughtyamerica.com

Karlie Montana
Photo courtesy of naughtyamerica.com

In the porn business, most shooting falls into two general categories: gonzo or all-sex being the first and features with plot, acting, and high levels of production values the second. Some performers think of themselves as “gonzo girls,” but Karlie Montana values not being typecast. What she does prefer is for director’s chair to relax during the sex scenes, giving the green light to the performers get into each other.

Allow the Sex to Flow

“My biggest pet peeve is when the sex is controlled and directed,” she says. Nevertheless, her work ethic reflects a consummate professional and Karlie recognizes that good directing will produces “the best that is porn.”

As for gonzo, the Arizona native has her own definition that closely mirrors the industry standard established years ago by Evil Angel‘s John Stagliano. It means “free-flowing sex that usually allows you to acknowledge that the camera is there,” Karlie states, adding that the POV (point of view) scenes are some of her favorites to shoot. But her affection for the challenges presented by the feature is never far away.

“As a performer I enjoy shooting features because I love acting and dialogue and a rhyme and reason behind the sex.” “Produced role play scenes,” as she describes them, are particularly invigorating for Karlie. If in doubt, take a look at her performance in one of this year’s AVN nominated films, Shades of Scarlet. She is superb in a finely written and directed story by Mike Quasar.

In truth, Karlie considers herself to be “a Jane of all Trades,” an attitude that ensures steady work. “I’ll give you any style scene you want,” she beams.

The " Jane of all Trades" Photo courtesy of juliland.com

The ” Jane of all Trades”
Photo courtesy of juliland.com

A ten-year career is testament to flexibility and an unbridled enthusiasm that splashes across the screen in a Karlie Montana shoot. Take a moment to check the Adult Video News list of nominated scenes for the upcoming 2014 porn awards in Las Vegas. Karlie is honored in two group scenes: Best All Girl Group Sex Scene in Anikka 2 with Anikka Albrite and Dani Daniels, and Best Group Sex Scene in King James with porn heart throb James Deen and superstars Veruca James, Dani Daniels, Maddy O’Reilly and Penny Pax.

Regardless of the porn genre, when the sex starts, Karlie’s professionalism takes over. Her favorite directors “allow the sex to flow,” she says. Simply put, “the people that allow me to enjoy the sex and have real orgasms are the people I love working for.”

Smiling, Karlie applies an exclamation point. “I do love to bounce into the sex!” And she carries her joy to the other side of the camera. As a director, she knows that to get the best out of performers, let them have sex “however they want to.” In short, “give them sexual freedom!”

Easily Bruised

As times have changed, so has commercialized filmed pornography. Today’s adult business has experienced an upswing in fetish filming and Karlie is ready to do her part. She loves shooting scenes with foot fetishes, pantyhose, and rope play.

But what happens when the page is turned to the rougher sex of bondage porn?

“I love bondage! I have shot plenty of it!” Karlie exclaims. No doubt it would be difficult to find a lovelier model to play a submissive role.

Asked about BDSM porn’s giant, Kink.com, the Valley girl admits never having journeyed to San Francisco to lay herself out in their rough dungeon sex. “I’d like to though,” she comments. “Just got to make sure I don’t get marked up (a common concern girls have in shooting at the Armory). I tend to bruise easily.”

Damsel in Distress. Photo courtesy of antonvideo.com

Damsel in Distress.
Photo courtesy of antonvideo.com

Karlie does have another concern were she to go to Kink. “I usually shoot ‘damsel in distress’ or forced orgasms because it’s hard for me to submit to people. I usually just start laughing which I was told is a way to try and keep control.” Quite possibly. A popular Kink performer a few years ago used laughing as a way to taunt her Doms, so it is not unheard of and a way of topping from the bottom.

Should the fan watch Shades of Scarlet, Karlie’s scene with James Deen and Skin Diamond, both Kink veterans, is noteworthy. Any sense of reluctance on Karlie’s part as a submissive is muted and her enjoyment of girl/girl action fills the screen.

Finally, this statuesque model comments that she is particularly fond of reality porn, one of the newer adult subgenres that mimics mainstream TV. Allow performers to mix it up and do anything that comes to mind. Karlie maintained her website for XxxFastPass network where she shot her own content along with porn actor, Voodoo, recognized as one of the highest paid men in the business. “Our style was reality porn” which she defines as “uncut and unscripted.”

We All Live on the Edge

Every performer has advice for a new girl and Karlie’s is spot on. Foremost, she wants a porn hopeful to understand that success and survival hinges on attitude. “You don’t have to do anything just because your agent or the business tells you to,” Karlie says firmly. Most often that revolves around rough sex, gang bangs, anal, bondage, and other hard-edged shooting demands. Caution is always advised because emotional ruin can crush a girl whose psyche is fragile.

“There is a career in girl/girl only, so never feel pressured to progress if you’re not ready,” Karlie insists. Her emphasis is on the word “progress” because building a lasting porn career is like constructing a house. Start with the foundation and move upward and then into the interior.

Karlie’s porn lesson stresses another consideration. “Save your money,” she says, because a career is too often brief and don’t neglect to buy your domain and “auction your clothes.” Everything produces an income.

Finally, we chat about controversial issues that swirl around the industry, the first being the condom debate. Karlie is blunt.

“When I was doing boy/girl I hated using condoms. It hurt to have aggressive sex for long amounts of time,” especially when some of the guys are so large. Her objections address the downside of protective barriers on a porn set, latex abrasion. For some girls, repeated penetrations, particularly if the shoot is both anal and vaginal, take a toll on the body.

The look of a confident porn veteran. Photo courtesy of twistys.com

A determined porn veteran who know her own mind.
Photo courtesy of twistys.com

Karlie pauses a moment to re-frame her thoughts into a political comment. “I don’t think it is fair to force me to use a condom when people in regular life aren’t forced to do the same.” She mentions the two-week testing protocol the industry uses and emphasizes that “if I want to take that risk it is my decision as well as my responsibility to stay healthy.”

Testing carries over the next issue, escorting, an industry complication that creates a social stigma among performers.

Karlie stands with Chanel Preston, an industry vet who supports performers opting for paid sex beyond the camera but challenges them to be aware of how their ancillary business affects others. “I do support a girl’s choice to escort because I don’t believe in telling someone how to live,” Karlie declares. But she insists that escorting brings responsibility. A girl should be “smart enough to have her clients screened,” know who her johns are, and insist they use a condom. “Sex will always be a risk,” Karlie admits, and it’s unfair to condemn escorting when “hooking up with civilians is ok.”

“Sex is sex,” she says, “whether money is exchanged or not.”

Of course, the danger is bringing an STD onto the set and into the tested performer pool—the point of those who condemn escorting. It ratchets up everyone’s risk. But Karlie extends the argument further. She is critical of the industry’s concept of safe sex, or as some put it, safer sex. It’s “bogus,” the longtime veteran insists, because it is incomplete. Performers are “only tested for a few things,” she adds, and HPV, for example, is not one of them. Yet performers have a “ridiculous false sense of security.”

In the final analysis, when it comes to sexual behavior, Karlie concedes, “We all live on the edge in one way or another.” Perhaps the public should listen to the wisdom of porn girls more often.

*          *          *          *          *

Karlie Montana is described as an “unsung” performer in the industry. What does the label mean to her?  She answers with a bit of humor. “To me ‘unsung’ means under the radar or unnoticed. And, since I’ve been in the business and a ton of people haven’t heard of me . . . well that’s why.”
Put anonymity aside and discover this luscious and provocative woman. Watch her at work. You’ll fall in love with a dynamic, smart, and talented personality packaged in the most classical and sculpted body in adult film. Guaranteed. . . !

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Moving to a Younger Lover: Torn, Part 1

by Rich Moreland, May 2014

Torn is another dynamic New Sensations film from Jacky St. James and Eddie Powell. No review of mine could top the ones already published. For excellent assessments of the film, check Adult Video News’ review here and XBIZ’s assessment here.

torn 20

With this article, I’m taking another avenue on this film. Rather than review the movie, I’m going to look at its imagery. In the silent film era, audio dialogue was non-existent, acting and the cinematographer’s craft drove the narrative. To move the story forward with words, filmmakers relied on the well placed title card to reveal snippets of the conversation between the characters.

My bet is that a St. James/Powell film can tell its story without dialogue because their artistry as a team is every bit as good as F.W. Murnau’s effort in the pre-sound fantasy, Nosferatu (1922), or William Wellman’s in the adventure classic, Wings (1927).

To test my idea, I decided on a two-pronged approach. First, I read the boxcover for a brief handle on the plot. Second, I did not view Torn from beginning to end. Instead, I studied the opening scenes in which the credits were superimposed on the screen then skipped to the final minutes of the film right before the last round of credits were run.

Would this sparse amount of information provide enough guidance so that the story would be meaningful if I sat through the entire film with the dialogue muted?

The answer is “yes,” because the directing, cinematography, and acting are that good.

(A disclaimer is due here. After the first silent run through, I watched the film again with the sound on so that I might fill in the names of characters and their relationships to each other. What is presented here is the story as I saw it without the dialogue, but with that information subsequently included. For the record, all photos are from Jacky St. James and are credited to Jeff Koga.)

Bedrooms: the Beginning and End

Beds reveal much about the story. In the beginning, the bed in which Christine (India Summer) and her husband Drew (Steven La Croix), occupy is immense, one of those extra wide varieties. The solid headboard is overly large, resembling a bridge between two faraway shores, or perhaps a dam or a wall that might be holding something back.

The crew setting up the opening shots with India and Steven settled in.

The crew setting up the opening shots with India and Steven settled in while Jacky (left) and Eddie (far right) get everything ready. Notice the headboard.

The room’s decor is subdued. As the shot is framed, the wall above the bed is blank and consumes an inordinate amount of space. The night stands are ebony (like the headboard) and the actors are dropped to the bottom third of the screen.

The feel is formal, distant, cold, and uninviting. There is brightness in windows on each side of the bed, but they are almost pushed out of the shot.

In the final scene, the camera is much closer to the bed. As in the beginning, the shot is taken from the footboard. Vastly different from the first scene, the bed is smaller, more intimate, and if the headboard is an open bridge (it consists of vertical metal strips, not solid wood), the shores are closer. No allusion to a dam, no way to hold anything back.

Smaller bed, snuggle and smile!

Smaller bed, snuggle and smile!

Color and warmth dominate the scene and the characters, Mimi (Remy La Croix) and Drew. Over the night stands on both sides of the bed are larger paintings of nature and fresh beginnings.

The opening scene imparts separation and divide, the final one intimacy and union. Knowing this, the story apparently revolves around Drew and how he moves from his wife to his much younger lover. Somewhere in this tale is a tearing away and a rebirth, at least that’s what is indicated so far.

The Afternoon Party

Drew’s life appears filled with drudgery. The snooze alarm is his morning friend and the drive to work is a bore. He has the look of “Is this all there is?” about his day-to-day existence.

Jacky sets up for the party shots.

Jacky sets up the party shots. India, Steven, Raylene, and Tom get their instructions while the crew hangs out.

An afternoon party hosted by Drew’s co-worker,Vicky (Raylene), and her husband, Roy, features an announcement of some sort. A somewhat disinterested Drew goes outside to smoke. (By the way, among the party goers is Jacky St. James a la Alfred Hitchcock, a cameo in her own film.)

Steven and Remy hang out at the wall before shooting the scene.

Remy flashes Steven before she becomes Mimi.

The home is in the hills and Drew sits on a retaining wall, a recurring image in the film. Mimi, the photographer at the party, joins him and they chat as if meeting for the first time. The scenery overwhelms the players and at this point in the narrative sends a distinct message. Nature is primal (remember the paintings in their bedroom referenced above), existing without assumptions and conclusions. Is this what Drew and Mimi will discover because they are not so much the focus of the scene as they are the recipients of its message?

Later in their bedroom, Christine tells Drew about something that is troubling her. It is related to the goings on at Vicky’s house.

A Bathroom Hideout

During the party, Christine is interrupted while she is in the bathroom. Desperate, she hides in the walk-in shower and peeks through the shower curtain. Roy, Vicky and a friend (Samantha Ryan) have three-way sex that features girl/girl oral, unusual for a Jacky St. James romance.

Waiting for the shoot to begin, Raylene, Tom Byron, and Samantha Ryan.

Waiting for the shoot to begin, Raylene, Tom, and Samantha fool around.

Apparently Vicky and Roy are swingers.

All the while, Christine is in the shower and her dilemma is told by the camera.

The angle is shot from above, an image akin to looking down an empty elevator shaft. Christine is trapped. Confined like the walls she has built around her marriage, Christine is devoid of the sexual passion right within her reach. At this moment, she gives the flimsy shower curtain an unassailable power over her. St. James’s message is clear: we only need rip away our self-imposed barriers and face what troubles us to free ourselves from its tyranny.

As the sex romps just beyond her, Christine sits on the shower floor, physically smaller, frustrated, and seemingly exhausted.

After the bathroom empties, Christine yanks back the curtain. Disgusted and upset, she washes her hands repeatedly and vigorously, much like the recurring imagery of tooth brushing that dominates bathroom scenes in the movie. What are the characters trying to cleanse in this tale of love’s failures and renewal?

The next day at the office, Drew talks with Vicky. Her surprise is followed by laughter, Vicky indicates Christine should have joined in. Drew gives her an “are you kidding me?” look.

A Living Room, then a Studio

A fireplace with large crucifix above the mantle dominates a room whose size stresses the divide between Drew and his wife. Christine is sitting in a loveseat under a huge mirror that reflects the crucifix on the opposite wall. Does the image comment on the sanctity of marriage and sexuality within it?

The crucifix sees all. Jacky directs Steven and India

The crucifix sees all. Jacky directs Steven and India

Hiding a piece of red lingerie behind his back, Drew approaches Christine. Incidentally, he wears a shirt that is also red, the color of passion. She doesn’t like the gift; rejection covers his face. Later he surprises her amorously in the laundry room but she pushes him away. Unfortunately, nothing is going to reignite passion in this marriage.

Mimi, who happens to be Vicky’s niece, shows up at the office. Remembering Drew from the party, the twenty-something wants to photograph him and they go to her studio.

In the foreground of the scene, Mimi loads her camera and Drew sits in a director’s chair some distance away. Mimi’s image fills the entire screen and is totally shaded. As the scene continues, Mimi emerges from the shadows, moving closer to him. Two close-ups of his hands emphasize his wedding ring.

Getting into position for just the right angle. Mimi foreground, Drew in the distance.

Getting into position for just the right angle. Mimi foreground, Drew in the distance.

The scene is playful and refreshing, smiles all around, the exact opposite of the deadness the viewer gets with Christine. But is Mimi about to dominate Drew’s emotions? Is she a harbinger of trouble to come?

Drew is about to make the move.

Drew is about to make the move.

As he leaves, the middle-aged Drew drops all decorum and kisses Mimi. She is stunned, but not unpleasantly. She did, after all, set this up.

The affair begins. Drew faces a relationship where second chances are rarities, but will Mimi become the dreaded other woman, the mistress destined to be shunted aside when tensions arise?

*          *          *          *          *

One of the difficulties in eliminating dialogue is losing the nuances it adds to a film, a richness we appreciate more fully when sound is turned off and words are gone. But clearly the visual operates on its own, proving that filmmakers of the silent era handed down their skills to a modern generation with, of course, the complements of the title card.

The second part of Torn is coming shortly.

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Gnawing at the Heart: The Temptation of Eve, Part Two

by Rich Moreland, May 2014

This is the second installment of New Sensations’ The Temptation of Eve, an adult film extraordinaire and multiple award winner at this year’s XBIZ Show. Oh yes, it was also AVN’s Best Romance at their Las Vegas extravaganza in January.

Remy Lacroix received Best Actress Award for AVN and XBIZ; Tommy Pistol landed XBIZ’s Best Supporting Actor. Not surprisingly, the film won XBIZ’s Best Sreenplay, the ultimate honor for a beautifully constructed and performed picture.

As I suggested in the first post, buy the DVD. You’ll need Eve in your library for repeated viewings.

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boxcover back eve

*          *          *          *          *

The interior of Brandon’s house reflects the reductionism Eve seeks to reorder and bury her past. The minimalist decor sports muted pastels and clean lines that are in direct contrast to the complications and conflicting emotions unfolding within the narrative.

Most descriptive are the black and white photos of nude and semi-nude women arranged in controlled lines throughout the house. The pictures reflect Eve’s longing for a sexual simplicity that confines her desires and rejects temptation, while illustrating Brandon’s line up of women he casually brushes aside once needs are serviced.

Is she one of them?

Brandon wants to corral Eve with images from the past. He keeps her dangling between yesterday and today with a questionable investment in tomorrow. There is no finality with her nude pictures; like the journal, they are kept out of sight but easily retrieved because she knows where to look.

In contrast, Eve has discovered a new start with Danny, the sweet guy she purports to love.

The couple plans to grow old together while Brandon captures Eve as forever young and desirable. The photos and the journals (there is a second one solely about her) are frozen moments, tangled webs whose individual elements swirl in the abstract painting by the front door and are twisted into the black metal frame that is across from it.

Minimalist is Brandon view of his world, sex without complications where every affair is a fleeting adventure. Eve’s oversimplification is to cope with her past in such a way to free her up to support a future of security.

For both, it is easy in thought, but difficult in reality.

More Flashbacks

Through Brandon’s intervention, Danny secures a job interview in Seattle. As Eve and Danny celebrate, Brandon offers flippant congratulations and sits at the kitchen table to write in his journal. The scene communicates a fluid situation. Over the table are three lights with red shades, one dominating the other two. Eve is the largest figure framed in the shot, the men smaller in stature. Is she gaining in this war with her temptations?

More flashbacks pop up, this time in the same kitchen. Eve is relaxing, naked on the counter. After a two year friendship, Eve and Brandon have just had sex for the first time.

Will our relationship last? Photo by Jeff Koga

Will our relationship last?
Photo by Jeff Koga

“Tell me it’s not going to fuck up our relationship,” she says. Doubt prevails through this carnival of free-flowing intimacy, but for now it’s all good. The two lights in the background are the same size, mates of each other.

Later when Danny is through packing and ready for some sleep. Brandon texts Eve. She goes downstairs to find him watching porn.

Exasperated, she says he is testing her patience.

“I’m testing your self-control.” His glibness bites at her. “Your resistance will break down.”

Pained, she casts her eyes downward, another flashback bubbles up from her unconscious mind. Yes, the sex screwed up their relationship.

Sex in Faded Color

Tormented by Brandon and memories that won’t sit still, Eve crawls into bed beside a sleeping Danny. The film’s second sex scene evolves out of Eve’s desperation to cling to something that offers protection against Brandon’s insensitivity. Nuzzling Danny, she awakens him and their lovemaking begins.

Getting it right with some guidance from the director. Photo by Jeff Koga

Getting it right with some guidance from the director.
Photo by Jeff Koga

The porn formula of oral and standard positions are highlighted and Remy Lacroix’s pert sexiness puts her stamp on this segment. There’s no hint of gonzo because the scene is more emotional than sexual. Raw physicality is not the message, how it is presented in mood and shadow is.

The music is an evocative cloud of doubt and foreboding that hangs over the lovers. The lighting is shaded, creating a scene that edges toward film noir, sex in faded color. Eddie Powell has created a cinematic masterpiece that communicates deep emotion so powerful the viewer forgets this is a porn film.

Considering the context of the lovers and how they are enmeshed in a conflict that could trample both of them, this just may be the most artistic sex scene ever filmed.

In the background are containers, boxes suspended between packed and unpacked (clothes hang on the sides). They are symbols of Eve’s presence in Brandon’s house, an unexpected transition in Eve’s life that now replaces the once irreplaceable—her love of Brandon. She’s been here before where she thought she would stay.

To highlight this message, Eddie Powell reveals only glimpses of penetration, simultaneously concealing and exploring Eve’s dilemma.

On the nightstand are three candles in different states of use, two having been burned, one hardly touched by flame. They offer different interpretations that are appropriate to the story.

The candles are on the right. Photo by Jeff Koga

The cast takes a break. The candles are on the right, the boxes are beneath the window.
Photo by Jeff Koga

The almost whole one is Danny, little affected by the past complications of Eve and Brandon, the others a deeply burned and a slightly singed. Which is Brandon and which is Eve?

Perhaps they also represent Eve’s vagina, used severely by Brandon, now delicately by Danny. Once the getaway is accomplished, it has a chance to begin anew, tested, but not overcome, by the past.

Or maybe the best preserved candle is the resolution to the temptation, perhaps it offers Brandon redemption.

Like the film’s closing moments, the objects in the bedroom explain a saga of love pained and redeemed in a sex scene graced with an emotionally surreal quality, a true anomaly in adult film.

Nothing More, Nothing Less

Alone in the house the following day, Eve decides on a bubble bath: soak troubles away, read the journal, and self-stimulate. In a wonderfully framed split screen shot of Brandon’s bedroom and the bathroom, pay close attention to the arrangement of pillows on his bed and then later the six candles grouped in threes by color behind the tub.

Preparing to shoot Brandon's entrance. Photo by Jeff Koga

Jacky and Eddie prepairing to shoot Brandon’s entrance.
Photo by Jeff Koga

Jacky St. James and Eddie Powell are preparing the viewer for a collision of emotions. Close-ups of Eve’s eyes and her licking her lips communicates everything. Is this journal about her?

When Brandon enters unannounced, whose privacy is being invaded explodes their conversation, offering Remy Lacroix her finest acting moment.

“People have fantasies, crazy intense out of control fantasies,” she says, rebutting Brandon accusations. “But that doesn’t ever mean they are ever going to get acted on.”

The ground under Eve is hardening, temptations are all around but she remains firm because separation, psychological and physical, is beginning to take hold.

“Fantasies aren’t reality,” she shouts, “They’re an escape, nothing more, nothing less!”

Eve defines the film in this forceful segment and her confrontation with Brandon is the contentious moment that turns the story in her favor.

Another quick flashback races across the screen, Brandon’s tongue works Eve into a joyous state.

“How many is that?” Brandon looks up at her.

“Too many to count,” a smiling Eve purrs, her eyes venturing down her body to find his.

The film’s reality is evident now, there will be no real time sex between Eve and Brandon. Early days with a hot lover remain a memory, recalled only in reverie.

Later Brandon plays his last card to move into real time. He brings Eve a bagel with her tea and asks her why she will not tell Danny of their affair. The solemnity of this moment is captured by the three candles on the nightstand; they now form a triangle.

Brandon says their first encounter years ago was more than just a weekend.

“For me, maybe,” Eve replies, but times have changed. “I’m not willing to jeopardize what I have now for what I wasn’t allowed to have before,” she adds.

“I’m sorry,” Brandon says, admitting things were too intense for him.

The truth is often painful. Photo by Jeff Koga

The truth is often painful.
Photo by Jeff Koga

He moves across the bed toward her, attempting to negotiate the emotional divide demarcated by a teacup. Danny suddenly arrives and calls Eve’s name, dropping the tension instantly and saving the misery of future entanglements.

A Trashy Taste of Gonzo

Jen (Bailey Blue), the girl who took Eve’s job, arrives with Brandon. The slutty blonde provides a trashy taste of gonzo that stands in contrast to the other sex scenes. Rough and raw in a hallway setting, the shoot is quick; no bed needed.

Bailey and Xander before they become Jen and Brandon Notice the metal artwork to the left. Photo by Jeff Koga

Bailey and Xander before they become Jen and Brandon. Notice the metal artwork in the background on the left.
Photo by Jeff Koga

Jen’s oral skills, spiced with doggie and cowgirl, drive the scene. Incidentally, casting Bailey is another Jacky St. James coup. She is the perfect Jen.

When the pop shot is deposited on Jen’s chest, a faraway look blankets a close-up of Brandon’s face. In using the office tramp, Brandon clarifies that he is incapable of dealing with Eve, but unwilling to accept that they exist only in the pages of his journal. Eve’s response is to put in her earbuds to stifle the noise of the sex, erasing Jen’s presence.

Brandon and Jen getting rough and raw. Photo by Jacky St. James

Brandon and Jen getting rough and raw.
Photo by Jacky St. James

For the record, there is no girl/girl sex in the film because it rarely fits a hetero romance unless a gay or bisexual element is attached to the story, or the characters explore personal fantasies. Such scenes in straight movies recall a porn formula evident decades ago, the obligatory and disconnected girl-on-girl sex thrown in to entertain a male audience, something Jacky St. James sees no purpose in resurrecting in this film.

Also, anal and facials are absent, though as professionals Bailey or Remy would gladly accommodate either. And if this were marketed as a gonzo flick, there would be a multiple penetration scene dropped in somewhere, probably a threesome with Eve, Danny, and Brandon.

Finally, a word about editing, Gabrielle Anex’s work is outstanding and particularly appreciated in the close-ups Eddie Powell shoots so beautifully.

No Key

Remy’s Lacroix’s second notable acting moment comes as the film heads for its conclusion. At long last, Brandon and Eve have it out. They were friends before they were lovers, she says, until “that weekend” after which he disappeared.

“You don’t value people.” Her voice is inflected with anger and frustration. “You just use them, they’re a means to an end.”

Eve has the proof. “It was a different girl on every single page of that journal . . . there’s no difference between me and them and whatever we had!”

Though Brandon’s expression spins a different take on her words, Eve has chosen to blur the lines between truth and deception and reality and fantasy. But, does anger encourage resolution because she is dead wrong as she will soon discover?

After Brandon says his goodbyes and leaves with his latest lover for an afternoon of fun, Eve checks the house for anything forgotten before she and Danny depart.

In fact, the rooms are filled with much to forget.

Wandering into Brandon’s bedroom, Eve finds his journal on the bed. It’s the final temptation and she weakens.

This journal is solely about her. On the wall is a powerful image that reams the truth out of Eve’s mind. One more black and white photo, it’s a partially dressed girl cowering and shielding her face with her arms.

A note addressed to Eve falls out of the diary and a final flashback occurs, the long awaited sex scene between Brandon and Eve, alive, as if in real time.

Passing the metal artwork, gnarly tales of pity sex, revenge sex, and lost opportunity, Eve closes the front doors of Brandon’s house behind her. She has no key, of course, and cannot lock up her past, or Brandon . . . because temptation and the inaccessible never stop gnawing at the heart.

*          *          *          *          *

The cast going over the play before the sex arrives. Photo by Jeff Koga

Every superb film requires good acting. The cast going over the play before the sex arrives.
Photo by Jeff Koga

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Part 3: Moments with Tara Lynn Foxx

by Rich Moreland, April 2014

 In preparing the re-post of the final part of the Tara Lynn Foxx trilogy, I remembered the difficult days she faced a couple of years ago. In fact, I inadvertently experienced one of her upsetting moments on a Friday afternoon during the 2012 AVN convention.

After talking briefly with Tara during her floor signing time, we planned an interview in her hotel room later that evening. As our 7 p.m. appointment neared, repeated text messages got no response so I took a chance and went to her room. To say the least, I sensed something was amiss.

Tara answered the door with a look that announced a bad situation. While she and other models were at their signing tables, cellphones were stolen. For industry people, this is devastating because it upsets the fragile balance between personhood and profession. With her phone went Tara’s appointments and shoots, a performer’s lifeline, not to mention contact info for industry personnel who want their personal lives to remain private.

We never did the interview, though I did insist on taking her to dinner. An exasperated girl recovering from enough drama to knock down the hardiest of people was having it handed to her in spades.

 But TLF persevered and I’m delighted to report the almost twenty-four-year-old is a respected industry veteran with an education no college degree could ever duplicate.

Read on with the knowledge that to sustain a porn career takes a dose of personal fortitude many people would have to dig deep to find.

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A note: as I have done with the previous posts, some modifications have been made to the original entry which is available at Tara’s official blog.

TLF walking the Red Carpet. Photo by Bill Knight

TLF walking this year’s AVN Red Carpet.
Photo by Bill Knight

“Courage”

By Rich Moreland, November 2011

Book writing is a time eater and I’ve been working to get my manuscript ready for the early rounds of edits. I lost track of TLF for a couple of months and when porn models I know disappear off my radar and their names don’t come up in new releases, I get concerned.

So I turned to Tara’s blog for updates and saw “Some Heavy Shit” (August 2011).

It was time for a phone call . . .

“I doubted myself when I talked with you,” Tara told me. She was referring to a conversation we had months ago. Keeping her “game face” up and running, she did not let on at the time that her self-esteem was under fire.

Though our talk on this late November afternoon was hardly light-hearted, Tara assuaged my concerns that she might be spiraling in a direction that was not good.

How do you spell relief?

She is doing fine, taking some time off, getting ready to reenter the swirl of an industry that the late porn pioneer Marilyn Chambers claimed, “eats up girls and spits them out.”

A playful moment. Photo courtesy of Tara Lynn Foxx

A playful moment.
Photo courtesy of Tara Lynn Foxx

After being reassured that she wasn‘t suicidal, the urge nagged at me to do something to send her some love. We said “goodbye” with the promise to speak again soon and I immediately dug into my computer files to locate an unpublished piece I crafted some time ago. It was about courage in the adult industry and Tara’s strength of character called it to my mind. She was not the subject of it then, but is a subject for it today.

Here is an excerpt.

“Porn girls are vivacious, attractive, naturally hedonistic, and draw instant attention. But despite their ‘money and fame’ persona, the cost is high. Their bodies are penetrated and used for profit and the glamour can sometimes reek of men who stink in body and soul.”

In Tara’s case, the cost was extracted from her spirit. If you read her blog entry you’ll see what I mean.

Here is more from the same piece.

“For those not in the business, the thought of exposing one’s body, engaging in sex acts of various kinds, and having it displayed on the internet is overwhelming and prohibiting. It can lead to feelings elucidated by Tera Patrick. ‘We’re all hos on this bus,’ she said.

Courage is on display in pornography to a greater extent than we realize. Striving for acceptance is basic to our survival and rejection hurts. We want people to believe in what we do, the decisions we make. For a porn performer, the personal issues for entering the business may be varied—economic concerns, lack of opportunity, a free spirited sexuality, or a sense of adventure. But whatever the reasons, courage is necessary. Without it, the human spirit collapses.”

What happens when the unscrupulous—in the porn business think agents, producers and directors—abrade and smash a performer’s ego, in effect reducing a woman’s personhood to whatever can be shoved into three holes? Such a contemptuous exploitation is particularly devastating to an eighteen-year-old whose naiveté is stripped as bare as her body.

Respect is evasive or non-existent.

Floating Endless in Cyberspace

In Tara’s case, her inner fortitude was battered, but not buried. She remolded it into a resilience that continues to cope with two demands in her professional life: perfecting her on screen performance and excoriating the stench of a casting couch that brutalizes and numbs.

Everyone has doubts, but in porn they can be crippling. The average career, after all, runs about eighteen months. Some make it longer. Nina Hartley, Bobbi Starr, Aurora Snow, and Madison Young come immediately to mind. But it is daunting.

Porn means putting your vulnerabilities on the line for all to see, hoping your looks and the ability to turn a good fuck keep you sane.

The business is glamor and hustle rolled together. Photo courtesy of Tara Lynn foxx

The business is glamor and hustle rolled together.
Photo courtesy of Tara Lynn foxx

“Remember the camera, sweetheart, give it a look and point your toes,” the director says as the crew prepares to shoot the DP. Bear in mind, not every pronographer cares if a model can stomach co-stars she marginally tolerates popping Viagra to make her day a little longer. And, don’t forget the wretchedness of a dirty bathroom, or the terror of anal without a condom.

“If you won’t do it, Sweetheart, I’ll find somebody who will,” is the tacit implication. Along with the slime of wheedling agents, it is ugliness at its basest level.

As Tara informs us, the industry has its share of shady characters.

Failure, defined as looking too mechanical or being resistant to that little extra not spelled out in the call sheet, costs a performer work. And if she decides the business is not for her, it’s pack up time to go home with the haunting memory that her short career is out there floating endlessly in cyberspace. Social media lights up and her high school friends troll the net to find out if she is shaved as smooth as a baby’s butt.

Most egregious are paydays that depend on deals struck before the shooting starts. Paved with false promises, the first round is sex for free. The emotional pain is overwhelming or totally denied.

Tara knows this all too well.

That’s why the business’s famous adage is, “you don’t fuck to get a job, fucking is the job.”

Survival

Tara shows Traci, present recalls the past. Photo courtesy of Tara Lynn Foss

Tara shows Traci, present recalls the past.
Photo courtesy of Tara Lynn Foxx

A porn generation ago, the infamous Traci Lords was said to service the crew when not in front of the camera. But Traci was a manipulator, who turned her talents into a kind of porno blackmail. On the other hand, Tara was barely legal, as they say in the business, when she entered porn. Wettest behind her ears, she was like many others, just a kid who wanted to please.

In the industry, scenes are marketed as boy/girl and a performer’s resume lists her other shoot availibilities with girl/girl and boy/boy/girl among the standard choices. Talent is infantilized, second-class citizens in a billion dollar industry. And if you didn’t know, there are no residuals when a DVD or internet shoot is marketed or scenes are extracted later for compilations.

Bill Margold, porn’s eminent historian, has said many times that the adult industry should hug the “kids,” as he calls the models, but would rather screw them instead.

Travel, hotel rooms, and pleasing others is all part of porn. Photo courtesy of Tara Lynn Foxx

Travel, hotel rooms, and pleasing others is all part of porn.
Photo courtesy of Tara Lynn Foxx

But, I will tell you this. Tara Lynn Foxx is a survivor. When I said she could roll through an interview like the baddest big boy in a monster truck rally, I was not kidding.

When her confidence crashed around her, doubts about loss of control surfaced. Questionable decisions that were not always in her best interests piled up and depression moved in for a stay. Trust took a hike.

But with a person of Tara’s courage, recovery flickers softly at first, then roars like a fire.

I know because I could hear it in her voice as we talked that chilly November afternoon a continent apart.

She can “put on her face,” as she calls her professional demeanor. But the true test of strength comes when she is “not on anymore,” those moments when her porn persona melts away and she morphs into the “natural” Tara: honest and sweet with those captivating eyes.

Putting in floor time for the fans. Photo courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse.com

Putting on her face for the fans.
Photo courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse.com

This woman has mettle, that inherent quality of temperament that crafts toughness and internal strength. She can follow her passions while shielding herself from the dirt flung by critics and abusers. Her inner sanctuary has not collapsed.

Best of all, she knows this.

My little piece of writing here is an emotional and psychological obituary for the “kid” Tara once was and an introduction of a Tara Lynn Foxx that has vacated girlhood to become a “woman” in a tough industry. She has experienced death and rebirth accentuated with spirit and spunk.

Doubt will always inhabit the soul, as I shared with her in our conversation. I’ve had mine and you, her fans, have had yours.

But our inner strength, the belief in ourselves, never goes away; it just hibernates, waiting to be called up in time of need like the army reserve.

And, don’t forget the words of Ringo Starr, it’s sweet when we get “a little help from our friends.”

Tara could use a little boost at her back right now. This is where you come in. Send her a comment, email, or make a phone call.

She has my trust and faith. How about yours?

*          *          *          *          *

In closing this trilogy, I want to mention something of interest. Not long ago, I asked Tara if she supported an idea some industry people—award winning director Axel Braun and porn historian Bill Margold among them—are talking about these days: an industry-wide voluntary restriction that models be twenty-one before they are allowed on a porn set.

Not surprisingly, she gave me a resounding, “Yes!”

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Part 1: Moments with Tara Lynn Foxx

by Rich Moreland, April 2014

As spring settles in I have good news. My manuscript is on the publisher’s desk jumping through the editing hoops. It’s been a long slog, but I could not have completed it without the help of some generous people in the adult film industry. Among these performers, directors, and others, is a delectable sweetie named Tara Lynn Foxx who has risen from a perky nineteen-year-old porn newbie into a recognized star today. I’ve watched her mature and grow in an industry that can be unkind to girls who cannot find their way. TLF has beaten those odds with a fervor that spells success. 

In 2011 I did a series of posts for her blog which I’m reproducing here with some modifications and additions. The entries are in three parts. To check them in their original form and read all about this future porn hall-of-famer, go to Tara Lynn Foxx’s blog.

For the record, TLF’s place as a feminist in modern adult film is preserved within the pages of my upcoming book.

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

Tara at the 2014 Adult Entertainment Expo Photo courtesy of Glenn Francis/

Tara at the 2014 Adult Entertainment Expo
Photo courtesy of Glenn Francis/PacificProDigital.com

TLF posted this comment for her fans.

(For those that didn’t have the chance to read part 1 here it is! Enjoy! xoxo TLF)

“I’m One of the Luckiest Girls in Porn”
by Rich Moreland, February 2011

“I create this fantasy for you so you can orgasm and have great sex and hopefully learn things because I’m a girl that is so open to sharing.”

The words are those of rising porn talent, Tara Lynn Foxx, a pouty-lipped blonde with animated brown eyes. We’re in San Francisco’s famous “porn castle,” the rehabbed National Guard Armory that is the new home of Kink.com, the internet giant that markets a variety of BDSM and alternative sexuality websites. She’s up from L.A. to do a couple of shoots with their webmasters.

I’m playing hooky from my college teaching schedule to do research in SF. One of Kink’s gracious employees rounded up Tara for an interview before the twenty-year-old left for the day.

Being a bondage model at Kink can put a strain on the system. Photo courtesy of Kink.com

Tara at work. Being a bondage model at Kink can put a strain on the system.
Photo courtesy of Kink.com

We’ve just been introduced; my first impression is beyond positive.

Sitting down with porn actresses is somewhat routine for me, but I quickly discover that this girl is going to be a ride.

Confidence fills the space. Cool. But is she cerebral? I’m looking for information, something more than fan reaction to her latest shoot. Does she have presence? Can she roll through an interview the way the chief bad boy crushes cars at a monster truck rally?

As a former Alaskan governor would say, “you betcha.”

Sans makeup and dressed casually in shorts and top, TLF is engaging, smart, and a sweetheart with her time and energy. She has her opinions and does not back away from telling it from her side.

From the beginning, I learn that she likes people who ask her questions about adult entertainment because she believes it “sheds a positive light” on the industry. But she does have her reservations about too much of a good thing?

“If our taboo goes away, then I think it would hurt us. I don’t want a lot of people to think porn is easy to get into.” She admits that physical entry into the business is not difficult. Being suited for the job is another matter.

“You’re not going to last long if you’re not made for porn. It’s just not made for everybody.”

True. I’ve heard that before. Adult film models are the sexual elite of our culture, but industry survival is a product of self-will and intelligence. Tara at her tender porn age has a wisdom born of experience and hard knocks in an industry that can chew up a girl and spit her out. My interest in her is ascending.

We spend the time talking about Kink and condoms and the fun of porn. But that’s for another day. This account focuses on the beginning . . . .

San Francisco Girl
A few months later we reunite in Las Vegas during the 2011 AVN convention. I grab her (not literally!) for more interviews. In the non-stop four days of the gathering of porn fans and media types, this is no simple task. TLF’s getting her hair and make-up readied for the awards show on Saturday night. We’re talking; the make-up artist ignores our conversation.

Getting ready. Photo courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse

Getting ready.
Photo courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse

“I grew up in the Bay area, born in San Francisco, moved all around. Right before high school I moved up to Oregon. Then after graduating headed to Washington to do webcam. Then down to L.A. to do porn.”

Webcam is an engaging start. I ask how it helped her transition into porn. Tara explains she got to do things for the first time with just herself and at her pace. The surprise was her interpretation what she was actually doing. “I though it was nude modeling, at home, for Playboy, things like that.” But it was more. She started penetrating herself with dildoes. Porn! And she was practically giving it away! But at eighteen, she was, as she puts it, naïve.

Her epiphany was immediate. Tara reasoned she could make more money and reach more people by doing straight up porn in the marketplace that caters to the adult film consumer’s demand—L.A.

Going there would make a difference.

“I’ll make more people cum, that’s what I was thinking,” she says with delight.

In all my interviews with Tara, she communicates a central notion that makes up the “TLF” personality. She cares about others and particularly her fans. Her background—a loving mother and a supportive sister—shapes this sensitivity.

“I am probably one of the luckiest girls in porn, because I didn’t have a super fucked up life when I grew up.” Tara talks about her mom raising her despite the absence of a father, and her mother’s Herculean efforts to support the family.

Mom and LA

Modeling career underway. Traveling to LA. Photo Courtesy of Tara Lynn Foxx

Modeling career underway, going to LA.
Photo Courtesy of Tara Lynn Foxx

Tara also revealed her mother’s intuition. “My mom knew about my plans for getting into porn before I even came down to L.A. I was living in Oregon and I told my mom I was moving to L.A. and we really don’t have any family there anymore, so she’s like, ‘wait a minute, why are you going down there?’ ‘To be a model mom, an actress’.” Tara smiles in the impish way that is hers alone and adds, “She was like, ‘umm, you’re doing porn aren’t you?'” Mothers have a way of knowing these things.

Though her mother was aware of Tara’s decision to enter porn, she is cool with it. Tara mentions that her mom is “very supportive and is actually in talks with me about doing [creating] lingerie for me.”

As for her sister, Tara is a little hesitant. “She knows I do porn, she’s so-so with it, but she loves me.”

Everyone who ever talks to a porn star wants to know about her first time with sex. So, I’ll ask for all of you.

For Tara, it was all about the Bay area lifestyle. It made losing her virginity as easy as jumping on public transit, or at least waiting for it.

Tara confesses what living in San Francisco means for a teenager, “you could get away with a lot more.” Her mom was working all the time and Tara spent long periods away from home, up to a week sometimes. “My mom wouldn’t say much because she assumed I was with my friend, at her house.” SF is a party town and Tara experienced more freedom than most teens and more opportunity to get into sexual mischief.

OK. So how did it happen? Tara is matter-of-fact.

“I was 12. I used to lie and say I was 16, ‘cause I looked older. I was with my best friend and we were leaving the mall and missed the last bus. We were walking to catch the Bart [Bay Area transit]. There were these really cute guys squirting water guns at each other and I yelled at them, of course, because I’m a big mouth and wild like that.”

Makes sense to me; TLF has an endearing sassiness that captures your attention straight away.

“We started talking and they were cute. We lied about our age and said we were older. They lied and said they were younger. They were like 18, 19 or something like that, and we were 12 and 13. It was kind of bad, but it was fun.”

Tara and her friend made a quick pact to lose their virginity that night, then and there. But surprises do occur. TLF did the dirty deed. Her friend backed out.

“I go through with it and I found out she didn’t.”

But there is a moral of sorts to this story. Tara’s friend later lost her virginity in a car. Tara smiles coyly and recalls, “at least I did in a bed.” Was she upset with her friend that fateful day? Not really. What Tara didn’t know was the lucky boy, whatever his age, who scored with her that day started her off on a run of pleasure that would take her into adult film at the too youthful age of 18.

The Girls Have It

Now for the follow-up that every fan wants to know. “When was your first girl-on-girl experience?” I ask, anticipating what I have heard from other models. I was not disappointed. It begins young; in Tara’s case, very young—she was eight.

“I would play with dolls and then go to a dark place and start making out and dry humping and stuff like that.” Everyone starts slow, but maybe not as early as eight.

“My first actual sex with a girl was in my senior year of high school.” That’s better. At least we’re heading in the direction of eighteen.

She turned out to be a hot “Latin chick,” Tara says, and confesses she’s always been attracted to Latin women. “She was the most beautiful thing ever and we did it in my mom’s house.” Probably in a bed, Tara picks her spots carefully.

She adds whimsically, “I might have a girlfriend again” someday but at that time “we were both seniors and we just clicked instantly.”

Clicking with Tara Lynn Foxx is natural and effortless because she is so affable and accommodating. On my list of porn models I’ve gotten to know, she ranks at the top.
——————————————–
More is coming your way later . . . a little on kinkiness, safer sex, thoughts on the industry, and, of all things, feminism . . . . and most important, more about mom and going to L.A.

Rich Moreland, February 2011.

 

 

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Only After They Get Power

by Rich Moreland, June 2012

The following excerpt is from my unpublished manuscript on feminism in adult film. Citations have been removed.

Taking control her body and determining how it will be displayed on screen is the premier feminist trait in adult film. Feminist empowerment shows up each time a performer negotiates her pay, calls her own shots for the camera, and exercises choice. For the handful of feminist directors, giving performers input concerning co-stars, yes and no lists, hard and soft limits, and safer sex precautions are upfront and part of the package. This is not to say that male directors ignore these offerings, some are as assiduous in satisfying them as are women cinematographers. Yet, this scenario is not universal in the industry and women who are persuasive of their own needs are not the norm. The patriarchal hand of porn is firmly in place; respect for the female performer and director remains a matter of opinion.

An overarching view comes from feminist writer Wendy McElroy who years ago observed that industry males insist they value the women who are penetrated for the camera’s delight, though it is “a form of acknowledgement,” she asserts, “not a form of respect.” McElroy concludes, “women in porn will probably get respect only after they get power.” The genesis of McElroy’s statement came from a dinner conversation she had with John Stagliano and the late John Leslie at the AVN convention in the early 1990’s. I brought up her comments in an interview with Stagliano during the AVN gala in 2012. He assured me McElroy was referring to remarks Leslie made concerning a particular performer and should not be misread as an indictment of the industry.

“John Leslie was talking ‘off the cuff’ about his interaction with some women and the fact that he was sexually aroused by some women under certain circumstances,” Stagliano said, clearing up any misconceptions about his late friend. “In the case of that dinner, John was talking about some girl with a big ass that he was really interested in.” Stagliano believes McElroy misinterpreted Leslie’s words. They were not intended to objectify the girl and McElroy’s conclusion that Leslie had no interest in the performer’s personality was a misinterpretation of the conversation. Staglino backs off a little, however, to clarify the scene. McElroy believed Leslie did not demonstrate “enough of a feminist outlook,” he explains, and her criticism of Leslie’s words in that instance had some validity. But Stagliano adds that McElroy generalized Leslie’s remarks to account for the portrayal of women in all his films. “John had a huge amount of respect for women,” Stagliano insists, “just look at his movies.”

Among industry people John Stagliano is highly regarded. He is feminist-oriented in his outlook and actions, though he may not understand it that way. Stagliano’s support for women he believes are creative in their work, such as directors Belladonna, Tristan Taormino, and Bobbi Starr, bear witness to his respect for women. Stagliano endeavors to produce a top notch product and people are the vital cogs in his machinery. He understands the importance of creativity and teamwork in an industry that is easy to malign. “I think that human beings sometimes don’t appreciate the people that they work with,” Stagliano says, and he personally wants to find value in people. “I try to see what’s good, what it is they have to offer and treat them with a certain respect as human beings. . . . that’s the way I prefer to do business.” Stagliano knows that his way of interacting with people is not the industry norm. Undeterred, he holds to the belief that “in the long run I prove that it works to do it my way because you build bridges” in an environment that is stoked with “competitive pressure.”

The moguls of porn believe they respect the women they hire and I have no reason to doubt them. But female performers do not universally share that view. There is a disconnect between the traditional industry patriarchy and the women who toil to create the profits. Yet this separation may be more a reflection of society in general and not so much porn in particular.

Nina Hartley has a feminist perspective that is not far from McElroy’s point of view. She believes women are “valued for their ‘hotness’” but this does not necessarily translate into respect. Nina talks of female directors who must cope with male egos in the boardroom, men “who don’t want to deal with women” and who have “issues with women.” Nina indicates that for some men in the business it is challenging to connect emotionally with women, but such a claim can be made about broader society as well.

Veronica Hart supports Nina’s interpretation of respect. With a few exceptions, Hart does not believe that women as a whole are influencing the business of pornography. “I don’t see many women affecting the business that much.” She notes a few, particularly mentioning director Nica Noelle and Club 90’s Candida Royalle. Noelle’s “new spin” on shooting sex more realistically and Royalle’s “couples porn” are notable achievements in Hart’s eye, but their real business success is measured in selling movies, not the artistic accomplishments within them. Hart generalizes porn to other aspects of the corporate world where profit dictates a product’s success. “Business is business,” Hart begins. “It doesn’t respect anyone. The only thing it has respect for is the ability to make money.” True, no argument on that fact. But Hart adds that respect has another connotation that is closely aligned with John Stagliano: it is very personal and built on relationships. Respect depends on “the people you are working with,” she says, suggesting that it is a viable commodity shared among those on both sides of the camera. Hart remembers that as a director, she held her performers in high esteem, though there were a few who challenged her efforts in that regard. “I realized, ‘Thank God they were fucking because they couldn’t do anything else!’” “This is coming from a feminist,” she amusingly adds, “but I realized that people have certain abilities and just because they are in the porn business doesn’t mean they get my respect. You earn respect.” Hart elaborates on her point. Respect comes from a “pattern of being responsible, of standing up for other people, kind of doing and saying the right thing. That’s what gets you respect in life.”

I revisited for a moment McElroy’s assessment and asked Hart for her thoughts. “I think that is more a reflection on society than it is the porn business,” she says.

The adult film industry is not a business that labors daily in Middle America’s towns and villages and people are quick to pass judgment on women who have sex for money. Yet, they don’t always think of males the same way. In the public’s eye, Hart says, it is still “commonplace” to demonize women in porn as “sluts,” though she believes the term “has lost a lot of the stigma” it once had. She contrasts the word derogatory term with opinions voiced about men. “A gentleman who does it [performs in porn] is a stud,” she adds, “a guy is a conqueror.” Hart sees these definitions as a “connotation of who we are” as sex workers, of how performers are evaluated and presently situated in the industry. On the other hand, she repeats the old standby that “it’s great if you can fuck her [a porn girl], but you wouldn’t want your mom or your daughter to be one” still holds true. But she wraps the porn business in broader cloth when she states that, like it or not, the smut industry is a “part of society” and cannot be separated from it.

I’ve heard some porn people, most notably veteran Bill Margold, talk about the adult business in familial terms, the “Family of X” as he calls it. I pressed Hart to expand on the role of women in adult film and how that may relate to the larger aspect of unity.

“We are a vital necessity,” she begins. “The love in the business comes from the people that make friendships in it.” That sticking together is what Margold means, I believe, and what Club 90 illustrates so well. But Hart’s honesty takes a sudden brutal turn. “This is a business. We always say ‘Oh, the porn family.’ Fuck that! It’s not a family, it’s a business and a business loves nobody, respects nobody except a person’s ability to make money. The bottom line is making money,” she repeats. “If you are a moneymaker, then the business loves you. Right?”

Hart concludes with a position unconsidered by antiporn feminists and unrealized by the general pubic, what pornography can professionally do for women. “Pornography is one of the few places where a woman, if she wants to, can excel,” Hart says, adding that adult film women are in the unique position of being “in control of their careers.” “They’ve made their own choices,” she says, and “have a lot more freedom when they work in pornography than in most other jobs.” Referencing her personal work in the industry, Hart singles out her own successes. “I’ve been given an opportunity in porn to be anything I want to be. I can hold a camera, I can write, I can direct, I can edit and all of these things are very difficult. I can make movies because of porn. I can make really good low budget movies, whether exploitative sex movies or horror movies or action movies, it’s all the same animal. I know how to do that because of this business. I’m very thankful for it.” 

———————————

Feminist scholar Carol Queen offers that today’s porn industry woman little realizes she is a feminist until she learns from “older women” that there are “multiple feminisms,” sex-positive the most formidable example. When porn women narrowly define feminism as sex-negative and anti-porn, its goal of moving women beyond a sexual second-class citizenship is lost. Feminism in adult film is about control and choice, and many well-known performers exercise both. Nina Hartley illuminates the feminist sex-positive philosophy with “my body, my rules” which enables her to “take responsibility” for her own sexual satisfaction. It is, and will always be, her choice as to where to place her body and who her partners will be, on or off film. Many performers, particularly those who have committed to the industry long term, would agree.

In the end, success may come down to money and its reward, power, but those are not its limits. Success is also about that inner courage and determination that builds a respect that all women are capable of achieving. Wendy McElroy is correct in her conclusion that respect comes with power. We know that in the pornography empire, as it does in corporate America, politics, and social influence, money translates into power. For a porn actor, however, power also means doing it her own way. The women of Club 90 and Pink Ladies forged a path for themselves that challenged the accepted way of operating in adult film. Today adult film women who insist on choice and control in the face of a patriarchal industry traditionally built on monetizing male auto-eroticism have achieved a measure of success on both sides of the camera. Feminists in adult film are lending other elements to the money-power continuum with a philosophy that expands what it means to be a woman and express a sexuality that in and of itself commands respect.

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