Tag Archives: Bree Mills

AEE 2019: Bree Mills, Part Four

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

In this final installment on writer/director Bree Mills, we asked three female porn super stars about working with the Gamma Films head of production. 

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers.

*          *          *

Casey Calvert

I’ve interviewed Casey Calvert several times over the years she has been an adult film actress. I can always depend on the native Floridian to give me the lowdown on the industry. She is honest and smart.

Today’s topic is Bree Mills.

“Bree is one of my favorite directors to work with. She cares about her product and to me that means performance,” Casey says.

The former fetish model refers to the “product” as the “actual scene” filmed, not a “pop-up” internet ad or a “photograph for Instagram.”

That’s important because Bree’s attitude privileges her cast to also “care about the product.” It’s leadership by example.

Does Bree’s gender matter? Is she formulating the modern female director in porn?

Casey doubts that. “I don’t think that Bree’s gender impacts how she runs her set. I think Bree’s personality impacts how she runs her set.”

Admittedly, many directors care about what they shoot, Casey continues. But with Bree, things are different. “Bree is just in a really unique position where the company that she is working for also cares about the product.”

Speaking of the brand and its content, I suggest that Pure Taboo is edgy and a little bit creepy.

Casey doesn’t dispute my assessment, but qualifies it with “sometimes,” particularly as it applies to “creepy.”

I reference her performance in Don’t Talk to Strangers. Of special interest to me is the moment Casey jabs the syringe in Gina Valentina instantly terminating a victim Casey and her husband had kept in sexual confinement. I describe her role as “nasty.”

Casey smiles. “That was my character. I was a lot of fun.”

Did Bree give her any special directions to bring out that malevolence.

“She gave me the freedom to do what I wanted to do with that character,” Casey replies.

I speculate that Casey must have dug into her psyche to find the capacity for evil we all carry within ourselves.

“Right,” she responds. “I had the creative freedom to be weird and to be creepy. I didn’t have to make it campy. I didn’t have to make it silly.”

After a pause, Casey Calvert summarizes what is so special about working for Bree Mills.

“I was given permission to just be an actor.”

In the adult film world, that is an affirmation like no other.

Kenna James

Kenna James is new to me and a special girl, I immediately learned. Her bubbly personality is among the best in the industry. After introducing myself at the Adult Time booth, I persuaded her to sit down with my team in the press room.

I’m curious to know how Kenna describes working with Gamma Films.

“Shooting for Bree Mills is unlike shooting for anybody else in this business. I don’t know where she comes up with her ideas, if it’s just a memory bank or a vault. It’s incredible.”

Kenna’s smile warms her enthusiasm.

“Bree’s such an amazing person to be around because she’s so uplifting. Even when you’re dragging and you’re down and you’ve been on set for eighteen hours and you’re tired and cranky.”

I’m aware that Kenna has shot for Jacky St. James. What are the differences between the two directors?

The native Midwesterner observes that there are differences and similarities.

“They’re both very strong women who are brilliant at what they do.”

Kenna is effusive about Jacky. They are best friends, she says. “I adore her with all my heart. With Jacky it’s this playful, loving banter all the time.”

On the other hand, she mentions, it’s different with Bree, but it’s not easy to describe.

“I’m really bad at explaining with words, so I like mental pictures,” Kenna says, laughing.

I help her out a little. Perhaps Jacky may seem huggable.

“Yes,” Kenna replies.

And Bree may be down and dirty.

“Yes,” Kenna says, beaming.

Then I make the script observation I’ve done with other performers. Jacky wants dialogue as its written; Bree prefers improvisation.

“They’re very opposite,” Kenna affirms.

Finally, she distinguishes the two writer/directors with an analogy (or as Kenna would put, her “mental picture”)

“I would get on a motorcycle and go riding with Bree. Jacky, I would go dancing with.”

Perfectly put.

Whitney Wright

Whitney Wright is a native Oklahoman whose name in the business is A-list personified. She is one of Bree Mill’s go-to performers for reasons we’ve previously mentioned in first installment of this series.

When we relaxed in the press room at this year’s AEE, I ask Whitney to give me her version of the Bree Mills experience.

“I love Bree so much,” the former nursing student says with an affectionate laugh. “I had never shot for Gamma before she gave me a chance on Pure Taboo and I think that was partially thanks to Craven Morehead as well.”

Whitney and Craven follow each other on social media and he noticed a fetish scene she had posted. That led to a shoot for Pure Taboo.

Things took off from there.

“I’ve got seven or eight scenes on Pure Taboo alone [with] three more coming. So, Gamma is essentially like bread and butter. They’re the people I shoot for so much,” Whitney says.

Give us some words to describe Bree.

Whitney quickly rattles off “motivational. inspiring, vivid, animate.” Then, she adoringly adds “weird.”

“I think that’s why we get along so well,” Whitney says, reflecting on her list, especially “weird.”

I mention her role as the girl who is sexually used by a group of guys on her prom night in the Pure Taboo film with the same name.

“I believe that was the second time I had shot for Bree. It was really great. I loved the whole concept and again the taboo of it. That’s something I’ve loved in every scene I’ve shot for her.”

Whitney addresses what attracts her to the Bree Mills product.

“[It’s] the taboo and the complexity of whatever role I’ve been given whether it’s someone with a hidden agenda or someone who’s been wronged and tries to wrong someone else to make up for it. Or like my character in Prom Night who was just an innocent bystander,” Whitney explains.

Pure Taboo is website generated with an active membership so the fans comment on what they see. Whitney loves to hear what they have to say.

“There’s definitely an interesting mix of them,” she says, and their opinions are all over the place. Some fans will say the scene was “too rough” or they felt sorry for her character and they “couldn’t get into it.”

She understands their comments, Whitney says, but reminds us that pulling off the taboo component on-screen is up to the cast.

“Maybe the actress didn’t portray it well or they [fans] couldn’t get into the guy character ‘cause he didn’t sell it.”

That’s important because, as Whitney explains, “I feel like your partner is so vital in how the scene comes off.” That means everybody should be at the top of their game.

Whitney Wright concludes, “I always try to go for the gold. Especially with anything taboo. Whether it’s rougher sex or family stuff or anything like that.”

Achievement requires commitment and hard work, elements this private Christian school grad learned through the value of personal responsibility. They have served her well.

*          *          *

As we stated at the beginning of this series on Bree Mills, the writer/director is reshaping the future of porn. Among her most important contributions is validating that women in positions of influence can make a difference in content, production, and marketing.

Perhaps the days of porn’s entrenched patriarchy are beginning to wane.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

AEE 2019: Bree Mills, Part Two

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

In this second installment on Bree Mills, we will look at her filmmaking philosophy from a business and creative point of view.

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers. Logo is courtesy of Girlsway.

*          *          *

Data and Creativity

Like every successful businesswoman, Bree Mills understands how to produce the best content for the dollar. And, like every renowned artist, she knows how to find the right story to keep her fan base coming back for more.

Neither of the above accomplishments works without a collective effort.

“My content is a real mix of data driven decisions and creativity,” the head of production tells me. “I sit on a lot of data and I have a whole team at Gamma that studies what people want.” She refers to the accumulated information as her Petri dish she can “source from.”

“I speak with customers and porn fans, so I use that intelligence to fuel my ideas. But I try not to let the data override the creativity. It ends up being a good balance.”

To what extent does fan response drive future productions?

For an “ongoing series” it has tremendous value, she insists. What’s more, fans can be co-authors of a Gamma Films production.

“Girlsway, one of our big studios, is very involved in member feedback and sourcing ideas for our stories. My finger’s always on the pulse of how our fans are reacting to content.”

Usually she will produce a full season of a series then get feedback to generate the material for the next one. But with the recent development of Adult Time, she’s changing things a bit. Now Bree puts out “pilots of concepts so we can start getting feedback from members right away.”

The result has an “impact on subsequent episodes that we shoot,” she says, “so that we can start building an audience, build engagement, [then] refine our series.”

It’s a partnership of sorts, she indicates, because we are “shaping the content together.”

Outsider

A closer look at her product reveals that Bree considers herself to be “a pop culture vulture.”

“I’ve watched a lot of films, read a lot of books, and watched a lot of television. It’s in my genes.”

She explains that inspiration for a project comes for many sources and likes to quote Pablo Picasso, “Good artists copy and great artists steal.”

“When I come up with a concept, I’ll pull a little thing I saw here, a frame of a film that I remember here . . . to help me craft the piece I’m doing. I allow my respect for pop culture to influence the way that I work,” Bree explains.

Having said that, she qualifies her work in adult. “I’m an outsider. I’m not a pornographer who grew up through this industry. I kind of came in and crashed it in many ways.”

Admitting that people may not understand exactly what she is doing with a film or a series, Bree is undaunted.

“I do it because that’s the pull that I’m receiving creatively or the direction I’m going.” In other words, she follows her instincts.

Lastly, Bree mentions the feedback she gets from women. There is “strength in the female characters in Pure Taboo that is more relatable to a lot of female viewers,” she comments. Consequently, they “find porn very empowering.”

Her films present “something other than just a stereotypical portrayal of a woman as a sex object” that is characteristic of the industry.

But the picture is complicated, Bree infers. With Pure Taboo productions, there are “no winners,” male or female. In fact, “there are a lot of anti-heroes.”

Sex is the Last Thing

Finally, we talk about crossing over from adult to mainstream, or, to put it another way, from Porn Valley to Hollywood.

Bree concedes that there is some crossing over between “mainstream pop culture and adult culture,” but that is more lifestyle oriented. Her dream is to have one of her films cross over.

For the upcoming year, she is developing a “primary project” that can be shopped to film festivals she characterizes as “mainstream outlets.” It will have a hardcore version for her fans.

Her objective is to create “a film with sex in it.” A workable idea, Bree insists, because “half of the films on Netflix these days [have] a good degree of sexuality being depicted.”

Though her intention is to “showcase quality stories, if people are interested in seeing the extended, uncut, uncensored version, they can,” she affirms.

Lastly, the writer/director offers her assessment of what she does as a filmmaker.

“The sex is kind of the last thing I’m thinking about,” she says. “I’m thinking about how to build the tension, build the narrative, how to develop the characters. If I have done my job right, I’ve gotten into the actors’ heads, they will carry out the scene with their own experiences.

“They know how to have sex. If can get them to have sex in their characters, it will be a good scene and secondary to the story. It’s the end result of the story.”

Then she summarizes her goal.

Create a “good enough story that people can watch all the way through, are left thinking about it, and are amazed that we can do a story that is really interesting.”

Bree Mills ends with “I think that is completely possible.”

Gamma Films’ record eighty-four AVN award nominations for 2019 validates her point.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

AEE 2019: Bree Mills, Part One

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

Bree Mills is a rising power in adult film. By that I mean writer, director, producer, and businesswoman. Her bold creativity and ability to play on the edges of legitimate (i.e. mainstream) production is reshaping the future of the adult industry.

We sat down in the press room for an engaging discussion during this year’s adult trade show in Las Vegas.

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers. Pure Taboo supplied the logo.

*          *          *

The Process

The focus of our interview is Pure Taboo, the studio and its productions.

Bree give us the basics. “I actually oversee quite a few different studios. When it comes to Pure Taboo, I have two intentions. The first is to challenge the psychological side of sexual desire and sexuality and take popular porn tropes and tell them with a different tone.”

That means taking a typical porn scenario and “treating it like a drama” or “tragedy” rather than “a lighthearted comedy.”

She explains. “I want to make people think about the content [they’re] watching, to confront it . . . to question [what they see].”

The native Bostonian believes viewers will either love or hate what she produces, but they will certainly never forget it.

After looking at a handful of Pure Taboo films, it’s hard to disagree with her.

Bree’s second intention involves her casts. “How can we work with these very underrated actors [and] provide a vehicle for adult actors to show their range?”

Part of the answer involves dialogue. “What’s interesting to note, which you may not have realized, is that those are all improvised acting performances. There are no scripts,” she says.

Bree describes the process.

“We work off a scene treatment that I write, or a member of my team writes, and the directors bring those characters to life. We rehearse and choreograph it.”

In effect, the scenes turn into “long single takes.” In the end, it’s challenging because improvisation is the key. “That is the most powerful aspect of this,” she adds.

Gangbang in a Prom Dress

Bree uses words like “raw emotion, realism, grittiness” to encapsulate what she wants from her performers. To realize this outcome, she works with them “from their own experiences or their own emotions. This means supporting the “method acting approach” to getting what she wants.

“I call it porn script theater,” she says, and that means spending “the day like a theater workshop.” It works because Bree sees her role as “the storyteller.”

After that, she lets “the actors flush it out and then we rehearse it” which means tweaking things a bit here and there.

Because she likes to focus on “realistic situations and bringing them to life,” that became the genesis of Prom Night starring Whitney Wright.

The film is “one of a kind,” Bree declares. “I had the idea to do a gangbang in a prom dress.” There are many stories of women who “end of losing their virginity on the prom nights in ways that were not what they had expected and it’s very complicated,” she states. So, why not delve into what for many girls is a bizarre and painful rite of passage.

She and Whitney talked through “how we wanted this character to feel” and “how we wanted to keep the realism of it,” Bree says.

“Whitney is one of our go-tos. She’s a great actress. She’s versatile and a great sex performer,” the director says of the twenty-seven-year-old.

There’s more when it comes to this charmer. Whitney’s “just a really great person,” Bree continues. “She’s funny, she’s weird, shows up on set with a smile on her face. She’s very generous and very willing to go the extra mile. The perfect type of person to bring on your set as cast.”

In the end, Bree approached the plot as “this fantasy that so many people have.” Create a group scene involving a prom dress that becomes a nightmare and a film is born.

Don’t Talk to Strangers

The other film I bring up is Don’t Talk to Strangers. It’s about a young girl kidnapped and imprisoned by a married couple. Bree says it was “inspired by several famous true crime stories that occurred in the early nineties in Canada.”

Having lived there for a while, Bree says, the scenario was “this nightmare I grew up with.”

The narrative explores the “Stockholm Syndrome” and the film became “one of the grittier scenes that we’ve put out,” Bree comments. “It was interesting to work with all three of those actors who we’ve shot multiple times in multiple different roles.”

One of them is Casey Calvert.

“That was the first time that her and I have worked together,” Bree exclaims. “I was very impressed. She’s exactly how I would have imagined that character. Really beautiful, but very cold.”

Bree gets some of her ideas from others, including her fans. But what is of particular interest to her are the stories she hears from performers.

“I’ll work with them to bring that story to life and for some people it’s therapeutic . . .  a way for them to combat either something that happened to them personally or an issue that affected them otherwise,” she explains.

It’s an outlet, Bree believes, and she’s been able “to provide a platform for performers” to explore the deeper psychological aspects of their personality or their past.

“Sex is a complicated thing, you know. When making sex films, there’s a fair amount of emotion and anxiety and energy and vulnerability brought together. To be able to provide an outlet for people is therapeutic to me as a director. It’s one of the main reasons I’m in this business.”

Well said and we hope Bree Mills stays in the adult industry for a long time.

*          *          *

You can visit Pure Taboo on twitter at https://twitter.com/puretaboocom

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

AEE 2019: AINews Reports from the Show, Part 1

by Rich Moreland, February 2019

This is the first of two installments highlighting the 2019 Adult Entertainment Expo (aka the AVN Show) in Las Vegas. Our team circulated on the floors of the hosting venue, the Hard Rock Hotel, networked where we could, and conducted interviews to get an in-depth look at the porn industry today.

So far, we’ve reported on Evil Angel’s thirtieth anniversary and Nina Hartley’s thirty-fifth. We’ve also taken a look at how the show reflected the changes in our culture.

A pair of talented visual artists, still photographer Kevin Sayers and videographer/filmmaker Davyana San Miguel, provided the visual energy that graces these articles.

         *          *          *

Is there love between AVN and the cam world?

 If the last few years at the Adult Entertainment Expo is any indication, the porn world is experiencing an internal evolution.

That’s right, things are changing because the new kid on the block—the cam girl (and boy)—is altering the landscape of what defines porn, at least the commercialized version.

First, a little in-house geography. For those of you who have never visited the Hard Rock Hotel, the “floor” is divided among four major venues, three devoted to the on-screen industry and one to novelties.

A walk around the environs reveals that cammers are more evident than ever before. Not only do they have their own booths and tables inside the show rooms, they dominate the hallways that connect them.

That raises interesting questions. Are cam girls the newest version of porn girls?

Do cammers believe they are creating pornographic content when they perform for their fans and sell their shoots online? If that seems obvious to you, it isn’t to everyone and “therein lies the rub.” (my apologies for the well-worn misquote of Shakespeare)

Are cammers open to shooting for studios in a scripted environment?  It’s certainly outside their comfort zone where they interact with fans unencumbered by directors, cinematographers, and their crews.

And, how do the established porn stars—the studio moneymakers—regard cammers? Do the stars also cam as a way to build their brand?

In the interviews we did for Adult Industry News, I posed these questions. Answers varied, as you might expect, and we will look at some of them in later posts.

For now, here’s what we encountered during our meanderings about the premises.

Something for Everyone

The cammers greet fans in the hallways . . .

. . . And in the rooms! They seem to be everywhere armed with their connection to the fan world: their computer.

Cammers are not restricted by agents, you see. As a result, they are on their own to mix and mingle.

As a contrast, let’s take a few snapshots of porn’s traditional studios and the well-known stables that supply the talent.

The Agency Booths

We stop at the booths of a couple of modeling agencies I’ve dealt with in the past. At Foxxx Modeling, a brief chat with some girls we’ve already interviewed kicks off the afternoon.

The sexy Scarlett Mae.

The sultry Emma Hix.

And the perky BDSMer Emori Pleezer.

Nearby over at John Stevens’ Matrix Models, we find one of my favs in the biz, Vanna Bardot. Kevin and I met her recently on a Girlfriends Films shoot.

Porn’s Commercial Tradition

Then it’s on to the studios, the heavy hitters of porn. First is Adult Time, Bree Mills’ venue where . . .

. . . I renew old acquaintances with three of porn superstars, all of whom are up for AVN awards. We set up interviews to explore new topics we’ve not talked about before.

Tommy Pistol, one of adult’s finest male actors.

The popular Derrick Pierce whose on-screen personality is in high demand.

Then we have the talented Casey Calvert, a longtime friend. (It’s generational with our schedule making, as you can see. She’s electronic, I’m old school with my pen as we discuss arrangements!)

And a new contact, the luscious and award-winning Kenna James who later gives our team a terrific interview!

And, of course, Bree is there. We had interviewed her earlier in the day.

Other stops include Evil Angel where Katrina Jade is signing for fans.

And Jules Jordan where we pause a few moments with model Emily Willis.

Moving on to Greg Lansky Media, a rip-roaring booth pulsing with club music that engulfed the hall, we pick up a couple of conversations there.

We didn’t forget to take a quick look at the AVN booth (it’s their show, after all!) where a variety of girls were signing each day.

After some searching, we finally locate Sofie Marie, a girl (or MILF, depending on your point of view) who shoots for studios AND maintains her cam site. Later she gives us a terrific interview.

Before wrapping up our mini-tour of the rooms, we visit The Lair.

It’s sponsored by Kink.com, the leading BDSM porn producer in the business. Since the fan has to go upstairs to see the The Lair, there is the undeniable connection to Kink’s popular website, The Upper Floor.

And, as is the habit at AEE, an after-hours party for fans who want to pay for the privilege is offered.

Mostly, The Lair is a quiet respite from the clamor of the show floors. It’s vendors mostly with a demonstration here and there. For BDSM enthusiasts, it’s somewhat of a letdown unless the fan wants to shop .

Veterans

For anyone who writes in the porn biz, there is the “go-to” interviewer (and this is not to diminish any writer presently working). By “go-to” I mean the guy who sets the table for the basics about a performer. In other words, bio facts, personal preferences, shooting history, and the like. Everything that helps a girl build her fan base and gets the rest of us thinking about what we want to ask her.

He is “Captain Jack” and I have the privilege of meeting him after all these years.

Speaking of those in the industry who’ve been around the block a few times, our team briefly greets Evan Stone and has a short talk with Katie Morgan. No interviews this time around due to time and the hectic pace of the show. Maybe next year.

Then there is a new face and an old friend. For the first time, I make the acquaintance of Prinzzess Felicity Jade, a Girlfriends Films superstar, and update personal news with now retired performer, Daisy Layne.

Blended or Separated?

So, where does our brief tour leave us? For sure, the line between camming and shooting scenes is blurred. Take shooting, for example.

Today, the trend is make your own. Everyone, porn vets and cammers, can produce and manage their own content. After all, that’s what the fan wants . . . easy access just a click away.

There’s an old standby, Clips4Sale . . .

. . . And a newbie in the mix, Iwantclips.

At a convention that for decades touted video tapes and performer meet-and-greets, today cammers and studios play side-by-side. With Greg Lansky’s Vixen, Tushy, and Blacked responding to fans on the left of the picture below while the cammers’ ManyVids draws a crowd on the right, what does that tell us about 2019?

Well, maybe a solid “spank” in between to get our attention about a changing industry!

Peaceful Co-Existence?

In our next post, we’ll move to the novelties part of AEE 2019.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sexual Harassment: Old Hollywood and Modern Porn

by Rich Moreland, February 2019

*          *          *

Sexual Harassment is a Hard Art production starring a bevy of porn performers with Niki Snow, Robby Echo, and James Bartholet playing pivotal roles.

Directed by Sally Forth and co-directed by Jake Jacobs, the film features a musical score by Archie Brunswick. Misty Stone’s voice graces the theme song.

The premise of the story is a long-standing Hollywood trope. Lucille Le Seur, played by Niki Snow, leaves her Iowa hometown to venture westward for a career in film. Once she arrives in Tinseltown, roles are hard to come by, as we  might expect. To pay the rent Lucille turns to the easy money (if there is such a thing) offered by filmed sex. From there the story moves into a commentary on the #MeToo Movement.

Overall, the narrative is well-paced with a comedic touch to keep the viewer engaged. In other words, there is never a dull moment.

The Old Days

Much of Sexual Harassment is as throwback to the old days of porn when good shooting was at a minimum. For example, during sex scenes the verbal soundtrack of grunts, moans, and sighs was often out of sync with the lip movements of the performers. And don’t forget the cheesy background music that seemed an afterthought to the action on-screen.

Both were frequently looped (repeated) as the sex progressed. Needless to say, it was all very amateurish and not at all a problem. Porn in those days was hardly Hollywood.

And, there is more. The cinematographer’s lens concentrated on closeups of the penetration shots as if every shoot was a gynecological or oral exam. The camera was remiss in framing bodies equally on-screen, a direct contrast to modern directors who prefer to show the sex as human interaction. The result? Gonzo techniques, often attributed to Evil Angel’s John Stagliano, took over the industry.

Director Sally Forth is well aware of these shortcomings and cultivates the old days with humor. By the way, she throws in the “no-no” of modern porn during the film’s second sex scene. Claudia Fox reminds us of the past when she glances at the camera while doing her oral duty.

It’s worth a comment that Sexual Harassment’s fifth sex scene highlights the journey porn shooters have taken into modern times. It’s a three-way between Allessa Von Camp, Brad Sterling, and Niki Snow who walks into the boy/girl action as the French Maid, another old porn trope. The bodies are shown in their entirety with an emphasis on pleasure. This is the best carnal scene of the film.

There’s More

Sexual Harassment mixes its porn time periods with tongue (yes, just tongue) firmly planted in cheek. When Lucille is looking for work, she picks up a newspaper similar to the still-in-print LA Xpress. Also, a cordless phone circa last century graces a couple of scenes to remind the viewers that we’re visiting the past.

But modernity is always close at hand. By the time Forth’s narrative reaches its final act, LCD computer monitors appear in Herb Weinsteins’ Hollywood offices. Technology, like the porn act, has been updated.

Oh yes, a couple of things to spice up the viewer’s interest need mentioning. After she makes her mark in porn, Lucille drops in an adult book store and sorts through DVDs of her movies. The DVD came out in the late 1990s and it’s a good bet that had old video tape box covers been available for the scene, they would have found a place in the director’s heart.

Also, when a cross over opportunity knocks for Lucille, she takes a shot at B picture fame in another Hollywood stereotype, the horror-gore flick. We get a quick glance at the feature performer, the “Chainsaw Man,” who cuts his way through his cameo moment wearing a mask.

There’s some history there that dates to the second year of the Porno Chic era when the Bryanston Production Company distributed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The company ran into trouble when its producer, mobster Anthony Peraino, faced obscenity charges resulting from his involvement with Deep Throat, the film that began the modern adult industry in 1972.

Of course, the mask concept recalls another old stereotype that shows up the stags of yore when men donned only in black socks concealed their identities.

Give Some Head

As the film winds down, Lucille makes an impression on Hollywood mogul, Herb Weinstein (played by James Bartholet who, by the way, is Sexual Harassment’s executive producer).

Lucille’s encounter is set up by Herb’s “interview” with a new intern (Destiny Love). Yielding to Herb’s insistence, she hears, “If you want to get ahead, you have to give some head . . . suck like your career depends on it.” Not exactly original dialogue, but it fills the bill nicely. Herb pops on a photo of Lucille who is next on his harassment list while an ignored Destiny quickly vacates the room.

As you might expect, Sexual Harassment has a Harvey Weinstein ending. From that perspective, Sally Forth’s production is imbued with strong female empowerment. In fact, Lucille is in control of her career from the very start and that in itself is a welcome update on Porn Valley’s checkered past. To underscore her point, director Forth can’t resist throwing in Lucille’s snarky indictment of “Mr. Limp Dick” who can’t get it up for their scene. Oh, those pre-Viagara days!

All Over Your Body

There is an abundance of sex scenes in Sexual Harassment that feature the following performers: Jesse Bunyan, Claudia Fox, Black Ken, Robby Echo, Payton St Clair, Jay Crew, Jayde Symz, Chad White, Vanessa Cage, an uncredited female performer, and the already mentioned Niki Snow, Allessa Von Camp, Brad Sterling, and Destiny Love.

Pay close attention to the abrupt ending of Chad and Jayde’s scene. It’s a nod to rising adult writer and director, Bree Mills of Pure Taboo fame.

There is much to love about Sexual Harassment. It is cleverly written and sharply filmed. For example, when Lucille shows up for her test stills early in the story. The photographer Bernie Hyman (maybe hymen with an “e” is more accurate because Lucille, who is no virgin, is being primed for the porn camera and has to be initiated into sex for pay) is played by AINews managing editor Steve Nelson.

Steve is skilled with the camera and it shows in the scene. He offers up an amusing line when he pulls down her top to free her boobs and lifts her skirt for the treasures “down there.” Lucille is caught off guard. To ease her mood, Steve says with a chuckle, “skin’s good, skin’s good . . . it’s all over your body.”

And at film’s end, Herb’s mug shots will stand in vivid contrast to Lucille’s test photos in this scene.

Like in the old Hollywood production  A Star is Born, Lucille’s name will be dropped in favor of something a bit catchier. “Helen Bedd” becomes her stage moniker and another kind of “star” is popularized.

Ray

There is also a love element in Sexual Harassment. Robby Echo plays Ray, a writer and Lucille’s newly found off-camera romance. Their sex scene is sweet and make no mistake, Niki Snow is easy on the eyes. At one point Ray says, “We’re both trying to become something.” That something is unclear, but their satisfaction is heightened when they later see the #Metoo images on TV that reinforce Herb’s arrest.

There are other characters in this film that are worth a look. There is Lucille’s caustic female agent, the cleanup crew who takes a moment out of their task to have a jolly encounter, Herb’s obese secretary, and Donnie Rock’s cameo as a film editor.

In fact, for an adult film there are perhaps too many personalities on-screen because the viewer never gets to know any of them well.

Who is Lucille?

For the porn fan who might miss the film’s ingenious nod to cinema history, allow me to fill you in.

Writer/director Sally Forth pulls off a coup with Lucille Le Seur. You see, in the 1920s in old Hollywood a young woman by that name became a star in silent film and moved into talkies with aplomb. Eventually, she became a Hollywood legend, winning an Oscar in 1947.

But the rumor persisted (and still does today) that this real-life Lucille shot stags, the earliest of porn films. Nothing was ever verified, no films ever emerged, but the story always hung over her. By the way, Lucille’s sleeping around with both men and women honed her reputation for a prolific sexual appetite among the Hollywood crowd. Thus, she was “hell in bed,” just as Sally Forth tells us with her version of Lucille.

So, what was the stage name for this real-life Hollywood icon? Joan Crawford.

A Final Word

Bright, sassy, and whimsical, Sally Forth is a quality filmmaker whose sense of movie history permeates Sexual Harassment. I’m certain her future work will be equally as engaging.

There is one thing, however.

The good folks at Hard Art have got to clean up their print editing. The cast is overly large and this may have led to occasional sloppiness regarding proper documentation. Some names are misspelled on the box cover while other names are left out entirely, particularly an uncredited female performer who gives her all in her sex scene. Remember that directors, cinematographers, and performers consider adult film to be their art. Let’s not short change them.

That said, I highly recommend Sexual Harassment, a film that shows us how we got from there to here in a business that is often vilified and dismissed as culturally irrelevant.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The 2017 AEE Extravaganza: Part Two

by Rich Moreland, February 2017

My thanks to AVN’s Dan Miller, Brian Gross, and Jill Hagara for making my visit to the show enjoyable. Their hard work cannot be appreciated enough.

Also, special kudos is extended to my favorite PR company, StarFactory. Thank you Tanya and Alex!

star-factory-pr-2013-banner

*          *          *

58791f73e034c-avnshow

Seminars

Rarely do I get to attend all the seminars that pique my interest and this year’s AEE was no exception.  Nevertheless, I did make a few.

On the show’s opening day, the seminar on money was super informative.

Tasha Reign, Alan Gelbard, Lee Roy Myers, Adam Grayson, Nate Glass

Tasha Reign, Alan Gelbard, Lee Roy Myers, Adam Grayson, Nate Glass

Hosted by sociologist Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals, the panel discussed turning a profit in a time of piracy. Attorney Alan Gelbard set the tone with a statement that at first seemed a capitulation but as the seminar went on, proved to be the most salient. Money can still be made in this age of tube sites and free porn, he said, and pointed out that “the music industry has figured out a way to let the piracy just be there.”

Lee Roy Myers

Lee Roy Myers

Filmmaker Lee Roy Myers of the parody website WoodRocket got it right when he insisted that everyone should maintain ownership of their content and “choose to give it away.” In reality, this seeming anomaly sells traffic to your site at a time when “less and less people are paying for porn in traditional ways.”

Evil Angel’s Adam Grayson’s assertion that identifying niche markets can turn a profit for your content through a reliable customer base made sense when thinking of porn as subgenres that capture pieces of the larger adult universe.

On the practical side to the money equation, a company like Nate Glass’s Takedown Piracy can be a great benefit to all producers in protecting their content.

2017-01-18-07-39-26Before the panel began, I spoke briefly with Nate Glass and met Chauntelle for the first time, a real treat.

Thursday afternoon offered up the seminar on the legal battles that may lie ahead with the incoming Trump administration.

After attorney Clyde DeWitt recounted the history of the Meese Commission’s pursuit of pornographers in the 1980s, Reed Lee, First Amendment scholar from Chicago and a member of the Free Speech Coalition, calmed nerves somewhat when he asserted that “history is on our side” and the “clear march of social progress is in our favor.”

Nevertheless, Free Speech Coalition’s President Eric Leue emphasized that passivity can no longer be the watchword and that everyone has a dog in this fight. In other words, support FSC.

Clyde DeWitt, John Stagliano, Eric Leue, J Michael Murray , Reed Lee, and moderator Mark Kernes

Clyde DeWitt, John Stagliano, Eric Leue, J Michael Murray , Reed Lee, and moderator Mark Kernes

Outside the hall, I had a moment to catch up with Colin Rowntree of Wasteland.com who plays both host and panelist when needed at these seminars. We talked about the possible political outcomes that face the industry.

Later that same day, another panel highlighted the increasingly independent role of women in adult.

Filmmaker Angela White said it best, “if you think porn is degrading, then you probably think sex is degrading.” Her words stressed the message of this seminar aptly named R-E-S-P-E-C-T that focused on celebrating empowered people who are comfortable with their sexuality. Moderated by Chauntelle Tibbals, the panel also included filmmakers Kay Brandt and Bree Mills.

Interestingly, an audience question led to a brief sparring over the interpretation of words. At issue was the concept of “feminist porn” which may be giving way these days to the idea of “ethical porn.”

Is the sun setting on “feminism” in the industry as some attendees seemed to hint?

Downtime

2017-01-18-09-17-39AEE is a constant round of rockin’ and rollin’, but there is occasional downtime, or to be honest, the need to take a break. I found a few minutes in the press room where the always upbeat Jill Hagara took some time for a chat. We’ve know each other for a few years now and she is a delight.

More relaxation moments came at the small Dunkin’ Donuts shop right off the casino where the convenient access for a quick coffee attracts industry people.

I talked with performer Daisy Layne after running into her earlier in the hallway.

Amber Jo

Amber Jo

A statuesque beauty named Amber Jo sidled up next to me with her java and Boston cream doughnut in hand. She’s networking, AJ said, and that began an informative chat.

Later Amber posed for my photographer and I offered to do a story on her. She’s an exotic dancer from the Midwest who has thoughts of LA and the biz. Stay tuned to see what happens with this gorgeous girl. Maybe a new star will soon be on-screen!

Setting up interviews is never easy and once again this year I relied on the best PR people in the business, Star Factory, whose watchwords are dependability and reliability. Their clients do not flake on the press.

With the help of Steve Nelson, the editor of AINews.com, I usually nail down a couple of people for impromptu interviews. This year the highlights were the previously mentioned Emma Hix at Foxxx Modeling and Kasey Warner, the star of B Skow’s Color Blind. Kasey and I are from the same part of the country which made our talk special.

Emma Hix

Emma Hix

Speaking of Skow, his productions are distributed by one of my favorite companies, Girlfriends Films. As mentioned in part one of this post, Moose, the company president, invited me to the GFFs suite for a morning coffee on Thursday, a great way to start the day.

Kudos to AVN

Eventually, a text helped me find AVN’s senior editor, Dan Miller. I first met Dan’s warm personality and infectious smile when he was with XBIZ.

We took a few minutes to discuss the passing of adult film historian Bill Margold (Dan did a wonderful obit for AVN online) and I mentioned that this year’s show was well-organized, enriching everyone’s experience from fan to media.

James Deen and Dan Miller Photo courtesy of AVN

James Deen and Dan Miller
Photo courtesy of AVN

Helping to make this year’s AEE enjoyable were some not so subtle changes in the “feel” of the show.

The club music in The Joint wasn’t nearly the volume of the past which made conversation easier–a boon when one carries around a digital recorder–the lighting much improved, and best of all, the traffic flow was smoother among the various rooms. Thank you AVN!

After experiencing the breezy atmosphere of the Sands Center some years ago, I was doubtful AVN could pull everything off in a more broken up environment. And at first it was a challenge, but the bugs have been worked out.

On the downside, there was one thing distinctly different this year: the weather. The days were cloudy, very cool, with periods of rain, the same weather pattern I left back home. The only difference, it seemed, were the trees. I’m not used to seeing rain, mist, and palm trees!

Despite that, inside the Hard Rock the action was invigorating and informative.

I encourage everyone to visit next year, or to put it another way, attending AEE at least once in your adult life should be on your bucket list.

lg_hardrock-1-exterior

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized