Tag Archives: Bree Mills

AEE 2020: Emma Hix, the slut plays the piano

by Rich Moreland, February 2020

Photos by Kevin Sayers

Emma Hix is a rising star in porn. Just twenty-two, this sweet, seductive beauty has a personality that matches every degree of her comeliness. She is endearing, cooperative with everyone and has a definitive career direction.

If adult film issued report cards on performers, Emma would be at the top of the class as witnessed by the show guides provided here. Emma travels with the elite.

I first met this native Canadian at the Foxxx Modeling booth during the 2017 show. She was a newbie, a bit nervous but with an undeniable charm. We chatted briefly and did a quick informal interview. Since then, it’s been hit or miss, mostly miss. We’d converse, hope to set something up, then schedules conflict and opportunity slipped away.

Thanks to her PR people, this year Emma and I did everything very formally in the press room. Moving up requires protocol and with Emma’s popularity soaring, that’s the only way to go!

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Depends on Her Mood

After some small talk, I noted that in Axel Braun’s Nylon 3 she’s playing the piano, or at least appears to be.

So, Emma, let’s have the backstory!

“My mom tried to put me in piano lessons when I was a kid,” Emma says, but “I hated learning from someone else, you know?”

In fact, mom bought Emma a piano as an incentive to take lessons. Didn’t work.

“A couple of years later, I was playing around on it,” she reveals. “I was like ‘Wow I actually really enjoy this.’’’ Turns out, Emma learned to play by ear along with some YouTube help.

She has her own instrument now.  “I bought a grand piano with my first paycheck from porn. It’s my baby. I love it!”

What kind of music does this self-taught virtuoso like to play? Is it different from the typical youngster who practices more formally under a teacher’s eye?

It’s a variety, Emma replies, with alternative, rock and instrumental piano her preferences. “Cinematic orchestra is one of my favorites,” she adds, but “it depends on what mood I’m in.”

Maturity

We turn the conversation to how Emma has moved forward with her career.

“I had a little bit of a rough start because being from Canada, it took a while to get my US ID,” she says.

Emma mentions having her tattoos removed. An image adjustment, I’m guessing.

“I’m starting to progress to do different kinds of scenes. At first, I was doing very vanilla scenes. I don’t want to say boring, but just more elegant. Recently, I’ve started doing more anal and DPs, which is a whole new ballgame for me. I wanted to bring on this more slutty kind of persona. I’m trying to change my look and my performance.”

“The slut plays the piano,” I joke.

Sporting a big smile, Emma is cool with that!

With two AVN noms in hand, this stunning blonde has matured since we first talked three years ago. Is this a natural progression due to getting older?

Emma claims it’s just wanting to get better at your job.

Art

I pose the “what is pornography?” question and Emma doesn’t hesitate.

“It is a work of art, shown by an individual or a group of people, whatever the scene calls for. Being very artistic, being themselves on camera. . . a sexual moment caught on video. Very beautiful.”

We talk about how porn has changed over the years and Emma references Hollywood.

“I feel like now, it’s kind of moving with the mainstream industry,” Emma says, and brings up Bree Mills’ Adult Time. “They put a lot of work into their scenes. They make it look like an actual movie. Their sex is not just sex. It’s art. It’s really well put together.”

As for mainstream film, Emma speculates that sex “must be super awkward on a mainstream set.”

Regarding that statement, Adult Time steps into our conversation again.

“It’s kind of cool seeing an actual movie and seeing all of the sex. I wish they did that in mainstream movies sometimes. I wish they normalized it and made it okay.”

Emma points out what much of the public believes. “Sex is such a shameful thing” and, of course, “it’s obscene seeing two people have sex and you know people look down on it. But I feel if mainstream normalized it,” it wouldn’t be a big deal.

I mention Maitland Ward, an actress who entered adult from mainstream film. Emma is impressed with the move, but she raises the typical criticism of Ward’s change of scenery.

“That’s amazing. Of course, people are going to say ‘Oh she downgraded.’ But no, you’re moving from one form of art to another [and] that’s pretty cool.”

A Personal Reboot

Finally, I persuade today’s Emma to go back in time and visit with the Emma who is just coming into the industry.

What advice would you give yourself?

Pondering the question for a moment she offers up two things.

First, “don’t get taken advantage of because I was in the beginning of my career and it took me a while to learn that. But I don’t regret anything because it’s made me [who] I am today, [though] I’m still not happy with [that]. I want to keep going, doing better.”

On the Red Carpet

Then the slender hottie relates what I’ve heard so often over the years in this business.

“I had a little bit of a rough start. I didn’t know who I was and that’s another thing. I was trying to be someone else. I kind of lost myself.”

This leads to her second piece of advice. “Just be yourself [and] don’t regret anything,” Emma declares. “When I was new, I didn’t really know anything about performing at all.”

But she has come to realize that her career goal is longevity. “Since I had a slow start, I was able to have a longer career instead of getting famous right off the bat and getting overwhelmed with it. I’m happy that it went gradually and slowly.”

I mention that some girls jump into everything like anal and multiple penetrations immediately when their careers begin.

Emma took the more cautious route.

“I didn’t know who I was at eighteen, nothing. But if you know where you want to go in this industry, do whatever you want off the bat. I had no idea. So, it took me a while to learn and now I know where I want to go.”

Her approach has changed, however.

“I [like to] take every scene that comes at me…because as female talent, you never know when the work is going to slow down. But I try to take Sundays off because you need those grounding days for your mental health.”

Nevertheless, work is never assured. Every performance is an audition for the next one.

“If you do a really good job [on set] and you have a good time with the crew and the director and everything, you can get rehired. But there’s only so many times that they can shoot you. So, you are unemployed until they can rehire you again.”

Longevity?

How does she cope with the uncertainty?

“You never know when it’s going to end. So, I have my Only Fans and my Snapchat that I make money off of.”

Hollywood actors often have lifetime careers, Emma muses. “I wish you could do that with porn, but it ends eventually.”

Ironically, I mention that in adult longevity mostly belongs to the men.

With resignation, Emma comments, “I know.”

As we’re about to wrap up, my photographer Kevin throws a question Emma’s way concerning being taken advantage of.

“Because you were young and naïve, did they put you in scenes you didn’t want to do?” he asks.

“Yeah,” Emma responds. “when I was newer, I was very naïve. I took every scene. Now I’m more selective. I’ve definitely had some bad experiences on set. Now, I know to stand up for myself.”

Well said, Emma Hix, and thank you for a great interview.

 

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AEE 2020: Seth Gamble, Multilayered

by Rich Moreland, February 2020

Photos by Kevin Sayers.

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Seth Gamble has been around porn for a few years. He began in 2006 and reflects the veteran status men in the business often reach, much different from many female performers whose on-screen careers are often no more than a few months.

Maturity has moved him forward. For the 2020 AVN Awards, Seth went home with Best Leading Actor honors for Adult Time’s Perspective. Incidentally, his co-star in the production, Angela White, also copped the Best Leading Actress trophy for her role in the film.

Parodies

We start our conversation with his early days.

“In the earlier part of my career, no one [had] an idea of what I could do,” Seth begins. Then, a break came his way with an Exquisite Media parody. The film was a take-off of Saturday Night Fever and Seth was convinced he should be cast in the lead.

“I literally went into the office, didn’t have an audition. I don’t know what came over me,” he says. His persistence paid off. “Give me a piece of the script [and] I’ll show you,” he remembers announcing. “Twenty-four hours later, I’m booked for the role [and] I’m doing dancing lessons”

The film came out in 2011. From there, Seth’s talent and audacity led him to the Stars Wars parodies directed by Axel Braun. Seth recalls doing a “nine-page dialogue stretch on one take” that cemented his talent for acting.

“The parodies got me in the door and to be honest with you, when it came to actually doing more intellectual [and] layered roles, that really came from Pure Taboo,” he concludes.

By the way, Seth Gamble is not about to step over his friends. He mentions those who have helped him along: Dale Dabone, Bree Mills, and Craven Moorehead.

At this point in his career, Seth knew his journey was set and more was needed. “I actually went to acting school for two years,” he says.

Seth’s career has come together, highlighted by his 2019 performance in Perspective. “The prep work I and Angela did on that [film] was insane.” Needless to say, the results were cinematic gold.

Honesty

My next question concerns transitioning from an acting moment into a sex moment. How does Seth do this seamlessly on set?

The native Floridian answers with an example. In the closet scene in Perspective, he has sex “in character” with Angela.

In other words, “The whole time I was having sex with her,” he says.  “I didn’t do normal things that Seth Gamble would do in a sex scene, if I was just doing a scene as me. I did what I thought Daniel [his character] would do in that moment.”

Making this kind of transition is an actor’s responsibility, Seth believes. “I don’t think that is on the director, I think that’s on the talent. But I don’t know how many talent have the thought process to want to do it or think about how to do it,” he observes.

Seth admits he often “overthinks” a role. “I strategize and analyze exactly [how] this would happen. Sometimes it’s not even a thought it’s more of a feeling” when it comes to making the transition, he says.

I interject that Jacky St James once told me that as a director she thinks of sex as being part of the dialogue.

Seth agrees and points out, “Anytime there’s dialogue in any scene, I think it should be involved in the sex as well. If there is dialogue involved, then you should be acting physically with the sex.”

He emphasizes that however the scenes are depicted on-screen, the most important ingredient is honesty.

Adult film is “a fantasy regardless if there’s sex involved or not. What enthralls them [the fans] in any film is if the character feels honest. And if there’s no honesty to the character, then they don’t want to watch.”

His remark offers a springboard to a further analysis.

“A lot of porn is disingenuous because it’s like ‘do this, do that,’” Seth says. But he strives to be unique. “I didn’t want to come into this industry being a carbon copy of anything. I decided to be honest about all of my performances.”

That’s what makes it real, he believes.

Multilayered

Next, we turn to his directing. I ask about his style.

“I want to use what I have and give it to other people to bring out better production,” Seth says and highlights three directors—Axel Braun, Bree Mills, and Kayden Kross—whose style he thinks works best. He adds Jacky St James to the mix, but mentions that she does not have the financial backing of the others. “She deserves to be able to have those budgets for those films because she’s that talented [and] I truly enjoy working for whatever she does because even with what she’s got, she makes it good and amazing.”

His directing “forte” is “story based,” Seth comments, and as a director he wants to use his on-screen experience “to give [his actors] insight into what they’re doing character wise.”

Seth perceives porn acting to be “multilayered” and there is an industry shift in that direction.

“AVN Performer of the Year nomination is such a big deal because for so long it hasn’t been looked at as [demonstrating] versatility” he declares. For too long it’s been interpreted as who can deliver the best sex scene.

Because of his acting, Seth perceives that he is “in that conversation [that] is showing the shift.”

In that vein, he admires Axel Braun for being a star maker. “That’s what I want to do as a director,” Seth says.

Mystique

I mention the idea of crossing over from porn into Hollywood. Seth responds that young performers these days have evolving ideas on that.

He looks back ten-twelve years ago and says, “I was not a famous porn star. No porn star was famous, they were infamous. You weren’t going to see them on social network. You might get Jenna Jameson on Howard Stern. You might get her in an R-rated B movie.

“Now we’re allowed on social platforms. We have fame now. We’re being put on ShowTime and Cinemax.”

He does point out that “being in adult film comes with mystique.” It’s what “makes adult film actors and actresses so alluring. I agree that adult film actors and actresses doing R-rated films would be cool.’

But there is a limit, or rather a complication.

“If you put me on the Disney Channel, it isn’t right, because kids aren’t dumb. There’s something to be said about let’s do mainstream but how do you make Seth Gamble an international star that children can watch?

“You take an Angela White or a Kristen Scott or a Casey Calvert and put them in a Quentin Tarantino film. I think that’s a possibility.’

Then Seth brings up a point I had not considered.

“There was a time where you went on a mainstream audition and [were] asked you if you did pornographic films. I’ve heard now they don’t ask. So, I think we’re pushing that boundary.”

The thirty-two-year-old veteran sums it up nicely.

“I think that porn is more mainstream than it ever has been. A lot of the newer talent don’t understand that or see it that way because they weren’t here. Yes, we want our rights we want all these things, but there’s also a flip side to it.

“Something about [porn] is alluring to you, but then you don’t look at what you’re putting out there” and the consequences it might have.

That is the issue, Seth Gamble believes.

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AEE 2020: An Industry in Evolution

by Rich Moreland, February, 2020

Photos by Kevin Sayers.

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The Independent Performer

The adult industry is in flux and the evidence is everywhere at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas. I’ve been writing in the business for over ten years now and what was once a studio-dominated industry is turning more to online webcams and websites.

It’s the influence of technology and money, of course, but it’s also more than that. The change is natural, expected, and unavoidable.

The trade show’s sponsor, MyFreeCams.com, underlines what is happening as does one of the largest kiosks on the floor, Chaturbate, a popular adult site offering live webcam performances. The influence of this evolution on the commercialized industry continues to pop up in discussions about the business today. Just check out the trade show seminars to see what I mean.

Simply put, camming gives performers what has been denied them for years: control over their image and their content. No longer dependent on studios, cammers brand their own name and engage their own fan base. Even talent agencies feel the pinch as the girls and many male performers, for that matter, need them less than a decade ago.

Does this mean that the traditional porn formula is dead? Of course not, it’s just been nudged aside so as to take up less of the limelight. Evil Angel, Jules Jordan, Adam and Eve and others will still do their thing, but the independent performer who runs her own show is emerging.

Change is often feared, but the message here is positive and we can thank the 19th century German philosopher Georg Hegel for understanding how it works. History is a living thing, he postulated, and is based on a concept called the dialectic: the interaction of the thesis and the antithesis to reach a new understanding called the synthesis.

Moving aside the clutter of language, here’s what it means. Every tradition (the thesis) will have an opposing idea (the antithesis) and the two will clash. The result is a new entity called the synthesis, an innovative way doing things. This is what is happening in porn. In other words, the big studios are the thesis (the tradition) and the online cammers the antithesis (the new kids on the block doing their own thing).

Technology is the catalyst which abets the “revolution” or the synthesis, the new way of doing business, and performers are the beneficiaries.

Has the synthesis caught on in the industry? Not entirely, but one company is out front on the change and illustrates what is happening.

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Shifting the Power

At the 2020 Adult Entertainment Expo, I met again with Bree Mills who is a driving force in adult today. We talked about the state of the industry.

“I know that I’ve been a part of a change that’s been active over the last few years. I’m certainly not the only contributor to that change. Other people have helped to get us to where we are now as an industry,” she begins.

“I have pretty outlier views compared to most people in terms of what I think we can do. So, if I can, [I want to] inspire other people to follow that same path.

“The industry has come to a point where the performers have the power. They’re the brands. Studios don’t have [that] power anymore. [Performers] have the means and the platforms to never need to shoot for a studio again. They can produce their own content; they can monetize their brand. And then they can choose who they want to work with. That’s the reality and that is probably the greatest change that can happen.

“It’s not only going to shift the power into the hands of the people that are really at the forefront of this business, but it’s going to continue to break all of the old mentality and rule books that existed. Some of the most interesting content that’s being created today is being created by these people. And it’s because they don’t have to answer to anybody.”

The message used to be that “you got to do something a certain way cause so and so said [so]. Or you’re not supposed to shoot this with this person because so and so said [not to],” Bree points out.

In other words, times have changed and the synthesis (the new way) has arrived.

The chief creative officer of Gamma Entertainment gives us a peek at what to expect.

“They (performers) can do whatever they want and that is awesome. And so, I can use my influence to empower them in whatever way that Adult Time can [benefit them]. So, if you got a great idea for a show, let’s collaborate. I would much rather see over time less stuff that I’m directly doing and more creativity that I can inspire and empower [others] to do their own thing.”

There it is, the new way of doing business and Bree Mills has set the tone. She is the emerging synthesis, the new force in adult and others will follow.

“That’s how we’re going to keep it happening,” she continues. “I’ve created the best advertisement for this with my own work. So, if someone wants to work with me because they love what I do, great. Let me help you do what you want do.”

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AEE 2020: Bree Mills: Educational and Inspirational

by Rich Moreland, February 2020

I was privileged again this year to interview Bree Mills at the Adult Entertainment Expo. Bree is single-handedly changing the industry, a topic we discuss in the next article. This portion of our talk offers a little background for that story to come.

A side note to our interview. When the press area at the Hard Rock Hotel is full of journalists and industry people, the overflow is assigned to the bathroom of the suite that serves the media. It’s quite luxurious and an enjoyable place to talk as Bree and I found out.

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers.

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Social Statements

My question for the show this year is a definition of porn. In other words, how do the people who make the product define it?

In her usual thoughtful manner, Bree gives us her view.

“I consider porn to be an entertainment medium that has a significant influence over culture,” she says.

“As a community, we have a great advantage. We’re not afraid to express our sexuality [and] be vulnerable with people. [We] put everything out there for people to see, to help people recognize their own sexualities and their own kinks and their own interests.”

There’s more, Bree insists.  “We have the ability to raise subjects and make social statements that are going to impact a mass audience.” In other words, it’s an issue of awareness, she believes, especially in our “digital culture” where “everyone who grows up online, grows up watching porn.”

For Bree this is a positive to be cultivated.

“Porn is entertainment and it’s also an opportunity to talk about sex and sexuality in a culture that otherwise puts sex in a little box and causes so much shame around it. [That] has done significant damage to people,” she adds.

Bree Mills believes our culture lacks a “sex education infrastructure.” “Transphobia, homophobia, and racism, especially the sexualization of people of color, are not addressed,” she says.

Bree sees adult content as educational and inspirational, insisting that it helps people “feel more comfortable with themselves while providing great entertainment.”

The Spectrum

We move on to fetishes, something people would have kept under wraps a generation ago.

“Porn is an amalgamation of sex and sexuality,” Bree says, it “represents the spectrum of human sexuality.”

Does this mean that porn is normalizing the concept of fetishes?

“I think it is,” the director/writer responds.

“Fetishes have always been there” and people have been drawn to them, she points out. Now people can find others “who share the same interests. Porn has opened the doors for fetishes to become more identifiable.”

Bree sees a significant advantage to that: building communities in which people are “able to gain some comfort” through acceptance.

Directing

When she shoots a film, how does she treat the sex scenes in regard to the drama unfolding on-screen?

“Sex is part of the story, but it is always about the story to me,” Bree comments. Though she does all her own writing and casting, Bree admits, “I’m a lousy pornographer from a traditional definition, in the sense that I don’t really care about the sex. What I care about is that sex and sexuality are fascinating subjects [that] define all of us [and] shapes us. It’s fundamental to the human psyche. That’s great material. That is fascinating to unbox and to explore and to weave stories around.”

I congratulate her on Teenage Lesbian, AVN’s Movie of the Year, and, incidentally, a Silver Winner at the Queen Palm International Film Festival.

“The reason I made Teenage Lesbian was to make an independent film about somebody coming out in the era before gay rights became any sort of household discussion. While that was twenty years ago, it is remarkable to see the difference [today]. It is also a really important reminder of the need to continue to evolve as a society.”

Is the film intended to serve a larger audience?

“From the get-go, it was a movie that would have an uncensored version. It wasn’t this hardcore sex film that would have a softcore version,” Bree emphasizes. “It was an independent film that we could put out on YouTube [and] submit to film festivals.”

In other words, Teenage Lesbian is a richly engaging story before the sex is even considered.

That leads me to a final thought.

Kick-Starting

How does the Adult Time operation create so many unique stories and put them on film?

Bree, who is the business’s Chief Creative Officer, explains.

“We produce about twenty-five days a month out of LA with different crews, different series [and] different lines. Ultimately, I oversee our marketing or content strategy. But we have full teams in place writing [our stories].”

She brings up the Pure Taboo line as an example of how she starts a project then hands the ball off to her production team.

“For its first year, I wrote almost every script [and] directed every episode. But it got to a point where I was able to transition that over to a full writing [and] production team. Now I only do an occasional Pure Taboo episode. So, I’m good at kick-starting things, getting things to market, getting a certain amount of success and then being able to shift them over to being managed afterwards,” which, she says, lets her move on the other things.

As we wrap up our talk, I suggest to Bree that she is the premier woman in the business today and her industry footprint is driving the modern porn product.

She smiles and suggests my remark is “scary.”

Nevertheless, Bree Mills has a clear understanding of where she is.

“I certainly recognize the influence that I have and I recognize that with great humility and great respect.”

*          *          *

The next article on Bree Mills examines her role in the current evolution in porn.

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AEE 2020: Hard Core at the Hard Rock, Final Curtain

by Rich Moreland, February 2020

Photos by Kevin Sayers.

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Call it the end of an era or the final curtain, but never suggest it’s a swan song. The Adult Entertainment Expo and the Hard Rock Hotel are no more, but the trade show is not going into retirement.

Here’s the story. The talk around the Hard Rock this year was what to expect in 2021. What is going to be new and different? Well, as it turns out, not a whole lot. The Hard Rock is going under a name and branding change.

“We are signed with the Virgin Hotel through 2023 already. They are thrilled to have the AVN Awards and Expo at their property,” Dan Miller, managing editor of the AVN, told me. The only real change is the name because the venue remains in place. Next year fans and industry people will meet and greet at the new Virgin Hotel on Paradise Road in Las Vegas, the same location that carried the impressive guitar logo of the Hard Rock.

Enough said on that. Let’s take a look at what this year offered.

Networking

The Expo’s opening day on the collective floors of Artist Hall, Muse Hall, and The Joint is much appreciated by media people. A modest number of fans are just getting into the swing of things. The bulk of them will arrive Thursday and Friday so movement around the three adjoining facilities is less crowded which means many of the stars are conveniently accessible. For an industry writer, corralling porn’s finest for a short interview or brief chat is hassle free.

Simply put, this is orientation time, if that’s what I may call it. Find out where the talent agencies have their girls, scope out the best times to visit the booths of the major studios, and check the layout of the novelty expo. For veterans like yours truly, the day is filled with networking and renewing old acquaintances before everyone’s schedule becomes too hectic.

My photog Kevin and I stopped by ATMLA’s (Adult Talent Managers) signing area to pass a few moments with a favorite I interviewed last year, Ember Snow, and one of the industry’s most likeable MILFs, Sarah Vandella. We first met her on a Girlfriends Films set a couple of years ago.

Stopping by Adult Time in late afternoon, I congratulated Tommy Pistol on another productive year. I congratulated him on a superior performance in one of the year’s top comedies, Love Emergency, but didn’t stay long because a couple of fans showed up and they always come first. Then I dropped by Foxxx Modeling to set up an interview with newcomer Paris Amour.

One of the fascinating aspects of networking day is an impromptu chat with a performer I’ve never met, but am familiar with her work. Early in the day I introduced myself to Victoria Voxxx, an AVN award nominee for a shoot she did with Kink.com. Very personable and I mentally put her on my list of talent to interview if time allows.

The Press Room

Kevin and I have learned that the best way to take a break from the hyperactive pace of the trade show floor is to retreat to the press room. Everything there is calm, bottled water is available (we are in the desert, after all), and talent comes and goes in response to interview requests.

We had some informal time with Cory Chase, whom we interviewed last year, spoke with Bree Mills as she passed through and with Seth Gamble whose acting talent is unmatched in the industry. Even offered a brief “hello” to Lauren Philips as she waited for someone from the media.

Good-natured Tim Williams and Jill Hagara are the bedrock of the room, checking people in and keeping everyone informed. If anyone needs anything, they’re the ones to ask.

During the week, Kevin and I networked in the room and, as we did last year, enjoyed our conversations with Captain Jack who knows every performer in the business (or seems to).

Later in the week, I reconnected with Jillian Janson whose porn comet is rocketing into the galaxies of stardom. She was sitting on a couch waiting for her interviews (she had a couple lined up).

Jillian’s no longer that skinny kid I remember from a few year ago. Lamenting that I did not get a scheduled interview with her for this show (it’s tough, she’s in demand), Jillian gave me a hug and we made informal arrangements for next year.

Getting back to the floor, Kevin and I spent a few moments with John Stagliano of Evil Angel early in the day and later with veteran actor Dick Chibbles who was holding down a spot at the AVN booth.

John Stagliano

No Vixen

In summarizing our sweep through the show’s major venues, three thoughts crossed my mind. First, some kiosks were cleverly placed among the signing tables available to talent. That was particularly helpful for fans in The Joint where corridors are narrow. The facility is a really a theater with tiered seating and a stage where the AVN Awards show is held. Traffic flow was much less congested so fans could move more freely from one girl to the next for momentary conversations and signed photos.

Second, more performers were there on the first day than I remember from the past, a boon for fans eager for a selfie with their favs. And lastly, director Greg Lansky’s Vixen Media Group was absent this year. Lansky sold his business shortly before the show to pursue other interests. In the recent past, Lansky’s presence was a focal point for meeting talent.

Sex Dolls

On a final note for the day, Kevin and I invested significant time getting an overview of the novelty part of the AEE, something we had done only cursorily in the past.

This year I had an interest in an up-and-coming topic: sex dolls. My knowledge of what constitutes a sex doll was limited to TV skits and off-color jokes. As someone in the press room mentioned to me, “who would buy one of those things?”

I was determined to find out and that is where we go next!

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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