Tag Archives: gonzo porn

A Naughty Hardbody: Sofie Marie, Part One

by Rich Moreland, April 2018

I discovered Sofie Marie by accident through twitter. One look convinced me this sexy honey is one exceptional woman in a sometimes cookie-cutter industry.

Hoping to get an interview, I contacted her. Sofie was gracious and the result is a three-part post on this blog.

She is refreshing . . . and we welcome her here!

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Because I was unable to attend this year’s Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, I missed out on a new (to me) performer I’d put on my radar. Her name is Sofie Marie and she’s more than special, she’s unique. At thirty-seven, the hardbody is creating her own space in porn that puts her leagues ahead of the typical baby-faced newbie who’ll be shot out in six months.

First, a little background on this beautifully sculpted girl compliments of Captain Jack at Adult DVD Empire. (You can read his entire interview with Sofie here )

With an athletic physique that is the real deal, the former volleyball player is an endurance athlete with a resume that includes an Ironman triathlon. Her trainer? Her husband, who just happens to be a four-time Ironman competitor himself. More on this in a later post.

Sofie’s five-ten frame lends itself to a svelte, sexy look that has molded her into a stunner with brains to match. Make no mistake, this babe is blessed with the right DNA and a smile to die for. It’s no stretch to imagine that displaying her physical treasures gives her a natural high.

Oh, one more thing. Sofie Marie offers us an interesting spin on her readiness for the adult biz. Her husband introduced her to the “swinger” community in L.A, her home town. Sofie went from partying to online porn, an obvious fit for a girl who uses her assets to the max!

We’ll also explore this later.

For now, I was able to follow-up with Sofie on some of what Captain Jack mentioned. My thanks to her and let’s get started!

A Naughty Side

First, I ask Sofie to define her brand.

“Sofie Marie is not your typical porn actress,” she begins, speaking of herself in terms of the brand.

“Since I am lean and all natural, I am truly the tall girl next door who has a naughty side.”

 

Sounds good, but how does that translate into being a cam girl? In other words, how does Sofie separate herself from the overwhelming number of worldwide cammers?

It’s in the loyalty of her fan base.

“I am just me which is genuine, goofy, fun, and sexy,” she proclaims, then gathers those endearing traits into an easy-going, but enticing image of “a naughty girl” that seduces the camera.

“I work hard to give my fans a great show so they will come back for more.”

When I mention that the cam girl might be the new porn girl, a point we’ll look at shortly, Sofie is on board with the idea.

“I think that camming is a great way to meet and interact with fans from whatever genre the girl or guys want to promote.”

 

Sofie believes that cam work builds that personal touch that’s been missing in porn for so long. You can see why. Just a moment’s interaction with her tells us she has a personality so affable it’s more than suited for cam work.

Nothing Rough

What is on the horizon for Sofie and how can she avoid being overshot, the fate of so many girls who enter porn? After all, she’s been at this for a while.

Sofie starts off by recounting her resume.

“I have produced over 180 clips and videos so far and I have over 450 photo galleries on my website.  I have done over twenty mainstream porn scenes from solo, B/G, G/G, BGG, and one orgy, but not all of those scenes have been released yet.”

From what I can glean from checking out Sofie online (disclaimer here: I’ve never been on set for one of her shoots) she has the feel of a gonzo girl who has left vulgar, nasty and trashy at the studio door.

Rather, she’s fun-loving in a way that let’s her tap into a fan base hungry for that type of entertainment.

Perhaps one day features may be in Sofie’s future and she understands how to get there.

“I am a former pro athlete, so I am very competitive, but I don’t have an acting background, so I practice so I can be the best performer I can be!”

To her credit, Sofie has her personal limits and does not try to sell an image that doesn’t reflect what she is about. In other words, she’s comfortable with how she is presented on-screen.

There is no rough sex (slapping, gagging, spitting, deep throating) in her films.

“Not for me,” she declares and adds that moving forward in the business is a series of personal choices that dictates what a girl will do. To phrase it another way, everything “depends on the image you want to portray,” she says.

What Sofie Marie proves is this: a fan base is not dependent on following the crowd.

IR

One more point is worth making here. In standing by the choices she makes, Sofie joins a handful girls in porn who chart their own career. As I’ve written in the past, it’s the industry’s version of feminism.

However, don’t think this very smart woman does not understand the shooting demands of the business. She knows how to respond to them.

“According to my Adult Empire page,” Sofie says, “after ‘Cougar Orgy,’ my fans love my IR scenes”

Black/white porn is more popular today than ever before, but the taboo barriers still exist, though they are not what they once were. That is not a bad thing, by the way, because their presence insures the popularity of interracial shoots.

We always like what is forbidden. For porn, when blacks on blondes becomes just another boy/girl shoot, things will really border on the mundane!

That’ll never happen with Sofie. Our girl is good to go with IR and she’ll drive her naughtiness meter to ever higher levels with each shoot.

When pressed about her scene partners, Sofie doesn’t hold back.

“I see people as individuals not as part of a group,” she states, which opens her up to any shooting possibility.

Of course, there are the aesthetics. “I love the color contrast of the IR shoots, and I do love a big cock!!”

Her attitude is right on target and Sofie Marie is cultivating a career headed for porn stardom at an age when most girls are shot out and retired, sometimes involuntarily.

“Since I have a unique look, I will not likely be over exposed, even if I wanted to be!!”

You bet. Sofie’s candid spontaneity graces her on-screen presence and her classical features are rarely found in porn. Think of her this way, in Athens 2600 years ago, Sofie would have been immortalized in marble.

Anal Anyone?

What are Sofie’s thoughts about broadening her repertoire of sex acts?

“I may do anal in the future, but not now,” she asserts, knowing that a girl doesn’t want to jump into everything at once.

But I strongly suspect her fans are patiently awaiting that decision, so our honey ought to be getting out the toys she loves so much to prep for the big (pun intended) day!

Oh, one more thing. Waving another carrot for her followers, Sofie purrs,

“I am considering some group sex scenes for my site.”

Throw that together with Black dudes and a little anal, and Sofie Marie has a winning formula, should she want it.

*          *           *

Part Two of this series on Sofie Marie looks at her brand and how she controls the porn image she has effectively built around her athleticism.

Contact Sofie at:

IG/SC/Twitter @wickedyummy1
Yummygirl.xxx

 

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Interview with Scott Taylor: Part One

by Rich Moreland, December 2017

On my recent trip to the sunny wonderland of Southern California I had the distinct privilege of interviewing Scott Taylor, owner of New Sensations/Digital Sin, one of Porn Valley’s top production companies.

Scott has done it all from shooting to directing and offers some valuable business insights into the ever-changing world of adult film.

We sat in his office in Chatsworth and discussed a variety of topics. Here are some highlights.

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From Army Brat to Business Owner

I was an “army brat,” Scott  begins, so moving around (in other words, frequent change) was his version of normal. In his teens he became a drummer and later gave college a go, but education was not his calling.

“I really wanted to pursue music and moved to LA to become a rock star.”

Of course, bursting onto the music scene takes time and the nineteen-year-old recognized the rent had to be paid.

“I don’t have a degree, so I’m taking any job I can. I play in a band, work in a warehouse, do whatever, until I stumbled onto adult video,” Scott continues.

He caught on with a distributor and spent a couple of years learning the business before his entrepreneurial instincts sensed bigger opportunities.

How did all this lead to becoming a respected company owner?

While still involved in the music industry (he cut a record), Scott wanted to start his own distribution company because adult film was becoming his future. Before long the next logical step was to produce his own content.

“I decide I wanted to go into making movies and I’m going to shoot with two cameras,” he says.

It was the 1990s and gonzo shooting, a POV style popularized by Evil Angel’s John Stagliano, dominated the market. Scott hitched his wagon to that train and turned out the award-winning Dirty Debutantes.

“I do all the interviews. I learned how to edit. I’m learning photography,” he mentions with a go-to pride.

Scott had a company in place: Video Virgins/New Sensations with Video Virgins being the pro-am package, he explains. At this point, the enterprise represented “a change between pro-am and a more gonzo related product,” he says, adding that Jewel De’Nyle was “our first contract girl.”

With New Sensations underway and more opportunity on the horizon, Scott and his business partner Joone initiate a new venture, Digital Playground (DP).

“We’re doing CD ROMs at the time and the business became moderately successful. I created a series called ‘Virtual Sex With.’ We shot Jenna Jameson as our first girl. It was interactive,” he explains, and relied on “new technology’ that involved switching  “between cameras.”

The result? More innovation.

“By the time I left Digital Playground the CD-ROM industry had been replaced by DVD. Digital Playground was a leader in the emerging DVD marketplace,” Scott adds.

Scott’s eye for talent was vital to his early success. He brought on Peter North and Nic Andrews, whom he recognizes as “an excellent filmmaker.” Working with the best behind the camera became a Scott Taylor trademark and, at that time, determined the future of New Sensations because it underscored “the difference between pro-am and becoming a gonzo/feature film company,” he proudly states.

Though I had several questions prepared for the interview, I let Scott Taylor’s passion for what he does take over and the outline of an adult film company’s evolution took shape.

Gonzo v. Feature

Scott and DP ultimately parted ways.

“I had controlling interest (in the company) when I left, but elected to take a buyout and start over. This was one of the best decisions of my career.”

The move allowed him to invest in a new enterprise, Digital Sin, to go along with the existing New Sensations. His maneuvering yielded a single entity he defines this way:

“Digital Sin is a DVD company releasing a New Sensations product.”

This transition allowed Scott to experiment with interactive video.

I inquire if the interactive idea is like today’s virtual reality.

“It is as best you could do at the time,” he says. The action is prerecorded obviously, but the control is left up to the viewer. In other words, Scott adds, “it’s POV, the intent is to make you think you’re in the scenario.”

He goes on to say that the shortcoming of interactive video reflects what virtual reality also currently lacks, the “touch and feel” that personalizes the viewing experience. Over time, Scott asserts, achieving this has been difficult and there is no guarantee for the future.

“Maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t,” he comments.

At this point in New Sensation/Digital Sin’s development, Scott makes a market decision that defines what we see today.

“I decide that Digital Sin is going to become its own company. It’s going to produce its own series of movies and release them through New Sensations/Digital Sin.”

The result shaped his future because he determines that “Digital Sin will be gonzo driven, New Sensations more feature oriented.”

Bear in mind, however, that the business model is flexible. The company will stay fresh because sales will determine the direction of the collective product.

Either label will become more of what the other label is creating depending on what the customer wants, Scott explains. Originally Digital sin was more feature oriented and “rested on New Sensations’ shoulders.” Then it began “outselling New Sensations” and that sparked the necessary adjustments.

It’s All About Talent

To ensure a strong path, Scott brings in the best film making talent he can find because that ensures success.

“It’s important to me that the integrity of the company is maintained,” he says.

Incidentally, a high-quality product means one more thing to Scott.

“I’m very loyal. I attach myself to certain people even if they move on.”

He emphasizes the “excellent working relationship” he’s nurtured with “everyone who has passed through here” and stresses that friendships have remained in place.

“It’s been fantastic working with all these creative people” and when they go on to enhance their careers elsewhere, there’s no animosity on anyone’s part.

Lee Roy Myers

Like a proud parent, Scott Taylor runs through a list of porn talent that is recognizable across the industry landscape. Among them are Jonni Darkko, who started as a cameraman, Greg Lansky and Mike Adriano, whom Scott met at a European trade show.

“Mike is more the performer where Greg is more the director,” Scott interjects, offering them up as any porn company’s dream team.

Throw in Nacho Vidal, Jeff Mullen (aka Will Ryder), Lee Roy Myers, and Axel Braun, all award-winners with impeccable credentials, and you get a sense of Scott’s ability to find innovative talent.

That leads me to Jacky St. James and Eddie Powell.

Scott is eager to talk about both and that takes us to Part Two of this interview.

*          *          *

Some of the awards on display in Scott’s office

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AEE 2017: Kasey Warner

by Rich Moreland, February  2017

My thanks to Girlfriends Films for providing some of the photos in this post.

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Talking with the stars of films I’ve reviewed is always a treat. At this year’s Adult Entertainment Expo, Kasey Warner fell my way, an expected surprise.

A text and a meeting at the AVN booth led to an interview after her signing time.

I’m interested in Kasey’s perspective on B Skow’s Color Blind, a film that was nominated for Best Drama, Best Director, and Best Screenplay at this year’s Awards Show.

She plays an unsighted girl who falls in love with a man of color.

To read my review of this socially significant film, click here.

colorblindcover

 

I Can Hear Your Voice

I asked Kasey how she prepared for her role.

“B Skow sent me some clips of a girl on YouTube and said study her videos and pick up on her mannerisms so you can play a convincing blind girl,” Kasey remembers.

At first, this adorable brunette realized that the YouTube girl wasn’t doing the things that seemed “stereotypically blind,” something she would have to take into consideration in her acting.

“At the beginning of filming I was trying to portray a blind person as blind people actually are, but then as it went on, [I started] doing the things that people do when they act blind.”

She references her eyes shifting around, for example.

Skow picked up on her mannerisms, understandable because he directed Maddy O’Reilly in Daddy’s Girls who also plays a girl without sight.

Kasey recalls his reminder, “‘Don’t look at people in the eyes, [because] you can’t see.'”

It was a struggle at first and she remembers telling Skow, “I can hear your voice and I can center my ears to find your voice. So it’s kind of hard trying to find a medium between a realistic blind girl and a girl that people could watch and say, ‘Oh, she’s blind.'”

But, she pulled it off!

Feeling it Out

The opening scene in the kitchen sets the tone for a powerful film. Were the scenes shot in lockstep with the screenplay?

“That actually was the first thing we filmed. I don’t think every scene was filmed in chronological order, but I do think that the team tried to have it that way because for professional actors it is a little bit easier to go through the movie and kind of feel it out as you go,” Kasey replies.

“By the second day I was is in the groove of a blind girl,” Kasey notes with a smile.

2017-01-20-09-40-43

And that was no mean feat.

“When you’re shooting a porn movie you don’t get as much time to practice,” Kasey explains. “You don’t have a table read, you don’t have run-throughs. So I definitely felt like as it went on I got more into my role, so that was good.”

No doubt, her performance is impressive.

Not Typical Gonzo

Kasey’s sex scene with Isiah Maxwell is far from a gonzo shoot. There’s a gentleness in it.

How did she balance being sightless and romantic at the same time?

Isiah Maxwell

Isiah Maxwell

“I was obviously already in the character and I love Isiah. He’s the sweetest guy in the world so it’s not hard to have him be my boyfriend and be all lovey-dovey with him.”

Because of her character’s circumstances, “each scene is a whole new experience” for the girl, Kasey says, and “I was able to use that to make it seem like it was new for me.”

In other words, her scenes had authenticity.

I suggest that losing virginity in the real world is hardly a romantic experience.

Kasey concurs.

“I read one review where they didn’t like the sex scene and I understand that because it’s not your typical gonzo scene and it’s not me riding like a crazy person. I am a blind girl from a sheltered racist family losing my virginity. It’s supposed to be kind of scary, timid, and very emotional and romantic because that’s what it is.”

Adriana Chechik

Adriana Chechik

Fans should understand that portraying a certain character does not mean every sex scene is an Adriana Chechik scene, Kasey points out. (Adriana plays her sister in the film and was voted AVN’s 2017 Female Performer of the Year).

She says fans often want gonzo “to be every scene” but her character’s situation doesn’t lend itself to that. “I’m not going to be on top, doing crazy stuff like ‘choke me, Isiah!'” Kasey laughs.

Filming with Skow

“I love shooting with B Skow because he allows me to do scenes that aren’t just, ‘Be my Stepdad, Again!’ It was really nice to be able to shoot a movie that really had some meaning behind it,” Kasey says.

Picking up on Color Blind’s theme, this East Coast girl remarks, “It was nice to do an interracial movie where the whole point is that we’re all the same.”

The idea is important to Kasey because she was on board with IR shoots as soon she entered the industry. It seemed natural to her, but she was in for a surprise.

“I didn’t know that some girls hold out on that.”

But no matter. Even if she had been aware of not doing everything right off the bat, Kasey wouldn’t have changed her approach to her career when it came to IR.

“It’s dumb to discriminate. The whole point of me being blind is I can’t see color so I’m the girl who says, ‘Why shouldn’t I have sex with this guy, I love him. He’s great.'”

At this point, Kasey interjects that too much of interracial porn is gonzo-centered, just another white girl banged by a black guy. “Usually it’s like, ‘Woo, you’re my black babysitter!’ I don’t know, some dumb stuff [like that].”

Focusing on Emotion

I’ve reviewed enough B Skow films to understand his intensity and his endearing maverick status. I explore this idea with Kasey.

B Skow

What makes Skow such a spirited and impassioned director?

“He refuses to adhere to what porn says he should do to make the most money. He’s not going to shoot the most generic, asinine thing just because ‘Big Butts 37’ is going to sell more than a politically, racially-fueled movie with a message,” Kasey says.

“He  really cares and he doesn’t care that some people might not like it. This is what is important to me. It’s nice to shoot with directors who are passionate [about their work],” Kasey explains.

“That allows me to do a good scene because it’s hard for me to care if the director doesn’t.”

My final question on the film concerns its shocking finale.

Because her theater experiences in her student days enables her to feel empathy for the characters she plays, Kasey is good at focusing on emotion and that showed up as the film closes.

But there is more. Kasey praises Steven St. Croix’s portrayal of her racist father. His intensity created the energy she absorbed to enhance her performance.

Steven St. Croix. Photo courtesy of AVN media

Steven St. Croix.
Photo courtesy of AVN media

Were her tears spontaneous?

“Yeah. I was like it would be cool if I cried but I didn’t mean to. But the emotion was building up, I let it happen.

“The PA had to leave the room because he was going to start crying. Because there was so much emotion, I garbled through the speech a little bit. I was glad they were able to get the crying and the speech through editing.”

Sexology?

Kasey and I are from the same part of the country, just outside Washington, DC, a continent away from LA. This interview is like old home week for us so I inquire about her background.

What motivated her to go into porn?

kw1

The school she was attending had a stem program (science, technology, engineering, math), Kasey explains, but it was not for her.

“I’m not really into any of that. I just went there because they gave me a big scholarship.”

She didn’t much care for her classes.

“I wanted to pursue a culinary career or get a degree in sexology and study human sexuality professionally.

“So I’d be sitting in my room just watching porn—not masturbating or anything—thinking this is really good porn, you know, just appreciating the cinematography and the acting. It occurred to me, ‘Hmmm, that’s an actual job that people have. I’m eighteen, a young cute girl, I could do that.

“So I just packed up and moved to California and started working.”

Aren’t we glad she did.

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Under the Radar: Karlie Montana, Part 2

by Rich Moreland, November 2014

Karlie Montana Photo courtesy of naughtyamerica.com

Karlie Montana
Photo courtesy of naughtyamerica.com

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

Allow the Sex to Flow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easily Bruised

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

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

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

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

Damsel in Distress. Photo courtesy of antonvideo.com

Damsel in Distress.
Photo courtesy of antonvideo.com

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

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

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

We All Live on the Edge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*          *          *          *          *

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

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Is That Something You Can Live With?

by Rich Moreland, July 2014

Proud Parents is B Skow at his cleverest, a parody of porn history and a history of porn told tongue-in-cheek. Skow presents an inside look at adult film with a movie within a movie that entertains a question every parent faces.

GFF proud big boxcover

The sex scenes are top notch with three standout women, India Summer, Lily LeBeau, and the incomparable Casey Calvert. There’s enough nastiness in that trio to guarantee the success of any adult film.

The movie opens with Stan (Steven St. Croix) and Marge (India Summer) being interviewed by an unseen film director (B Skow). After meeting on a porn set—it was “love at first thrust,” Stan says—they married in 1982. Porn has brought Stan and Marge a comfortable home with a swimming pool they never use and enough money to pay for their daughter’s elite education.

Though their conversation has the casual appearance of a BTS (Behind the Scenes) segment that is common in today’s DVDs, Stan and Marge are actually talking with the documentary filmmaker who is following their daughter Casey (Casey Calvert). Unbeknown to her parents, she plans to enter the business and is set to do her first shoot.

Skow establishes the tone for the film when it’s revealed that Casey grew up around porn. Despite the opportunities the business has provided them, Stan and Marge are adamantly opposed to Casey following in their footsteps.

The Happy Family. Photo courtesy of Girlfriends Films

The Happy Family.
Photo courtesy of Girlfriends Films

Jamie Gillis, the rough-sex porn icon of 1980s and 1990s—the era of the VCR and white nose powder all around—is offhandedly mentioned. When Stan and Marge move into the film’s first sex scene at the request of the documentary filmmaker, the legendary Marilyn Chambers’ oral skills on Gillis in Insatiable II (1984) are recalled. Marge drops her head over the bedside for Stan’s pleasure in a salute to Chambers. At film’s end, Casey Calvert will offer another round of the same.

A Garage Studio

When Casey shows up for her first shoot in garage studio (the American dream often starts in a garage), Skow presents a hilarious 1980s moment. A dude named Leonard bops in wearing a tacky two piece outfit that thankfully is locked away in pop culture’s disco past. In this uncredited cameo, Richie Calhoun tries vainly to produce wood for his scene with Casey. It’s hopeless, of course, because he’s really the late John Holmes, cokehead extraordinaire, whose droopiness couldn’t respond to the best oral efforts of Marilyn Chambers in Up and Coming (1983).

Casey moves in to handle the casting couch on her own. Photo courtesy of Girlfriends Films

Casey moves in to handle the casting couch on her own.
Photo courtesy of Girlfriends Films

1980s cheesiness is not all rotten apples, however. When Casey’s identity is accidentally exposed, the garage director, Jean Kreem (Scott Lyons) is ready to drop her like an overheated halogen lamp. To save the day she reverses the casting couch schtick (they are on a couch, literally). She sucks him off. All the while Jean takes on a bizarre, wild-eyed look. Remember the fantasies of 1980s filmmaker, Rinse Dream (aka F. X. Pope), whose Night Dreams I, II, and III (1981, ’89, ’91) are avant-garde classics to this day?

The garage has a green screen and in an all-too-short segment, Casey’s friend Franny (Aiden Ashley) has a brief fling with porn newcomer, Keisha Grey. It’s steamy, but nothing like Franny and Casey’s earlier scene for the documentary guy.

Challenging Casey’s career decision, the director suggests that sex for money is different from loving sex. Casey’s answer is to have a good grind with her friend in his presence. Beyond the finger banging and oral with a scissors wrap-up, what makes the Casey/Franny scene top quality is their slutty demeanor. In warming up for her best sex, Casey’s eyes narrow with a wantonness that is deviously framed in a puckered brow. It’s the Casey Calvert erotic trademark. Like a cat ready to strike, Casey draws back a little before feasting on her lover with a smuttiness that redefines salacious. On the other hand, Aiden is demure and dreamy, but when the action starts is as aggressive as Casey.

Aiden Ashley Photo source unknown

Aiden Ashley
Photo source unknown

“Does that answer your question?” Casey says, finishing up with Franny.

To add an exclamation point to her performance, Casey crawls across the bed toward the director and as the camera focuses on her chest and neck, muffled slurping is heard. Remember a teenaged Traci Lord’s rep for doing everyone on the set?

Gonzo Implanted in a Feature

B Skow shoots the garage sequences in the reality TV mode popularized in porn with John Stagliano’s Buttman series. By the 1990s, gonzo, as the style came to be known, was appropriated for all-sex productions. Close-ups of anal and oral thrusting moved to the front of the line. Skow pays tribute to Stagliano with over-the-shoulder POV shots, including Franny’s tongue on Keisha’s crotch. The final sexcapade between Casey and Kurt Lockwood ends with a splashy facial (Casey is careful to keep her eyes closed), gonzo to the core.

Skow’s camera moves about in Stagliano style, not always removing objects around the cluttered garage. With sex scenes hastily set up in an amateurish way, Proud Parents seems like an off-the-cuff production. In truth, it’s a carefully crafted tribute to porn in the new century, gonzo implanted in a feature.

The Threesome. Photo courtesy of Girlfriends Films

The threesome with the strap-on attachment at hand.
Photo courtesy of Girlfriends Films

An eventual three-way between Stan, Marge, and Casey’s friend Zooey (Lily LaBeau) is superb, proving that Skow’s sex scenes are rich and diverse. During Zooey’s oral work on Stan, cameras drift in and out of picture adding moments of delightful confusion. In one part of the sequence, Stan holds the camera that is shooting Zooey’s efforts and a crewman’s foot is spotted momentarily.

This is porn set reality. Things and people get in the way inadvertently and because of limited budgets, retakes don’t happen and editing doesn’t cover it all. Proud Parents is a commentary on how movies are made.

There is much in the threesome to be appreciated, though one shot stands out. Skow moves his camera above the action when Stan doggies Marge, Marge munches Zooey, and she kisses Stan. Later when Zooey moves to the floor, a cameraman hands Marge a strap-on. Priceless.

Zooey and Marge warming up. Photo courtesy of Girlfriends Films

Zooey and Marge warming up.
Photo courtesy of Girlfriends Films

Raised in the Wild

Shoot cancelled, a disappointed Casey comes home reluctant to deal with her parents. The documentary director persuades her to give it a try, saying, “They raised a horse in the wild and they don’t expect it wants to run?”

When Casey finds a note her parents are out, her agent, Mark Spiegler, calls with a booking (Casey Calvert is a highly regarded Spiegler girl, by the way). Excited, the determined neophyte returns to the garage to be surprised by her parents and her old babysitter, their good friend Kurt (Kurt Lockwood), who refused to do Casey in the earlier scrapped scene.

Everything is a go now. Before they start, Kurt mentions the reality of a porn career. “Every day on the set, you’re going to do something you regret,” he says to Casey. “Question is, is that something you can live with?”

Like loving parents supporting their child’s first game, play, party, what have you, Marge and Stan are there to videotape the launch of Casey’s career. In hot sex with Kurt there is a standing sixty-nine, Casey positions her head upside down in front of his crotch in the best of gonzo acrobatics.

Oh yes, like Marge and Marilyn Chambers before her, Casey drops her head over the couch to fellate Kurt again. Stan later comes in to pause the action for the stills. In a reverse anal cowgirl, Casey seduces his camera with her signature expression, eyes of determined pleasure, as he clicks away.

“She’s going to have a great career,” Kurt says.

Who, then, are the Proud Parents in this film? Don’t be deceived by the obvious, because there is a twist to come. In a porn movie about making a porn movie with an embedded documentary film to drive the story, possibilities abound.

*           *           *           *           *

Not long ago, I talked with B Skow about the comeback of the feature, a vehicle that he admires and is able to supplement with gonzo elements that satisfy a modern audience.

Though the DVD does not sustain the popularity of the video tape when that was a viewer’s only option, it survives with verve because people want to own things, he says, “they want to have it somewhere.”

“If you make something interesting, there’s a crowd [for it],” Skow believes. The crowd does not have to be huge, it just needs to exist.

Girlfriends Films’ award-winning boy/girl director proves his point with each of his productions. Proud Parents sold out in two weeks of its release, unheard of in today’s market. But it is no wonder, B Skow has built a following with films he rightly considers art.

When I asked about Casey Calvert, Skow’s praise is effusive. “She’s one of the top,” he exclaims, “a girl that loves what she does.”

Casey Calvert. Photo courtesy of Casey Calvert

“Loves what she does.”
Photo courtesy of Casey Calvert

Casey Calvert treats Skow with similar enthusiasm.

“B Skow is very easy to work with. He pretty much lets us do whatever ideas we have,” she comments. He avoids over directing the sex scenes “unless he needs something super specific.” When I inquire about shooting with Kurt Lockwood, Casey references their creativity. “Skow sets up three cameras and just lets us do our thing,” she explains, “Kurt and I made up that last scene as we went.”

Though we don’t get into the MILF aspect of the film, Casey praises my favorite mature couple in porn.

“I LOVE India. Steven has played my dad in multiple movies, but we have never had sex. I like him. He’s very professional and a good actor,” she beams.

No doubt India and Steven have similar praise for Casey. There is a reason why these top tier performers appear on the boxcover; it’s all about competency, responsibility, and a personal pride in their work.

 

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Containment: The Temptation of Eve, Part One

by Rich Moreland, May 2014

A professor during my graduate school years insisted that superior literature requires repeated readings. Testing his advice, I read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby five times and, indeed, my prof was correct. Each reread brought out another image, another symbol, another interpretation. By the fifth excursion into the book, I understood why some critics believe Gatsby to be the  “Great American Novel.”

To evaluate a Jacky St. James’s film, multiple viewings are a minimal prerequisite. She and Eddie Powell integrate images, movement, dialogue, lighting and shading to authenticate their central message: adult film is art.

As a team they create an atmosphere in which the sex scenes compliment, but do not drive, the storyline, while remaining an irreplaceable part of it. Bear in mind, they minimalize gonzo porn’s hard, blasting sexual mechanics unless it fits a specific mood and message. Instead, Jacky and Eddie combine the raw desire and tender touches that embrace couples’ pleasure.

The Temptation of Eve exemplifies the cinematic grace of a St.James/Powell production. It is intriguing drama with quality acting.

One reviewer wrote, “Don’t rent this movie, buy it.” I could not agree more. In fact, I endorse a Jacky St. James collection as a necessity to any adult film library because its richness entertains long after the first viewing.

As another reviewer (Astroknight for Adultdvdtalk) said of Eve, “I’m not nearly a good enough writer or reviewer to really do it justice.” Well, perhaps I am, at least I’d like to give it a shot. So, here we go with the first part of a superb film.

eve boxcover front

*          *          *          *          *

“Temptation is a very powerful thing. It’s hard to fight off and even harder to walk away from.”

Brandon Parker’s words introduce an ancient dilemma Jacky St. James and Eddie Powell have transformed into a cinematic masterpiece, The Temptation of Eve. The viewer is treated to a plethora of images and motifs that offer a unique spin on an old story.

Though I rarely recommend doing this, fast forward to the final scene. It sets up the narrative, is invaluable in understanding the emotional dilemmas the film presents, and will enhance viewing pleasure.

Tangled and Twisted Metal

Containment themes within a minimalist vision is the complication of The Temptation of Eve. For the curious, minimalism is an artistic rebellion against abstractionism. Minimalists pare down visual components in a reductionism that cuts away the clutter to expose an idea. In other words, replace a jumble of colors with an ordered and defined space.

Accommodation and repression dominate the film; boxes and circles are ever present whether in photos on the walls, furniture, cartons for personal possessions, candles, pillows, or doorways. Eve (Remy Lacroix) must contain her temptations and free up her past to invest in the present, her boyfriend, Danny (Tommy Pistol). Her former lover, Brandon (Xander Corvus), must control his game playing and admit his suppressed feelings for Eve in a fight he is destined to lose, at least for now. And, Danny struggles to abandon all confinement to move forward and escape a potential emotional triangle this reviewer believes he senses.

It’s all there in the film’s ending scene, it’s final denouement and most dramatic statement.

By the way, the closing moments bring to mind a scene from The Submission of Emma Marx in which the kneeling Emma (Penny Pax) waits inside the front door of her master’s house to be called to her pleasure. Where Emma enters, Eve exits, but, unlike Emma, she leaves with feelings repressed and doubt hanging in the air.

There are three doors in the final shot. The double entrance doors are brightened by translucent light, an indication that Eve and Danny are working hard to make their relationship work in tough economic times. To the left is a closet door , symbolic of Brandon perhaps, who is being left behind, locked into his cramped and limited view of sexuality and affection.

Or, is the closet door Danny’s isolation? A possibility because of what he may suspect. A hint appears earlier when Danny asks Eve if Brandon brought girls over while he, Danny, was away in Seattle. She says no, but adds,

“He couldn’t find someone I hated enough to do this.”

Eve tells Tommy about being in the house. Photo by Jeff Koga

Tommy and Eve discuss their situation.
Photo by Jeff Koga

A curious answer to a seemingly innocent question. Danny never asks for a further explanation, but must perceive it’s time to move quickly.

To the left of the front door hangs an abstract painting that presents the story’s complexities: Brandon’s chaotic life, Eve’s once torrid relationship with him, her inability to resolve a past that haunts her, Danny’s frustrations, and the suggestion that there is indeed a love triangle at work.

To complete the exit scene is a large metallic grid of tangled and twisted lines geometrically arranged in squares, positioned to the right of the double doors. It screams for order while bound in chaos. It’s a movable piece, by the way, that appears early in the film.

What does it tell the viewer? Is it Brandon? Eve? Their relationship? Or, does it speak of Eve’s torturous desires to explore her past, her addiction to Brandon’s journal, or her uncertain vision of a future rooted in Seattle? Is she trying to establish order out of mixed up emotions ?

Line up your guesses and then watch the film to see where the pieces fall.

Jacky takes a moment with her stars, Remy and Xander.  Photo by Jeff Koga

Jacky takes a moment with her stars, Remy and Xander.
Photo by Jeff Koga

The Journal

Danny and Eve have fallen on difficult times and are staying at Brandon’s house. Danny has lost his job as a graphic designer and Eve hers in journalism to a “blonde bimbo,” Jen (Bailey Blue). According to the rumor mill, Jen’s oral skills were nicely received at work and she became the new hire.

Danny wants to support his love but like the down-and-out men of the Great Depression, he is having no luck finding employment. The well-off Brandon, who apparently is an old friend of Danny’s, welcomes them, particularly since he has a past with Eve.

Though Eve is troubled by the arrangement, she cannot resist sneaking surreptitious peeks at Brandon’s journal. She caresses herself while reading the accounts Brandon keeps as literary notches buried within the pages. To distress matters further, Eve discovers very personal nude photos that Brandon has stashed in a drawer. Could Danny find these?

Jacky setting up the first flashback. Photo by Jeff Koga

Jacky setting up the first flashback.
Photo by Jeff Koga

Eve is haunted by memories of sex with Brandon recorded in the journal. They appear as flashbacks in the film. In one he is binding her to his bed; in another she is uses a vibrator while lying naked by the pool. Brandon is swimming through the water (very Freudian) like he does his women.

Xander plays with the hoop. Photo by Jeff Koga

Xander plays with the hoop between takes.
Photo by Jeff Koga

Caught in a situation that is playing on her emotions, Eve can’t extract herself from a swirling eddy of desire and trouble. Her dilemma is surrealistically illustrated with a hula hoop. The lawn scene is shot from inside the hoop with the background in a tizzy as Eve turns mechanically in a dream-like sequence that explores her confinement. Interestingly, the hoop’s colors reflect the blues of Eve’s mug, symbolic of water and the delicate flowers painted on the ceramic.

The hoop suddenly drops to the ground and an immobile Eve stands exposed before Brandon, fragile and vulnerable. Can she escape a situation she clings to emotionally, one that produces masturbatory orgasms called up by the past?

Buddha and a MILF

Alone in the house, Eve gets the journal again and learns about the older woman.

A beautiful MILF and a classy woman Photo by Jeff Koga

A beautiful MILF and a classy woman
Photo by Jeff Koga

One of Brandon’s renters, Veronica (India Summer) offers sex in exchange for a break in her monthly payment. Though Brandon is unwilling to enter into an agreement she might use to turn their casual relationship into a more complicated one, Veronica is playing him. Cool, mature, in control, and suggestive of better ways to satisfy both of them, she isn’t going to extend anything beyond sex for rent. Veronica is as manipulative as Brandon.

Though their encounter is the usual stuff of oral, doggie, cowgirl, and mish, the scene is India Summer’s stage. She is elegant, graceful, and lovely in a way that endorses the MILF concept in porn. Her body is taut and ready for action. Best of all, India brings a bonus to the set, her dialogue delivery ranks with the best in the business. As an actress, she is supreme.

The scene emphasizes both bodies displayed equally through a distant focus intermixed with Eddie Powell’s frequently moving camera. He shoots sex through encircling the lovers, inviting the viewer in for a closer look. Brandon and Veronica’s scissors action, popular in girl/girl scenes, seems perfectly placed as the sequence wraps up.

Buddha is ready for the shoot after Jacky finishes. Photo by Jeff Koga

Buddha, face partially obscured by the light, waits while Jacky finishes.
Photo by Jeff Koga

Speaking of placement, two images dominate the scene where the sex happens. First, is the large gold face of Buddha. It’s a bright and alive wall decoration that adds a serene touch to the room. Next to the couch is the metal artwork, a reminder of the tangled lines that ensnare Brandon’s world. At one point during the doggie action, a vertical light blocks out half of Buddha’s face, leaving a phallic-like ear and the vulva shape of one eye on the screen. The images are not joined, of course, and speak of separation in Brandon’s sexual history.

Evident here is another motif Jacky St. James loves, candles. There are three, but they are not arranged in a triangle at this point. That occurs later, dropping a hint that Danny may be know more than Eve or Brandon suspect.

Keep these early images in mind, because the second sexual rendezvous is contradictory to the first. Eve and Danny will take the viewer into a muted, almost colorless and visually shaded room saturated in with a film noir flavor. But the mood is different there, the lovers are more somber with an embrace that spells survival.

Wetness

Two awkward scenes set the stage for the second half of the film. Danny’s job hunting is a continued failure and Brandon offers to help him out. In the kitchen Brandon pours coffee into Eve’s mug which he brought with him. She mentions it is hers.

“I know, you left it in my room,” he retorts.

Despite Brandon’s caustic comment, the sting of discovery does not move Eve. Why should it, she probably spent a few nights there in the past. Perhaps her neglect was deliberate and serves to embolden Brandon.

Time for another flashback, this time sex in the bathroom.

Flashback. Photo by Jeff Koga

Flashback.
Photo by Jeff Koga

Later while Danny sleeps, Eve is distracted by guttural moaning and giggling downstairs. Investigating, she catches Brandon having sex with a nameless girl who is wearing Eve’s clothes.

Confronting him, Eve says, “Did you ever think about how that may make her feel, making her wear someone else’s clothes?”

Interesting, is she projecting her feelings into the slut he’s doing at that moment? Is this another fantasy?

Minimally affected by her remark, Brandon confesses he thinks about Eve all the time and asks why she was in his room earlier. Of course, he knows and reaches into her pants, feels her wetness, and walks away in triumph. Is he setting up something?

Brandon's hands, Eve's kiss. Photo by Jeff Koga

Wetness.
Photo by Jeff Koga

Jacky St. James certainly is because Eve must face her dual realities—Danny and Brandon—with an understanding that the game of emotional hide and seek cannot endure.

*          *          *          *          *

The second part of my review of The Temptation of Eve will be up soon.

Xander and Remy check the script. Photo by Jeff Koga

Xander and Remy check the script.
Photo by Jeff Koga

 

 

 

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Deeper into Their Fantasies

By Rich Moreland, December 2012

“I’ve failed miserably,” Christian Mann says with a smile. He’s referring to his lack of success in predicting what his boss, John Stagliano, will like in a project. That may be so, I don’t doubt, but Christian’s name in the porn universe is almost as well-known as his that of his employer. He’s the general manager of Evil Angel Productions, one of the dynamic names in adult entertainment.

Christian Mann Photo by Bill Knight

Christian Mann
Photo by Bill Knight

We’re in his office in Van Nuys, part of the greater Los Angeles area. The space is nicely appointed and part of a small facility tucked away among identical storefronts common in today’s ubiquitous industrial parks. “E.A. Productions” is printed over the glass enclosed entrance. The casual visitor is hard-pressed to recognize that this unassuming location houses an industry mover and shaker.

Inside there’s a small waiting area; a receptionist sits behind a window-like opening equipped with a sliding glass front. Typical office waiting room, all that is missing is a clipboard so I could check ‘new patient’ since this is my first visit.

A couple of perky young women are busy around the receptionist’s seat on this day. My guess is they probably shoot a few scenes for the studio and pick up steadier bucks answering the phone and greeting visitors. If not, it’s an entertaining thought.

Unlike most professionals I know, Christian is prompt, coming into the waiting room to greet Bill, my photographer, and me. Very cool. Visits to financial gurus and lawyers often involve secretaries leading the way; for doctors, it’s always a nurse. No third party here. Porn people are hands on and laid back, all puns intended.

Folk Appeal

Evil Angel is the brainchild of John Stagliano who, some twenty plus years ago, patented an artistic and innovative style of filmed pornography called gonzo, a topic I’ve written about previously. John is a genius and highly respected in the business.

A note on gonzo is in order here. It’s an adult film genre in which a movie is a series of somewhat disconnected scenes focused on the sex taking place before the camera. In a sense, it’s a modernized version of the old loop. A storyline is essentially vacant, though some of John’s signature “Buttman” series have a loose narrative base. In gonzo, the sex is the reason for the shoot unlike other approaches that work the sex into the narrative. For Evil Angel, the sex is never an “add on,” to quote Christian. Though this concept may appear overly simplistic, it has made the company into a recognized brand name.

Christian elaborates on the Stagliano philosophy. The sex is greater than “the storyline or the production values,” he says. That is not to say Evil Angel eschews these components, they just aren’t starting points. Two movies in a feature film format, The Fashionistas and Voracious, are “very intense when it comes to those elements,” Christian points out. For example, Voracious is episodic, centers on a vampire theme, and is shot in Europe where the sex is edgier than the American consumer is accustomed to seeing. Stateside, a degree of prudery still reigns. Using a serial format, Voracious turns the soil (always pleasing to vampire lovers) for a new and interesting approach to filmed pornography.

Courtesy of Evil Angel Proudctions

Courtesy of Evil Angel Productions

Courtesy Evil Angel Productions

Courtesy of Evil Angel Productions

Christian emphasizes the heart of the matter once again, hammering home the stake of truth that keeps the Evil Angel model moving forward. “Our movies always start with the sex because that’s what people [the consumers] are first and foremost wanting,” he says.

In defining the Evil Angel operation, Christian emphasizes that the company welcomes diversity. John Stagliano does not “mandate a certain point of view” though the “common thread” of sex first remains. Company directors have a free hand, Christian says, but “John has to like it” which means that boring sex dies on the cutting room floor.

Within a few minutes of talking with Christian Mann, two words jump out: charm and intelligence. He’s no stranger to adult entertainment having been involved in the business for over thirty years. Video, production, sales, marketing, he’s had a hand in all aspects of the pornographer’s trade. Christian got his start working a summer job for his father who was in the print segment of adult entertainment. Eventually Christian’s psychology major paid off as his early years in the business were in marketing. Owning an adult film company was down the road as was a bout with the government over obscenity. But like many of adult film’s historically important people, Christian Mann is stilling trucking.

Along with his current position, Christian sits on the board of the Free Speech Coalition, the industry’s political wing. He has a libertarian heart like his boss. Both have fought censorship battles in the courts.

I’m interested in Christian’s view on the popularity of the Fifty Shades of Grey literary trilogy. Now that the bondage fetish is collecting devotees, is the company jumping on the BDSM bandwagon as it journeys through the market bizarre of porn? He is definitive: Evil Angel prefers not to respond to the market.

Once again, Christian returns to the company mantra. It’s unlikely John will react enthusiastically to a project if he’s simply told “it’s going to sell,” Christian states. (He’s personally made that mistake a couple of times. That’s where the prediction failures add up.)  Rather, it is John’s personal belief in the product’s quality that establishes the company’s image. Attaching a well-known name (performer or director) to a project’s sales pitch, for example, is no guarantee it will gain traction with the boss.

Of course, if a product with the Evil Angel name generates a profit, all the better. In that case, “the market just happens to agree with him,” Christian says. But there is an underlying secret at work. John has “folk appeal,” Christian reveals, an intuitive understanding of what people want.

I have no doubt that is true. The company’s red logo shouts quality and tradition. But I also contend that John Stagliano shapes the market. Like Vivid Entertainment’s Steve Hirsch, Wicked Pictures’ Steve Orenstein, and Kink.com’s Peter Acworth, the Stagliano name creates sales. In a pensive moment, Christian concludes, “John is the market.” I could not agree more.

Gender Blind

Among the reasons I’ve come to Evil Angel is to talk feminism in porn. We quickly agree that Fifty Shades of Grey and BDSM have opened another door into the female empowerment arena.

E.A. has a stable of directors who own their content and distribute through the company. Among the team are two active legends, Belladonna and Bobbi Starr. John Stagliano is “gender blind” in his hiring practices and some of Evil Angel’s “hardest stuff” comes from these women, Christian says.

Though I’ve never had the opportunity to converse with Belladonna, I know Bobbi. She’s talked about her struggle to become a director. John gave her that opportunity, as he did with another well-known feminist filmmaker named Tristan Taormino, who refers to him as the Steven Spielberg of porn. Bobbi has not disappointed the company, she is hard core to the core in what she likes to put on film. Incidentally, the 2013 Adult Video News Awards in Las Vegas are close at hand and Bobbi Starr is among the nominees for both Female Performer of the Year and Best Director, a result of hard work and a personal belief in her own creativity.

Christian comments about projects both women have to their credit. “If you didn’t know it was a female directing it, you would think it’s a guy” casting women in a submissive role, he says. Belladonna and Bobbi deliberately capture the male gonzo point of view and then contradictorily take possession of it, a characteristic of what I call pornography feminism.

But is this feminism in Christian’s view? Yes, he affirms, and goes on to suggest that E.A. directors “who are interested in dominance and role-play” reflect a modern porn POV that puts women in charge of the on screen sex. He mentions one male director who often shoots “high art bondage” and though the viewer might get the impression that he dislikes women, female performers “love working for him.”  In fact, it is often the women who “push the envelope;” in other words, female subjugation on film is often driven by the women themselves.

The upshot is a “new prototype of performer,” Christian asserts, who relishes working for female directors “trying to out hard core each other.” There is a downside to this scenario, he concedes, the sex can deteriorate into “acrobatics” that are devoid of creativity.  Finding balance is not always easy.

Christian understands the erotic perspectives of new century women. They are claiming ownership of their sexuality, refusing “to be told how they’re supposed to behave sexually,” he says. They’re insisting that their boundaries be expanded; they want to go “deeper” into their fantasies and this adventure includes the submissive and dominant sides of the role play.

In short, BDSM is now an “equal opportunity” playing field, Christian asserts, that gives women choices with an added benefit: accessorizing. In his analysis, that may be Fifty Shades’ real attraction. The story shines a light on “something that has existed for a while now,” he points out, the fascination with fetishes and role-play that gives permission to have fun with the attire, the leather, and the bondage gear. For reference, take a peek at a trailer for The Fashionistas or Voracious. Once again, Evil Angel is a step ahead of this curve.

Christian reviews what everyone secretly knows but few outside of the porn world act out. “A lot of sex fantasy is about power, role-reversal,” he says, emphasizing that men can be submissive to female dominance. Something, I might add, that many anti-porn people don’t take time to consider because they are lost in their monomaniacal vision that porn is violence against women.

“Part of a woman’s empowerment,” Christian explains, “and part of the modern woman owning her own sexuality includes the right to express herself”‘ in any role she might want. In relating the Fifty Shades phenomenon, Christian postulates, “When modern women are given the right to choose, they are frequently choosing to be submissive.”

A Final Shot Before We Head OutPhoto by Bill Knight

A Final Shot Before We Head Out
Photo by Bill Knight

Christian Mann’s conversational intensity is speeding the time away and before long his agenda demands attention. We’ve gone way over the time he allowed for me, I’m sure. But I can’t leave without a final inquiry. I ask Christian for a personal vision.

He sees himself as moving Evil Angel through changing times. Most important is keeping the erotic experience for the consumer at its highest level and the best way to do that is to market a quality product.

The philosophy of John Stagliano is everywhere inside this inconspicuous storefront.

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