Tag Archives: New Sensations

Love in the Digital Age, Part Two: Humanized Sexuality

by Rich Moreland, September 2018

In Part Two of “Love in the Digital Age,” we’ll take a look at the production side of filmmaking that makes the award-winning Jacky St. James/Eddie Powell style one of the finest in the business.

[My thanks to Jeff Koga, Jacky St. James, and New Sensations for the photos in this post.]

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“Love in the Digital Age” is another Jacky St. James feature film that reveals just how precise and demanding the writer/director can be.

Jacky is fond of saying that she’s not concerned with how popular her performers are in the fan world of adult film. Fame built on gonzo scenes and horny bodies is not what drives her casting. In fact, standards of hotness aren’t even in the equation when it comes to the on-screen expectations Jacky has for her hires.

To make a feature film come alive as an artistic statement, Jacky looks for performers who can take direction, deliver lines, and get into their characters. Some adult directors settle for line readings as benchmarks to create their characters; Jacky insists on acting ability. In this romantic comedy, she gets what she demands in spades.

Gia and Logan

Take Gia Paige. Her performance is superb.

Here’s an example. After an unsavory discovery, Sara confronts Griff (Logan Pierce) as she is walking out on him. She wants to know what category of undesirable females she falls under in his mind. “Dumb sorority girl, bad chick, crazy chick,” she growls. It’s Gia’s finest acting moment in the film. She expresses her frustration, anger, and feelings of deception.

For his part, Logan’s performance is also top-of-the-line. When Griff talks to his radio audience about screwing up “the best thing he had in his life,” he admits to being a jerk and doesn’t want his audience to be like him. The pain on Logan’s face illustrates the contrition and deep sense of loss Griff feels.

Bottom line? Expect good acting and character development in this film. The script is lively, but the actors’ energy moves the production into the fast lane.

Fit the Narrative

Eddie Powell and his filming cohort Paul Woodcrest frame the sex scenes to fit Jacky’s directing philosophy. She focuses on female pleasure and wants it evident on-screen. That requires a special commitment because extracting intimate performances from actors who are often limited to all-sex shoots is not easy. Too often spitting, deep throating, and facials limit the artistic boundaries, such as they are, in those types of scenes. On the other hand, romance scripts demand a different approach.

Jacky wants her cast to be engaged in the story but they must go a step further with the sex scenes because they must fit the narrative.

In this production, the women initiate the sex, moving the female characters from the object of sex to its subject in the eyes of the viewer. There’s lots of kissing, loving gazes, and passion.

As always, Eddie’s camera work reflects Jacky’s story telling mission. When framing the performers during their sex scenes, he focuses on both bodies equally. He and Paul build the intimacy with facial closeups as opposed to relying on genital action. In other words, the pure up-close piston shot is absent. In its place is a humanized sexuality, a Jacky St. James/Eddie Powell trait that has forged their legendary talent.

To put it another way, Jacky and Eddie step away from the traditional male gaze and rough sex that present women as merely bodies with no larger reality. It’s a departure from run-of-the-mill porn.

There is one more ingredient in the mix. Eddie’s camera is always in motion, swirling and floating in an expression of what happens in the minds of lovers who are absorbed in each other. His shooting mimics what lovers experience when passions are high, a trait that elevates his work above the best cinematographers in the business.

A Cowgirl Sexcapade

There are four sex scenes, as mentioned previously. The first is Gia and Tyler Nixon. It’s a sample of Sara’s previous relationship that is ultimately doomed because of a social media post that inflames her.

The second is Kenna James and Small Hands. Lizzie meets Jeremy at the bar. He takes her home and the sex heats up.

The third is Gia Paige again, this time with Logan Pierce in a triumph of their new-found romance.

The fourth involves Mona Wales and Marcus London. Janine is at first turned off by her coffee date with Mark, but he gets a do over and love ensues.

The favorite sex position to begin each scene is cowgirl. The female controls her pleasure and relishes the expressions of her lover as she rides to ecstasy. This is not to minimize mish (missionary), spoon, and doggie. They are there, of course, as is oral sex. Incidentally, there is a lot of that for her enjoyment, something not found in abundance in adult film unless the scene is girl/girl.

In the final analysis, porn is often in a hurry. Chuck clothes, get to the blow job, then run through the standard positions with the pop shot that is most often a facial. Jacky will have none of that. Her performers warm up to each other, a necessity in a true romantic comedy.

Once again, Jacky St. James and Eddie Powell have made a Hollywood-worthy adult film. Because of their exceptional talent, “Love in the Digital Age” belongs in every porn library in a prominent place on the feature film shelf.

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Here’s the YouTube trailer for “Love in the Digital Age.”

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Love in the Digital Age, Part One: The Old-Fashioned Way

by Rich Moreland, September 2018

Once again New Sensations teams up award-winning filmmakers Jacky St. James and Eddie Powell and the result is another Hollywood-worthy motion picture. Produced by Scott Taylor, “Love in the Digital Age” is a romantic comedy starring Gia Page, Kenna James, Mona Wales, Tyler Nixon, Logan Pierce, Small Hands, and Marcus London.

The DVD also offers a BTS, photo gallery, and trailers highlighting other New Sensations productions. It can be ordered here.

[Photos in this review are credited to photographer Jeff Koga and director Jacky St. James]

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Jacky St. James’ latest romantic comedy is all about our tech driven age and the sexual hookups it offers us. Take notice of the montage of social media images that begin the film as we hear in voice over,

“Social media is how we connect now. Everything is at our fingertips. Why should we ever feel like we need something else?”

That question sets in motion a porn film that is as much social commentary as it is “doggie” and “cowgirl.” Be prepared for a thoughtful look at today’s online dating scene and the love, authentic or otherwise, that emerges out of it.

Four superbly shot sex scenes explore the realities of modern romance Jacky St. James presents in her script. Kenna James, Gia Paige, and Mona Wales fire up the screen with female pleasure that is a far cry from gonzo’s “rough her up” sex. But more on that in the next post.

First, let’s take a look at what the film is all about.

Testing a Theory

Lizzie (Kenna James) lives with her mom Janine (Mona Wales). The household welcomes a newcomer, Lizzie’s cousin Sara (Gia Paige). Sara has just dumped her boyfriend whose insensitivity trashed her on social media.

From there the story develops around a “theory,” as Janine proposes it, that the girls can’t survive without their cell phones. In return, Lizzie and Sara insist that Janine get a smart phone and go to dating apps to find a love life. She has, after all, been a “weird single lady” since “dad left,” Lizzie says, and celibate far too long.

The adventures from there are humorous and filled with carnal desire. But there is a deeper message in Jacky’s film. As the narrative progresses, she touches on subtle examples of how modern life is consumed by social media.

Here are some highlights.

After they agree to give up their phones, Lizzie and Sara drive to a bar, not an easy task because Lizzie doesn’t know how to get there without her phone’s GPS.

Sitting at the bar, the girls are listless. Boredom quickly sets in. No phones; no fun. They’ll have to create their own.

The bartender is mixing drinks and checking out his phone at the same time, something that fascinates Lizzie. She never noticed him before, of course, because she was always engrossed in her own phone. From her perspective, Sara observes that the people in the bar remind her of zombies attached to their phones and she feels out-of-place.

To occupy her time, Lizzie wanders outside to the bar’s patio and lights up a cigarette. She meets Jeremy (Small Hands) who muses that two friends in the bar are arguing and texting at the same time. It’s a comment on multitasking with a downside.

Jeremy, who doesn’t have a mobile phone, tells Lizzie, “We have our heads down so much we miss what is right in front of us.” In other words, too often social interactions are cell phone dependent at the cost of real human expression.

Never More Connected

“Love in the Digital Age” also addresses other issues technology has brought into our lives. One is the internet’s impact on our privacy. Another is somewhat more egregious: when we worship at the altar of technology, we sacrifice our imagination.

But all is not lost. Without a cell phone, Sara must learn to negotiate a landline setup to talk with her new-found love interest, Griff.

They’ve already communicated through letter writing (the earliest form of texting, by the way) and have moved to the next step. She doesn’t know what he looks like, of course, he’s just a voice on the other end of the wire. But she draws on her imagination to picture Griff and admits she’s never felt more connected to someone than she does to him.

Sara later confesses to Janine, “You can’t get to the heart of who a person really is online.”

The older woman is on board with that conclusion, but must explore dating apps as part of their deal. She’s now learning what technology offers.

When her weekend with Griff heats up (it’s Easter, by the way, the season of renewal and rebirth), Sara is immensely happy. “I was just living my life in real-time with someone I was getting to know the old-fashioned way.” Despite her upbeat revelation, Sara’s remark is a scalding comment on what we’re losing in this modern digital age.

The Sum of the Entire Picture

There is much more to this story. We see an older couple, Janine and Mark (Marcus London) navigate their more traditional relationship and witness how Lizzie’s face-to-face meeting with Jeremy generates an immediate connection. And not surprisingly, the Sara/Griff romance takes a rocky turn that delves into how technology fosters deception and embarrassment.

The voice over that ends the film simultaneously warns and reassures the viewer about our digital world. They are Sara’s words.

“We should remember that the things we hear or read online aren’t always the sum of the entire picture. If you want to know someone, really know someone, I suggest you do it the old-fashioned way.”

Jacky St. James wants us to understand that human interaction does not differ from generation to generation regardless of the platforms we use. Technology may move us forward, but the basics remain in place. For better or worse, social media, whatever its form, reflects our maturity, compassion, and values.

Mobile phones are designed to co-exist with traditional living, not redefine or overtake it. They can enrich personal connections and, on the flip side, be used in emotionally destructive ways. But whatever our conclusions about that handheld device, it can’t and doesn’t replace real human contact and the feelings that go with it.

This is the wisdom of “Love in the Digital Age.”

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In Part Two, we’ll look at the sex scenes (this is a porn film don’t forget!) and Eddie Powell’s cinematography.

Watch the trailer compliments of New Sensations.

 

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Darker Side of Desire: Part One

by Rich Moreland, March 2017

Jacky St. James is considered the leading feminist filmmaker in the adult industry today. As always her screenplays are Hollywood ready and Jacky’s latest feature, Darker Side of Desire, is no exception.

In this two-part review/analysis we’ll look at what makes this film a top-of-the-line production for couples and fetish lovers.

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Never for its Own Sake

After a successful run at New Sensations, Jacky St. James has taken her talent for storytelling to Mile High Media and its couples-oriented romance brand, Sweet Sinner.

The transition has already produced a winner, Darker Side of Desire, a feature film that once again cultivates a space for female-friendly BDSM. Jacky fans will remember her preeminent mark on the adult industry, the Emma Marx series reviewed on this blog in August 2013, March 2015, and April 2016.

Though reflective of the Emma Marx concept, Darker Side is a much different film. Here’s why.

In Emma’s story, BDSM is a learned sexual behavior that taps into the dominant/submission paradigm that exists to some degree in everyone. After all, what schoolgirl hasn’t had her hair pulled by that obnoxious boy in third grade? Flirtatious aggression is part of an instinctive primordial mating ritual psychologists tell us, though the kiddies are too young to get the picture.

Darker Side further explores BDSM as a preprogrammed behavior (it’s in our DNA, so to speak) that is clearly recognized by some of its adherents. In other words, no learning is required because “it turns me on, but I don’t know why.”

In that respect, the film is not Emma Marx, but is complementary of its message that submission is a legitimate sexuality that is part of a broader array of erotic behaviors.

And there is another difference worthy of note. While the many sex scenes in the Emma Marx series are BDSM exploratory, the scenes in Darker Side are a progression of how each woman in the story handles her inborn desires.

Emma normalizes a sexual fetish; the women of Darker Side don’t have that problem. For them, the fetish is already their normal.

Having said that, Jacky St. James’ philosophy that the storyline drives the sex is never more evident than in Darker Side. In other words, the sex informs character development, moves the narrative forward, and is never there for its own sake.

Simply put, Darker Side of Desire is sharp in plot and cinematography. For newbies to the bondage fetish who know what they want, the film is BDSM 101.

 

Hidden Affection

Natalie (Cassidy Klein) is haunted by a recurring dream of bondage sex. Vanilla in her lovemaking with new boyfriend Bryce (Mickey Mod), Natalie’s inner hunger to experience her fetish gnaws at her. The film moves her to a resolution that is set up by a progression of sex scenes skillfully placed within the narrative.

To get us there, Darker Side’s other characters come into play. We have Natalie’s friends and roommates Sydney (Gia Paige) and Robyn (Riley Nixon).

The men are Sydney’s past lover Alex (James Deen) and Robyn’s boyfriend Mike (Michael Vegas). The dream sequence features Cherie Deville as the submissive and Tommy Pistol as her dominant.

So how does the sex tell the story?

The first scene is Natalie and Bryce in a vanilla romp of raging endorphins that floods the new lovers.  As Natalie says in voice over, their relationship is a “whirlwind of romance and excitement.”

“You’re happy being out of control,” she declares.

The palette Jacky St. James and cinematographer Hank Hoffman present in the scene is top quality filmmaking. Mickey is a man of color so blending his darker tone with Cassidy’s paler one yields a visual perspective steeped in shades of brown, rust, auburn, and maroon. The sofa, candles, and the painting on the wall compose a pastel montage that flavors the romance.

Later, the palette reappears when Bryce and Natalie are playing pool (cues, balls, and pockets are Freudian symbols in this scene). The table felt and Natalie’s dress are shades of reddish-brown with a darker desert tone that is fitting, by the way, because their relationship may become arid if kinky erotic urges are ignored.

Spider Web

Next we have Natalie’s dream that composes the second sex scene. It delves into her psyche and its hidden affection for BDSM.

A spider web of chains is suspended between the camera and the imaginary players caught up in a tangle of bondage desires.

Denial, a subtle Jacky St. James theme, takes over as Tommy tempts and taunts Cherie throughout the entire scene. He calls her his “submissive little slut” and she responds, “Please sir, I want it so bad!”

With “I said beg for it!” Tommy spanks Cherie, whose coy smile reveals her submission pleasure.

Of course for the dreaming Natalie, the spider web is intimidating, a chilling look at the dichotomy of fetish sex: scary yet tempting, watching others while fearful of taking the step yourself.

Counterpoints

Later, roommate Sydney tells Natalie of a past lover Alex and their bondage hook-ups. The next sex scene between the two serves, along with the dream sequence, as fetish counterpoints to Natalie and Bryce’s vanilla theme.

The question of female degradation versus feminism’s empowerment is illustrated by the fourth scene. It’s a sexcapade between Robyn (Riley Nixon) and her boyfriend Mike (Michael Vegas), a playtime sprinkled with humor that tests traditional feminist sexual politics.

More on this in Part Two.

The final sex scene is Natalie and Bryce revisited. Now they’ve negotiated their mutual turn-on, the kink hidden within that finds the best of all outlets: a like-thinking lover.

So how does the movie take us through the BDSM experience as a feminist message?

That’s the question for Part Two of this review.

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Darker Side of Desire can be purchased from Mile High Media here.

To watch the “not safe for work” trailer, click here.

 . . . And for twitter fans, here’s your bread and butter: @milehighmovies  @sweetsinnerxxx @jackystjames

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Allie Haze: Growing Up Religious

by Rich Moreland, April 2016

At this year’s Adult Entertainment Expo I caught up with one of porn’s most popular veterans, Allie Haze.

Finding a quiet spot away from the convention floor, we put aside press etiquette (the normal trade show interview runs about fifteen minutes) for a longer talk.

At the outset of our conversation, I asked about the consent issue that is prevalent in the biz today. Her remarks are covered in another post on this blog.

For this Allie Haze installment, we’re looking at her life before porn.

All photos are courtesy of Allie’s twitter fan site. Credits are watermarked.

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How I was Raised

A Southern California girl who now lives in Las Vegas, Allie Haze’s adolescence was wrapped up in the church. It’s a subject I wanted to explore because of my own background.

“I grew up really religious,” she begins. “My family worked together to make sure all the kids went to church. It was how I was raised.”

Quite unexpectedly, her commitment to the faith shaped an early marriage.

“In junior high I started going to a missionary Baptist church. Between junior high and high school I was good friends with this guy who I eventually married.”

Her husband was a preacher at eighteen, something that seems an anomaly to most people.

Allie explains that in the missionary branch of the Baptist church, responsibility to administer the faith is divided between two individuals. The pastor is in charge of the congregation, whereas “the preacher gives the message.”

When a young man is called by God, he goes to seminary, which Allie’s future husband did at sixteen. In fact, their church was “also a certified seminary school,” she says, making everything convenient. As his wife-to-be, Allie also attended.

“It was a really cool experience,” the twenty-eight year old says, “because I learned a lot and it’s shaped me into who I was and I would never take that away.”

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Not Supposed to Screw Up

That part of her past causes Allie to reflect on how aging gives us a broader perspective on who we become. In her case, it’s about being an adult entertainer.

“Looking back now I’m ten years older than most girls starting out in the business,” she says.

To her, they are so young and are not giving themselves room to grow into adulthood. But Allie is quick to state that her own decisions at that age were not much different.

“We were young,” she begins. “I had my engagement ring my senior year.”

As often happens with teenage love, fate was not to favor the couple.

“It ended up not working out, unfortunately. He got into a bad car accident and the prescription pills . . . It was too much. It changed who he was.”

I didn’t ask for details about the mishap or the drugs, preferring to let Allie stay in her comfort zone.

“Around twenty I decided I needed to get divorced. No matter how much we tried, it just wasn’t going to work.”

It was a difficult resolution because her conservative upbringing dictated that marriage was “the one thing I’m not supposed to screw up. It’s supposed to be in my blood to be a wife,” Allie says.

A sense of failure permeated her thinking. “It was a real big struggle I went through,” she comments.

CcQG-zhXIAAEQoXGive Allie credit for handling this dilemma with grace and open-mindedness. It explains a lot about who she is today. The strength and resiliency she carried at a tender age has served her well in a business that can grind away the hardiest of souls.

However, despite all the stress, the end of the marriage brought opportunity and Allie stepped forward.

“During that time I decided to go back to school to be a firefighter which was originally what I wanted to do. I was halfway through the program when I got into a bad car accident.”

As happened with her ex-husband, an automobile wreck changed the direction of her life and led to the performer we know today.

The next post reveals how Allie Haze’s fondness for girls got her into porn.

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Check out the news about Allie Haze on twitter @teamalliehaze. This is a fan site.

 

 

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Fantasy and Ethics: Part 2 of Mindbrowse with Candida and Jacky

by Rich Moreland, July 2015

This is the second segment of Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals’ discussion with Candida Royalle and Jacky St. James. I neglected in the first installment to let everyone know that Mindbrowse is produced by Sssh.com, an erotica for women website that keeps the modern sex-positive female up-to-date on issues that move her world.

The owner of Sssh and Mindbrowse producer is the well-known voice for women’s sexual growth and exploration, Angie Rowntree. Launching Sssh in 1999 as one of the first “for women” sites on the web, Angie’s fame has moved forward in leaps and bounds. In 2014, she entered the AVN Hall of Fame Founders Division, a mark of elite recognition in the adult business. At this year’s XBIZ awards in LA, Sssh was honored as the “Alternative Adult Site of the Year.”  Sssh.com continues to grow and has been featured on MSNBC and Nightline and in publications such as Playboy, Psychology Today, and Time Magazine. It can be visited here.

header-www.sssh.com

 

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“I hoped that I would inspire other women to get out there and have the courage to . . . create their own vision,” Candida Royalle says.

Jacky St. James offers her view. “I really want to create content that reaches people . . . challenges them to think about their sexuality and their own sexual fantasy.”

The topic is porn and its nuanced expression of fantasy and art and the female influence in shaping both. Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals’ mindbrowse interview featuring Candida Royalle and Jacky engages the discussion from a feminist perspective.

Fantasy

Though a porn generation apart, Candida and Jacky represent a style of movie making that reflects the growing liberalism in our personal lives. We are freer today to talk about our sexual imagination. This is particularly true for women who realize that there is “fine line,” as Jacky says, between art and porn. Women can swirl them together to create their favorite fantasy.

An example for Candida is the rape fantasy. It’s “one of the most popular fantasies for women,” she says. Because society circumscribes female sexual behavior, women need “permission,” a way of “letting go enough” to be “pleasured and have an orgasm.” Sometimes that involves “being forced.” But remember its just fantasy, Candida insists, “you’re in control.” That’s important because no woman wants “to go out and get raped.”

Jacky on the set of "fauxcest" film, Our Father, with Steven St. Croix and Carter Cruise. Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

Jacky on the set of “fauxcest” film, Our Father, with Steven St. Croix and Carter Cruise.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

Jacky brings up another fantasy that is on the popularity radar: incest. “But, it’s not like they really want to have sex with a family member,” she declares. Jacky is now filming “fauxcest” porn that tells stories about step-relations. However, a bit of the luster is lost because legalities insist that “step” is emphasized in the film (none of the performers are related) and everything is consensual.

Despite their feminist critics, both filmmakers agree that women find empowerment when they fantasize about giving up control. BDSM movies, another hot topic for porn these days, is a perfect example. It’s the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon.

Dr. Tibbals asks about the future. Where will porn be ten years from now?

Candida hopes it will be less stigmatized as more women get involved in the industry. Jacky’s focuses on financial survival. Creating content people are willing buy is the key to stemming the rising tide of tube sites.

“Higher quality” porn will keep the companies going, she thinks, “the scripted kind of content that people do pay for.” For her employer, New Sensations, DVD sales are still strong, an indicator of success.

Truth and Ethics

Before the interview wraps up, Jacky asks Candida about her greatest hurdle in her early days as a filmmaker. Not surprisingly, the pioneering director mentions the industry’s male-dominated attitudes. Money talks in adult, Candida says, and her movies sold well enough that she gained respect quickly.

There was, however, “this sort of gang of outlaws in California back then,” she mentions. A time of transition, the industry was leaving the East Coast to settle out west and Candida was based in New York.

“They wanted to keep it [the industry] a renegade world. They didn’t want women entering it and they were very critical of my work.”

Candida took them on and held her own. Overall, she concludes, “I’ve been treated well by the industry.”

The question of ethics in filming comes up and Candida explains that her “rule of thumb” concerns female performers. “As long as the woman appears to be enjoying herself and seems to be really into it, I can enjoy what I’m watching.”

A Candida Royalle Classic Photo courtesy of Adam and Eve

A Candida Royalle Classic
Photo courtesy of Adam and Eve

Candida believes it is important to be as ethical as possible. Porn companies have to stand behind the content they produce and how they treat their talent. When  anything “ethically questionable” arises, freedom of expression is tested and everyone might suffer if the Feds intervene.

To stress her point, the owner of FEMME Productions comments that too many young people in adult today don’t remember the 1990s when the government “assaulted” the industry. It could happen again.

Jacky St. James gets that picture.

“I live and die by ethics,” the multiple award winner declares. She has three important tenets in filming: make sure talent is aware of what is expected before they are booked, let them know who they are working with before they arrive on set, and always communicate limits.

As for content, some of hers is considered “unethical” by the occasional critic, but Jacky reminds everyone that she’s “creating a fantasy.” Of course, with BDSM and “fauxcest” the risk is promoting certain activities that make some people uncomfortable.

In the end, it’s up to the individual, whether performer or viewer, to decide if porn is for them. It’s called responsibility.

Candida departs with the hope that the industry will be legitimized as “another form of entertainment.” If that happens, the renegade reputation that has surrounded porn for decades will be pushed aside and the number of talented and ethical people who want to work in the business will increase.

Finally, both women encourage fans to support porn and pay for what they enjoy.

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Many thanks to the good people at Sssh.com for their permission to use portions of this important discussion.

Angie Rowntree Photo courtesy of AVN

Angie Rowntree
Photo courtesy of AVN

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Controlled by Dinosaurs: Part 1 of Mindbrowse with Candida and Jacky

by Rich Moreland, July 2015

For porn fans unfamiliar with what’s on the web (there are probably few of you actually), let me draw your attention to a podcast called mindbrowse.com. The host is Chauntelle Tibbals (Ph.D) and her show is moving the industry closer to mainstream entertainment. For a taste of what mindbrowse is about, here are some takeaways from a recent show featuring feminist filmmakers a generation apart: Candida Royalle and Jacky St. James.

Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals Photo courtesy of Adult Video News

Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals
Photo courtesy of Adult Video News

Over the last thirty years, a woman’s voice in adult film production has moved from its embryonic stage to a viable maturity. More than anyone, Candida is responsible for this sea change.

Her company, FEMME Productions has cleared a space for women in porn’s patriarchal boardroom. Creating content for women and couples using “a woman’s point of view” is Candida’s raison d’être. But, cultural attitudes are tough to overcome.

Pick up a Camera and it’s Feminist Porn

Our society is invested “in this idea that women are innocent, that they are delicate and don’t want hardcore pornography,” Candida says.

It’s a double standard, the New Yorker points out, which allows men to have sexual adventures while women keep hearth and home. Traditionally, women are “arbiters of morality” and that extends to pornography. But attitudes are in flux. For the most part, Candida says, younger women “are much more comfortable watching porn” now than ever before.

This has fueled a “leap forward” in the business, she declares. Modern female filmmakers in adult are “creating their own vision,” but there is a downside.

Candida with her book! Photo courtesy of rottentomatos.com

Candida with her book!
Photo courtesy of rottentomatoes.com

“Whenever the culture sees something new happening,” it becomes a media darling, before being “eaten up” and losing “its intensity or significance.” Candida says.

This has happened with adult filmmakers. “All you have to do is be a woman and pick up a camera and its feminist porn” she states. In other words, if it is female created, it must be feminist. That may be too simplistic.

In fact, Candida prefers to avoid porn in describing her films because it is a broad avenue that includes content she would not shoot, like facials and harsh gonzo.

“Some of what I see is not very different from what the guys are doing,” Candida concludes, hinting that modern female directors and cinematographers shoot their scenes with a harder edge than does FEMME.

But the future looks bright. Candida hopes as more women come into porn, they will “do something that is truly different and truly unique.”

Return on Investment

Add a couple of decades to Candida Royalle’s perspective and we have Jacky St. James, the leading woman filmmaker in adult today. Candida is the pioneer and Jacky is the benefactor who is moving the legacy forward . . . with a broadened approach.

The native East Coaster offers that a woman’s fantasy cannot be put in a box that insists “it has to be a certain way or it’s not pro-woman.” Hardcore porn can be shot with “a feminist perspective,” she insists, and there are several filmmakers, such as Spain’s Erika Lust, out there today doing just that.

Jacky brings up tube sites which she finds troubling. Their content is free and reflects the triumph of gonzo. As everyone knows, tube sites are damaging the industry financially while shaping viewer preferences in the process. Hard and nasty are as popular as ever.

For all pornographers, the most important factor dictating content and profit is distribution which may not be important for tube sites since they are piracy in action.

We have “to cater to whose distributing our films,” Jacky says, and that determines what she can shoot. To make matters worse, “a lot of us don’t have full control” because many “distributors are owned by men with certain expectations.” Jacky asserts it’s about “return on investment” and “they might not be in line with what your overall perspective is [as a feminist filmmaker].”

Jacky shows the best of her work. Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

Jacky shows the best of her work.
Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

Pleasing other people in a business sense is every woman’s albatross in today’s market. “Until you are your own producer, your own distributor, it’s kind of hard right now.”

There are parameters imposed on shooting that include the time devoted to each sex scene and the amount and variety of penetrations. That robs filmmakers of “creative control.” For women, it’s the oldest struggle in the business, Jacky insists,“fighting the men” on what to shoot and how to shoot.

The Market is There

Listening to Jacky, Candida asks, “Is it still that way, because it was always that way?” She fortunately had her own investors in her early days which helped tremendously. Candida believes a woman should “start her own distribution company” if possible, “because the market is there . . . there is a huge audience out there waiting for something truly unique, artful, and interesting.”

Like Jacky, Candida used “a traditional distributor” which meant that “you had to do this, you had to do that” held sway in content.

Not much has changed. “We’re still controlled by dinosaurs, unfortunately, who think they know what people want” and maintain a tight grip on budgets, Candida adds.

Despite these restrictions, Candida Royalle and Jacky St. James are feminist all-stars in the porn universe, verifying that the wisdom of two generations, mothers and daughters if you will, indicate the future is bright for sex, romance, and a woman’s view.

 

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Tommy Pistol on The St. James Way

by Rich Moreland, April 2015

Tommy Pistol is among the elite male performers in adult film, having entered the business in 2003 through his friendship with producer/director Joanna Angel. Today, he defines what stardom means for men who make porn a career. The former stage comedian is smart, artistic, and an exceptional actor in a business that does not reward such skills as it should.

We chatted in Las Vegas the day before Tommy was to host the 2015 AVN Awards show. Here is a portion of our conversation.

Tommy Pistol Photo courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse

Tommy Pistol
Photo courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse

A Little Too Close to Home

I bring up Jacky St. James.

“Amazing” is Tommy immediate assessment of Jacky’s work. “She writes her scripts and goes about it [directing] in a way that a male is not going to do.” Best of all, Jacky is bringing needed change to the industry, he adds.

The New Sensations film maker is hands-on, taking her time with the talent to explain what she wants. It’s a personal touch actors can sense. “She talks to people,” Tommy says, creating a comfortable atmosphere that transforms written words into artistic expression.

Verisimilitude is Jacky’s specialty. She “hits home” with scripts that are “driven by actual events . . . things that could happen” to anyone, Tommy explains.

“She’ll put me in certain situations I can actually relate to.” His acting skills flourish and the results are personally pleasing.

“I really appreciate the scripts that I’ve gotten with her.”

Tommy highlights The Temptation of Eve, a movie he shot with Remy LaCroix and Xander Crovus, as illustrative of what filming for Jackie means.

The script called for his character to be “the provider, the working man” in his relationship with Eve, Remy’s character, but he was unemployed. “There were scenes where we had conversations of me feeling like a failure [with Remy] supporting me no matter what,” Tommy recalls.

“I was at a point in my [personal] life where things were a little rough,” Tommy continues, so “the scene hit a little too close home.” Jacky was sensitive to his situation. “I really appreciated the way she went about everything,” he says. “It was awesome.”

The native New Yorker also has kudos for Remy.

Tmmy and Remy on the set of The Temptation of Eve. Photo by Jeff Koga

Tommy and Remy on the set of The Temptation of Eve.
Photo by Jeff Koga

“She was amazing, very professional, and knew her lines . . . We did really well together,” he remembers.

Remy’s humor and graciousness made being on the set a pleasure. Tommy adds a further compliment: the diminutive superstar “knows what she is doing and loves sex.”

Tommy Pistol also offers the film high praise. “It was a lovely thing to see it [the story] come full circle and to see how Remy stayed with the man she loved” despite being tempted to give in to Xander’s character.

“I was really glad that movie got as much press and awards that it did. It totally deserved it.”

Trading off Jokes

Jacky’s professional partner is cinematographer/director Eddie Powell. What is it like working with him?

Eddie keeps the atmosphere upbeat. He wants his talent to be happy, relaxed, and at the end of the day leave the set with a smile. Friendliness is the Arizona native’s forte.

In fact, Eddie “makes life almost too easy [because] he’s very tuned in and knows what he’s doing,” Tommy declares. “He’s not wasting anybody’s time.”

Unlike the close-ups of gonzo’s piston shots and oral workouts, romance movies require focusing on facial expression. It’s tricky business for those performers who are in porn for reasons that don’t emphasize roleplaying.

Does Tommy notice the camera work in those intimate moments?

“I do,” he responds, noting that performers are doing something not previously seen, having “real emotions.” Might the industry be moving in new directions with these theatrics? Tommy is inclined to think so. “People are going to adapt to that [emotions in porn] a lot more.”

Jacky and Eddie ready to shoot. Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

Jacky and Eddie ready to shoot.
Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

The former singer believes that the St. James/Powell approach has “opened up a whole new door to selling movies.” Jacky and Eddie are “totally knocking it out of the park . . . making something beautiful.”

Are they edging closer to mainstream as film makers?

Absolutely, Tommy says. “They’ve got full scripts, they’re shot beautifully, [and are] well-lit [and] edited. The dialogue is always great.” With expanded scripts and a more soft-core feel, Tommy believes, the duo is flirting with the independent film market.

“Keep what pays the bills, but branch out. They have such talent; it would a shame if they didn’t expand.”

To Shine Light

Before wrapping up, Tommy wants everyone to know that he and his girlfriend, Nikki Swarm, are putting together a documentary, The Unbearable Lightness of Boning. “A very positive piece about who we are,” Tommy says, the film is a look at today’s adult business with the conversations restricted to “people on the inside talking to people on the inside.”

Tommy and Nikki in a fun moment. Photo courtesy of Nikki Swarm

Tommy and Nikki in a fun moment.
Photo courtesy of Nikki Swarm

Adult film professionals are “normal” and “comfortable with their sexuality,” he says. “We’re doing this [performing in porn] because we love it.”

“The goal is shine light on the industry and hopefully change some minds because this country is very close-minded.”

As the author of a book with a similar purpose, I could not agree more.

Follow Tommy at TommyPistol.com and on twitter @tommypistol. Nikki can be found on twitter @nikkiswarm.

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