December 27, 2006

Are Porn Workers Becoming Seasonal Workers?

A lot of people I’ve spoken with are expressing little confidence in the jiz biz’s near future. Contrary to what some people would have you believe, our ten or twelve or fourteen billion dollar business did not come out of its summer slump in any notable way. Yeah, autumn was better than summer but not by all that much. What made it worse was that last spring wasn’t all that great either. Here’s how the excuses went:

“It’s tax time. Nobody pays around tax time.”

“It’s summer. Everything slows down in the summer.”

“The holidays are coming. Everything slows down for the holidays.”

So what is the current excuse? I think it goes like this: “It’s time for the show… Nothing goes on before and during the (AEE) show.” That sounds reasonable. The problem is, just after the show we find ourselves only a few, short, months away from, “It’s tax time. Nobody pays around tax time.”

I’m starting to think we’ve almost arrived at a two-season production year: Mid-winter to spring and Labor Day to Thanksgiving. If that’s true, that makes porn people, essentially, seasonal workers. I’ve never thought of myself as a seasonal worker but I’m starting to think, for the most part, that’s what I’m becoming; that’s what most all of us are becoming.

I’m not saying there isn’t any non-seasonal or off-season porn being produced. I’m saying there’s lots less non-seasonal porn being produced than in previous years; make that every previous year since I’ve been in the biz.

To make matter worse, not only is there less off-season porn being produced, there’s less seasonal porn being produced! Please note that I’m talking about production, not distribution. There’s still plenty of porn being released and distributed. In fact, more than ever before. There just isn’t as much porn being produced. That might sound odd to some of you but, to many of you, you know exactly what I’m talking about: I’m talking about re-cycled porn. Something there’s more of being dumped in the marketplace than ever before.

Personally, I’m looking forward to 2007. Why? Because I’m not putting all my eggs in the porn basket and because I’m pursuing other things that aren’t porn-related. And some of those “other things” are things I’m fairly excited about!

None of this is to say I’m retiring from porn, I’m not. You don’t get rid of JimmyD that easily. I’m simply doing what Jack Lawrence (according to AdultFYI) is doing: I’m going after some “just in case income.” But unlike Jack, I’m not doing it because I might break a leg and be out of commission for a few months. I’m doing it because I don’t have a lot of confidence in the future of porn production. Hey! I’d love to be wrong about this. I’m happy shooting smut. I try to do a great job for the people who hire me and I rarely get complaints about the quality of my work. I just don’t see there being as much work during the upcoming porn seasons and certainly not during the off-seasons.

The completely gratuitous eye-candy at the top of this post is Faith Leone. I photographed Faith recently and, frankly, beautiful babes like Faith are one big reason why I’m happy when shooting smut.

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December 25, 2006

Merry Xmas to All

It’s Christmas Eve here in sunny Southern California. Merry Christmas!

Having grown up in the Northeastern U.S., I still can’t get used to sunny and warm weather for the winter holidays and I’ve lived in California for more than 30 years! It just doesn’t seem right. It certainly doesn’t feel right. Yep, for some 30-odd years it never has felt right and I’m sure it never will.

I remember when I was a kid, back East, and how we always hoped for a Bing Crosby-like White Christmas. We didn’t always get a White Christmas but we certainly never had temperatures in the 80s or 90s.

I’m sure there’s a lot of folks all over the U.S. who would love to have warm weather right now but, trust me, you wouldn’t want to have it on Christmas.

Oh well, I guess you can’t have it both ways.

Anyway, just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a great holiday–whatever you celebrate–and a terrific New Year!

I’ve gone through the image archives on all my hard drives and it seems I’ve not taken a Christmas-themed glamour shot. So, I thought I’d offer up this pic of Jessie Summers I snapped a year or two ago… with a little holiday graphic added to it.

Whether she’s been a good girl or a bad girl, Jessi probably get what she wants for Christmas. In fact, she probably gets more of what she wants when she’s been a bad girl.

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December 18, 2006

From One Circus to Another

The week before last, I worked a couple of days for the good folks at TeraVision for their latest production. They hired me to shoot the stills– a job I love above all the other positions I’m hired to regularly to perform. We shot at Zenova’s loft-studio in downtown L.A. The producers hired some great talent: Faith Leone, Charlotte Stokely, and newcomer, Selina Draagen, to name a few. And then there was Katarina Kat.

As usual, production was moving slower than hoped-for. On Day Two of production, I spotted this lithe blonde arrive whom I didn’t recognize. I suppose someone told her that things were a bit behind schedule because she promptly plopped herself on a couch and went to sleep. I think she slept for an hour or two or maybe three. Some girls bitch and moan, some hang-out and remain fun and friendly, some just go to sleep to wait out the production delay.

Finally, I noticed the blonde rise from her porn-set slumber and climb into the makeup chair. I still didn’t recognize her but figured, once I got her in front of my camera, we’d porn-bond and get the job done like we’d worked together many times. That’s the way it often goes on porn sets.

When she was ready for her pretty girl shots, I began engaging her in my usual manner: warm, friendly, complimentary, humourous, and, well… friendly. A photographer’s set-side manner can go a long way towards relaxing the model, helping to get those shots the producers expect.

I asked Katarina about herself and was surprised and fascinated to learn she had been a circus performer in Russia. Not just a circus performer but a trapeze artist! Wow! You don’t often meet circus trapeze artists on porn sets. According to Katarina, her circus career was cut short when she took a terrible fall from the trapeze. She showed me the scars on both her arms where steel rods had been implanted to facilitate her recovery. She also told me she recently had a child just 5 months ago. Day-um! She sure didn’t look like she’d gone through a major fall from a trapeze and recently had a baby. Her body was tight… I mean tight! And what a great attitude as well as personality! It was a delight to work with her.

Katarina was a natural in front of the camera. She was completely comfortable and uninhibited in the lights. And she could bend and contort her body in incredible and impressive ways. After getting all the requisite glamour shots, I asked her to get a little crazy and directed her into some decidedly non-porn-like poses. You know, just for fun. The image at the top of this post, with the Mick Jagger-ish tongue and the crazy and unusual pose, is my favorite from the “fun” shots. Now that I know about Katarina’s circus-performing past, I really hope I get to shoot her again and take even better advantage of her ability to control her body in front of a camera.

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December 10, 2006

My Belated KSEX Awards Show Post

I been busy, okay?


The KSEX Awards Show– Where do I start? How do I describe the pomp and grandeur of this event? I suppose I’ll take Lewis Carroll’s advice and “begin in the beginning and end in the end.”

After showering, grooming, and dressing myself in a pair of black slacks and a black shirt–they say black is “thinning” and I need all the help I can get–I headed down to my car only to discover it had a flat tire. An omen? Perhaps. But I was intent on attending KSEX’s annual bash.

My good friend, Robert “Mister Rogers” Lombard, had gone out of his way to invite me as one of his VIP guests. I accepted his kind offer but, when I did so, I could tell Robert was somewhat skeptical that I would actually attend.

Ya see, Robert knows I don’t get out much. I’ve been a “no-show” before, even after I’d guaranteed I’d be somewhere, and Robert was well aware of my track-record in these matters. Flat tire or not, I was determined to attend and make good on my word to show up.

A can of “flat fix-it” enabled me to make it to a local gas station where I pumped additional air into the tire. It seemed to be holding the air. So far so good. I wheeled out of the gas station to make the trek down to the San Pornando Valley from my digs in the Santa Clarita Valley. On the way, I stopped a few times to examine my tire: It seemed to be holding.

I arrived at the event’s venue, Palladino’s, and parked in the Metro Rail lot across the street. There was an LAPD patrol car sitting there, idling, and I wasn’t sure if parking in this lot was a wise idea. Maybe the cop was assigned to enforce some “No Parking” rule and have the porn carnies cars towed? Ya never know, right? Porn breeds that kind of paranoia. I decided to throw caution to the wind and park in the lot in spite of the presence of one of L.A.’s finest. A quick look at my tire told me everything was still okay in that department.

I walked across the street and into Palladino’s small parking lot. As is usual at these events, there was a line to get in, there was a red carpet, and there was a big banner with the names of the event’s sponsors plastered on it. There was, also as usual, the same cadre of porn papparazi you see at all these events. Quite a few people milled about the parking lot, some trying to look like bonafide celebrities, some merely hanging out and conversing with friends, and some civilian types; curiosity seekers politely best describes them. There was also a big barbeque pit with some bouncer-looking dudes grilling meat and fowl. That was something you don’t often see at porn award events– Barbeque!

I found Lombard almost immediately. He seemed somewhat surprised I had made it. So was I as I explained my flat tire problem. Soon, I bumped into other people, some I know well and some not-so-well. It felt good to belong.

There were also plenty of people I’d never seen before. For every person I recognized there were 9 or 10 or more I’ve never seen before. Porn used to be a much smaller family. Fortunately, the event didn’t seem to be too much of a sausage fest as is the usually the case. Sure, there were 6 or 7 guys to every chick but that kind of ratio is pretty close for these things. Normally, the guy-to-girl ratio is 20 or 30-to-1 or greater at porn shindigs.

Palladino’s is a rock-and-roll nightclub. It ain’t a dump and it definitely ain’t the Ritz. Its ambience is entirely appropriate for a porn suaree: Not high-brow in any way and definitely a get down and dirty kind of place. Palladino’s seems larger than it is but that’s an optical illusion courtesy of the mirrors that cover one of its walls. As usual, there were VIP tables near the front of the stage where some band was jamming. Porn, BTW, is a very class-conscious society and VIP status is a big deal to many of its citizens. Go figure, right?

While there, I didn’t actually see any awards handed out, not one. I’m not even sure they gave out awards. Somehow, I never seemed to be inside the club when (and if) that took place. Like Sardos on PSK nights, I find it more fun outside where I can bullshit without shouting over the music. Plus it’s where people with nasty nicotine addictions, like me, can smoke. So, whoever the winners were and assuming there were actual winners, congratz! I’m confident your acceptance speeches were eloquent and memorable and perhaps even a few Moms and Dads were thanked by their daughter’s for their special abilities to take it in the keester. If my friend, Harry Weiss, had won an award–which I thought I heard he was up for–I’m absolutely sure I would have heard about it. But I haven’t so I assume he didn’t and I remain unsure if any awards were bestowed on anyone.

Outside, around the red carpet, people continued milling about hoping to be the subject of the porn papparazi’s cameras. I asked Lombard and AdultFYI’s Gene Ross about their sponsorship of the event and what that entitled them to besides VIP status for themselves and their invited friends. It seems, for a yard, i.e., a grand, i.e., a thousand bucks, Lombard and his Creative Image Management company and Ross’s AdultFYI were each entitled to a VIP table, what looked like a third-of-a-page ad in the program (the program ad could have been bigger, or smaller, I’m not sure cuz I’m not good with fractions) and their company’s names on the big banner behind the red carpet. I examined the big banner and it seemed to me Lombard’s and Ross’s business’s names were a little small for such a big banner and a thousand bucks. But Lombard and Ross both seemed okay with that. I guess Wankus is a better marketeer than I thought he was; maybe they could use his services at AVN for this year’s upcoming awards show at Mandalay Bay?

All in all, it was a cool, enjoyable evening but all good things come to an end and I headed home even though it was earlier than I usually leave these things. (The event started at 6:30 in the evening. That’s practically dawn for many porn people.) But getting home early was not to be. About half-way home, that tire decided to completely blow out. I’m talking half the tread blew off! I managed to pull into a service station to change the flat. That’s when I discovered I didn’t have a jack or a lug wrench. How fucked up is that? Yeah, I know, my bad. But I never needed one for that car before and I never thought to look to see if one came with the car when I bought it. It was a used car… I mean, previously owned… it’s a BMW after all. You’d think a a car that cost about $65K or so when it was new wouldn’t even need a freakin’ jack! I should be able to push a button and it self-jacks itself or levitates or whatever! My crippled, ultimate driving machine did, however, have a spare in the trunk and it had air in it. Whew! I called my friend, porn lighting guy/car mechanic John Wilkes, who eventually rescued me using his jack and a lug wrench we borrowed from the only friendly, late-night shift, born-and-raised in the USA, middle-aged ex-car mechanic service station/mini-market attendant I’ve ever come across in Southern California. (The wrench from John’s Lexus didn’t work on my Bimmer.)

Thanks again for the invite, Robert!

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December 2, 2006

The Multi-Billion Dollar Porn Industry

I chuckle each time AdultFYI’s Gene Ross sub-titles or titles his updates with tongue-in-cheek words like, “Kat Sunlove out as multi-billion industry has more casualties” and “Billion $ Industry Pays Hundreds at a Time.”

The hyper-inflated claims of this industry’s financial prowess have long been a source of amusement to me:

“It’s bigger than Hollywood!”

“It makes more in revenues than major league sports!”

Or how about, “It’s a ten-billion-dollar industry! No! It’s a twelve-billion-dollar… fourteen-billion dollar…”

Negroes please. (Can I still say that? Michael Richards notwithstanding?)

Here’s the deal: If this industry were anywhere close to generating the kind of money that it claims to generate, many, if not most all of us who work in porn, are the biggest bunch of exploited morons in entertainment history! Where’s all the billionaires? Where’s all the hundred-millionaires? Hell, where’s all the millionaires? (At least, amongst the ranks of porn’s cast and crew people)

If Hollywood can routinely afford to pay so many of it’s actors millions of dollars for peformances–I’m talking about star caliber actors and actresses–why can’t porn afford to pay its stars anything close to that? If major league baseball can pay so many players millions and millions of dollars, why can’t porn do the same? After all, porn is bigger than Hollywood and bigger than baseball, right? If porn were all it claims to be, stars like Tera Patrick and Jenna Jameson should be able to routinely command fees that exceed what Hollywood stars like Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts are paid. Although I’m confident Tera and Jenna do pretty well for themselves, I don’t think they’re seeing the kind of paychecks Nicole and Julia see.

The same holds true for many crew positions: People like Directors and Directors of Photography and Photographers and others.

The fashion industry, as an example, pays many photographers hundreds of thousands of dollars for their work. When’s the last time you heard of a porn photographer–make that a photographer who works in an industry that, supposedly, dwarfs fashion’s advertising industry in terms of revenue–anything close to that for a single shoot? You haven’t… heard that, that is.

There’s simple reason for this: Exploited morons aside, porn–as an industry and in terms of its revenues–simply ain’t what it claims to be. Never has been. And it’s quickly becoming less-so by the day.

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