January 27, 2007

Back From Sin City

No, I wasn’t lying about NOT having gone to Vegas for the show. I didn’t and, from what I’ve heard, I didn’t miss shit. (”Jackshit,” as the late Jim Holliday was fond of saying.)

But I did go to Vegas this past week which, I guess, was a week or so after the show. I went there for some photo shoots, stayed for four-days and, I gotta say, it was way more fun going to Vegas without the show going on then going there during the show.

For starters, my accomodations consisted of a bedroom, a bathroom, and the run of the house in a 7,000 (+) sq. ft. home in a very private, gated, community with residents that include people with last names like Maloof, Wynn, Agassi, and Brunei… as in the Sultan of Brunei.

I ain’t saying the place I crashed at was anything as luxurious and high-end as the Sultan’s pad–make that the Sultan’s gated compound within the larger gated compound where I stayed–but my digs were pretty freakin’ nice nonetheless.

I’ll tell you something else, when you’re with people who live in Vegas–who live really well in Vegas–you eat at places you never heard of and go to places you’ve never been to before. Yeah, I’ve dined at “The Prime” at the Bellagio and at other upscale restaurants in Vegas but, trust me, as really fine as those joints are, there are places off the strip and hidden away that some people know about that serve food and provide service and ambience even more memorable.

Anyway, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas so I’m not going to say much more. The hot babe in the photo is Devin. She’s not really a Blackjack dealer and I shot a whole bunch of different sets of Devin– with and without clothes, of course. BTW, you might be hearing about (and seeing more of) Devin in the near future… and I ain’t just talking about soft-core stills.

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January 17, 2007

AEE: More Views From Afar

The AEE show is history. No, I don’t mean the AEE show is done, for good, but it’s over for this year. I should mention, however, that a source (who speaks regularly with people of considerable juice in this industry) tells me more than a few believe there won’t be an AEE in two years or so, leastwise, there won’t be an AEE show that resembles the AEE show we’ve all come to love and hate.

Regarding the Stu Wall incident, the overwhelming response I’m hearing is, “It was long overdue.” And it wasn’t overdue because of shit like accusations regarding pricing. BTW, here’s my take on the pricing thing: If people are going to start physically fighting over $4 and $5 pricing, there’s gonna be a rumble in Porn Valley. A big rumble! If anyone thinks dumping product into the marketplace at cut-rate prices are isolated practices of a very few companies I’ve got some dry, river-bed, property in Death Valley for sale I’d like to speak to you about.

I’m told the awards show was, as usual, highly forgetable. In this year’s ititeration, the venue was Mandalay Bay’s big, gymnasium-like, auditorium. From what I’ve been told, the masses, i.e., the masses of fans, didn’t exactly show up and pack the place full. I’m told about half the seats in the stands were empty. Congratz to Eli/Bryn, Bo, and everyone else associated with the flick, Corruption, for its wins. In fact, congratz to all the winners. Your trophies won’t put an extra dime in your pockets but you get some decent bragging rights, at least amongst your peers in the biz.

Speaking of Bo Kenney, Bo’s observations, as reported recently on AdultFYI, regarding the current state of health of the DVD and cable sides of the business represents the first-time a major distributor/producer has come out and spoken so candidly about its truly lackluster performance and glum outlook for the future. If you know Bo, you know that, for better or for worse, he’s an outspoken guy.

Here’s a bit of what Bo had to say: “What’s happened is that a lot of the producers treated as secondary income things like Internet, iPods and cell phones. So, they never really concentrated on it. Now DVD sales are in a rapid decline because there is so much out there in other mediums. When you talk about the Internet there is just so much you can get for free why would people pay for it? All the money is being sucked out.

“I’ll give you another example. We have a movie called ‘Desperate Housewives’ that played on a cable system. There were 86,000 plays in two months; it generated $1.2 million revenue for the cable company and of that Sex Z pictures got $7,000. The cable operators kept every bit of the money. It is a crime. It is the same way in hotel rooms. They have a monopoly and we don’t have a free market to sell our goods in. Eventually the major players in the adult industry are going to need to sue the cable companies because that is the only way. Mainstream operators would never put up with what we are going through. In cable you want to sell your goods there is only 5 people you could sell to and they all have the same price. It is hitting every company here. As producers we can’t control our content and as a result our revenues are starting to fall apart. It is a tough business right now.”

Couldn’t agree with you more, Bo.

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January 13, 2007

The 2007 AEE Show - A View From Afar

I can’t provide any first-hand info on the show as I opted not to attend this year. Why? A combination of stuff: 1) For the last 3 or 4 years, I’ve always wished I had stayed home after a day or two; 2) the money spent, at least for me, hasn’t (in the last few years) balanced out in terms of ROI; 3) I’m tired of coming home from the show with Vegas-Voice and then getting the flu or some other bullshit a couple of weeks later; and 4) I had some other, personal, stuff to do that was more important than walking around the show-room floor, getting bumped and jostled by a bunch of over-zealous fan-boys and then watching everyone get way too fucked up at night and acting like idiots or worse.

I have gotten a number of phone calls from friends who are attending. Here’s what they’re saying: “It’s kind of low-key,” and “It’s about 50-60% smaller than last year,” and “The hospitality suites are the “new” thing and more than a few companies are going that route rather than putting up a booth on the show floor.” I can’t absolutely vouch for what my friends are saying. Like I said, I’m not there.

I thought I was going to go through some kind of mini-depression over not attending for the first time in well over a decade. That hasn’t happened. Not even a little bit. I can’t even say I’m feeling a bit “wistful” about not being there. If anything and in some ways, it feels empowering to say, “Screw the show!” I ain’t going.

There was a time when going to “the show” was just about the most fun thing anyone in porn could do. That was then and this is now. The show hasn’t been balls-out fun since everyone quit staying or hanging-out at the Rio.

The awards show was never been much fun to attend. It just drones on and on and on. The few times others convinced me to attend, I quickly realized that, no matter how hard it tries, the jizz biz can’t hardly do anything that comes close to actual, mainstream-calibre, entertainment; whether making flicks or putting on awards shows. I avoided it most years, even when I was nominated for shit like “Best Director.” Bestowing awards for stuff like taking it in the ass is not an award-worthy human accomplishment. “A” scenes might make guys’ dicks hard and it might sell more product but it’s not something you hand out a trophy for doing. It’s absurd to think otherwise.

This year’s awards show has changed venues and will include a couple of thousand fans in the audience. Whether that means the show will suddenly be fun and “special” to attend or it will be more of a circus than ever remains to be seen.

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January 2, 2007

The Strength of the Biz

Recently, the New York Times published an article they titled, “The Graying of Porn.” In it, the NYT focused on graying performers like Dave Cummings, De’Bella, and Vicky Vette. Personally, I think they missed the boat with that headline.

“The Graying of Porn,” from where I sit, could have been more interesting if it focused on the geriatric condition of the industry as a whole. That’s not to say the peformers the NYT profiled aren’t interesting people– they are in their own rights. But the media, for the most part, still seems to think the jizz biz is a financially robust industry.

That’s not to say there aren’t companies and people still making serious dough off of porn. There are. But the halcyon days of X=Cash are bygone. With the exception of a few diehard cheerleaders, I think most people in the biz are aware of this and will freely admit it, albeit in privacy.

Wholesale prices have gone steadily into the toilet, at home and abroad… moreso abroad. Peer-to-peer file sharing is a bigger threat than piracy. The newest content delivery systems don’t pay squat back to producers. DVD buyers stretch out payments for longer periods than ever before. Producers are chopping up their content more ways than the meat-packing industry processes a pig and, in so doing, the same content is being dumped into the marketplace over and over with not-so-subtle variations in its presentation.

Welcome to 2007.

The fine and fit babe in the pic at the top is Katarina Kat.

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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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November 26, 2006

Jesus Loves Porn Stars?

Lately, if you’re a regular reader of LukeIsBack, you might have come to believe there’s the beginning of some kind of exodus, by porn chicks, from porn to Jesus. I don’t think so! I’d hardly call a half-dozen or so porn chicks suddenly finding religion much of an exodus.

But if I can offer a smidgen of advice to these girls–and I know I’m probably the last guy they need advice from, spiritual or otherwise–here it is: Before (or while) you girls go off finding Jesus you also might want to think about finding a job.

While I respect the beliefs of those who believe they’ve found solace bathing in the spiritual glow of their lord and saviour, you might find that Mr. J.H. Christ is more generous with love and forgiveness than he is with cold, hard, cash.

Some of you have been living a fairly charmed life for quite some time; financially charmed, that is. But in the real world, money won’t be growing on trees for you the way it has in porn. Well, maybe it hasn’t grown on trees, but it has certainly grown from the tree-limb-like appendages sprouting out of the groins of meatpuppets.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying any of you shouldn’t leave this business and find new lives. And I’m not saying you’re making a mistake by turning to the world of Christianity to guide you wherever your life is now going. I’m just saying that, throughout my life, it’s been my often-seen observation that prayers are rarely answered when it comes to things like financial matters. In fact, it’s also been my observation that, when it comes to prayers and money, the money mostly flows to the church and its professional practitioners before it makes its way, if ever, to the flock.

While I thoroughly agree with the notion that Jesus Loves Porn Stars, I’m not sure some of you girls have fully come to grips with the kind of love Christianity is talking about. Please note that it’s a kind of love that, most likely, won’t put any cash in your purses. Up till now, some of you have been all (or mostly) about money. And although most of the Christians I’ve known have also been mostly about money as well, that doesn’t mean you or they always come by it… i.e., with the help of Jesus.

If anyone is wondering what I’m saying here… I’m just saying. Capiche?

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