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_POSTEDON 2002-12-01 20:50:59 by jimmyd

Elegant Angel jimmyd _writes "

I was officially asked over to Pat Collins' 'Elegant Angel' headquarters last week. For reason or reasons that are still a mystery to me, the legendary Mr. Collins, a.k.a. Roscoe Bowltree, seemed to think a simplyjimmyd.com article about 'Elegant' might somehow be in a positive, public-relations-interest of his company.

My pal Toby Dammit (whom I've always affectionately referred to as Tony Cannolli--as in the famous Italian pastry and pronounced 'Gun-know-lee' if you want to sound like an authentic wop) did the official asking. Toby/Tony is, amongst other things I'm told, Patrick's internet spin doctor these days. I guess he and Pat thought a little internet spinning on this site wouldn't do 'Elegant' any harm. Whether it will do it any good, I can't say. Go figure.

I arrived at the appointed hour and was greeted at the door by the Cannolli. Immediately, I was ushered into Pat Collins' inner sanctum which is a large room, sparsely decorated and painted in a color that I can only describe as something akin to the inside of a jar of Gerber's baby food--perhaps either strained sweet potato or pear.

Patrick was seated behind his desk consuming a fair-sized take-out order of spaghetti with red gravy (okay, you say sauce, I say gravy--tomatoes, toMAHtoes, whatever). I'll admit I didn't notice if there were meatballs with that order--my keen reporter's eye did notice there was garlic bread--but I apologize for my momentary lack of attention to journalistic detail with the meatball thing. But being the born-and-raised, pasta-fed, wop that I am, I immediately felt right at home.

Seated in front of Patrick's desk was Axel Braun, a fellow porn shooter and son of the legendary porn-pioneer Lasse Braun. Axel, you might have heard or read, is the possible modern-day discoverer of the G-Spot. Of course, this is depending on who you ask: Axel, or his father, Lasse, or maybe the American Medical Association. It took me a few minutes to decide whether Axel's accent is real or phony and put-on, but I eventually decided it's for real. It's an Italian accent, by the way, although how anyone with a name like Axel or Braun could be Italian is quite mysterious to this reporter. Axel mentioned some distant relationship with Hitler's mistress, Eva Braun, and that only further confounded the Italian-Axel Braun mystery. In case anyone's interested, Lasse Braun survived a quadruple-bypass operation not too far back, and is alive and well and living in Italy spending much of his time pumping out novels at the rate of one every month or two. I asked about the critical or financial success of these novels, but Axel did not seem to know. If you want to know more about Axel, you can visit his website at axelbraun.com which is not a gay site despite the fact there's almost as many pics of Axel when you first enter the site as there are of Nick Manning on Nick's site; which, of course, isn't gay either even if Nick does sell his sperm.

Toby Dammit/Tony Cannolli took a seat at a desk situated just to the right of Pat Collins' desk (my right that is) which appeared to make the Cannolli the de facto Jesus Christ to Collins' God at Elegant Angel--my keen sense of logic and reporter's intuition, however, told me otherwise.

I advised Pat that my questions would be hard-hitting. That I was unlike others who might have interviewed him. That my site did not report the sanitized versions of life in the jiz biz like some others do.

Patrick shrugged. I knew I already had him on the ropes despite his cavalier attitude. In fact, he didn't fool me for a minute as he casually rolled spaghetti around his fork and took another mouthful. I don't know what kind of Bozo he thought he had in front of him, but I wasn't going to buy into any PR bullshit. First off, he tried to tell me he doesn't have much of a sense of humor. Well, I caught him on that one since it became quickly obvious that wasn't true at all. Not only did he laugh on cue--I'm a pretty funny guy after all--but he had some pretty funny stuff to say himself. He's also damn-right friendly and personable. I'd heard he was tough to have intercourse with--the verbal kind I mean--but that wasn't true at all. He was a piece of cake to speak with. In fact, and I don't care what he thinks about me for writing this, the man was a lot of freaking fun to sit down with. Sure, he's intense. And it's obvious that he takes most everything he does quite seriously. And he is, after all, a bona fide success in an industry that sometimes chews people up and spits them out for breakfast. And if you want to know the naked fucking truth, my impression was that Patrick Collins does what Patrick Collins wants to do, and in the way Patrick Collins wants to do it--to hell with what others think or say. The man's one of the true independents in an industry filled with more than a few sheep. He's a man on a mission and it's Pat Collins' mission and just like Frank Sinatra once crooned, he's gonna do it his way. At least, that's my impression.

"Ok, Mister Big Shot," I loudly thought to myself. "Try this one on for size." I then smugly asked my first, no-holds-barred, question out loud: "Other than being a convicted felon, or working as a rental clerk in a video store, what are the other qualifications for being the General Manager of Elegant Angel?"

Hey! Who else but me, amongst my competitors that is, is gonna untactfully blurt that one out right off the bat to the man's face? Anyway, I notice Tony Cannolli suddenly buried his head in his hands with a muffled groan. Axel fidgeted in his chair. But Patrick just chuckled, doing his best (to appear) to remain unmoved by the audacity of my cut-to-the-chase, searing interrogatory.

"I was impressed with the charisma of the two people you're refering to," he answered without skipping a beat and between a casual forkful of pasta. "I thought they had what it takes, and it turned out that they did."

Ok, touche motherfucker, so maybe Mssr. Bowltree got past that one with cunning diplomacy, but I knew I'd nail him with my next question. "So Patrick, while Dion was General Manager, it was reported that he had purchased the company." I looked him dead in the eye. "That was a strategy to somehow reduce your liability for the tragic, shooting death of the police officer in your warehouse, right?" I emphasized the word 'your' just to put him on the defensive.

Collins didn't blink. Cannolli's head remained buried in his hands. Axel continued to fidget. I thought I heard an almost inaudible "Mama mia" escape his lips. "No," Collins matter-of-factly answered. "That was a publicity stunt."

"Hmmm," I thought. "This guy's one cool customer."

Just then another guy came into the sanctum. He was introduced to me as Parker. Parker sat down on a couch nearby. I figured Parker for an ex-con in a nano second. It's the kind of intuition that only an investigative journalist of my calibre has. Parker soon admitted to his past. "So being an ex-con, you must be Elegant's current General Manager?" I asked, very sure of myself for putting together the "ex-con" with Parker, and with the General Manager's job.

"Nope," Parker said. "I just work here."

Now I'm getting pissed. Everything in this interview is going just a little too smooth for my liking. I thought I'd hit Herr Collins with another tough question: "Four words-- Rob Black Van Damage. What were you smoking?"

Patrick didn't miss a beat. He told me about Van Damage's early work and that it was quite good. He kind of glossed over the Rob Black stuff--something about not wanting to open up that particular can of worms. But one thing I quickly realized, and I think I've already said it in this article, Pat Collins does things Pat Collins's way. Right or wrong, a good idea or a bad one, he cops to his decisions and tries to think of them in the most positive way. That's not to say he doesn't admit to mistakes. In the course of our conversation, he admitted to long periods of time where he was asleep at the wheel. Where he let others take charge while he dealt with his own, personal demons. I found out there was a time when Pat was homeless on the streets. And it turns out that Parker, before he was an ex-con, had befriended him and helped him out. I began to understand how some of the relationships worked in Pat Collins's world. He's a man who values friendship, and a man who repays his debts. I was beginning to be impressed with the guy, and that's the last freaking thing I wanted to happen.

"According to one of my competitor's web site, the best way to become an Elegant Angel director is to work in the warehouse or be the janitor. That true?" I blurted out.

Pat laughed. He explained that he didn't care where his directors came from. If he thought they had what it takes--and remember, this is Pat Collins's version of what it takes--that was all he needed to know. He'd give them a shot.

I asked about his policy of not going to catalogue price with his product. He admitted that they sometimes have sales, but that his product was HIS product and he would sell it as he saw fit. I couldn't argue. Like I said, the man's a bona fide success and the whole time I was there I didn't see or hear anything that looked or said anything different.

We talked about the internet and what Elegant Angel is doing there. Pat told me he's got a deal going with Cyberotica. It seemed to me that Elegant is just now jumping onto the net in a bigger way. They've got quite a library of content, so there's much that can be done.

I asked where he saw himself in five years. Pat launched into a discussion on the merging of porn and mainstream, and told me he saw himself making forays into the mainstream world.

I asked about his music. He told me the CD he put out did just fine. That he wished he had more time to devote to his music. That music has been and is very important to him. In fact, he has a musician on staff who writes original stuff for EA's productions.

I guess what I came away with was that Pat Collins is truly his own man. I'm not saying this shit because I'm about to hit him up for a job. I have a job. A pretty good one, and I'm plenty busy enough as it is. Writing this shit takes up time I don't really have. So when I do write, I simply calls 'em the way I see's 'em. Elegant Angel is certainly no sanitized work environment. In fact, the place is kind of a mess (not dirty, but messy, cluttered, you get the picture) which I really liked. It's like a breeding ground for creativity. It's obvious that those in creative positions are allowed the room to grow, to develop, to do and create the kind of stuff that turns them on. I found this to be in stark contrast to other porn-company environments I've been in.

I only spent a mere few hours in Pat Collins' world. But in that time, I got a chance to meet more than a mere few of his people. In the next installment of this profile of Pat Collins and Elegant Angel, I'll introduce you to some of them--people like Mason, their hot, new, femme smut director. And William H., another of Pat directors. And I met the guy who does the music. I also had a chance to talk at length with Parker, and to one of Pat's editors. I think I walked away with a bit of knowledge about what makes both Pat Collins and Elegant Angel tick. It was fun learning about this and I hope they invite me back sometime.


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