THE PIPELINE: MAY 2004
Welcome once again my friends. It is time once again to take a closer look at the comings and goings in Porn Valley. It would give me great pleasure to be able to talk baseball with you, joke about which porn guys are taking themselves too seriously, drool over the new hotties and rejoice at some of the good news I have to share. Instead I come to you this month with a heavy heart and some very serious issues to discuss.
As most of you have probably already heard, one story has dominated the X-Rated headlines this month. Another HIV crisis has darkened our doors and this one is major. Male performer Darren James tested positive in Mid-April and set off a firestorm within the porn community. AIM released a list of performers who had worked with James since his last negative test in mid-March. Fourteen performers (13 women and Mark Anthony who worked with James on a double anal scene) were immediately quarantined and another 29 “second generation” performers were asked not to work until the first generation names were cleared. A few days later, one of James’ “first generation” contacts, Laura Roxx also tested positive for the virus. Her lists were shorter, but added two more males and six female performers to the ever-growing quarantine. At this time the exact date of contraction by James in unknown, though his recent trip to Brazil is likely the source of exposure. Unlike other HIV outbreaks, this one his the mainstream press almost immediately. While the stories were tinged with the usual dose of condescension, the attention certainly helped kick the industry into high gear. Calls for more frequent testing and mandatory condoms have already surfaced and been debated with great fervor. Short of those two solutions, many companies have decided to shut down production for two months. Private USA led the way and was followed quickly by VCA and Hustler. The situation has brought out the best and the worst in porn fans as well. At the same time good wishes for those who tested positive have been pouring in, internet chat rooms and forums have been filled with some of the most hateful, racist crap I’ve ever seen. It seems that the worst of situations really do bring out the worst in certain people. I am not saying that this situation calls for a pity party, but all of the finger pointing and back stabbing is beyond sad.
Perhaps her timing is really bad, but Janine was set to make a whole lot of porn fans really happy with a return to porn. As reported here last month, the April Fool’s joke involving a Janine/Lex Steele scene wasn’t true, but it wasn’t totally inaccurate. Janine is returning to porn and she will be making the big step into boy/girl scenes. She will be back in front of the camera for Vivid Video with such men as T.T. Boy, Evan Stone, Mr. Marcus, Joel Lawrence and Steven St. Croix. After nearly a decade of working with only girls, will Janine be able to perform at the same level with men? Will the fans who enjoyed her veggie scenes still be dying to see her take dick? We may have to wait a while longer to find out. Her announcement came just one day before the HIV situation and at least one of the men on her list (TT Boy) showed up on the first generation list. We can only hope that she doesn’t change her mind during this down time.
In less shocking news, Guy Capo is a free agent. After stirring things up with “American Gunk” and adding some feature cred to Tom Byron’s Evolution Erotica, Capo has moved on. Apparently it was an amicable split and he has been speaking to a number of companies. Guy is a very talented young film maker and I know he will end up doing great things somewhere. The question is where? Mayhem? Private? Hustler? The other question is who will fill Capo’s spot at Evolution? Zupko? Skeeter? No, both are happily in place with other companies. What about Rob Black? That could be the story of the year.
Speaking of Rob Black, he has made plenty of headlines lately. A lot of people are following the Rob Black obscenity trial, but now it has spilled over and become a good old fashioned porn feud. In a recent interview, porn pioneer and my future boss Larry Flynt took a few shots at Black and added that he didn’t feel the need to help defend his inflammatory product. Rob fired back on AVN, sending an open and unedited (and people say I need a proofreader?) letter that slammed Flynt as, among other things a “right wing pornographer.” Flynt took on the powers that be for years and fought with everything he had for free speech and for his right to make millions. Both men make excellent points. On the one hand it may look as if Flynt is turning his back on the very issue he once championed. On the other hand, he has every right not to take kindly to someone standing up and shouting “come and get me” and then expecting people to hide him behind their checkbooks. If as Black says, the Feds will be coming after Vivid and Hustler next then it is due in part to fact that Black opened the door and dared them to come in.
In related news, the FTC ruled that adult spam must be easier to weed out. In a move to prevent adult spam emails from flooding our inboxes, FTC laid down the following ground rules. Beginning May 19, all sexually explicit e-mail must bear a label reading “Sexually Explicit” in order for spam filters to be able to weed out such e-mail. The FTC also ruled that such e-mail could not contain explicit material. (Yeah, right.) I know that I’m supposed to stand in line with the rest of the industry and shake my fist at the violation of our “freedom” but I’m going to applaud this decision and hope it sticks. The industry has not done enough to police itself on this issue. I have an email account that I never use, I have never given it to anyone, never visited any web sites, adult or otherwise, never been into a chat room or done anything with the account. There is no age indication on the email address and still I have to clean it out twice a week because of the mounds of spam I get. Not all of it is porn I’ll grant you that. However, the number of sexually explicit emails I get at this account is ridiculous. That kind of in your face marketing is bound to end up putting the adult industry in a very bad light. It is hard to defend the industry when some working mother in Idaho has to worry about her nine year old getting bombarded with the latest Bangcooter.com or “Young Trannies Butt Fucked by Horse Cock” ads. Adult material is for adults who want to view it. This kind of spam is forcing it on adults and exposing children to porn. I think that is a line that had to be drawn and I am upset that the industry let the FTC beat us to it. Oh I can hear the response already. It’s so much easier to blame big bad John Ashcroft than to look at areas where the business really should behave. Yes, the industry might be in Ashcroft’s cross-hairs, but why should we be so ready to load the gun for him?
Kylie Ireland has just signed a deal to perform and direct exclusively for Platinum X Pictures. As of June 1, Kylie will officially partner with her old pal Jewel De’Nyle. This will be her first turn behind the camera as director and Kylie is filled with mixed emotions. “I’m nervous, but I’m excited,” says Ireland. “I’ve wanted to make this move for years, but I wanted to be sure I was ready. I wanted the right producer, and the right company, that were going to let me do all the really nasty things I’ve always wanted. Jewel and Platinum X are the ones.” Kylie’s PXP debut will be in De’Nyle’s redhead-themed movie “Firebush” Me thinks this could be the beginning of a very fruitful working relationship.
I wish I could end this on a happy note and tell you that next month’s column will be filled with nothing but great news. Until the quarantine period is over we have to be ready for more cases of HIV and the fallout to come. In the meantime we do have a couple of things to look forward to. First we have Janine’s comeback to talk about and word just came in that Tera Patrick’s Vivid debut will be on the shelves by the end of May. With any luck at all, those will be the big stories I’ll be covering in next month’s column.