To say that Rob Black is misunderstood is putting it mildly. If you’re judging him by his Internet show which launched Friday a week ago and are saying to yourself this guy is looney tunes [Brooklyn Lee thinks he’s criminally insane], you got it all wrong.
I worked with the man. He’s sharp. He might tell you he’s a “dumb guinea from Rochester, NY” but don’t you believe it.
Black processes information and turns it on its ear in ways the ordinary mind can’t begin to imagine or comprehend. Black, you see, is all about the angle. He’s all about the story line. He’s all about the spin. He’s all about the gimmick. He’s a wrestling junkie, and everything to Black is a script, a well-thought out plan of attack that often results in mayhem. That dumb wop routine? Fuhgeddaboudit.
In one short week, Black, a porn director who went to jail for obscenity, has the porn industry literally glued to the computer, just the way Depression era familes were glued to the radio for the soap operas.
I’ve heard tales that at 3 pm when Black’s show starts airing, people in Porn Valley offices are stopping whatever they’re doing to listen to him for the next two hours.
I compare Black to a radio raconteur from the Sixties by the name of Jean Shepherd. Whereas Shepherd had a mellow baritone which could hypnotize you with his ability to spin a story about his childhood in Indiana, Black is strident but no less compelling with his stories about the porn business.
With the unique way he does it, Black is the Proust of profanity, the Descartes of discombobulation. Chances are good Black can’t get through a sentence without using the word “cocksucker,” but don’t judge a book by its cover. Black’s also a showman and knows how to tweak an audience’s fevered brow.
When I worked at Extreme Associations, Black had the Internet world aghast with the prospect of his feeding a Chihuahua to a Boa Constrictor. People thought he was actually going to do it and someone called animal protection which showed up at the Extreme offices to conduct an investigation. In wrestling parlance it was “a work.” But this is what Rob Black does.
On another occasion, Black was at war with AVN regarding an advertising bill. After taking an online war as far as he could, Black paid the bill literally in pennies. And, along the way, Black made AVN’s attorney actually cry by attacking his mother on the Internet.
Where Black sometimes falters is that he doesn’t necessarily surround himself with the brightest bulbs in the hardware store. I’m going to say something out of school, but the fact that Black went to prison- and it was because he challenged the government publicly, not so much that his product was objectionable, was because Rob was egged on to do so.
Rob, you see, gets in character much like one of his XPW wrestling skits. It was also during this period that Black, a normally slender guy, saw his weight balloon to 261 pounds. I wondered to myself how this was humanly possible when Black’s diet consisted of tobacco juice.
Rob was also being advised by a cadre of nincompoops. His PR man at the time was Tom Zupko. Zupko, if you’ve been around the business long enough to remember, was this Mad Russian character with red shoulder length hair and a ZZ Top beard to match.
Zupko cackled like a hyenna and shot movies often taking 15 hours to get one scene in the can. [By the way, he loved anal.] Zupko, who insisted on painting his office black from floor to ceiling, would generally wear his talent into the ground with an obsession upon chronicling intercourse from every possible camera angle imaginable.
Consequently this porno Stanley Kubrick drove his editor, Eric Brummer insane by often handing him 60 hours of footage to whittle down to a two hour porn movie. It was also Zupko who advised Rob on the PBS interview. I advised against it and was told, “What do you know, old man?” I remember Zupko cackling. I don’t want to say I told you so, but I told you so.
Then there was Kid Vegas. Now if anyone was a candidate for the psycho ward it was Vegas. I remember Kid Vegas trolling the streets of North Hollywood offering girls money so he could piss on them in the Extreme Associates warehouse where a kiddie pool had been set up for that purpose.
And Vegas, to boot, made the worst porn movies imaginable. He was the Ed Wood of the industry, and I think it was Vegas who also discovered Blue Iris, a blue-haired old lady who later become a semi-regular on the Howard Stern show. To this day I chuckle remembering when Vegas fork lifted a 400 pound woman into the warehouse for a sex scene.
The Extreme Associates webmaster was “Vultron” aka Chico Wang, a UCLA honors graduate, who would later take his life in a motel room, distraught over the fact that his porn industry girlfriend Haley Paige had died weeks earlier from an apparent overdose. Chico first came to Black’s attention when Rob ran for mayor of Los Angeles and Chico apparently volunteered his services for the campaign. Between Chico Wang and Zupko, no 24-pack of beer in a North Hollywood convenience store was safe. Chico’s favorite saying was, “Let’s get hammered.”
The cast of performers in this circus was truly unprecedented. There was Turd Ferguson, a director who actually wore a shit costume. And there was August Arkham, a gentle soul who seriously had you believing he might be a serial killer. And I wonder if Brandon Iron remembers when he was being marketed as a Lee Harvey Oswald lookalike, Alek Hidell.
Another one of the directors, David Luger, would go on to be poisoned by his nutty porn star girlfriend, Allie Ray, and I believe it was also at this time that Michael Steffano who then worked under the name Luciano married Jewel De’Nyle who was also a part of this troupe and was menstrually psychotic.
So don’t be calling Rob Black crazy because you don’t even know the half of it.