New Zealand- Being a porn star is not all it’s cracked up to be, says Jane Bowron who began to feel sorry for porn king Evan Stone at Erotica 2005 at the weekend.
Outside the entrance to Palmerston North’s Convention Centre a religious nutter is yelling into a small megaphone about the evils of pornography.
Two black, expensive cars pull up outside the door to Erotica 2005 and out struts American porn star Evan Stone. A camera on his shoulder films the entrance of his co-stars RayVeness and Syren, then he turns the camera round and films himself.
He yells out to the religious guy: “Hey, is it all right for the Catholic Church to condone its priests having sex but not okay for the rest of us?” The queue agrees and Stone, who has long hair and a face like a rapacious fox, bounces his way into the building looking lasciviously at Vicky Lee from Miss Popularity, who’s been hired for the weekend just to walk around and look pretty in pink.
I have been assigned a minder for my visit, name of Ray Simpson, son he says, of the legendary rock singer Corban Simpson. He says these days dad whiles away the time drinkin’ and fishin’ and doesn’t like his son’s involvement in the porn industry or approve of his years as a stripper in the male revue Show Boys.
The Show Boys gig was way better than working for the ASB Bank, my minder says, as is his present job as 2IC to porn king Steve Crowe.
He seems to be the only guy around with a full head of hair – the rest of the crew hired to keep the public’s cotton-pickin’ hands off the strippers have shaved heads and over-developed upper torsos.
We watch a jelly-wrestling competition between a couple of lasses from Hamilton who pull their opposite number’s top off and spank each other with the erotic conviction of two-year-olds. In between rounds they break from wrestling to throw jelly into the Palmerston North crowd, who go mild. Stone is on stage in thigh-length boots and a multi-coloured pair of Lycra short underpants, which have a tailor-made sleeve to accommodate his abundant manliness.
He tells the crowd he’s been in more than 1400 – or was it 14,000, he’s lost count – porn movies and launches into a standup comedy routine about a typical day in the life of a male porn star.
Far from making the mostly young male crowd envious, his black-humoured account of having sex in uncomfortable positions with lighting and sound men inches away from your genitalia, the difficulties of remaining a “man of steel” with all-male film crews waiting in the wings and the coldness of the female porn stars at the end of a hard day’s work of intimacy makes you feel sorry for him.
He ends his spiel with the loneliest-guy-in-the-world description of going home, putting on his sad-clown face and drinking.
This account varies with the one Los Angeles-born Stone gives me during an interview, at which he says that after a year or so in the business it occurred to him that everyone else in the industry was making the money and, um, he began to lose his focus.
He got it back by concentrating on the girl of the moment – “because there’s always something beautiful about each one” – and then one particular girl, a porn star called Jessica Drake, to whom he was married for 18 months before she ran off with a director, “thinking he could make more money than me”.
“That’s her there,” he says bitterly, pointing to a poster of a suitably buxom blonde. When I inquire about the state of the director’s fiscal health, Stone jumps up and down with Rumpelstiltskin-like glee, laughing at the state of his cuckolder’s career.
Stone assures me the bust-up was for the best because he’s not wasting time working on that relationship. Now he’s having a committed relationship with Syren, he says, pointing to a part-Filipino diminutive porn star on the other side of the room who ignores him.
The stalls at Erotica are doing a roaring trade and I watch stallholder Sharon Ann try out a buzzing female sex toy on the arm of a passing callow youth, who is in a quandary about how it can be kept clean.
“Don’t you know how to wash dishes?” Sharon Ann scoffs and fetches a large plastic forearm complete with hand and wields it at his backside.
I notice a pair of plastic feet on a shelf and ask the attendant what they’re for. Apparently they are the moulds of a popular female porn star’s feet. When I ask what they do, he scratches his head and says they’ve been reduced from $95 to $50.
Talk about money for old rope. Over at the BDSM stand, handcuffs are the biggest-selling item and there’s a brochure from an alternative bed-and-breakfast outfit in Tauranga, which has a private adult playground room and assistants on hand to come in and beat the living daylights out of you.
At another stall a woman is demonstrating an undulating red tongue that looks as if it’s from Kal’s (Kath & Kim) butcher-shop window and says it could be mine for $60.
A crowd has gathered round the carpeted stage and an erotic dancer comes out and gets her clobber off to reveal a boyish figure with “34DD real breasts”. She lip-synchs a song, does the splits, sprays her mouth full of whipped cream and slobber-kisses a few men.
She selects a big woman in her late 50s with Coke-bottle-thick glasses from the front row and we watch as the volunteer studiously rubs the oil over the stripper’s entire body. The crowd titters, not knowing what to make of this ill-matched pair, but the woman is undeterred, her face a picture of concentration as she completes her task.
Far from making one feel aroused by this graphic routine or titillated at the abundance of absurd props, all I feel is an insatiable hunger – for food.
On the way out, I notice that Stone, the old trouper, is in the vestibule writhing around in a cage in the harsh light of day. I remember asking him earlier how old he is and he replied with the question, “You want to know how old I am or how old I really am?” He stared right into my eyes with the gaze of someone who’d shagged his way so far into oblivion you could see the backdrop flapping in the far side of his brain.
“I’m 35,” Stone told me.
“How long have you been 35 for, Evan?” I replied.