Porn News

Talent Meets

Porn Valley- Mr. Marcus called a meeting Monday night. And, in truth, Marcus, with last night being a dress rehearsal of sorts, is going to chair better meetings in the future. But the one calling for talent to come together on the heels of yet another industry HIV crisis, was a noble start with some positive upshoots.

Rob Spallone, who served as sergeant-at-arms, leaned over and whispered while I was taking notes that he thought the turnout at the Straight Up Studios in Northridge was pretty sad. There were forty, maybe fifty people there. Not all porn stars. There was a smattering of directors like Spallone and David Aaron Clark. And there was Shane, Reb Sawitz’s son from PGI who had a few words to lend, noting that it was he who took Lara Roxx to AIM where she was subsequently tested HIV positive.

Aurora Snow, accompanied by Jay Ashley, hobbled into the meeting on crutches. Snow, who had already injured her ankle in another mishap, took a spill just recently on an oil slick and tore some ligaments. Faces that I immediately recognized also included Annie Body, Jezabel Bond, Cytheria, The Dago Bomber, Mike Horner, Aria, Don Hollywood, Brooke Hunter, Tony Tedeschi, Steve Banan, Nicole Moore, Cailley Taylor, Dick Tracey, Brian Surewood and Lee Stone.

At one point in the evening there was a debate as to how many performers actually work in the industry. The number of 1,200 was being cited in the mainstream press [and attributed to Sharon Mitchell, actually]. Tony Tedeschi was inclined to believe that the number was more like 400. In fact, he was damn insistent upon it, as he was with almost everything he had to say. Tedeschi, who must be keeping a running count in his head, said there have been 12 HIV positives in recent years out of that basic talent pool of 400. On consideration that’s a pretty scary percentage.

But if you were considering the slender percentages that filed into a room that was painted like Tom Zupko’s old office at Extreme: wall-to-wall black, the representative talent wasn’t staggering.

“Think in terms of who’s here and who’s not here,” Clark was saying putting a positive spin on things, suggesting that talent demand space over at AIM to set up a regulating committee. Brooke Hunter was all for that.

But in terms of volume, Tedeschi, who knows what it’s like to sit through a six-month quarantine imposed by the business, was ready to storm the Bastille and free the prisoners.

At the height of his oratory, egged on by statistics supplied by Don Hollywood that Erotica L.A. was making a shit pot full of money, Tedeschi was all for calling a talent boycott of Erotica L.A. and kicking the porn companies in the wallet. [In a quieter moment after the meeting, Lee Stone said the only way that could work is with the cooperation of contract girls.]

Seconding Tedeschi’s emotion but a little more poetic was Julian St. Jacques who described the talent dilemma as “the last stop on the money trail.” St. Jacques, like Tedeschi, is fully convinced that the porn companies are looking more at dollar signs and less at the health and well being of the industry talent.

“Thirty, 40, 60 days from now we’ll all be homeless porn stars…but we’ll be on TV,” he commented cynically. “We’re on the front line and no one gives a fuck.”

Well, Marcus gave a fuck and he moved the meeting along with a quiet, soothing demeanor which is highly unusual for these types of gatherings which generally turn into Rollerball tournaments. Marcus, intent on clearing the room of “rumors and bullshit,” was saying how he’d normally be in the back of the room at meetings like this.

“Usually quiet,” he smiled. Tonight he was in a mood to move talent in a positive direction with a gentle but muscular nudge. “We have to unite with some sense of responsibility,” he was saying. But he was also quick to note that spirits of unification in the past all lapsed into regression.

On the solidarity issue, Don Hollywood ventured to say that it’s harder to find guys who can perform than girls who are willing to shoot. “If we stand our ground it’s harder to replace us,” Hollywood said. “You can’t treat an animal on a mainstream set the way talent is treated on porn sets.”

Tedeschi replied cynically that he stood his ground for nearly six years on the condom issue and practically wound up in the street for his efforts, that only companies like Vivid and Video Team were hiring him. Spallone conceded that not too many people stood behind Tedeschi.

“Anybody here see any of that $9 billion?” Tedeschi asked aloud, referring to the statistics often quoted in the media stating, without proof to back it up, that porn hauls in more revenue than entities like the NFL. Tedeschi also brought up the inevitable subject: a union, to which Steve Banan, in a riff about meetings with teamsters, pretty much answered been there, tried it, couldn’t do it.

Marcus was also saying that with all the agents, pimps and prostitutes now dropping themselves off at the doorsteps of porn like infants of the storm, the dynamics of the industry were changing radically. Marcus also put other ideas out there that inluded the possibilities of quarantining performers who have worked in Europe and Brazil.

“Rio de Janeiro- the HIV capitol of the world,” Tedeschi scoffed.

The condom issue seems almost a given at this point. Though Spallone scoffed at the way condoms are currently being used, noting that a pop shot in the face after a scene featuring a condom, besides being contradictory to the intent, is more dangerous than you can imagine. Spallone talked about a meeting he had been to years ago in which a doctor swore that a cum shot landing in a tear duct was the quickest way to HIV. Spallone also termed “sick and disgusting” double-anal scenes, extending the notion that guys who performed them were “part” gay.

When Spallone brought up the escorting issue and that many women in the business indulge the practice, it was speculated that porn stars probably cave into good-paying Johns and perform unsafe sex acts with them.

“Two-week testing? Marcus also asked, looking for takers. Lee Stone, who maintains a complete and accurate record of every sex scene that he’s done since he began in the business 4 years ago, suggested that new talent should be quarantined before being allowed to work, that it was an excellent way of weeding out girls who don’t belong in the business. Stone’s was probably one of the best ideas put forth all evening.

St. Jacques, whose name began appearing on quarantine lists last week, got the meeting off by describing how fucked up it was of the media-at-large to be printing Darren James’ picture. St. Jacques was saying how James couldn’t even walk into a Burger joint now. Stallone suggested, whimsically, that it didn’t make too much difference, “since you guys all look alike.”

After the meeting Cailley Taylor asked if would supply talent with the number of Celebrity Skin, a company that’s hiring girls in the industry to do bachelor parties. Taylor said women can make between $300 to $500 an hour. “It’s clean and safe,” she said, noting that the necessities like transportation are also provided. Taylor said the company’s also hiring male talent as emcees and security. All who are interested can call 818-642-0426.


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