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What does it take to be a porn star?

New York- Legs McNeil is the man who helped found “Punk” magazine in 1975, coining the phrase that named the epochal pop music phenomenon. McNeil, who published “Please Kill Me,” a chronicle of that scene, spent eight years (with help from Peter Pavia and Jennifer Osborne) researching his new book, “The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry” (ReganBooks, $25.95).

His oral history, a collection of interviews with the organ grinders and trained monkeys working in the adult film industry, lingers on a spectacle most people mull over for 15 minutes and then forget. There is the obvious cast of characters: Linda Lovelace, John Holmes, and Sharon Mitchell. Hunter Thompson, Warren Beatty, Keith Richards and Vince Neal make obligatory celebrity appearances.

The interviews with the stars themselves reveal porn as an industry that doesn’t know how to define itself; the porn players compare blue movies to martial arts films and call “Deep Throat” “the ‘Blair Witch Project’ of its time.” The people interviewed don’t make judgments, perhaps because they are so diverse – law enforcement types, mafiosos, directors and actors.

McNeil recently discussed the punk-porn nexus and his upcoming projects with The Post:

What is it about the oral biography that appeals to you?

I like people’s voices, and I like slang. It’s so immediate. The problem is, it takes so long to do them. I don’t think I’m ever going to do another oral history, though. I didn’t realize the porn industry was so big.

Do you see any correlation between punk and porn?

When you do an oral history like this, you need a core group of 25 to 30 people that have all had sex with each other and have been in the same industry for 30 years. So there aren’t too many scenes that that describes, besides punk, porn, and some rock ‘n’ roll scenes.

Why do you think pornography is such a hot topic right now?

It wasn’t when I started the book. It’s been a slow progression with films like “Boogie Nights,” but no one had ever told the story of the porn industry. I wanted to talk about sex. In the early ’90s, everyone started speaking like Oprah. Oprahspeak.

Instead of saying “I caught my boyfriend f—ing around on me last week,” they’d say, “Oh, I’m having some abandonment issues.” I wanted to talk about sex in a real way, which isn’t sexy.

What does it take to be a porn star?

You gotta like sex. Savannah really didn’t like performing on camera, and that comes off. Ginger Lynn loved having sex on camera; so did Traci Lords, for that matter.

There are a lot of women who are victims of pornography because they want to be, and then there are a lot of women who aren’t victims at all, they’re perpetrators.

 

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