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Thursday, July 6, 2006

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Summer Doldrums

A source close to a talent agency: "Every year there's a summer slowdown but this is more [severe] than I've ever seen."

Luke: "Do you think talent rates will go down?"

XXX: "Either that or the lower-end girls won't get much work."

Luke: "Are any producers asking for a reduction in talent rates?"

XXX: "No. But a lot of them just aren't shooting. LFP, Metro, Inter-Avid, Sin City, Legend have slowed down."

I got an email from one agency advertising that a certain young woman is "now doing Double Vag!"

Inter-Avid produces such websites as Mydaughtersfuckinganigger.com, which was changed under pressure to Mydaughtersfuckingablackdude.com, and Teensforcash.com. They used to shoot a couple of scenes a day. Now they've slowed down.

Scribe writes: "The site must be owned by the KKK, inside it says stuff about "my daughter sucking on a coon's cob," that sounds like 1965."

People normally consume less porn in the summer and during holidays because they are outside having a life.

I ask XXX: "Do you think this production slowdown might last longer than normal?"

XXX: "Yes. It is heavier than normal. A lot of these people don't have the money now. People such as RLD/PXP aren't shooting period."

I email Derek Hay at LADirectModels.com: "How does this summer's slowdown compare to other summers? Are producers pressuring talent to lower their rates?"

Derek responds:

It's about the same, and no. It's not nearly as bad as you and some other web journalists are trying to make it appear.

I think it's bull that you quote an unnamed source as a supposed reliable and informed person from which to derive information on the 'industry slow down,' or any other matter. If they are knowledgeable then, let's know who they are. There are very few people like ourselves (meaning medium to larger sized agencies) who can view the industry as a whole. Better than 90% of workers in this industry work for a single company or at most a handful of companies for example a director that shoots for more than one company. If they are knowledgeable let's know who they are.

Panama Porno Producers Behind Shady Cancer Treatment Scheme

When we first read about a new cancer treatment being offered in and from Panama, we were happy to learn that progress did exist after all in our country. But that was a mistake. Within days after our first inquiries about a website called "Escorpion Azul", we found ourselves surrounded by filth in the form of a group of unscrupulous individuals preying on desperate cancer patients to make a buck or two.

...Soon after we started looking into the mysterious corporation, we received an email from Fred Salaff. Readers of this website will remember that name. Salaff is a US citizen residing in Panama who found himself at the center of a high profile pornography scandal when police raided his house in Veracruz where at that time a porn movie was being recorded. Noriegaville reported about the case. Salaff spent 7 months in prison before being conditionally released, and the trial is scheduled for October 24th of this year in the La Chorrera court.

One would think that someone in Salaff's position would try to stay out of trouble, but as it turns out he is a key figure behind the escorpionazul website. Writes Salaff: "the work that I am doing with Escozul is very gratifying as patients who have received the blue scorpion venom are very very happy with the results."

...[T]he man behind Escorpion Azul S.A. is Ruben Tribaldos III. He is of the family that manages a real estate company and is also connected to the American Gun Shop in Panama City, which is also listed as his office address on his own website.

...The only experience he appears to have with physical matters is that at the time he started Escorpion Azul, he also owned and managed a pornography site at seevoyeur.com. "Come inside and take a look at thousands of Very Hard Core Amateur Photos updated every day!!!"

As Tribaldos, being a good businessman, tried to contain costs on this enterprise, he "borrowed" some pictures that belonged to that other pornography producer, Fred Salaff. The latter protested, and that's how these two got to know each other. They've been working together since.

"Ruben Tribaldos helped me the most while I was in prison. No one else did what he did to make my life bearable as well as organize outside financial help and coordinate my family contacts. I owe Ruben a lot because no one can ever know just how shitty and miserable it is to be a prisoner in Panamanian jails, especially La Joyita, unless they've been there," Fred Salaff wrote us.

Mike John Interview By Roger Pipe

RP: Would you have considered Evil Angel had they called?

MJ: Of course. Who wouldn't? You would be crazy not to. I spoke to him (John) briefly when I left Anabolic and he's not into my stuff. He picks what he likes. He watches every movie and if he can't jerk off to it, that's the end of the story. I don't think my stuff has ever appealed to him. Knowing that, it was pretty much the end of the road. That is how I got to the place in my head where I was ready to quit. I wasn't going to go out and shoot for director's fees. I don't want to sound bitter, but I was tired of putting everything into movies and watching everyone else collect, especially people who don't care about the product anyway.

RP: You and Jules have very different styles. How would you compare or contrast your work?

MJ: I would say that he is much more into costume and location. As far as the presentation of the girls, he is more fantasy oriented and I am more reality oriented. I want the girl to look the way you might see her on the street. You know, jeans, t-shirts, little shorts and tank tops. Jules is well known for fishnets. I don't think he uses them any more because everyone has started using them. Everhard does that to. It's just not my style. That's the main difference as I see it. Once it gets down to the meat of the matter a DP is a DP right? That is why I have always shot my POV movies in a hotel. I didn't want to complicate it. I wanted to simplify it as much as possible. I tried to think what would all of these guys out there want to do if they had the chance. Me? I want to take Monica Sweetheart or whoever to a hotel, be alone and that's it. Who needs the fancy bells and whistles and shooting her in front of a waterfall? I just kept that in mind and tried to simplify it as much as possible. It's really all about the girl, especially in a POV. I felt it would be a distraction to add layers to it.

My New York Fact-Finding Mission August 15 - 22

Anyone who will assist me in my pursuit of truth will be amply rewarded, if not in this life, then in the world to come. Email Luke

I'm trying to remember if I have any friends or readers in New York. I'm passive about these things, so unless you email me, I'm probably not going to ask you to meet up.

RightWingTrash -- Your Time Has Come!

J.R. Taylor emails:

Did you know that this year's most conservative film was a trashy horror movie? Or that the guy who sang "Mexican Radio" has written plenty of right-wing tunes? Or that there's a legendary porn production that can teach us all a fine lesson about morality?

Those are just some of the fun facts to be exposed in the first days of RightWingTrash.com -- the blogsite which launched at the stroke of midnight on July 4th, 2006. (Well, at least it was one of the blogsites that launched that minute.)

Don't feel bad if you didn't know the above facts, either. It just means you're an intellectual type. J.R. Taylor, however, has spent decades as a lowbrow entertainment writer. His work history has even seen him infiltrating the Leftist empires of Paramount, Playboy, and Time-Warner. Honestly, the guy's done okay for a conservative.

This might explain why Taylor didn't put together yet another site complaining about the Leftist media. Instead, RightWingTrash is a daily celebration of popular culture that doesn't insult its potential audience. Each weekday features a short essay celebrating a film, TV show, book, comic, or rock album that isn't trying to insult conservatives.

Like the characters in many teen sex comedies, J.R. Taylor has chosen to light something instead of cursing the darkness. "I take this work very seriously," he explains, "and will proceed with the same sense of responsibility we'd expect from someone who sends out announcements with subject headings that resemble death threats."

Lainie writes: "I read your tidbit in JR Taylor’s [column] about the songwriter of “Mexican Radio” and it made me laugh because my boyfriend is a good friend and colleague (they work in the same theater troupe) with the man that produced and co-wrote that tune, Brit Richard Mazda who now lives in Queens and is the founder of The Queens Players in Astoria. He’s actually going on a reunion tour with Wall of Voodoo next week and says what JR claims is baloney. He’d be happy to speak with you on the matter."

JR responds:

"Baloney"? What, exactly? I've interviewed Ridgway on his politics. And there's no reunion "tour." Just a one-off reunion show for now, opening for Cyndi Lauper. I've never seen Mazda get a songwriting credit on "Mexican Radio," either.

Cleared things up with Richard Mazda, too. It seems the gal was being a little enthusiastic in reporting his dismissal of Ridgway as a right-winger. Man, new-wavers rule.

Please Contribute to the L-ke F-rd Scholarship Fund

Christopher (a goyishe name if ever there was one) from Georgetown (a Jesuit university if ever there was one) writes: "Luke . . . . the difference between you and Humphry Knipe is that he is educated writer and you are a college dropout that posts porn gossip. Now, are you going to do something about it?"

This wounds me to the bone on several levels. I used to date the daughter of Humphry Knipe, whose baby brother already is more schooled than I. Yes, I wish I had completed my education, but who would pay for so speculative a venture?

And then it occured to me. You might, my devoted readers. Out of charity. Or because you realize that were I to become a college boy, no longer would I be content to permit my keen intellect to focus on that industry that serves merely to assist loser men in their onanistic endeavors. Were I to aquire a college degree, I would use it be become the true public intellectual I was always meant to be, the Milton Rosenberg of popular culture. (Chicago listeners of Extension 720 will know exactly who I am talking about.)

So this is the time for certain kinds of people to do me certain kinds of favors. First, I need an "in" to get me back into UCLA, as a special student at first. And then I need people to open their hearts and their checkbooks to help pay for my tuition. Porn Gedolim who want to see my coverage of their industry go away; Hollywood Gedolim who want to see my gratuitously provacative work channeled along tamer lines; Business Women Gedolim who want to see me vanish into academia so that no longer will I stomp on their hearts; Gedolim Gedolim who are ashamed to have me show up at their temple - these are the people I need to open their checkbooks (if not their hearts - I'm a realist) and help send me on my way and out of theirs.

Please direct all inquiries and donations to the chairman of the L-ke F-rd Scholarship Fund, Chaim Amalek at chaimamalek@yahoo.com. This is not a joke. I am a man in his fifth decade of life, living like some 18 year old, only without the sex or promise of things to come. Help me become the man I know I can be.

I Want My Children To Be Proud

I do not want them taunted in school. "Your dad writes about wankers for a living!"

"No he does not! He just writes about the people who sell things to wankers to help them wank."

"Daddy, Fishel's father is an economist and Dov's dad is a doctor. Why don't you have a real job?"

My wife: "Your father is a writer, dear. He writes his blog for people to read all about his life, including your little friends."

Chaim Amalek writes: "Your kids will be ashamed of their father if he makes a living writing about porn. Unless, of course, he is really rich."

Knock, Knock, Drew's There

Jack, an LFP insider, writes:

Many days Drew carries himself with just a touch too much confidence. That does not take away from the fact that he has had a profound impact on the video division at LFP.

The reality is that they should be dead. Last summer the place looked like a it was the set for Scary Porno a parody movie about Porn. Let us remember that Drew was brought in at a mid level at best position Marc Kramer, Christina Peters, Noel Bloom, and the fancy pants guy [Tyler Goldman] Larry brought in who was clearly out of place were full throttle toward the wall until Drew slammed on the brakes.

Drew has attacked his responsibility like it were his company. For that reason, I think he should have a larger role in "running" the place as it was stated (for the record Jeff Hawkins runs Hustler Video with Drew playing a heavy role in the management). In a time when the market is struggling Rosenfeld is taking on his role with the enthusiasm of a guy who sees nothing but blue skies in a time when many video companies are in a fear stricken frozen panic..

If this guy is given a little more room to operate and shape the video division as he sees fit, I think LFP will have dodged the bullet.

A word of caution to team Hustler.

You have someone making a name for himself there. He has shown that he has taken a Rubik's cube and finished a couple sides that the industry wrote off as a lost cause. This means he is going to be attractive to others. From companies that will pay what someone of his caliber is worth without all of the ancillary bureaucratic brouhaha.

Greg said he worries about the stress load. With good reason a guy like Drew can only play company for so long before it will start to wear away at the very core of his being that allows him to have the kind of passion for what he gives to the projects he produces.

Drew is a good guy, he can act like a arrogant, know it all at times, but that is exactly the kind of person Larry needs in the batters box. If Larry had more trust in Drew than he does with some of the other laughable characters he has in high power positions, the place might actually show some signs of a heartbeat.

They need to hold on to this guy. True to form the powers that be will likely replace him with someone who has never worked in the industry.

You have some big fans Drew, work on your snotty kid demeanor and you just might be in line to take on a leadership role.

...What happened to Tyler Goldman the guy who thought the adult industry was a lay down. Is the industry aware that he was canned after AVN and Jim Chamberlain is now the HMFIC at LFP

>What's HMFIC?

Head Mother F--ker in charge.

Man, you do need to get out more. Actually, no you do not. It is your bland and often times poor sense of pop culture that gives your writing its personality and flare. A naive innocence that allows you to seem like an accidental observer providing commentary to Sodom and Gomorra. A bit like Les Nessman covering the great Turkey giveaway.

DuBoff, defamation and Sex.com

With characteristic -- and, potentially, self-defeating -- tenacity, Portland lawyer Leonard DuBoff is suing Playboy and writer Michael Gross in federal court, claiming he was defamed in the magazine's story about the Internet site Sex.com.

In the February 2006 issue of Playboy, Gross, a New York-based writer, detailed what he called the "biggest theft in Internet history": the heist of Sex.com from the domain's owner, Gary Kremen, by a convicted felon named Stephen Cohen.

On the sixth page of an eight-page story, Gross noted that by 1999, Cohen was making $750,000 a month off the online porn site, "so much that Cohen was able to hire one of the best-known trademark attorneys in the country, Leonard DuBoff, a disgraced academic with a shady past."

Greg Zeboray Interview II

Greg: "You know why Mark Kernes, Mike Ramone, talk about religion all the time? Because deep inside they believe there is a God and they're scared to death."

Luke: "What do you think of AVN?"

Greg: "I suspect there are kinks in that armor. I bet a significant number of their advertisers are well behind on payment. If you look at the magazine, it hasn't gotten any bigger over the years. I bet that's why AVN has gotten so big in the consumer trade show business.

"If you want an honest to God trade publication, there's none finer than XBiz."

Luke: "What do you think of the performance of Dr. Sharon Mitchell?"

Greg: "Even though I don't care for her personally, I have some respect for her. She's driven. I introduced in 1997 to my neighbor, Sandy Petering, with QWest. They discussed testing and determined that the PCR-DNA test worked best.

"I do not believe the industry is served best by only having one testing facility. Competition brings out the best in people.

"HIV testing is wonderful for new people coming into the business. It's going to keep HIV-positive people out.

"I don't believe the tests should be distributed among the talent on a shoot. It should be private and only made public when someone tests positive.

"I love Darren James but he is an example of why I have a problem with the way the testing system is used.

"Sharon Mitchell has stated many times that Darren was infected in Brazil. Yet when he came back to LA and took the PCR-DNA test, he tested negative. It was after he worked for three weeks, apparently spread the virus, and retested, that he came up positive.

"The point is that Darren was already positive when he received the negative test.

"If you walk on to a set today, and they've finished the boy-girl scene, and you walk up to that girl and ask, 'Was the guy you just worked with HIV-negative?' Her answer will be yes. You'll say, 'How do you know?' She'll say, 'I just saw his test.'

"'Honey, I hate to tell you, but that test does not say he's HIV-negative. Didn't the Darren James situation prove that to you?'

"It's being improperly used and creating false hope.

"Mark my words -- if they stay non-condom, there will be another outbreak. It could affect somebody that's big, such as Vivid."

Luke: "Vivid for so long was condom-mandatory but now they're advertising some of their movies as condom-free."

Greg: "I have reason to believe that financially they had no choice."

Luke: "How has working around this industry affected your social life?"

Greg: "None, because I don't tell people. I don't not tell people because I'm ashamed of it. When I first started dealing in the business, I would tell people, but I got so sick and tired of the stupid questions...that I just shut up about it."

Luke: "Why do you think the DVD market is going to largely disappear in the next five years?"

Greg: "Because cable VOD, computer VOD, and peer-to-peer networks, are going to take away the DVD market and this industry will be in trouble.

"If you talk to any of the facilitators such as TVN in Burbank, they'll tell you there's only room for one or two more cable VOD channels in this country. Then all the cable networks will be full.

"We do the E&O (Errors and Omissions) on a few cable VOD channels. Now the cable markets are paying a licensing fee of 10% (that's how much the porn producer gets for the VOD sale of his product, the Internet VOD companies (AEBN, Hot Movies etc) pay between 25-35%)."

Luke: Who are your friends in the industry?

Greg: "Russ Hampshire, Robert Herrera and John Chambliss (Acquarius Broadcasting Corporation, a cable VOD channel), Jim Malibu, Sieg Badke at Pure Play, Drew Rosenfeld at LFP Video."

Luke: "What kind of job do you think Drew is doing with LFP Video?"

Greg: "Wonderful.

"We've insured LFP for a while. We've had some issues that probably would've resulted in the severing of our relationship. Dustin Flynt worked with us to renew the relationship. But LFP was on the watch. We kept an eye on what was going on. We were very uncomfortable having directors who were horribly drunk -- drunk all day, drunk all night -- being in charge of sets. Ultimately, we pay for that risk.

"When Drew Rosenfeld took over the video division, LFP was removed from the watch list. That's how comfortable I am with Drew's ability to make the hard decisions and see to it that things get done properly such as getting rid of directors who think they should be able to drink all day.

"As long as Drew is running that company, they're a model client.

"He's made hard decisions. Some people have gotten their feathers ruffled.

"I worry to death that Drew physically can not handle this kind of stress and that it is going to kill him."

Luke: "I guess LFP stopped distributing Vivid because that became unprofitable for LFP over the past year?"

Greg: "I understand that it has never been profitable."

If the Vivid deal was unprofitable from the beginning, why did LFP renew the deal in the summer of 2005? It only became unprofitable in the last year. Also, if you look at the interview Larry did with AVN a few months ago, Larry was quoted as saying that most of LFP Video's profits in 2006 would come from the Vivid deal.

Luke: What happened at Red Light District?

Greg: "When Dion started that company, he made sweetheart deals [with various directors]. Now business ain't good. I don't care who you are. David [Joseph's] just been ridding himself of people with sweetheart deals. He's making prudent business decisions so they can go forward profitably. Everyone's interpreting that as though they're broke, but I don't think they are in terrible shape."

Luke: "Who are the top six production companies in terms of revenue?"

Greg: "You're not talking distributors such as Evil Angel?

"Vivid, Wicked, Digital Playground, Adam & Eve..."

Luke: "Red Light District?"

Greg: "They are not a production company. They never have been. They're a distributor.

"Everybody wants to go to Evil Angel because they sell pieces like crazy. They get top dollar. John Stagliano does not screw around. In flat-out intelligence, John Stagliano is the most intelligent man in Adult."

Luke: "He's probably the most respected."

Greg: "He commands respect and he deserves respect."

James DiGiorgio writes me: "Your interview with Zeboray is an interview of substance. Your questions sought and found Greg's knowledge and insight into this business. Greg shared what he knows in a straight-up and articulate way. Well done."

Mike Ramone writes:

I’m not “obsessed” (note the negative connotation) with the notion of God, but rather deeply concerned, since Bush’s election in 2000, with the corresponding power grab by the Religious Right, which is aggressively trying to impose its values on the rest of us in order to transform the U.S. into a full-fledged theocracy. That power grab is in clear violation of the secular roots of the U.S. Constitution, which is the binding authority of this country, not, as the RR would have you believe, the Bible, the source of the RR’s values. Those values have led the RR to such misguided positions as the deplorable bigoted denigration of gay human beings to second class citizenship by forbidding them the right to marry each other, and more to the point of my work, the attempt to shut down this industry.

EVERY POST OF MINE ON THE TOPIC OF GOD AND RELIGION IS MADE WITHIN THIS CONTEXT (I’m capitalizing since my italics never seem to make it onto lukeisback): that the source of the RR’s values, namely the Old and New Testaments, are in all likelihood, largely mythological fiction. And it seems to me (and many others) that it’s not a terribly good idea to base social policy on what is likely mythological fiction. Ludicrous, actually.

Couple related points:

–I’ve never met or even spoken to Greg Zeboray, so I find it amusing that he somehow knows that “deep inside they (me and Kernes) believe there is a God and they're scared to death." I also find it amusing that Greg apparently can’t conceive that there are millions of agnostic and atheists who believe just as strongly in their positions, as he does in his. Jesus, talk about burying one’s tunnel-visioned head in the sand. Kernes, I’m pretty sure, is a hardcore atheist, while I consider myself more of an agnostic, though I too am an atheist when it comes to the notion of the personal Christian/Jewish/Muslim God who actually cares about events and people here on planet Earth. To believe that, one must utterly turn off one’s mind and have grandiose powers of self-deluding rationalization. How else can one reconcile an all-powerful, all-good God with all the horrors that go on on this planet on a daily basis, including, for instance, at this very moment, the thousands of Third World infants dying of malnutrition? I wonder if Zeboray and “Scribe” have ever seriously thought about their beliefs, or just blindly accept everything their religion has spoon-fed them? Sorry, but blind faith is a fault, not a virtue - the province of fools.

Btw, Greg, I just have to ask (as I ask all members of that most curious of species, the religious porn fan/worker): If you’re so religious, what the – sorry, can’t resist – Hell are you doing working in the “immoral” porn industry? The power of the religious to rationalize their behavior seemingly has no limits. Please do explain.

–“XXXScribe” writes: “Mike Ramone wants names of NT scholars from me, but then wants to create his guidelines as to which scholars can be named from which schools (i.e. no Christian theologians). He's trying to stack the deck, just like he does with the AVN awards.”

Wrong on all counts. Simply quote me a single reputable NT scholar from a reputable university (he or she can certainly be a Christian; I’m sure some professor at say, the Catholic University of Notre Dame would qualify), who argues that the Gospels were written by followers of Jesus who knew him in the flesh. So far, your silence on that point speaks volumes.

And btw “Scribe,” do you realize how given you are to broad overstatements not supported by evidence (and you really said I was the “uninformed” one?), such as that I “stack the deck” with the AVN Awards (wrong, I’m merely one vote, as is every full-time writer and freelancer at the magazine, and frequently the things I vote for don’t win) or that working for AVN somehow equates with being a member of organized crime. Broad overstatements? Broad PARANOID overstatements is more like it.

One last point “Scribe’: You post, ‘I may write about the Bush adminisdration (still not spell checking?), that doesn't make me a Republican.” Bad logic friend (logic, of course, isn’t really the strong suit of the “believer.”). Writing about Bush may not make you a Republican, but it does make you interested in politics. Similarly, anyone who calls himself “XXXScribe” and who posts to lukeisback, clearly has an interest in porn. So once again “Scribe,” how do you reconcile your religious values with your apparent fascination with porn?

–Luke, while your tabloid-esque headline “Mike Ramone Vs. God,” is certainly catchy, it’s not, as I’ve told you before, really accurate. A more accurate headline would be “Mike Ramone Vs. Religious Conservatives.” Now I’m on vacation til next week, so I won’t be able to respond to any responses to this post til then.

I don't expect Zeboray to respond as he hasn't posted much on the internet in the past six years.

Tom Zupko - Lisa Ann Story

James DiGiorgio writes:

Over on AdultFYI.com, Gene Ross is running a story about Lombard's Sinsations 4 and it includes some pretty funny stuff about Lisa Ann and Tom Zupko.

In the story, Lisa Ann claims she spent about 30-40 hours (of unpaid time) discussing some XXX movie she was going to star in that Zupko was about to direct.

Usually, when a porn star and a director are holed up together for extended periods of time, supposedly discussing the meat-and-potatoes of some movie they're gonna make, it means there's some hanky-panky going on. But this is Lisa Ann we're talking about & with Tom Zupko!

Okay, let's hop aboard the Wayback Machine cuz we're heading back in time to 1996!

Sin City was about to produce a feature called Airotica and it would star Lisa Ann and the director was going to be Eric Edwards.

So Eric [Edwards] was slated to direct and Luc Wylder would produce and I was going to be the shooter or one the shooters...

On the first day of shooting, Eric shows up somewhat inebriated, immediately clashes with Lisa Ann, and... Eric is out as the director and Luc Wylder takes the directorial helm. To continue condensing this story, I'll simply say that it doesn't take Luc Wylder long to thoroughly piss Lisa Ann off and, suddenly, Lisa informs everyone that no one is permitted to speak to her but me, JimmyD.

Greg Zeboray Interview

Greg calls me back Sunday afternoon, July 2.

Greg: "You are the first Adult industry person I've ever given an interview to. So I hope you make it a good one. I don't care if you take two hours. Everything is on the record."

Zeboray is profusely quoted in the latest issue of XBizVideo magazine.

Luke: "How did you get into Adult?"

Greg: "I first insured dancers in various strip clubs such as Main Attractions, Mr. Jays in 1991. I met some Adult people. My first clients were Jon Dough and Deidre Holland. I met a person who handled HIV-testing in San Diego County, which is where Dave Cummings went to get his HIV-test. Cummings called me about insurance. Dave referred me to Bill Margold. Bill said, this is out of level. Call Jeffrey Douglass and Lenny Friedlander. I called Jeffrey and Lenny and they said, yes, we want an insurance person for the industry.

"This is the summer of 1995.

"In terms of revenue last year, the Adult industry represented a little over $200,000 to our insurance agency. That's approximately half of my business."

Luke: "How good a job is the Adult industry doing protecting the talent from STDs?"

Greg: "As long as they are not condom mandatory, they are not doing a good job. HIV-testing gives a false sense of hope."

Luke: "Has your attitude to the industry changed over the past eleven years or have you changed?"

Greg: "The industry has changed radically. My attitude is still positive."

Luke: "What's your take on the Adult DVD industry's financial doldrums?"

Greg: "JimmyD called it the porn depression. I call it the first step in the coming new world order. The landscape of Adult production companies five years from now will not resemble today. I see mergers, acquisitions and many failures."

Luke: "How long will DVD last?"

Greg: "It's being replaced now by VOD and the internet. Within five years, companies will be lucky to get 100 pieces out the door. VOD will replace DVD in all entertainment, not just Adult. I believe there are peer-to-peer networks out there where people are already distributing scenes and whole DVDs for free."

Luke: "How's the Adult industry fighting piracy?"

Greg: "They don't have a clue. How many Adult companies file a copyright on their titles before they release a movie? It's almost nil. If you file a copyright on a movie prior to its release, you can not only go after [a pirater] for damages, but for all costs incurred. Conversely, once a movie is released, you can only go after the [pirater] for damages, not for your costs. You can spend $150,000 going after someone who made 300 copies of your movie and the judge gives you $3,300 damages."

Luke: "What do you think is the median number of units sold per release?"

Greg: "If you can get 900 - 1,100 pieces out the door on a new release, you should go to your church and thank God. If you can get $10-$12 per release, you should go back to church and thank God.

"A lot of these companies do not self-distribute. Distributors take anywhere from 20-30%. So if a typical guy gets 1,000 pieces out the door, that's $7,000."

Luke: "What kind of job do you think the Free Speech Coalition is doing representing the interests of the industry?"

Greg: "I don't think they're representing the interests of the industry anymore. They've made a commitment to become the second coming of the ACLU."

Luke: "So they're pushing more of a leftist agenda than representing the pragmatic business interests of the industry?"

Greg: "Absolutely. When somebody can tell me why an Adult industry trade group should oppose the Utah state registry [penalizes the email senders of sexually explicit material if they are not sure the recipient is at least 18], I'll listen. I see nothing wrong with that. The FSC position is that that is a restriction of fair trade. You can't send advertisements out to kids about alcohol or cigarettes.

"Right now the FSC has healthy membership because of 2257. As you know, I have the ear of most of the major companies in Adult. And they all tell me that they joined as an insurance policy. When that 2257 issue is resolved, you just watch how many people do not renew their memberships."

Luke: "Has anyone succeeded Russ Hampshire in his role as the industry godfather?"

Greg: "No. It's a tragedy. The industry misses him more than it will ever admit. I'm just glad that he's still an active part of my life."

Luke: "What do you think about the industry's trend towards increasingly demeaning product?"

Greg: "I think it's terrible.

"Porn is consumed by a minority of American households, by porn addicts, who get bored of regular porn and want more and more. People who let porn become their sex life, the worst product out there is screwing them up worse.

"I'm a devout libertarian. I don't believe in laws [regulating expression], but I've long thought that all of the entertainment industry has an obligation to society to better society. I believe you should have enough decency that you won't put out [detrminental] product even if it makes you money.

"Rob Black. I will say publicly what many people will say privately -- the day they lock him in a prison cell, the industry is far better off. The government at that point will have said -- here is the line you can not cross. Right now there is no line in the sand. But when Rob Black is convicted, they're going to know what you can and can not do."

Luke: "What do you think of Max Hardcore?"

Greg: "We find him uninsurable. That should tell you something. We received an application a couple of years ago and when we reviewed that website [maxhardcore.com], we decided it wasn't something we wanted to get involved in."

Luke: "Do you think the 2257 regulations will ever get enforced?"

Greg: "I do. Other than sending IDs out to what they call secondary producers, such as website operators, that's the only provision of 2257 that I see as wrong."

Luke: "Do you think there are any millionaires in the industry who are solely employees?"

Greg: "No."

Luke: "Do you think there are any billionaires in the industry?"

Greg: "No way."

Luke: "Maybe this isn't a $12 billion a year industry."

Greg: "It's a $400 million [DVD] industry, maybe $500 million.

"The industry went out and promoted these figures that included strip club revenues, hotel revenues, etc and came up with this [$12 billion] figure, hoping it would lead to the legitimization of the industry. What it has really led to is a bunch of idiots who watch this stuff and think that porn is the new gold rush. They jump in and produce a few movies and think they're going to get rich. Everyone I've seen who's done that has walked away with no money. We no longer insure these people. They don't stick around.

"The latest one I did not want to insure was two guys -- one in San Clemente and his partner in Newport Beach. They went to the AEE show in January, hooked up with a producer/director. One time I was told they spent $45,000 and one time I was told they spent $85,000. Let's say they spent $45,000 to produce a stupid beach movie, the same movie that's been produced for 20 years.

"That movie shouldn't cost a dime over $25,000. This producer/director has been around forever. It's not like people are going to stand in line to buy his product.

"You should have heard the grand plans from these investors about what they were going to do. I hope they each told their wife that they could lose all their money.

"They're going to have to pay a distributor 30% to distribute their movie. If God grants them a favor, and they get 1,000 pieces out the door at $10 a piece, that's $7,000 back. If they sell it to a cable channel, they're going to get about $6,000 for it.

"They're never going to get their money back.

"About a year ago, a guy took out a $100,000 equity line on his home. He gives that money to a performer/director to shoot four gonzo movies. They couldn't sell any of the movies.

"This guy went to someone I know and practically begged the person to help him sell those movies. The guy couldn't help him.

"The man who took out the equity line is going to lose his house.

"I don't feel sorry for the guy. That's just pure stupidity.

"I saw Steve Hirsch say on Neil Cavuto [Fox News show] that Vivid was a $100 million company.

"Vivid's DVD sales, if lucky, are $20 million a year. If Vivid is a $100 million company, that's with all the other businesses they own."

Luke: "What type of insurance do you offer?"

Greg: "Production insurance. Errors and Omissions insurance. You have to have production insurance if you want to rent locations and have a film permit and rent equipment and wardrobe."

Luke: "What changes do you see in production insurance?"

Greg: "Insurance companies are going to require that all cast and crew be paid on a W2 [making them employees rather than independent contractors who fill out a 1099] and covered by an active workmen's compensation policy."

Luke: "How often have production companies or insurance companies been sued for what has happened on a porn set?"

Greg: "As far as I know, it's never happened in the 11 years I've been selling production insurance [to pornographers as well as other shooters]."

Luke: "How much is production insurance?"

Greg: "For $200,000 in production costs, the full package is about $5,500 a year."

Luke: "How much work have you put in trying to sell health insurance to porn stars?"

Greg: "A lot of work over the years. With the previous generation of talent, I had a fair amount of success. The current generation of talent is not worth the time. The ones coming in the business now are 18-year old kids who are completely irresponsible and have no conception of what health insurance is about."

Luke: "How well do the talent agencies look after the interests of the talent?"

Greg: "Not well. What matters to the agents is how much work they can get the talent and how much money they can make off them. If I was talent, I'd go without an agent."

Luke: "What do you think about the rise of LA Direct Models from nobody to the top of the heap?"

Greg: "Derek is a hustler. He has no strong competition."

Luke: "What happened to World Modeling? They used to be number one."

Greg: "They're the walking dead. They got outhustled. Ten years ago, he had all the talent. He placed ads. He signed up the talent. All the directors and producers were looking at his books every day. But new agents such as Derek started taking the girls out to meet directors and producers and getting the girls driven to the sets."

Luke: "Will we see another Adult company going public in the next six months?"

Greg: "I know of one going public in the next six months."

Luke: "Do you think making porn is honorable work? Is it noble?"

Greg: "It's not noble. Even honorable? I'd probably say yes. As long as you do things legally and ethically, you are contributing to society, at least financially, if not with the product."

Luke: "Yet you know many people whose lives have been hurt because they worked in porn [as talent]."

Greg: "The people who come into the business as talent are f---ed up. No normal girl is going to do porn. The girls who come into porn are massively lazy. They don't want to work. They have no education. They're a bunch of idiots. They lost their moral compass long before they were old enough to do porn. They partied so much they were already into drinking and doing drugs. These are not normal middle-class girls. If they weren't doing porn, they'd be doing something else as bad as porn or worse."

Luke: "How can it be noble then to make your living off screwed up people?"

Greg: "I said it was just noble financially."

Luke: "If these girls are all screwed, it makes one squeamish to make one's living off them."

Greg: "Some people are born to put personal desires and financial rewards a step ahead of someone else's misery."

Luke: "It's a sick thing to make your living off people who are screwed up."

Greg: "It's not something I would do, but I'm not going to fault people who do it.

"Let me tell you a story. A girl I know of, 18 years old, comes in the business. Within three weeks, she's already gone. I hope she'll never come back.

"This girl was already an alcoholic when she came in. She'd already had a kid. She lived with her parents.

"She tried to tell her mom that she did porn and her mom flipped out. She said to me, 'I felt so bad that I just lied and said, 'Just kidding, mom. I'm really just doing modeling.'

"Every time she talks to her mom, her mom says, 'I want to see some pictures.' Of course her mom is proud of her. She thinks her daughter is a model.

"The agent should've said to this girl, 'This isn't the right career for you. Your family will find out. It's going to devastate your relationship with your family. You already have a drinking problem.'

"Instead, agents say things like, 'Don't drink while you're working. But look at all these jobs I got for you. You're going to make $10,00 in the next two weeks."

Luke: "Working in porn would have to devastate relationships between a child and her family."

Greg: "You better believe it. A girl is better off being a whore. She can go to San Francisco and turn tricks day and night. Then, when she leaves the business, she can come to LA and nobody is going to know what she's been doing. When a girl shoots porn, the images are distributed around the world. These images never go away.

"Her personal relationships are over. First, they lose almost every friend they have, not so much because their friends disaprove, but because of the lifestyle change. They lose the closeness with their family. They'll never have a normal relationship because every guy they're with will look at them as a whore. He'll say, 'This is fun. I'm having a great time.' But she won't be who he wants to take home to mom and introduce as the one who will give her grandchildren.

"When they make the decision to enter Adult, they are throwing away a big chunk of their future. If I could talk to every new girl who enters the Adult business, I'd explain everything I just told you. And if half of them turned around and walked away, I'd say that was wonderful."

Luke: "Have you slept with or dated any of these girls?"

Greg: "Never. For many reasons. One, I've almost always had a girlfriend. I do not believe in cheating. I don't have a girlfriend now. I have long figured that as long as I didn't even try to go on a date with a girl, nobody in the industry could ever say, 'Watch out for Zeboray, he's out to meet the girls.' Two. There can never be a bad situation between me and a girl that causes her to tell people to stay away from me and that kills my business."

Luke: "You must get to know these girls fairly well. How do you keep yourself from becoming Captain Saveaho?"

Greg: "I don't get to know them well anymore. When I first got around the industry, I tried to be a friend to a lot of the girls. They could call me. I'd let them stay at my house. It only took me a year or two to realize there was nothing I could do for them. It's so painful to watch girls swear they'd never step in the fire again, and then turn around and do it. I have ceased all personal chats with talent."

Luke: "So what do you think of the work of Mark Kernes?"

Greg: "Very little.

"I am a proud Christian. I was born a Christian. I was raised a Christian. I am a strong Christian. If Mark Kernes wrote his anti-religious stuff against the religious right who probably are potentially harmful, I could stomach it. But instead, Mark Kernes continuously writes absolute hatred for all Christians. Hatred for all religions period, but he seems to attack Christians more than any other.

"I support the industry. I support its legal right to exist. I like the industry. But because I'm a Christian, I'm a horrible person."

Luke: "Does he let you know that on an individual level?"

Greg: "I avoid him like the plague.

"A long time ago, when he was running for reelection to the board of the Free Speech Coalition, I came out with a list of who I thought should be elected and who I thought should not be elected. I said that Mark Kernes should not be reelected. That he brought nothing to the FSC except blanket approval for Jeffrey Douglas.

"Mark took great offense to that.

"Unfortunately, with all his rants, he's made me angry at him.

"He works for a company that is pro-free-enterprise, and Mark claims to be libertarian, but as far as I'm concerned he's 100% socialist."

Mark Kernes responds:

Gosh, I could have sworn I was an equal opportunity offender — despite the fact that the vast majority of religio-reactionaries are Christian — in fact, many (perhaps most) are members of the Southern Baptist Convention. (Feel free to read all about it in Kevin Phillips’ excellent work, “American Theocracy.”) But then you have nutbars like Joe Lieberman and Daniel Lapin who throw the stats all out of whack...

But I strongly doubt that Greg is a horrible person — since I haven’t had contact with him in several years, I’ll just have to take his word for that — just because he’s a Christian. Plenty of Christians follow the alleged teachings of their messiah and don’t seem to have nearly as much trouble reconciling people having consensual sex with people supporting family values — especially considering that sex is where families come from.

But Greg’s wrong if he thinks I “hate” religion. I don’t; I wouldn’t waste the emotion. I just think of it as a social disease.

And I’m “100% socialist”? Does that mean that now I’ll have to start charging for the 3D slides I give to the performers?

Fred writes:

1. Selling insurance to porners/performers is reasonably noble. It adds some financial responsibility to an otherwise irresponsible life. If one of them has a major injury/illness, at least their taken care of to the extent of their coverage. (Even if it's just workman's comp at the set, it's a step up, albeit not a big one.)

2. Why would somebody invest in porn? The financial return is only a portion of the motive. I think lots of folks invest in porn because they're interested in sex. If it were a purely financial consideration nobody would do it. In your opinion, are porners solely interested in the business aspect? What percentage of the film makers have never hit on a performer?

3. When there's a glut on the market, the amount of money to be made goes down. Are the pornstar wages being negatively impacted by this? They have to, sooner or later. Query what this will do to the economics of being a porn star and the quality of the girl who signs up.

Most people get into porn for primary reasons other than financial.

Talent wages, at least for the top tier talent, have yet to take a hit, but they must.


Christopher writes:

Luke, I am a Georgetown University graduate (International Relations and Affairs) and I am writing this email to offer you some encouragement. As an avid reader, it is quite obvious that you should go back to UCLA and live up to your potential. Aside from the financial benefits, college graduates generally garner more respect and are better equipped to contribute to society.

Do you really want to live in a "hovel" and rely on other people just to maintain your laughably meager lifestyle for the rest of your life? The federal government provides guaranteed student loans and is something that you should at least consider.

While this may sound harsh, the difference between you and Humphry Knipe is that he is educated writer and you are a college dropout that posts porn gossip.

Now, are you going to do something about it?

Hank Rose writes:


Sounds like you're headed for a mid life crisis. I turned 43 in June and got over mine by involving myself in mainstream media pursuits. My 40 something pen powers expanded like pedantic wildfire. A sharp literary mind is a terrible thing to waste on just X.

Even though porn is in a socio-economic depression and the brightest new age minds in this post 9/11 world are rugged individualists void of the concept of God or media worship, I am highly entertained by your pornish intellectuality. Imagine, guys like us could have been Pultizer or Nobel Prize winning authors had we not been drawn to the carnal career stigma that is porn.

Translated, your jerkoffamatics article means that is it safer and more lucrative to be a world class high end prostitute for the mega rich than it is to work in porn. Especially since the Internet revolution has lured the most beautiful women in the world into the video sex trade in the past decade. Let that be a lesson to starlets who think that the height of their prowess is enduring the advances of a whackpacker troll on the Howard Stern show.

The reason why porn is in easy access household word mode is that a free for all fast food mentality has taken over. There is no more true art to go with the turn on. Only instant gratification shock and awe. If somebody would write hit sex songs to give the erotic genre some creative humanity, the PC moral thought police would not be able to attack us if we merge pop art with hedonistic adult decadence. Or in short, helped X cross over from A to Z.

By that, I don't mean reality shows, rap or hip hop, but rather a return to plots and storylines scored with old school old soul songs with actual hooks and melodies that would give multimedia smut a reason to exist. Or perhaps more real people who can actually act instead of flesh robot poseur bodies in motion with burnt out libidos enduring the action between the pop shots.

Ever notice how much hotter Euro sluts are? They don't smirk or pose in the middle of sex scenes. They are much too busy eating their oral sex food and enjoying themselves. It is a hallmark of a lack of talent to base your product on content sights and sounds without attitude. Sexual heat doesn't cut it without hot dialogue.

X has entered a realm of pop abstraction where any fool with a video camera can set up a bukkake party with a target girl to tap into the pervert zeitgeist. But it takes an auteur with the courage to think different to talk the talk as you walk the walk. One of the best films of the 1980s was Talk Dirty To Me. Today everybody makes silent adult films with visuals. No one has anything to say other than, "get you dick out and watch this girl take a facial."

In the Golden Era, the anticipation payoff timeline of who, what, where, when and why made it hotter. Today it's a 30 second date with Mr. Happy. In the good old days, the audience learned something. Like how to get laid. Or who to lust after and who to love. Now all America is a jerkoff. To melt in her mouth and not in your hand takes some doing beyond vicarious gooing. Just as to make porn that counts during hard times you needs brains and vision, conflict and conquest, not just bimbos & body fluids.

From the dreck of reality TV to the dregs of 24/7 E porn, it's a new age culture war worth figthing. Because if we don't then all the hot porno chicks established or aspiring will be inspired by Luke's telling article and leave porn peanuts for high society chesnuts.

Shy Love Interview With Cindi Loftus

X: If you were President for a day what would you change?
S: I would change the fact that everything is based on morality. People in politics are basing decisions on morality. Stop using the Bible or Torah or whatever to base decisions on.
X: What happened to separation of church and state?
S: I do have a lot of porn friends but I socialize with them typically in the porn environment. On Sundays, maybe 5 % of my friends are porn related individuals. We have a rule on Sundays that there is no porn talk, no business talk, just friends being friends and having fun. You need a chance to keep yourself level and maintained so can remain the same person you were before you got into the business.

Wankernomics: The New Frontier in Economic Thought

As some of you may know, I'm a frustrated academic at heart. But for an extremely ill-timed bout of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I almost certainly would have completed my undergraduate studies in economics at UCLA and then gone on to earn a doctorate in economics at the London School of Economics or the University of Chicago, possibly with a minor in the philosophical works of Emmanuel Levinas as my intellectual companion. None of you would then ever have been able to Google my name and find any reference to anything shameful, but that is not how life gets lived. I was laid low by my CFS, so low that I sleep on a bed of straw covered by a sheet that I found in a garbage bin near a migrant work camp for Mexicans. There but for fortune go you, my friend.

And yet . . . and yet my dreams never seem to fully die. The economist-in-utero that I once was still gives me a kick every now and then to remind me of the incomplete abortion of my dreams that I have been living. Right now, for example, I am contemplating writing a book on the economics of commercial sex. I began by considering the size of the market for DVDs and other such porn, which a friend advises me ought better be regarded as the market for masturbation, and who can ever calculate the dollars that are spent on such nonsense? It would be like trying to compute the number of individual sperm that are cast upon the ground by the men of a given country in a given year. What is needed, he feels, is to take a grander view, and look at the market for masturbation from the commanding heights of the Gold Standard of Sex: heterosexual prostitution, where men have real sex with real live women.

What is the size of that market? There are two numbers that interest me: X, the number of women or female equivalents working as prostitutes in a given year in a given country; and Z, the average amount of money that these X prostitutes earn in a year. Then the total spent on nonmasturbatorial sex (which, unlike Onanism, the Torah does not explicitly condemn) is simply XZ.

Now let's kick around some numbers. A quick search on Google (the engine of doom of many an aspiring journalist's reputation, to be sure) reveals as an order of magnitude number that there is one prostitute for every 1000 men in Europe. That would equate to at most 150,000 prostitutes or prostitute-equivalents at work here in the United States (this number of course includes every woman working in porn who has sex on camera). So as an initial guesstimate, let's take X = 150,000.

What is Z? A story is playing out in the tabloids of New York about a stunningly beautiful prostitute from Brazil who allowed herself to be "kept" by a top businessman at Time - Warner for $50,000/year. There is rumor that she was paid a similar amount by a second such man, which would put her income at $100,000. Now let’s assume that she’s hiding at least that much of her income and more, and posit that she earns about $250,000 per year. This woman is working at the top of her profession, so assuming a normal statistical distribution of the random variable Z (i.e. prostitute income) it is reasonable to assume that she is representative of the income earned by prostitutes three standard deviations above the mean (better than the 99th percentile). But what is the mean? Amalek says his head will explode if he has to calculate this from one data point which itself is based on a story in the New York Post, but for the sake of this piece I will peg it at $40,000/year. In other words, my Z = $40,000.

Now for a bit more math: XZ = 150,000 times 40,000 = $6,000,000,000 spent on hookers in the United States in a given year, which at least passes the order-of-magnitude smell test. In a morally healthy society, this number would be low, but the money spent on masturbation assistance (i.e. porn) would be lower. How much lower? I posit the existence of a new parameter W: the wanker ratio, which is defined to be the ratio of the money spent by men on pornography to the amount spent on prostitutes. The higher the wanker ratio, the greater the amount of Onanism in a given society. (I speculate that Israel and Mexico have a low wanker ratio and that the United States has a high wanker ratio.) Then the amount spent on porn is XZW. To determine the amount of that which is spent say, on DVDs, I would need another parameter D, which is the fraction of the wanker dollar that goes into DVDs. Then the size of the DVD market would be XZWD. You can readily see that what is being developed is an equation that is no less accurate - or speculative - than the Drake equation for determining the likelihood of there being intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.

Can you provide insights into the values of X, Z, W, and D? What additional parameters ought I have included here? And if you are an econ student (or better yet, a professor) at UCLA, kindly write to me words with which to encourage my to return to school to resume my academic career.

Whither Heidi Joy Pike?

She once ran Evil Angel's Buttman magazine. She got fired and moved to AVN for five years. She left there (was pushed out?) and now appears headed for the New Machine company where her boyfriend directs.

Porn trade failure

From the Melbourne, Australia newspaper The Age:

THOUSANDS of illegal pornographic films depicting under-age sex, incest, rape and extreme violence are being traded under the noses of police through a national network of sex shops, other stores and truck stops.

A Sunday Age investigation reveals state governments are turning a blind eye to the trade, controlled by criminal gangs and worth up to $300 million a year.

Thousands of films are also being supplied by mail through post office box addresses in the Northern Territory, where the sale of X-rated films is legal.

Jed writes: "And you'd wonder how much potential revenue is lost through torrent sites."

Mike Ramone Vs. God

AVN Editor Mike Ramone replies:

In defending Christianity of all things, “XXXScribe” first accuses secular humanist me of being intolerant, then goes on to accuse the adult industry of employing psychologically unhealthy people, seemingly oblivious to the priest child molestation scandal that’s rocked the church for the last several years (hey, at least porn is consensual). Some people are born color blind. Others, like the self-professed “Scribe,” apparently are born without a sense of irony. Or a sense of their own double standards.

Btw “Scribe,” next time out, I think you should be a tad more careful before accusing someone else of being “uninformed.” “The Gospel of Jesus and his story is equally missing from the non-Christian record of the time,” writes Earl Doherty, author of “The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? Challenging the Existence of an Historical Jesus.” “Philo of Alexandria, the Jewish historian Justus of Tiberias, Pliny the Elder as collector of reputed natural phenomena, early Roman satirists and philosophers: all are silent. Pliny the Younger, in his letter to Trajan from Bithynia c.112, does not speak of Christ in historical terms. Josephus’ famous passage in Antiquities 18 is acknowledged to be, as it stands, a Christian interpolation.”

Or as Acharya S writes in “The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold,” “There are basically no non-biblical references to a historical Jesus by any known historian of the time during and after Jesus’ purported advent.” Me uninformed? “Scribe,” heal thyself.

XXXScribe writes:

Mike Ramone wants names of NT scholars from me, but then wants to create his guidelines as to which scholars can be named from which schools (i.e. no Christian theologians). He's trying to stack the deck, just like he does with the AVN awards. If one cherry picks as he does, one could find biblical theologians who would outright deny the existence of God. Mr. Ramone can listen to whatever theologian that agrees with his views, it's called "talking inside a tin drum.'

Reconcile my apparent religous beliefs with my porn interests? Who says I have any "porn interests?" I may write about the Bush adminisdration, that doesn't make me a Republican. I may mention AVN,. that doesn't make me a member of organized crime.

Perhaps Mr. Ramone should explain why he is obsessed with a God whom he claims doesn't exist. I don't go around complaining about non-existent entities such as the tooth fairy, but Mr. Ramone talks more about God than a Southern Baptist at a tent revival thumping a ten pound bible.

A Chat With James DiGiorgio

I call him Friday afternoon.

Luke: "You did not have the whole thing [simplyjimmyd.com] backed up?"

Jimmy: "I've got all the articles on a disc. I was using an old php program and we couldn't move it."

Luke: "Just post your one giant text file [of archives]."

Jim: "If I ever get up the ambition to put it all together in printed form, I have it.

"I've missed [blogging]. I've got s--- to say."

Luke: "You've got a mission and a message."

Jim: "This business is in the toilet. I have talent calling me. 'I've never seen it so slow.' There's just too much product. The market is saturated. As everything became cheaper and easier to make, everbody got in... Every day there's a new talent agency and a new production agency. Something has to give and they've given. Buyers are slower than ever to pay.

"For a while, the cable people were buying crappy soft versions of crappy gonzos but I hear they are not doing much of that any more. Penthouse has a TV channel but they're going to put Penthouse stuff there. Playboy just bought Club Jenna as a production arm. Playboy is going to buy less independent product.

"If you look at the press release from Hefner's daughter, she said it was the final piece of the puzzle. Would you rather buy product from others or own it yourself?

"Colorado Satellite is merging with Mainline Releasing, who were making late night T&A stuff. You don't think Mainline will start making harder stuff for Colorado Satellite?

"What happens to everybody else? The Hustler Channel? The Hustler Channel will want to put Hustler product up there.

"When is talent going to adjust their rates down? Those are the rates that have gone up in the past few years because of the proliferation of agents. Crew rates haven't gone up. I don't get paid anymore than I got paid ten years ago.

"Most people aren't big enough to deal directly with replicators. Most companies deal through brokers such as KBH-Blaine and Joey Abinanti.

"The business has always been penny-wise and pound-foolish. I remember people sitting around and trying to figure out how to save a penny on the tray [for VHS tapes]. In the final bill on the run, it would amount to $40. Yet they'd have a guy calling around all day to save $40. Yet they'd take somebody to lunch for $400.

"I bet compilations account for at least half the number of new releases [13,600 in 2005 according to AVN]. The latest craze is buying one new scene, featuring it on the boxcover, and bundling it with four comp scenes.

"I remember when a buyer would call up and complain if they had seen the scene on another movie. But if there are 30,000 scenes released a year, who can remember?

"This is not even a half billion dollar business. If this is a $14 billion business, where are the billionaires? Steve Hirsch and Larry Flynt would be billionaires."

Luke: "Do you think there are any millionaires in the business who are only employees? The Howard Levines [head of sales at Vivid] of the world?"

Jimmy: "Not without owning a piece. Most company owners aren't millionaires either."

Whatever Happened To AVN.com's Blog?

AVN Editor Mike Ramone replies: “We’re going to launch an exciting new blog in the near future.”

Why LFP Ended Its Distribution Relationship With Vivid

This industry is run by a small number of people -- Paul Fishbein, Steve Hirsch, David Joseph, Larry Flynt, Jim Kohls, David Sturman, Frank Koretsky, etc.

Steve has a great relationship with Jim. Because of that relationship, Steve decided four years ago to make a distribution deal with Larry Flynt Publications. Jim ran LFP at the time. The deal called for LFP to pay Vivid up front for the privilege of distributing its movies.

The deal became unprofitable for LFP over the past year. I don't know why it took LFP so long to wake up and smell the coffee, but they finally did and got out of their deal with Vivid and they'll never make such a deal with any production company again.

Why did Vivid then make a deal with Pulse to distribute their movies? Because Steve has a great relationship with Jim.

John writes:

The announcement of the deal between Vivid and LFP parting ways has been met with superficial relief among staff members and a hollow sentiment of good riddance. Beneath the layers of ass kissing applause and support for the parting of ways, is a fast moving current of fear, defeat, and a feeling of uncertainty for the company. O

ne of the great business deals of the company’s history has now shown signs of the mighty goliath buckling at the knees. The fact is it was never a good deal. The deal polarized the relationship between Steven and Larry with Jim Kohls as the visionary the entire time. Jim Kohls has simply taken the vision for LFP’s future and deployed it under a different name. DVD sales are down across the board so the dissolving is quantifiable to the LFP balance sheet under the comfort of plausible deniability of the value of the Vivid brand under their umbrella.

The Vivid relationship galvanized the power of LFP when announced several years ago. It was a sign that Larry and his powerful brand were literally capable of steam rolling the industry regardless of protest. The landscape has changed dramatically in the last 8 years since LFP went big to conquer the video side of the industry.

In that time we have watched retail blow up with Hustler Hollywood, Hustler apparel becoming trailer park chic, the launch of Hustler TV, the acquisition of VCA, the reinvention of the Hustler Clubs, the casino etc.

....Larry has a penchant for hiring lost souls, wayward executives, and critically flawed people in general. One look at what is happening and it is pretty clear that Hustler has lost a step in the last 2 years. In part due to the departure of Jim Kohls and the crater sized void left to be filled, more importantly it has to do with the incompetent people who were brought in and unable to make it in their respective "chosen" profession of mainstream marketing, production, executive media management, cable/satellite industry, and they end up at the doorstep of what is perceived by the outside world as the finest run adult operation on the planet, only to prove the reputations that proceeded them with precision accuracy.

Once the self celebrated Hollywood, or fortune 500 failures are on payroll, the name dropping has worn off, and the hubris of coming from mainstream has failed to impress a group of soulless porn peddlers with low morale, the ugly truth is seen. This person with such a great pedigree is a failure here too. Flooding the company with buzz words, and catch phrases, the contributions made by the perceived high draft picks leave Larry once again, requesting to scour the agencies looking for another person to overpay with Lyn Heller marching them in as though she birthed them from her own womb.

Heller is the head of HR at LFP who carries herself like a Harvard graduate and gets off on her icy demeanor as one of the most universally despised humans I have ever known.

In 2000 it seemed Hustler was unstoppable. The truth is; it was unstoppable. When the decision making power is spread among fools, and charlatans, the end result is what you see in 2006, a brand and company struggling to find its own identity in a market they have created that has become supremely sophisticated that they were poised to lead and rule for generations. It takes decades to build an empire. It only takes a couple of years and a handful of ego driven unqualified blowhards to leave one in smoldering rubble.

LFP had it all. It was positioned to leave a legacy for Larry that would have been the adult version of Louis B. Mayer.

Now Hustler is cemented in a commitment to complacency that will continue to send the company further behind in today’s bountiful market opportunities.

* They have dropped the mobile ball
* They have let the internet slip to being a third rate affiliate program with no real appeal
* They have taken the video line from being award winning to struggling
* They have made the magazine more appealing to the poop and fart joke crowd

The painful reality is that after the debut of the People vs. Larry Flynt the world fell in love with Hustler. As in life, love can be fleeting. The movie ignited Hustler frenzy. Today the party is over, the tab is due, and the passionate love affair is looking like a failed relationship. It would be easy to point the finger at Larry Flynt. It would be easy to give Jim Kohls all the credit for the success. The truth is that Larry believed in people who f--ked him in the end. People who cared more about getting what they could when they could get it than the actual long term success of the company are the ones who should be held accountable. The people who sat in lavish offices collecting paychecks for a job they had no idea what they were doing are the ones who have brought the most recognized name in adult to its knees.

The industry owes Larry Flynt a debt of gratitude for his contributions that can never be repaid. It is sad to see his empire being run by a group of outdated misfits who have fallen right into the hole they were designed to fall in.

Adult Cronies 1- LFP 0

I would say:

Current Successes: Casino, HustlerTV, Apparel
Current Failures: Hustler Video, VCA, Magazines,
On the Fence: Internet, Hustler Hollywood. Hustler Clubs. Mobile

I define success and failure as the performance vs. what it should be. For example, Internet and Mobile are both profitable, but nowhere near what they should be. HustlerTV, Apparel and the Casino have exceeded expectations. The others have not.

I don't want you to think that 'On the Fence' implies those business are just breaking even. Internet is still generating decent revenues, but is not performing close to where it was or should be performing.

Porn Depression

Michael at NorthStarAssociates emails:

Hey Luke, I was just reading the info that you posted from Jimmy D. He is on the mark in a lot of ways.

Just after attending Erotica LA it was really depressing to see product being sold sooo cheap. I mean some people were 5 for $10.00 etc. I can tell you a handful of people were a bit upset about it. With talent/production costs going up and DVD prices going down, a manufacturer must sell a lot of units to even make up those costs. The days of moving 10,000 out the door are long behind us (just my opinion). Jenna J and the blockbuster known as Pirates are the only ones that I can really see doing this. The marketing behind Pirates had a nice price tag attached to it as well I am sure. For all the marketing and public relations that went on behind Pirates they deserved to sell the mass units they have sold. My hats off to them. Not too many companies can keep up with that.

It is a buyers market for sure. With so much out there now distributors and retailers are turning a lot of people away. It really becomes an accounting nightmare to add even one more invoice to the over 200 from companies that they deal with already. You really need to have a niche that will catch their attention and that there is a demand for. Myself being a former buyer you really want to give everyone a chance but the market is so saturated with comps and catalog drops and with rock bottom prices how does one compete with that? Drop new release pricing? That only kills the market further and makes the manufacturer have to sell even that many more pieces to break even New release pricing from start up companies I am sure are at an all time low. This is just so they can get the product in to see if it will sell. And with over 300 + new releases coming out every week you really need to have something good or you will get swallowed up by everyone else.

This brings in the payment methodology of some companies. It is what it is. We need them as much as they need us but if you work with them they will work with you. The amount of invoices that flow into a big distributor on a daily basis is amazing. You would need a team of accountants to keep up with it all. 200 plus companies reordering every week. Well you get the picture. You will get paid you just may need to wait a bit more than the terms you have agreed on. I can hear my colleagues commenting on this now. If you cut them off in a lot of ways you will be shooting yourself in the foot because if you don’t ship them unless you are a Jules Jordan or Jenna or one of the big players or even a smaller niche company (that carries a specialized product) a lot of times they could just say c ya and pay you what they owe and never do business with you again. That will hit you as well. There are many different opinions on this subject all I can say is work with them. Especially in this porno depression.

I was approached at Erotica by individuals who wanted to start up a company and were looking for advice. I said, “How much money are you willing to lose?”

I don’t want to discourage anyone’s dream of being a smut peddler / producer / director so I followed up with “You really need some deep pockets, patience, and don’t expect to be in the black anytime soon. Its not a get rich quick business anymore so be ready for a challenge… I wish you success.”

It has become a world of disposable porn. You can walk into any store and find dump bins of 5 for $20.00. You go home and watch it, do your thing and throw it or give it away when you get bored with it and you go back and get more.

It should be an interesting summer.

You know it's going to be a slow summer when even Holly Randall slows her production schedule. OK, she always eases up in August and regroups her creative energies and balances her shakras.

The Return Of Features

James DiGiorgio writes:

If you don’t believe it takes a bit more skill and knowledge to make a feature, consider the vast numbers of cheap, incompetently produced, so-called gonzos released each day, week, month, and year. Gonzo certainly opened doors for a lot of wannabe pornographers. After all, gonzo is cheap to make and if there’s one thing pornogaphers love, it’s cheap-to-make content. But when a marketplace becomes SO saturated with cheap product, something’s gotta give. And while some people would say that, in a free-market economy, easy access to the marketplace is a good thing, look where it’s gotten us: Its led us to the Great Porn Depression. Never, in the annals of porn history, has so much inept s--- been stuffed down the throats of the porn consuming public!

I think I’m seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. I think maybe the success of a few features are causing a few more people to re-think their positions on the venerable feature; Digital Playground and Pirates comes immediately to mind. And now I’m reading about companies like Bo Kenney’s SexZ Pictures who are embracing the feature market. And I know Mr. Kenney well enough to know he’s not trotting down the feature path because he’s simply a patron of the arts.

My Interview Subject Was Hospitalized

Bisexual Britni emails: "Michelle was hospitalized last night after a run in with the LAPD. She will get back to you for her interview as soon as she can."

Production Slowdown

Red Light District is not shooting for six months. I hear Legend is shooting few or no movies over the summer. Agents are telling their talent to take almost any work they can get.

The production schedule at Evil Angel is full steam ahead.

Jack: The real question is will rates come down for all the people getting fat - agents, talent, locations, makeup artists, etc.
Jack: Direct Models has several girls that are $2000+ Jack: when does supply and demand kick in and create a buyer's market?
Jack: Amy Reid is great, but does she really sell $1000 more worth of product than Tory Lane? I doubt it.

Adult suppliers a no-show for VSDA

Following HEE’s announcement several weeks ago of an adult business and supplier summit in Palm Springs, Calif., this September, nearly all adult exhibitors backed out of the July Home Entertainment convention in Las Vegas.

The July convention was scheduled to have exhibit suites at the Venetian Hotel Resort & Casino devoted to adult suppliers and an “adult lounge” on the showfloor. However, both have been cut after a number of suppliers canceled attendance...

Dieterich didn’t know how many adult exhibitors were originally signed on but said that 38 attended last year’s show.

James DiGiorgio Visits Erotica LA

He blogs:

When I say it sucked, I’m not talking about it sucking from a financial point-of-view. I’m sure it was a cash cow for its promoters. After all, all those thousands of people coming in at $30 a pop– That’s some serious green. When I say it sucked, I’m talking about it, basically, being a big freaking bore.

First off, other than Club Jenna’s girls and a few others, there really weren’t many porn stars there. At least, not that I saw. Could it be that few exhibitors were willing to part with some dough to pay these girls to hang out at their booths at a FAN CONVENTION and endure the lurid, groping advances of salivating fan boys? I don’t know. I was just an observer. I don’t scientifically analyze this s---.

Next, there was some truly frightening women there who had no business wearing what little they were wearing. Don’t these chicks own mirrors?

Porn Depression

James DiGiorgio writes:

Right now, we’re in a porn depression. Buyers are returning product in record numbers and they’re either extremely slow payers or they’re not paying at all. The halcyon days of cables sales are history and foreign sales are in the toilet as those guys aren’t paying worth a shit either.

Traditionally, porn has always gone into the doldrums in the summer months. But I can’t ever remember the summer slow-down arriving as early or as hard as it has this year. And my observations aren’t merely based on an early summer slow-down. The Justice Department is scaring the crap out of a lot of people. Legend has laid off a significant portion of its workforce. Companies like Red Light and others have either announced a production hiatus or their simply not shooting and just not saying much of anything about not shooting. And at just about every company I interact with, people are complaining that business sucks more than its ever sucked before.

DVD Sales Down

Porn Insider tells Gene Ross:

There's a whole different outlook now among the buyers. People are returning a lot of product and say they're being inundated. There's 350 new releases a week. The buyers are so inundated they've lost their sense of humor and aren't returning phone calls. They're moody and snippy and obnoxious. They're looking to cut back. Guys at Evil Angels used to be able to say you're taking 700 pieces at 15 bucks. But a lot of buyers are saying, fine, I don't want it. It's become interesting. The rumor is that Jack from Legend is back and he's on the phones collecting. How are people surviving for 500 pieces? I hear one porn company owner's brother is over in Amsterdam laundering money for drug dealers and whenever his brother needs a million or two, he sends it to him. Otherwise, a lot of porn businesses are hurting for money. One company had $30,000 in returns this month. Yet more new people are coming into the business and think they're going to get rich.

Melissa Midwest Convicted In Nudity Case

LINCOLN, Neb. -- A Lincoln woman who has had run-ins with the law regarding public nudity has been convicted in her latest case. A judge has found Melissa Harrington, 23, guilty of violating a public decency ordinance when she hosted a wet T-shirt contest at a Lincoln bar in March. Police said Harrington conducted the show while topless. Harrington argued that she was not nude from the waist up, because she covered her nipples and areolae with pink paint. A Lancaster County judge ruled last week that the paint wasn't enough, because it was transparent. Harrington faces as much as eight months in jail when she's sentenced on Aug. 2. Harrington was ticketed in 2003 for naked Internet pictures of herself taken in a downtown Lincoln bar.

Whatever Happened To Simplyjimmyd.com?

Jimmy replies:

The server my old site was on got hacked. i mean totally hacked... by the dread turkish hackers. anyway, long story short, i couldn't ressurect the original. so, i put up this cheap blogger. i'll get to redesigning it and making it look a little more presentable, but it's about what's written, right? i.e., what's inside the package, not the packaging. (unlike porn).