After a rather fun week in Palm Springs, I climbed into the car with Jesse Jackman, Liam Knox and newcomer Steve Roman. We had some fun… sang a Kelly Clarkson song and confused the locals in Palm Springs.
At least today we’re getting a slight reprieve from the three weeks of heat wave we’ve had here in LA.
Sunday in LA. Too hot to go hiking or bike riding, too nice out to hide inside. Venice Beach is a very odd amalgam of street performers, street artists, hippies, body builders, skate boarders, stoners, tourists and locals who come to see the show. You’ll see some cool art, you’ll see some angry political radicals ranting about… things. You’ll see local kids playing basketball and people with huge pet snakes charging you a dollar to have your picture taken with it wrapped around your neck.
There are some disturbing things… homeless people asking well-dressed tourists for change, people selling exhausted-looking puppies. It’s never really clear if this is just people whose dog has had unwanted puppies or if this is a back-alley puppy mill making puppies and selling them for $25 to total strangers.
But there are also some wonderful things you’ll see. Mostly just a very fun sense of community that prevails even in an area that’s so diverse and insane. It’s one of my favorite parts of the city.
This was a bit of a dream gig. Back in 1980 I was 11 and just discovering New Wave. My collection of 45s started to stack up higher and higher (my allowance afforded me two per week) and from my room, the sounds of The B-52’s, Blondie, The Flying Lizards, Martha And The Muffins, M, The Buggles, The Motels, The Knack and The Cars would echo through my house.
One song you wouldn’t hear was Rough Trade’s High School Confidential. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the song, I loved it. I played it a lot. Just at a much lower volume. The lyrical content was WAY too sexual and I didn’t want my parents to hear it and take the record away from me. A year later they came out with an album called “For Those Who Think Young” and I bought the 7″ single for their song “All Touch No Contact.”
If you followed my career closely, you might recognize “All Touch” as the name of a scene I shot for Cocksure Men starring John Magnum and Morgan Black. That’s where I got the name.
Rough Trade were a great band but I didn’t really now that, yet. All I knew is that they were a New Wave band with an androgynous female lead singer named Carole Pope who was both feminine and still tough, strong and fearless.
A year later after I’d added bands like Talking Heads, Missing Persons, The Police, The Tubes, X and XTC to my collection and would dutifully get my allowance on Saturday and take it directly to the record store to buy… a record. Or two.
One of those Saturday shopping excursions brought me to the Sam The Record Man in Moncton, New Brunswick and staring directly at me was the new Rough Trade album “Shaking The Foundations.” The cover was bold and shocking… taking the “knocked over martini glass” image from their first album and incorporating it with an image that appeared to show a 50s mom aiming a shotgun at her husband’s head. The symbolism of that cover with the album’s name perfectly summed up how I saw the world and felt about my place in a straight world that expected me to just be like everyone else. I was 13 by this point and finding my inner edgy biker. Instead of buying the 7″ of the first single “Crimes Of Passion,” I just bought that album. It became my personal soundtrack for that year.
Crimes Of Passion was a very sexual song. Even more than High School Confidential. It was also the first time I ever heard anyone singing about gay male sex and sexuality. Yes, the story ended with the jilted lover one of the men holding the other one at knifepoint, but before that they were just “Johnny and Eddy laying in bed” with their legs entwined looking like two young gods. I had never heard gay men referred to as “gods” before, either. Even with the violent tone of the song, I found an odd pride in knowing that gay men could be godly… could be masculine and strong. The video didn’t hesitate to show a live-action depiction of the men in bed together, either… that for me was huge. Probably part of the reason I wanted to become a porn director even back then… I wanted to make movies that would evoke that shocking sexuality.
Side note… one of the lines mentions the “sickly sweet smell of amyl.” Being 13 and living in a very remote farming village I had never heard of poppers or amyl nitrate so I thought they line was “sticky sweet smell of apple.” I thought they were burning incense. Meh… I was 13.
For the first time I had an album by them and was able to get more of a handle on what “kind” of band they were. While their singles were all sexually-charged New Wave dance tracks, their albums showed a stunning breadth of styles. Much like Blondie… while the singles were all radio-friendly New Wave pop tunes, their albums showed the band were more of a cross-genre pop review. You’d get cabaret-style piano ballads, jazzy songs, haunting down-beat tracks, very theatrical songs that felt more like parts of musicals.
By 1983 I was in 9th grade and they came out with Weapons, probably my favorite album by them. It melded rock, synth-based dance tracks, a couple of vaudeville-like tracks (One of those called “On With The Show” didn’t surface until the CD reissue), melancholic ballads… They were solidified as one of my favorite bands ever with that album. I still, however, had to hide the albums from my parents who would have probably fainted at the cover art alone.
Carole and Kevin only released one more album (1984’s O Tempra O Mores) before splitting up and going their separate ways.
I followed Carole’s career since then. Many times I’d fight my way to the front of the crowd at her shows in Toronto and yell out “STELLA” at just the right time during High School Confidential.
And now, over 30 years since I first became a fan, I’ve finally had the chance to direct a video for Carole. This is her song Vagina Wolf, inspired by the movie of the same name. We had very little budget for this video, but we didn’t really feel we needed much. Since the movie is about making a movie, I thought that dressing her in black like a 40s movie theater usher and wrapping her in the red velvet curtains of a movie theater would look good. I brought in that artifacting of projector dust and light leaks. The gold mic was Carole’s idea. She wanted a bit of slightly campy glam to it. I think it works perfectly.
There were actually two separate cuts of this video. I had her do a few takes looking sad and dark; serious and intense. Then we did separate takes of her looking happy and smiling. I cut two separate videos, one with each emotion and after viewing a few times, we both agreed that the “campy glam” version fits the tone of the song better.
I also love her vocal performance of this song which was written to be a nod to the 60s Shirley Bassey bond themes.
So I can cross “direct a video for Carole Pope” off my to-do list. Although… I think you’ll see more collaborations in the future. We’re both happy with the end result and we had a great time doing this.
Hope you like it.
I know how much this upsets you all…
Vivid Entertainment — one of the top sellers of celebrity porn videos — has no interest in making a sex tape with the disgraced reality star! “Josh Duggar is an admitted child molester and therefore we would never ever have anything to do with him!”
So that’s that. He’ll have to survive on his trust fund, I’m afraid.
Jesse Jackman and Dirk Caber were in shooting with us at Titanmen. It was a very long, grueling and exhausting week but typical to Titanmen, we never stopped laughing and smiling and having fun while we shot some really great stuff. This was shot literally the last thing we did that week. When we got back to the house, I dropped them off and headed to my own place in Vista Las Palmas for a weekend of heavy relaxing with a bunch of friends.
The reason it looks like it was shot through Instagram filters is that I’d spent a some time shooting Dirk diving into the pool from below and I didn’t fix the white balance or auto-aperture. Normally I’d say we should do it again, but this was fun and spontaneous enough that we figured… meh…
Besides, they live in Boston and I live in Los Angeles and that would be a long road trip.
Before anyone asks… yes, we’re all gay and Dirk and Jesse are married to each other.
The original recording is by Cobra Starship.
Ricky J – No Means No
A truly foul song that could better be described as “The Date Rape Song.” Somehow the song’s protagonist thinks that the bored-sounding female who keeps turning him down will change her mind as he begs her to “hit it” and “get up in it.”
More confusing is his pleading with his… intended victim that “I can do it for a minute, girl.” A minute? Really? That’s all he can do? That’s just pathetic.
While Ricky himself could be kinda cute, with that gettup he looked more like a flasher. Hope the girl kicked him in the balls.
Tu – Stay With Me
Two twin sisters, Amanda and Cassandra. Now, they could sing… and they actually wrote most of the songs. Had they lived in England, their songs would have been given to Sheena Easton to sing and they all would have made bank. Unfortunately, they lived in Canada and someone thought… “let’s give them poodle hair, hooker dresses and boxing gloves. Oh and light them from below like in a horror movie and make it rain on them. That will look GREAT in the video.”
Note the one dance move at 1:02 that almost looks like Amanda is about to give Cassandra a rim job.
more disaster pieces after the jump…
So when I’m not making porn, I spend a lot of time making some pretty diverse videos just for the fun of it.
Here’s a Funny Or Die parody of the movie Whiplash that I made with some friends. You’ll recognize Heather Olt from Fox’s Justified and Birthday Cake (the comedy movie I worked on last year that you can now see on HULU).
The news is that we’re not only getting a Star Wars sequel where Harrison Ford will return as Han Solo (who was my first love), but also a sequel to Blade Runner where Harrison Ford will return, although I’m not sure how they’ll account for the fact that a replicant has aged 35 years.