Jasun

Day Drinking is SO much cooler when you call it “Going To Venice Beach.”

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.

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Vagina Wolf

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.

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Embarrassingly Failed Attempts by Canadian Pop Stars to be Sexy.

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.”

It didn’t.

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…

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Eric Himan sings my request…

I’ll admit I feel a BIT bad about asking for this. Borderline is a song I’ve liked since I was a teenager and it was one of the hardest records to find. I think even back in the late 80s I paid $50 for a copy of that single. The Catch was a one-single wonder. Comprised of Annie Lennox, Dave Stewart and Peet Coombs, they added two other members the year later and re-named themselves The Tourists and four years after that, whittled down to just Dave and Annie and re-named themselves The Eurythmics.

Anyway… When Eric (who is a friend of mine IRL) did his kickstarter for his new album I made a donation and asked if he’d cover it. It’s maybe a TAD out of his range.

Meh.

here’s the original.

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My September 11th Ritual: God Hates Us All

Morbid as it may be, my first impulse when people mention “September 11th” is to grab my copy of God Hates Us All by Slayer. It’s how I spend the day every year. Playing it over and over. It really is a good album.

That morning was pretty normal. I was working in purchasing for HMV, a huge international record chain that never really broke into the US market before music retail chains became a thing of the past. I worked at the flagship store in downtown Toronto and we had just gotten out of our Tuesday new release meeting and were trying to guess which of the two major new releases that day would sell more.

One was the new Mariah Carey offering “Glitter” which, if you didn’t know what it said, kind of looked like it was titled “Gutter.” We all agreed that it was a downright noxious album of horrible songs that would accompany her equally horrible movie of the same name (“Glitter,” not “Gutter”).

The other was the new album by venerable metal band Slayer. The album was called “God Hates Us All” and featured two different album covers since the first one that featured a bible, nailed shut and bleeding, was deemed a bit too “offensive” for some markets. I predicted Slayer’s album would sell more. I bought three copies of it myself. The Japanese import, the Canadian release with the censored cover and the blood-red vinyl.

When we got out of the meeting, staff on the main floor were all a bit worked up over a movie playing on the screens throughout the store. It looked like a bad Michael Bay movie. Before long, the chatter filtered up to us that this was NOT, in fact, a movie but live footage of the World Trade Center in New York where “someone” had “flown a plane into one of the towers.”

We all just assumed “some drunk billionaire in his Cessna” or something along those lines.

We crowded around the VJ booth at the back of the store where the music and video were played so we could watch it on the screen live. We had started to become a bit flippant about it and said “Hope the money wasn’t seriously hurt.”

We then all watched while the second plane hit and in one moment realized exactly how far off we were from that first assumption that this was a minor, random accident.

Without much news or information available… speculation started. Then panic. Confusion. Complete bewilderment at what was going on. A few minutes later I sat on the floor of my office listening to the radio and trying to absorb it all. Before long, reports of a third plane in Washington DC and possibly a fourth “near Pittsburgh” came in. Reports of “taking out radio communication in New York” and “gunfire in the streets” and “terrorist groups attacking in Chicago” had started. Of course most of that was bullshit but by that point it was hard to not believe anything.

Not unlike the movies you see of people crowding around the TVs in store windows to watch news about the Kennedy Assassination, people stood around in the front area of the store watching the video on the screens. Some would blankly say “my son is in New York right now” and I remember taking a mother in my arms telling her not to panic. One man told us that most of the tall buildings in downtown Toronto had been evacuated just in case…

Of course we were only in shock and disbelief for so long. Canadians were just separated and isolated enough from it all that we still remember it like a movie. We may have known people there but it all still seemed unreal. Of course Canadian conservatives and anyone desperate enough to paint Canada as “important” on the world’s stage would warn us about the “terrorists coming for us in Toronto” and tell us to “imagine the CN Tower smoking like that.”

Most of us rolled our eyes at the absurdity of a spindly concrete tower “smoking” and the catty answers we’d throw back were “the terrorists won’t attack Toronto, their mothers all live here” or “let’s hang a target on the east side of the tower and see if we can get them to knock it into the Skydome and take out TWO eyesores at once!”

Canadians have always had belligerent senses of humor and even something as horrific as the September 11th attacks wasn’t going to take that away.

One of my most chilling souvenirs was the poster advertising the new Slayer album. It featured the bloody bible, nailed shut with “Slayer: God Hates Us All – September 11th, 2001.” How’s that for a bit fucked up?

So… that’s my ritual. I don’t even realize I’m doing it. I don’t believe in “god” so it’s not like I take much from that message. But when the news hits every year… I go right to my vinyl wall and haul out my copy. It’s spinning on my turntable right now.

Kinda freaky, really.

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That Awkward Moment.

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That awkward moment when you and your 6 other male motorcycle riding, leather-wearing friends all go into a Lush to buy skincare products together and the sales girl excitedly tells you about the new product launch they’re having the following week, trying to get you excited with “there’ll be naked ladies here.” After a blank look that lasts a good 10 seconds, the other sales person leans over and whispers in her ear what I can only guess is “you idiot, this is a group of 6 gay men buying massage bars and facial masks for what’s going to end up a big fur pile party by the end of the night and they’re not interested in naked ladies.”

And then you continue your blank look.

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Photo Shoot: Eric Nero

New Titanmen performer Eric Nero (that I can’t wait for you to see in action) and I were taking a dip in the blazing hot Palm Springs sun on the last Titanmen shoot I did. I had all of my cheap plastic Lomography cameras with me and I decided to get creative.

I did one pass on the film using an underwater housing and a bit of a sun filter on my Fisheye 2 camera, then rewound it and loaded it up into my Sprocket Rocket camera and shot close ups of the palm trees by the pool. The effect is pretty stunning. I wish I could print the whole thing out 5′ high and have it on my wall (which would have to be about 100 yards long if I did that).

Instead, I cut it up into the best parts and I’m really happy with the result.

 

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Paul Wilde’s Last Day

It was rather bitter sweet, really.

Paul and I had met on the set of Incubus, the first Titanmen movie I’d worked on. Neither of us knew it at the time, but Brian Mills had been planning to retire from porn for a while and pursue other interests and was looking for someone to replace him.

That someone was me.

Paul wasn’t really expecting, I don’t think, to ever have the captain’s chair at Titan. He was always happy directing the Titan Rough movies and the odd Titanmen feature. He always had a way of making those fetish movies pop off the screen and his movie Slick Dogs is still one of my favorites. I also loved Triage.

After Brian left and Paul took over, he and I were thrust together to be the two directors of Titanmen. We both have VERY different styles of doing everything which meant that we argued a lot about stuff, thus leading to, I think, some fantastic movies.

Paul left Titanmen late last winter and with very little public fanfare, I was dragged kicking and screaming ushered to the captain’s chair myself. Being head of production of my favorite porn studio ever is both a wonderful and terrifying prospect but with the two mentors I’ve had at this studio (three if you count Joe Gage who’s been such an amazing influence on me… but we’ll get to him another time), I think I’ve got about as much on-the-job training as I can have.

This video was shot when we wrapped the final scene on his last shot movie (there will be more he did coming out later), Fast Paced.

We all wish Paul luck.

(now wish it for me…)

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Coming Soon…

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My next Titanmen movie Morning Wood will be released this month.

Some might remember that last year, I’d shot the first scene with Josh West and Jesse Jackman. Also in this movie are Dario Beck, Tom Wolfe (I’ll have a story about that scene soon), Nick Prescott and Tyler Edwards.

Coming soon to Titanmen.

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The Drive Up To Lazy Bear…

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It’s a 7-hour drive. So a lot of people fly. We just take turns at the wheel, listen to music, talk, play games and get there. While there are a few night events like Bon fires, Lazy Bear is all about the pool parties and afternoon events. I’ll let you know everything I’m up to…

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