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.

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.

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…

Read more

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.

Day Two – Trailer Park Boys

I honestly have no idea what I’m going to call this movie. At all.

What I know is that the many times I’ve been lucky enough to shoot at my friend’s place up in Altadena, I’ve passed by the old 1960s trailer/camper and wanted to do a scene in it. Now, inside is just not an option. It’s tiny in there and we wouldn’t be able to fit gear, crew, lights and stars in unless we were shooting two very short men with GoPro cameras.

Although that might be kinda hot.

The outside presented totally different challenges. The front of the camper is shielded with numerous fruit trees that would make it very difficult to put a scrim in place to block out sun and shadows, the space in front is pretty limited and the wooden porch is old and kinda rickety.

And while I always wanted to try before, I wasn’t running the show and the answer I got was “no.”

Well I’m running the show and I decided I’d shoot a scene there no matter what, dammit. And I did.

My crew were amazing. They managed to snake that massive scrim into place and got it raised high enough to block out all the direct sunlight for the whole day. They managed to find ways to shoot a very wide rather beautiful frame without getting any of the gear in the way. This is when I point out that my crew are all friends whose “real day jobs” are working for major, mainstream movie studios.   These are guys who are used to big-name directors throwing tantrums around them while they try to lug around gear. So working for me while trying to not get hit in the face with a dick is about as fun as it gets for them.

The added bonus is that I’m on set all day with my friends so we spend almost as much time laughing as we do working. And there’s nothing more fun than going out for a drink with your buddies after shooting video of men fucking all day.

Tomorrow, Jesse Jackman arrives.

(the guy in the pictures here is new Titanmen star Eric Nero and Ricky Decker in his first-ever Titanmen appearance.)

Day Zero – Heading Back Into Production.

Well my Key West vacation was… well, laid back and mostly relaxing aside from having to take off a couple days to sign two new exclusives to the Titanmen roster… I spent the bulk of my time reading books while drinking myself immobile. Just how I like it. (for the record, The Vines by Christopher Rice, The Cassinni Incident by Rob Colton and I re-read Generation X by Douglas Coupland before diving into his bizarre follow-up Generation A)

But now that that’s all done, today is the pre-production day for my next production run. We’re shooting up in Altadena which some of you might recognize as the location I used for both the Park Sex scene from Nightfall and the Green Man scene from Wide Awake. This will be my first return to that location now that I’m running the show. So I’m now responsible for everything that happens and have to keep everything moving forward. A bit of a daunting task, honestly, and while I’ve been doing this job since the Spring, I still occasionally have that “I’m drowning” feeling. I know it’s silly, but wanting to do the best job you can every time is what makes the job a challenge. What makes any job worth doing is the feeling that it’s just beyond your ability to pull it all off.

The view from here.

image

It always takes me a while to get reset once I get on vacation and when your job includes recruiting hot men to perform, going to a gay clothing optional resort is kind of a distraction.

I’ll deal. So far I’ve seen a “straight” star from Sean Cody and his rather cute boyfriend and a couple of men whom I’ll try to talk into shooting with us. But for now, I’m relaxing by the pool and enjoying my book (I’m rereading the new Christopher Rice book The Vines which I highly recommend as a good beach read. It doesn’t hurt that he thanks me in the acknowledgements for helping on his internet radio show The Dinner Party Show.”

My Arrival At Island House…

IMG_4810Few things worth doing are that easy to do.

So it should come as little shock that my trip from Los Angeles to Key West and my home-away-from-home Island House was… let’s say… a bit delayed.

Now everyone has ordeals while traveling and complaining about them is so First World Problems that I’m not going to act like I was hard-done-by or get upset I didn’t get a free trip from the airline.

Shit. Happens.

However… when we were about to finish our final leg of the trip on a puddle jumper from Orlando to Ft. Meyers to Key West, a man at the back of the plane suddenly few into a bit of a panic when were we JUST about to take off and had to get off the plane.

This meant that we had to sit around in the plane and eventually in the airport for about 2.5 hours while waiting for a new approval of our flight plan.

So instead of getting to the Keys in time for a late dinner, we arrived in time to have a drink and go to bed.

But who cares? We’re here. Key West has been my home away from home for years and I’m hoping that I will one day retire here (unless I’m taken out by a Mack Truck on the 5 while lane splitting on my Vulcan). This is a perfect time to come visit if you want a quiet, laid-back vacation. It’s between any of the big celebrations so few people come here and there’s always a chair by the pool where you can sit down and read.

Yeah, there are plenty of naked men running around but I see those at work.

Caption This.

Screenshot-2014-09-23-17.25.14

 

Ok so while this might look like I’m finally making my Titanmen onscreen debut, I’m just explaining how the stars of the new Joe Gage epic will get from one position to the next position.

People asked me why I wasn’t in San Francisco for Folsom and I have the best excuse in the history of good excuses to miss Folsom: I’m currently in Palm Springs working as Joe Gage’s secondary director on a new Joe Gage Chronicles movie. Stars of this scene are JD Phoenix, Dirk Caber and Dolan Wolfe.