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September 28, 2005

Joanna Angel: Burning it up

BlueCine proudly presents our Jonathan Marlow's interview with Joanna Angel, actress and entrepreneur.

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Welcome back to Los Angeles! You were working on the new Eon McKai film, yes?

It was awesome. We're good friends and really respect and inspire each other in different ways. It was a lot of fun.

When did you two become friends?

We met at the AVN awards. Right before AVN, when Art School Sluts came out, I decided that this guy should be my friend. So I just sent him an email and said, "I'm going to be at AVN and we should totally meet up. I read about you and I really like what you do." We met and I felt like we knew each other forever. We're really close, like brother and sister. I even have a key to his house. Sometimes I come over and clean his kitchen! Last time I came to his house we stayed up talking until five in the morning. We have a really nice mutual respect for one another.

Eon suggested that you sign-up with Bad Ass Models?

Yeah. When I was coming to L.A. I decided that I should try to work with some other companies. Eon told me that I should call up Frank [Prather].

Was it also at his suggestion that you connect with VCA?

He recommended a couple people to them and I was the only one that made it. It wasn't just because Eon put in a word for me. I had to do the work on my own!

You're all of five feet tall. You seem taller on the site.

I know. That's because I wear big shoes. But yeah, I'm just barely five feet tall.

Your "personal profile" also lists some of the music you like and, since music plays such a large role on your site, it makes perfect sense. I will state plainly, right here, that Blonde Redhead is one of the greatest bands ever.

It's good to talk with someone that agrees with me! It's nice to get interviewed by someone who knows about music.

How did you settle on Brooklyn, specifically Williamsburg, as a home for your site?

It actually started in New Jersey when I was in college at Rutgers. Me and my friend Mitch started it during my senior year of school. I grew up in New Jersey and lived there my whole life. I knew that I wanted to move to New York because that's what everybody does when you live in New Jersey. We just decided on Williamsburg because it's kind of a fun, young, cool place to live. It's important to live somewhere like that when you're running the business we're running.

You decided that the website would be great way to intersect the things that you like, such as music and...

...and sex and tattoos. It's really a reflection of me.

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How did you arrive at the decision to produce your first DVD? Was that always something that you wanted to do?

No, it wasn't. When the web site first started, we got all this attention and people were like, "What is Burning Angel? Is it punk, is it alternative, is it this, is it that?" - trying to figure out what to call it, how to categorize it, which is kind of annoying. It was hard because doing something positive and empowering for women is difficult in the porn industry.

I kind of got lost in doing what other people wanted Burning Angel to be. I didn't even really know what I wanted to do. I started to make Burning Angel into this artsy photo site.

When I went to AVN, just to see what everything was all about, I had this porn site and yet knew nothing about porn at all. At AVN, I was like, "It's not about how much filth is in your content." You can make a really dirty porno with all of those things that are in regular porno, like ATMs and DPs and facials and whatever, but you can do it in a way that's fun. Just because it's dirty doesn't mean it's bad! You can still make something artistic and funny, make it fit your personality and while making it dirty at the same time. That's when I decided that we should make DVDs, to make a transition from a "softcore" to a "hardcore" site.

How did you decide which of the girls on the site you were going to feature on the DVD, like Nancy Jade and Jezebelle Bond. Was it difficult for the ladies to commit to the film?

No. That's what we do!

It's an extension of the web site.

Yeah, it is. You know, it was a little difficult. It was the first time I had to look for guys, and finding male performers was hard.

And Tommy Pistol was up to the challenge?

[laughs] Yeah, he was!

Have you talked to many of the bands that you interviewed since the disc was released? My Chemical Romance and bands like that. Have they seen it and commented to you?

Yeah, they all love it. I've been in the music scene for so long. I have a really good, mutual respect for all my friends in bands. Because of that, people were really helpful when I wanted to make this DVD.

Do you plan on making another one of the same sort?

We've got another movie, Joanna's Angels, coming out on VCA now and that was pretty cool because I actually had a budget to work with. I shot that in and around New York. Different places in Manhattan and around there. I want to make a Burning Angel 2. I had an idea. Should I say it, should I say what I'm going to do in part two?

No. Yeah, you can say it. Go ahead and say it.

I want to interview all the bands naked. I think that would be cool. A lot of people who'd never heard of the bands would skip over the interviews. I'm trying to think of ways to make the interviews better if you really don't care about them.

The script for Joanna's Angels is your own creation?

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Yeah, I wrote it.

Were you already considering making this idea into a film before VCA got involved?

Ideas always come to me at weird times. I was driving around one day and it just came to me. I was like, "We should make a superhero movie called Joanna's Angels." When I originally thought of the idea, I wanted to make an all girl/girl one, since there's 100 girls on the site and not all of them will do boy/girl. When VCA said they would fund a movie, I really wanted to use the Joanna's Angels idea, but just turned it around to make it a feature. It just started as an idea because I liked the title. I think of Charlie's Angels as a movie that was meant to be a porno. Nobody really watched it for any other reason than to see the girls. It's totally marketed as this kitschy "girl power" type thing. I think that's appropriate for the nature of Burning Angel.

VCA allowed you to cast whomever you wanted? I see that you're still working with Kylee Kross and Sabrina Sparx...

Yeah, it was all me. There are certain things they'll try and change, here and there. They'll add to the box cover or take things away. And there were definitely guidelines I have to follow. But they accepted my idea and really didn't try and creatively control the project. It was more like "quality control." At Burning Angel, we let a lot of things fly. You know, being an amateur company, talking in the background, little screw-ups here and there.

I wanted to talk briefly about Re-Penetrator [a single-scene pseudo-remake of Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator - with sex]. How did Re-Penetrator come about?

It was born from Tommy Pistol. We were just sitting around in September of last year. He was like, "Hey, you know what would be really cool? If we made some zombie-horror-porno movie for Halloween." I was like, "That's actually a good idea. We should do it." So I called my friend Doug [Sakmann] because Doug makes horror movies. He made this movie called Punk Rock Holocaust. It's this really funny movie about the Warped Tour. I was like, "Hey! Would you help me make a horror movie porno thing?" I didn't know how to even begin. Then we just kind of brainstormed. He said, "Oh, we should make it like a spoof," and then emailed [his idea] to me. I thought, "Whoa, this is awesome!" Then we just did it. It came to fruition in all of twenty-five minutes.

With this film, you've actually crossed the American taboo of mixing violence and sex. Has anyone given you any flack over it?

Yeah, we've gotten a lot of flack for it. We had to take it off of the Internet. Everybody hates Re-Penetrator. It's discrimination against zombies! We were asked by our billing company to take it off of Burning Angel. So we had to put it on www.repenetrator.com, which is hosted by this European online company. Apparently, the Europeans like zombies better than the Americans do!

Well, they don't have the same laws.

Yeah. So people started coming to me every day asking, "When's Re-Penetrator coming to DVD?" I intended for that to happen but didn't think I could put just that one scene on a disc. Usually a DVD is two-hours long. I thought maybe we'll make other horror spoofs and put them altogether whenever it's done. People wanted it so badly that I was like, "Alright, we'll just put this one scene on DVD." I felt like I was cheating people, but everybody loved it so much that they wanted to own it. We did put different cuts of the film on there. We had a little shorter "screener" cut, so we could show it at parties and stuff, and also a longer one. We put both versions on the disc and then we did a "director's commentary" over them.

When you screened it last Halloween, how did the audience react?

Nobody feels lukewarm about Re-Penetrator. Half the people walked out and the other half screamed to play it again.

Independently, you and Eon and a handful of others are seemingly changing the direction of the business. It's very reassuring since the industry has been stagnant for some time. It's good to see a return of "normal people" to adult films. "Normal" in the sense that they're not surgically enhanced. Unless you consider tattoos as "enhanced."

Well, thank you.

When do you find time to do all this stuff?

I don't know how I find time to do anything!

You decided to appear in Eon's new film, Neu Wave Hookers, which is also a forthcoming VCA release. Were you familiar with the original series? Have you seen any of them?

No! Eon always makes fun of me because he knows all this stuff about old school porn and I don't really know anything. I watched my first porno a year ago!

In a sense, perhaps you're better off...

So I had heard of it. Eon showed it to me. I didn't really know much about it.

He's trying to do something very different with the series, I wager. Now that you're branching out into different films, it seems to be part of a larger career path. A path that extends beyond Burning Angel.

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I guess so. I don't really think about the future that much. I just kind of let things happen. There are some directors that I really do respect and I like working with them. I only work with people I can gain something from [experience-wise]. Eon's one of those people. I did a movie for Jules Jordan but only one scene. I don't know when it's coming out. I did one for Adam & Eve that Tristan Taormino directed. She's my favorite person in the world! I look forward to working with some other people. [Joanna also appears in Irvin Bomb's Naughty Art: Art School Models ].

You keep a relatively regular diary on the site. Would you ever want to publish a book?

There happens to be a book coming out next month, called Naked Ambition. It's a book about sex, with a lot of different women, including myself, contributing chapters. That's exciting for me because it's always been a dream to have something published. Having one chapter is a step in the right direction.

Burning Angel is slowly becoming a media empire. Perhaps you'll soon have your own television show at this rate! Not unlike Suicide Girls, you've also taken the Angels on the road. You perform in the live shows as well, right?

I do. I do like performances. I do it all!

Featured Titles

Featured Titles: Joanna Angel and Eon McKai

September 13, 2005

Phenomenistas

I used to work at a comic book shop near UC Berkeley, and also had a lot of friends who liked comic books. When you work in a place where your pals covet the merchandise, they ask you to get them stuff at a discount, and you do. Some wanted the standard superhero stuff, some wanted dark modern Gothic comics, some wanted little independent black-and-white comics that you never heard of; everybody, it seemed, wanted one of the hundreds of comics from the dozens of genres that we carried.

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Now, instead of comics, I'm working in adult films; a thousand titles pass by my eyes a day, from the high-stylin' Vivid and Wicked costume opuses to the downest and dirtiest of independent-company shot-on-video in a fleabag motel, and everything in between. But everyone, and I mean everyone, wants a copy of The Fashionistas.

If you don't know what that is, you plainly haven't been watching porn; it's a veritable Gone With The Wind of adult cinema. A huge piece of engineering, it's John "Buttman" Stagliano's magnum opus (although he could well top it, considering the length of the average porn career and the creative and prolific nature of Stagliano's in particular). The DVD consists of four discs - and that's not even a collector's edition, two just for the movie, one for the extras, and one CD for the soundtrack.

Bizarrely, the plot of Fashionistas is much the same as the plot of "Cyrano de Bergerac"; the general outline is the same, although the details are necessarily different. For instance, Cyrano does not, at the end of the Edmund Rostand novel, nearly choke to death on Roxane's enormous penis. In The Fashionistas, Rocco Siffredi (a la Roxane - the object of desire) is an Italian designer being courted by an emerging fashion design company owned by Taylor St. Claire (in the Christian de Neuvillette, dumb guy role) who is hot but not that smart and thus has to rely for inspiration on the ideas of Belladonna (Cyrano - the smart guy). In order to make Bella Donna appear to be unremarkable and in the background, she is, when first seen, dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, which she immediately and uncompromisingly discards.

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That said, all resemblance to Cyrano de Bergerac, and indeed to any literature at all, ends there. The real attractions in the movie, notwithstanding Belladonna's bottomless throat, are A) the fetish wear by real life fashion designer Syren, and B) the fact that Stagliano treads dangerously and maybe actionably close to making a hardcore bondage film. In addition to its content, the production values are comparable to the best of adult's efforts, which is to say Michael Ninn or the higher-end Private releases, but still not quite Hollywood mainstream quality.

Hollywood or not, though, the thing is definitely a phenomenon, the clearest indication of which is the fact that it's not only a movie, it's a Las Vegas stage extravaganza, too. By all reports, it's a combination of a softcore cable edit and a Cirque du Soleil show - occasional nudity, fashion galore, and music by Madonna, Tool, Lords of Acid, Crystal Method, and Led Zeppelin. One friend who went said it was worth the trip just to see the costumes. If you go, watch the movie first, or you won't be able to follow the plot. A key point in the film is the plucky little leather-and-latex fashion company doing everything it can to break out in the mainstream, and that is exactly what Stagliano has done by creating and producing the show, which is a tribute to the Stag's perseverance and vision. He envisioned the movie as a Vegas dance show even before it pulled in a staggering 22 AVN nominations, of which it won ten, making it the Lord of the Rings of the porn industry, and in spite of huge obstructions both cultural and technical, got the thing staged, to critical acclaim.

It hasn't inspired too many other really ambitious imitations yet; the other companies that shoot on film and aspire to plot-driven greatness aren't leaping on the huge (by porn standards) budget bandwagon, no more than usual, anyway, and they certainly haven't achieved anything like its cult status. It would be great, though, to see the industry parody its own biggest success the way it does with mainstream Hollywood movies, wouldn't it? Visions of "The Assanistas" dance in my head. One of the reasons may be the film's fetish content. We know there are rules about such things, but Stagliano may have bent them as far as they can be bent, in the Lenny Bruce/Larry Flynt sense of the word.

Although the Vegas show was carefully engineered to break no rules and offend no sensibilities, at least none that wouldn't balk at any other Strip offering, the film is a different animal. One friend, who you might call a hardened porn aficionado, was shocked, not quite sure whether or not to be offended by the heavy-duty bondage and domination mingling with the hardcore sex in "The Fashionistas".

In addition to furthering Stagliano's famed obsession with callipygian hindquarters, to the extent that there's nary a character in the movie who isn't at one time or another being asphyxiated by some shapely backside, there's a darker tone - near-rape, whips, chains, slapping, spanking and spitting all mix in a way that you probably haven't seen on film. (Or, at least, since the lawless old days of the Seventies, when you could do anything you wanted because Congress ignored porn, partly because some of them were funding it. Check out Alpha Blue Archives' reissues of Long Jeanne Silver or Anyone But My Husband for examples of stuff from the really dirty old days.) There are other movies that have taken the S&M ball and run with that theme, like Jim Powers' Dementia and Dementia 2, but none that have done so with the flair and style, not to mention budget and quality, that The Fashionistas brought to the table.

I have another friend who wants to make a "good" porn movie with a real plot, and I've always told her you couldn't do it because with, say, five fifteen-minute sex scenes, you'd only have room for fifteen minutes of plot in a ninety-minute movie. Now Stagliano has gotten around the problem by simply making the movie nearly five hours long. Let's hope porn follows his lead in producing movies that are high-quality, high-budget, and that push the envelope for people who like the unusual. -- by pweasels

Featured Titles from John Stagliano

Recommended John Stagliano Titles:

September 9, 2005

Trivia Contest! Seduction of Misty Mundae

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Misty Mundae is considered one of the most provocative actresses of contemporary erotic cinema; she's certainly one of the most popular. In The Seduction of Misty Mundae, the young, girl-next-door beauty plays the transparently named "Misty," who stays with her aunt in the country for a week, and ... things happen. "A sensitive, post-feminist treatment of a shy young woman's sexual awakening," wrote David Andrews, author of Soft in the Middle: The Contemporary Softcore Feature. The disc also includes "A Taste of Retro," a naughty vintage peep show circa 1965, and commentary with director Michael Raso. And now, thanks to Seduction Cinema and GreenCine, you can take home Misty Mundae, The Seduction of, that is, if you win our latest trivia contest.

To be eligible for our random drawing, send the correct answer to the question below, in an email to contest@greencine.com, including your name, email address and, if you're a GreenCine member, your username in the email, and "Misty Mundae" in the subject header. Entries without all this information will not be considered. The deadline is Monday, September 12, at 12PM PDT. Winners will be notified by e-mail and announced in future editions of the GreenCine Dispatch newsletter.

THE QUESTION: What is the name of the Tolkien-esque parody Mundae starred in?

September 8, 2005

Porn Star Naming Conventions

There's a moment in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights when Eddie Adams, on the verge of becoming porn's next big thing, decides to pick a stage name. He comes up with the unforgettable Dirk Diggler, a name he imagines in "bright blue neon lights with a purple outline." A porn star is born.

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The scene points to an important moment in any future porn star's career. A memorable name like Bella Donna, Jon Dough, Christy Canyon, Allysin Chaynes, porn king John Holmes's alter-ego Johnny Wadd, Jewel De Nyle or Seymore Butts can mean the difference between steady work or a very short career in the skin biz - no matter how good-looking or well-endowed you are.

Probing the annals of porn history, we find that noms de plume typically fall into a few tried and true categories. There's the cleverly memorable name, like Flick Shagwell, Heaven Lee, Cinnabunz, Tommy Gunn or the aforementioned Allysin Chaynes. Taking a page out of Bono's book, there's the evocative one-word name: Aria, Serenity, Missy, Envy, Topaz, Sierra. And just as the titles of porn movies have long parodied Hollywood product - Edward Penishands, The Good, the Bad and the Horny, Pulp Friction, Intercourse with the Vampire - there's been a recent rash of porn stars copping their mainstream counterparts' names: Dru Berrymore, Tyra Banxxx, Cindy Crawford and The Rock. And let's not forget Jonni Darko.

With the number of porn performers at an all-time high, you'd think that all the good stage names have been taken. I took up the challenge, though, and I'm pleased to tell you there are plenty more still floating in the ether. A few that I came up with: Dee Cupps, Moe Whimans, Eve Adams, Connie Lingus, and the main character from my porn screenplay "The Fornicating Professor," Dr. Beatrix Turner-Forneau. I want to hear yours too, so email me at paganjoke@yahoo.com.

When Juliet asks, "What's in a name? that which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet," Shakespeare clearly didn't have porn in mind. For a long career of shagging on-screen, what's in a name can be the key ingredient. -- by Re Pete


Featured Titles: Porn Star Names


Featured Titles:

September 7, 2005

Candida Royalle: Royally Candid

115118.jpg Candida Royalle is a hyphenate if there ever was one: a writer-director- producer-one-time-actress, and now you can add author to that growing list. One thing she is not is a stereotypical porno personality. Extremely intelligent and affable in conversation, she took some time out from her busy schedule to talk to BlueCine about her life in the adult industry and how she separated herself from the rest of the pack, taking a different path while paving one for other women in the industry.

BlueCine: What was the first porn movie you ever saw? How old were you?

I think I was about 22 and was out with a boyfriend who had a friend working at an X-rated theater. The friend let us come in and watch the movie that happened to be playing. I remember it had a couple of hippies rolling around having sex in a field or something. This was the 70s, so that was a typical thing for an adult film. I was sort of unfazed and not very interested.

So it wasn't particularly memorable in other words.

[laughs] No. To tell you the truth I was never a huge consumer of adult movies. I'd never even seen a whole one when an agent asked me to be in one. And, while there are certainly some movies worthy of watching, I find the majority of Adult movies are formulaic and boring. That's why I set out to do what I do -- I thought, oh come on, let's do something different already.

What did you want to do that you weren't seeing in these films?

Primarily, the sex was all cookie-cutter, predictable. There was nothing really different or exciting about it. Every so often they would try to do a different story -- but then as soon as it came time for the sex itself, you could almost predict exactly what you were going to see: A certain amount of sex scenes, a certain kind of sex scene, the same kind of sex acts and camera angles. And they all had to end in the almighty "money shot." This is what distributors demanded of people, so it all had to look that way. But I think they really underestimate the audience, and have restricted people's creativity because of that.

Yeah, one of my pet peeves with a lot of adult films is the number of extreme close-ups, which I just don't find erotic at all. Are there any particular angles that are better or more erotic than others?

The point is that there isn't any one angle, it's just what works at the moment. And you're right about all the close-ups, it's like they create this stable of angles that they use, like the "behind the guy's balls shot" and that sort of thing. Back when I was acting in the movies, we had this phrase, "cheat to the camera." So the woman would be going down on the guy and would have to be doing it in this totally unnatural way, because the camera would have to see it. There'd be these monster close-ups, and everything was done so mechanically, not real. Once you start thinking "Oh, this is the way I have to shoot something or this is the angle I have to use" it becomes mechanical, and loses its spontaneity and fluidity. Whereas, when we started Femme Productions, what we did was let the camera people move around and be very fluid with the camera, with no particular angles. And whatever looked the best to us when editing, we would keep.

So there's an improvisational style to some of the filmmaking.

Oh absolutely. It was almost like cinema verite the way we shot it. And you can do that with video; it's a lot harder with film, because it's so much more expensive and you have to plan your shots more, but even with film you can do a lovely moving shot along people's bodies. And I don't care about seeing monster close-ups. I'd rather see the entire body, the whole couple when they're making love. If my cameraperson happens to get a close-up that looks good then we'll put it in. But we don't ask for it.

It's funny, when we were shooting our very first movie, which was called Femme, all of a sudden I saw the assistant director working with the camera guy and the lighting guy, and they're setting up a close-up. They had these little tiny lights they called "inkies," which they shine right on the genitals. So I walked over to them and said, "No, no, no, you don't do that in a Femme movie." But this is what they usually do, shine a blaring light up into the genitals, getting the camera right up there as if it's a gynecological exam. And then they shoot it. To me, that's unnatural.

Was there something that women weren't getting in adult films that you specifically set out to change?

What women weren't getting was a movie that spoke to them and their sexuality, they weren't getting something they could relate to. To appeal to all the male buyers the industry's whole foundation was the women in the movies, and yet women's sexuality was completely ignored.

How did you get distributors to take you seriously as a producer? Because I know when you started there weren't other women doing this.

Exactly. It wasn't easy. I went to the three major distributors, and the only one that offered to take the line and distribute it was VCA. They really didn't have to put up much money, I financed the whole thing myself; all they had to do was finance distribution costs. And they didn't do any real marketing of it. But amazingly, the first one, even without people knowing what it was, did really well. After that, they started really promoting my first three films, Femme, Urban Heat and Christine's Secret. And then when we set out to do Three Daughters, we realized we wanted to go bigger with this one. This was back in '86, and we spent $75,000. I mean people don't spend 75K now. We knew we wanted to make waves with that film. So that's when we decided to take over distribution for ourselves. We managed to get VCA to release the first three back to us and started Femme Distribution. We distributed everything ourselves for about eight years. Internationally, it put us on the map. And then in 1995, I was burnt out from trying to distribute, produce and direct these movies, so that's when I made a new deal with Adam & Eve. And they financed seven new movies for me.

Do you think you paved the way for more women to produce adult films now, or is the industry still run and dominated by men?

I think a lot more women are doing it now. I do feel proudly like a pioneer, that I inspired and set an example for other women to do this as well. Women are really a much bigger force in this industry now.

Do your films appeal to gay women, too?

I think my films appeal to people across the board. Although gay women certainly prefer something that is done specifically for them -- and I'm actually considering a line like that -- they do like our films because they are more egalitarian, and have more realistic-looking women. I think even gay men have liked them because of the good-looking men we have in there. And straight men, too -- a lot of people assumed that straight men wouldn't like my work as much but I have a huge straight male following. I get a lot of mail from men over the years thanking me, saying that everyone assumes men want typical porn but they really prefer ours. I always say the husbands of the world are grateful to me because they have something they can finally bring home to their wives that the women, too, can enjoy.

And you often use women who are "older" by porn industry standards, too, who are still very attractive, so it's probably nice for them to see that.

Definitely. I feel like women just get sexier with age. Men, too. If we take care of ourselves, we just get better.

I agree. I think I'm getting sexier with age. [coughs]

[laughs] I know I am! I think it's that we get more comfortable with our sexuality as we get older. I am just better. A better lover, take better care of myself. I'm more womanly.

And are there really an additional 136 minutes on the Stud Hunters DVD?

Yeah -- we have a making-of documentary that I think is better than the usual adult "behind the scenes" doc because it's really well done. I actually paid a filmmaker to come in and do it for me. And then there's a huge photo show, as well as commentary.

Stud Hunters is one of those films-within-a-film stories that happens to be an adult film, a satire of the industry.

It's not even so much a satire of the industry so much as a spoof about a woman director. It turns the tables -- instead of women being the ones auditioning and desperately vying in front of men, it's the other way around. In fact, I have to share with you an e-mail I got just the other day from a guy who really liked Stud Hunters. He said, "I just viewed Stud Hunters, great movie. And without realizing it, you've touched on the realm of the CFNM (Clothed Female, Nude Male) fetish." Apparently this is gaining in popularity and there are not a lot of videos that cater to it. So there's a whole fetish out there where men display themselves in front of women. Funny that we just accidentally turned on to that.

Is it true you sing the film's theme song?

Yes, it's true. You know, I've sung professionally in the past, and I insinuate myself wherever I can. Lately, I've been really into world music, and South Asian music in particular.

Bollywood stuff?

Yes! That makes me so happy. The very last scene in Stud Hunters, where the director seduces all the guys, has a really heavy South Asian music influence. It's good lovemaking music. So we have that, and we have my theme song.

And do you write most of the scripts for your films?

I do write them, and sometimes my producer works with me on the stories. When I have guest directors I let them write their own scripts. Like for the Star Directors series that I worked on some years ago -- Taste of Ambrosia, Sensual Escape and Rites of Passion -- I had Annie Sprinkle, Veronica Hart, Veronica Vera and Glorida Leonard direct for me. That was a fun series.

On average, how long does it take to shoot an adult movie?

The shooting itself takes me about a week, but my pre-production and post-production take longer than most people's. The editing is the longest process because I do it myself. That frustrates my distributors to no end -- with Stud Hunters, I took a year to edit. But, see, I approach these like real movies; I only do an average of one every couple of years. I approach the films like a real, full-blown project, instead of just churning them out. And people in the adult industry just aren't used to that.

Because there's often a factory mentality there.

Yeah, it's like assembly line porn. Which is no fun for me.

Do the actors ever have to perform more than one sex scene a day?

Never a sex scene. Although one time, Mark Davis did two sex scenes in one day for One Size Fits All, but he didn't come in the first one. I don't require that of my actors, but it was really funny -- after the first time he worked for me, we were shooting and he just kept going. I said, "Cut! Okay we have enough." Then he just looked at me like, Are you kidding? I said, "Well go relieve yourself in the bathroom." He came running after me and said, "Yeah, well, then you're going with me!" [laughs]

So you have a pretty fun set when you're shooting?

Yes, we do. In fact, that's why I like to do photos, because they really show people what good humor there is on our sets. So if there are any questions about what really goes on, i.e., are people exploited and abused and so on, well, they can see, at least on my sets, that we have a good time. We have wonderful crews and there's a really nice mood on the set.

We asked Nina Hartley this but want to ask you, too -- what did you think of Boogie Nights?

Well, of course, it depicted the industry as of quite a while ago -- although I was around back then, too. But that movie kind of bugged me, because he presented it as, "Oh, this is really the way it was and I have great reverence for the industry." But meanwhile, he felt the need to show the main guy as a pedophile, which I've never known anyone in the mainstream porn industry to be. No one ever approaches underage men to be in the movies. It was just unrealistic. And I thought the depiction of drug use was quite exaggerated. But on the other hand, it was realistic in the sense that there was a lot of camaraderie; it was like a big family in a lot of ways, and there was a lot of partying sometimes -- in that sense, it was true.

Now I notice you have a place on your Web site for people needing advice. What are some of the most typical questions people ask you?

Usually along the lines of, "I've been with my boyfriend for three years and he hasn't been turned on to me for the last year, what should I do," or, "I've been with my wife for five years and now she doesn't want to have sex with me, what can I do?" Those are the most common ones, and also the toughest. I can't answer those in a simple e-mail. These people have issues that have to be dealt with, possibly in counseling.

I get some very touching and some very sad letters. And then, of course, I get men writing to ask for a recommendation on the perfect movie to watch with their wife -- who doesn't want to see too many close-ups, or women with women, or whatever. So I have to go through what each movie has that they might like.

For a couple who may have never seen an adult film before but is interested in checking some out together, which films from your own collection would you start them off with?

The thing about my movies is that there's a real variety of both explicit and soft. So, for instance, Bridal Shower is good for "newbies" because it starts off very soft; the first scene is completely non-explicit. And then it works its way up in intensity. And it has great information for women, great advice in a fun format. I used the backdrop of a bridal shower party, with women sitting around talking about how they got their men to be the lovers they want. It's very fun and upbeat but I sneak some messages in there, a way to share information on things that I've learned using a sexy, fun story format. The only thing people need to know is that there is a scene involving two women and a man, although my scenes like that definitely cater more to the female fantasy.

The Gift is a very romantic piece, a sweet love story. And Christine's Secret, even though it's one of my older titles; it won a lot of awards and is also a nice romance. These are all great starter movies. Three Daughters was our absolute best seller for a long time because it's a full-blown story. That, too, has a scene between two women. But as with all my scenes between women, there's a reason for it being there. They're not just gratuitous, and are between women who genuinely like women.

I'm intrigued by the title of your new book, How To Tell a Naked Man What to Do. What are some of the most important things to tell a naked man? Besides "you'll poke my eye out with that thing"?

The book plays off the fact that I'm an erotic film director and uses the process of directing an erotic movie as a blueprint for directing your own sex life. It breaks down the whole process. The "research phase," which in the book I compare to your own fantasies and how you'd want that to play out; the "pre-production" phase, in which I talk about lighting to flatter the both of you, picking out the right kind of lingerie to flatter your body, certain kinds of music, and all this, also touches on some important issues for women, like confronting any shame you might have about particular fantasies, any guilt you might have. How to convey needs; asking for what they want can be very difficult for women. And then, in one of my favorite parts, "post-production," I liken it to talking about what you did the next day. So if you had a particularly hot night the night before, I tell people how much fun it is to communicate afterwards about what you liked and didn't like.

Most people don't think much about the "day after."

Yeah, it's true. And I disclose a lot of stuff about myself and coming to terms with my own sexuality and how I got my needs met. Something that I discovered with a man I consider one of my most passionate, fulfilling lovers was how we loved to recount it the next day -- what worked well and what didn't work for one of us.

Do you perceive certain differences in sexuality here in the States versus other countries?

There are definitely subtle and not-so-subtle differences. I've actually been with a lot of Europeans -- my husband was Swedish; we were together almost ten years. And I dated a Dutch man for two years. The Dutch are much more open sexually and not hung up, but on the other hand, northern Europeans -- okay, now here we're moving into the area of gross generalization [laughs] -- but I think they can be a little less sensual, a little less passionate. On the other hand, they are so much more accepting of sexuality in Europe than we are here. It's laughable the hang-ups that we still have in America. Maybe only England comes closest, as they still share some of our Puritan hang-ups, but even there, they've learned to cope with it in a more creative, kinky fashion.

Of the films you acted in, what's your favorite?

I would say the last three I ever did were all my favorites: Fascination, by Chuck Vincent, with a very young Ron Jeremy, one of his first movies. Vincent did very story-driven movies. I played Ron's sister. It's a very fun movie. And then Blue Magic, which I wrote, and my husband at the time produced it. A beautiful turn of the century period piece. I don't think it's even on DVD. We unfortunately lost control of it due to some terrible contractual problems, and now I think some sleazy guy has the rights. It's a shame, because it was a foreshadowing of things I'd do later, and it was the first film I wrote. And the other favorites are some real early classics I did with John Holmes -- Hard Soap and Pizza Girls in the late 1970s. For Pizza Girls, we had to learn how to ride skateboards, so we could deliver pizzas that way in the movie.

I think from just the title I can guess what that one's about.

[laughs] Yeah, and the tagline was "Hot and saucy pizza girls... we deliver!"

Featured Releases from Candida Royalle


Recommended Candida Royalle Titles:

September 6, 2005

BlueCine Shorts

Some interesting recent articles caught our eyes, including this one in the 9/7 San Francisco Chronicle:

"SuicideGirls just want to have fun. And celebrate their individuality":

"Launched four years ago as a meeting place for punk "girls" in their 20s and 30s with tattoos and piercings, SuicideGirls.com has become a large feminist subculture meant to counter the big-boobs-no-brain standard of beauty -- all by posting nude Goth girls online. Some join for the sex between members, others for the online journals. Almost all SuicideGirls define the site's purpose differently -- as an activist platform, a porn site, a networking space -- agreeing only that it has huge party potential. Each model -- there are now 752, with a new one added daily -- adopts the last name "Suicide" as a member of the site's extended alterna-fem family."

And from The New York Press:

POORN: The crusty underbelly of the fetish world.

Also of note:

An earlier San Francisco Chronicle piece: "Hot, steamy and now downloadable: Aural sex shimmies into the podcast as 'podnography' trend takes off"

And from way back when, this New York Times piece on Burning Angel and its proprietor Joanna Angel: "Wearing Nothing but Attitude"