WHAT IS THE GIST OF YOUR PUBLIC PRESENTATION? WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO COME AWAY KNOWING THAT THEY DIDN'T KNOW BEFORE? I use non-explicit clips to try to show how the genre of adult film has changed and transmuted and gotten weirder and more fun over time. I talk a lot about changing technology influenced trends in porn, and I try to throw in some fun stuff about collective consciousness, collective castration anxiety . . . Basically, I want to lend specificity to the debate because often times people talk about porno, it's always this kind of bow-chicka-wow-wow and then the conversation's over.
YOU'LL TALK ABOUT THE "ACCIDENTAL BEAUTY" THAT ONE CAN FIND IN 20TH CENTURY ADULT FILM. COULD YOU GIVE US AN EXAMPLE? Let's start out with the soundtracks. They're so difficult for me to describe — you have to hear them to believe them. There's just this uncharted territory of absolute mystery, because the musicians are never credited — it's not going to help anyone's career to say that he scored some '80s porno. I've been digging in deep into all this crap, [such as] Backdoor Bandits. If you watch the video, you're just like this is the worst thing I've ever seen, but if you just listen to it, you get swept up in this kind of abject majesty.
There's also the star system. With the advent of Viagra, more men can do the job. But back in the '80s and '90s, there was a very closed system of players. Even though their acting talents are marginal to the extreme, you get to see them over and over. Once you get familiar with the actors, and the very small stable of directors who were making adult films, motifs get created. There's this whole alternate system that can serve as an impoverished cousin to Hollywood.
DO YOUR AUDIENCES APPRECIATE THE PRESENTATION? Everybody loves '90s porn. Everybody loves Edward Penishands. It's a killer. You've got to go to a lecture for Edward Penishands if nothing else. There's a great kind of chaos in this forgotten era of porn. And come for the music, too!
WHAT ABOUT THE 1990S LED TO SUCH OUTRAGEOUSNESS? WAS IT A) BECAUSE THERE WAS SO MUCH MONEY FLOWING IN THE INDUSTRY AND B) INTERNET PORN WASN'T BIG YET? That's an interesting take on it, and I hadn't thought about that myself. Part of it is just production value. The cameras look like crap during that era. It looks like cable access. And then, Viagra had just become available. It just opened up the door to people who could make one or two films and then totally disappear. The guys have thong tans. The boob jobs . . . they just started to get insane. Basketball-sized. There's chaos and a feeling that anything goes. A lot of fake dicks — like, fake-rubber, 24-inch dicks — were used as part of the sex act. You can't tell if the films were supposed to be comedy or a turn-on.
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