COLUMN NINETY, MAY 1, 2003
(Copyright - 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)
WARNING! FOR ADULTS ONLY! PERSONS NOT YET 18 YEARS OF AGE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO READ THIS STORY.
It was either the best or
worst of times.
Real estate was soft,
penises were hard, morals were loose, and a lost generation of wayward young
exhibitionists had converged upon the metropolitan underbelly, ripe for action.
Terri could not have been
more than 18, a chestnut-maned callipygian cupcake whose humid eyes bubbled with
diseased vitality. I had not known
her for even an hour and already we stood naked together, anticipating our
moment of merged mucosae
These were the glory days
of commercial concupicience?a time when libidos ran wild, if not free.
I was being paid one hundred 1974 dollars by director Lech
Kowalski?downtown Manhattan's answer
to Roman Polanski'to commingle my flesh with Terri's beneath the 16mm
camera's unblinking gaze. For an
additional $100 consideration, Lech was also using as the film's location my
dreary Greenwich Village apartment.
Terri and I awaited our
cue to play a scene of "bloody?, sexually explicit psychodrama in the
loosely scripted opus
New Loops?which was conceived
by its director as an X-rated lampoon of the sexploitation thrillers then
popular in many of the crumbling beaux
arts movie palaces lining New York City's once-notorious 42nd Street.
Special effects was
off-brand ketchup: grand guignol on a
beer budget. It was nothing short
of form following dysfunction.
At 22 febrile years of
age?and the product of era when relentless sexual exploration was widely
touted as the key to a better life?I could not have imagined a sweeter gig.
adolescence, I had been transfixed by the interplay of dirty art and arty
dirt?and their visual power, unrivaled except by religious relics, to produce
glandular responses. All this and
less was mine at last.
Urban civilization had
broken down into two opposing tribes, the voyeurs and the exhibitionists?each
feeding on the others? paraphilia .
celebrating an emergent pornutopia were side-by with
Life and Time on suburban
newsstands. Garish storefronts and marquees with flame-orange exteriors sprouted
seemingly overnight in virtually all of America's increasingly derelict
downtowns and post-industrial outlands.
Jism flowed likefossil
fuel as peepshows and other
"adult? "entertainment? enterprises gushed dollars for the mob and other
of the day. .
The zeitgeistly message
was "Do It!??closely followed by its corollary, "Fuck It!?
Rejoicing in the discovery that I wasn't alone in my conviction that
the sex that mattered most was the sex that happened onscreen?I moved eastward to Manhattan, determined to go through
the looking glass.
boomtown climate offered a place before the camera's prurient gaze for even a
modestly endowed dreamer like me.
Despite director Lech
Kowalski's blunt filmic disinterest in orchestrating acts of arousal as a
mafia subcontractor he was obligated to reel in
a certain amount of hardcore sex for theatrical exhibition.
In the years to come, the sleekly enigmatic Lech would attain a certain
global cultdom for his Sex Pistols tour documentary, D.O.A;
in the meantime, he had a demonstrated flair for eliciting scenes of maximum
degradation from his 'talent?, as well as always bringing in his pornos
In pursuit of this worthy
objective, my Greenwich Village living room had been festooned with swaying
chains, bondage devices and other dungeony brac-a-brac in a bargain-debasement
milieu of Gothic creepiness.
Cables snaked throughout
the premises, lighting units dangled from trusses, and Lech's camera crew
huddled around the Arriflex awaiting the maestro's signal.
Also colonizing this
already suffocating mise-en-scene was
a clutch of carnal cosmopolitans including the highly recognizable
and semi-legendary screen stud Marc "Mr. 10 1/2? Stevens?whose
genitalia would be eternalized in at least one Robert Mapplethorpe
still life?and top-heavy temptress Darby Lloyd Rains, an overly
expressive blonde who went on to attain brief renown in the ponderously scripted
crotch-opera Memories Within Miss Aggie.
Elsewhere in the apartment, lesser-known porners made themselves at home. In the kitchen, fixing herself a snack from the contents of my refrigerator, was "UltraMax?, a hard-living,
'...Terri slid a practiced hand between my butt cheeks and deftly stroked my personhood...'
Jewess with maternally sagging teats?who, because of, or despite,
her robust appetite for fellatio, was usually cast by porn directors as a
cheap, plentiful source of tragi-comic
relief. In the livingroom, a
tousle-headed young toff named Jimmy Sweeney had stripped down and was
nonchalantly airing his weighty equipment on the sofa as he smoked a
joint?peculated from my carefully hidden stash, as was the small film
cannister of coke from which "Mr. 10 1/2? and Darby Lloyd Rains were taking
Nothing was sacred here?not even the profane.
Terri bore her ketchup
like a pro. Beneath the dribbling
red condiment, her skin'translucently newt-like as was so often the case with
urban adventuresses back then?glowed with dewy perspiraton. She had barely even acknowledged my existence, but when
Lech called out, "Places everyone!? Terri slid a practiced hand between my
butt cheeks and deftly stroked my personhood.
Despite her youth, Terri
was already an experienced "B-girl?, or bit player on Manhattan's porno
Terri looked up at me
with the kind of liquid eyes usually reserved for long-lost Prince Charmings, or
dying calves in hailstorms, and fitted her ample lips upon mine.
Terri and I went tumbling
onto the set like two bobcats in a burlap bag, our extremities tangled, her
mouth on my unit, my tongue inside her welcoming aperture.
Through Terri's legs, I
could glimpse the director grinning fiendishly.
?Lick her ass!," commanded Lech.
I had never publicly
licked anyone's ass before?or privately, either.
Without missing a beat,
Terry rearranged her posterior, providing a direct line to her astonishly
well-groomed anal pucker.
Terri's practiced lips
kept me aflame as I tried to ignore the sound of Lech's chortling and focused
instead in the not unpleasant task assigned me.
to the wall and shrieking blasphemies in the soundman's
direction was another non-pro: a friend of the mafia financiers to whom
Lech was beholden?and who had agreed to play a "wraith? in exchange for a
that is, to Mr. 10 1/2. Fortunately
or not, this scene would be left on the cutting-room floor.
In the meantime, Terri
and I writhed beneath the hot lights in a briny welter of ketchup as Lech guided
us through a series of sodomitic postures.
Occasionally the camera was stopped and an assistant would thrust a light
meter between our thrusting bodies.
With the mob associate
affixed to my wall emitting such utterances as "Love is the law!? and "Get
thee behind me!??plus the
sudden, flickering luminance
of a strobe light upon Terri and me'the distractingly multi-sensory
overload was such that every last molecule
of my youthful glandularity was required to approach orgasm.
Lech's experienced eye detected my ejaculatory onset.
?Keep it going?, he urged us as he moved in with the
hand-held Arriflex S for the stipulated "money
?We've got some good
energy here...don't lose it.?
Terri, clearly no
stranger to the money shot's importance, expertly swept her hair aside so that
nothing stood between our act of oral-genital congress and Lech's camera.
?Don't get any on the lens?, he cautioned.
Just as my essence was
about to pour forth for all to see, I experienced a frozen moment of recogniton:
So this is what it feels like onscreen.
everything went black.
had gone through the looking glass.
Lech's film was still
being edited when, a couple of months later, I ran into his spectral soundman,
Marc Slater, in Times Square. It
was the week that President Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace. Nihilism was in
the air. Do what thou wilt was the
whole of the law. Freelance
soundman Slater was, at that moment, earning $7 an hour passing out promo flyers
for The Intimate Room at 701 Seventh Avenue, one of the many $10 brothels then
common in the vicinity.
shimmering streets of slime were a neon-drenched arpeggio of human frailty. Some
aphorist once observed that there was a broken heart for every light on
Broadway. By 1974, the inventory came to include hookers of every sex lining The
Great White Way's sidewalks?a
hyperreal nightscape of skells, grifters and psychopaths swaying and gibbering
in every doorway.
Civilization was in a
fucking shambles, but high-sensation urban esthetes like Marc Slater and me had
dreams that could not be denied.
Slater handed me a flyer
promising "full service and total satisfaction." Obviously he did not
recognize me with my clothes on.
As the crowds eddied and
swirled around us, I handed the flyer back to Slater, saying, "New
Loops, man! Don't you remember? Jane
I detected a glimmering
of recognition behind his smoked lenses. Then
he broke out in a jagged smile: "Right! You're the dude who splooged on Lech's fisheye lens.?
It turned out that
Slater, one of the earliest Lech Kowalski disciples, was about to begin
production on another darkly ironic porno satire.
And just to keep his Mafia investors happy, the working title of
Slater's self-referential, Luis Bunuel-like
tragedy of manners was going to be In
The Pink. Was I interested in helping out as a production assistant?
As befitting an emerging
young hyphenate, film director-brothel publicist Marc Slater specialized in
unknowns. And the sexual personae
he had rounded up for In The Pink
were destined to remain that way.
For his talent, Slater had scoured downtown's loose constellation of pre-punk nightspots?coming up with a platinum-blond waitress from Max's Kansas City and a narcoleptic coat-check girl from
only slightly more average
than my own...'
Also there was first-timer Lynn Leibowitz, a delicate-boned graduate
student at Columbia University, who had answered Slater's
ad in The Soho Weekly News.
All three of the women came equipped with boyfriend-like attachments.
The set was on lower
Fifth Avenue in an unrenovated loft accessed by an ancient, cage-style lift.
boyfriend Brad?a pleasant-enough fellow with a penis only slightly more
average than my own?had, anticipating the twin possibilities of stage fright
and performance anxiety, abstained from sex for a week, in hopes of producing a
memorable money shot. What happened
instead was that Brad-- no sooner than Slater called "Action!?-- let fly a
pearlescent gout of erectoplasm across his girlfriend's
annoyance was unmistakeable. Orgasms were time, and time was money. And money
was life. And life was art.
As I handed Lynn a towel,
our eyes met briefly and I reflected on her resemblance to practically every
female I'd ever bedded or lusted after in college. While I rolled out the props for the next scene, starring the
Max's waitress and her bisexual boyfriend, I noticed that Lynn was watching me
as she wiped Brad's exudate from her body.
Slater brought on the
waitress from Max's?who by any measure was a succulent specimen of
post-modern femininity?and her boytoy with the veiny appendage. By the time this twosome had finished their obligatory
fucky-wucky, and Slater's camera had reeled in a successful money shot,
Brad?who had been intently observing from the side?was ready to try again.
Offstage went the divan
and the shojii screen, out came the Turkish rug. Brad trotted over with the mannered athleticism of a star
athlete being brought into play. He joined Lynn on the rug.
?Places everyone....?, directed Slater.
?Camera rolling. Speed....ACTION!?
Brad, clearly nervous in
the service, popped his wad almost immediately.
A sepulchral silence
descended on the set.
Slater came over to where
I stood. I realized that I was
still holding Lynn's towel.
?I need you for the money shot?, he said, almost
couple?, I answered,
not wanting to appear too eager.
?Bollocks?, sneered Slater. "On my set, there's no
such thing as a couple. Now get your ass out there.?
Clearly this guy was a
chip off the old Kowalski.
Tossing aside teeshirt,
jeans and sneakers--I joined Lynn Liebowitz on the rug.
Up close, she was truly
the kind of woman who drove undergraduates to slit their wrists, with that downy
navel-to-pudendum meridian of hair so highly prized back then in the groves of
academe. Moreover, there was a
tenderness, an ingenuousness to Lynn that was altogether lacking with Terri, who
had vanished after our New Loops scene
without so much as a goodbye.
?Here?, urged Lynn,
"let me blow you.?
As her hand and lips
worked me over, and I was just beginning to slip into the now-familiar porno
trance, I overheard one of Slater's assistant's say in a hoarse whisper,
"I swear this guy could be the Elliot Gould of porn!?
With the microphone boom
dangling intrusively over our heads like a swollen sprig of heat-seeking
mistletoe, Lynn and I were put through various stations of the carnal cross.
I was just beginning to
forget that we weren't alone when I felt the rising sap.
Evidently, it showed in my expression, because the camera dollied in as I
extruded a ropy spume of jizz.
'that's the money, honey?, announced the director.
"Break for lunch.?
Lynn scampered off to her
boyfriend. The dampness of her most
intimate sexuality still lingered upon my flesh. I did not shower that night.
The next morning-- ripe with the memory of this woman-- I found myself
desirous of more. I rang her up. Apparently she had given the matter some
?I enjoyed fucking you the other day?, she said carefully.
"But my heart belongs to Brad.?
?I thought we had something special going...?
?We did?, she replied. " And my advice to you now is--
forget it ever happened.?
Thirty years later, I?m
In the meantime, there
was the matter of Lech Kowalski's world
premiere at The Capital Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey, a gilt-edged deco ruin
from a vanished era. The mafia,
abhorring vacuum, was milking the Capitol's cash-cow possibilities as a porno
cinema that booked national rock-n-roll acts
Up on the theatre's
marquee, in lopsided letters, was the caption: "World Premiere Tonight: NEW
LOOPS!!". At street
level, however, it seemed business as usual: a trickle of lonely males?a
subclinical category once euphemistically known as 'the raincoat brigade??
spanning the generations from pimpled adolescents to crusty old dukes.
limousine pulled up to the curb, and out stepped New Loops? 'stars??including second-tier smut siren Darby Lloyd Rains and professional erotomorph Marc
"Mr. 10 1/2? Stevens. There was
no Hollywood-style fete to greet them, nor a single member of the press.
In the theatre's lobby,
Lech, weighted down by one of the very early video PortaPaks, recorded the
entire spectacle as the Capitol's luckless porn patrons dove for cover.
Cautiously, we took our
seats in the vast, nearly empty, rank-smelling auditorium.
The lights went down, and Lech Kowalski's disquieting homage to anti-sexualty
rolled: a grainy glandular gumbo accompanied by a deafening sound mix of shouts
Before long, scattered
members of the audience were stamping their feet and shouting indignantly for
their money back. Someone launched
a carton of popcorn at the screen. A
soda can followed.
I heard someone shout
"Find new actors!? " and
realized they were referring to me.
When the lights came up
55 minutes later in the near-empty auditorium?I noticed that the movie's
other castmembers had already slipped away under cover of darkness.
because of my onscreen garnish of ketchup--no one recognized me as I furtively
exited the world's first, and only, screening of New Loops. ##
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