Friday, July 15, 2005

Oral Sex: Between the Covers of The Other Hollywood

I was going to write about my burgeoning record-collecting relationship with Steve the book vendor but Sober has already posted a hot woman-on-man narrative (see below) so I’ll write about a book I’m reading instead: The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry.

I had to put a neutral cover on it, censor it in effect, to ward off dirty looks from my fellow straphangers while reading it on the subway (see above). I went to the trouble of doing so because I’ve been reluctant to put it down. The Other Hollywood reads like a book written by clever people with short attention spans for the enjoyment of their fellow flakes.

Author Legs McNeil acted primarily as an editor of transcripts, letting the nymphomaniacs, studs, cokeheads, greaseballs and feds who built the business tell their own story through interview snippets.

Appalling ("But this particular dog that worked with Linda was a pro."), pathetic ("Here I was with the world’s greatest cocksucker, and yet it was a lonely experience.") and occasionally mind-boggling ("He had her head in the toilet – and he needed both hands to, like, keep her breathing and the toilet flushing."), The Other Hollywood is seldom dull, attesting to the possibility that an oral history is more than just an effective means of avoiding the hassle of actually writing.

McNeil used the same form to good effect in Please Kill Me, his oral history of punk. The Other Hollywood is more dynamic and better edited though, due possibly to the larger scope the story and the input of co-author Jennifer Osborne. Much of the narrative’s tension and humor comes from the deft juxtaposition of divergent voices. These speak eloquently of 1970’s America and the cultural malaise that set the stage for a bunch of hard-nosed businessmen to exploit the horniness of some theater hippies and a couple of swingers to create a 12 billion dollar industry:

JIM MITCHELL (Notorious San Francisco Pornographer – Brother of Artie Mitchell):We started off shooting single beavers. Then it went to two girls. Then it went to three girls.

C.J. LAING (Porn Actress): One night I was in my communal sleeping room, at a house owned by the "Angels of Light" cult, and this gorgeous girl Tina came home with a hundred dollars.

I said, "Where’d you get it?"

She said, "The Mitchell brothers."

That’s how I got the money to go to Texas to fuck Sam Cutler (manager of the Grateful Dead.)

Artie Mitchell (Notorious San Francisco Pornographer – Brother of Artie Mitchell): Our movies have always been hardcore. That was the idea: always to come up with a better fuck film.

The story rolls along in this manner for nearly 600 pages. There are a couple of chapters about the FBI and the mob that make a reader want to skip ahead to the good parts, but that’s just the nature of a dirty book. The Other Hollywood is that, but it is also a compelling social history. More than anything though, it is a story full of great characters --dizzy broads, donkey dicks, wise guys, secret agents – all acting on a sex-saturated set, and in a puritanical country like ours, that
takes a lot of balls.

To find your porn star name and unleash your inner harlot combine your first pet's name with the name of the street you grew up on.

Mine’s Patches Dayton, what’s your’s?


posted by cherrybomb @ 7/15/2005 04:02:00 PM |


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