“January, February, Quarantine…” And now it is 2021. I am late in posting a recap this year, though the truth is that I hesitated posting one at all.
What can I say about 2020? It started off very strong, with a flurry of exciting projects and future plans that are still in limbo a year later. The highs were high; the lows, very low. Among the lowest was the loss of a dear friend, who went by the porn nom de plume Jack HammerXL, who passed away unexpectedly early March. A cancer survivor, his sudden death was unexpected. He and I had hung out for beers just weeks earlier with plans to meet-up again and keep discussing an autobiographical film he’d been writing. I can play the film’s intro vividly in my mind; Incense, jazz, rope… He was still stuck on the script, though the last time we talked, I passed along a tip that Shine gave me and suggested he try a test shoot, to start filming something and see where that might lead. It’s advice we should all take to heart. We never know how long we have. Do the thing!
As we near the anniversary of his death, I sit with the sadness of loss. Death continues to surround us, with over 350,000 Americans dead, or 1 in 1,000 deceased. In the midst of it, I count blessings. I’m grateful my family is safe, and mindful for themselves and others. I’ve spoken with close family members more in the past few months than I have in years. And I feel fortunate to be able to continue to work from home, to have a loving and supporting living situation, brightened by the addition of a cat who’s visit had meant to be a temporary favor for a friend of a friend, but who would eventually be adopted into our welcoming home.
Making peace with uncertainty, finding patience with changes or lack thereof, and getting lost in work projects has given me the ability to keep going despite the state of things. Holding my commitment to these yearly recaps, I will highlight the good parts of 2020. In the context of the world they appear trivial, but in the moment they felt bold, and I hope at least to honor that feeling by documenting them here. Pleasure is important, especially in difficult times.
January and February saw a lot of action! Madison Young’s kinky sequel starring Siouxsie Q and myself was released. I filmed a sexy k.d. lang inspired shoot with the gorgeous Allysa Etain, and a super hot threesome with Mickey Mod and Arabelle Raphael. I wrote a little about the shoots, a whirlwind in the early months. All were lovely experiences filled with sweet and talented cast and crew. Being able to make porn with friends, some whom I’ve known for over a decade, is such a gift.
Yet to be released, was a few shoots for ZeroSpaces in February at Little Boxes Theater that included a mouthwatering scene with Cam Damage, and a very, very cool underwater photography shoot with Stoya. (Pinch me!) When these are released, it will be a wonderfully pre-COVID porno time capsule.
There were film projects planned for 2020 and 2021 that still hang in limbo, postponed, rescheduled, and rescheduled again, on hold indefinitely. I feel lucky to have been able to film these scenes before the pandemic.
Erotic & Other Arts
Early in the year I posed for photographer Allan Amato’s Heretical Fates book and tarot deck, and a forthcoming project called PUNCH. Allan is an example of an artist who manifests amazing collaborations, and each image turns out even better than I imagined. I love being in front of his lens.
In January I appeared as The Twins in The Residents’ “God in Three Persons” collaboration with John Sanborn. The New York Museum of Modern Art saw the world-premiere live performance from their landmark 1988 album, a story of a ruined evangelist’s twisted obsession with a pair of gender-fluid twins he claims are miracle workers. It was an honor to be cast, and I look forward to appearing in another installation to be announced soon.
Finally, for my 2020 Holiday Card I collaborated with visual artist Evie Snax, who wove photographs by Lanee Bird of Evie and myself into a sexy and surreal erotic world with an interactive QR component. The cards raised $250 for BIPOC AIC mutual aid.
2020 marked the 5th anniversary of Coming Out Like a Porn Star. Five years flew by, however the social stigmas associated with having done porn are as relevant than ever. Ideally, I’d want our stories to surpass those told by those with anti-porn biases and zero sex work experience. If you’ve read it, reviewed it, rated it, I express my deepest gratitude. It might be unusual for an editor to want their book to become obsolete as fast as possible, but that is the position I’m in! Of all the things I’ve done in this industry, creating this book is one of my proudest.
Thriving in Sex Work: Sex Work and Money was released, which includes a guest essay I wrote about combatting online piracy. I was also interviewed for FRISSON Magazine Issue 4, with words in Italian and English. And at the tail end of the year came EVERY BODY: An Honest and Open Look at Sex from Every Angle which includes my essay on how I got into porn.
With the pandemic halting productions, I gave my bookshop extra love adding more books and creating a fun new ‘Mystery Gift‘ where I choose a book to send, including ones off my personal bookshelf. I believe a good book is worth passing along!
Pink & White to the Rescue!
I know I say it all the time, but never have I felt more grateful for my day job working behind the scenes at Pink & White Productions than this year. Words can’t express how lucky I feel to be able to work on projects that so closely align with my own passions. In a job where I feel seen, and I get to help others see themselves. (As uncensored as possible!)
When our big plans for 2020 were cut short, our director Shine came through with aplomb. We made the best of the situation, and ended up creating opportunities that not only kept us going, but helped our communities in the process.
Despite canceled plans, 2020 ended up being really busy! Keeping busy helped me, not only financially, but spiritually as well. To be able to focus my energy on things I can control, ways I can make a difference, even if small and entertainment-based. Over the year, I helped to add over 230 films to PinkLabel.TV, many appearing online for the first time, like as 1970’s gay adult films by the late Arthur J. Bressan Jr. (I also had the pleasure of facilitating an interview with film historian Jenni Olson and star of Bressan’s adult films, Robert Adams. It was thrilling to hear Robert reflect on the role, over 40 years later. I like to think that years from now, I’ll consider my own work with a similar reverence.)
Pink & White also released our two newest films. Shine Louise Houston’s Chemistry Eases the Pain was my first time as 1st Assistant Director. Our premiere was live-streamed along with a Q&A featuring stars Lotus Lain and co-star Logan Pierce, and guest Dr. Mireille Miller-Young. Much thanks to those of you who contributed to the fundraising campaign to make our film possible. Also premiering online was Camera and I, starring Jasko Fide and Shine as the lucky camera. For both films, I also took on the role of ‘Behind the Scenes Photographer’ and impressed myself with the photos I took! (Thanks to Tristan Crane who literally placed the camera in my hand, and who provided lots of encouragement and photography tips, including an outstanding Crash Course lesson on digital photography at the start of the year.)
Saving the best for last, this year Pink & White started something major. We were going to launch the San Francisco PornFilmFestival, but COVID canceled our theater plans. Our team had already talked about having an online version of the festival, and now that seemed it might be our only option. However, since most tech platforms don’t allow sexual media, Shine decided we’d create our own online festival broadcasting platform to host our virtual event. I ran the crowdfunding campaign to secure a solid launch, and we premiered the festival in August. We then used the new tech to host peer festivals, presenting other’s events online as well. With live broadcast programs, chat rooms, and Q&As with creators, it almost felt like being there. The porn will go on.
Look forward to more livestream components to future Pink and White projects. Regardless of when we’re able to gather in person again, livestream is here to stay!
Did I mention that I turned 40 this year? Another milestone! I’m really appreciating older sex workers who model sex appeal, now more than ever, because I too have no desire to ‘age out’ of this business. As Morgana Muses said, “Sexy doesn’t have an expiration date.” I hope I can represent sexy silver foxes and queer elders as I age. Ten years ago, I celebrated my ‘Dirty 30‘ with a 30-person orgy on CrashPad. The plan was to do the same for my 40th but COVID made 2020 the worst year for group sex. Maybe we’ll try again for my 50th. 😉
I’m grateful for all your support. As I signed holiday cards at the end of the year, I found myself inspired by how connected we were across different states and countries, and I recognized familiar names of folks who have been there from waaaaay back at the start of my journey. Even in the worst of times, I know that I’m in the company of people who are cheering me on and championing my efforts. It always means a lot to me, but this year, it felt extra special. Please keep safe out there, I know we can get through this. Thank you for helping me get through it too.