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December 07, 2016

The Other Side Of Kayden Kross

LOS ANGELES—Okay, we'll admit it: We mostly know Kayden Kross from having chatted with her at AEE and other adult industry events, plus having seen her performances in XXX movies, some of which she directed herself. But lurking beneath her porn star exterior is an intellectual who's apparently well-read, and who even carries on email conversations with mainstream authors. See, there's this article on McSweeneys.net, a scattershot site created by the San Francisco-based McSweeney's publishing company, that posts articles on a wide variety of subjects—and doesn't mind letting authors use terms like "motherfuckers" to get a point across—called "100 Asspocalypses and Other Asspocalypses: Author Lucy Corin and Porn Star Kayden Kross in Conversation," which recounts correspondence between Corin, author of the new collection of short "stories" (more on the quote marks later) called One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses, and Kross, an obvious fan of Corin's writing. The two began their exchange after Kross, who'd interviewed one of McSweeney's other writers and had it published on the site, was "checking back in" to the magazine to see what was new, and the site's editor put her in touch with Corin, who apparently impressed Kross enough that the star read Corin's new book—and the two have been emailing back and forth ever since, as revealed in the latest article. The McSweeney's piece begins with a discussion of just what are the "apocalypses" Corin's written about, which the website describes as "a series of short stories, many only a few lines, that illuminate moments of vexation and crisis, revelations and revolutions." Some of the "apocalypses," which are sometimes narratives, sometimes a simple outrushing of emotional trains of thought (hence the quotes around "stories" above), are just two or three lines long, while some go on for several pages, but they're definitely intriguing, so it's easy to see why they caught Kross's attention. The exchange between Kross and Corin touches on a variety of subjects, from their shared admiration for John D. McDonald's sci-fi novel The Girl, The Gold Watch & Everything, which leads to a discussion of why it's important for kids to stretch their minds by reading books that might be a bit beyond their maturity level—Kross's included William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, George Orwell's Animal House and Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita—to their shared admiration for author Flannery O'Connor and professor Gordon Lish, with Kross noting that at on epoint, Lish had asked her to send him "some of my friend's porn." Corin responds to the revelation by suggesting that although neither she nor Lish have anything directly to do with the adult industry, Corin at least considers herself "porn-adjacent." The phrase leads Kross to expound on how she sees the adult industry in general. "I very much enjoy the phrase 'porn-adjacent'," Kross writes. "Lately I often think porn as an industry is at best only coming up alongside what it thinks it’s achieving without ever jumping across to the right track. Maybe porn tries to deal with ethics and their questions, but because of the nature of how quickly the new and never before seen is expected to be turned out, it’s rare to find the project that is really turning over the recesses within some creator or having it out with a wild imagination. We are the industry of puns, spoofs, knock offs, rip offs, unauthorized accounts, and parodies as a dominant category of story. We don’t explore so much as take a great lot of dark guesses about what the remaining untapped audiences might want to explore while trying to couple it with known traffic-driving search terms. Then when we find one (as verified by sales), everyone else jumps on board for a year or two, and then the well runs dry and we start digging for new ones. That said, we are often as surprised as our audience is when we collectively discover a new thing to explore, and as tired as our audience is when we finally retire it. We don’t ask the big questions about any of it. Instead, we program the navigation of our websites under the assumption that the user is likely a right-handed person making do at the moment with only the use of his available left hand. "If the idea of 'porn-adjacent' is in any way tied to the idea that we must come back to the territory that makes us uncomfortable (much like porn) and dissect it from the safety of our own imaginations, then you are probably more authentically adjacent to porn than porn is in its current state," Kross continues, adding comicly, "That said, there’s no reason not to believe porn might try to jump on your train. Be on the lookout for titles like Not 100 Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses xxx, or 100 Asspocalypses and Other Asspocalypses." There's a bit more about Kross's experiences in the business side of adult, and the pair's musings on why there are warning tags attached to some everyday items like knives—but in all, it's just particularly gratifying to see an adult actress/director expressing herself well on a variety of subjects, most of which aren't porn-related—and doing it really, reallly well. "100 Asspocalypses and Other Asspocalypses: Author Lucy Corin and Porn Star Kayden Kross in Conversation" can be found here.

 
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