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February 20, 2017

Porn Fans Again Hear Golden Age Actresses Tell Their Tales

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif.—Porn fans and adult industry veterans alike gathered Sunday evening to hear more "Golden Age" actresses (and an actor this time) talk about their early lives and careers in adult entertainment during the second installment of David Bertolino's Golden Age of Adult Cinema shows, held at the Cupcake Theatre in North Hollywood. The event, once again moderated by mainstream actor Nick Santa Maria, brought together an even wider variety of luminaries than had the first installment, kicking off with veteran actress and current internet radio personality Amber Lynn, who when handed the microphone confessed up front that "It's hard to hold a shape like this without trying to stick it in my mouth." On questioning by Santa Maria, Lynn, an Orange County native, revealed details of her "not the greatest" childhood, telling the audience that her parents had divorced early, leaving her in the custody of foster parents who abused her—"It was the most horrifying circumstances imaginable"—until, after five years, she was rescued by her real father and his new family. To compound her life tragedies, Lynn's mother was involved in a fatal car accident with Lynn in the car, witnessing the whole gory outcome—and yet was a sort of learning experience. "What happened for me in that car accident was, when something happens to a very young child, they're too young to process it and they do this thing called splitting," she said, "and it kind of worked for me as I got older and I got into the adult business, because when I would work in sex scenes and stuff like that, sometimes we would get into these really wild scenes, we would do these really wild, over-the-top, crazy things, and I would just kind of go off into fantasy and when I'd come back, people would be, 'Did you see what happened?' And I would be like, 'What? What happened?'" Lynn told the audience that she'd been a TV and runway model from about age 12, but as she got older, that work dried up—but her breasts grew, and she got an offer to appear in Penthouse, which she accepted in part to help pay for dental work for her brother, who'd lost teeth in a bicycle accident. Fast-forward a few years, and Lynn had become addicted to drugs, though she was quick to point out, "People say, 'Oh, you became a drug addict because you were a porn star,' and that's absolutely not true. I became a porn star because I was doing a lot of drugs and people that are on drugs, the kind that I was doing, I craved sex. They uninhibited me and they made me want to fuck and do wild things when I was loaded. ... If you've ever taken a hit off a pipe, you know how badly you want to fuck once you do that, right? In the '80s, that's what we did: We'd freebase and then have a lot of sex, on and off the camera." Her first scene in porn was for late director Bobby Hollander, and Lynn remembers it fondly. "I do not blame Bobby Hollander for getting me loaded the first time I worked on a porn set," she said. "What's more important is what happened on that set. It was an unbelievable experience for me, and not just because I was loaded. There was a woman named Tantala on the set and she was a dominatrix ... and she brought this guy out on a leash and she put a strap-on on and she pinned him down on the ground and she fucked him in the ass, and what was crazy about it for me was the ecstasy on this guy's face. He loved it. And I realized right then that it wasn't about the things you hear, which is 'people are being forced to do porn and they're being forced to do this kind of thing.' I came from an era right after the '70s; there were so many amazing and talented actors in this industry—Jamie Gillis, Harry Reems and John Leslie, all of these people, and I was like the kid when I came in." Lynn also revealed that adult entrepreneur Reuben Sturman, with whom she "had a great relationship," offered a contract, but she refused: "I want to be a rebel! I don't want to fuck when people tell me to." Bringing the audience up to the present day, Lynn mentioned that she had recently done a MILF scene for Naughty America, and that she will appear in a soon-to-be-released mainstream movie, Who's Jenna?, about "a woman who looks like a famous porn star but she's really a conservative attorney." Lynn also lauded the late Bill Margold, who "opened the door for me" in the adult industry. Santa Maria then brought on Alana Evans, perhaps the "youngster" of the guests, having entered the industry in 1998. Evans revealed that she was an "army brat," having been born on base in Kentucky, but her mother quickly moved her "as fast as she could" to the San Jose area where her extended family lived. "I grew up in a place filled with technology, so I actually was in the smart kid classes," she stated. "I was in the 'talented education' program, so it wasn't something that my family would really accept. ... I've always wanted to be an actress, but when you find your way onto the screen, I became so addicted to the life and the family and the people behind it that I felt comfortable." Evans said she was always interested in acting and theater, and would "watch videos of myself, and my sister and I were actually pushing each other out of the way to see who could be more in the camera—and I won!" Evans admitted that she became pregnant at 16, had a son, and got married shortly after she turned 18, spent time as a "bikini dancer in a go-go bar, and went straight from that into porn ... and as I've said many times before, porn saved me. My husband was a police officer; it was a very difficult relationship. He was very abusive, and porn gave me that ability at 21, 22 years old, come to Los Angeles, learn my way around this city, and I used my time in the adult industry to take care of myself and be able to be a mom, and a lot of people don't understand that, how you can balance having a family and be an adult actress, but to me, it was a 9-to-5 job that I absolutely loved, but I was able to go home and be with them. I remarried to an amazing man who helped fulfill that side of having a complete family and still work in the sex industry." Evans said that her very first scene took eight hours to film—and that due to her then-small breasts, she "looked like I was about 12 or 13; I looked very young, very sweet, very thin." That scene soured on her on adult for several years, but at age 28, she came back, got the breast implants she'd sworn she would never get, and has been working fairly regularly ever since—including a stint as a contract player for Extreme Associates, whose owner Rob Black insisted that she change her on-screen name to Jenna Talia. In addition to doing XXX movies, Evans also hosted several Playboy Radio shows—"My favorite show was called Music To Fuck By"—and became an avid gamer. "I'm a total nerd and a tech freak, and my final show with Playboy Radio was The Naughty Gamers, and that was a concept I came up with myself and incorporated video games and hot girls playing." Nowadays, "life is amazing," she said, referring in part to her being vice-president of the Adult Performers Actors Guild. "It's been absolutely incredible working with people like Amber, Sean Michaels, our president, and Phyllisha Anne created it—we just feel this ability to help make changes in the industry for the performers ... I want every woman coming into the industry to have experiences like I had, which for the most part have been absolutely incredible." Kay Parker was next to take the stage—and promptly admitted that though her career was "pretty amazing, I only remember parts of it. It's always challenging for me to remember it. I mean, I have a good memory, except it's been a long time." Parker was born in Birmingham, England, during World War II, to a military father whom she described as "my nemesis, but he was my greatest teacher. ... We could not live in the same house. I was the black sheep; I was the middle child, so I was always trying to make peace between mom and dad, and when I grew up and left home, I think he was just jealous of my freedom, my desire to get out in the world and my choice to do that. ... But later in life, we made amends, and I just adored him." Parker brought up her spirituality very early, referring to herself as a "star being ... individuals who've had other lifetimes on other planets." Parker left school early and traveled a lot when she was younger, having spent time on Malta, toured Europe with a gal-pal, and served as an au pair for a German family. Later she came to the United States, where she said her "guardian angel" got her a job with a clothing designer, Suzette International, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which in turn led her to San Francisco, the land of "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll." As for how she got into the adult industry, "John Leslie and I met under rather interesting circumstances," she said tantalizingly, "but I promised not to talk about it. He was very supportive of the fact that I was an actress ... I was able to express myself because in those days, we made movies, like low-budget Hollywood movies, so there was a chance to do some serious acting." Parker further described her spiritual journey: "I've always had this sixth sense, or seventh sense, whatever it is, and a yearning; my soul, my heart yearned to know what it was all about, so that carried me through most of my childhood, but I didn't understand what it was. The first week I arrived in L.A.—this was 1977—I met a numerologist and he read my numbers, blew my mind. Then I joined a meditation group, then I joined a spiritual group, and it was like, 'Oh, this is why I came to L.A.. I thought it was about acting!' But slowly, I realized I had gifts ... I feel honored and blessed and humbled that I'm able to do the work that I do." The final actress to appear on stage was Veronica Hart—who noted that one of the clips that had been shown before her entrance actually featured Lisa DeLeeuw rather than herself, commenting, "I was in that movie. It was wonderful. I wish I was a big-busted blonde like her. She was great; she was wonderful to work with." "You were a self-described nerd," Santa Maria said. "What kind of nerd were you?" "I was the girl like in the first grade who, when the teacher would ask a question, I would be that girl, 'I know! I know! Pick me!'" she responded. "This was before it was cool to be smart. It was like not cool at all—but I got along really well with the teachers—especially in college." Hart spent 11 years with Modern Dance Troup, "which was a lot of fun—and then I became a stripper; see what happens?" "You were a thespian as well?" Santa Maria asked. "No, I like boys," she responded immediately, displaying the humorous side of her personality that dominated the discussion. "In junior high, I went to this play and hung out with the drama kids afterwards," she added in a more serious vein. "We went to Shakey's Pizza Parlor afterwards ... and I thought, 'This is so exciting. I want to act. I want to be like them.'" Hart was a child prodigy, graduating from high school at 16, and getting her bachelor's degree in theater arts in just three years, having been given a full scholarship. "I knew that I was going to die at 35 and I had to get a move on," she explained. "Now I'm 60; isn't that weird? I really thought I wasn't going to be here long." Hart also spent time in England, modeling—"I'm 5'6", but in England, I could model and stuff"—and stripping, and "mismanaged a rock group ... I got us a lot of gigs but I never got us a recording contract." She also suffered severe burns, requiring hospitalization and skin grafts, from a coffee urn accident there while acting as a barista. "I knew that I would never, ever, ever be able to be attractive to another guy again," she recalled, "and this is after finding out that sexuality was my key in; the way that you get accepted is drugs and sex; that's how I got accepted, and all of a sudden, I thought I'd lost my way in." Returning to Las Vegas, she resumed her theater career, but was enticed to go to New York to be a music producer, and wound up as an extra in the George Burns/Art Carney comedy Going In Style. While there, she met erotic photographer Roy Stewart, who advised her to get into porn, and since then, she's appeared in more than 135 XXX movies. In 2008, Hart "misproduced" (her word) a horror movie titled Parasomnia, "the best project I've ever been involved with. We were over-budgeted from the very beginning, and I thought that they [the director and fellow producer] knew better than me, and they were actually looking to me for direction, and I thought they had to know what was going on because they were so much more experienced, they'd been working in mainstream stuff. Almost lost everything on that one, but it was a really good movie." Later she appeared in such mainstream films as Boogie Nights and Magnolia—and got her terrific striptease scene cut from Ruby. "There was this pivotal scene, and it was great," she recalled. "We had this great argument and everything. I was so excited going to the premiere, and I was like, 'Ohmigod, I'm in a famous movie on the big screen'—and they'd cut it out and forgot to tell me." Bringing the audience up to the present, Hart recounted having gone through a period where she lost her house, her husband of many years—"Everything was just going to hell in a handbasket, and in walked my high school sweetheart, and you know when that whirlwind starts to go down, there's a place where it slowly starts to come up, and this was not easy for him, not easy for me, and we're so lucky. ... So I found Stan, and we're married today." She also talked about her time teaching sex ed in China to Chinese students, her recent award of a doctorate in human sexuality, and her upcoming appearance in a documentary about the famous porn women's support group, Club 90. She also noted that when Candida Royalle died, she willed her Femme Productions to Hart, "so I'm looking to reinvigorate the line. I thought I could go in and direct, but you know, my heart's just not in it; I've done what I needed to do in adult, but I'm hoping that I can open it up for other female directors to bring their stuff in, and I want to make a documentary on Candace; I'm working on that with Veronica Vera. You know, maybe a one-woman show might be in the offing. I don't know if I've got enough energy for that." The evening's final guest was a surprise: classic adult actor Eric Edwards. "I'm 71 now," he began, "and I'm at that point where I can walk into a room and wonder why I went in there in the first place. So I'll look around for clues, and I'll tell you what: I can't find any." Edwards then proceeded to read from some sticky notes that he'd been given by Ben, one of the producers—"My desk is filled with them; it's the only way I can remember doctors' appointments"—one of which read, "Thank them for inviting you to be a special guest," while another read, "Smile a lot like you did in your Close-Up toothpaste commercial." Edwards then spoke of his lung cancer surgery, which was followed up with "aggressive chemotherapy" that affected the nerves in his legs resulting in "dead feet," which he said explains why he "waddles like a duck" when he walks—which he promptly demonstrated. In response to questions from Santa Maria, Edwards disclosed that he'd performed sex on film during five decades, from the 1960s to the 2000s. "The 2000 part, I only did one scene, and it was for that specific purpose. I didn't have any dialog; I just did one sex scene, just basically so I could say the 2000s also." Earlier in his life, Edwards had won a scholarship from ABC-TV to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, beating out 24,000 other applicants. "It changed my life," he said. "I was going to college at the time, and I had a decision to make: Do I stay in college or do I take this offer and take the next train to New York City, and I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it, and I figured, 'This will never happen again, the Big Apple, free, paid for, two years,' so I did it." After finishing the Academy, he was signed by the famous William Morris talent agency, and appeared in several commercials, including, yes, one for Close-Up toothpaste—as well as Gilette and Coleco Toys. Edwards' entry into porn was through Screw magazine, where he sent his photo in response to an ad. "I was married at the time ... and we were into swinging; we had a threeway marriage there for a while after I met a girl," he revealed, "so it was okay for me to have some sex, and I got a phone call about six months later from Ted Snyder. ... He needed somebody to do a loop, and the girl's name was Linda Lovelace; totally unknown to me; I had no clue who she was at the time, and I don't think she did either. But in any case, I showed up on the set, a 42nd Street loft, and there she was with another redheaded girl, and we had absolutely no problems whatsoever; I was as excited as hell. ... So I gradually got into the business, and you know who kept calling me to work again? Linda! There was no gun at her head. There was no pressure. She would call me and say, 'Hey, you did a good job with so-and-so; you want to do it again?' Sure, another 40 bucks; I could use it. And the girls got $50. I never could understand that." Later, Edwards expanded his résumé by becoming a director, editor, scripter and cameraman, editing his work late at night at production houses that normally handled mainstream productions. "It was fun; it was so much fun learning which button didn't work." Nowadays, in order to save his remaining lung, Edwards lives in "a small mountain town with fresh mountain air, and I usually go over to our local park ... and I feed the ducks and the geese"—and with that, the evening came to a close, except for the VIP after-party, where the guests would sell photos of themselves and DVDs of their movies—except Amber, who had a large collection of her VHS tapes for those who still had the capability to play them—or perhaps simply wanted a collector's item. Among the other recognizable faces in attendance that evening were actors Ron Jeremy, Herschel Savage and Richard Pacheco, actor/director Paul Thomas, director Luc Wylder, actresses Rhonda Jo Petty, Melissa Hill and Alexandra Silk, producer Rob Spallone, and screenwriter Raven Touchstone/photographer Penny Antine. Pictured, l-r: Nick Santa Maria, Eric Edwards, Veronica Hart, Amber Lynn, Alana Evans, Kay Parker.

 
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