By Keegan Hamilton
By Albert Samaha
By Village Voice staff
By Tessa Stuart
By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
I'm standing in the elevator with two men, on my way to a Learning Annex seminar on how to shoot porn. Unsure of what floor it's on, I ask if they know where the classes are given. "Are you taking the one on shamanism?" inquires the bespectacled fortysomething. Thinking quickly, I respond: "No, uh . . . filmmaking." "Oh! I'm goin' to that one," says the guy with the top couple buttons of his shirt undone, smiling broadly at me. "I went to shamanism last weekpretty good!" The porn course, taught by Joe Gallantmiddle-aged founder of NYC's one legit skin-flick company, Black Mirror Productions, and subject of a new indie documentary, Focus on the Dustconsisted mostly of basic legal and technical Q&A and a brief demonstration involving two chunky ladies, one dude, and a live video feed (but no penetrationthat's not permissible front of an audience). Somewhat of a self-styled shaman himself, Gallant lectured his 50-or-so mostly male, entrepreneurial students in a patient, free-form style that emphasized self-determination as manifest in artistic vision, political protest, and "making bread." Also, he's down with the brown, preferring that enemas be performed on-camera, if at all.
Black Mirror snuck in the back door of the AVN Awards this past January, winning Best Pro-Am/Amateur Tape for Times Square Trash Volume Two. Focus on the Dust follows Gallant on his way to Vegas and as he picks up the East Coast's only plaque. (I Times Square-trashed director David Bienenstock's last doc, Don't Show Pink, but haven't seen the new one. Judge it for yourself February 18 at the East End Ensemble, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Go to www.2ballproductions.com for more details.) About as carefully shot as the aforesaid classroom feed, Trash is meant to evoke the pre-Giuliani city, when you could still get a good mugging at three in the afternoon. Somewhere off of the Square, Gallant waits for his prostitute "girlfriend" to get off her shaft, er, shift. Blurry and b&w, the two tumble in and out of the frame; dialogue is limited to a john's rejection ("Unfortunately, I'm broke right now, so I have to go into Peep World and spend a few bucks to jerk myself off"). Finally meeting up and making out, the two head home (an austere-yet-messy painting studio), and into crisp color. "I can't believe those guys passed up that pussy," the muscular, mustachioed Gallant exclaims, eyeballing his g.f.'s tight-black get-up. Rather than get up in her for some actual balling, he starts greazing up his cock and unceremoniously pops a spit-gooped finger into her slim ass. Clearly savoring her anus, he then sticks said digit into her mouth ("Taste that nice, shitty finger!") and preps an enema. Topped off and plugged up, she starts squirting around his cock, as Gallant later described it to me, "like a busted O-ring." I don't even wanna know what happens when she blows a gasket.
After an abrupt mid-assfuck cut, the video resumes in a Hell's Kitchen parking lot down the street from my favorite bar, Siberia, where a porn-star-endowed brunette brings herself to yes!-yes!-yes! orgasm behind a Ford Aerostar, her finger plunging like a piston. Just as suddenly, we find ourselves in the one-person bathroom of lesbian joint Meow Mix on the day Joey Ramone died ("Rockaway Beach" blazes in the background). Gallant and his sidekick get their joints smoked by a pretty, if droopy-breasted, non-lesbian (I'm guessing here); at one point Gallant, bent studiously over her behind, drops a wad of gum onto a butt-cheek, popping it back in only after working her over. Cut again, briefly, to Joe playing a many-stringed bass on Mix's stage (did I mention he toured with the Dead and now leads a 72-piece orchestra called Illuminati?), then back to the art studio, where two cuties awkwardly await instruction. The one with neat dreadlocks and crotchless, black vinyl panty-things wastes little time bringing herself off with a vibrator, getting slimed with lube, taking multiple "paint" enemas (actually just colored yogurt!), and rendering her very own artsy-farsty Jackson Pollock-style canvas. "I know some great ass exercises!" she enthuses. (Matthew Barney has finally met his match.) Gentle Rosebud, who's never done anal, could use some lessons, although you can't fault her effort. Just before the scene's sudden, almost ominous end, she cries, squatting over a pristine canvas, "I have four and a half bottles of yogurt up my ass, and it won't come out!" Joe, who sells these paintings on eBay, must cope, like any dealer, with artists who are frustratingly anal about their work.
Wild in the Streets
Trash throws out a couple more segments: a woman peeing down the side of a boulder in Central Park as children play noisily in the background; a truly hot blond in a silver-lamé dress giving a brief b.j. upstairs at Nuyorican Poets Café (they end up back at the "Crack Motel," so christened after Gallant "found crack vials there"); and Gallant himself pissing on the Meow Mix girl's floppy chest (not, naturally, in the bathroom). Though similar-minded, Wild in the Streets lacks Trash's breadth and consistency. "Kelly's Anal Delight," however, matches the latter's opening romp, indulging in the same drawn-out play and featuring a left-in blooper where the cameraman, who also farted loudly during the class's live sex scene, knocks over a what must be a shelf-load of stuff and tries not to snicker. The flick's conceptual centerpiece, shot with thick-thin girlfriends at last February's World Economic Forum rally, understandably fails to make much of its depressing milieu: jittery, ill-informed protesters being captured on video by the cops themselves, if not pushed around, while the two women flash Gallant and say things like, "Let's go home and make love, not war."
Black Mirror's slogan, "Make sex magick against korporate kulture" isn't much better. It is not the '60sor pre-Giuliani '80sanymore. Far from it. But Joe Gallant, unlike most porn industry auteurs, understands that the world is not easily sanitized. Being down with the brown is not unlike being down with a kause.
Black Mirror, 676-A Ninth Ave. #350, New York, NY 10036, www.blackmirror.com