Incognito

 Location Upper West Side
Price $69,000 in 1993 ($562.49 maintenance)
Square feet 280 (studio co-op in 1925 building)
Occupant Ray Sakata a/k/a Buck (adult-fetish film actor)

Could you just talk a little about your line of work? I started in 2001. When people hear 2001, they always think, Did you do this because you could go at any moment? It was before 9-11. I went to one of the bondage clubs on Yahoo. I found out about the director, Todd. He e-mailed me.

In your latest film, Physical Education, you play a coach chloroformed by his students after you torture them on the track. My debut. It was one of the top sellers by Todd.

Give 'em enough rope: Ray Sakata on the Upper West Side.
photo: Kate Lacey
Give 'em enough rope: Ray Sakata on the Upper West Side.

The Dead Guys Cinema website says, "This movie . . . contains graphic images of implied rape and murder." Is this like demonlover, where everyone wears French clothes and goes to Mexico on a secret plane to be filmed in a jail cell wearing a hood? We made Physical Education in New Jersey. We're not making them in Russia and killing people. It's all implied. There's no penetration. I'm usually nude. I've developed a cult following because of it. People recognize me on the streets. Before, I was a manager at Saks—DKNY. I've been in retail mostly. I worked at Charivari. I was a salesperson there after Marc Jacobs. I worked on 57th, then ended up on 72nd.

Your mother found you your apartment in a Japanese newspaper. OCS—the New York Post or the Times of the Japanese world. They have a real estate section. This Jewish couple was trying to sell their apartment on the Upper West Side. My mom said, Great apartment, affordable for you. I said, Mom, let's just get it, I don't care. I walked in. I went, Oh my God. It's too small. When I walked out on the terrace, I said, I don't care if it's small. [The hallway is so narrow, only one person can fit. The kitchen part has two burners over a small refrigerator. No stove.] All I care about is location. I said, I'm going to live on John Lennon's block. I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. My mom's Japanese and she was born in Hawaii. She met my father—they were part of this pot-smoking vegetarian commune, anti-fur, trying to be all about one with earth. Then my dad went corporate and went to work at the Mead notebook company. They got divorced when I was five. My mom moved to Jackson Heights. A lot of my fun years were there. But it was time for me to move on. I lived in Soho with Caroline, who was a director's assistant on Ishtar.

Look at all your photos! These are all me. I painted this apartment like Monica's on Friends. She had it lavender and then the moldings were green. The ceiling was like a fuchsia. I took the same three-color scheme but did it yellow, green, periwinkle blue. Everyone said it would make it look small. But I love the colors.

The building has an elegant marble and brass lobby. It's a very peaceful building. No one's nosy. There are lots of old folk who've been here over 50 years. Now there are new people. They have lots of children. It's wonderful. No, they don't know what I do. I know how to differentiate my fetish world from my real world. Sigourney Weaver lives in the building next door. Tour buses pull up all day long. People are more respectful up here. Downtown is more celebrity ridden—"Is that so-and-so?" Here, no one acknowledges you. That's a nice thing when you can live on a block peacefully.

You're thinking of moving someday? I'm thinking about Long Island City, where Silvercup Studios are. That's going to be the next Hollywood. All the movie studios are coming there. DeNiro's studio is supposed to go there. Heaven knows if I stay here or Queens, where Mom is.


schlesinger@villagevoice.com

 
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