The lights were low, the crowd was drunk, and some woman in a low-cut, high-slit skirt was slicing through the gathering handing out tiny, multi-colored blinky-light rings, the type that induce epileptic seizures in small children and senior citizens. There was a couple in matching purple thongs doing the neon-lit hula-hoop sexy-dance; another couple in a nightmare of an outfit, an amalgam of Alice Through the Looking Glass and a low-budget Matthew Barney ensemble character, with a liberal slathering of black-and-white BDSM; and there was a giant projection of an indie-porn on the wall. Everywhere people were hooking up. “Don’t you love my new fake tits!?” a buxom peroxide-blond exclaimed. Everyone did.
This was not just another night for Porno Jim and the poly-amorous community of New York City — it was a celebration.
The official reason for this sexy/dorky scene was the DVD release of Porno Jim’s new feature-length porn, Hookin’ Up. It was shot and produced here in Brooklyn, and features local actors: real-live girls- and guys-next-door types. Tattoos, multiple piercings, fauxhawks, vintage t-shirts and ironic scowls intact, these young men and women fucking and sucking away are the very people you might see getting coffee in the morning on Bedford Avenue, walking their dogs along Brooklyn Bridge Park, or struggling through a hung-over brunch in the Slope. But in no way should Hookin’ Up be considered the hipster version of “I’m here to fix your pipes, Ma’am” pornography: Porno Jim is an auteur, an artiste, and a man with a mission. But in order to appreciate his agenda, it’s important first to understand the people who might attend a Porno Jim party.
Too easily classified as “Burners” or “Poly-amories,” these are regular people — teachers, nurses, animators, accountants — who would rather get their kink on through sexual means as varied as masochism and foot fetishes. The poly-amorous community believes in multiple lovers and multiple orgasms, just not always at the same time — although there’s nothing wrong with that. As long as those involved in a poly-amorous relationship are honest and straightforward, everyone’s happy, as the various makeout sessions across the room, all night long, would attest. Various members at the party concurred — it was just another normal night, albeit one with a tremendous wall-sized projection of two guys and three girls going at it in a DUMBO loft space.
Odette (not her real name), an attractive young woman lounging on the couch discussing the merits and demerits of porn, was featured in the film, though not naked, and certainly not in any questionable positions. Her band, Bettie After Midnight, was the house band at the art-loft where many of the stars would meet before their late-night rendezvous. As an actual member of the adult industry, Odette has worked on and off for the last decade as an art director for various pornography magazines. “It’s just another business, pretty easy going. What’s cool about it is that I get into trouble if I’m not looking at porn during work!” Someone face to face with tits and ass all day should have a well-formed opinion on Porno Jim’s production, and Odette agrees. “Porno Jim is making porn that he and other people want to see, but what’s more, is an improvement on what’s out there. It focuses on natural breasts, on womens’ orgasms, on regular people. It’s the antithesis of the LA porn scene, with all that fakery.”
Jessah (also not her real name), the hair and makeup artist on set agreed. As her first porn, she wasn’t sure what to think about the indie production values. “But everybody was very professional, very nice. It’s a very New York City type of porn — these are the people you see at loft parties, the people you fantasize about hooking up with. Alfred, her boyfriend and a friend of Porno Jim, chimes in. It was his bedroom where most of the shots were taken, of which he is clearly proud. “This kind of porn makes people think differently about the oeuvre. It is made through a community of trust, a group of people who respect each other — you don’t see that in other porn flicks.” Just then, the squeals of multiple orgasms drown out the Ohio Players’ Love Rollercoaster. Jessah throws her arms around her boy and proclaims, “Look honey! It’s just like the sex we have!” Alfred demurs, “Yeah, but where are the animals?”
Lisa, undressed to the nines in a bustier, fishnets and pageboy haircut, came to the party with a friend and didn’t know that it was a release party for an art-indie-porn; she just happened to be dressed for the part. Not entirely interested in porn, whether as spectator or participant, Lisa nevertheless considers herself adventurous, if a bit vanilla in the sex department. “I’m currently sleeping with an ex-porn maker — you should see the kid get around — but I’m mostly into normal sex. You have to get the basics down before you can get subversive.” Her take on Hookin’ Up? “It’s a step in the right direction for pornography. But it won’t change the system — it takes a whole new movement of films to change the language. I like watching the film and seeing the girls get off as much as the guys — that’s how porn should be made.”
Porno Jim is finally available for some Q&A. The 44 year old is dressed in a pinstripe suit with red Christmas lights strung around his shoulders, and doesn’t look a day over 35; he looks like your downtown I-banker with a naughty secret, his being that Hookin’ Up is the first live porn he’s made. Porno Jim started out mostly shooting still nudes ten years ago, but has always been interested in live, hot action. As should be expected from someone with a nom de guerre that wouldn’t be welcome at a cocktail party, Porno Jim is emphatic about his message. “America needs better porn,” as he thumps his ginger ale to the tabletop (Jim doesn’t drink or do drugs). “The volume of crappy porn that the country consumes is disgusting; what’s more, bad pornography impacts men’s sexuality in a negative way, which in turn leads to shorter erections, weaker orgasms, unsatisfied women, and a domino effect that impacts the entire sexual world. Porn should facilitate an orgasm, should improve everyone’s sexual life, whether alone or with another human being. I want people to watch Hookin’ Up on a date; I want people to get good ideas from it and to try those ideas out.” Porno Jim’s intended audience? Most certainly urbanites, hopefully more women than men, hipsters, artists, and performers, anybody who wants to get off. After a few more beers, and watching a few more people slobber all over anyone near them, this porn party has run its course, and we saunter off into the night, looking for something both more wholesome and more lascivious, unsure whether we’ll find either. This is New York City, after all.