Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Barbarella Psychedella

What a way to start a movie. Before she was a political activist and made workout videos, Jane Fonda did a very hot peekaboo zero gravity striptease for the title credits of Barbarella . The "five star, double-rated astronavigatrix", started off life as a comic strip drawn by Jean-Claude Forest for V magazine in 1962. Dino De Laurentiis, who later produced the other campy sci-fi classic Flash Gordon, bought the rights and showed the story to French director Roger Vadim. Roger was married to Jane Fonda at the time and convinced her to turn down the title role in Bonnie and Clyde so they could do the project together. The film began shooting in 1967 with an all-star cast and crew. David Hemmings (Blow Up), Milo O'Shea (Romeo and Juliet) and Anita Pallenberg (dressed in Paco Rabanne, with a giant horn on her head) play the lead roles. Terry Southern, who was the scriptwriter for Dr Strangelove and Easy Rider, also provides the famous mime Marcel Marceau with his first ever spoken role, where he says stuff like “the angel is aerodynamically sound, it’s all a question of morale.” The two things that Barbarella is famous for are the costumes and the sex. Jacques Fonteray, the costume designer, decided that in the 41st century a female space explorer would wear go-go boots, mini-dresses, capes and a (slightly annoying) tail. Though at the rate she changes her costumes, you do wonder whether her wardrobe is large enough for her to complete the mission of finding the scientist Duran Duran and his evil positronic ray. Our heroine also gets laid alot. Sometimes the old-fashioned way, sometimes with a "exultation-transference pellet" and sometimes by an erotic torture piano. There's also an excellent scene where a woman smokes a man in a bong.

For Betty or Worse

The multiple personalities of Betty Page
Although she only modelled for seven years in the 1950's, Betty Page had more photographs of her taken than Marilyn Monroe and Cindy Crawford put together. But if you look past the black bangs, and impish smiles in her bondage and cheesecake shots, you'll also see that the world's most famous pin-up had thin lips, a lazy right eye and a high forehead. She learnt all her modelling poses when she was placed in an orphanage in Nashville aged 10, after her father sexually abused her, then knocked up another local teenager. Betty and her sisters used to play a game called "Program" where they would mimic the poses of the movie stars when the colour supplement of the newspaper arrived each Sunday. Her modelling career started when she moved to New York and bumped into an off-duty police officer with a penchant for photography in Coney Island. He suggested putting together her first portfolio and told her to cut in her trademark fringe to disguise her forehead. She soon started modelling naked for camera enthusiasts at camera clubs, and it wasn't until biographies of her came out forty years later that she found out that there was often no film in the cameras of the amateur photographers.

Bettie Page 2

A lot of Betty Page's popularity came from the fact the she alternated between bad girl bondage and the girl next door. She designed all of her bikinis in the photos that appeared in men's magazines like Playboy, Wink, Titter and the innocent-enough-sounding Sunbathing For Health magazine. She also designed the "Jungle Betty" outfit from one of her most famous photo sessions with Bunny Yeager, where she posed in a safari park in Florida. In her most famous photos, she had dark circles under her eyes as she had been broken into the night and two of the cheetahs she posed nude with had been vomiting all night. Even though she wasn't personally into bondage herself, her other persona was the "Dark Angel", where she posed with whips and wrestled other girls in underwear for photographer Irving Klaw. Then suddenly at the height of her fame, and after rejecting the sexual advances of Howard Hughes, she disappeared for nearly four decades.

Bettie Page 3

After her disappearence, rumours abounded that Betty Page had been snuffed out by the Mob, been assassinated by the FBI, changed her face with plastic surgery, become a nun or married the Shah of Iran. Her popularity didn't wane in her absence: fan magazines circulated and her likeness was borrowed in cartoon strips from The Rocketeer to Vampirella. When she was finally tracked down by journalists, living as a recluse in Florida, she confessed the reason for her mysterious disappearance: Jesus had appeared to her in a vision, and told her that he didn't want her to model anymore. It was also revealed that she really did have a split personality: Betty had attempted to stab several people to death and had been diagnosed as schizophrenic and committed to a mental health asylum for a decade. Now, after rumours of Liv Tyler styling her hair into bangs for Martin Scorsese, a Betty biopic is finally being made by the people behind American Psycho. But Betty doesn't understand what all the fuss is about: "They keep saying I'm some kind of icon and that I started the new generation's sex movement. All I did was pose in the nude. I had less sex activity those seven years in New York than I had any other time in my life."

Belle End

Now that Belle de Jour has her book and TV deal, she's given up hooking.

Belle de Jour is one very clever ex-prostitute. She borrowed her name from a 1967 French film starring Catherine Deneuve as a housewife who dabbles in prostitution, she discussed Iris Murdoch with clients after sex and once chastised one of her johns for wanting to write his name in come on her: "You can't fool me, you nicked that line from London Fields". "Amis Fan?" he said idly, pulling himself with one hand." She confessed all to her weblog in 2003, and soon had the British press clamouring to work out whether all the literary references meant she was a journalist writing a mucky fairytale. Toby Young, Rowan Pelling, Sarah Champion, even Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell had the finger pointed at them. The Times even hired a literary forensic expert to track her down. A six-figure book deal and an upcoming Channel 4 TV series has meant that she's quit her day job now, so that when her phone rings now "it doesn't mean I have to go check the state of my pubic hair." In one interview, Belle complained that with all the press furore came the assumption "that a woman who has sex for money could not possibly put a readable sentence together." But when she writes in her book "Did I mention that I am actually rather clever? Oh, I did. Well, Martin Amis is cool," does she not realise how grating it is to show off how many books she's got under her belt? Which begs the question, how are Channel 4 going to translate her literary boastfulness on to screen? And now that she's not a prostitute, is she interesting anymore?

George's girls

Mr Petty's secret: they were all based on his daughter

The only thing a little bit strange about the scantily-clad Petty Girl pin-up, with her rosy cheeks, perky D-cup breasts and Coca-Cola bottle curves, was that George Petty based her on his daughter. The construction of the ultimate male fantasy put to paper was a Petty family production line. George's wife would suggest drawing a coquettish ice skater or ballet dancer, then his daughter Marjorie would pose for him. He would morph the Petty Girl into a different pretty lady by transplanting another model's head on top for each painting. Even his son, George Jr, was the model for the Petty Girl's beau. The Petty Girls most famously appeared in Esquire for seven years, but also graced the front cover of Time magazine, were hood ornaments for Nash cars and starred in ads for the Ice Capades and the suggestively-named tool company Ridgid Tools. One of Petty's favourite poses for her was curled up on a bed on the recently-invented telephone. He once advertised his services in an illustrator's classified section, which traditionally carried ads that read "Water colour and oil" and "Poster and Book design", as "Telephones tenderly rendered". George Petty died in 1975, after spending the last years of his life hunting big game in Africa and on the panel of judges for Miss America. In 1973, Esquire also managed to convince him to draw his final pin-up, an old age pensioner complete with grey hair and granny glasses.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Come Stains

Suddenly everyone's making stained glass porn

Juan Martin del Campo makes stained glass windows with everything from naked men standing next to unicorns, to mano-a-mano blow jobs. He also makes mini-stained glass handcuffs for your every pornographic Christmas tree need. He was inspired to make the "sacred and the sacrilege to shine through each shard of glass" after seeing the stained-glass cover art for Thurston Moore's 'Psychic Hearts' album. And what does he wear while making his stained glass smut? Bunny ears and cravats. But he's not the first artist to merge the Catholic church's favourite form of art with porn. Wim Delvoye beat him to it with his 2002 'Sex-Rays' stained glass window, where he mosaic-ed together pictures of his friends' barium-coated sexual encounters, featuring intertwined tongues and blowjobs. Though how he managed to convince his male friends to lay their balls on an X-ray machine is quite beyond me.

Top: Wim Delvoye 'Sex-Rays'. Left-right, Juan Martin del Campo's: 'Love Boat', choice of attire, '3 Wishes'

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Vivid meets Vargas

Spot the difference between Vivid pornstar Savanna Samson (left), and Vargas' original Sheer Elegance painting (right)

Vivid are very inventive when it comes to marketing their stable of porn starlets. They've put them on snowboards, they're publishing a series of erotic novels based on their personal lives and Vivid movies, and last year they even unveiled a billboard on Sunset Boulevard with all their current Vivid girls proclaiming "Look We Can Even Erect a Billboard." Vivid's latest marketing ploy to introduce the girls to a new audience, (who say, might find the current porn climate a bit tacky), is to turn them into Vargas girls. As David Schlesinger, Vivid's vice president for licensing, stresses: "The images are romantic and sensual and are targeted to mainstream audiences and art collectors. They are not X-rated in any way." Fashion photographers Richard Dean and Len Prince, have recreated poses originally pencilled by Alberto Vargas and Gil Elvgren. So far, Savannah Samson has been turned into a mermaid and in a nod to George Petty, Tera Patrick curls on on her bed, while on the telephone. You can buy prints online here, if you have the spare $7500. And if you're wondering where Sunrise and Jenna are they're going to be a shot in a series of Film Noir poses in the near future.

Painting the town pink

Honey's Hero: Fafi

When she was 17, Fabianne Sancry choose the pen-name Fafi and started tagging the streets of her hometown of Tolouse to impress the boys. Her first creations were sexy but grotesque Martian girls. She finally got the boys' attention after she changed tact and started drawing cute, curvy lolita-girls with hearts painted on their cheeks, pleasuring themselves on skateboards. She says her two biggest problems when she was starting out were cops, and kids coming up and asking her "why I was drawing a girl sucking dicks." Although being busted for painting public property carries a two month jail sentence in France, the cops never used to suspect her when she was out painting the town because she was a cute girl dolled up in an Adidas tracksuit and stiletto heels. When she did get arrested, she got a get out of jail free card when she agreed to paint one of her porny murals on the walls of the station. Fafi's designs are now all around the world, from tags on walls in Thailand, to toys inside vending machines in Tokyo, to the side of French Diet Coke cans. Fafi describes her girls as the type who go out and "rape and sequester the boys." And if you too, want to look like one of her strumpets, she's also designed a range of clothes based on what she'd think her "Fafi-nette" girls would like to wear. Check them out at

Ebay of the day: Tera Patrick sex doll

Stephen Ochs, the former Editor of the sex industry newpaper AVN, promises that his Tera Patrick sex doll signed by the likes of such porn luminaries as Ron Jeremy and Mary Carey "has never been used, except to decorate my cubicle." Although sadly not signed by Tera herself, its the perfect excuse to tell her story, read on below.

Reign of Tera

Honey's Heroes: Tera Patrick

Tera Patrick, probably the most famous porn starlet today after Jenna Jameson, loves to hunt. Specifically she loves to track and blow to smithereens caribou, elk and pheasant with her medium bore rifle. She learnt when she was a kid growing up in Montana, when she also used to camp and fish with her American dad and Thai mother. They moved to San Francisco, where Tera was discovered by Elite Models aged 13, hanging out at Fisherman's Wharf, wearing an Ozzy Osbourne t-shirt. She spent five years modelling, during which she graced the pages of Vogue, before quitting and getting a degree in nursing and microbiology. As Tera herself says, "I can do a rough hard-core sex scene, then do a lecture on DNA. That’s just who I am."

"I spit, my llamas swallow"

Honey's Heroes: Tera Patrick 2
Tera's porn career started with a nice fat cheque from Penthouse and Playboy, glamour modelling soon spiralled into some foot fetish and bondage tapes where she appeared under the name of Brooke Thomas. Some of her more famous blue movies under the name of Tera Patrick include Nice Rack 4 (they were, up until recently unblemished by silicon) and Virtual Sex with Tera Patrick, an interactive movie where you jerk off whilst Tera stares you directly in the eye, encouraging you to orgasm (Yeah, fuck my face baby!") One of her most recent films, the excellently-titled Reign of Tera, also stars her husband Spyder Jones (real name Evan Seinfeld), frontman for rock band Biohazard, who also starred as Jazz Hoyt in the prison TV series Oz. Tera is a good wife, she has a enormous tattoo on her ankle which says "Evan's Princess" and although she doesn't let him have sex with the other girls in their porno scenes, "I'll let the other girls give him a blowjob. Why not give him something extra? He's so good to me." Other things you might not have known about the beautiful Mrs Patrick is that she also knits, makes candles, likes watching porn films starring her with the sound turned down and won't do hard-core scenes with women. Oh, and she also once invested in a llama-breeding farm. Tera on llamas: "they spit, I swallow!"

Monday, January 10, 2005

1) Playgirl

Celebrating three decades of porn mags for women

Although you might think that Playgirl stole its name from Hugh Hefner, founder Douglas Lambert actually named the magazine after a stripclub he owned in Orange County, California. He wanted to set up a porn mag for men, but his wife suggested he targeted women with naked pictures of men. It was 1973, at the height of the feminist movement, Cosmopolitan had just been the first magazine to ever feature a nude male centrefold, but for the first issue Playgirl played it safe with their centrefold protecting his modesty behind crossed legs. Letters of complaint from readers flooded in, and for their second issue they went full monty. By the end of the first year, sales peaked at 1.5 million. But thirty years later - which included a centrefold featuring Benji the dog and a $45,000 offer to Prince Charles to pose naked - the circulation is more like 300,000. There are still nlittle in the way of erections. One member of staff described how they tried to get round the anti-erection ban imposed by stockists by asking male models to work up a hard on, then press it down until it became just soft enough to point down. They called it "maximum tumescence in repose." They've launched Playgirl TV to find another way of making money, but the main problem is that Playgirl is just a replica of a men's mag with men dropped in instead of women. And the men are just as fake as the silicon, photoshopped men's mag fodder. They are fanta-coloured, a mountain-range of muscles and are too well depilated. They have names straight out of Sunset Beach, like Rolando, described in his bio as " a self-described loner who reads Quantum Physics for fun." In a word, they are gay. Which might explain why 30% of Playgirl's readership are gay men and out of all the readers I spoke to, the general consensus was that gay men buy it to wank over, women buy it as the spice to a hen party.

Friday, January 07, 2005

2) For Women

Celebrating three decades of porn mags for women

For Women wanted you to be a BITCH. A Bold, Intelligent, Tough, Cool and Horny woman, that is. For the first issue in 1992, Kevin Costner showed some skin, the magazine asked whether vibrators could replace men, and nude guys were (ironically) photographed by ex-Penthouse models-turned-photographers. There was even a short story by Anais Nin. It sold 400,000 copies, and publisher Northern and Shell, immediately rushed out two other female porn magazines: Women On Top (a "hen party glossy for ladies who like to dance round their handbags") and Women Only ("A sexy version of Marie Claire".) The publisher of all three, Isabel Koprowski, became the acceptable face of porn in the media, casually dropping quotes like how she used to have a "cast-iron, Victorian fantasy hymen”. But Playgirl hardbody syndrome struck again. For Women's Editor Ruth Corbett even admitted that lots of the models were gay, because "gay men are the ones who look after their bodies." But apart from all these downfalls, the most simple one, as one For Women reader put it, was "not only did you have to build up the courage to brazenly stare at the Top Shelf with all the dirty raincoat brigade, I often had to ask them to pass down my porn, as I wasn't tall enough."

3) The Erotic Review

Celebrating three decades of porn mags for women
Rowan Pelling, the "Editrice" of Erotic Review who quit after the magazine was taken over by the publisher of Penthouse last year, never thought of the magazine as pornography. Porn is something designed to give you an orgasm, and she seriously doubted that any "frenzied frottage" was going on over her features. Instead the magazine billed itself as the world's most intelligent sex magazine, covering subjects from burlesque dancers, to the erotic joys of travelling on Eurostar, to erotica featuring a talking vulva. The ER started life as a couple of pages of A4 stapled together into a newsletter for customers of The Erotic Print Society. One of the main reasons it escalated into a magazine, was down to its ability to entice writers like Barry Humphries and DBC Pierre to write for them. Pelling described the 25% female readership as wistful young women who yearned for life to be like a Forties film, the kind who preferred their man illustrated aroused, than photographed on the soft. The kind who when the magazine compliled a list of the sexiest men alive, included Gordon Brown and the Dalai Lama in their top 25. It is a refreshing change to have highbrow sex, but it could be too much. For example, a review of a Fever swingers party started as follows: "Bedizened in diamante, entombed in velvet, we set off proudly marching towards nowhere. If only. We are going to a party. Open house? Open bed. Well darlings what can I say?". Sometimes it’s better to call a spade a spade.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

4) Kutt

Celebrating three decades of porn mags for women

Jessica Gysel didn't pussyfoot around the subject when choosing a name for her Dutch Dyke Zine, opting for Kutt (the Dutch word for cunt.) It also happened to rhyme with their brother magazine Butt, which billed itself as "The Interesting Faggot Magazine For Homosexuals And The Men who Love Them." Set up in 2002, Kutt was pretty, purple and playful. The A5 zine was printed on lilac paper and included photostories of "Four Dutch Women Mudwrestling", porn colouring-in pictures and, betraying its style mag roots, an interview with Chloe Sevigny telling us that she's not had full on lesbo sex yet, but that she's completely hot for it. It was sold in hipster stores around Europe and Magma bookshop in London, but closed despite being able to do what most jazz mags can't: get advertising from people like Gucci and Lee>, as opposed to Tampax and exercise videos. One of the most interesting things about Kutt though, was how many straight women read it as well: as one hetero female reader said " I like looking at girls' bodies. New Woman and Vogue flaunt them at me every month. I loathe the pnuematic, hair extension-ness of Playboy, but hot indie lesbian girls, now that is something I can totally sweat over."

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

5) Sweet Action

Celebrating 30 years of porn mags for women

When jewellery designer Robin Adams tried to find some good quality straight porn for a hen night, she says all she could find was steroid-enhanced beefcake care of Playgirl. Sensing a gap in the market, she got together with stylist friends Micole Taggart and Hope D and they set up a porn mag that worships cock. Fluid drenched studs are banned, the Editors only pick straight guys they fancy. Scruffy, tattooed Jake Gyllenghal types, erect and with all their body hair intact are shot in their own apartments, sometimes with the digital date still in the bottom corner of the photo. Another thing the ladies banned was porn poetry because they were "fed up with porn wrapped in a pretty bow of erotica." If you've never heard of the underground grafitti artists/band members they interview, it doesn't matter because the design is gorgeous and there's also cartoons, penis playing cards and a brilliant field report on the lost art of the handjob, where the reporter gets tips and photographed whilst stroking three guys off. Sweet Action isn't pushing an agenda of erotic empowerment for women, in their first Editors letter, they wrote they weren't even sure whether women are ready and willing to buy porn. They just want to have fun and make a porn magazine that they want to read themselves. Looks like they're not the only ones. The best letter they've been sent so far reads "Although I am eighty years old, I am not in my second childhood. If your magazine is as advertised, I've been waiting for such a one for many a year."