The Prince Of Porn

the films of Gerard Damiano Sr – Restored

Tag: Throat: 12 Years After

Restoring the films of Gerard Damiano Sr. – The Journey Continues

Gerard Damiano Sr. - photo by Jack Hardman

Gerard Damiano Sr.

My sister Christar and I decided the best way to honor our father, acclaimed adult film director Gerard Damiano, would be to restore his best films and complete his biography. On Father’s Day 2015, I began this blog to document the journey. Now a full year has passed, and although the blog had fallen silent for a time, the journey continues. We felt that the best way to tell his story would be using his own words and the words of those that worked together with him. I teamed up with Larry Revene, one of the most highly regarded cinematographers of the genre. He had shot a number of my father’s films in the late 70s and early 80s.

Larry and I had met on the set of “Throat: 12 Years After” more than 30 years before. Together we formed the “Crew of 2” and set out on the road to track down the surviving “Legends of The Golden Age of Porn” and film interviews with them. We left New York City with all of our gear packed into the 2006 Toyota Corolla that my father and I had bought together before he died.

Our first stop was Newport, Kentucky to meet up with legendary burlesque dancer turned porn star, Annette Heinz. Then it was on to Hollywood to meet the “Goddess of the Golden Age” Georgina Spelvin, star of “The Devil in Miss Jones”. We travelled through California, filming porn stars in sleazy motel rooms (a cliché in itself).  At first, I was writing blog posts about each encounter, but as we continued, the adventures came so hard and fast that I couldn’t keep up. Larry did most of the driving while I navigated, worked the phone, and planned the next move. As we drove from one destination to the next trying to track people down along the way, often not knowing where we were going to be the next day, or where we were going to sleep that night.

The Crew of 2 Nationwide. Larry Revene and Gerard Damiano Jr. somewhere in Missouri

The Crew of 2 Nationwide. Larry Revene and Gerard Damiano Jr. somewhere in Missouri.

We sometimes shot two interviews in a day and I found myself preparing questions in the car and literally watching films as we drove. It was all we could do to be in the moment, while planning for the next. After about a dozen posts I quickly fell behind. I don’t understand how some of these bloggers do it.

How do you live your life and write about it at the same time?

By the time we got back to New York we had driven nearly 10,000 miles across 17 states and filmed more than 20 interviews with some of the most important figures of the era. With all the new information that we discovered, I found that the story was much bigger, and the project much broader in scope than I had initially thought. Our adventures on the road were a story in itself. The new material that we shot was enough to produce a short subject on each film. Between the research for the book, the restoration of 10 films, and all the new media that was generated, I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the project. Having fallen more than a dozen posts behind, even the blog added to the weight. It would be easy to lose myself in all this material. Plus, I still had a day job. Real-world obligations and the necessity to raise funds to continue became a priority.

The Crew of 2 Coast to Coast Larry Revene at the Pacific Ocean Photo by Gerard Damiano Jr.

The Crew of 2 Coast to Coast. Larry Revene at the Pacific Ocean. Photo by Gerard Damiano Jr.

I saw the importance of finishing the book. The over-arching story of my father’s life could provide the framework which gives context to the films and other related projects. I brought in some research assistants to help me digest the vast archive of personal writings, press, and film memorabilia that my father had left. But it is a long and painstaking process. Nearly 8 years have passed since my father’s death, and I am anxious to get his films out there to be seen as he had intended. My sister and I have decided to cut to the chase and focus on releasing what our father considered to be his best film. “The Story of Joanna”.

Poster for Gerard Damiano's "The Story of Joanna" (1975)

Poster for “The Story of Joanna” (1975)

“The Story of Joanna” was his dark S/M opus, produced in 1975 at the height of “Porno Chic”. It starred Terry Hall as Joanna, and Jamie Gillis in a role that was tailor made for him. Critics called it “Damiano’s Masterpiece”. The film has not been seen in its original form since the 1970s. It came up often during our interviews across America. When we spoke with Joáo Fernandes, the cinematographer for the film — who had previously shot “Deep Throat”, “The Devil in Miss Jones” and “Memories within Miss Aggie”— he agreed that it was the best work that he had done for my father, perhaps the best work of his adult film career. Annie Sprinkle was NOT in “The Story of Joanna”, but she confessed to me that as my father’s mistress, she was on set and had a lot of behind-the-scenes stories about the film. One of the last interviews that Larry and I shot together was of Juliet Graham, the last surviving cast member, who had some surprising revelations, not least of all about Jamie Gillis.

As the development of the book continues, I will attempt to finish some of the missing posts about the galaxy of stars that Larry and I encountered during our odyssey across America. Their stories were always surprising and often revealing. Our father may always be remembered for “Deep Throat”, but he would have preferred to be known for “The Story of Joanna”. Christar and I hope to screen the restored version of the film in New York City by year’s end.

Gerard Damiano Jr.
Queens, New York,  Father’s Day, 2016

To be continued…

Note: This blog has migrated from theprinceofporn.wordpress.com to www.theprinceofporn.com.

The Crew of 2 revisits Porn Star Phd. Sharon Mitchell in Santa Cruz

Miss Sharon Mitchell Santa Cruz 2015 Photo by Larry Revene

Miss Sharon Mitchell 2015 photo by Larry Revene

When last we saw her earlier this summer, Dr. Mitch was still suffering from injuries sustained when a deer darted out in front of her motorcycle. Now having fully recovered she looked remarkably well, and took time out from an International HIV lawsuit in which she was testifying as an expert witness, to speak further about her experiences working together with my father, Gerard Damiano Sr. Having appeared in 7 of his films made during the “Golden Age” we had a lot to talk about, which necessitated this second visit.

I was curious to hear about “Odyssey The Ultimate Trip”, the first film that she ever did with him. Released in 1977, the film was later renamed “Odyssex” by a distributor who thought that working the word “SEX” into the title would boost box office sales and perhaps avoid confusion with the classic by Homer.

Sharon Mitchell and Tony Mansfield in “Odyssey” (1977)

Sharon Mitchell and Tony Mansfield in “Odyssey The Ultimate Trip” (1977)

In it, Sharon has a rather unusual “Double Drag” Scene together with Tony Mansfield  dressed as a woman, while she is dressed as a man. We spoke about the scene in New York City at the time and about Tony, who I hope to meet up with before my own odyssey is complete.

Sharon Mitchell and George Payne in “Throat:12 Years After” 1984 © 2015 Class X, LLC

Sharon Mitchell and George Payne in “Throat:12 Years After” (1984)

We also talked about her work with George Payne, who she appeared with in both “Throat: 12 Years After” and “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue”. In “Alpha Blue”, my father hired her for a “non-sex role”, which is a testimony, not to her well known talent as a performer, but to her talent an actor.

To be continued…

Miss Sharon Mitchell interviewed by Gerard Damiano Jr. Photographed by Larry Revene

Miss Sharon Mitchell interviewed by Gerard Damiano Jr. photographed by Larry Revene

Annie Sprinkle… Porn Star, Art Star, Author, Ecosexual Activist, Goddess

Annie Sprinkle Ecosexual Goddess Photo © Julian Cash

Annie Sprinkle Ecosexual Goddess
Photo © Julian Cash

Dr. Annie Sprinkle earned her place as a legend of the ”Golden Age of Porn”, but did not let that alone define her. Her career is not easy to summarize. She has been rightly described as a sex educator, feminist stripper, prostitute, performance artist, post-porn modernist, photographer, and film maker, and her resumé continues. She has the distinction of being the first porn star to earn a Ph.D., and is the author of 5 books. Early in her career she became an advocate for Sex Workers rights, and when the AIDS epidemic broke out, she used her talent and celebrity to spread awareness about Safe Sex. She survived cancer, and turned the experience into art.

When Annie first met my father in an Arizona courthouse in 1973, while “Deep Throat” was being prosecuted. They were both called in as witnesses, (he for writing and directing the film, and she, for merely selling tickets at the Tucson movie theater, where it was showing). They were instantly attracted to one another, and began a relationship which lasted for years. This brought Annie to New York City, where she would live for the next 22 years.

Today she is married to artist and UCSC professor Beth Stephens. Their wedding itself was a work of art, getting married more than 14 times, during their seven-year project, Love Art Laboratory. Identifying as “ecosexuals”, they use their creativity AND sexuality, to raise awareness about critical environmental issues. Their latest collaboration, which is currently in production, “Water Makes Us Wet” draws attention to Water, the lack of which, is a crisis in their home state of California, at this very moment.

Annie Sprinkle in “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue”

Annie Sprinkle in “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue”
© 2015 Class X, LLC

We visited Annie and Beth, at their country cottage, in Boulder Creek, California, literally surrounded by Redwood Trees, where they spend time away from their home in San Francisco. Annie spoke to me candidly about her relationship with my father. I learned that she actually worked behind the scenes in more of his films, than she appeared in. We spoke about her cameo in “Throat: 12 Years After”, and her controversial scene with then boyfriend Mal O’Ree, in “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue”, which is still as hot and edgy today, as it was when it was shot in 1983. My father directed Annie in “Consenting Adults”, a film that she conceived of, in which she documented her friends and their real life sexual escapades, in a kind of hardcore “reality show”. She never pretended to be an actress, but rather let her genuine sexual nature, be captured on film.

#TheCrewof2 with Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens at SOMArts Cultural Center

#TheCrewof2 with Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens at SOMArts Cultural Center during the opening of “Making a Scene: 50 Years of Bay Area Alternative Spaces”. Photo by Gerard Damiano Jr.

After our interview, Larry Revene and I followed Beth and Annie to San Francisco, to document their performance at SOMArts Cultural Center. The time-lapse video below, shows them performing water rituals, inside and outside of their “Pollination Pod”, a sort of mobile ecosexual laboratory. Currently Annie and Beth are on tour in California.
To learn more about about their project, visit: www.theEcosexuals.org

Visit Annie’s website at: www.anniesprinkle.org
Follow her on Twitter at: @AnnieSprinkle
Follow her on Facebook at: facebook.com/pages/Annie-Sprinkle
L
earn more about the Sexology at: sexecology.org
S
ee Annie and Beth’s latest film “Goodbye Gauley Mountain-An Ecosexual Love Story


Annie Sprinkle
and Beth Stephens perform Water Rituals, both inside and out, of their Pollination Pod at SOMArts Cultural Center
“Shaw ’Nuff” performed by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie

A divine appointment with Miss Sharon Mitchell on the streets of Scotts Valley, CA

Dr. Mitch

Dr. Mitch

Sharon Mitchell (known by her peers as “Mitch”), acted Off-Broadway, and toured with the Martha Graham Dance Company, before starring in her first adult film, “That Lady from Rio”, in 1976. During her career, she has appeared in more than 600 films, and directed 18. By the 1980s Sharon’s lifestyle had taken it’s toll on her. She became a heroin addict, and suffered from a number of STDs. in 1996, following a brutal assault, by a crazed stalker which nearly killed her, she quit drugs and went back to school. She earned both an MA and Phd, and in 1998, she founded the nonprofit Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM), which provided testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and drug and psychological counseling for porn actors. In 2011, an information leak led to a lawsuit, and the clinic’s closure.

Sharon Mitchell in “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue” (1980)

Sharon Mitchell in “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue” (1980)

Sharon had a powerful screen presence. She was one of my father’s favorite performers, and he used her in at least 6 of his films, including a non-sex role in “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue”. When I first met Sharon Mitchell during the production of “Throat: 12 Years After”, I was only 19 years old, but well aware of who she was. She was not like any of the other porn stars of the day. I could relate to the street smart, Italian looking, Jersey girl, who was small in size, big on attitude, and totally HOT. In the film, she played a scene within a scene, in which she recounts one of her earliest sexual experiences, a kind of school yard fantasy. The performer playing opposite her, had never been in a porn film before, and was hired for his youthful appearance. He was not much older than me. His role required him to put his erect member through a chain link fence, while Sharon, on the other side (in a cheerleader outfit no less), gave him head. Later that night, after we had wrapped for the day, I joked with my father, telling him that whatever that kid was getting paid for the scene, I would have done it for half.

I had a very hard time tracking Sharon Mitchell down. Word in New York was that she had begun using again, and was living on the street. Knowing her checkered past, we feared the worst, and had all but given up on finding her. Once in Hollywood, I was given a cell number, from a mutual friend, but was cautioned that no one had seen or heard from her in weeks. When we finally connected by phone, Sharon sounded surprisingly well, and we made plans to meet outside of Santa Cruz. Days later, as we exited off Highway 17 to Scotts Valley, the phone rang. It was Sharon, who had called to say that she was out walking her dog, and wondered when we would be arriving. We were stopped at the first traffic light off the highway, and as I listened, I noticed a woman talking on the phone and walking a dog past our car. I rolled down the window and yelled out “Mitch?!”. The dashboard cam caught a glimpse of our divine appointment with Sharon, in the time-lapse video, shown below.

We were happy to find her in good health, perhaps a little worse for wear from a motorcycle accident she had recently suffered, when a deer darted out in front of her. Despite the knee brace, she appeared to be in remarkable physical shape. After catching up a bit, and confirming plans to film in the morning, we offered to drive her, and her dog, back home. After driving for miles, up and over a mountain, on a very steep, twisting road, I was amazed to think that she made this walk, down and back, at least once a day, everyday. Larry and I were tired out just from the drive. Once in front of the camera, we spoke about her experiences working with my father on films which include “Odyssey“, “Skin Flicks”, “Consenting Adults” and “Night Hunger”.

Today, “Dr. Mitch” works as an expert witness in H.I.V./A.I.D.S. criminal law. She is earning her certification as an EMT, so that she will be qualified to do disaster relief work.

with Miss Sharon Mitchell

The Crew of 2 with Miss Sharon Mitchell, Scotts Valley, Californian July 2015

In the San Emigdio Mountains with Nice Guy Porn Star Eric Edwards

Eric Edwards' headshot

Eric Edwards’ headshot from the 1970s

Known for his youthful charm and good looks, Eric Edwards was often cast as the “boy next door”, in a film career which has spanned 5 decades. His roles run the full spectrum, having appeared in high profile television commercials, as well as some of the most notorious XXX loops ever filmed.  While studying acting at Baylor College, he received a full scholarship to The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and moved to New York City. Upon graduation he signed with the William Morris agency, and for the next 8 years appeared in Regional Theater and Summer Stock, as well as national TV spots for Gillette, and Close-Up Toothpaste, among others. In the late 1960s he answered an ad in Screw Magazine, which led him to Bob Wolf’s infamous 14th St. studio, where he first met Larry Revene. Larry filmed Eric’s very first loops, and his career in adult film began. He went on to appear in more than 500 films. By 1985 he made the move from in front of the camera, to behind it, directing 50 films. He has worked in all aspects of film production, writing, producing, shooting, editing and everything in between.

Eric Edwards in

“This is my curse… and I will revel in it”  Eric Edwards as Lucien Blair in “Night Hunger” (1983)

Larry and I travelled north from LA, into the San Emigdio Mountains, where we found Eric, living in a small town, together with his 2 sons. He is truly one of the kindest, gentlest spirits, in the adult industry. Eric had first worked with my father on the 1974 classic, “Memories within Miss Aggie”, which is as much a psychological thriller as it is a sex film. We watched “Memories” together, and also spoke at length about his role in “Night Hunger” (1983), where he was cast against type, as the insatiable satyr, Lucien Blair. In this film, he performs a sex scene with no less than 5 women, and relies heavily on his acting ability to portray the dark and brooding character. The first time that I met Eric, was on the set of “Throat: 12 Years After”, a film which both Larry and I worked on, more than 30 years ago. He also worked for my father in “Who’s Fantasy is it Anyway?”(1983), and “Slightly Used” (1987).

Although plagued by tragedy in his personal life, and some health issues in recent years, Eric is now happily retired, and content to be a celebrity at his local duck pond, where his daily appearances draw crowds of waterfowl, who recognize the sound of his approaching vehicle, and literally flock to him. You won’t find Eric on Facebook or other social media. However, there is a 30 year old Eric Edwards on Facebook, who is probably wondering why so many “Porn Stars of the Golden Age” want to be his friend.

Next we head to Northern California in search of the elusive Sharon Mitchell…


1970s Close Up Toothpaste Commercial featuring Eric Edwards

In Northern Kentucky, on the trail of Annette Heinz

Annette Heinz (circa1984)

Annette Heinz (circa 1984)

Our first stop is in Northern Kentucky to find legendary burlesque dancer Annette Heinz. Annette found fame working as a go-go dancer in Larry Flynt’s Hustler Clubs in Ohio in 1970. She later moved to New York City and was a feature dancer at The Melody Burlesque on Broadway. It was there that she met my father, who put Annette in her first film. “Gerard Damiano’s Consenting Adults” was a documentary about sex and sexuality in America, shot by Larry Revene. Annette then made “Throat: 12 Years After“, and “Return to Alpha Blue”, with my father. She went on to have a career in Adult films, making more than 22 movies. Today she is a Certified Chef and Culinary Artist, living back in her hometown of Newport, Kentucky.

Annette Heinz is a sassy southern belle, still as lovely as ever. We filmed her back in our motel room, which had been converted to a sound stage (a porn tradition). Her remembrances of my father and her experiences in the industry were very touching. She moved me to tears, then had me laughing out loud. She is beginning work on her own book, and invites her fans to friend her on Facebook.

Next stop Kansas City in search of Jody Maxwell.
(to be continued)

Annette Heinz filmed in Northern Kentucky by Gerard Damiano Jr. and Larry Revene. June 2015

Annette Heinz filmed in Northern Kentucky by Gerard Damiano Jr. and Larry Revene. June 2015