My apartment’s previous life

October 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

Now if I didn’t need any more evidence that I was a force of gentrification, I found this article about the former resident of my Hell’s Kitchen apartment (shortly after being informed by my new neighbors that my apartment was once one of New York’s few operating porn studios).

By David Bienenstock for salon.com

Joe Gallant wants desperately to be the Andy Warhol of adult cinema.

“I love the crowd he attracted. I want my crowd to be like that: free-spirited, spontaneous and able to contribute,” explains Gallant, sole proprietor of a porn company called Black Mirror Productions, during a break from shooting scenes in his sweaty, sex-stenched Hell’s Kitchen apartment. “Warhol moved from painting to film, and I have my reasons for going from music to hardcore New York pornography.”

We’ve been filming in Gallant’s cramped version of the Factory for the last hour, packed in tight among tons of music and video equipment, barbells, books, movies, posters and the scattered papers and files of a very busy businessman. In the far corner of the bedroom, a bank of VCRs runs constantly, dubbing copies of such Black Mirror titles as “Times Square Trash,” “Extreme Filth” and “M’ass’terpiece Theater.”

When Gallant hands me a hand-held digital video camera and starts whacking away at some anal sex, my first instinct is to refuse the assignment due to a lack of any practical experience. I don’t even take vacation photos. But unlike mainstream porn (or mainstream movies, for that matter), at Black Mirror technical specifications take a back seat to the overall vision of the project.

“Warhol had no clue as to what he was doing. He just started doing it. He barely knew how to turn on the camera,” Gallant reassures me. “But his naiveté, coupled with a keen observation of social shifts, allowed him to capture a time and an era pretty effectively.”

I observe all the action through the camera’s small, square viewfinder, struggling to keep the undulating subject matter in the frame and in focus. The director never checks on my progress. He’s too busy exploring every available orifice of a 23-year-old blonde named Erika Kole.

“You have delicious balls,” she tells him.

“Thanks, it’s an old family recipe.” […See the rest here]

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