I spent Valentine's Day night with porn superstar Dean Phoenix, pretty boy Brant Moore and director legend Mike Donner. Not many people can say that, but the two or three dozen who came to see them speak at A Different Light Bookstore in West Hollywood this past Saturday could!
It was nice to see Donner, who has relocated up to Oregon but still works whenever he finds the right project. Just now, he's doing a lot of work for Dink Flamingo and he's pleased with his GAYVN Award nominations for The Porne Ultimatum (he got nods for Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Picture, not to mention the nods his performers got).
Anyway, while this was a night to find out the secrets of the porn stars, Brent Corrigan turned out to be a no-show and Rod Barry was up in Northern California, but always cute and handsome Dean Phoenix showed up on time to take to the podium with the director, and Brant Moore showed up a few minutes after they started.
Brant is the guy licking his arm muscle on the cover of Donner's book, How to be a Gay Porn Star. The tall cute brunet, who was discovered by Donner when he had a year or two left in the Marines, recreated the photo live and in person much to the delight of the crowd.
"I always wanted to do [porn], and I heard about all kinds of bad things at the beginning, but Mike Donner made it easy for me," the budding star said.
With 20 years in the industry as a casting director, director and virtually everything else, Donner carved his own niche by writing controversial scripts that involved things like the presidential election, politics, religion, gay bashing and other shocking storylines that you rarely see in porn.
"I was never told that I couldn't do anything in porn. In fact, I was encouraged a few times to go a bit further and be even more controversial," Donner said. He also says he was always encouraged to write a biography but thought it would be boring and instead came up with his funny how-to paperback that is a great coffee table book or perfect for bathroom reading.
Donner worked with and helped discover the likes of Jason Crew, Tristan Matthews, Kent Larson, Tanner Hayes and many others, including Dean Phoenix, who was working at a bar in San Diego. Donner handed him a card, but Dean didn't call until a year later.
"I was pretty vanilla about sex before I got in the industry," Phoenix said. "And then I got into S/M and leather and I began to learn more of who I am and what I like. I have nothing bad to say about the industry or anyone I've met involved with it."
Dean hasn't worked in the business since last July after his much-touted comeback, and is now bartending in West Hollywood and working for a charity.
Just after the Q & A session ended, Freddie Bercovitz walked in. The guy who worked at Video 10 for so long was a surprise guest and met Donner for the first time live and in person after I introduced them. Freddie is no longer with Video 10 but is still in the business writing captions for a porn website. Most importantly, he promises that a third part to the butt-chair classic series A Rim with a View is in the can, so to speak, and will be released later this year.
SUPER SECRET: There's a model who performs in one of Donner's latest movies and also in a yet-to-be-released title - and he's actually an openly gay U.S. Marine. He just landed a job at one of the world's largest office buildings: the Pentagon. Any more details may jeopardize his position, but suffice to say that if you watch Donner's work, you're looking at a true hero.