LOS ANGELES—Last night saw the official opening of Starrlight Gallery, a studio/dungeon/performance space at 1720 E. 14th Street, just south of downtown, created by adult stars Aiden Starr, Bobbi Starr (no relation) and Bobbi's artist boyfriend—an opening dedicated to the memory of Aiden's good friend, David Aaron Clark.
Despite the on-and-off rain showers, more than 30 people showed up at Starrlight to honor Clark, including Christian Mann, who as owner of Video Team gave Clark his first steady directing gig from 2002 to 2006; director Joey Silvera, Clark's longtime friend from the days both worked in New York City; John Nystrom, who shot most of Clark's movies since his relocation to L.A. from San Francisco; director Glenn Baren, a long-time friend; actress/director Kimberly Kane; and several other adult personalities.
This night, Starrlight's walls were lined with photos of Clark (many taken by Nystrom), and drawings and illustrations by artist Michael Manning, who collaborated with Clark to provide graphics for some of Clark's published works. In one corner, while Clark's last movie, Pure, was projected on a wall above, memorial attendees could also watch videotapes of some of Clark's earliest films, including his Asianatrix series, first for SF-based Power Exchange and later for Extreme Associates.
But the centerpiece of the memorial was an altar to Clark composed by Aiden, which featured a large iron cross upon which was draped Clark's signature leather duster, which he almost always wore, warm weather or cold. Surrounding it were props from various Clark movies, either completed or envisioned—notably the never-made Evil Sex Trap—including a barbed wire "crown of thorns," a pair of glass-handled sword canes for a proposed volume of No Man's Land, a broken porcelain "geisha" mask, and several personal effects including Clark's wallet, cell phone, rings and necklaces, all surrounded by devotion candles.
Behind the altar, somewhat incongruously considering the rest of the artworks, was a giant poster from the first Iron Man movie.
"It was one of David's favorite new movies," Aiden said. "We stole it from a bus stop on Wilshire in the middle of the night, like two children. John Nystrom was our lookout; David pried the glass plate open and I pulled it out, without ripping it!"
Also on display were four of the books Clark had written, including Sister Radiance, Into the Black, and Wet Forever, as well as some illustrative artwork by Manning, who created drawings of three of Clark's lovers and several graphics for his No Man's Land Asian Edition series, and Stephen Johnson-Leyba, with whom Clark celebrated their mutual birthdays at an invitation-only event in San Francisco in 1996.
"His books are fantastic; that's how we bonded," Aiden revealed. "Particularly with Into the Black, which is about the domination scene in New York City in the late '90s, and that's how I realized we were going to connect, because he had written a book about how I lived every day. It was very accurate, and it turned out that he lived that way every day also, and was a large part of the fetish scene. ... I think people in society at large will begin to enjoy his books and movies, and that there will be a renaissance of erotic art in the 21st century. We hope that his stuff will be a vintage inspiration to people."
Sadly, the Clark memorial was a one-evening event, though Aiden said that she would later conduct some private tours of the gallery by appointment. Otherwise, Starrlight Gallery will serve as Aiden's domination studio, and the setting where Bobbi will be directing porn and fetish crossover videos for, among others, Kink.com.