Saturday, October 16, 2010
The first famous people that I met were Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski who were on vacation in London in 1969 and came into the drug-store at which I worked. She was lovely and very pregnant. He gave me the creeps. She was murdered by Charles Manson's ghouls a few months later.
Then in 1976 I worked in a restaurant one of whose owners was Yehudi Menuhin. He was okay but a bit distant and snobbish.
In 1979 I moved to San Francisco. The woman who had gotten me the job in Menuhin's restaurant in London also immigrated to the USA and got me a job catering a birthday party for George Lucas' daughter. I did not like him at all.
Around the same time I met then California Governor Jerry Brown at the Zen Center in San Francisco. I like him even though I did not agree with him politically but he was friendly and seemed sincere. Later I met Tom Haydn, the politician who had once been married to Jane Fonda. I took an instant dislike to him and probably would have loathed him even if I had agreed with his politics.
In 1979 and 1980 I also met two other people in San Francisco who were not yet famous. At the time that I met them they both worked as "masseurs" (a "job" that I, and many others, did at the time.) Soon after I met them, they both started making porn movies. (I was also good-looking in those days and I probably would have done so too if I'd had a bigger dick.)
I met Neal Shaw on the number 43/Masonic bus which we both used to catch at the same bus-stop. I was headed home from my job in a restaurant and Neal was headed for night-classes at City College. He was a very sweet guy; a strange mixture of natural shyness and a superficial but very boldly assertive sexual personality. I was very attracted to him but was far too shy in those days to accept his come-on.
(Also there was something about him that warned me off. I've always been the "marrying kind" which means that I usually fall in love with whomever I have sex with and I sensed a certain aura of danger about Shaw.)
One day he stopped catching the bus and soon after that I saw him in a couple of porn movies made by Buckshot or Colt. Then he disappeared altogether and I hope that he wasn't one of the 14 friends that I lost to AIDS in 1981-2.
You can see Neal's G-rated pics here and the X-rated pics are here.
A few months later I met Kristen Bjorn through a friend of mine from England. Kristen also was a very sweet guy. Again I was attracted but, as I said I've always been the "marrying kind" and, in those days, I was very into astrology and decided that he was not the right guy for me. I also did not trust my friend from England. He had played match-maker for Kristen and me and, knowing how sneaky and manipulative he was, I feared that he would intrude on my relationship.
A while later Kristen made a few porn movies for Falcon and then went on to become a famous porn movie director.
You can read about Kristen here and see his X-rated pics here.
His real name is Robert Russell. He was born 12 October 1957 in London, England, the son of a Russian mother and a British father. He was raised in Washington, D.C., where his father was stationed as a diplomat.The bottom picture of Bjorn directing a movie in Costa Rica was taken many years after I knew him. For the story of how I met him, see here. For X-rated pics, see here.
Bjorn arrived in San Francisco in 1978, where he encountered the gay community for the first time. “[I]t was all very strange to me.” Encouraged by the ideal of male beauty that he found in gay erotic magazines, Bjorn took up working out and paying attention to his own physique. Around 1980, he was photographed by Fred Bisonnes for Mandate magazine. This was followed by two appearances in Falcon videos: “Biker’s Liberty” (Falcon Studios 30, 1983) and “The New Breed” (Falcon Studios 32, 1983). Falcon chose the pseudonym Kristen Bjorn for him due to his resemblance to the Swedish tennis player Björn Borg.
In 1982, Bjorn arrived in Brazil, where he was to spend eight years, until 1990. Initially, he worked as a photographer, producing as many as 20 or 25 photo sets a month. His first video, Tropical Heatwave, appeared in 1989. This production set the pattern for the dozens more that were to follow:
1. Given his interest in travel and foreign cultures, many of Bjorn’s videos feature men of clearly identifiable ethnic backgrounds and nationalities in typical surroundings. The titles of his videos are indicative of this characteristic: Carnival in Rio (1989), Manhattan Latin” (1990), Caribbean Beat (1990), A Sailor in Sydney (1990), “Montreal Men” (1992), The Vampire of Budapest (1995), and so forth.
2. Bjorn prefers to work with amateur models rather than with porn stars. In his early films, the majority of his performers identified themselves as heterosexual.
3. Bjorn places great emphasis on the quality of his photography; it usually takes him about four days to film a single scene. Consequently, his production budget is unusually high given the standards of the gay porn industry.
4. Bjorn typically lives in the country in which his videos are produced. Thus, his emigration to Australia in 1990 gave rise to what he calls his “Australian trilogy” of movies; when he returned to Brazil in 1993, a number of South American-themed films followed.
Kristen Bjorn currently resides in Barcelona, Spain.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Among the items sold at the literary auction at Bonhams and Butterfields on Monday was a 1961 letter from Jack Kerouac to two friends, Jacques Beckwith and Lois Sorrells. Kerouac had been typing on the page, got a letter from Sorrells then switched gears, abandoning his thought (mostly) to write a letter to them. This is what he typed at the top of the page, before the letter:Kerouac was only 47 when he died. Click to read the rest.
I can just see the shabby literary man carrying a "bulging briefcase" rushing from one campus to another, one lecture club to another, nodding confirmation with his hosts that he is right, hurrying to the next town ... a whole gray career of proving himself to others, to as many as can hear him, that he was right ... till finally people say: "Here comes the self-prover again, O dear ... bring out the papers and the canapes." This my friend is what I will become if I accept all lecture offers, TV appearances, radio interviews and start arranging with reviewers and critics who want information and my books through me, a great long lifetime in a briefcase proving my work and my work itself stopped dead at the level where I took to proving myself. So, I say, life is too sweet to waste on self propaganda, I quit self promotion, I enter my page.
This was four years after the publication of Kerouac's greatest work, "On the Road." None of his other books would have the reach or impact of that book -- few do -- but he'd been publishing regularly in the years after. There was a 1958 follow-up, "The Dharma Bums," and "Lonesome Traveler" in 1960.
If you know Kerouac's biography, you know that in 1969 he died of internal bleeding associated with cirrhosis, brought on by years of excessive drinking. It is easy to look back at this refusenik Kerouac, the one crying against self-promotion, as the one who would hear the call of self-destruction, who was resigned, miserable, dissipated.And yet.