Oh My Papi
June 28, 1994
Pornography imagines an eroticized universe the place anything can occur, nothing is forbidden, and the unattainable is all yours — an orgiastic Eden with no menace of expulsion, or mortality. However even the pornographic imagination, notably the highly worthwhile nook of it that latched onto the homosexual male libido, has its limits and conventions. Anything goes, maybe, but not any-one. Like trend fashions, porn actors are more type than content, and that type — both a mirror of and a spur to changing tastes — shortly turns into standardized. Currently, the porn preferrred is identical cartoon (truly, a Tom of Finland drawing) of masculinity discovered at most homosexual gyms, dance clubs, and go-go bars: He’s broad-shouldered and bubble-butted, with a chest like shiny armor plate and no sign of physique hair; he’s clean-shaven, thick-lipped, straight-acting, and white. He’s the ’90s clone, and we’re over him.
Factor is, many people have been never into him within the first place. There’s no denying the points of interest of the hunky whiteboy: they’re damned close to unavoidable. So perhaps I wouldn’t throw the boy away from bed, but I wouldn’t coax him there. He could also be an icon for our occasions, however he’s just not a part of my fantasy life. But, faced with limp indifference, pornography is infinitely resourceful; like all niche marketer, it specializes.
These days, the consensus has given solution to an entire new porn multiculturalism — magazines and videos whose topics are exclusively Asian, black, or Latin. In New York, it’s the Latin angle that appears most resonant. Perhaps that’s as a result of the town has an extended historical past of cross-cultural Caribbean connections and that melting pot really boils over when sex is added to the combination. Or perhaps it has one thing to do with the fuck-anything-that-moves stereotype; on the subject of polymorphous perversity, Puerto Rico is certainly in the home.
The relationship of homosexual white men and Latinos, whether or not mutual attraction or mutual exploitation, has its lore, its literature, and plenty of anecdotal proof. (You possibly can begin with the personals in any homosexual rag, those that read “GWM seeks PR homeboy, 18-28, beefy, hung, uncut. Bi a plus.”) And for the past 9 years it’s had its personal porn auteur, the pseudonymous Brian Brennan, whose Barrio-based outfit, Latino Fan Club, has turned out 60 exhilaratingly tacky, approach hardcore extravaganzas. The LFC motto: “Celebrating the beauty of the Latin male.” Right — all 9 and a half inches of it.
Latino Fan Club films — from the seminal Boys Behind Bars trilogy to the four-hour epic Spanish Harlem Knights to the insouciant Horse-Hung Hispanics (in 4 volumes), Purple Scorching Ricans, and Foreskin Forever — have a raw power due partly to their do-it-yourself, improvisational fashion, but mostly to their rambunctious young stars. While most mainstream homosexual porn is fixated on buffed magnificence — the choreographed coupling of two well-oiled machines — LFC will get off on homeboy horseplay and completely unaffected horniness. A few of this gangsta angle is what the ball youngsters name banji realness, a butch pose played to the hilt, but a lot of it is genuine. Lots of LFC’s most popular “fashions” seem like the youngsters who frequently show up in handcuffs on the covers of the Spanish-language tabloids: dark-eyed, tattooed, scarred, barely built, haphazardly groomed, mean, cocky, wounded.
This character profile guarantees a heady combination of brute domination and lost-boy vulnerability. Time and again, with plenty of the requisite cum photographs, that’s precisely what Latino Fan Club delivers. But what animates one of the best LFC titles is an all-consuming curiosity within the boys themselves. It’s not that these guys spill their guts out in the middle of the amateurishly improvised dialogue, but they do emote in ways most porn would relegate to the modifying flooring. Since many LFC films actually have narratives, a number of the boys even get to behave, or a minimum of react.
The LFC aesthetic — though impressed by exploitation (and mock-exploitation) auteurs like Roger Corman, John Waters, and the anonymous dirty previous man behind those “solo” films from Previous Reliable — owes its type to its stars. Unfastened, funky, playful, always able to drop real work and fool round, LFC doesn’t take itself too critically. Without truly introducing a lady onscreen various occasions, it swings each methods. Though most LFC actors come throughout as straight (“trade” Brennan calls them), the ruling sexuality of the films is certainly bi. “You do it even higher than my wife,” one man tells another, and plenty of homo sex is sparked by conversations about withholding girlfriends.
Two typical LFC fashions, Gustavo Viva and José Pelos, determine themselves as bisexual but are fast to notice their hetero preferences. Pelos, an LFC workplace employee who says he met Brennan whereas hustling the peep exhibits on 42nd Road almost 10 years in the past, insists that “with a man it might be a hustling thing and it will be protected; if I’m going to do one thing I’ll do it for the money.” Viva, a carpenter who builds some LFC units, says, “Working with Latino Fan Club — that’s my job. I’m not going on the market and harming anybody else; I’m working for what I obtain. Some individuals might take a look at me as, like, he’s nothing greater than a faggot or a homosexual, but I have a fiancée at house, and she or he says so long as you come again residence to me and use a condom, she has no drawback with it.” Each say Brennan doesn’t push his models past their limits (Pelos’s are succinct: “Gained’t suck, gained’t get fucked, gained’t kiss”), but there’s clearly a certain flexibility. In a homosexual porn zone too typically artificially divided between tops and bottoms, that is undoubtedly another nation.
Charting that territory is Brennan’s forte. Forty-nine, bearded, and admittedly out of form, the Latino Fan Membership founder doesn’t fake to know or clarify the entire Latin thing. He solely aims to take advantage of it for his pleasure and, not so incidentally, ours. A former Madison Avenue artwork department slave, Brennan was working as Blueboy’s artwork director when he decided to do a photo unfold of his personal. He chose his first topic, the half-Irish, half-Puerto Rican boy who delivered coffee to the workplace every morning, by following his personal tastes. He’d been going to a bar near his West Village house referred to as the Phoenix that younger Latin hustlers had became a type of clubhouse. Typically they might deliver their girlfriends, typically they might do what Brennan calls “hiphop stripping” and leap up on a table so guys might stuff bills into their G-strings. Encouraged by the MC to videotape these spontaneous strip exhibits, Brennan realized that his crude tape was exactly the kind of factor he might by no means find at the video retailer, where “it was all California surfer dudes, boy-next-door stuff, or leather-based scenes. You’d by no means see a Hispanic model, and I assumed this could be a niche that I might take pleasure in doing.”
In 1985, Brennan began establishing nude photograph periods and advertising “a typical jack-off tape” of five totally different models referred to as New York Road Boys. He also began running an advert for what he at first referred to as, with sometimes clumsy bluntness, a Fan Membership for Guys Who Dig Latin Guys. “I began believing in the factor about please yourself, do it as greatest as you possibly can, and you’ll discover all of the people who find themselves identical to you,” Brennan says, sitting at a littered work table in the Latino Fan Membership office/photograph studio/crash pad/headquarters in East Harlem. The mailing record of Latinophiles he started building almost a decade in the past now consists of over 7000 men, one in every of them the proprietor of this properly-secured corner property. With the exception of LFC’s suite and another area with a pool deck that turns up, stocked with grinning homeboys, in LFC’s promotional newsreels, a lot of the building has been gutted for co-ops and remains empty.
Sade wafts in from the pool deck under, where a possible LFC star splashes beneath the rear home windows of neighboring tenements. Underneath the loft mattress the place Spanish Harlem Knights‘s picaresque hero, Julio Nieves, snores fitfully, there are two banks of VCRs busy duplicating a tape operating soundlessly on a monitor nearby. A scrawled sign reads “Say no to medicine and sure to dicks!” It’s all an affordable parody of movie studio empire, becoming for a corporation that thrives on parody, trash, and — sure! — dicks. Although LFC’s production values have improved since Brennan shot each scene of the original Boys Behind Bars in the identical corner of the same room in his previous house in Forest Hills, its tapes are nonetheless intentionally unpolished. Continuity is a sometime factor; the main target fades at the most vital moments; and there are plenty of occasions when you’ll be able to hear Brennan’s directions from the sidelines: “Push your pants down” or “Move your hand away.” “Do it as greatest as you’ll be able to” appears to be the operative phrase right here.
Brennan might admire the impeccable gloss of Kristen Bjorn’s gay porn movies, but he models himself on a rougher, extra marginal (and rather more low-budget) fashion. Boyd McDonald, the attractive genius behind Straight to Hell‘s collections of true homosexual experiences, was a kindred outlaw spirit. He once gave Brennan written permission to do a video version of his books, however Brennan says. “The one real solution to make a Boyd McDonald movie is to have hidden cameras and stuff. I don’t assume that’ll ever get made.” So he carries on in his own approach, fucking with the style whenever he can. As if the robust mugs of his stars weren’t sufficient to signal viewers that they’re veering off porn’s crushed path, Brennan jokes about placing barred-circle symbols on his packing containers to point No Butch Queens, No Designer Underwear, and No Shaving (of the depilated California protosort, he says, “It’s virtually like ‘Oh my God, hair on a male! How gross!’ ”).
Like Hitchcock, Brennan seems absolutely clothed on the sidelines in a number of of his films (he’s the shady stockbroker in Latin Intercourse Get together, the prim painter in Spanish Harlem Knights). In one in every of his many outtake reels, where the rawest material pops up, Brennan is an off-camera audience to tremendousstar Rico Suave’s nude posing routine. “You’re so fucking lovely,” he says, whereas Suave stretches his lengthy brown body like a very sly cat. If there’s a typical Latino Fan Membership second, it’s in all probability the offhand change (“That was nice, man.” “You want that, huh?”) between two macho boys who have simply had intercourse. However Brennan’s “You’re so fucking lovely” sums up the feeling behind the digital camera.
Because this comically awestruck little bit of psychological fluffing comes from a white man who’s paying his Latin fashions between $200 and $300 a scene (the “receiver” earns more), there’s a definite whiff of colonialism in the air. Except for some lightweight rumination concerning the “qualities of maleness that turn me on,” Brennan gives no deep examination of the attraction to what he calls “dangerous boys.” And he shrugs off the relentless characterization of his Latin stars as criminals, hustlers, addicts, or road youngsters as typical exploitation movie fare (in addition to, he says, he provides guys auditioning for his prison and rehab clinic films the selection of being guards or inmates). Hazard, uncomplicated sex, the unique unknown — “I’m giving them what they need!” Brennan barks with amusing.
In line with a 1991 LFC membership ballot, the primary collective fantasy includes being accosted by a gang of Latin boys, dragged into an alley, and compelled (however not too violently) to go down on them. Brennan affiliate, and someday movie heavy, M. Vic Mann realizes this fantasy for LFC’s cute young white boy star, Eric Beatty, at first of his Homeboy Hoodlums. After the rape, Beatty dumps his nagging girlfriend and turns into a serious cocksucker, choosing up one rough commerce Rican after another till he gets round, inevitably, to his unique attackers, who get their comeuppance from his Latin cop lover, but not earlier than an orgy at gunpoint. There are some comfortable endings.
Most of LFC’s cracked situations have this Samuel Fuller on Spanish Fly high quality, so it’s arduous to get exercised about their racial politics. The white wardens, docs, and petty functionaries in LFC’s clearly makeshift establishments (you’d be stunned at how a lot can fit between these prison bars) are either loudmouthed, cigar-chomping creeps or venal manipulators. However they’re such corrupt buffoons that their scheming and rapaciousness is extra comic than alarming, they usually all the time find yourself on their knees before sneering boys who purr, “You want that massive dick, don’t you doc?” The boys might not appear to be angels, however next to these assholes and toadies, they’re the heroes, and the digital camera loves them.
Different LFC films think about a world where Latins rule (Tremendous Barrio Brothers) or triumph by way of a mixture of cunning and intercourse. In Latin Sex Celebration, the funniest of Brennan’s films, a windbag “professor” runs a seminar aimed toward reforming uptight white yuppies. While he’s spieling, his increasingly bored viewers is seduced one by one by the Latin boys from the basement house who are making an attempt to boost lease money. The seminar is such a success that the professor and the homeboys go into business collectively. It’s the right LFC fantasy: white daddies, on their knees, only too completely satisfied to receive the Latino’s sexual therapeutic.
If this fantasy can’t completely quell our uneasiness on the boys’ willingness to commerce flesh for favors or the lads’s fetishization of their undisguised contempt, another shot of celebrity Romeo Castillo’s ripe, quivering ass will. These aren’t tracts or position papers, they’re Papi potboilers; order is subverted, everyone gets fucked, and if anybody comes out on prime, it’s the Horse-Hung Hispanic, waving his meat just like the flag of the newest unbiased nation.
Waving the freak flag proper together with them is Brennan, who’s fast turning into the Russ Meyer of queer porn — half crackpot, part visionary, complete obsessive. “Once I was a kid I used to be nuts about simply films, films, films,” he says, and now he’s making 4 of them concurrently. Here’s a trailer for one referred to as Assault of the Superb Colossal Latino: A broad-chested B-boy looms naked over Occasions Sq. at night time, his fats uncut dick swaying subsequent to the Coke sign. He leans down, scowls into the haze of neon, and shouts, “Fuckin’ measurement queen! Is that this large enough for you now?” ■
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