I went to an antique postcard collector’s expo here in NYC over the weekend and picked up this cute item. I love these funny risque British postcards and have collected several. It gave me such a chuckle I wanted to share it here. Have a pleasant Monday and a good week!~~Irv
Category Archives: history of erotica
Over the last couple of weeks, on Sundays, I got a lot of views on this blog from Japan, many more than I’ve gotten in a long time from anywhere. On our blog dashboards, we can see where the views are coming from and how many we get.
Japan, the land of Aoi Sola, one of my favorite adult actresses ever! Her combination of warmth, humor, friendliness and thrilling lack of inhibition on-screen made it easy to develop a crush on her and seek out her many sinematic performances. I’ve always regretted not getting to see her in person at NYC’s Japan Society when she turned up several years ago for a talk. I wrote about that here in 2011 in the early days of this blog. And here is a good recent article from TheCultureTrip.com about Miss Aoi for those of you who don’t know about her unusual career and a crossover from porn to the mainstream that eclipses any such professional segue we’ve ever heard of in the adult field, including Jenna Jameson’s here in America. And here is a 2015 article from Tokyo Weekender.com about her popularity in China. Her name is also spelled as Aoi Sora, but with either spelling it means “Blue Sky,” a most appropriate choice indeed given the sunny feelings (among various emotions) that her work can inspire.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand: I got the feeling that perhaps one Japanese reader was going through my entire blog these last two weekends. I don’t know for sure, and it could have been multiple readers, but not knowing why I would suddenly get a lot of views from Japan, I guessed it might have been one reader whose curiosity was piqued by my posts. I really appreciate the interest and hope that, whoever you are, you’ve enjoyed my work!
For my part, I find Japanese erotica some of the most entertaining, stimulating, and creatively realized. I’ve enjoyed looking through beautifully edited Japanese men’s magazines, full of their gorgeous photography of pretty girls. Even when the photos just showed the models in swimsuits, they always had an especially resonant sexiness.
Movie-wise, some of the best and most memorable porn scenes I’ve ever watched were in Japanese hardcore videos over the last ten, fifteen years. I have a friend who watched an incredible number of these movies himself and would direct me to some really excellent videos. We had long and enthusiastic discussions about our favorite actresses like Rei Himekawa and Sakura Sakurada. I wish I could tell you what the titles of these movies were, but most of them were in Japanese on the boxcovers, usually with no English translation! Elsewhere on this blog here I’ve written about the stars I admire like Megu Hagiwara or Kaya Yonekura.
Here’s a nice photo of Sakura Sakurada which I found at the AsianBabesDataBase.com here.
Moving into more niche interests, with my obsession for femdom erotica, I’ve long been a huge fan of the art of Namio Harukawa too, reveling in his atmospheric depictions of amazonian ladies subduing slaves with big butts, powerful thighs, and, of course, their indomitable will to rule men. In fact, I believe I wrote one of the first American articles about Namio, back in 1988 for an early issue of Cheeks magazine, which I started editing that year (and continued to edit until 2005).
Another Japanese femdom artist whom I like, I only know by the name Harukano:
As far as mainstream Japanese movies dealing with femdom, my absolute favorite is Moonlight Whispers (aka Sasayaki) which I’ve written about here (in what has been by far the most popular post on my blog over the years); and I also enjoyed a film called New Love in Tokyo, which had some of the best and most evocative dungeon scenes in the context of a dramatic movie.
In the best scene in New Love in Tokyo, a dominatrix breaks down a cynical visitor to the dungeon by playing on his weaknesses until he completely surrenders to her. She leaves him alone in the dark for awhile, and that’s when she finally gets to him. It’s been a long time since I saw the movie, so I may be vague on these details, but I never forgot this film. You can read more about it at TheSameCinemaEveryNight.net here, where I found the poster art above. I can’t believe I saw it well over twenty years ago!!
Lately I haven’t gone much to strip clubs, but in recent years my favorite dancers were Japanese women who were working here in NYC as exotic dancers. Sometimes we discussed BDSM fantasies, but for the most part I used to just visit them to talk and get a few dances. I became quite friendly with two of them.
Finally, one of my favorite writers is Junichiro Tanizaki, regarded as one of the greatest of the 20th century. He also frequently dealt with fetishism, female domination, and even the cuckolding scenario in his famous novel Naomi and foot fetishism in Diary of a Mad Old Man. The poster of the film version of the latter, which I found on IMDb, is below.
In fact, I gave one of my Japanese stripper friends a copy of Tanizaki’s terrific book of bizarre stories, Seven Japanese Tales, to read when she took a break from the club for a few weeks. It contains his great story about a woman with a spider tattoo who ends up conquering the man who gave it to her. Ironically, though, my dancer friend thought the book was a little too kinky and strange! That surprised me because she was the one who told me her fantasy was to be a mistress and lead me around on a leash, a revelation that certainly kept me interested in her for quite awhile, hoping this fantasy could someday be enacted (alas, it never was, except perhaps figuratively in that she certainly kept me on an invisible psychological leash with me constantly coming back as her customer.) Anyway, I was disappointed too because I had re-read the entire book to discuss it with her on her return from her break, but she had almost nothing to say about it other than it was “weird!” Well, I couldn’t argue with that. It was weird…but also great. Maybe she wasn’t much of a reader, either…but she was a fun companion in the club, which was the most important thing.
Well, I’d love to go to Japan someday and, among many other sights, see some of its erotic culture up close and live, and not through only magazines, pictures, or videos. Perhaps I’m a bit of a mad old man myself now! 😉
I recently caught up with “All That Is Solid Melts Into Air,” an exhibit of paintings by Jane Dickson which bring to life the Times Square of the old sleazy era in the 80s and 90s. Her style is her own but its impact reminds me of Edward Hopper’s, evoked primarily through urban night scenes; as in Hopper’s works, deserted streets and places have a loneliness that’s not entirely sad, but also thoughtful, introspective, almost peaceful, and sometimes even inviting—as in this picture of a guy with a placard for a club called Dreams (I vaguely remember that club’s name, although I don’t remember if I ever went there)…
Dickson’s paintings in this excellent show at the James Fuentes Gallery on NYC’s Lower East Side (on display through February 17, 2019) feature a woman’s face looking through noirish Venetian blinds; a boy at a bus stop in an ominously red full face mask; a girl dancing in peep show with a customer on the other side (we get the peep show’s window eye view)…
There’s a painting of a low angle on a woman navigating a baby stroller down a stairs; the front of the big Peepland that was situated mid-block on the south side of 42nd between 7th and 8th Avenues; cops running on the street in some kind of frenzied police action; an evocation of the Terminal Bar that used to be (if I recall correctly) at 40th and 8th Avenue; and my favorite painting, showing a long hallway leading to the “employees only” area of a strip club, with a solitary half-naked dancer, almost out of eye view, leaning against the wall–you can almost imagine the rasping sound the linoleum would make beneath her high heels…
The colors of Dickson’s paintings and their varying sizes suggest indirectly a complex mix of personal emotions, those of the painter or (more vaguely) of the subjects of the pictures, just as Hopper paintings do for their era. One painting I also particularly liked, and one of the largest, was a vertiginous angle on the stairway/escalator leading downstairs in the old Nathan’s Hot Dogs that used to be at 43rd and Broadway…
I went down that stairway many a time to eat a frank in the forlorn expanse of the lower level dining room (I lived in Times Square myself in the 80s, only a few blocks up). This painting in particular reminds me how the old raunchy neighborhood (I never called it “The Deuce” myself back in the day) might have made you feel lonely, or was a place you went to hang out when you were already feeling lonely (or horny); but it didn’t necessarily make you feel ashamed of being lonely (or horny), as the new overly technological tourist-filled Disneyesque miasma of 21st century Times Square does for me. Once you were allowed to sit in your solitude in Times Square, perhaps feeling forsaken but not defective for not having a wife or family in tow; knowing that you could find distraction only steps away in any number of strip clubs or peep shows or in library-like adult bookstores where you could stand wordlessly side-by-side with other strangers and browse through assemblages of erotica that sometimes, depending on the particular store, could appear to the scholarly-minded almost Smithsonian in their range. After all, it was in places like this that I found rare mint copies of the original John Willie BIZARRE magazines from the 1940s, at prices so low it was clear the merchants had no idea of the value of what they were selling.
So if you have a casual interest, a deep nostalgia, or a fascinated yearning for the bygone Times Square depicted in HBO’s series The Deuce (see my own thoughts on the show here), check out Jane Dickson’s beautifully evocative paintings at the James Fuentes Gallery, located at 55 Delancey Street. Here is a link to more info, and another link to an interview with Ms. Dickson and a preview of the paintings. Also check out this interview by Ben Yakas in The Gothamist on the occasion of the publication of her book of street photography and art, Jane Dickson in Times Square, which you can find on Amazon here.
Postscript: It’s funny, but I just realized, in looking this over as I was editing, that my selection of the pictures to illustrate this review really evokes a typical night for me back in the 80s or early 90s. I didn’t assemble the pictures consciously with this in mind, but studying them now I see how they match the pattern of my many lively lonely travels through Times Square. Seeing a guy advertising a club, I might have gone to the venue, or maybe first to a peep show, then to the club; later, in the strip joint and having had a few beers, I would invariably head to the men’s room and might well have seen a dancer having a cigarette back near an “Employees Only” area; and finally, having had my raunchy fun at the club (or even been disappointed, as could frequently happen), I’d stop at Nathan’s for a hot dog and Coke…a meal that could be lonely, yes, but also satisfying in a quasi-Romantic “I’m a lone wolf” kinda way… 😉 You know, “lone wolf” as in David Janssen in the great old 60s tv series The Fugitive? Except that I was probably just running away from having to spend too much time alone with myself…
But that’s the subject for another post someday.
All examples of the paintings shown here are by Jane Dickson, as displayed at the James Fuentes Gallery NYC January 16 through February 17, 2019.
Silk stocking magazines…just the name is so evocative!
I’ve written here before how I’m always fascinated walking around Manhattan and remembering what occupied a particular space long ago. For example, this decrepit building at the northwest corner of 46th Street and Eighth Avenue housed a fantastic video store, DVD BLOWOUT, that sold obscure cult movies like stuff from Something Weird Video in addition to its hardcore porn; and next to it was the Full Moon Saloon, a place where I did a good amount of drinking back in the day…
This is what has replaced it: shiny, tall, and a hub for tourists.
I also remember, when I pass by an Asian noodle shop near the southwest corner of 49th St. and Eighth Avenue, that long ago in the 70s its space was occupied by a used magazine store, where I first came upon these magazines (scans taken from my own copies, some of which I’ve sold at memorabilia shows):
I recall asking the slender gray-haired middle-aged guy behind the counter near the door what these magazines were. I had never seen these publications before, packed with the nylon-sheathed ladies of the late 40s and 50s. “They’re called ‘silk stocking magazines,’ ” he said. Amazingly, they were only $2.50 or $3.00 a piece, so I bought three or four. Now they go for about $25 a piece, even in just good, not necessarily, great condition. They’re hard to find. BEAUTY PARADE, TITTER, FLIRT…these are the titles of the mags in which Bettie Page and other popular models frequently appeared. They were published by Robert Harrison, who later in the 50s went on to great notoriety with the scandal-mongering CONFIDENTIAL magazine.
Little did I know that my lifelong quest to collect vintage girlie mags and endless pinups had begun! I still have the copy of FLIRT, which I bought in 1977 from the late Art Amsie, the dealer and collector who was a cornerstone of the pinup revival, and who even photographed Bettie Page himself. It’s a mint copy which I’ve only looked at a few times, wanting to keep it in as perfect condition as possible—not because it’s worth so much, I probably couldn’t get more than $100 for it; it’s just nice to have an issue so well-preserved from so long ago, when most of them are so fragile they fall apart as you turn the pages. You can read my profile of Art Amsie here.
You can see how un-seriously these mags were treated by some folks before the interest in pinups was renewed in the early 80s. The price $3.00 was casually scrawled on the gorgeous Peter Driben-painted cover of TITTER, along with the date!
If you’re interested in seeing more of these covers and the insides of the mags, look on Amazon here for a Taschen book called 1000 PIN-UP GIRLS, and your orbs will get their fill of the fillies! Note their variant spelling of “pin-up.” Me, I always spell it “pinup.” 😉
Today, as noted by some of my friends on Twitter, is the birthday of the king of the pre-Code movies, Warren William–that master interpreter of likable scoundrels, charlatans, and sleazeballs. I couldn’t resist making this screencap off my tv the other night when he was up to his orbs in trouble pretending to be a successful Park Avenue doctor (!) in Warner Bros.’ 1934 BEDSIDE. The movie was shown on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) the other day.
One of the fun aspects of editing sex magazines was assigning fiction to my writers, one of whom, who went by the byline “Luther Selleck,” created a character named “Mr. Baxter.” In various guises in many stories, ranging from World War 1 fighter pilot (“Ass Aces of the Great War”) to New York City cockroach nemesis (“The Nutty Exterminator”) to ancient Greek judge of a butt beauty contest (“Assmasters of the Acropolis,” there under the name “Baxocles”), Mr. Baxter went his cheerfully amoral way through adventures with an assortment of fetching ladies–and depending on the magazine’s title (I edited CHEEKS, LEG WORLD, and GIRLS OVER 40), their chief attractions physically for Mr. B would be either derrieres, legs, or overall “cougar” appeal.
Although my writer Luther didn’t model Mr. Baxter on Warren William, when we later discovered Warren William (after Mr. Baxter was created) both Luther and I agreed that Warren would have been perfect in the role had there ever been any “Mr. Baxter” movies!
So, a tip of the hat to Warren William today on what would have been his 124th birthday!
Born December 2, 1894, died September 24, 1948.
One of my favorite sub-genres of film and fiction is the “sex workers at work” story–examining the mundane details of the jobs people do in erotic businesses. (By “sex work” I mean the most general use of the term, including all kinds of adult endeavors including stripping.) I thought about this when I saw an interesting film the other night from the 1940s: Glamour For Sale, about the women working for escort agencies and clubs.
It wasn’t a great movie, but I loved one detail of how the B-girls operated the drink hustle, as explained by Anita Louise’s character: they would get brandy in a glass, and soda in a second glass. They’d sip the brandy with a straw, and then move the straw to the soda glass and let out the brandy. That way they didn’t get drunk. When the waiter came by, he would take both glasses away and, if the customer agreed, bring a fresh pair of brandy and soda glasses to the hostess. It was hoped that the customer would never be wise to the fact that the hostess was not actually imbibing the expensive drink.
This practice degenerated in the 1970s and early 80s, when I was going to strip clubs that heavily featured the drink hustle: the dancer (who would hustle drinks when she wasn’t onstage) would sip her champagne but then spit it, literally and obviously, into a second, and empty, tall glass. (For some reason or other, I remember how those tumblers were made of frosted glass.) In this way it was clear that the thing the customer was actually paying for was her time, and not the “champagne.” Unless the girl chose to actually drink it, which occasionally happened too.
Two of the X-rated films I wrote in the 1990s were of the “sex workers at work” genre: Masseuse 2 and Masseuse 3.
In both of these original stories (not related in any way to the original hit The Masseuse or to each other except in title) I tried to weave as many little details about the actual work of masseuses as I knew into the dramas. I guess I succeeded as the films were very successful and continue to be watched more than twenty years after they were made. I even had a small and funny little role in Masseuse 3 as a lapdance customer. You can find it at this adults-only link here under the scene title of “Sexy Chicks Eat Pussy and Finger Each Other.”
Also, my scripts for Sweetie Baby and Boom Boom Valdez depicted both the jobs and personal lives of topless dancers and, in the case of former, a waitress at a strip club:
And of course my psychological suspense novel Fate of a Stripper (see sample here) includes all sorts of details about the stripping profession which I gathered from the dancers themselves through the many years I hung out in those clubs, and through the hundreds of hours of interviews I did with strippers for various adult magazines.
I wouldn’t be surprised if, one of these days, I wrote yet another story examining some aspect of the erotic trade…
On the fetish femdom scene there is more than a little nostalgia about the glory days of Leg Show magazine, primarily under the editorship of Dian Hanson, who has since gone on to work for Taschen Books and their line of historical erotica tomes. I wrote for Leg Show from about 1995 through around 2003 or 2004, so I got to participate in that fondly missed era with my fiction, often illustrated by the British master of femdom art, Sardax; and I did many interviews with everybody from leggy softcore horror movie scream queens to imperious dominatrices.
But from 2004 through the beginning of 2010, I was also the editor of Leg World, a much lower-budgeted magazine but one into which I poured my quarter century of experience in writing for and editing magazines, as well as my decades of fascination and personal experience with femdom and fetish.
To use a Hollywood analogy, budget-wise, if Leg Show was MGM, Leg World was Poverty Row. But I put my heart and soul into it, and I think you’ll see in the intensity of these typical covers–for which I selected the shots, wrote all the lines, and supervised the layout–that I gave the readers their money’s worth starting with the covers themselves. I always aimed to show enough to the readers on the covers so that, if they wished, they could have a good time with them before they even opened the magazines; and since these periodicals were puritanically shrink-wrapped for display on the newsstands, I felt duty-bound to let the customers know exactly what they would find inside…once they shot their first loads for the covers! 😉
With my art director and talented group of contributors, both writers and photographers, a memorable magazine came into being with each issue. I didn’t have enough budget for art, or I would have asked Sardax to work for Leg World too (see his fabulous work here). Instead I illustrated fiction with carefully chosen photos from the archives.
So if you run into Leg Worlds at flea markets or online, take a minute and check out these lovingly crafted collectors’ items. If you’re into legs and feet and femdom, I think you’ll enjoy the mix of amazing pictorials and evocative stories. I poured my passion for editing images–I’d originally moved to New York City to get into the film business–into editing and even occasionally directing the shoots of erotic pictorials. In recent years, I’ve transferred my coverline writing passion into the writing I do for my personal Twitter and the feed for the femdom website Domme Addiction. There I happily conjugate my nouns and verbs in the service of celebrating the dominant female much as I did in Leg World. 🙂