In 1989, after six years at the helm of various magazines at Charles “Chip” Goodman’s GCR Publishing, I became a freelancer again. This began my most productive period: while editing magazines such as Cheeks, Girls Over 40, and Sex Acts for Goodman on a freelance basis, I also did interviews and articles for George Mavety’s group of publications: Black Tail, Over 40, Big Butt, Oriental Dolls, Leg Show, with an occasional piece in Juggs or Tight.
I also wrote for Montcalm Publishing, doing porn star interviews through the 90s for Fox, as well as their “Video Views” review and gossip column. I did articles for Montcalm’s Gallery as well, including a rare interview with the legendary 1950s leg and foot photographer Elmer Batters that helped bring him back into the public eye and eventually led to the re-publication of his classic work in Taschen editions.
And in my “spare” time, I wrote original screenplays for big-budgeted adult films such as Masseuse 2 and Masseuse 3 for Vivid Entertainment.
While I did all this work, I indulged my passion for strippers by hanging out at the strip clubs around Times Square, craftily enjoying myself without spending too much money. How did I do this? By getting to the clubs earlier in the evenings, before the big spenders usually arrived, I found the girls were more willing to hang out with the less financially well-endowed, such as yours truly. I got conversation and lap dances without going into hock, and I enjoyed the company of many attractive dancers of all types.
People ask me sometimes if I got sexually or romantically involved with porn stars or models over the years. I didn’t. Basically, I made a decent and dependable living as a freelance writer and editor with many steady accounts, and I did not want to risk losing that business by mixing it up with pleasure. I’m just a regular looking bald guy, no movie star type, and always feared it would be too easy to get a reputation as a sleazeball if I hit on the women I interviewed about such delicate subjects as how they liked to give blowjobs or take it up the ass. Now, if I had liked somebody and she’d come onto me, I wouldn’t have been averse to some fun–but it rarely happened, and when it did a couple of times, it was from somebody I wasn’t really attracted to. Sigh. Make that a double-sigh…anyway, I think my general low-key demeanor discouraged hook-ups from happening and prevented the models from thinking of me as a potential lover. My avuncular “Uncle Irv” mode did not encourage seduction. I was friendly, humorous, professional, but I made an effort not to come onto anybody. Instead I saved my horniness for the strippers and dominatrixes I visited in my leisure hours.
But back to my work. In the course of doing interviews, I became a whiz at transcription. Being a little obsessive-compulsive, I was meticulous about transcribing the words of my subjects accurately. And when I edited the transcripts down, I worked hard to make sure I conveyed the exact essence of what they had to say. Maybe I went overboard, and was a little too self-important about it. I sometimes tend to take things too seriously.
When I think back, maybe I could have had some fun with some porn stars and models if only I’d loosened up a little and didn’t follow my rule of not mixing business and pleasure so strictly. It sometimes got me a little depressed when I went home after an interview in the studio, to have held in my natural impulses to joke around and flirt with some of these beautiful women. But what’s done is done.
Some of the more interesting pornstresses I interviewed were Vanessa del Rio, Jenna Jameson before she became a star, the late Kristi Lynn, Jeannie Pepper, Alicia Rio, Mimi Miyagi, Dominique Simone, and Alisha Klass. I interviewed 1950s burlesque legend Tempest Storm for Leg Show, as well as the famed dominatrix Mistress Midori. I also interviewed B-movie queens like Monique Gabrielle and Julie Strain.
I enjoyed doing interviews, and they made up the bulk of my output; but my favorite thing remained writing fiction. That’s what I became a writer to do. I wrote scores of tales for magazines such as Swank, Genesis, Just 18, Girls of the Orient, and Shaved. Almost all the editors I worked for were open to quality storytelling mixed with hot sex, not just boring “wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am” hardcore prose; and I had a good time dreaming up all kinds of sexy yarns, some funny, some serious, some melodramatic; some vanilla, some kinky. I spoofed James Bond in a series of “James Wand Sleaze Thrillers” for D-Cup (naturally the spy met lots of busty gals) and I wrote perverted fairy tales like “The Fetish Voyage of Sinbad” for Leg Action. I penned a series of incredible stories for Leg Show, some of my best and most personal, several of which I am going to reprint as ebooks (such as “Mommy’s Little Dunce,” which is now available on Kindle at Amazon).
In 1993 the Goodman adult magazines, based in Manhattan, were sold to Magna Publishing in New Jersey, so I started commuting out there to assemble Cheeks, Girls Over 40, Sex Acts, and eventually Leg World; but as a freelancer I only went out there a few times a month. Meanwhile I continued to work most of the time in New York City, where I went to photo studios to do interviews with the models or to supervise pictorials and cover shoots for my own magazines. Yep, I was very busy throughout the 90s and well into the 2000s, but the adult magazine business started being seriously affected by the Internet around 2005-2006 and budgets started getting cut, magazines closed, and editors let go.
It’s funny; in 2002 I was interviewed with a number of my porn colleagues for a New York Times article entitled “A Demimonde in Twilight” here, and I optimistically implied that porn magazines would never be replaced by computers, because who can take a computer to bed for some one-handed fun? Ah, how short-sighted of me not to be able to imagine the iPad or mobile devices, which have changed the ways and means by which porn can now be delivered and enjoyed. But as a guy weaned on magazines himself, truly a lover and collector of magazines–I can’t really be blamed for my loyalty and affection for printed pages, and for the stories and photos which parade across them.