Last Thursday I mentioned that I did a telephone interview with a writer from G Philly Magazine about the late adult entertainment star, Joey Stefano. I’ve posted about this before here, and here. I’m not sure how much of a help I was to him, because I knew Stefano on a casual basis from seeing him in nightclubs in the early 1990’s…acquaintances. And this was all local, in the Philadelphia area, not in LA where Stefano worked in films at the time. Stefano was, indeed, from Chester, PA, which is a small city south of Philly.
I actually wound up learning more than I already knew during this phone conversation, especially about an upcoming film that’s being made about porn stars of the time period, I’m assuming, between the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. According to this article, it’s a biopic about the “porn brat pack” of this time period. The title has been changed a few times, which I mention later in this post.
Film Synopsis: The Porn Brat Pack is a historical biopic based on the lives of Hollywood’s infamous “porn royalty” and their hedonistic, drug-fueled, high-profiled lifestyle in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Shunned by their own families for being “different” and their career choices in the industry, “The Porn Brat Pack” formed a complex family who lived together, loved together and in some cases, died together.
I think the synopsis sums up the time period very well. I’d also like to add that this was right before the Internet became so popular with the adult entertainment industry and changed everything, and for a good deal of these people in adult entertainment it was almost a last hurrah or sorts. It really wasn’t an era that lasted long either. A lot of these actors, films, and producers became wildly popular in the 1980’s simply because of video and the fact that people had an opportunity to view adult entertainment in their own homes on video so easily. Before video there were adult films, but you needed projectors and a screen and it could be complicated. And by no means discreet. With video all you had to do was pop a cassette into the machine and push a few buttons. The married gay guy hiding in the closet now had an outlet to watch gay porn late at night and no one could find out about it. I had one friend with such a large collection he used to give videos away at random just because he didn’t know what to do with them. And, more important, this was a time of AIDS and porn was the safest sex there was.
So, from what I’m gathering, this film by Chad Darnell, will be focused on more than one adult entertainer, not just Joey Stefano. But my conversation with the writer from G Philly only got into Stefano, and how I knew him on a casual basis. As I said, I hope I could give him some insight, from my basic point of view about Stefano…which I think might be slightly different from others he’s spoken to. I think this is because I didn’t want anything from Joey Stefano and he didn’t want anything from me, so the casual friendship we had, on those sporadic occasions we ran into each other, wasn’t something either of us had to work for. And, for the record, I never saw Stefano drunk or stoned in public.
But the film sounds fascinating. There’s also been a little controversy:
And Darnell contacted Geffen to ask if he wanted to be involved, writing the mogul a long, carefully worded email so as not to offend.
Geffen immediately shot back:
“We met at a party once. We were not good friends. Good luck with your project.”
I think that might have been a mistake on Darnell’s part, to write a long polite e-mail to Geffen. After surviving twenty years in publishing, I know people like Geffen don’t respond to long e-mails or anything that takes too much time out of their day. I would have kept it short and sweet; Dear Mr. Geffen, this is what I’m doing, about Joey Stefano. You have a chance to look good in a film with historic potential. Let me know if you’re interested. Plain and simple, and fuck you very much if you’re not interested. I’m doing it anyway with or without you. But, I digress.
Rumor had it that Geffen was more involved with Stefano than he claims to be, but that’s only hearsay. I never knew if it was fact or fiction, I didn’t care back then, and don’t really care at this point. Most don’t even know who Geffen is anymore (ask anyone under forty), so I don’t think it matters much. But if this was Geffen’s actual reply, it is a bit amusing.
The Joey Stefano I remember was polite, quiet, and didn’t call attention to himself because he didn’t have to do that. The man walked into a room and every head turned whether he had his clothes on or not. He wasn’t a saint. I saw him put a few people in their places more than once, especially those of the bar crowd who tend to objectify gay men like Stefano and treat them with little respect. He also wouldn’t let people make him look dumb in public, and responded with the kind of wit that stunned me. He made me smile more than a few times with some of his snarky replies…before snark even became a word.
In any event, here’s more about Stefano and the upcoming film by Darnell. It’s a long blog post about how Darnell began this project, and what seems to be never ending venture, and some of the details surprised me. For example, I didn’t know Joey Stefano had been discovered by Chi Chi LaRue.
It was a different time. It was a time when porn stars were royalty in West Hollywood. They would walk into a club and the seas of people would part for them. Without discussing each of their addictions, it’s safe to say there were A LOT of drugs. Some people could manage their use and function. Others couldn’t.
I will try to post more about the upcoming article in G Philly Magazine about Joey Stefano. I’ll also try to update with things I see about the upcoming film. The title has been changed several times, and as it stands now, it’s going to be X-Rated. Personally, I like The Porn Brat Pack better. For a lot of us back then who were very young these adult entertainers were exactly that: our brat pack.
Darnell is looking for investors and I hope he finds them, because this has the potential be one interesting film. I have met a lot of gay men in my time, some in the adult entertainment industry during a short-lived period in my life when I thought I might be interested in doing it. I knew Joe Romero, for one. But never have I met anyone like Joey Stefano. There was just something about him, and you had to be there to see it. I think a lot of his appeal had to do with the fact that you never would have thought he was gay just by looking at him. And a lot of us back then who were very young had never seen gay men like that…we had no one with whom to identify…and we couldn’t get enough of it.
Wish us all luck on trying to get it to the screen this year. I don’t want another year to go by where I say, “Happy birthday, Joey Stefano. Hopefully this is the year we shoot your movie.”