The Grabby’s are coming, yay! The Grabby’s are essentially the only thing the gay industry has left when it comes to an actual award show (I’m still pretty pissed about The Hookies, and the GayVN’s, but I’ll continue). This award show celebrates the best tops, bottoms, twinks, “manly man”, actors, supporting actors, and the coveted “Performer of the Year”. The nominees come from all around the world, with plenty of them coming from right here in New York City. So who do we think will win coming Grabby night? Here is who our selections are for some of the awards. This post is kind of NSFW, BTW. [Read more…] about 2016 Grabby Nominations: Who Will Come Out on Top?
For so many articles that I have done about people in the gay porn industry on Manhattan Digest, they have always been people who have performed in front of the camera. As talented as a lot of them are (my hand definitely thinks so) all of what they do wouldn’t be possible without the people behind the lens. Someone behind the camera who has done an incredible job at making a name for himself in the gay porn industry is Titanmen director Jasun Mark, who has worked for huge studios ranging from Jake Cruise to Fratpad to Cocksuremen.
I have been a fan of Jasun’s work for years, not to mention that he himself is pretty easy on the eyes. I also have gotten to know him personally and on top of being a fantastic director he is also a very intelligent human being who has a keen eye on what is going today, both in and out of the industry. I recently sat down with Jasun to discuss it all, from how he got into the industry, his meteoric rise to where he is today, people he still wants to work with and where he sees his future. Take a look.
So Jasun, how did you get involved in the adult industry to begin with?
My first actual paying job was as an HTML designer for a Canadian porn site called Bedfellow, but I really feel like I got my “real” start working for Fratmen and Fratpad. They hired me as a video editor and graphics guy, but before long I was taking part in production and marketing and just about every aspect of what we were doing. Fratpad was a crazy 24-hour cam circus, and while it was 24-hour stress and work, I loved it all. A lot of people copied what we were doing, but Fratpad really was the first and I think best-ever cam house. My first feature I directed on my own was a documentary about our shoot in Australia called “Fratmen Going Down” and then I started shooting a lot of the fun at Fratpad. Those Jack-Off Races were mine. I’m honestly really proud of how well all that stuff turned out, considering I really didn’t much know what I was doing.
I left Fratpad after about 4 years because I wanted to direct hardcore and I knew I was never going to be able to do that where I was. Leaving Fratmen was hard… it was like a close knit family there. But I knew when it was time to leave the nest. I’m still in contact with everyone there, and we’re all still friends. There was no bad blood leaving. I took a job with Jake Cruise… He was starting what was at that time called “Jake’s Men” which was essentially JakeCruise.com without Jake. That, of course, is what was eventually re-named CocksureMen. That was a total dream gig… I was basically allowed to do whatever I wanted. I spent four years learning how to direct on the job while shooting content I actually wanted to see. I’m very proud of the work I did there.
But the brass ring for me was ALWAYS a job working for Titanmen. Titan had been my favorite studio since the 90s and it was always a dream gig. Getting the call from Brian Mills asking if I wanted to come hang out on set and shoot some bonus content for the new François Sagat movie was like getting called up the Big Leagues. I still have to pinch myself that this is all real.
Anytime someone has the desire to enter an industry, there are usually inspirations that drive that particular passion. Did you have any yourself prior to joining?
It’s funny, when I was studying film and even when I was in high school wanting to become a film maker, I was divided between whether I wanted to do children’s horror movies, science fiction or porn. When I was in elementary school I was already writing scripts. Sadly I came from a music family so my begging for a movie camera was laughed off as a silly dream and I was forced to take cello and bassoon lessons, which in itself explains why “children’s horror movies” was on my want list, probably (laughs). But by the time I was in high school I was writing a lot more porn-ish scripts. Most of which were about teenagers stuck in small towns escaping to a city that tried to eat them up but the protagonist always ended up making the city his bitch. I guess my musical background was always there. When I was in high school I recorded an album of songs for my Canadian Literature class that had a song called “Stand Up” about football players checking out each others dicks in the shower. So I guess I was always a bit of a sexual shit-disturber.
What I’ve always loved about making porn is that you’re getting people at their most primal and personal. I can make all the comedy or Sci-fi movies that entertain people [Jasun Mark worked on the Gay Film Festival darling “Birthday Cake” and the Sci-Fi Zombie Web Series “Project: Phoenix”], but porn is what really gets under people’s skin. I’ve heard from so many young men that they were scared, lonely gay teenagers who thought they’d never find a place to fit in until they saw those Fratpad Jack Off Races where instead of getting called “faggot” for expressing sexuality, there were a bunch of guys standing around cheering. One guy told me that after he saw that he knew everything was going to be OK and he was going to find a place where he’d fit it. So I guess the “Ricky/Kent Jerk off race” was my best “It Gets Better” video.
Your work has been primarily behind the camera, was there ever a thought of performing in front?
Honestly, no. I’m um… well, I’m not physically what a porn star should look like. I’m pretty short and stout and I just can’t be arsed to work out enough really look good on camera. When I was doing marketing for Jake Cruise, I did actually stand in for Jake doing some massage videos where I was fully clothed and I did one scene with my friend Adam Russo for Nasty Daddy just to see what it was like to be a performer. But I never really considered being a porn star and no studios have asked me. I’ve always wanted to be a film maker. I never really seriously considered performing.
You have worked for high-profile studios like Jake Cruise, Cocksure Men and of course Titan. Do you have a particular favorite scene that really resonates with you to this day?
Oh man… that’s a hard one. I’ll choose that Ricky/Kent Jack Off Race from my Fratpad days. From Cocksure Men I think I’ll choose the 3-way with Dean Monroe, John Magnum and Devin Draz. I was chatting with Dean the other day and he told me that of all the scenes he did in his 20-year career, that’s one of the few that he still jerks off to. From Titanmen… Almost too hard to nail down. Maybe the opening scene from Nightfall where Thomas is lured from out behind his computer by Alessio Romero. Or the one with Hunter Marx and Damien Stone in Bad Cop. There’s also one coming out this coming Christmas with Jesse Jackman and Eric Nero where I finally got to put some of my cinematic chops on display. I’ll admit that it’s going to be fun to show people I can do more than just shoot good video of hot men fucking…
What about performers, anyone in particular that stands out for one reason or another?
I’ve been so lucky. I got to work with some of the best gay porn stars going. François Sagat, Dean Phoenix, Dean Monroe, Arpad Miklos, Allen Silver, Jesse Jackman, Johnny Hazard, Adam Herst, David Anthony… the list goes on and on. I’ll tell you this… François is one of the most unappreciated geniuses I’ve known. And I grew up in a family of university professors. He’s fascinating and disarmingly nice but surprisingly modest and shy. He’s an enigma, but I’m so proud I got to work with him and still stay in touch with him.
Coinciding with that, is there anyone you would like to work with both in front and behind the camera?
There are a few guys I’ve wanted to work with. I regret I never got a chance to work with Kennedy Carter, but I’m so proud of how well he’s done post-porn. I wish I’d gotten a chance to work with some of the greats like Leo Ford or Anthony Gallo. Guys currently working… I still hope I can get a chance to work with Jaxton Wheeler. Behind the camera… I’ve worked with Joe Gage and Brian Mills… so I guess my only remaining idols are Kristen Björn and ChiChi LaRue.
What is your take on the industry today? Do you find the word “gay porn star” to be a bit of thing of the past?
Not at all. I think it’s easier to BE a gay porn star now so the term is a bit watered down. I also think that as porn performers become more accessible to us, they lose a lot of their mystique. Now you can friend and follow your favorite porn stars on Facebook and Twitter and interact with them in a way you never could in the golden age. But we still have huge stars like Jesse Jackman, David Anthony, Trenton Ducati, Adam Russo, Rocco Steele… I mean the list goes on.
As far as the state of the industry… I think we’re still at a cross-road much like the TV and music industries. The digital age has meant some HUGE changes to how people access and consume content. 20 years ago, production companies had people by the balls. You had to buy things how they chose to sell them. Record labels ruthlessly monopolized record store shelves, TV schedules were chosen for us along with programming. Now that people have broken that model and can consume content in their own ways… it’s evened things out in ways we never thought of before.
Now a tiny artist like Justin Bieber from a tiny town in remote Canada with NO industry connections can use Youtube and become the biggest pop star of a generation. Small home-made porn sites like Sean Cody could totally buck the system and sell his content only online on his own self-hosted, cutting out DVD retailers altogether… and that revolutionized how gay porn was DONE. Look at how the guys from Where The Bears Are have been able to skip the middle man and get their fans to fund their series season by season. Independent Radio shows didn’t really exist before iTunes launched Podcasting. Now even the major players are diving into that. None of that would have been possible in the 90s and most of that wouldn’t even have been possible until about 2005 when we got Podcasting and Youtube.
Even making a movie on a very tight budget is possible if you’re willing to do the work. Digital film making has made budgets almost unimportant. People ask me how much I had to spend on all the digital effects in Nightfall and Dick Danger and the answer is “nothing.” It just meant I stayed up very late for a couple weeks and did it myself. Now you just have to be willing to work your ass off.
All of this means that the porn industry has had to constantly reinvent itself and adapt to a new digital age where we’re putting out a new scene every week instead of a new movie every month. We have tighter budgets and more competition for people’s attention on Twitter and the blogs. We have to have a well-designed and easy to navigate site, we need to have a good social media presence AND we have to have good movies. I find it all exciting but yes… it’s not as easy to get rich making porn as it was maybe in 1997.
What do you have planned for 2016 that your fans can be excited about?
I have some amazing stuff in the works. the really sad thing is that I can’t really talk much about it. Titanmen has a pretty long turn-around time for our movies because we all like to polish and perfect and do all the work we can to make them their best possible and THAT means other studios that turn their stuff around in a week or two can easily copy what we’re doing and release their crappy knock-off the same week you release yours. I think starting this Thanksgiving with my Dad/Son movie Like Father Like Son you’ll see exactly where we’ve been going… more stories and scripts and characters. More hot setups and more developed ideas. Let’s get back together in April and you’ll see just how hard we’ve been working. I can tell you that Like Father Like Son is the most story-driven porn movie I’ve ever directed. You can already see the trailer and people are going ape-shit for it. So looks like I struck that primal nerve I was talking about.
Ultimately, what is your biggest goal for yourself moving forward?
I used to say “to be lead director for Titanmen” and I’ve been letting myself bask in that glory for a bit. But now my job is to pick up that mantle and run with it. Titan has a very proud history and I know just how much responsibility my job came with… so I guess my goal is to live up to the standards of what came before me.
Its always a good thing when you can find a duality in the industry that you work for and be successful in doing so. This can be said about adult film star Marcus Isaacs, who has built quite the impressive reputation in his nearly three years of being in the industry. With an industry that has such a high turnover rate, Marcus’ popularity seems to continue to grow due to a multitude of factors such as good looks, charm, personality and being able to perform on camera. He also rides the line very well with many different top studios and has been a fan favorite of many for the past couple of years.
I met Marcus a couple of years ago at a mutual friends housewarming party where I was first introduced to how enigmatic & sweet this guy really was. I recently caught up with him at a local Crunch where the talks of doing this interview surfaced and he was completely game. Marcus talks about his time in the industry, his inspirations that got him there, his surprising take on the bareback side of things, and where he sees his hopeful future. Take a look.
So tell me what got you into the adult industry in the first place?
Actually Morgan Black was the first person to talk to me about what the benefits would be, and that it would change my life. At the time, I was just starting to go to the gym after not going for a couple of years, and to be honest I always had this inkling to be notorious and have a bit of fame and I knew that would be a way to experience that. Also, I’m a very sexual person so I saw it as a way to seal things in time so that when it’s all said and done and I’m 50 or 60 I would always have those videos to look back on, and not the amateur ones but the ones produced by studios and projects that I worked on so I could say that I was part of that world.
And I’ve always loved porn and porn stars so I kind of wanted a little bit of what they had going for them and be desired by fans and people alike, travel a bit and of course have sex with really hot guys. It’s as simple as that.
Did you have any inspirations in the adult world besides Morgan that drove the desire to be in that world?
I was a huge Damien Crosse fan at the time; I remember he was a huge inspiration for me. The inspiration was any porn star that was really freaky but came across as organic. I would see scenes with him or back in the day with Lucas Entertainment when Chad Hunt was with them and even the old Colt Models, just kind of wanting to be extremely sexual on camera and have people see that it wasn’t acted. Damien exemplified that type of organic behavior and its definitely inspired me when I do my scenes.
You are in the industry where there is such a high turnover rate, yet you remain relevant and more popular than ever. How have you been able to manage that over the course of three years?
I never was exclusive to a studio, so I think sometimes when someone goes really high that people get a little tired of seeing them over and over again in one particular venue. It’s kind of like a hit song; it gets tiring after a while. I know for me that I was never exclusive, and never solely did condom porn and worked with a lot of studios but always had the thoughts in the back of my mind with sticking to one type of porn or one studio in that it would have been better for my career. But at the end of the day I really like that I wasn’t with one studio or something for a long time and then did whatever after. I’ve worked with so many studios and that has helped my longevity due to being versatile. What I mean by versatile for example is that there are a lot of stars that won’t do bareback, they are against that, so it enables me to be open to working with a lot of studios based on what they are promoting and not be stuck to one specific genre.
Are there any particular scene partners or scenes that stick out to you as a favorite since you started?
The best time was my video “Breeding Marcus Isaacs” with Treasure Island Media. I felt so honored that Max Sohl did an entire collection of scenes based on myself. I was really humbled by it. I was really appreciative of that whole thing so I think that was the most memorable project or group of projects because that was six or seven scenes and then the last scene of the movie was an entire group scene with me in the middle. I don’t think a lot of stars get to have a video that has their name on it, so that was really kind of the biggest thing for me.
Are there any guys you would love to work with?
Obviously Damien Crosse but two other guys who I think are really hot and would love to work with are Rogan Richards and Shay Michaels.
So what’s your take overall on the industry today?
I guess it’s ok, I don’t watch a lot of porn. If I do watch porn it’s either bareback and/or straight porn. Although the men in big studio condom porn are beautiful, the scenes are extremely inorganic and boring to me. It’s rare that you find a gay porn actor that looks organic on camera. The big studios are boring, and the talent is lackluster. The positions are all the same too, and half the time the bottom isn’t even hard. Its one thing to be hot but you have to make it look real and portray the fantasy you’re trying to get across well.
So there seems to be more and more stars nowadays doing a good mixture of condom and bareback. What has been your experience with doing so since you began your career?
So I was a little calculating when it came to doing bareback. My first scene ever was a threesome with Treasure Island Media that consisted of me, Morgan Black and Dominic Sol. At the same time I had scenes scheduled with Titan Media, so I went to Titan and did those scenes letting them think that they were the first scenes they I did but in actuality they were with Treasure Island. As soon as Titan found out that I did those scenes, they chopped me off and said that I couldn’t work with them. Besides that incident, I actually did condom porn for a while, working with some of the top studios like Raging Stallion and then worked my way into working with the bareback ones as well. It hasn’t hindered my opportunities though.
So seeing as you have done a good amount of bareback porn, there are people out there that are critical of that particular part of the industry because they think it brings more negativity to the gay community overall. What is your take on it?
I think it’s just a matter of what people choose to look at; I don’t think the medium is really the effector here. Whether they see it online or come across a lot of people in their life in the age of pRep that aren’t going to want to have sex with a condom either, it is still going to be there. The influence is still going to be there if they choose to look at condom or bareback, or go to a sex party where everybody doesn’t want to use a condom. Porn shouldn’t be looked at as what influences someone’s decision making, someone’s education should do that. It is simply a fantasy.
In doing my research on you, you also have done escorting for Rentboy for quite some time now. What do you think, in today’s day and age where you can find someone that would be into you in a click of a button, do people actually want to pay for an experience like that?
The reason is because, I think Grindr and Scruff and these apps are so difficult sometimes. Guys can be such jerks, hide behind their phones, play games and not be serious. They aren’t very nice to each other so I think a lot of times these guys who hire Rentboy’s just want a professional. There are no games, they show up when you want them to and they give you the fantasy that you are looking for. These apps can be so much work in terms of the back and forth, is this guy serious, is he just enjoying this type of thing with no end result, it can be maddening. So going through something like Rentboy is simple and time efficient while getting what you want at the end of the day.
You are based in Manhattan like a lot of other guys in your industry happen to be nowadays. Do you ever plan on relocating?
It’s interesting you say this because I was talking about this sort of thing with my boyfriend the other day. I have been in Manhattan for 18 years now and the thought of relocating elsewhere is something I would consider. There are reasons of course, but a change of scenery wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
What are you hopeful for in your career going forward?
I think I got another solid year in me with this industry. I would love to continue working with great studios and hot guys, like the scene I just did with Rocco Steele. That is the type of scene that had such chemistry and a connection, so if I could do a few more scenes like that and be memorable then that would be perfect. I love doing really organic and beautiful stuff and hope to do that as my career goes on.
So Kitty Girls, Rupaul’s Drag Race has completed yet another season under its belt this past Monday night. The fashionable and irreverent Violet Chachki took home the season 7 crown over the dark horse & sleeper of the competition Pearl and the funny, campy and stylish Ginger Minj. Although the actual finale that aired on LOGO Monday was taped from a previous week, the real crown was presented that night at Stage 48 right in Hell’s Kitchen. This isn’t the first time that Drag Race has held events for RPDR there, and is the perfect venue for this type of a show.
Even with the weather being as shitty as it was, fans and press alike showed up in droves to celebrate the season that was with several of its incredible contestants. In the press room, some notable guests outside of this years contenders included Season 5 and 6 winners Jinkx Monsoon and Bianca Del Rio as well as legendary New York City drag queen Lady Bunny who arrived in her signature oversized blonde bouffant.
Other big time players that showed up was entrepreneur & big time adult film star Rocco Steele and his buddy (and scene partner for Raging Stallion’s Clusterfuck 2) Boomer Banks, who performed a number with the ever so beautiful and polished Miss Fame.
So out of the fourteen girls from this past season, only a couple weren’t in attendance. Jaidynn Dior Fierce (which is a huge bummer because I really enjoyed meeting her at the premiere), Kandy Ho, Tempest Dujour, Max, Sasha Belle and Jasmine Masters were not in attendance. To be honest, out of that group the only ones I would’ve been interested in talking to would’ve been Tempest, Max and Jaidynn as Kandy brought nothing to the show, Sasha is boring and Jasmine did enough for herself to make her a villain throughout. Sorry, not sorry.
As for the girls who did show up to the meet and greet in the press room, I was surprised by how some were and not so surprised by how some behaved. First off, Pearl didn’t show up for press. I don’t get it. You are a freaking finalist, why aren’t you talking with the people that will write about you ESPECIALLY with you having an album coming out? Wasn’t really thrilled about that as I have attended finale parties in the past and the top three are always there. When it comes to Violet, I still have the same thoughts that I did when I met her at the premiere party- frazzled and not overtly nice. You don’t need to be, however she just seemed scattered and didn’t really stop for too long to let anyone really interview her. I am happy that she won, however these are things I will remember about her as you have to be amicable to a certain degree in order to make it far in anything with this industry. Just food for thought.
Ginger was absolutely incredible. She is beyond nice, hysterical and we had a great conversation about the season and so much more. I do feel as if she should’ve won the prize as overall she was consistent in my facets throughout the season, however I am still holding out hope that a big girl wins the prize eventually. Still not over Latrice losing S4. For as much shit as she got thrown at her this season, Kennedy Davenport couldn’t have been sweeter as well as poised and beautiful all at the same time. To be labeled the villain of this season when you didn’t really do anything villainous must be rough on a person, but she seems to be taking it in stride and was a fabulous person to chat with that night.
Trixie Mattel was hysterical as always, looking like a Katy Perry “Last Friday Night” inspiration decked in pink and wearing these incredible rollerblades. The makeup was overdone but in true Trixie style looked great on her. If Katya was in the final three I have no doubt that she would’ve won Miss Congeniality. Speaking of Katya, she looked ravishing in her black ensemble while sipping away on a red bull and giving everyone a big belly laugh with her great sense of humor. Finally, Mrs. Kasha Davis was a delight to talk to and I hope to see more from her in the future (especially if there is All Stars 2).
The night consisted of performances from the top six as well as the crowning moment where Violet was presented with the check for her win from Bianca Del Rio. Although many thought this was a lackluster season, the girls really did turn out some great performances and reminded us as to why they were cast on the show in the first place. Here is to hoping that S8 knocks it out of the park!
For more info on Drag Race, check out LOGOTV.com.
The 2015 Hookie Awards went down this past Friday night at BPM inside The Out Hotel on 42nd Street. It is true in some cases when you say third time’s a charm, and seeing as this was my third Hookie award show that I went to I can truly say that this was the case as this one I had the most fun at. Probably because I have interviewed most of these intelligent and sexy men, and knew what I was getting myself into (puns galore). Regardless of the fact that the shitty weather was keeping us from half naked men and water cooler awards like Best Cock and Best Boyfriend Fantasy, the room was packed to see the who’s who in the Rentboy world as well as some bonus amenities that I will get to later. This event was also live streamed for this first time on the web so you could enjoy the debauchery and excitement at home in your boxers with those sticky stains on them. Ew.
I started off my evening before the show at a pre-party with some of my favorite guys in the industry like Neil AKA Erotic Hypno, Jesse Jackman and Dirk Caber as well as a new friend that I met, Duncan Black. I also got to hang with my Buffboyz buddy Jeffrey Watchman who let me in on some pretty awesome news that I will be writing about soon (think naked guys. Wait, this article already makes you think about that. Just look at Jeffrey’s photos for reference and stay tuned). After the pre-party we waltzed into the show itself where I hung out with my new favorite person (and fellow chicken finger lover) Dewitt from Manhunt who is just as cute in real life as he is in his photos. His shorts he was wearing left little to the imagination, which would’ve been a disappointment if he wore more. The award show itself was hosted by Rupaul’s Drag Race legend Alaska Thunderfuck and by comedian Brad Loekle, who pretty much stated throughout the award show that he is a grateful size queen who would bottom for the majority of the audience with a smile on his face. The reference he made about Boomer Bank’s huge cock and Dora The Explorer was probably the funniest joke of the night. Kudos to him. Alaska seemed to be feeling her oats for the most part however I thought her jokes could’ve been a little bit better as Brad seemed to be carrying the entire show. Needless to say they both did a great job in keeping the event going seamlessly and in a timely fashion.
Onto the winners. I love Rocco Steele as he has been a great friend of mine for almost a year now. The fact that he even doubted winning Mister International 2015 was something that I giggled at as this was his Julianne Moore “Still Alice” moment. He was a shoo-in from the moment he was nominated so naturally I was ecstatic that he won that and another pivotal award… Best Cock. 2015 really was his year and the fact that he continues to be humble in a community that has a bit of arrogance is really what makes him such an incredibly awesome person. I am beyond proud of him for what he has done since I first interviewed him last July.
Boomer Banks won a unique award that Rentboy presents for Best Style, which didn’t seem like much of a stretch as I have seen his get ups in person as they are quite spectacular. He should’ve won for Best Pornstar or tied that with Rocco, but it is what it is. Something that I was quite happy to see this year as I am a bear/cub was that the people who won this year (tie) actually represent that community. The winners were Ted Byrns & Will Foster, and I couldn’t be happier that they represented us at The Hookies. Totally rad. Whereas I didn’t agree with some of the winners at the actual event (not naming names here but I did shake my head a couple of times) the ones that did win were genuinely happy and that’s really all that matters at the end of the day.
Side notes from the event:
I felt like I was one of the few people who actually knew who Stoya was. She is one of the biggest female performers out there, drop dead gorgeous and I loved that someone from her realm of porn was repping for the gays at ours.
The biggest shock of the evening wasn’t exactly the winners or anything that happened on stage. It was quite possibly the most handsome man I have ever laid my eyes on Colby Jansen being in attendance. He was there to present Best Bear/Cub (nice) and couldn’t have been nicer or better to look at. Colby, I’m ready to interview you… pick the location. I’m so open. 🙂
One of the nicest people that i met that night was hairy ginger & Best Twink winner Shameless Seamus, who was visiting New York for the first time by way of Nashville. Adorable and sweet in person, he has a thing for older bears (He’s 22 and I’m 28. Daddy age is coming). So naturally I want him to visit again so we can explore his “older bear” thang.
I was so happy to see Seth Fornea be one of the trophy boys at the ceremony as I have happily interviewed him in the past. However, his counterpart who goes by the name of “Ricky” was on a lot of people’s lips that night. Not literally, but chatting wise. If he really decides to go the distance in this arena he could be the next big thing. Cuz boy oh boy was he fun to look at (and chat with later on that night at Attic).
Completely forgetting I met him at Hustlaball 2015, I was happy to see Bravo Delta make an appearance by way of the never ending winter city of Boston. A nominee that night, I enjoyed our conversations that we had as he is one of the most intelligent men I have met in this biz.
Want to know more about The Hookies? Check out their official site.
The Oscars, The Grammys, The Tonys, The Emmys. All important award shows for most people. But if you are in the Rentboy industry, all of those combined equal one thing- The Hookies. Yes, Rentboy’s 9th Annual Hookie Awards are coming up on March 20th right here in New York City at BPM on West 42nd between 10th and 11th Avenue. As the Rentboy industry keeps getting bigger, better and bolder (see interview with Rentboy’s very own Hawk Kinkaid right here), it makes sense that this award show continues to grow in popularity in and out of the community. This year’s awards are hosted by Rupaul’s Drag Race legend (and American Apparel Ad Girl) Alaska Thunderfuck as well as comedian Brad Loekle. The awards given out are basically to describe who is the best of the best in the Rentboy world- from Best Massage, Best Social Media, Best Cock and so on and so forth.
As myself and the Manhattan Digest community have divulged in several active and well known Rentboy’s in the past on our site, it makes sense that we give our two cents as to who should win particular categories on March 20th. Essentially this is who we endorse as we believe their body of work suits them winning these fabulous trophies and putting them on hopefully a larger scale not only as Rentboys but in their professional worlds as well. The three categories we are dissecting are Best Porn Star, Best Boyfriend Fantasy, and Mr. International Escort 2015. The latter is determined by winner’s in areas of the world that include Mr. New York but also include Los Angeles, Florida, San Francisco, Chicago, Canada, Spain, U.K. and France. Tight competition in that if I must say so myself. Here is who we think should win.
Best Boyfriend Fantasy- Killian James
Killian James is easy on the eyes for sure, and has made his name in the Rentboy industry fast by winning his first ever award last year for Best Bottom when he was barely involved at that point in time. Clearly, he is on to something which means his fans agree that he’s got the whole package and then some (look at the ass folks). Whereas I don’t necessarily understand how you choose someone for Best Boyfriend Fantasy, Killian exemplifies that All-American look that many a man would love to have as a boyfriend for whatever reason possible.
Killian has this to say his experience in the industry- ” I got my start very grass roots. Traveling around the country and building up client bases in various cities. During that time I amassed A+ reviews from multi- time escort reviewers. I pride myself on providing Grade A client service and truth in advertising. I truly enjoy what I do, and label myself as “An Escort who does Porn”.
Get to know more about Killian here.
Best Pornstar Escort- Boomer Banks
As much as The Hookies are known for it being about Rentboys, there are also the dual ones who split being actual Rentboys and also being kings of the adult industry. Boomer Banks is a great example of how to do both. Last year’s win for Mr. International 2014, Boomer has climbed the ranks in both industries, and has had quite the banner year since he won last March. Someone with great style, sophistication and a great eye for what he is doing, he keeps fans wanting more with each movie he makes and also reigns supreme when it comes to his depth and interactions on his social media accounts.
Boomer had this to add: “I’ve always loved the number 3 and coincidentally that is the number of nominations I have this year. I’m happy to be nominated for Best Porn Star Escort as well as best Style as that is a passion of mine as well. I’ve worked very hard this past year in the industry as well on social media to make my fans proud so let’s bring home the bacon on Hookies night.”
Get to know more about Boomer here.
Mr. International 2015- Rocco Steele
Is there anyone who had a bigger (pun intended) year than Rocco Steele? The man came from out of nowhere in both the Rentboy industry as well as the adult industry and has had many people talking throughout about the gorgeous specimen that Rocco really is. Humble in his approach yet enigmatic on screen and in his reviews, Rocco exemplifies what it means to be Mr. International as he really has made himself a well known household name in a very short period of time.
Rocco had this to add about winning the title- ” This year has been a whirlwind year for me…I’ve traveled the world and worked hard to give my fans what they want. If I win Mr. International it’s not just a win for me it’s a win for us.
Get to know more about Rocco here.
If you are in town the night of March 20th please feel free to stop by BPM and experience The Hookies to see who wins! Who knows, you may find something you like and want to investigate further upon arrival. For more information about The Hookies, check out their official site.
The gay lifestyle and New York City kind of go hand in hand, like peanut butter and jelly. With the exception of a couple of other competing cities in the United States, you really can’t compete with us here when it comes to the variety of gay bars, nightlife and huge events that happen year round in the city that never sleeps. One infamous one is the epic Black Party which took place back in March to much hype and confirmed fanfare. But if there is one event that combines the hottest men in the world, great music and some awesome live shows featuring both, it is the outrageous Hustlaball NYC, which is taking place this Sunday night at Club Slake on West 30th between 7th and 8th Avenue.
How does one describe Hustlaball to a viewer or person that has never heard of this before? It is simply designed as the world’s largest erotic dance party. Taken place not only in New York City but in London and Las Vegas as well, the New York City version is jam packed with some of the biggest gay adult movie stars in the world, sure to entice and excite any fan to buy a ticket and see what their favorite performer or performers will be doing on and off the stage. So who in fact will be there? Performers such as Rocco Steele, Dirk Caber and Killian James who Manhattan Digest have profiled before to high praise and criticism. As hot as those three are, the buck doesn’t stop just there. Also performing will be superstars Tommy Defendi, Tyson Tyler, Christopher Daniels, Seth Santoro, Austin Wolf and Duncan Black just to name a few. There are so many more performers that you should check out the official site for more information.
I was fortunate enough to sit down with another person I interviewed this past year, the sexy and seductive Boomer Banks, who is one of the organizers of Hustlaball NYC this year. Take a look at what he has to say about the raunchiness and debauchery that Hustlaball NYC will expedite this coming Sunday night.
Tell us about some of the performers at Hustlaball.
This year, we have an amazing line up: Falcon Exclusive Ryan Rose and Colton Grey return this year to perform together (Hot hot hot!), two industry Pros, Falcon Group’s Exclusive Brent Corrigan and Nick Capra, will be putting on a SHOW (Caps needed), HustlaBall first timers Billy and Seth Santoro will have a special guest on stage. Also, Brian Bonds will be flagging Red for Hot Newcomer David Benjamin, and they are both Falcon Group Exclusives. NYC nightlife Sex Goddesses Daughters of Devotion with special guest Christian will be a sight. Cockyboys’ Tayte Hanson and Levi Karter. Need I say more? WOOF. Porn Sex Icon Jesse Santana and I, Boomer Banks, will be tearing up the stage… well, I’ll be tearing up something else. Leo Forte will be nothing less than Magic. Rentboy’s Best Bottom Killian James, Tyson Tyler , Duncan Black, Aleks Buldocek, Bravo Delta, Brock Rustin, Israel Oka, Max Cameron, Rouge Status, Champ Robinson and DaddyHunt Sex God Dirk Caber… I just blew my load saying all those names!!! My Boner Brigade for HustlaBall NYC is going to Turn out every onlooker and will be talked about for years to Cum!
HustlaBall is known for its extravagant live shows, what are you and the team going to do to keep the crowd going?
This year, the lineup of DJs is out of control: MensRoom (Chicago), Luther (World Wide), and Donkey (NYC). I guarantee the crowd won’t stop moving to these beats. Accompanied with Ryan Rose’s Hot Body all over Colton Grey’s thick cock, Brent Corrigan and Nick Capra taking command. Mix in Some Sexy Daughters of Devotion NYC nightlife magic and Big Daddy Dirk Caber… If that’s not enough refer to question number 1.
This event takes place in 3 different locations, what makes NYC so special?
Sure, there’s Vegas and London, but there is NO place like NYC. The energy alone is incendiary! Columbus Day weekend is a huge party weekend for NYC alone, with us throwing in this Unique Super Sexy Musical of Live shows. We have what no one else has: The Ultimate Uniqueness.
Any surprise guests or unexpected things planned?
We have many past performers always showing up, but that’s what makes it a surprise, right? This year, we have some special guest hosting from Tommy Defendi, Austin and Tyler Wolf, Eli Lewis, Leo Sweetwood, Nubias and the Phenomenal Director of the Year and Porn Mom Mr. Pam hosting the VIP room.
What kind of booths are at Hustlaball?
As always we will have our Rentboy HustlaBall NYC photo booth with Dick Mitchell, and I’m excited to announce our DaddyHunt booth with Featured Daddy Hosts: Hot Hung Newcomer Rocco Steele, Dolf Dietrich, Cole and Hunter (Maverick Men) and Diesel Washington.
What is Boomer doing, or who is Boomer doing that night?
I am the Stage Daddy(mom)/Manager for this year’s HustlaBall, and this year, I brought out Industry favorite and Sex GOD Jesse Santana to plow the night away… BOOM!
What is your overall hope for this?
I want this year’s HustlaBall to embody the essence of NYC: a fairytale (satyr) Empire State of mind.
Sounds like a pretty fucking good time in my book, emphasis on the word fucking. Tickets are still available via the official website, so make sure you stop by and enjoy yourself this Sunday night. Guaranteed to have a great time.
In the varieties of interviews that I have done for Manhattan Digest (and other sites) I try to always get a human element in each person or persons that I interview. Sure, I can talk to them about what they are known for mainly (music, television, movies, etc) but the basis behind any good article or interview is the hope that the reader comes away with something more than what is on the surface. I got that and then some when I sat down with the humble, brilliant and beautiful Rocco Steele.
Rocco, who currently lives in New York City, is becoming a rising star in the adult world and has developed quite the fan following in a short period of time, something that many stars in any arena can take years to do so. His good looks on top of his good performances have left his fans wanting more and he has delivered ten fold in everything that he has done so far. So it came as no surprise to me that when I met up with him this past weekend after his flight back from London & Barcelona, that his passion that he displays on camera also showed when I interviewed him about his life and career leading up to where he is now. Something that I found a big turn on about Rocco Steele is that he really made this a no holds barred interview. From his troubled past with alcohol & drugs that has led to his sobriety for fifteen years, to his upfront and honest take about barebacking not only in the industry but in gay society as a whole, Rocco truly made this interview something that I hope many people can leave even more interested than they did before they read this. Take a look.
So Rocco, tell me how you got your start in this industry.
I started escorting two years ago. A couple of studios approached me once they saw my ad, and I just wasn’t ready at that point. Back then I was working a corporate job and the time wasn’t right for obvious reasons. So when I left my corporate job a few months ago I decided to start my own business. I thought this would be a perfect time to enter the industry. Because I’m starting a business, I have a set goal in terms of timeline for this. I won’t be able to be doing this for a very long time. I’m using this as a means to an end, but at the same time I really enjoy it and want to have fun while doing it. So all in all it was about timing and the timing itself just happened to be right.
There are a lot of guys who can get sucked into this kind of “porn culture” with the partying, drinking, drugs and whatnot. Do you think it’s easy to navigate this world and get out the same way you came in?
It will be for me because I consider myself fairly well- grounded. I have a strong, spiritual background and a very strong support network, especially in New York City. Also, I’ve been clean and sober for over 15 years, so that helps a lot and my work in recovery gives me the tools to bring a lot of integrity to the table. I realize that with any given shoot, it’s not about me…it’s about showing up and giving the studio the best end-product I can – bringing my A-game, taking direction, etc. My recovery also allows me to stay level-headed and focused on my own goals and objectives – specifically, to do this for a certain period of time, while I am starting my business. So for me, it’s easy to navigate and stay away from the distractions of partying, drugs, etc.
Something that is big in not only porn culture but gay culture in fact is the phenomenon of the “daddy”, which you seem to embody in a lot of the scenes you do. What are your thoughts on it, in particular younger guys my age always seeing older men as that type?
I think its definitely here to stay. There were always daddies, it just doesn’t seem like there was an obsession like there is now. I came from the generation of gays (in the 90’s) where we all wanted to be super buff, in contrast to the 70’s and 80’s, where gay men were fit but not as muscular and big. The 90’s were different in that sense, where it was all about getting big. My generation of gays are now growing up and are in their 40s and 50s and we are maintaining those bodies. I think this is appealing to the younger generation of gays…big strong daddies with big muscles…but that’s just my theory.
Tell me about your first scene, what was it like? Were you nervous, excited?
He doesn’t realize this but Ray Dragon was pivotal in getting me there. He was somebody I had been talking to on and off for the past 18 months or so about entering porn. I knew that when and if I was ready, I would do my first scene for Ray. I would approach him every so often with questions about it and he would answer them for me and tell me to let him know when I was ready. When I decided to finally do it a few months ago, I reached out to Ray again. He was so great and took the time and talked to me on the phone. Because I had been so hesitant for awhile, He wanted to make sure I was making the right decision. That was something I really appreciated about Ray – he was very professional , compassionate and understanding of my personal decision making process.
My first scene was a solo scene for Ray Dragon. I took a train to his studio in Beacon, New York. I wasn’t stressed or anxious because I knew it was for Ray and he already put me at ease and managed my expectations. When I got there, he set up the scene and again walked me through everything. The set was an army tent. It was really a sexy set, and with the army attire, it was so easy to get into it and do what I had to do. Before I knew it, the scene was over.
Prior to the scene, I said to myself, “Let’s see how this goes. If it’s horrifying and a disaster, I won’t do it again”. But it was a really fun and an amazing experience and I knew on the train ride home it was what I wanted to continue doing.
Barebacking in the industry is becoming huge, even the mainstream ones are bending how they used to do things and allowing it into some of their scenes. What is your take on this?
I do bareback porn and I do condom porn, and it mirrors my life. When I meet and ultimately have sex with a negative guy, I am responsible and we are safe and use condoms. If the guy is on PrEp and tells me he wants bareback, we decide to do that as two consenting adults. I have read a lot of the recent research out about transmission of HIV when one partner is negative and the other is undetectable. Although risk factor is extremely low, there is still a risk so I need to be responsible in my life to prevent further transmission.
The same is how I like to approach my views on bareback in porn. I think there are studios that present it more responsibly than others. I think we have a responsibility even in bareback porn to educate how it can be done responsibly and I try to align myself with those studios who present it that way. I will never be that guy who vocally supports bareback porn over safe sex but it exists, so let’s be responsible about it.
Is there anyone you are dying to work with in the industry?
I’m kind of obsessed with Marcus Isaacs, I don’t know why. I do love that I am staying open to directors choosing partners for me because it makes it exciting – but for some reason I keep going back to Marcus, when I see his scenes and pictures- that’s my type. I mean, If I have a type , it’s him.
What other stuff do you have going on outside the industry, can you discuss your other businesses?
Well I’m a self-taught photographer, and have been doing this for the past six years. Back then, I sold all my furniture to buy my first camera. I just started shooting head shots for friends and friends of friends which then lead to shooting models. I have worked with a couple of modeling agencies, who send me some models to test. I mainly help models build their portfolios but because my interest is in portraiture, I also like to capture more artistic “magical” moments while I shoot them for my own book.
I’m also starting an e-commerce business as well. I’m sure you can understand that I am not able to discuss the details. It’s been such an amazing journey, creating a company and a brand. I will have a website and will use social media as a means to market and drive traffic to the site. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time – working with factories in China for production. I hope to have production completed in the Fall and launch the website in the winter. It’s very organic and home-spun as I do all my own graphic design and my own photography. I designed my own logo and will shoot my own models. It’s thrilling to me because when I was in the corporate world, I was a small part in the decision making process, giving input but I never really felt like I was able to influence where the company is going. Now that this is my own thing, I have that control and it is fucking awesome.
One question I didn’t ask is, what do you ultimately want your fans to know about you?
Look – I could use this as an opportunity to say something really sexy and provocative, but what is most important is that I want people to know that I am just a nice normal guy. I care about people and I try to live my live with honesty and integrity. I am grateful to be on this journey. It’s not something I would have ever imagined for myself but I’m really enjoying it now that I’m on it. I am grateful to every fan and follower who supports me and my work. If this ends tomorrow, I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences I’ve had up to this point.
Want to know more about Rocco Steele? Check him out on his Twitter page!