That BUTTHOLE Just Winked at Me!

By Josh Eliot

 

I arrived at the Caravan Lodge in the heart of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District thinking to myself, “What the fuck are you doing? Are you crazy?! Meeting a complete stranger in a trashy motel room for an interview?” Days earlier, I called the phone number from a help wanted ad in the Bay Area Reporter looking for a still photographer and a make-up artist for work on adult gay videos. I noticed the door was ajar when I walked up to the motel room, and once I knocked a loud voice told me to come in. The room was super dark, except for the bedside lamp, with a large man sitting on the bed. Smart move, dude!

I didn’t know at the time, but the man was Scott Masters, the founder and producer of Nova Video, now working for William Higgins' company, Catalina Video. Once we started a conversation, I was relieved to find that this was in fact a legitimate job interview and he was actually quite pleasant. I was a bit nervous that I was applying for the still photographer position, because I had ZERO experience shooting photographs. I went to the interview with still photos shot by my childhood friend David, claiming they were mine. It’s called rolling the dice!

 

Vintage brochure material for the Nova film Oh Brother

Vintage brochure material for the Nova film Oh Brother

 

I didn’t go in as a total fraud; I also had a decent resume with film and video production experience from the San Francisco Art Institute and The Bailie School of Broadcast. A year prior, a movie I made and acted in premiered as an Official Selection at the 1986 San Francisco International Video Festival. It was shot on a VHS camcorder and had a budget of $200, which was mostly used to rent the editing equipment. If you like B-Movies, check it out on my YouTube channel, it’s called Fright Night of the Living Dead.

 

1986 San Francisco International Video Festival listing for Fright Night of the Living Dead
Images from Josh Eliot's Fright Night of the Living Dead

1986 San Francisco International Video Festival listing for & images from Josh Eliot's Fright Night of the Living Dead

 

I think Scott Masters was impressed, so he sent me to the adjoining room so I could meet “Jim.” Jim and I discussed specifics about the content of the product they produce and what would be expected of me. He could not have been nicer or more welcoming, something you wouldn’t exactly expect when you later discover that he made the most well-known gay adult movie of its time, Powertool, starring his discovery, Jeff Stryker. I was in the presence of porn royalty, John Travis, the man behind Brentwood Video and numerous Falcon Studio productions. I wouldn’t find out the extent of his notoriety until months after working with him, because he never bragged. Following our meeting, I had a third interview with Dan Allman, who was in charge of art direction for Catalina. On September 21st, 1987, my 25th birthday, Dan gave his blessings and I was officially Catalina Video’s still photographer.

 

Cover for the collection The Best of Brentwood

Cover for the collection The Best of Brentwood

 

My first day on the set, we were shooting a scene for the John Summers/John Travis production Bulge: Mass Appeal. Kurt Bauer and Kevin Glover were in the scene. John was directing from behind the camera while Dan, Kenny (the make-up man) and I were watching it on a monitor to make sure lighting was good. In between shots, we would all run in and move the lights and microphone and set up for another angle. Dan put two apple boxes on the floor and John Travis asked Kurt Bauer stand on top of them while Kevin sat on a stool to blow him. “Hop in there, stills,” Travis ordered. I walked into the set then stopped and looked back at him. “Under there?” Travis had a good laugh, “Of course! … I’m not the only one who gets to have my face up their ass! You don’t bite, do you, Kurt?” Kurt said something cute and flagged me in to get down on the floor under him.

After I got the photo, John told Kevin to step out of the frame then said to me, “Stills, shoot some shots of that hot fucking ass Kurt has, and Kurt… be sure to wink your butthole at him!” I was mortified, but in a good way. Kurt “winked away” and that was my initiation into the club.

 

Kurt Bauer and the Bulge: Mass Appeal cover

Kurt Bauer and the Bulge: Mass Appeal cover

 

It doesn’t give me any pleasure to say that my position as a still photographer lasted a whole two weeks. They were not happy with my photos because I shot everything on automatic. F-stop? What’s an f-stop? I should have asked my friend David. Luckily they liked me and focused on my video production experience, which is what I was hoping for all the time. John Travis and Dan Allman started training me on the back up video camera, normally only used to shoot the second cumshot angle. They went on to hire another still photographer, making me the second videographer, and from that point forward all Catalina productions were shot with two cameras simultaneously.


Bio of Josh Eliot:

At the age of 25 in 1987, Josh Eliot was hired by Catalina Video by John Travis (Brentwood Video) and Scott Masters (Nova Video). Travis trained Eliot on his style of videography and mentored him on the art of directing. Josh directed his first movie, Runaways, in 1987. By 2009 when Josh parted ways with Catalina Video, he'd produced and directed hundreds of features and won numerous awards for Best Screenplay, Videography, Editing, and Directing. He was entered into the GayVN Hall of fame in 2002.  

 

You can read Josh Eliot's previous blogs for Bijou here:

Coming out of my WET SHORTS
FRANK ROSS, The Boss
Our CALIGULA Moment

 

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Retrostuds of the Past: Richard Locke

posted by guest blogger Miriam Webster


Richard Locke images

 

Richard Locke - the sexy, confident, bearded daddy, with a hip tattoo of a butterfly and a physique naturally toned from working outdoors (or, as he claimed, from jerking off in front a a mirror for thirty minutes a day) - was one of the first to establish mature men as potent sex symbols in gay porn. He became an icon from his outstanding starring role as Hank, a relatable everyman hero, in the late '70s Working Man Trilogy from the Gage Brothers (Kansas City Trucking Co., El Paso Wrecking Corp., and L.A. Tool & Die). This trilogy brought a new sexual focus to average working class men who have sex with men, and their sexual lives in smaller cities and rural areas across the United Sates, which had a massive impact on gay porn.
 

Vintage Kansas City Trucking Co. poster

Vintage poster (available here) for Kansas City Trucking Co.


Born June 11, 1941 in East Oakland, California, Locke served in the Army in his early adult life, where he worked as a tank mechanic. He returned to California and eventually began starring in porn in his mid-30s, quickly ascending to star status. Locke worked on films with some of the finest auteur directors of classic gay porn (Joe Gage, Arthur Bressan Jr., Steve Scott, Wakefield Poole) and biggest stars (Jack Wrangler, Will Seagers, Fred Halsted, Clay Russell, Roy Garrett, Casey Donovan). He even had a sex scene with his real-life lover, Alex, on the roof of their Desert Hot Springs home in Wakefield Poole's Take One (1977). Locke used his real name in porn, telling Jerry Douglas in an interview for the December 1992 issue of Manshots, “I'm very proud of my work and everything I do. An artist signs his name to the canvas, and I sign my name.”

Locke's films (narrative features, experimental/art porn, straight-forward sex films/loops) and characters span a wide variety. His character Hank focuses on raunchy casual encounters throughout the majority of the Working Man Trilogy, but shows his soft side by following his dream man (played by Will Seagers) across the country in L.A. Tool & Die, and Arthur Bressan Jr.'s Forbidden Letters also focuses on a romantic storyline. (Locke also appeared in a smaller role in Bressan Jr.'s Passing Strangers.)

 

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Locke on Will Seagers, co-star of Cruisin' the Castro and L.A. Tool & Die: "There was a magic between Will and me, and that happens very rarely onscreen... Every time we had a scene together, we came at the same time, just like the honeymoon couple. There was a magic." (Manshots, December 1992)

 

In contrast to his romantic roles and the easy likability of the trilogy's Hank, in Joe Gage's 1982 release, Heatstroke, Locke plays a mean sonofabitch, the gruff ranch foreman (though with a knowing sense of humor). In addition to his countless filmic sexual encounters, Locke gets into two memorable brawls on screen, both in Heatstroke and L.A. Tool & Die, tossing a homophobe out of a gay bar in the latter.
 

Heatstroke and L.A. Tool & Die brawls

 

Heatstroke and L.A. Tool & Die brawls (pictured above); Hank in L.A. Tool & Die: "If there's anything I like better than sucking cock, it's kicking ass."

 

In this fascinating 1978 interview with Richard Locke, conducted by his brother Robert, Richard stated his goal in making pornography: “When I was coming out, I didn't feel good about myself. Now I do feel good and I want to share that. If I can project that solid, good feeling within myself into the audience, to people who don't feel good about themselves, if they can say, 'That's what I like; that's what I want to be like, open and free,' then I will have accomplished one of the goals in my life – to bring freedom to other people, the freedom of being themselves.”

Later in his career, Locke toured the country performing live strip/jack off shows for enthusiastic crowds (including at the Bijou Theater), published two books (Locke Out and In the Heat of Passion), authored a play (Loving), mountain climbed, and lived in a sparsely-populated part of the desert outside Palm Springs, where he did body work as a licensed masseur in the city and, out in the desert, worked with his interests in rural and self-sustaining/do-it-yourself living by building a geodesic domed home with a working solar and wind power system.
 

Richard Locke striptease from a suit into leather gear

"Here's another one of my gimmicks: to take the ordinary and mundane and make it erotic. When I went to Washington, I took a business suit with me, and I stripped out of that suit into leather. Everybody in Washington has to wear a suit because they work in the government, so I took their 'ordinary' and eroticized it." - Locke in Mandate, October 1987

 

After his 1983 HIV positive diagnosis, Locke turned his focus to activism. In the '80s and '90s, he used his platform as a popular porn star to tirelessly spread information about safer sex practices and health services during the AIDS crisis, in radio and magazine interviews, at seminars, and even at his strip show appearances (which featured creative and practical safer sex activity demonstrations).

Magazine clipping reading Richard Locke: Responsible Sleaze During the AIDS Crisis. The legendary King of Sleaze is changing his sexual style, and offers some tips on how to do it without becoming a celibate monk!
Richard Locke safer sex inspiration images from Advocate MEN

“I'm very positive about stopping fluid exchanges... Still, I have a great sex life... I was on radio station KPFA for about 15 minutes before they censored me. I said, 'testicular fornication.' The moderator said, 'Well, what's testicular fornication?' And I said, 'Ball-fucking.' We went off the air for 45 minutes.' (Advocate MEN, March 1987)

 

Richard Locke nude, holding a condom

“One of the things [Locke] does in his shows, he says, is to jerk off that legendary scholong and then toss (unused) condoms at his audience. 'And I say – remember when your mammas told you to wear your rubbers? Well, now your daddy's telling you!'” (Advocate MENMarch 1987)


During this period of time, he additionally worked with support groups, raised money, protested, publicly advocated for condom usage for individuals as well as porn studios (saying he was blackballed in the business as a result), visited patients in hospital wards, and much more that is likely not chronicled. This beautiful article - “Two Kinds of Hero: Richard (Butterfly) Locke” - provides some insight into that chapter of his life.

Locke was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the 1994 Gay Erotic Video Awards. He died of AIDS-related complications in 1996.

Richard Locke was known for being a charming combination of strong, caring, bright, unpretentious, and entirely genuine; a down-to-earth guy and a confident, unapologetic gay man – qualities reflected in many of his movie roles. Bijou owner Steven Toushin described him as a very kind man and director Joe Gage (in this interview discussing his films, including commentary on Locke) called him “the last of the true live-and-let-live hippies.”
 

Richard Locke images

“The nice thing about film is that I will live a long time, even after I die. 'Cause it's there.” (Manshots, December 1992)


Through Bijou Video, you can find Richard Locke in our fresh new release, Heatstroke (DVD | Streaming) as well as in a number of other classics we carry, including the collection The Best of Richard Locke (DVD | Streaming).

Online Sources and Further Information:
My Brother the Porn Star: An Interview with Richard Locke
Keep on Truckin': An Interview with Joe Gage
Two Kinds of Hero: Richard (Butterfly) Locke
Ask Any Buddy podcast: Kansas City Trucking Co.
Wikipedia – Richard Holt Locke
Gay Erotic Video Index – Richard Locke
 

Heatstroke and The Best of Richard Locke DVD covers
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Joseph D. Kahoonei
Aloha This Daddy Was A Gem. One Of My 1st Cocks I Had Was From A Handsome Man That Reminded Me Of Sir Locke. A Wonderful Memory.... Read More
Tuesday, 13 July 2021 18:50
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