VOYAGER of the Damned

By Josh Eliot

 
Cover of Catalina's Voyager

Cover of Catalina's Voyager

 

In 2000, Catalina Video was invited to shoot a movie on board the Pillage & Plunder Gay Cruise, departing from Tampa. As with the maiden voyage of the Titanic, the Pillage & Plunder's initial venture at sea was just as much a disaster for the Catalina Crew. Don’t get me wrong, the cruise itself was a smashing success for the passengers and organizers of the event, so much so that it was repeated for many years to come. My experience however, through no fault of the Pillage organizers, was one that I tried hard to “douche” from my memory. I’ve never been so stressed out and distraught while on a “vacation” of sorts. The flight from Los Angeles was uneventful and we had a nice overnight stay at a Sheraton in Tampa. The next afternoon we made our way to the port.

 

Catalina Crew: Mark Jensen, Brad Austin, Peter Romero & Josh Eliot

Catalina Crew: Mark Jensen, Brad Austin, Peter Romero & Josh Eliot

 

Arriving on board the Regal Empress was like: “Are you kidding me? Is this girl even seaworthy?” I referred to her as a “rusty barge,” and that was a compliment. The Regal Empress’ maiden voyage was on October 15th, 1953 and she was put out of service March 9th, 2009. For my sake, couldn’t she have been put to rest 9 or 10 years earlier? The ship ended up leaving port six hours late, which I could deal with, but for some reason unbeknownst to me (until we were on the ship and ready to shoot some dialogue) we were told that we could not shoot anything until we were in international waters. A majority of the storyline setup was to take place on deck as the ship was leaving port, with the background of the passengers on deck celebrating. Because the ship left port around 10pm, we did not get to shoot our footage, so a whole chunk of the storyline which I set up in Vermont, Los Angeles and the Tampa pier went bye-bye. The schedule was so tight on this cruise and this, coupled with the fact of only being able to shoot when we were told we were in international waters, made it impossible to reschedule these crucial scenes. I thought fuck it, we’ll fix it in post-production as we so often did. I’ll make some montages or something. Always troubleshooting on my toes, I pulled out our third camera, the L-1 that looks just like a home movie camera with less than desirable quality, and ran around the ship shooting generic shots of the passengers while I pretended to be a tourist shooting home movies. I needed to have something!

Now like I said, I douched a lot of this out of my brain, but I do remember seeing porn star Enrico Vega on one of the decks running around in barely anything, flashing his dick to the passengers. That footage of us stumbling upon him is in the finished movie. I honestly am not sure if we hired him “on the spot” to be in the group scene for the movie or if we had already booked him. I really think we added him into the cast after meeting him, turning our upcoming five-way into a six-way. This all doesn’t sound too bad, right? Guys running around flashing their hard cocks to anyone who wants to see them, unlimited drinks, sailing the coast. Well, things went cock-eyed the morning of our big group scene on the main deck.

 

Regal Empress, cast in action, Josh with Steve Rambo

Regal Empress, cast in action, Josh with Steve Rambo

 

Steve Rambo, Tuck Johnson and Caesar, three of the six models in the big six-way, came to me while Ray Harley, Mike Radcliffe and Enrico Vega were in make-up or having their stills done. They dropped the bomb on me that there were too many passengers piled up along the railings to watch the filming and they didn’t want to shoot their scenes in public. I was a bit annoyed because they knew from the moment I cast them that this was the deal. But from a humane perspective, I personally wouldn’t want to lay it all out there in front of a crowd either, so I found a hallway with emergency doors that we could close to give them a spot out of the public eye. They were grateful and I was fine with it, except the beautiful background of a cruise ship on the open seas and the majestic scope was now a small cramped hallway that could have been built on a soundstage. In addition, I couldn’t shoot the six guys together in that hallway so I split it into two groups of three. This was less than ideal… bye-bye six-way, hello two three-ways - twice the work! The other three models were all exhibitionists so they thrived on the fact that they were being watched. Oh happy day until we heard the sudden roar of a horn and the ship’s smokestack started blowing out black engine exhaust! As soon as that horn blew, so did one of my two cameras and its videotape deck. There was a surge from the ship outlet that destroyed the camera and deck! Luckily, camera two wasn’t plugged in yet and was still working. This was a disaster; we’d been shooting with two cameras on every shoot since 1987! You can capture twice the shots in half the time, plus two angles on the cum shots, which was what we were known for at the time. Well, we were down to one camera and I was too afraid to plug it into the wall, so we used battery power. Because we were on battery, we could not use the TV monitor to check lighting, exposure, framing and focus, so I was forced to do the camerawork myself because how else would I see how it was framed? I shot and hoped for the best.

 

Ceasar in Voyager

Ceasar in Voyager

 

I shot the first group of guys in front of the passengers , then re-set up everything and shot the guys in the hallway. The crowd wanted to see Caesar so badly they kept pushing open the emergency doors while I was filming, ruining my shots and annoying the boys. It was like a slow painful death that day, and when we wrapped all I wanted to do was throw back a few shots at the bar with the crew. But that wasn’t in the cards. In 2000, it was common for models (at their own choice and discretion) to use Viagra or a penile injectable to keep an erection. Well, with all the stress of working in front of a hungry crowd, one model gave himself a little too much of the injectable. His erection would not go down, so we took him to emergency on the ship. The erection lasted for hours and the doctor on board was concerned it could cause long term damage to his functionality. It was horrible. I felt so bad for him. I kept going in and out of the medical suite to check on him, until finally around 11pm the erection subsided.

The next day, we laid anchor in Key West, made our way to the Oasis Guest House to shoot our final scene (with one fucking camera), then spent the night at a go-go bar that DJ Tommy Rocker (Catalina promotions associate) was spinning records at. We had a ball, then went back to the rusty barge, slept and were first in line to get off that Muther-Fucking Ship in Tampa. Never to return.

 

 

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
That BUTTHOLE Just Winked at Me!
DREAMLAND: The Other Place
A Salty Fuck in Saugatuck
Somebody, Call a FLUFFER!
The Late Great JOHN TRAVIS, My POWERTOOL Mentor
(Un)Easy Riders
7 Years with Colt Model MARK RUTTER
Super NOVA
Whatever Happened to NEELY O’HARA?
Is That AL PARKER In Your Photo?
DOWN BY LAW: My $1,000,000 Mistake
We Waited 8hrs for a Cum Shot... Is That a World Record?
Don't Wear "Short Shorts" on the #38 Geary to LANDS END
How Straight Are You Really?
BEHIND THE (not so) GREEN DOOR
The BOOM BOOM Room
CATCHING UP with Tom DeSimone
Everybody’s FREE to FEEL GOOD
SCANDAL at the Coral Sands Motel
DEEP INSIDE THE CASTRO: The Castro Theatre
DEEP INSIDE THE CASTRO: The Midnight Sun
RSVP: 2 Weeks Working on a Gay Cruise Ship

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Chasing the Boys and Chasing the Sun: My Story of Sun Worship and Where It Got Me

By Will Seagers

 

Summer has always been my favorite time of the year. Bathing suits, bulges, boys and of course a good suntan! Growing up on the East Coast in New Jersey meant one thing in the summer - The Shore.

Starting off as a youngster, the boy stuff hadn't quite kicked in, but I was already indoctrinated into the tanning thing by the age of seven. With an above ground pool in the backyard in north central N.J. and frequent trips down the Garden State Parkway to Asbury Park and other points on the "Shore" during each summer, I wasn't happy unless I had a nice deep tan... it was sort of a merit badge.

I remember around the age of seven or so, my parents rented a bungalow in the Ocean County hamlet of Ocean Beach. That's where I got my first bad sunburn and some sun sickness, as well. I remember I felt terrible and was shivering and unable to sleep with the pain. The next day I had a huge blister on my shoulder as a memento.

Will Seagers childhood photo
Will Seagers childhood photo

Fast forward a decade or so when my family actually lived at the shore. I guess you can figure I was always tan. Now is when the "Boy Thing” started to kick in. I didn't go to the beach where the rest of my family went. I chose the next town up from us... it had a gay beach. I learned the ropes and the art of cruising pretty fast. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, my skin was taking a beating and "remembering” all of the sun I was throwing at it.

Moving along to my Flight Attendant days. Now in my early twenties, I trained in Miami Springs for what used to be Eastern Airlines. No need to say this, but Miami = Sun. Even though my first six months were based out of JFK, I opted for every Florida or San Juan flight that I could get. I particularly loved being dark tan in the dead of winter!

Flight attendant crew in 1972 and Will Seagers Puero polaroid in Puerto Rico at age 21
Flight attendant crew (1972) and polaroid in Puerto Rico at age 21

Next stop San Juan, Puerto Rico! As soon as my first six months were up and I could make my move, I transferred to San Juan. Here, my goal was to attain the tan of a lifetime! (Little did I know that it was more like a life sentence!) Lots of sexy Latino men on the beach, too. All it took was a certain nod and we'd be off the beach and headed to bed! I wound up playing too hard in P.R. and losing my job. I was having too much fun and missed a couple too many flights! Oh well!

Back up north to NYC (and a summer on Fire Island!). Fire Island was my first experience with nude beaches. Boy, did that make things easy! Lol. But I left the NYC area in the fall to help a friend in Phoenix. It had a neat gay community and WOW, the Desert Southwest Sun. It was just about as powerful as it gets!

Will Seagers on Fire Island beach in 1976 and in the Arizona desert
Fire Island beach (1976) and Arizona desert

Then there was the migration to San Francisco, where I lived for fourteen years. Although one could get a pretty good bronzing up on their rooftops, like I did in my apartment, it was the Russian River and its resorts that beckoned. So, for the first few years, every Friday was the hour and a half pilgrimage north to The Woods or many of the other Russian River Resorts. Great California Sun and lots of wild sexy places to visit! And when in town during the winter, there were the tanning salons. It was from overuse of a tanning bed that I got a Malignant Melanoma! Should have stopped there, right?

After returning once again to the East Coast in 1991 to N.J. and ultimately NYC, I discovered a little gem of a beach just outside the waters of N.Y. on the Jersey shore - Sandy Hook - and it was a nude beach! Yay! For where it was and what it was (a state park), it was the wildest beach that I have ever experienced. All sorts of bodies in all levels of arousal.

And what kind of beach story would be complete without the addition of South Beach, Miami Beach, Fla? By this time, I was 44. It was an international port of call. With that came some extraordinary beauties... and raring to go! I remember walking the beach in my favorite black speedo and being summoned by this gorgeous, long haired Adonis to come up to his beach front house. I still get out of breath remembering that one! But wait, there was more. Here I am again, walking the beach in my favorite little speedo, and what had to have been the most spectacular specimen of mankind walked right up to me, gave me a peck on the cheek and started rubbing my crotch. In broad daylight, we had sex on the beach. "Mr. DeMille" - where were you? We were quite ready for our close up!

Will Seagers in the '90s
40th birthday in S.F., on a cruise (1990), South Beach (1996)

Ok. Fast forward through nearly twenty-five more years of sun recklessness to the (sort of) moral of the story. At age 71, I have just undergone my sixth Mohs Procedure for skin cancer. I have not forgotten my fabulous times on the beach. And, neither has my skin. The one thing I have to share with everyone it is this: the sun is not your friend. Please be careful.

Will Seagers bandaged after a Mohs Procedure
Recovering from a Mohs Procedure, past and present

 

Thank you to Will Seagers for use of his photos.

 

Bio of Will Seagers:

Will Seagers (also credited as Matt Harper), within his multifaceted career and participation in numerous gay communities across the country in the '70s and '80s and beyond, worked as a print model and film performer. He made iconic appearances in releases from Falcon, Hand in Hand, Joe Gage, Target (Bullet), J. Brian, Steve Scott, and more, including in lead roles in major classics like Gage's L.A. Tool & Die (1979) and Scott's Wanted (1980). He brought strong screen presence and exceptional acting to his roles and was scene partners with many fellow legends of classic porn.

 

Will Seagers, present day image

 


You can read Will Seagers' previous blogs for Bijou here:
Welcome Matt/Will
What's For Dessert?
On and Off the Set of L.A. Tool & Die
Wanted, Weekend Lockup and Weekends in Hermosa Beach
Honeymoon in the Palms
Birds of a Feather
The Stereo Maven of Castro Street
The Pass Around Boy
The Ecstasy and the Agony
Fitness and Fantasy: The Early Gyms

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The Ecstasy and the Agony

By Will Seagers

 

The decision to leave San Francisco and return home to the East Coast in September of 1991 came from great fear and sadness. My "City by the Bay" had been home to me since 1976. But, life was closing in on me and I needed to reinvent myself (i.e save my life!).

In September of 1989, my partner Tom passed from complications of AIDS. We had been together for almost all of my time in SF. I watched the grim reaper take Tom from me over a torturous five year period. During this time, I coached myself on how I was going to make it through this and make a new life for myself after he passed. Although I remained strong for him and by his side, I crumbled like a sandcastle hit by a wave the day he passed.

To put it mildly, escapism took over. I used almost everything I could to stay high and away from reality. "Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n Roll" isn't just a saying - it became a lifestyle! I couldn't come home to the little apartment that we had for thirteen years anymore. It haunted me... too many memories.

 

Will Seagers in San Francisco

 

I went through several apartment changes in SF... none of which worked. I needed to be by myself... to collect myself.

The last place I stayed was a room rental. The house owner was a casual friend and a coke dealer. Although he was very kind and understood my dilemma, I wound up pushing his product towards the end. That's when I knew I had to leave.

I contacted my Aunt in New Jersey... a person who had always been an anchor in my life. I asked if I could stay with her 'til I got on my feet. I could sense an anxiety on her part. But, she relented and I drove cross country. I left on Labor Day weekend. I'll never forget my drive down Market St. as I silently said my goodbyes to the city that I had loved so dearly. So, onto the freeway entrance and onto my four day cross country excursion.

I remained in NJ for three years, where I entered the musical instrument business and sold and taught organ and piano. I have always loved music. And, when times were good, I always had a theater organ in my home.

 

Will Seagers in New Jersey

During the piano and organ phase

 

Bored to death in NJ, I sold most of my belongings and started a new adventure in South Beach, Florida. It was quintessentially even more of a gay Mecca than SF. (The year was 1995.) Things have changed substantially. I had more sex than ever... even episodes right on the beach! Yes! Stuff like that really happened. But, that too became hollow and unreal after a while.

 

Will Seagers in the '90s

Being 45 is not so tough in South Beach

 

NYC beckoned. Along with it came some serendipity. I returned on the first weekend of April. I stayed with my brother in Brooklyn while apartment hunting. The serendipitous part - I met my current spouse Alan the very first weekend I went to Manhattan on the dancefloor of the "Roxie" dance club. It was April 4th, 1995. That was the day that the Agony turned back to Ecstasy!

 

Painting

 

Thank you to Will Seagers for use of the photos.


Bio of Will Seagers:

Will Seagers (also credited as Matt Harper), within his multifaceted career and participation in numerous gay communities across the country in the '70s and '80s and beyond, worked as a print model and film performer. He made iconic appearances in releases from Falcon, Hand in Hand, Joe Gage, Target (Bullet), J. Brian, Steve Scott, and more, including in lead roles in major classics like Gage's L.A. Tool & Die (1979) and Scott's Wanted (1980). He brought strong screen presence and exceptional acting to his roles and was scene partners with many fellow legends of classic porn.

 

Will Seagers, present day image

 


You can read Will Seagers' previous blogs for Bijou here:
Welcome Matt/Will
What's For Dessert?
On and Off the Set of L.A. Tool & Die
Wanted, Weekend Lockup and Weekends in Hermosa Beach
Honeymoon in the Palms
Birds of a Feather
The Stereo Maven of Castro Street
The Pass Around Boy

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David's Chicago Sexual Underground - 4/22/20

 

David's Chicago Sexual Underground header

 

Greetings P(r)icksters,

You’d think since Touché is closed due to the Covid-19 virus, I would have lots of free time and be on top of things. But it’s just the opposite. I have no set schedule – don’t have to be at work at any set time, don’t have to work so many hours. Just meandering through my days here.

Oh, I have been busy. Taken the time off to do some housekeeping at the bar and at home, just not putting in that many hours each day. Decided I would use this down time to clear out stuff at both places. We literally pulled stuff out of the basement at the bar and are sorting what stays and what goes. You know how it is, you have a piece of wood, an extra light fixture, that backdrop for a staged event from 10 years ago, stuff you might use again and keep. It’s all piled up for the dumpster.

Doing the same at home clearing out closets, stuff under the sink, in this cubbyhole, etc. Got lots cleared out of storage, now just piled up in my living room for me to haul away. I have come across stuff I forgot I had and others that I couldn’t remember where I'd stashed. Like my train set (yes, I still have trains and track I pull out and play with). Though I haven’t found the box with the rest of the tracks and the power supply. Next stop, the basement storage locker.

I should have enough time to get through everything I have stored away. They announced today that Chicago and Illinois coronavirus cases should peak by mid May and with a 2 week waiting period, that would begin our comeback the end of May. It will be a gradual process to reopen businesses with bars way down at the bottom of the list. So I’m hoping for June sometime to get back to work.

The other big part of my day is Facebook. I am a latecomer to FB, I signed up a couple of years ago basically to promote events at the bar and my country dances I have been hosting for years. Mostly I would post an event and invite others, check on my family and friends and once in a blue moon post something that I felt was needed to share.

With this freer time, I have been on FB a lot more than before and reading a lot more comments, news, posts about this Covid-19 mess we are in. Of late, this rash of protest to “liberate” our nation. Now being mindful of purposely feeding misinformation on FB, I just got a video from a friend that just astounded me.

The video was of a woman stating she was in Jacksonville, Florida and she was all upset about the need to stay at home. The case she made was just so, so stupid. She claimed that up in Jacksonville where she was, was safe from coronavirus. They are safe up there because the hot spot in Miami was due to the numerous Mexicans (not Cubans, mind you) in the Miami area. And they all drink Corona beer in glass bottles.

Her logic for Jacksonville was that it is hot there, not the 70 degree hot in Minnesota, but daily 95 temps in Jacksonville that keep the virus at bay. Plus the salt in the water at the beach, that salt keeps things well. And... They drink Natural Light beer in cans. It’s natural beer, and it’s light beer and it’s in a can not a bottle, not imported Corona.

I can’t make this kind of stupid up. What is probably the most frightening thing about this is that this woman not only thinks this (Corona beer & Mexicans are the source) but that she feels good enough about this concept to post it online and that others around her will see this and agree with her. Be proud of her for her complete ignorance, meaning there are many more just as ignorant.

I can stay at home but thanks to FB, I can’t avoid the ignorance out there. Maybe I’ll spend a little less time on FB and watch more porn. I did uncover some more Bijou DVDs I had tucked away. Now I just have to choose who to spend tonight with: Al Parker, Jack Wrangler or Bruno.

Grab my P(r)ick this Week and get shacked up with Joe Gage’s Closed Set. For this plotless film, director Joe Gage invited the entire stable of Gagemen to the studio for an uninhibited orgy. Men. Dozens of them. Hairy, hung, horny men, stroking themselves, stroking each other. Fucking and sucking each other in pairs, threesomes and groups.

Now if you like solo action, my second P(r)ick of the Week is Beat Cop starring the muscular Donnie Russo as beat cop Sergeant Geraldi taking us from one crime and j/o scene to another. The criminals, Tony Lattanzi, Eddie Acosta, Richard DeSantis and Eddie Rodriguez are all uncut and jack-off to an excellent soundtrack.

Enjoy your “captivity” and stay safe with some fun from Bijou Video.

David

To order from Bijou, visit bijouworld.com, call 800-932-7111, or email bijou.orders@gmail.com

 

Closed Set images
Closed Set (D00042) - On DVD and Streaming

Beat Cop images
Beat Cop (D02659) - On DVD and Streaming
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