Arrested for Murder!

posted by Madame Bubby

I was going through the files at the Bijouworld office, and I happened across a packed file for one porn star who does not appear in any of our titles. But the contents of the folder were certainly both enticing (lots of pics from the gay magazines he appeared in) and disturbing.

Tim Lowe, a prolific porn star from the 1980s and 1990s, worked for major studios like Vivid, HIS Video, Catalina and many others, according to Gay Erotic Video Index. Movies he made frequently referenced in sources include Fratimony (All Worlds) and The Main Attraction (Image Video).

He was also arrested for murder and spent 14 months in prison.

According to the many newspaper clips in the folder, Tim Lowe (his real name was David Cody) was arrested on January 21, 1992, for strangling 52-year-old Allen Kinkead on January 8. David aka Tim apparently had been living with Kinkead in the Haight-Asbury district of San Francisco. Kinkead's body was discovered bound and gagged, and his credit cards and car were missing.

Cody and a female companion (girlfriend?; Gay Erotic Video Index claims he had a wife and two kids too?) were arrested in Mexico driving the stolen car. The pair pleaded guilty.
 

Newspaper clipping with headline: Porn Star Arrested in Murder
Source: Out, April 1993

In February 1994, the charges were later reduced to involuntary manslaughter, as upon further investigation, the circumstances in the death were open to question; the death was possibly accidental, and Kinkead had taken meth, pot, and poppers before his death. (Lowe claims in the interview I reference below his roommate suffered a heart attack.)
 

Newspaper clipping with headline: Charges Against Lowe Reduced
Source: unknown

In an interview with Jerry Douglas for Manshots magazine, Lowe gives some details of his stay in prison (not exciting), mostly lots of waiting, lack of privacy, and smartly, he laid low, stayed aloof, not making friends.

After getting out of prison, he made more films, up to about 2004. According to the interview, he does make much out of getting counseling and trying to figure out where he made that wrong turn. He also makes much out of reading that pop psychology book of the period, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Hmm ... Lowe also claims he did not steal anything. Hmm …
 

Lowe Manshots interview
Source: Manshots, October 1994

What's interesting is that I don't get too much distinctive about him as a person or a performer from what I found. Physically, he is what I would call cute young guy with a conventionally great bod and a well-formed dick, but he just strikes me as vaguely “kind of hot,” with, from what I can see in the facial expression, a hint of cocky. Just a hint.
 

Tim Lowe photo in Mandate
Source: Mandate, date unknown

In fact, the general consensus from the many performers and directors that he worked with is that he was “nice to work with,” in that case, meaning probably amenable, agreeable, delivered the goods without drama.

But nice? Wow. There's so many implications here, but it's hard to really follow up on them specifically, due to lack of evidence.

I am trying to figure out what stance to take. All I can see is a pattern I see time and time again in so many relationships in the LGBTQ community, and this isn't going with the tired stereotype of porn stars generally gravitating toward “fucked up” situations on many levels.

It's the often fraught with peril on so many levels dynamic between the older guy and the younger guy, often one exploiting the other (and in this case, it's hard to tell who was exploiting whom) based on unrealistic expectations regarding sexual attraction which often results in a blurring of fantasy and reality. In the case of Cody aka Lowe and Kinkead, Kinkead apparently had been a fan of Lowe, as the place was filled with Lowe's videos.

I just think overall that not enough attention has focused on the tragedy here: Kinkead lost his life. Lowe lived to read self-help books and do interviews make more movies.

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James Fee
What's missing?
Friday, 28 February 2020 23:20
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No More Porn on Tumblr! Why?

I wonder if the announcement that Tumblr was banning pornographic content was perhaps inevitable, but not for the official and unofficial reasons currently being disseminated by the media.

The surface reasons seems to be tied into the confluence between technology and profits. The IOS App Store would no longer allow the Tumblr App because of an isolated child pornography incident. Since most Smartphone users rely on Apps, not allowing it would seriously lessen Tumblr’s overall use and scope. But why target Tumblr? Was it simply the, according to some sources, the 20 percent porn content?

It may seem that Tumblr was directly put between the proverbial rock and hard place, even though the microblog is a free service. An article in The Verge succinctly paraphrases the new policy:

“Banned content includes photos, videos, and GIFs of human genitalia, female-presenting nipples, and any media involving sex acts, including illustrations. The exceptions include nude classical statues and political protests that feature nudity. The new guidelines exclude text, so erotica remains permitted. Illustrations and art that feature nudity are still okay — so long as sex acts aren’t depicted — and so are breastfeeding and after-birth photos.” The wording of Tumblr’s announcement seems to both evoke and invoke arguments about obscenity that occurred in the 1950s and 1960s.

LGBTQ sexual pioneer Chuck Renslow started out as a physique photographer, and he definitely was pushing social boundaries during the 1950s with his homoerotic (as close to nude was possible, and one could often see that the posing straps were painted on) photos. He, like many other in this line of work, were “coding” their visuals, because it was one of the few ways gay men could experience their erotic desires and fantasies safely and privately. Many outfits mailed nude photos and films in plain envelopes, but these were often confiscated by the Post Office and the perpetrators, both the senders and receivers, punished.

Some of these incidents ended up in the court system. Renslow’s case ended in victory, as the judge made the ruling that if one deemed these photos obscene, so would certain masterpieces of art, especially from the Graeco-Roman period.

The Manual vs. Day case, which went to the United States Supreme Court, held that magazines consisting of semi-nude or nude males are not obscene and the Post Office cannot interfere with their dissemination through the mail. The case is notable for its ruling that photographs of nude men are not obscene, an implication which opened the U.S. mail to nude male pornography, especially those whose audience was gay men.

Tumblr of course is certainly not contained physically in brown, unmarked envelopes, but what is interesting is that Tumblr seems to be agreeing with that 1950s judge. Agreeing to some extent, yes, but also opening up once more some of the time-worn arguments about the complex relationship between sexuality, artistic expression, violence, and how this relationship builds and shapes an audience.

Going back to my initial statement, it seems inevitable that something of this nature would happen, because it’s obvious our means of communication have changed drastically since the days of postage stamps and nudie photographs and envelopes, and later, moving images of sexual acts in theaters that charged admission only to adults: physical mediums that exist in a controlled spatial situation.

What Tumblr and those who support restricting what they deem porn (for them, porn equals genitals which equals sexual acts) fail to recognize is not of course the nanosecond dissemination of mostly amateur depictions of sex which could result in more potentially dangerous situations: no, they fail to recognize the aesthetics (which tie into social contexts, of course) of a wide variety of LGBTQ pornography from the 1970s and 1980s, especially.

For example, Al Parker responded to the AIDS crisis by combining sexual acts and documentary in his film High Tech. Jack Deveau offers what one could claim is a documentary of gay life during the "hippie" era in Left-Handed. So many others of that period usually offer narrative structures: the sex acts aren’t just sex acts per se, but components in forms that explore the larger social issues of the time. And even some of the J. Brian films, which were not made to specifically address any social or moral issues, could be seen as living documents of gay sexual history.
 

Three cast members in High Tech
Three men using vacuum pumps in High Tech

Stars of Left-Handed
Stars Ray Frank & Robert Rikas in Left-Handed

The question remains as to how one could apply any standard of evaluation to any medium which communicates the erotic universally, but it seems a rather generalized case could be made that the older the porn, the more chances it could be determined to be aesthetically or historically significant. But the burden of proof would fall on the user, and in today’s lightning-paced communication environment, time is an enemy, rather than, as before, space.

Yet at this juncture, it seems like the only possible solution here is diversification. Perhaps Tumblr’s free-for-all ethos caused this implosion. Given the fluid nature of social media, those who used Tumblr, especially LGBTQ persons who still exist in various states of marginalization, will have to regroup, and unfortunately, some might claim, not return to closets or ghettos, but establish in their own tech-savvy ways other spaces for erotic expression.

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The Death of Jack Chapman aka "Tank": A Warning and a Challenge

Last week I tweeted a developing a story about a member of the gay bear BDSM community, Jack Chapman (who took on the name of Tank Haferpeten), who died at the age of 28 from complications that ensued after a silicone injection into this balls. Tank was a “pup” in a polyamorous community under the mastership of one Dylan Haferpeten, commonly known on a various social media sites as “noodlesandbeef.”
 

Dylan with his pups
Dylan with his pups

Dylan and Jack aka Tank
Dylan and Jack aka Tank

This group of guys fetishized muscle growth, changing their body from conventional bear builds to bodies that resembled certain types of superhero cartoon or anime figures: abnormally large muscles and other body parts, attained not just by working out in the gym, but by artificial means such as steroids and silicone.

Some have claimed that Dylan himself suffered from some form of body dysmorphia, a pathology called “bigorexia:” his body could never be big or massive or muscular enough, and he was willing to do whatever he felt he needed to do to make his fantasy a reality. Yet when this dysmorphia doesn't just affect the individual, but others, the fantasy becomes a literally monstrous reality.
 

Illustration of bigorexia: a muscular man looking in the mirror and seeing a skinny man

Note I used the word pathology. Safe, sane, consensual BDSM relationships manifest themselves in different forms depending on the specific desires and needs of the participants, but the sources I have explored claim that Dylan's control of his pups took on abusive forms, including mandatory severing of family and friend relationships outside his polyamorous group (the pups had were only allowed to contact Dylan, and Dylan only, on their cellphones) and financial control (for example, signing over salaries to Dylan).

More tellingly, When Jack temporarily severed the relationship, Dylan sued him in small claims court for money supposedly owed, and he even refused to physically sever the collar Jack was wearing. When Jack returned to Dylan, he signed over an inheritance to him. (Three weeks later, Jack was dead.)

And in Tank's case, the most obvious abuse was the insistence on silicone injections, an unsafe, life-threatening procedure. (Some sources even claim that Dylan is connected to two more deaths related to silicone injections.)

What is even more disturbing is Dylan's attempts to cover up what actually happened, claiming Jack died from a lung problem caused by wildfires in the area (not going on at the time of his death a week ago). Dylan even concocted pictures of Jack in breathing gear. He also claimed Jack was alive when he wasn't. The death certificate, which has since been changed to reflect the true cause of death, silicone poisoning, first claimed Jack died from pneumonitis.

I'm not going to draw hasty, sensationalistic conclusions about some of the evidence I present above, but the story, even in sensationalistic forms that use terms like “sex cult” and “harem” which decry physically, socially, and psychologically healthy BDSM relationships, is profoundly disturbing on many levels.

There's a danger inherent in breaking taboos and living in insular communities that develop around breaking said taboos. Gay, bear, BDSM, leather, fetish, whatever: we are drawn to who we identify with and what we like, but a breaking of boundaries can result in a dangerous blurring of the boundaries that help define the dignity and self-worth of individual persons. In Dylan's case, his narcissistic pathology destroyed not just a person's body, but his soul and spirit.

On the other side of the globe, in Jack's native Australia, a mother, brother, and grandmother are grieving for their son. They don't regret that he was gay, or a bear, or into BDSM: they regret that a disturbed, dangerous individual who lacks a soul destroyed a whole, loving person.

Abuse is never OK. Never. It's up to all to us, starting at the local level, to watch out for each other. And social media gives us the power to do so on a global level.

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