LUNCH HOUR: When the Big Boys Eat

By Josh Eliot

 

I wrote previously about my relationship and rocky road with producer Scott Masters (Nova Video) in the blog: “We Waited 8hrs for a Cum Shot: Is That a World Record?” I mentioned in that blog how he was in a relationship with Catalina exclusive model Matt Powers and how he starred him in his remake of the Nova movie Main Attraction. Matt was great in the movie, but to debut as a dancer in lots of spandex didn’t do his career any great favor. Scott Masters kept stalling on making his next movie and our GM Mike was getting a little bit upset that he was footing this exclusive’s bills for a non-working model who was basically Scott Master’s sex toy. When I wanted to do a movie called Lunch Hour about workers in a steel factory fighting back against management, I pitched the idea to Mike over drinks at the Gold Coast Bar in West Hollywood. The next day, he gave it the green light and personally made the calls to get me the perfect factory setting in Burbank for our shooting location. It took a lot of my budget to rent the place, so Mike agreed to throw in a little more money and then shocked me with his next decision. Mike felt the macho role of the factory worker would be a great next step for Matt Powers. He was looking to “butch him up” by getting him in a masculine role. Scott Masters was a bit shell-shocked and put up quite a stink because in his mind, even though Catalina was footing the bill, he felt he should be the only one to direct Matt’s movies. I agreed with him and didn’t want to take on the responsibility, but eventually he gave his blessing to the idea and I accepted the task. Secretly, I was happy because now having an exclusive as a star meant they would advertise the movie aggressively.

 

Josh Eliot's Lunch Hour

Josh Eliot's Lunch Hour

 

I think Matt Powers liked the idea of working with me as his director because he knew I would encourage his input and recommendations in regards to his role. There’s a great scene in the movie just before the workers overpower the management to teach them a lesson. Matt wanted to smash one of their computers with a giant wrench to show his anger and frustration with them. I had an old computer on the set as a prop and thought… brilliant! It worked out beautifully and added to his macho persona. Once he smashed the computer, he turned to his co-workers and uttered, “Get 'em,” at which time the workers overpowered the managers, ripped off their clothes and well, you know the rest. It was a lot of pressure, but I knew I could make Matt Powers look incredible; he had all the goods but hadn’t been given the chance to show his full potential until then.

Because the factory cost a fortune, I only had two days to shoot Lunch Hour: one day to shoot all the factory scenes and one day in Scott Master’s house (because it was free) to shoot a love scene between Matt Powers and Josh Taylor, showing Matt’s softer side as contrast. Although he really didn’t want to, we made sure Scott Masters left for the day. The factory scenes included all the dialogue, a threeway with Powers and a 6-way orgy (simultaneously happening in another part of the factory), then we brought both groups together for a 9-way finale. Because shooting all this was impossible in one day, Mike told me that he was going to have Chi Chi LaRue co-direct. I directed all the dialogue and the threeway while Chi Chi directed the 6-way, then I directed the end when they all got together for the 9-way.

It was in this movie that I discovered the immensely satisfying act of “Revenge Casting.” My “open-relationship” boyfriend at the time, Randy, a co-owner of a clothing store on Melrose Avenue, always liked to torment me by letting “slip out” names of guys he slept with. This time, he was boasting about having gone home with adult porn actor, Steve Kennedy (aka Luke Bender), after meeting him at a club. I insisted that Scott Masters track down Steve Kennedy and cast him for the orgy. My first thought was to have him gang fucked, but realized he was only topping at that time in his career. I was a fan of Steve Kennedy, which made my jealousy even more atrocious, so I quickly moved on to “Revenge Casting Plan B.” Once he was confirmed as a cast member, I reached out to Charlie Warner and offered him a role. What, you never heard of Charlie Warner? No one had. He was the best friend of my “sleep around boyfriend” Randy and was persistently asking me to cast him in a movie. I never had before, but this time I did with the idea that Steve Kennedy would be giving him a relentless, long, hard and fast fucking. A pounding I was sure would rattle dear Randy when the movie came out on VHS. As soon as it released, I was on the phone with Charlie Warner so he could plan a screening at his house with all his friends.

 

Steve Kennedy aka Luke Bender (L & R) & Charlie Warner going down on Steve and the steel workers (center)

Steve Kennedy aka Luke Bender (L & R) & Charlie Warner going down on Steve and the steel workers (center)

 

The expression on Randy’s face was priceless, and he looked at me knowing exactly that what I had done by casting Charlie and Steve together. It was sweet revenge. His special one night stand with Steve Kennedy wasn’t so special anymore. Charlie actually did a really good job and I used him again in The Secret Boys Club, shot at a roller rink in the San Fernando Valley. Randy and I had a good run, but in the end he broke my heart. I was supposed to go to a party with him and had to cancel because, once again, Scott Masters needed me, last minute, to nail sequins on block letters to spell out Matt Powers' name for a dance tour he was going on to promote his movies. That very night, Randy met a young plaything at the party who basically replaced me. He broke up with me a couple days later and I was fucking distraught. I was immediately on the phone with Chet Thomas, Catalina editor, cursing Scott Masters' name for making me stay home the night of the party when Randy met the new guy. Being a great friend, Chet rushed over with a big bottle of Jack Daniels and we drank the whole thing.

Lunch Hour came out in 1989, and when Scott Masters watched it he ran up to me and gave me a big kiss on the cheek. He was happy that I made Matt Powers look macho and sexy in the movie. I think he thought to himself that he’d better troubleshoot the situation so that the manager, Mike, didn’t give Matt away to any other director, so in 1990 we shot and released Scott Masters' Lifeguard On Duty. We shot it up in Pismo Beach and Scott Masters had Matt play the lead role, which was well written and included a very well shot, if I do say so myself, fight scene with an armed assailant on the beach at night. That was Matt’s third and final movie for Catalina, because their relationship started deteriorating right before our eyes during filming. In 1991, after one of many arguments with Scott Masters, Matt took off, ending their relationship, shot a movie for Fox Studios called Muscle Force and then returned home to Massachusetts and enrolled in college.

 

Matt Powers on Jock Magazine (L) & on the cover of Lifeguard on Duty (R)

Matt Powers on the cover of Jock Magazine (L) & in Lifeguard on Duty (R)

 

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
VOYAGER of the Damned
I'M NOT A LESBIAN DIRECTOR
Diving Into SoMa/Folsom: THE FOLSOM STREET FAIR
Diving into SoMa/Folsom: A TALE OF TWO STUDS
BALL BROTH
My 1992 “Porn Set” Diary
Out of Print
There’s a Gloryhole WHERE??!

 
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Turn Down That Music!

“Turn that stereo down or I am calling the cops!”
 

Old lady neighbor banging on ceiling with broom

Sometimes I listen to the police scanner (it's legal). Noise complaints abound, as would be the case in densely populated areas where multifamily housing is predominant.

And let's face it, the construction of most residences isn't exactly designed to withstand the decibels of many sound systems, from the old-fashioned stereo receiver or boom box to streaming on computers and Amazon Echo and what-not.

That bass beat, probably more insistent and all-powerful than even the dreaded leaf blower, can cause floors and walls to vibrate and created a scene of physical and emotional horror for those forced, yes, forced to listen to it. No, I do not exaggerate.

Yet, before the advent of such systems, most noise complaints resulted from domestic arguments (still the case) or babies crying.

(And come to think of it, probably not too many sex noises before the days of sexual liberation. And I haven't heard a complaint about that on the police scanner … yet.)
 

Note that says We don't give a fuck if you fuck... But why the fuck do you have to fuck so fucking loud? Fuck!

Anyway, it turns out that a woman known only as Eva N. in Slovakia tormented her neighbors for 16 years, not with rap or heavy metal (the usual means of sonic torture, but apparently loud classical music has been used to disperse loitering teens), but with opera. Specifically, Verdi. She supposedly put one aria from the opera La Traviata sung by opera superstar Placido Domingo on a timed loop from 6 am to 10 pm every day (she apparently was careful to not intrude on legal quiet hours for her jurisdiction).
 

Neighbor pointing at The Opera House

Why? According to the story which went viral, she was exacting revenge on her neighbors for a barking dog which also at one point bit her. The dog is now mercifully deceased. She no longer lives in the house, but she kept the music going. (I wish I could read her blog, but it is in what looks like Hungarian.) She has finally been detained and arrested, and the music stopped, but not after some difficulty. Apparently, because of the way she had set up the music on a timer, the authorities had to turn off all the electricity for the block to stop the music.

Neighbors called the house the Opera House or the Singing House. One woman said she liked Placido Domingo, but that this situation was ridiculous.
 

Placido Domingo singing
Placido Domingo

I also found another YouTube video (it has since disappeared from the internet) which seems like the selection is not from La Traviata (which doesn't really have a loud tenor aria), but the fiery, loud vengeance aria "Di quella pira" from Il Trovatore. It makes more sense it would be that one, given her goal of sonic revenge.
 

Cartoon of opera singer loudly singing

What does this story have to do with me, or for that matter, porn? I was guilty of the same action. And yes, with opera. I did it to blast out punk-loving and heavy metal-loving neighbors in one of my first apartments. My sonic weapons were primarily Verdi (the Act I ensemble from his opera Macbeth and the soprano-mezzo cat fight duet from La Gioconda. I was given a telling-off by the management company. I had to move. I was young. (At least I didn't put them on an endless loop, then leave.)

And I was also guilty of loud sex noises. I moved into another apartment, and the maiden lady (I am being kind) accused me of doing sits up exercises in bed. Yep, I was jacking off and screwing my first boyfriend on a futon I had on the floor. Poor soundproofing, as usual. I had to move. (Why was she listening?)

I was young.

Eva N. is not young. Is that the point? Maybe it's true to some extent that good fences make good neighbors, as proclaimed by Robert Frost. But if the fence (and one should think of the fence as more psychological than physical) is ramshackle, good can become bad, and a boundary based on respect can become a pit of contention.
 

Good fences make good neighbors

I would argue that good neighbors build good fences but also are willing to build a bridge over that fence. So often in dense cities a neighbor is only a slamming door, a pounding footstep, a flushing toilet. Not a person who goes to work and laughs and loves.

In the ideal good old retro days that some people have mischaracterized as some kind of white person's pastoral paradise, people knew their neighbors. I must agree that in many communities, this situation was true.

I was raised by my mother to get to know the neighbors, and, if possible, cultivate some level of friendship. My mother is still friends with neighbors that she knew more than fifty years ago.

It does take a village to raise a child, mold a mind, open a heart. And to also know when to turn the music down. Or at least invite the neighbors to your party.

(And maybe, as is the case in some porn fantasies, invite the cute upstairs neighbor to a really private party.)

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