there is a mummified french clown in a glass sarcophagus
at the california institute of abnormal arts. his name was
gilles chatouilleu and he died in 1912. jack says he loves
the main room has red and yellow striped walls, with a red and yellow diamond pattern on the floor, and glittery red vaudeville curtains on either side of an old timey raised stage. there is a big black box on the stage with holes cut in the sides and on top.
on the front of the phone booth sized box are the elaborately hand painted words, "enter the peepshow".
the crew is milling around listlessly... theyve been there since 9 in the morning and it is now after 7. the male talent is waiting, texting, shooting the breeze... sledgehammer, pike nelson, and justin syder.
down a psychedelic hallway, black lit and painted with flourescent blue and orange squares... the director, jackthezipper, calls me into the bathroom...
perched on the handicap rail like a sprite, ethereal beauty jayme langford has her long legs splayed open. her tulle skirt hiked up, her victorian granny boots precariously balanced on the stainless steel bar. she is a porcelain doll... petite, immaculate. her strawberry blonde tresses uncoiling like snakes all around her; a golden jeweled flower sparkles in her hair.
she plays with a slim vibrator as jack holds the canon xh from underneath, cradling it in his hands like a 9 pound baby, shooting from below; slowly moving from side to side. he whispers a few reassuring little choo choo sounds to langford...
then he instructs her:
"laugh like a crazy person." he says, but reminds her that she doesnt need to make a lot of noise because the sound will be covered over with music.
so she pantomimes madness, throwing her head back, then violently pitching forward... staring directly into the soul of the lens with a maniacal grin.
meanwhile, in the bar, surrounded by the delicate corpse of a dead fairy and the preserved skull of the worlds smallest freemason, adult superstar sasha grey seems right at home... listening to her ipod while being meticulously tied in japanese rope bondage like an elaborate gift. she is getting ready for her climactic gloryhole blowbang scene.
minutes later, sasha is inside the box; a straightjacket over her bound torso and impossibly high black leather hobble boots buckled to her coltish legs. she is an escape artist, a hardcore houdini, writhing on the floor as notorious fetish photographer, bob coulter, shoots still after voyeuristic still through the peep holes.
jack, who has never been photographed, cuts a roguish figure with his deep, dark eyes and tousled hair. an x rated artstar... he is tall and fit; dressed in well worn bohemian black. on set this night, he seems happy and content as he takes measurements with the help of a lighting technician and gets ready to start the scene.
watching sasha, he smiles and explains in a low voice,
"ive been wanting to shoot her in this predicament."
later on, after all the shooting, i ask jackthezipper about his predicament. the difficulties of being a filmmaker in an industry that mostly overlooks opportunities for art and vision. he explained his aspirations, which seem to be motivated by a singular desire to evoke the audiences response to sex as art as alchemy, not churning out product that is packaged and sold to serve as a crude masturbatory aid.
"porn is a vast industry, but its always been a bastard art form. theres no reason why the human race has to make a dirty secret or a bad joke out of something so basic and intrinsic and vital to our nature", he explained.
"xxx makes me think about life and death... just being alive and how mysterious and precious it all is. as a society, are we really elevating these ideals? pornography as its defined by mainstream culture has significance and power that goes largely untapped in my opinion."
so fuck it... welcome to the world of jackthezipper.
"fuck the world" and "enter the peepshow" are the upcoming titles from spice studios, produced by playboy and directed by the elusive mr. zipper. he is among the new breed of porn creators that are taking venerable studios like spice in a different direction, guided by its faustian new producer, bob johnson.
in the sunlit quarters of playboys glendale facility, where original vargas pin ups line the walls, johnson is in his office having dark visions of using the bunny to work some new tricks...
"it is a subversive, underground approach to adult film that we feel is going to revolutionize the business... theres a sea change coming", johnson says.
"the directors we are tapping like jackthezipper are not the norm in the porn world. his films are sometimes disturbing, surreal, hitchcockian... a visual feast but always sexy... were really talking about a new genre here".
johnson describes "fuck the world" as "unlike anything that has been seen. i know that sounds vague, but its also true. ftw has a post nuclear feel with a classic burlesque undertone.... psychologically dark, intensely sexual and explicit yet richly layered, beautifully shot... the word masterpiece comes to mind..."
as for "enter the peepshow", jack has already given me an extraordinary look inside the xxx circus. theres sasha greys breathtaking gloryhole performance, and a mind blowing girl girl between langford and gorgeous newcomer alexandra ivy that i got to witness in the flesh on set. jack tells me there will also be a world famous sword swallower committing death defying acts while receiving a blow job worthy of the guiness book of records... and thats just for starters.
"its quite a freak show," johnson says of "peepshow". "that takes the viewer on this mind bending sex trip. zipper somehow managed to cast stanton lavey, grandson of anton lavey, founder of the church of satan, doing a brilliant cameo as the grindshow barker. there are so many bizarro touches like that in the movie. zippers whole thing with peepshow is to authentically bring the worlds of sideshow, burlesque and porn crashing together for the very first time on film".
not what you would typically expect from playboy, with its mainstream persona and magazine centerfolds that never show the pink. but as the wily mr. johnson pointed out, perhaps rightfully so, "adult companies can no longer manufacture cookie cutter porn and expect to stand out in a sluggish and bloated market".
jack told me he is also in development on a series for playboys other major video label, clubjenna, titled "live new girls", that will feature all fresh talent and what he describes as a "post gonzo" approach. it will be "fast, loose, and real; with a lot of attitude and style." he said, and as hardcore as his feature films, "maybe even harder".
despite all the acclaim, and unlike most other big name brands, jackthezipper has only a handful of titles to his credit...
his self produced breakthrough hit, "STUNTGIRL", released in 2004, established him as an award winning director and a commercial success right out of the gate.
signing with hustler the following year, he made "squealer", a horror themed homage to "texas chainsaw" and "deliverence" that continued the winning streak... taking best all sex release and best director honors at the 2005 avn awards for the second time in a row in both categories. That was quickly followed by the lost zipper classic, "WHITE WITCH", which remains mysteriously unreleased by hustler.
then came the movie that for many fans, defined the new aesthetic... "blacklight beauty", produced by pulse pictures, it was truly a watershed moment in erotic experimentalism... the incendiary gangbang scene, featuring hardcore goddess faith leon, goes down as a performance for the ages.
"BLACKLIGHT beauty" put jackthezipper in the record books when it won best video and best director avns for the 3rd straight year in a row. an industry first, and a pursuasive argument for the enduring legacy of the upstart director from new york.
next up, "RAZORDOLLS"... an indie rock and roll meets porno fantasy, that introduced post modern icons stoya and sasha grey to the scene in 2007.
and this year, vivid released "king cobra", a full on biker flick starring sasha and vivid contract babe lanny barbie in a no holes barred tribute to sexploitation classics like russ meyers "mudhoney" and "faster pussycat, kill kill".
even with a relatively short list of influential films, it has been hard to fit jackthezipper into a category. moving from studio to studio has caused some to speculate that he is a temperamental artist and more trouble than a mere porn film is worth.
"i think its hard to make any kind of movie, let alone a good movie," jack said, "and that has occasionally put me at odds with what is essentially a factory system. i admit to being stubborn about quality control and preserving my ideas... i answer to the audience".
so, strangely enough, it might be that zipper has come into his own in the house that hef built. at least johnson seems willing to bet on a dark horse.
"i embrace the rebels and the mavericks and those out there auteurs," johnson said, "because they are the ones that will force the industry to evolve."
the ideas cooking in jacks head have been simmering there for A long time. he told me his very first pornography experience was the great american mens mags... penthouse, club, hustler, playboy, high society, cheri, and oui. riding his bike through the pine barrens and finding a moldy stack of them rotting under an old barn, he remembers "peeling that first one apart" revealing the lusty treasure inside. "all those swollen natural breasts and thick, curly pussy fur... alone in the woods... very intense".
i asked him what the most attractive thing is about a woman and he told me, "the way she moves."
if theres one thing that stands out about jacks work, its his ability to take the most iconic women in the business and put them in the most decadent on screen action, yet somehow make them even more glorious to behold...
under his direction, they seem to transform from porn starlets to the very personification of feminine power.
the other signature elements... the smash cuts, savvy art direction, atmospheric lighting, and smoldering original music scores... only intensify the experience.
jack admires the groundbreaking films of veteran pornographer andrew blake (who, conversely, is also a die hard fan of his), as well as the edge dwelling work of hardcore legend, jamie gillis.
he once tried to pitch an idea to gillis, who is a friend, about doing a scene around sasha grey trapped inside a gilded cage on a rooftop in new york city, but it never quite came together.
on the "peepshow" set that night however, zipper did manage to at least get sasha in the box.
once out of her many restraints, with the men in position, she begins to work the 2 stiff cocks potruding through the gloryhole walls. she expertly uses her mouth and her hands, switching it up, moving back and forth; from side to side.
zipper goes in for a tight shot, the lighting guy right over his shoulder, as grey stands on tippy toes to reach the massive cock dangling through the hole strategically placed above her head. spit drooling down her chin, sweat glistening under the hot lamps, her long dark hair sticking to her face, she cranes her slender neck up and up, taking it all into her hungry mouth.
finally, when the pop comes raining down from above, she stares directly into the camera with a burning look in her eyes that i have never quite witnessed before on a porn set. dragging wet fingers across her spattered face, she smears the spilled cum all over her pale chest.
"that was beautiful." jack said, "bravo."
and that was how it ended.