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Literature and porn stars
June 17, 2012 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Consider everything here potentially NSFW, even if not marked. Lots of background and sidebar images that may offend.

Kayden Kross (NSFW) and Stoya (previously) aren't stereotypical porn stars. For the release of Adam Levin's Hot Pink, Kross interviewed Levin on the McSweeney's website. Stoya was featured (along with Paul Dano) in the book trailer for Adam Wilson's Flatscreen. And together Kross and Stoya discussed Chad Kultgen’s Men, Women & Children — a novel that mentions Stoya by name. Kross digs David Foster Wallace; Stoya digs some good stuff, too. Both keep (very NSFW) blogs (Kayden 1, 2; Stoya 1, 2) where they write about all kinds of stuff. Last November on Fleshbot (NSFW) Stoya did a five-part series on sex in Japan. And check out Stoya's guest post on Warren Ellis's blog.

Also check out an interview with Kross conducted by former porn star Julie Meadows (aka Lydia Lee): part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; and an interview with Stoya at AEE 2011 (location of DFW's "Big Red Son"), during which she takes no crap. (Also great is an interview Meadows conducts with Ron Jeremy.)
posted by skilar (52 comments total) 66 users marked this as a favorite

 
It seems like this post ought to mention Lorelei Lee.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:25 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


FWIW, most porn stars aren't stereotypical porn stars either. I know what you mean, and I really like this post, but I bet you could find a broad range of culturally literate porn stars out there.
posted by chavenet at 12:41 PM on June 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


From Griphus's profile:
He pressed a button. A wall of books opened, and I walked like a lamb into that bustling pleasure palace known as Flossie's. Red flocked wallpaper and a Victorian decor set the tone. Pale, nervous girls with black-rimmed glasses and blunt-cut hair lolled around on sofas, riffling Penguin Classics provocatively. A blonde with a big smile winked at me, nodded toward a room upstairs, and said, "Wallace Stevens, eh?" But it wasn't just intellectual experiences. They were peddling emotional ones, too. For fifty bucks, I learned, you could "relate without getting close." For a hundred, a girl would lend you her Bartok records, have dinner, and then let you watch while she had an anxiety attack. For one-fifty, you could listen to FM radio with twins. For three bills, you got the works: A thin Jewish brunette would pretend to pick you up at the Museum of Modern Art, let you read her master's, get you involved in a screaming quarrel at Elaine's over Freud's conception of women, and then fake a suicide of your choosing - the perfect evening, for some guys. Nice racket. Great town, New York.
posted by Nomyte at 12:43 PM on June 17, 2012 [21 favorites]


People are many things at many different times. I have many hats.
posted by Fizz at 12:43 PM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am large, I contain multitudes.

Sometimes literally true for porn stars...
posted by chavenet at 12:45 PM on June 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


@chavenet: Agreed, and it wasn't my intent to portray porn stars as dumb or culturally illiterate. Just wanted to feature some of the interesting things these ladies have been doing lately. I think I just had a hard time thinking of a good way to frame all of it.
posted by skilar at 12:49 PM on June 17, 2012


Nomyte: that piece might just be my favorite thing Woody Allen's ever done.
posted by kenko at 12:50 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Stoya recently did a pretty great "Ask Me Anything" on Reddit.
posted by 256 at 12:58 PM on June 17, 2012


Oh, your previously link.
posted by 256 at 12:59 PM on June 17, 2012


So your ideal woman is a free spirit, both mentally and sexually (though you both appreciate that it's a false distinction), she is a tigress in bed and an intellectual colossus elsewhere. But one day you're going to have to accommodate the various oversized dicks of complete strangers that are significant elements of her professional life, plus the fact that she doesn't really get Kierkegaard. Because she's a porn star. I dunno.
posted by tigrefacile at 1:19 PM on June 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also of note as being against tropes: Asia Carrera (Wikipedia link) has an IQ of 156, twice gave piano recitals at Carnegie Hall as a teenager, and won a full academic scholarship to Rutgers University. Bobbi Star (previous Mefi post) was a professional concert oboist and nationally ranked swimmer.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 1:27 PM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm familiar with Bobbi Star's incredible blowing prowess.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 1:48 PM on June 17, 2012


Oh boy now I can snobbily jerk off!
posted by norabarnacl3 at 1:57 PM on June 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Kayden Kross (NSFW) and Stoya (previously) aren't stereotypical porn stars.

...so what, exactly, defines someone as a "stereotypical" porn star these days? Perhaps what I'm stumbling with here is porn "star," like, is everyone who's ever done some sex-on-camera a porn "star" in this context? These days, technology being what it is, that would probably include a significant percentage of the population of most college campuses.

If not, if we're talking professionals here, how many of them are actually what one might jump to the conclusion to call "stereotypical?" If you're so stereotypical, are you a star at all? Maybe you're just "in porn."

The porn industry is in massive collapse right now, with the boom caused by home video now completely eclipsed by the realities of lower barriers to entry (cheaper equipment) and virtually no barrier to distribution at all (hello Internet) not to mention rampant piracy (on a level Hollywood or the RIAA couldn't even figment nightmares about).

I'd argue that the only people left in the business that could really be called "stars" at this point are all fairly unique, niche-capturing, rather interesting performers because if they weren't, well, you wouldn't even have heard their name.
posted by trackofalljades at 2:20 PM on June 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Stoya's the one that's dating James Deen, yeah? I like her, she's cute.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 2:49 PM on June 17, 2012


Perhaps what I'm stumbling with here is porn "star," like, is everyone who's ever done some sex-on-camera a porn "star" in this context

Do we have to work from first principles here? The term means what it commonly means in most English usage: anyone who has performed sex-on-camera professionally gets called a "porn star." So, college kid who has filmed him/herself having sex with a friend? Not a pornstar. Someone who has performed in "Hot Wet Nuns XVIII"? Porn star.
posted by yoink at 3:02 PM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Stoya's the one that's dating James Deen, yeah? I like her, she's cute.

I thought James Deen and Joanna Angel were dating? Come to think of it, I guess what constitutes "dating" in the context of a peer group whose jobs are to have sex with each other must be a fairly complicated business, one of those things you have to define as you go along.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 3:15 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Hot Wet Nuns XVIII"?

Frantically googles.
posted by Fizz at 3:25 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


From Griphus's profile: ...

I'd just like to make it clear that I did not write that. It's from Woody Allen's short story "The Whore of Mensa."
posted by griphus at 3:28 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


> I'd argue that the only people left in the business that could really be called "stars" at this point are all fairly unique, niche-capturing, rather interesting performers because if they weren't, well, you wouldn't even have heard their name.

Agreed, mostly. I think the definition of stereotypical I was using is different than the one you're using, because you could argue, and it seems like you are, that Kayden and Stoya actually are stereotypical porn stars, at least by today's standards. And I agree with you 100%. They're unique and interesting and unlike the girls who came before them, which makes a lot of sense. They're breaking the old stereotypes, though creating a new one in the process.

I think the definition of a stereotypical porn star that I was using in the OP isn't based on the reality of what today's stars are like, but instead is based on the idea and collective image of past stars. Not the girls who are popular today, but the ones who were popular in the '90s and '00s.

It's not surprising that Kayden and Stoya are unique and interesting, perhaps more "real-seeming" and accessible than the old performers, because that's what people want now. The girls who exhibit the qualities of old porn stars, the old stereotypes, are just "in porn" and aren't necessarily stars. And in 10 or 15 years there'll probably be a resurgence of the old type of porn star, or there'll be a new kind of star and the current stars will be part of the stereotype, or maybe both.

tl;dr — I agree with you and should have taken more care in wording the OP. And to clarify, I called them porn stars because Stoya won Best New Starlet at the 2009 AVN Awards and Kayden won Best American Starlet at Hot d'Or in 2009 and Best Actress International at the 2010 Venus Awards.
posted by skilar at 3:29 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just hope that griphus can appropriately compensate me for all that lucrative web traffic I'm driving to his profile and the GriphCo ads that plaster it.
posted by Nomyte at 3:32 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Sasha Grey "played" Molly in a performance art project that centered around reading the entirety of Neuromancer on stage.
posted by griphus at 3:32 PM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


CLICK HERE FOR THIS SUBURBAN MOM'S SECRET WEIGHT-LOSS FORMULA OBAMA DOESN'T WANT YOU TO KNOW
posted by griphus at 3:35 PM on June 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Guys there's a difference between 'typical' and 'stereotypical' and it's a dumb derail.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:37 PM on June 17, 2012 [18 favorites]


One should not be fooled by the ditsy characters that these porn stars play on camera; they might actually be very smart prostitutes fooling us into believing that a lot of what we are seeing is real!

But... She recognized one Wallace quote. I guess that very low standard that both men and women hold for them makes that somewhat impressive.
posted by hellslinger at 3:59 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


This thread is bizarre and disturbing. Thanks for the links, skillar. Stoya's blog is pretty great, and I would find it so no matter her profession. I like thoughtful stuff on gender and sex positivism and being engaged at life and largely untroubled by the opinions of those who do not matter.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:17 PM on June 17, 2012


Your notion of stereotypical porn is nothing by the wo-man trying to keep a sister down.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:33 PM on June 17, 2012


I find that the most bizarre and disturbing part of this thread -- the sole disturbing bit, in fact -- is that someone up top mentioned that another actress was an accomplished competitive swimmer, and yet no one has referenced the breast stroke in a tasteless pun.
posted by mr. digits at 4:42 PM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


"KROSS: Your book is literally open on my lap right this moment. Is that awkward? It’s always awkward for me when people say the same about my work."

The wit, the charm, the self-depreciating humor. I was fine just not being aware of all of that. Her profession be damned. If I ever meet her I'm asking her out.
posted by banished at 4:50 PM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


To quote Nora Ephron, "In my sex fantasy, nobody ever loves me for my mind."
posted by infinitewindow at 5:25 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


News flash: People who work in the adult film industry are people. Some are really nice, some nasty, some whip smart, some idiots, but they're all people. It's just a job, even if some people don't think of it that way.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 6:03 PM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm always amazed by this parallel world of heterosexual porn stars I know nothing about.
posted by roger ackroyd at 6:35 PM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


trackofalljades writes "..so what, exactly, defines someone as a 'stereotypical' porn star these days?"

The stereotype: dumb/stupid, abused, daddy issues, drug addict, unrealistic or unrepresentative body type, short and foolish. It's not very surprising that the stereotype bares little relation to the reality; stereotypes rarely do.
posted by Mitheral at 7:32 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


comes back from a Stoya pic run

DAYUM!

Literature what?

(Been a big fan for a while. Helluva smile and seems, well, real, I guess.)
posted by Samizdata at 9:18 PM on June 17, 2012


I'm not sure what I was expecting from this thread, but it sure has gotten weird in here.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:57 PM on June 17, 2012


Oh boy now I can snobbily jerk off!
posted by norabarnacl3 at 9:57 PM on June 17


It's the best way. I find nothing turns me on more than the bitter cognitive dissonance caused by feeling superior to people who are cannily making a living by exploiting my sexual frustrations and inadequacies. That shit is hot.
posted by Decani at 1:11 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I really hope one of them decides to write a Big Book---like a novel, or an autobio, or a study, or something. Being a porn star kind of gives one a front-row seat at a *lot* of cultural obsessions, and I'd really like to hear something more sustained than these (smart, interesting) blog posts about the view from there.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:07 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


(also---that take-no-shit interview is kind of amazing. It's like P.I.L. on the Tom Snyder show)
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:10 AM on June 18, 2012


Storya is one of the few legitimately brilliant people I have ever met.
posted by The Whelk at 7:25 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


So Sasha's Grey number is 0, and she's got a non-zero Bacon number. Getting her into a recording studio doesn't seem too challenging. I wonder how much she's capable of in an academic setting - get her published!

I would like some special prize for my new Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath-Grey concept.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:36 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Erdos, Bacon, and Sabbath were all selected because they each have an exceptionally large number collaborators. Can Sasha Grey really claim substantially more distinct collaborators than other major porn stars?
posted by jeffburdges at 9:54 AM on June 18, 2012


She's actually got quite the career outside of the industry. As a single example, she starred in The Girlfriend Experience, which was by Steven Soderbergh, a multiple-academy-award winning director. The last time I can recall something remotely like that happening post-70s was Nina Hartley's cameo in Boogie Nights.
posted by griphus at 10:05 AM on June 18, 2012


yoink: "Perhaps what I'm stumbling with here is porn "star," like, is everyone who's ever done some sex-on-camera a porn "star" in this context

Do we have to work from first principles here? The term means what it commonly means in most English usage: anyone who has performed sex-on-camera professionally gets called a "porn star." So, college kid who has filmed him/herself having sex with a friend? Not a pornstar. Someone who has performed in "Hot Wet Nuns XVIII"? Porn star.
"

Yeah, perhaps. But by XVIII it kind of ran itself thing. The real action was in Hot Wet Nuns IX through Hot Wet Nuns XIII. I would consider those the pinnacle of the series. It took a while to build up to a climax, and the denoument definitely seems to be occurring between XIV and XVIII - I've heard a rumor that XIX is going to be the last one. IMO it should have already been put to rest. Though it did give a good launch to Misty Mountaintops' vivacious career. You can't turn around but two seconds without seeing her face splattered all over the front images of the latest Nasty Crotch Fungus studios...
posted by symbioid at 11:40 AM on June 18, 2012


Thin. Ran itself thin.
posted by symbioid at 11:41 AM on June 18, 2012


Fizz: " "Hot Wet Nuns XVIII"?

Frantically googles.
"

I believe that "furiously" is the word you're looking for.
posted by symbioid at 11:42 AM on June 18, 2012


I'm probably 2 degrees of Sasha Grey -- one of my WoW guildies worked on the FX for Pirates 2: Revenge of Stagnetti, which she's in...

Well I guess that doesn't really count does it? How intimately does one have to be involved in the production of a film to be one degree away? On set? Performing? Directing? Does digital work on a film count? Well it's kind of nice to know that I'm some fractal dimension somewhat around 2 in a Grey Number, I think.
posted by symbioid at 11:46 AM on June 18, 2012


I doubt your Bacon number/distance from Sasha Grey requires much intimacy, but yes your Sasha Grey number requires considerably more intimacy. In particular, Kevin Bacon's Sasha Grey numbers vastly exceeds Sasha Grey's Kevin Bacon number.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:08 PM on June 18, 2012


Hitler's Bacon number is based on documentary footage, so, uh, that's probably game.
posted by griphus at 12:09 PM on June 18, 2012


hellslinger: But... She recognized one Wallace quote. I guess that very low standard that both men and women hold for them makes that somewhat impressive.

So, you haven't RTFA/WTFV yet. Gotcha. And, that certainly entitles you to accuse us of misogyny.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:00 PM on June 18, 2012


Can Sasha Grey really claim substantially more distinct collaborators than other major porn stars?

I guess not. She was picked because of the higher possibility of actually generating a not-infinite Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath-Grey number, and because she has quite a high profile for non-porn people.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:48 PM on June 18, 2012


I'm comfortable with the argument that Sasha Grey's higher profile earns her the position.  It appears that Sasha Grey's 270 adult films exceeds most bisexual porn actors, although Lexi Belle has 364. We should pick a bisexual porn actor to give everyone equal access to low numbers. Ron Jeremy has 2098 films, but isn't listed as bisexual.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:31 AM on June 19, 2012


Kayden Kross just had a story published by Harper Perennial in their new collection called Forty Stories.
posted by skilar at 7:56 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


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