Time Machine Tuesday: “Kill Girl Kill” And Whatever Happened to Altporn

Time Machine Tuesday: “Kill Girl Kill” And Whatever Happened to Altporn

247675new1If you were following the porn world in 2005, you were aware of the altporn “movement.” It was equally a reaction to mainstream pornography’s cookie-cutter plots, boobs, and sets as it was to corporate porn’s attitude. The focal point of altporn was a deliberately-cryptic man named Eon McKai who liked to describe altporn as “getting all your friends together and shooting a porno.”

In retrospect, what I liked about altporn was that the people involved in it really felt like they were part of something. Each project meant something to them, and they were passionate about it. McKai made movies like “Art School Sluts” in the waning days of the late VCA Pictures, featuring dirty warehouse sets, women with natural breasts, boots, and smeared makeup. His “New Wave Hookers” update (“Neu Wave Hookers,” of course) was both quirky and sardonic, featuring an hilarious lip-synching scene between Tommy Pistol and James Deen.

The altporn scene got so much press (Joanna Angel and BurningAngel.com was in that vortex, as was Dana DeArmond, who brilliantly branded herself as “The Internet’s Girlfriend” at the time) that Vivid set up McKai with his own imprint, Vivid-Alt, which resulted in one of my favorite of McKai’s movies, “Girls Lie.”

But the sensation that was altporn reminds me, a little, of what is happening now with Belle Knox: other long-time players in the porn world wonder why this youngster has captured the fickle fancy of the mainstream press (and, in a complaint that has remained evergreen, why the adult press writes so many stories about the mainstream press writing so many stories about this upstart). It was that way with altporn.

The end of Vivid-Alt and the passage into history of Porn Valley’s Altporn Period was simply that the movies were getting a lot of hype but they weren’t selling. As one of the people who gave a lot of press at the time to what I called “steveporn” (I forget why I called it steveporn; I think it was because there were other altporn outlets, like Blueblood.net, that challenged McKai’s indy-cindy credentials), I eventually saw the quality of the product diminishing (“Debbie Loves Dallas” was the nail in Altporn’s coffin for me), and people like Angel and DeArmond, with their tattoos and/or bangs and general air of being brunettes in a blondie world, were getting roles in mainstream porn movies. Altporn had been absorbed into the mainstream. Tattoos had become like breasts; they didn’t require a separate niche anymore.

But in June, 2005, that was the dark future. I arrived at a warehouse in the little City of Vernon, California (one of those odd L.A. County places, like the Cities of Industry and Commerce, where by charter there are no residences, only casinos, garages, factories, and tool and die works) for the filming of Joanna Angel and then-boyfriend James Deen in McKai’s “Kill Girl Kill 3.” Nearly ten years ago, these two look like infants.

McKai had been an actual student of film, in a school (this didn’t always help), and that informed Altporn’s aesthetic and worldview. Today there are many film students running things in porn, and I see Lee Roy Myers‘ WoodRocket capturing the essence of “friends getting together to make a porn movie,” as well as other crews like the microclimate surrounding San Francisco queerporn icons Shine Louise Houston and Courtney Trouble.

Joanna Angel’s Burning Angel is still going strong, which is nice to see. Aside from her nod to the steveporn movement (she subtitled “Joanna’s Angels 2″ “Alt Throttle”), her branding refers to her as the “Punk Rock Princess.” Punk, as we have seen, has staying power.

About Gram Ponante

Gram Ponante
The editor of Naked Truth, Gram Ponante has been writing about pornography since 2002, though he never expected to get more than three months of material out of it. Since then, he has edited adult industry trade magazines AVN and XBiz (where he is still a contributor), Hustler, Fleshbot.com, and dozens more classy publications. He has contributed to the great Gamelink since 2006. Gram regularly speaks about issues facing the adult industry — both entertaining and grim — at colleges and conferences, and has published several popular eBooks about his time as America's Beloved Porn Journalist.
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