The Cultural Gutter

dangerous because it has a philosophy

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

Searching For Sin in New York

Robin Bougie
Posted October 19, 2006

Two Vancouverites seek sleaze in the city that never sleepsI’m a porn journalist, and I live in the Canadian city of Vancouver.

Ok, maybe I shouldn’t even call it a city… because in comparison to New York, it’s a small hick town, and I can say that with some degree of confidence after recently finally making my way to the Big Apple along side my wingman, a gawky fellow comic and movie nerd nicknamed the Dirty Bird. A friend who shares my same first name — Robin.

We came to Manhattan as younger generation classic porn fans, in search of the sleaze and depravity history has taught us about this place through word, verse, and cum-soaked porno house film stock. The Times Square and Deuce of yesteryear. We knew it was no longer, thanks to the crass, rancid Disneyfication of that section of the isle, but we came to hunt for even a lingering smell of jizz-coated ass…. just to say that we’d been there, and taken a loving whiff.

The hunt for freaky fun began in a strip club across from the Empire state building called Ricky’s. A classy little hole full of skanky little hoes, Ricky’s has an amazing three course lunch menu (where else can you get a steak, salad, side of mashed potatoes and ice cream all for $10??) but thanks to local laws, didn’t have any pussy on display. Even in modest Vancouver the peeler bars have cunt and anus waving around in your face. We were not all that impressed.

The bare titties that walked up and plopped themselves down on our shoulders belonged to some sassy black thang who wanted to know our names. Her terrible boob job gave her wonky nipples, one staring at the floor and the other pointed at the ceiling. When we both answered “Robin”, she demanded to see our ID’s to make sure we weren’t taking the piss outta her. Realising that we were on the level, she exclaimed:

“Well, shit. You two Robin’s can suck on both mah titties anyhow!”

A kind gesture, but I had the feeling the no-touch rules and serious looking bouncer glaring at us wouldn’t have agreed. I gave her a $5 tip for her phat butt gyrations, and we were descended upon by another money-hungry ebony sistah, this one looking a little more cracked out and scrawny. She confidently planted her boney assflesh on my round knee and proceeded to pressure mercilessly.

“You wanna private dance, honey?”
“No, I’m outta money now. Sorry.”
“That’s cool, baby. Lets go to the ATM and get some mo’.”
“C’mon now. Don’t you liiiike me? Don’t you got nothin’ in your bank account fo’ me?”
“No, nothing in there. I’m broke and my friend is gay.”

I may as well have announced that we both had the plague. Just like in the Tom Waits song, the girls scattered like crows, and we were free to leave once we finished our two drink minimum — although Dirty was pissed that I didn’t just tell her he was retarded. Who can say? Maybe a retard would at least get some pity-pussy from a good natured whore.

Rounding the corner of 42nd street and 8th ave to find that the famous hallowed ground of depravity known as the “Show World Center” was still in existence gave me huge smile and little bit of hope. I’ll admit it, my heart skipped about 5 beats as I scrambled in the front door, chasing a dream, baring down on those aforementioned ghosts. What I found couldn’t live up to legend. It was 3 floors of homogenised truncated fuck-suck. The XXX action was still on hand, but the sense of danger and delirious sexual energy was gone. I searched every inch of Show World looking for it.

Entering a peepshow booth in the basement (the same basement where pseudo-snuff rape peeps and savage bestiality clips were showing in 1980) found only a video screen declaring “God Bless America” before launching into some decidedly boring white-on-black cum guzzling. It was ok I guess, but nothing like what I’d read penned by porn journalists of yesteryear.

But ghosts have a funny way of contacting you from the dead. I was a fool to count New York out so early, because 5 feet from the entrance of Show World — as we walked north along 8th ave — Dirty’s cell phone rang. He answered it, looked confused, and handed me the phone.

“Hello?” I said into it.

“Hi, Robin…? It’s Jamie Gillis.”

(Despite emailing Gillis and attempting to set up this meeting, Robin is astounded and must pick his jaw off the sidewalk at this juncture)

“Holy shit! Hi Jamie! I just walked out of Show World! Man, I had no idea it was still there, and now you’re phoning me?! T-this is amazing!”

“Oh Show World… yeah. Ha ha! If only it was thirty years ago, I could have taken you in there and shown you things that would just blow your mind. There were naked girls in the basement. For $5 bucks you could do whatever you wanted. It was great.”

And those were the first words I shared in person with classic porn superstud, Jamie Gillis. For those of you coming in late, or who are too senile to remember him, Gillis is one of the most important performers in XXX history, either in front of the camera, or in the directors chair. sinBIG.jpg

In ’71 Gillis was working with an off-Broadway repertory company, doing classical plays, and to support himself, was driving cab. He’d drive cab all day, then play Hamlet at night, all the while desperate for another job. One day, Gillis answered an ad for “Nude modelling” in The Village Voice thinking he was going to provide inspiration for a local NYC artisan, but as it turned out the modelling going on was in a dirty basement on 14th Street where some stinky guy shot fuck movies.

“I showed up there, worked for about an hour, had a good time, made as much money as I would driving cab, and that’s how I started.” Gillis once told XXX journalist Anthony Petkovitch. “Actually, a lot of people started there in that dirty basement — Linda Lovelace, Eric Edwards, me … But there were no stars in those days, no industry. It was all underground.”

His directorial debut ON THE PROWL back in ’89 was the first of its kind to take some average dude off the streets, put him in the back of a limousine, and let ‘em wildly fuck away at some sexed up young adult video starlet. It originated the “Gonzo” reality style of porn that currently has a stranglehold on the modern porn world, and was the obvious inspiration for the limo sex scene in P.T. Anderson’s BOOGIE NIGHTS (1994), with Burt Reynolds taking on the role of Gillis.

Also in the late ’80s, Gillis became known in underground porn circles for his outlandish scat and degradation-themed home movies that began to make the rounds amongst perverts in the know. These were totally amateur tapes featuring submissive friends and black streetwalkers that Jamie would shit on and racially degrade. Then the early ‘90s he kicked the Pro-Am craze into full gear by co-producing the influential and long running DIRTY DEBUTANTES series with Ed Powers, who then went on to take over (steal?) the series from Gillis and turn it into a massive video rental hit.

In my opinion Jamie is basically XXX royalty and deserves props for his various sleazy achievements in smut, but I’d quickly learn that the man is admirably modest about his various accomplishments when he met us late that evening at a fancy greasy spoon in the West Village.

We were flanked by our talented/pretty New York pal Wendy Chin, who, along with her husband/bandmate Jason, didn’t want to miss out on a meeting with such a legendary figure. When Gillis walked in and saw us, one of the first things out of his mouth was “Hey, I haven’t been in here in years. This is just around the corner from the shithole where Linda Lovelace screwed the dog in that old porno loop.”

I was like a dog myself as Gillis dropped little nuggets of porn trivia such as that all through the evening as we all got progressively drunker. Like a dog with its head hanging out of the window of a fast moving car, its tongue being whipped around by the wind. I was having a fucking blast.

Bizarre anecdotes about the originator of stump fucking: Long Jeanne Silver, a tale about shoving a cigar up his ass in order to woo a woman that was peeping in his window, funny stories about where certain porn stars from yesteryear had ended up… they flowed out of Jamie like a leaky faucet, and it became a torrent after we ended up at a lovely Mexican restaurant over on the west side, meeting up with drummer Chester Thompson. Not to name drop too obnoxiously, but this dude played drums for Genesis, Frank Zappa, Phil Collins, and Neil Diamond. Gillis effortlessly hooked us up with super-tasty free Margaritas and interesting drinking companions.

As exciting as Chester was to meet, Gillis was the real deal, and Dirty and Wendy were in full agreement with me. In fact, I think Wendy was a just a little disappointed that this dirty ol’ man molested her only once while copping a feel during our drunken goodnight hugs. Never let it be said that ultra pervs can’t be gentlemen when they wanna.

Within 24 hours, Dirty Bird and I were on our way outta New York, content that even if the city itself didn’t bring the sexy demented thrills we’d been fantasising about, at least its ambassador from the golden days of smut was still standing guard, ready to show us an awesome evening.

PS, This Just in:


Just read your New York story and loved it! I was the first true porn star to do a stage show at the Show World, (other than perhaps strippers who got into porn and stripped there)!

I then appeared there off and on, doing my bowl show — not a strip act — until I left porn. Many of the other stars and directors then would come to my show because of its uniqueness and humor. I made hot, sexy, and humor work well together. They used to run a clip of one of my movies in the outside wall of the building, on the street. I use to be amazed to step outside and see me sitting on Jamie Gillis, fucking, with my breasts bouncing up and down as I was “riding” him. You didn’t see the actual insertion, but you saw enough to know what you were seeing. You certainly saw my bare breasts and me going at it hard!!! I was always amazed that people walking down the street could see that, It also made me wear a hat and sunglasses outside a lot! LOL.

Anyway, I really enjoyed your piece!

Oh,yes, I also (like Jamie) could tell you tales of what I SAW (not did) in the Show World,as well!

Stay Hot,

Jody Maxwell


One Response to “Searching For Sin in New York”

  1. Frank Moonly
    May 28th, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

    Show World and the whole deuce experience were incredibly educational. As a Brooklyn kid, I was always enriched for a day or night of depravity. Disney my ass.

Leave a Reply

  • Support The Gutter

  • The Book!

  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about Dr. Doom: “Comics are so often seen as the province of white geeky nerds. But, more broadly, comics are  the literature of outcasts, of pariahs, of Jews, of gays, of blacks. It’s really no mistake that we saw ourselves in Doom, Magneto or Rogue.”


    Actor Ken Takakura has died. Takakura starred in films such as Brutal Tales of Chivalry (1965); Red Peony Gambler (1968); Miyamoto Musashi: Duel at Ichijoji (1955) and Miyamoto Musashi: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956); as well as in co-productions like The Yakuza (1974); The Bullet Train (1975); Black Rain (1989) and Riding Alone For Thousands Of Miles (2005).  The Japan Times, The South China Morning Post and The AV Club have obituaries. Japan Subculture has an interview with Takakura. Here Takakura sings the theme to Abhashiri Prison (1965)


    Producer, writer and director Glen A. Larson has died. Larson was responsible for creating tv series such as Battlestar Galactica, Magnum P.I, Knight Rider, The Fall Guy, Quincy M.E., The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries and Buck Rogers In The 25Th Century, about which the Gutter’s own Keith wrote here. The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter and The AV Club have obituaries. Watch Larson’s interview from 2010 at “Battlestar Galactica: The Exhibition”.


    At Re/Action, Maddy Myers writes about how important the Metroid franchise, in both game and manga form, and its protagonist, Samus Aran, were to her. “Samus still represents a breakthrough. She first took off her armor to reveal a woman’s form back in 1986, the year that I was born. Samus and I grew up separately, kindred spirits who did not find one another until 2007. A best friend, a fraternal twin sister, a clone separated at birth. Or so I felt, as I let myself slip behind that visor. I wasn’t Samus myself – not yet. I stood behind her, hanging back. Did I dare? Did I dare pretend, role-play, allow myself to act as Samus? Could I be that cool?”


    Maddy Myers writes about playing violent games, wanting to be powerful and internalized sexism. “Given my lifelong history of playing at war, and my desperate wish to feel strong, big, and powerful, it made sense that I would gravitate towards Counter-Strike and its ilk around the age of 15. But Counter-Strike, with its all-male selection of avatars and predominantly male player base, allowed no room for princesses — and the guys I played with didn’t either. I developed some traits during that time that I regret now — the belief that I was ‘special,’ and that I was ‘better’ than other women I knew because I liked playing violent games and they didn’t. The guys I played with encouraged and reinforced this behavior, assuring me that I was ‘different from those other girls,’ that my liking violence made me ‘cool.’ Girl stuff is stupid, I told myself, as I bought pants from the men’s section, told sexist jokes, and mocked all the ‘girl stuff’ that I’d liked, not so many years prior.”


    John Le Carré writes about writing The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. “It was the Berlin Wall that had got me going, of course: I had flown from Bonn to take a look at it as soon as it started going up. I went with a colleague from the Embassy and as we stared back at the weasel faces of the brainwashed little thugs who guarded the Kremlin’s latest battlement, he told me to wipe the grin off my face. I was not aware I had been grinning, so it must have been one of those soupy grins that comes over me at dreadfully serious moments. There was certainly nothing to grin at in what I saw, and inside myself I felt nothing but disgust and terror, which was exactly what I was supposed to feel: the Wall was perfect theater as well as a perfect symbol of the monstrosity of ideology gone mad.”


  • Spilling into Twitter

  • Obsessive?

    Then you might be interested in knowing you can subscribe to our RSS feed, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter or Tumblr.


  • Weekly Notifications

  • What We’re Talking About

  • Thanks To

    No Media Kings hosts this site, and Wordpress autoconstructs it.

  • %d bloggers like this: