Joe Gallant: "The machinery is weird."

Gram Ponante
I recently spent some time immanentizing the eschaton with hippy freakout director Joe Gallant.

Gallant, 48, has put together an impressive series of porn titles from his home in New York City, where his day jobs have included Sound Designer on "Guiding Light" and leader of an orchestral Grateful Dead cover band, the Illuminati.

The John Ford-style majesty of a title like Crack Whores of the Tenderloin (his one non-Manhattan movie) and Avenue X, his first new project for VCA, show a resistance to the easy categorizations of porn franchises. Not that there can't be a never-ending series of Crack Whores of the Tenderloin, just like "Guiding Light", but Gallant tries to keep each title discrete.

Take Fuck My Meathook Fetus (pictured), for example.

"(It's a) Fun-girl premise," Gallant said. "Stuffing 10 inches of old fridge-smelly former-grade-A prime inter alia up Kalaka's plumbing was a slow & tinkly go, but all for Art."

I mentioned Meathook Fetus to VCA's kindly and concerned sales director, Peter Reynolds, and he spat out his tea.

"That would make (dapper, Napoleonic adult industry lawyer) Paul Cambria jump out a window," he said.

Gallant has worked with LFP in the past with films like UltraVixens NYC, Contract Girl (cocksucking assassins at the Republican National Convention), and Killing Courtney Luv. Each presents a picture of Manhattan and Manhattan ladies that is dirty-for-real, fleshy, and Not Los Angeles.

"There's a strange frequency here," Gallant says of New York City, "almost like... I don't want to get maudlin-creepy and say "Death", exactly, but after many years of sensing thin whisper birdwing vibrations in dark NYC air, there are those among us who feel a new thing, a twining and discordant whoosh, periodically, silent (but the air moves), like the afterbreath of wings."

I feel the same way about both New Haven and Bridgeport. In fact, that whole rail corridor.

"It's new, man, and it's here, so maybe something is coming. We all know "9/11" was a dress rehearsal, but this isn't the same thing. Maybe it's what Prehistoric Man felt when he looked into the eye of a comet across the sky... something new and fast... we'll see. It's also what keeps me here, ironically, like a field reporter."

So no stucco-ceilinged duplex in Porn Valley for Joe, despite the abundance of soap opera work here.

Gallant is re-joining VCA at a time when both it and Vivid are making a conscious investment in cornering the "alt" market, whatever that is. Some adult directors who have shot hardcore scenes with women who have piercings or knee socks or tattoos have become indignant with the publicity altporn has received, and that publicity has often overwhelmed the work of the people creating content in that medium, so that the work can't be discussed without making some reference to the pseudo-genre's backstory.

Gallant says he doesn't care how his movies are categorized because his music has been miscategorized for years. He is, however, "sincerely happy to be thought enough of to be included in any group.

"The guy at home with his dick in his hand wants to watch a multi-tissue movie," Gallant continued, "so the sex needs to be hot - something I haven't seen much of, at all. so... alt seems to be moving toward something good and sustainable, while hot-spiking its psyche with a seemingly daily, desperate and tiring Courtney Love attempt at self-hype.

"There's a somewhat common perception percolating among pornerati that 'alt' sprung up whole, with all the small handful of players, anecdotes, dramas, media-events and daily AVN alerts intact, like a bad CIA pre-packaged psy-ops campaign or a guerilla-marketing Nike dead-of-night street-stencil op. Consequently, the machinery is creepy, not necessarily the work itself, and that skin-crawling uneasiness that old codgers like me feel when encountering something that rises snakily out of a well-oiled publicity budget under the brand-banner of 'alternative' is very cobra-and-the-mongoose, on a genetic level."

GP: You mean that one can be thwarted by one's own publicity?

"I came up when bands, fashion, and popular ideas were disseminated organically, holistically, not as web word-virus memes given golem-life by a concerted handful of publicistas and friendswithblogs."

GP: That hurts. I run a respectable blog. I am a First Amendment Patriot. I hope there isn't an anti-blog backlash the way there is an anti-steveporn backlash. The other day I was talking with an adult actress and she said, "You guys with your porn blogs" as if writing about porn and making a living out of it was worse than catching one in the face for one's dinner. (I think they're about even.)

"... But I also know that this is how things are done in mySpaceAmerikulture at the present moment, and I've also done my own share of self-marketing- so to be fair, its just how we live now- but there are degrees. I heard somewhere that a figure in 'alt' is looking for someone willing to get a tattoo of their logo, apparently just so it can be pop-shotted on at the end of a scene."

GP: Yikes.

"If that's true, it's A) the most disturbing thing i've ever heard, taking terminal pamperedYouth comfort-zone narcissism to absolutely pathological levels, and B) really fucking stupid and boring. So I pray to the great spirit that it isn't true."

GP: Are you able to divine from the meathook fetus entrails the future of porn?

"The jury's out on whether alt is a real thing or a soon-fizzed-out brand-o-rama but it seems the Valley is starving to try something new, and this is what showed up, so we'll see. As 'alt' matures, the artifice will naturally fall away, and the poseurs with it. What's left will be what's important. And that'll be cool."