opinion

Ciao, Pornblography

Gram Ponante
Carly Milne is not leaving the adult industry because of me.

Carly’s announcement on her soon-to-be-defunct groundbreaking web diary, Pornblography, was simple. “This is my 500th post…it’s time to say goodbye.”

I thought it was something I said. I thought it was because we used the same font, Verdana. I thought it was because everyone else was sending her pictures of his cock but me.

Carly said that it was a number of things that led to a little epiphany on a plane. “I was flying home from New York. I’d just pitched a job to Playgirl. The pitch had gone really well. I was reading Legs McNeil’s The Other Hollywood - it’s a hard book - and I thought, ‘I’ve done all I want to do here.’”

Carly, like Tina Tyler, Dorothy Stratten, and Rush, is Canadian. She started writing for teen magazines and other assorted publications in addition to some television work when she was a teenager herself, eventually getting into the Internet and parlaying that into a job with Yahoo Canada after consulting with @Home. In 1999, she started a network of women’s sites called Moxie.ca. Moving south to San Francisco in late 1999, she weathered the bursting of the Internet bubble. Upon moving to Los Angeles in 2001, she applied for and landed an Associate Editor job at AVN, an adult industry trade publication, and let Moxie die in the process.

Carly worked for AVN for a year, meeting (the former) Frank Majors, GramPonante.com BananWatch editor Steve Ochs, and Tod-Hunter, all of whom she says she’ll keep in touch with when she Leaves the Industry Forever.

Carly left AVN in 2002 and went to work for Metro as the company’s publicist. “When working for Metro, you should have your resume dusted off before you first sit down at your desk,” she said. Carly left Metro after four months and started her blog, Pornblography, as well as her own PR agency, SinSpin, repping clients from Zero Tolerance to Pussy Pucker Pots.

“The mark of a good publicist is someone who can build strong relationships,” she said. In porn, an industry which is very small compared to the amount of money it generates (luckily, the wealth is concentrated among no more than six people, so it doesn’t get lost), good publicists are as identifiable as the companies they sell.

“Everybody knows Adella O’Neal is Digital Playground,” Carly said. “Everybody knows Brian Gross is Adam & Eve. Everybody knows Jeff Mullen is New Sensations. A publicist needs a strong presence.”

Especially since a lot of the product a company is selling, let’s face it, looks similar to that of other companies. By the time Carly got a job at PurePlay Media, her contacts from her short time in the porn world, along with her blog, had made her a below the line celebrity. Pornblography got a lot of traffic. Her thoughtful, sporadic tirades and observations were read in both the adult and mainstream worlds. Carly was in a very small club with Rebecca Gray and Susie Mid-America: Porn Valley women with distinct confessional voices. And Pornblography was the first blog of any of the current or previous crop to describe life in the Valley in a way accessible to sniffers from over the hill or around the country.

This might have also proven to be Carly’s undoing with PurePlay Media. After what she describes as a “debacle” at this year’s Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, in which she says everyone from the PurePlay party’s venue’s doormen to the management gouged the guests, taking bribes and ignoring the VIP list, she was fired. One of the reasons given was that she spent more time promoting herself than the company.

“From my perspective that’s not true,” she said. “But I suppose I can see why they said it. The way my mind works as a publicist is “How can what I’m doing benefit the company?’ I write press releases, I go out with clients, I write about it on the blog. For me, it became part of the job.”

When Pornblography closed down this week, Carly also decided to let go of her SinSpin clients, too. She is going to keep Eros Boutique, but she has since given notice to both Pipedream and Spice. She plans to step up her freelance writing career and she has hired someone to publicize the book she is editing, Naked Ambition (Carroll & Graf), due this fall. She also has “one or two books” left in her about the industry as she knows it.

She won’t say a bad word about anybody. People burn bridges spectacularly in porn, but she refuses. Her advice to thoughtful people breaking into the biz is simply “Have fun.”

Fellow Canadian (and adult director) Mike “Quasarman” Quasar posted, “(Carly is) the only person with a verifiable three-digit IQ in the entire industry. I'm surprised that it's taken (her) this long to realize that she’s too smart to continue this nonsense.”

Others, preferring anonymity, referenced the “Porn Stigma.” This isn’t the Netherlands or Prague, and a porn bullet on one’s resume is tough to overlook. For that reason, an anonymous poster said, “she’ll be back.”

Carly talked about the difference between the first time she attended a porn set (Sin City’s Quiver with jessica drake and Evan Stone - 2001) and the final time (they all blend together). “The first time I said, ‘Oh God, I shouldn't be watching this; this is a private act between two people!’ And then the last time I said, ‘Oh, God, I shouldn't be watching this; I've seen it so many fucking times now.’”

She will miss the characters in the industry, she said, and, like checking sports scores for a team she once followed, she said she will pop in on the old sites every now and then. She will renew her domain name to prevent squatting (I was going to buy it and publish my rants under my real name, Pagan Mentor). She will stay in Los Angeles. Beyond that, she says she will never be a publicist again.

She did reveal that a number of people, on hearing her plans to leave the business, asked to be taken with her. Like a publicist, though, she’s keeping her real plans cryptic.

“I would like to start writing a series of haikus about shoes,” she said.

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