trends

Creative Forces Expand Gay Industry’s Reach

Creative Forces Expand Gay Industry’s Reach
JC Adams

A handful of notable names in gay adult are breaking beyond XXX and expanding into markets and spaces previously off-limits to erotica. Internet-savvy producers, directors and stars are using their social-media reach to carve out new markets and reach a larger, more diverse audience. Here are a few notable names to watch:

CockyBoys

Internet-savvy producers, directors and stars are using their social-media reach to carve out new markets and reach a larger, more diverse audience.

The New York-based studio recently snagged Gay Studio of the Year and Gay Movie of the Year XBIZ Awards citations, adding to growing trophy shelf that includes a 2015 best movie win, a 2014 best studio honor and directing kudos for Jake Jaxson in 2014 and 2015. One of the few remaining all-male studios devoted to dramatic, story-line-driven adult content, CockyBoys assiduously marshals its social media reach (particularly on Twitter and Instagram) to build a fervent cult of personality around its top performers. A recent addition to the roster is fan-favorite stud Boomer Banks. The CockyCon in late May promised a three-day affair including autograph signings, screenings and even a mediation session with studpups Tayte Hanson, Levi Karter, Liam Riley, Ricky Roman and more. A recent Cosmopolitan.com feature is devoted the straight women who adore the boy-band good looks common among the CockyBoys roster. “In a world where young women are shamed for their sexuality and porn consumption habits,” writes Cheryl Wischhover, “the fandom surrounding the group is a reminder that women watching gay porn is not only perfectly healthy but also hardly niche.”

Tim Valenti

When NakedSword CEO and AEBN co-owner Tim Valenti, a pioneer in the gay online adult streaming space, was named president of Falcon Studios Group it marked a significant milestone for the storied legacy brand. It was the first time Falcon Studios — whose umbrella now includes Hot House Video and Raging Stallion Studios — was to be steered by a luminary from the online world. Nevertheless, he made sure to honor the vision of the late Falcon Studios founder Chuck Holmes during his keynote speech at the 2016 XBIZ Show in January. “Chuck knew that for the gay market the money was elsewhere,” he said. “He was from Indiana, away from the city where gay men have little or no access to gay porn. Chuck knew there was a much more longtime value in pioneering a new market than jockeying for market share in the existing one. And he quickly built the biggest gay porn production company in the world — a title that Falcon has held for over 40 years. That type of success only comes from taking risks.”

One of Valenti’s first decisions in the executive suite was to follow the example of Holmes with the launch of NakedSword Film Works (note its acronym), devoted to independent feature films and shorts that are not necessarily adult-related. The division is “an extension of what we have already been doing for years,” he told XBIZ. “As a whole, it fits into the overall vision of NakedSword because the vision is to continue to be the Netflix of gay porn by giving viewers not only the biggest catalog of gay adult content to choose from but also bring members unique and cutting-edge gay film projects.”

James Franco

The matinee idol-poly-math’s ongoing interest — perhaps an obsession — with queer stories and sensibilities has not shied away from explicit depictions of gay sexuality. His new indie feature “King Cobra” — written and directed by Justin Kelly — dramatizes the murder of Cobra Video producer Bryan Kocis by two adult-industry rivals. The true crime feature includes massively popular, and controversial, skin star Brent Corrigan as a major character and made its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this spring. “Movies don’t get much juicier, funnier, creepier, sadder or smarter,” notes a review on TheWrap.com. “’King Cobra’ is as in-your-face explicit a gay movie as has ever been made with recognizable male actors.”

Colby Keller

When he won Best Personality from the Cybersocket Web Awards, the inimitable Keller sent a man in a banana costume to accept on his behalf. The quirky sex star — whose wide-ranging artistic sensibilities and questing humor are unique in an industry that is not particularly known for originality — has been busy, to say the least. “Colby Does America,” a crowdfunded art-porn project in which he films sexual encounters in every state of the union (and Canada), is nearly complete. The ambitious project has led to collaborations with fashion designers BCALLA — a February 2015 “conceptual video art piece” in conjunction with CockyBoys — and Vivienne Westwood, who tapped him as an unlikely muse for a recent womenswear campaign (“The 35-year-old Keller — a 6-foot, 200-pound, handsome drink of water, with beard, big arms, hairy chest, and friendly smile — might not appear to be the first choice for a male model for womenswear: He is far from waif-like and androgynous,” notes a January 2016 profile of Keller for TheDailyBeast.com.) “Sex is a part of everybody’s life. And we’re all here because of sex at the very least,” Keller told XBIZ. “So why not make it a part of fashion and art, and all those other ways we like to express ourselves? I mean, there’s a lot of shame around sex, particularly when it gets graphic when it actually is sex. And there shouldn’t be. So this is kind of a way to break that barrier down.”

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