LOS ANGELES — Adult cinema legends Ginger Lynn, Serena, Nina Hartley, Christy Canyon, Veronica Hart, Kay Parker and Seka were among the A-list women — and a few men — celebrated during The Golden Age of Adult Cinema, a three-part panel series that paid tribute to classic performers from adult’s halcyon years.
The series was held over three consecutive Sundays in February at the Cupcake Theatre in North Hollywood. Four performers each night, as well as a special surprise fifth guest announced a few days beforehand, were brought onstage one at a time for a wide-ranging interview. Each of the evening’s four billed stars were also treated to a two-minute compilation of clips. An afterparty and meet-and-greet session allowed the stars to engage fans, pose for photos and sign autographs.
Producer David Bertolino was introduced to the adult world four years ago when he produced “The Deep Throat Sex Scandal” stage play in Hollywood. Veronica Hart and Herschel Savage were among the castmates while Tom Byron and Alana Evans, amidst many others, were featured guest stars. “I knew these ladies were legendary but it surprised me how eager their fans were to see them in person,” Bertolino told XBIZ. “If they couldn’t get a ticket to the play, they came to the afterparty. They had to meet these ladies and get a photograph, have them sign something. That’s where I came up with the idea of adding an autograph session and merchandise tables to these Q&A sessions.”
Bertolino said it was a challenge to find a venue available over three consecutive Sundays that could also host an afterparty. The Cupcake fit that bill; however, the first night on Feb. 12 competed against the Grammy Awards, while the final night, Feb. 26, faced off against the Academy Awards. “I’ll admit, I was worried,” Bertolino divulged. “That’s tough competition. But the fans came through for these ladies. All three nights were packed. And now everyone wants more of them! I’m going to need to sit down and put my feet up for a couple of minutes. But we’ll definitely have to do this again in some format.”
Hartley, Canyon, Seka and Porsche Lynn were joined during the Feb. 12 event by current headliner Riley Reid. “I wanted to introduce a star from today into the mix,” Bertolino explained. “I thought that her perspective would be interesting. And she was a great guest.” Veteran star Herschel Savage also had a moment of stage time as he introduced the night’s host, comedian and actor Nick Santa Maria. Topics of discussion included Hartley’s revelation that her father, a popular San Francisco radio show host, was fired for being a member of the Communist Party. He took his case all the way to the Supreme Court and won. Hartley described herself as a nurse for a culture with wounded attitudes about sexuality and relationships.
Seka’s feisty back-and-forth with Santa Maria included warmly recalled anecdotes about filming with John Holmes as well as her high-profile relationship with the late comedian Sam Kinison, while Porsche Lynn revealed she has worked for the better part of 15 years as dominatrix for the Den of Indomitus in Phoenix, which she owns. Canyon’s Q&A included stories about her time spent working on a Christmas tree farm during a hiatus from the adult world and her alternate careers as a feature dancer and working as a radio show host for Vivid.
Joining Hart for the second week’s panelists were Amber Lynn, Kay Parker and Alana Evans. The surprise guest was Eric Edwards, now 71 years old, and the only adult actor to have performed — on film — over five decades.
Amber Lynn spoke movingly about a near-fatal car accident as a child and its effect on her development, her struggle with drugs and alcohol and her sobriety today. She also happily revealed she has a new MILF film in the pipeline. An ebullient Evans spoke about her love of acting and musical theatre and passion for gaming, all of which she has successfully incorporated in her adult career. She closed her session by advocating for APAG — the Adult Performers Actors Guild — for whom she currently serves as vice president. Parker spoke about her childhood in England and a contentious relationship with her father, her discovery of her inner sixth sense and her current work as a spiritual counselor and teacher. Hart recalled touring as a dancer and working as a music producer, among other career left-turns, earning her doctorate in human sexuality and inheriting Femme Productions from the late Candida Royalle, which she intends to relaunch with a focus on female directors.
Week three’s guests included Rhonda Jo Petty, Kelly Nichols, Annie Sprinkle and Serena, with special guest Ginger Lynn. Tom Byron stepped in to introduce Santa Maria for the absent Paul Thomas.
Petty recalled her unhappy childhood and eventually making peace with her late father. She told stories of indulging in drugs, crossing paths with Charles Manson and being invited back to the hotel room of President George H.W. Bush. Nichols, like Evans the week prior, discussed her obsession with art, genre television and comic books. She revealed she was the stunt double for Jessica Lange in the 1976 remake of “King Kong” and that she continues to work in adult today as a makeup artist. Fellow panelist Serena spoke about her bipolar diagnosis, an ongoing struggle with amnesia after suffering a calamitous accident and her activism. On the lighter side, she laughed about a torrid affair with Warren Beatty.
Sprinkle watched her collection of mostly comical nonsex clips and described herself as “the Lily Tomlin of porn.” A shy, artistic child, Sprinkle said that watching Natalie Wood in “Gypsy” was a revelation that spurred her into the performing arts. She also revealed that she was the lover of “Deep Throat” helmer Gerard Damiano and that she was arrested when local police shut down a screening of the film — even though she had only sold popcorn. Sprinkle revealed she is a breast cancer survivor and also spoke fondly of Club 90, the support group for adult actresses formed by the late Gloria Leonard whose roster has included Royalle, Hart, Nichols and others. She closed her interview by announcing it would be her final adult industry appearance.
Surprise guest Ginger Lynn paid tribute to her fellow panelists and thanked them for sharing their stories. Her own wide-ranging interview included a humorous recounting of her dramatic childhood and twisted family tree, how crossing paths with Traci Lords led to her stint in jail, living in a halfway house, her much-gossiped-about relationship with Charlie Sheen and much more. She touted her sobriety and her happiness in her current relationship and revealed she is working on an autobiography.
“The ladies were delightful,” Santa Maria told XBIZ. “Seka was a real tough broad. We had good chemistry onstage. She gave as good as she got, and I respect that.” He described Ginger Lynn as “very good and really sharp — she didn’t let me get away with anything.”
Evans said she was “very excited” to be asked to join the “Golden Age” guests after working on “The Deep Throat Sex Scandal” with Bertolino. “I felt incredibly honored to be amongst such inspiring performers,” she told XBIZ. “This was an amazing experience I will never forget.”
Hart described the series was “invaluable to fans and historians of the adult business. I hope it’s documented well as that’s where the long-lasting value lies.” On a personal note, “It was so great to see so many longtime friends again — and for a happy event this time, not a memorial service. It was wonderful being one of the guests on the 19th and just as awesome being an audience member on the 26th. Those ladies and lads from adult are some of my most favorite people. How lucky I am to have worked with them and still have them in my life.”
One member of the adult community whose name came up frequently in conversation, both onstage and off, was the late William Margold. Serena and Amber Lynn were among those who paid tribute to the historian and raconteur. “I hope he was happy with the shows,” Bertolino said. “We paid tribute to his ‘kids’ and visited his history in the adult cinema world. Bill passed away two weeks prior to our first show. He was so excited about it.”
Bertolino tipped a hat to the 15 featured performers for taking part in the series. “We thank these special ladies — and the men — for sharing their lives, loves and intimate stories.”
Visit the website for The Golden Age of Adult Cinema here.