LAEFF Panel Attempts to Demystify Alt-Porn Before Large Crowd

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — The Los Angeles Erotica Film Fest’s “Alt-Porn Demystified” panel played to a packed house of hipsters and fans of the alt-porn movement. A cadre of alt-porn pioneers and proponents convened at LAEFF to set the record straight on the growing subculture of alt-porn.

Moderated by Vivid-Alt founder and director Eon McKai, the panel included photographer/director Octavio “Winkytiki” Arizala, director Vena Virago, sex writer/blogger Violet Blue and performer Dana DeArmond.

McKai began by saying that alt-porn was born out of something innate in himself and that alt-porn to him was more than just the stereotypical punk rock aesthetic of girls with tattoos and piercings. McKai said he strived to create a new look of erotica, movies that didn’t include blond hair and big tits — a look that typifies what he called “mainstream” porn.

“Porn is all about repetition, like working on an assembly line,” McKai said. “All I tried to do when I first started making movies was to reach a market I knew was there. I was flying a flag to find my audience.”

All the panelists seemed to agree that “mainstream” porn wasn’t accepting of their art at first and that it took a lot of determination to gain acceptance. The collective feeling of the panel was that they classified themselves as outsiders and operated on the fringes of the capitalist adult entertainment system.

“I’m not a capitalist,” McKai said. “Money isn’t the goal for me. If you have an audience as an artist, that’s your pay.”

Violet Blue surmised that alt-porn was born out of a whole subculture of people who didn’t get turned on by cookie-cutter, paint-by-numbers porn featuring the same performers having sex inside the McMansions of the San Fernando Valley. These people wanted porn that speaks to them featuring people who look like them.

DeArmond spoke about how she’s stereotyped as an “alt performer” though she lacks piercings and tattoos. The panel attempted to define what alt-porn actually is but couldn’t identify any hard-and-fast rules.

“Alt is just another label, really,” Winkytiki said after the panel. “Alt is more of how you feel who you are rather than someone telling you you're alt because of how you look. It’s a state of mind, a lifestyle.” McKai constantly referenced alt-porn fans as his “tribe,” creating a community kinship of like-minded people.

All panelists agreed that the Internet and grassroots marketing has been a major reason for the growth of alt-porn. DeArmond spoke specifically about the Internet’s reach, saying that only the now-retired porn star Jenna Jameson had more MySpace friends than her.

“Mainstream porn just doesn’t get the Internet,” Blue said. “The Internet is the most direct line to the consumer. There’s so much direct marketing you can do because the alt-porn producers are really in touch with their audience.”

McKai closed the panel, saying, “If you give ‘the man’ five sex scenes, you can create something around that, a story you want to tell with your vision on their dime.”

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