Taschen Publishes Vanessa del Rio Bio

NEW YORK — Mainstream book publisher Taschen has released a deluxe, limited edition of “Vanessa del Rio: Fifty Years of Slightly Slutty Behavior,” a biography of classic adult performer and icon Vanessa del Rio.

“I am completely flattered, honored and just flabbergasted that Mr. Taschen wanted to do this book on my life and, well, that the porn part is art,” del Rio said in an article posted on NYObserver.com. “It’s almost like I don’t know what to think other than like, ‘Wow.’”

The publisher threw a release party Nov. 8, which took place in a Soho-area area venue, was attended by several mainstream and adult personalities including hotelier André Balazs, movie director Brett Ratner and fashion photographer Sante d’Orazio. Also on-hand for the celebration were adult director and former performer Candida Royalle, cross-dressing academy headmistress Veronica Vera, “Babylon Pink” director Cecil Howard and classic adult performer Jaime Gillis who was accompanied by his girlfriend, Manhattan restaurateur and PBS chef Zarela Martinez.

Former president Bill Clinton reportedly was invited but was unable to attend.

The book has been printed in a limited edition of 1,500. The collectors edition numbers 1,300 and is signed by del Rio. The remaining 200 are issued in an art edition and include a signed watercolor lithograph of del Rio by renowned artist Robert Crumb.

The oversized book weighs 12 pounds and includes also an original 140-minute documentary DVD profiling del Rio.

One copy will include a “golden ticket” entitling the buyer to an evening with del Rio, which will be documented by an unnamed “world famous” photographer.

Edited by Dian Hanson, who has worked also at several adult publications including Puritan, Oui, Juggs and Leg Show magazines, the book gives an uninhibited look at the life and times of del Rio, who began her onscreen career in 1974 starring in numerous 8mm loops over the course of 12 years, as well as many classic films of the Golden Age of adult cinema, including “Tigresses and Other Man-Eaters,” “Babylon Pink” and “Cherry Hustlers.”

According to her biography, del Rio, who was the first Latina superstar of adult films, performed double penetration in her first scene. Eventually, she garnered a reputation as one of the most intense and sexually voracious performers with her exploits both on and off-screen.

“Her whole body and whole gestalt is so amazing. She was the real thing and not being seen, not being recognized,” artist R. Crumb said. “A true Amazon.”

“It’s an archetype of woman,” del Rio said. “There’s our horny side, and there’s our more nurturing side, and rather than use the word ‘slut’ in a derogatory way, I embrace it. Yes, I enjoy my sexuality and throughout history women have been held down from enjoying their sexuality, because it’s a very powerful thing. The clitoris is the only organ whose sole purpose is pleasure.”

Copies of the book are available on the Taschen website for $400 until Jan. 1, when the retail price will increase to $700.