Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Remembrance of Porn Stars Past

A Journey Down Mammary Lane with My Fave Retired Sex Stars



The Internet truly traverses time, its information shifting effortlessly from the present to the past and the future with a few clicks of a mouse. For example, I've been reading a lot of Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami's work of late, so I Googled him and, inexplicably, came across the name Suzi Suzuki. Yes, that Suzi Suzuki (aka Cherry Blossom), the now retired Japanese pornstar I met years ago at the 1998 East Coast Video Show (ECVS) when Scott "Unpainted" Huffines and I were in Atlantic City to shoot an episode of our defunct public access TV show, Atomic TV.


1 Degree of Separation:
Suzi Suzuki and Kookie Haruki

It's Cherry Blossom Time

Turns out the Tokyo-born Suzi Suzuki has read every one of Murakami's books, so she turns up in a Google search (honest, I wasn't looking up porn when I ran across her name! Well, not this time...). (A Google search also turns up a German music DJ named Suzi Suzuki, which is yet another odd coincidence.) It shouldn't have surprised me that she was familiar with the quirky writer many call a literary David Lynch, as I remember that Suzi was one of the most intelligent and culturally sophisticated women I had ever met (plus both are considered "outsiders," Suzi for being an adult film star and Murakami for being a Westernized pop writer living apart from the Tokyo writers clique). For that reason alone, aside from her "body" (34C-24-36) of work, she is my all-time fave pornstar - and one of the nicest people I've ever met, period.


Let me stand next to your fire: Tom (moi) and Suzi at ECVS '98.


Suzi raises her cups to join me in a toast at Planet Hollywood.

If You Knew Suzi Like I Knew Suzi...

As our cameraman cinematically ogled her, I was discussing the films of Takeshi Kitano and Akira Kurosawa with her, as well as writers Edogawa Rampo and Yukio Mishima and J-Pop bands like Pizzicato Five and Puffy. Yes, the star of such genre films as Asian Trashy Ass, Anal Hanky Panky, Yin Yang Oriental Love Bang, Suzi Bungholee-0 and The Twin Peaks of Mount Fuji, was a surprisingly well-read bookworm with a sophisticated ear for music, a cineaste's eye for quality arthouse movies and a charismatic conversationalist. OK, I did find time to frolic and mug for the camera with her, as well (as pictured below). Yes, I know: most shameful and regrettable behavior on my part.


Nurse Suzi gives a prostate exam (top) while Dr. Tom checks for hemorrhoids (bottom)

Incredibly charismatic, Suzi - the only authentic Japanese woman working in American hardcore at the time - became the unofficial star of our 1998 porn convention episode, an episode that aired on Baltimore public access TV but, to date, has never been released on video or DVD (probably for the best for the reputation of the now-retired Ms. Suzuki, who resides in San Francisco).


Scott, Suzi and Tom at Atlantic City's Planet Hollywood


Motley Crew: Atomic TV's Scott Huffines, cameraman Chris "the Plumber" Jensen, and Tom put the squeeze on Suzi.


Anonymous man (left) also tries to put the squeeze on Suzi, taking advantage of sudden photo op.

This was the year at ECVS that I got violently ill from food poisoning (probably from an ill-advised dining experience at Hooters) and spent an entire night retching into the toilet. The Atomic TV crew joked that had I had intestinal fortitude, I could have had sex with Suzi, who seemed to like me. After all, we hung out with her at the ECVS Planet Hollywood party, where I gave her a foot massage (her feet were sore from walking around all day in her "red f***-me pumps")...


Suzi puts her best foot forward...


and Tom takes the hint, one heel playing footsy with another's

...and she later invited us to an after-hours, invitation-only "insider's" porn party. We escorted her up the Boardwalk to the hotel and...

There we met Ron Jeremy and other adult film industry stars. Many of the female stars there asked me for foot massages on Suzi's recommendation. (Like Suzi, they all had sore feet from walking around in heels all day! Other appendages would get sore later, as the party later turned into a photo/video shoot with the crabby Christy Lake in the adjoining bedroom...but that's another story for another time). Scott likes to remind me that this was my foot fetish phase, well-documented on Atomic TV.


While foot massage trainee Scott Huffines observes, Tom files down an anonymous porn starlet's bunions


"Next!": Another starlet places her foot in the lap of luxury while a line forms to the right.


Tom toes the line for Blondie.


Seeing all the women lining up for foot massages, this copycat decided to horn in on my porn-podiatry business

Anyway, I ended up getting sick, which was probably for the best, because as far as potential romantic liasons with pornstars go, I had a girlfriend at the time and, besides, the Fan Sex (aka "Play Dates") with Suzi Suzuki story has already been written - see Peter Davis' "My Date with Suzi Suzuki" article in 2001 for Salon.com. magazine.

I recall exchanging contact information with her and she gave me a signed copy of her cabaret/jazz torch songs CD, Looking for Louis (1995, F. Stop Four Records), with the dedication: "Tom and Atomic TV, Enjoy my voice, too." Yes, besides her obvious oral skills as an adult film star and as a polylingual tongue-fu master (she's fluent in Japanese, English and German), Suzi also sings. In fact, she's released three albums. She sings mostly in English (or Engrish, as the case may be) on Looking for Louis, whose title I suspect is a reference to Ol' Satchmo, Louis Armstrong.


Front cover of Looking for Louis


Back cover of Looking for Louis


Liner notes for Looking for Louis

According to her liner notes for Looking for Louis, she became a professional singer when she was 18 years old (as Suzi was born on May 3, 1972, this would place her singing debut around 1990), singing in Tokyo night clubs and loving the thrill of singing in front of live audiences. Maybe this is where she got the exhibitionist bug that enabled her later to perform sex acts before a camera crew. Here are her liner notes:
I was born in Tokyo, Japan but I spent my early childhood in Germany. I've always had an interest in many different languages because German was really the first language I had to learn how to speak. I became a professional singer when I was eighteen years old and started to sing in Tokyo clubs. I was working in the clubs that made me love live audiences. I'll do just about anything to be in front of a live audience!

Music expresses every mood the human soul experiences. As a voccalist I interpret songs that contain messages in new or traditional ways. I change the rhythm for impact and sing in more than one language, essentially to encourage and entertain. Sometimes we're blue and sometimes we're happy and sometimes we can change our feelings just by listening to music from blues to happiness.


This album included a cover version of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind," which I thought was a rather ironic song title choice given her career choice at that time; I think the self-deprecating singer was in on the joke, as she also included versions of "Love For Sale" and "The Lady Is a Tramp." We later used her version of "You'll Never Walk Alone" for Atomic TV's 1999 holiday special episode, "Underdog Battles Satan Claus." "Calypso Shower," which Suzi wrote herself, was later included on the 1999 compilation CD Porn To Rock.

She later sent me a very professional thank you letter thanking Atomic TV for interviewing her, thanking me for "the sexy foot massage," and mentioning that she sometimes visited the East Coast between New York and the Washington, D.C. area and to give her a call (was this a hint to hang out or did she think Atomic TV was an adult film production company she could shoot some scenes for? The mind boggles.). Anyway, I later got postcard and a Christmas card that, in the holiday spirit of giving, also contained some nude pictures of her slipping out of a kimono. The photos were apparently taken by her photog husband, so it was almost like one of those family Christmas cards you get in which people give you a recap of the their year.

Subsequent to writing this piece, I learned how little I really know about Suzi. I learned that not only did Suzi sing and read Murakami novels, but that she has many more interesting hobbies and interests. Like bichon frisé dogs, collecting Navajo Indian rugs and Southwestern art, and creating and selling Japanse dolls made out of wool and cotton.

Suzi retired from the business and shut down her website in 2004, leaving this parting message on her website:
"After a lot of thinking about it I have decided that I want to close my web site for the time being. There are a lot of reasons but the one that is most important is that I made a promise to myself about seven years ago that I would only do the adult business, the video and the pictures, for five years and at the end of the five years I would stop. Well it is now about seven years and I think it is a good time to stop."

As I recalled my experiences with Suzi Suzuki, it got me to thinking about the other adult film stars I had met over the years at the ECVS in Atlantic City. Like Samantha Sterlyng and Stephanie Swift who, like Suzi, were two of the smarter cookies in this biz (maybe it's something to do with porn stars whose initials are "SS," I dunno). Those reminiscences go back a good 8-10 years, which is like counting dog years for a porn stars. Most of the women have retired from the industry (nothing makes you feel older than realizing that the youthful porn stars of yore are retired). I realized how little I really know about these people, who have a depth most of us will never know, perhaps because the very nature of pornography is to objectify and de-personalize to the point of abstractness. I mean, once you start thinking about someone as someone's daughter, or sister, or mother, they become more like what they are - real people - and less like fantasy objects.

Samantha Sterlyng

I had been thinking about Samantha because one day at Daedelus Books I was thumbing through a photography book called Pornoland- the photos weren't much to write home about but the accompanying essay by novelist Martin Amis was pretty good (especially the interview in which John "Buttman" Stagliano explains the popularity of anal sex in three simple words: "Pussies are bullshit!") - and the last picture in the book was an uncredited Samantha Sterlyng. I instantly remembered she spelled her last name funny, recalling that she spelled it with a Y because, in her words (making an inverted peace sign and then flicking her tongue between it), "That's my favorite place to eat - at the Y."

I remember meeting Samantha several times at the East Coast Video Show in Atlantic City, the last time being in October of 2001, just one month after 9/11. She stood out in my mind because she bore an uncanny resemblance to a Texas blonde I used to work (and have a brief, awkard romantic involvement) with. We were filming an Atomic TV episode focusing on Black Porn Stars - our "Black History Month" episode that aired in February 2002 (also, alas, never released on video or DVD) - and Atomic TV gal reporter Stella Gambino and I were interviewing Chaos, the New Orleans-based star of a video production called Ghetto Booty. Samantha Sterlyng was signing photos and box covers in the booth right next to Chaos, and wandered over to do a station ID for us. When I asked her what was new, she directed the camera to her chest, where she had just had some "fun bags" installed. I recall that she let me feel her new boobies to verify their craftsmanship. I feel stupid now, because I subsequently found out she developed some health problems (more on that shortly) - who knows if the two were related.

When I subsequently Googled her, I found a Wikipepdia entry that informed me of her retirement from the biz in 2004 and how she got her RN in nursing. But what really threw me that was I never realized she was a local yokel - born in Hagerstown, Maryland (April 1, 1978), and presently living in West Virginia. Or that her attempt to reenter the biz has been twarted by endometriosis and ovararian cysts (I wonder if her medical problems were caused by being in the biz in the first place). On her MySpace page, called "Ask Samantha," she's even posted this "Support Sam" announcement to accept donations and emotional support:



Her MySpace blog discusses her illness in detail:
I have debated on whether or not to make a post but I feel that it is something that I want to share with you:

I am having my second surgery on Friday August 10th for ovarian cysts (1 of which has a high possibility of being cancerous and is rare in women under 50) which is also complicated by Endometriosis- a disease of the female reproductive organs which causes pain, painful intercourse and possible infertility all due to scar tissue formation.

I am sharing this with you because it seals my fate and now guarantees my return to the business will be short lived.....Many of you have been asking how you can help so I wanted to post this information for those who were asking:

Paypal donations can be made to samanthasterlyng@yahoo.com and Blank Money Orders can be sent to PO Box 657 Shepherdstown Wv 25443.

I want to thank all of you for your support over the past few years. It has been my pleasure to meet some of you! You can also support me with clip purchases or posters...

In 2007, Samantha released a viral video called "Samantha Does the Bush Administration," proving her mind was still sound even if her body was 'illin':



Stephanie Swift



AVN's 1997 Performer of the Year, Stephanie Swift (born Melody Clark on February 7, 1972 in Louisiana) also retired from the biz in 2004 at the relatively advanced age of 32. A scant two years later, Stephanie was inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame - an old-timer at age 34. A self-proclaimed "mutt" in terms of ethnicity (Cajun, Irish, English, French, Spanish, Filipino and Norwegian), her dark hair and almond eyes gave her a slightly Asian look, enabling her to be marketed to the Asian porn niche. Since she also wears glasses, she also turned up in a lot of the popular girls-in-glasses fetish videos and DVDs. Perhaps because of the glasses and her intelligent demeanor, she was often cast as the good girl bookworm or, as Wikipedia phrased it, the "prim and proper professional woman who goes bad."


A Good Girl goes Bad, Swiftly

Scott and I first saw her in Gregory Dark's 1996 masterpiece Sex Freaks, in which she had sex with a circus clown, and subsequently met her at the 1997 ECVS convention in Atlantic City.

According to her Wikipedia entry, "Despite a lack of new releases, she still has an official website and makes appearances on the exotic dancing circuit as a featured performer, thanks largely to her notoriety and built-in fanbase from her adult film days."

Digging through my old video tapes, I came across an E! Channel trip to the Cannes Film Festival co-hosted by E! darling Jenna Jameson. This must have been sometime between 1996 - the year Jenna won Best New American Starlet at the Hot D'Or Awards in Cannes (the European adult industry's version of the US's AVN Awards and a porn version of both Cannes' Palm D'Or and Hollywood's Academy Awards) - and 1998, when Jenna won Best American Actress for a Wicked Pictures feature about horny fire fighters (I think the latter, because Stacy Valentine - future star of Christine Fugate's doc The Girl Next Door - was also there to pick up Best New American Actress). One of Jenna's gal pals along for the porn celeb junket was Stephanie Swift (Serenity - who also did some E! broadcasting work - was also along for the trip). Stephanie was never mentioned by name, but it looked like they shared the same room and she turned up in a lot of footage with Jenna, especially clubbing and at parties.

She must like to party with celebs, because an animated version of Steph and Cheech Marin smoking a doobie turns up in the YouTube video "Cheech and Steph Sharing One":



Bizarre!

Anyway, my memories of Stephanie are of her talking about her love of Scooby Doo (she had a cute Scooby watch on one year) and her hatred of George W. Bush. The latter was far from knee-jerk adult industry liberalism; it was thoughtful and deep-felt. I was impressed by her awareness. Stephanie stood out for possessing a swift mind in an industry not especially known for deep thinking (AIDS? who's gonna get that?). I gotta dig up that footage because a fully clothed Stephanie Swift ranting against the Bush Administration contains more heat and passion than any of her naked hardcore work. Maybe because it's heartfelt and real. Or maybe I've just reached the age when politics turn me on more than scantily clad young women. After all, the brain is the sexiest part of anybody's body.

Related Links:
Suzi Suzuki (Wikipedia)
Samantha Sterlyng (Wikipedia)
Stephanie Swift (Wikipedia)
Samantha Sterlyng's MySpace Page
Stephanie Swift's Official Website

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Violet said...

I just have to say that I totally love your blog, and your writing style, and I read it all the time. That's all!

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Dennis said...

does suzi suzuki(the tokyo dame) has a myspace page?

4:08 AM  
Blogger bunker said...

Nice page on Suzi Suzuki. I always liked Suzi and that's how I tought she would be in real life.
I am interested to hear her CD but never found it.
I was searching Google with the title of the CD and got 2 links: a guy asking if we heard it and this page.
Do you have any idea how I could get it?
Thanks

3:08 AM  
Anonymous Justin said...

Hi Tom,
I'm "Peter Davis" of "My Date with Suzi Suzuki" Salon fame and was pleased to see we share a similar take on her and wanted to belatedly thank you for referencing the story.

I just stumbled on your blog today (Sept 9, 2008)from my workspace in Beijing, China (that's another story) but wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading about your time with her and the pictures were a gas. If you'd like to get in touch, I can give you an update on where she is and what she's doing. average_guy26 at yahoo dot com.

2:58 AM  
Anonymous PornTube said...

Just discovered your blog today and I totally like it, the information here are meaty and juicy. Keep it up!

3:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She's ugly and like most porn stars, a fake. Intelligent, talented? Are u kidding me? Hey, Suzi, aren't u wearing daipers yet?

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If u wanna lose ur appetite for sex, watch her black gangbang movie. One of the biggest turn offs ever. She's unbelievably fake that makes u puke and boo her.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see why anonymous stays anonymous... even though we are both anonymous, there is one difference. You are an ass, and I am not. If you don't have anything nice to say about Suzi, don't say anything at all. Nobody asked you anyways.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Suzi is a class act the best there ever was...always on the search for her flicks...sure wish I could get a copy of looking for louis...very hard to find....love to record a new jazz CD with suzi...if she's interested....maybe someday I'll meet her....MM

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Either Suzi really got off in her gang bang scene as a masseuse or she is a phenomenal actress. The sounds she made where hard to believe to be faked. I'd rather just listen to her than watch any number of female porn stars. Also, it's interesting to me how her personality came through in her performance. She struck me as a gentle, kind, sexual, and genuine beauty. I hope she does really well with her music. She deserves some fame.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually hooked up with Suzi when she was in Hawaii during the mid-ninety's. SHE WAS A BEAST!!!

9:56 AM  

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