Today, I am doing the thing that has been really hard for me to do - and that's face up to the death of an old friend of mine: Blue Blake.
He died last September, but while I could claim that I was in the midst of work stuff (which I was) to fully process it, the truth is that it hit me so hard that I've had a bit of a problem in trying to put it in a box. Probably part of the problem is that not only did Blue die last year, but so did Cole Tucker (last June), director Gino Colbert (last August, I think) and super agent David Forest (sometime last autumn).
There's no way that you would know this, but these four men were really instrumental in making my career and the loss of them all at once - plus ending Bingo (again) and losing my corporate job... well, it has had a profound effect on me, and frankly, I'm not sure that I'm fully really even ready to process it... but I will try my best because it's kind of 'rip the band-aid' time. So here goes.
I wrote about Cole last June, and today want to focus today on Blue and how much he and his work meant to me.
I first met Blue on the set of NIGHT WALK - a film I shot in August 1995 in LA. I'd been hired for one day to do a scene with porn star Dino DeMarco and the director, Gino Colbert, decided to keep me on and use me as a kind of "Wizard of Oz" figure who makes multiple appearances throughout the film - as butler, chauffeur, random dancer, etc. As I came out in London in the mid 80s, I kind of have since had an affinity for British men, and bodybuilders have fascinated (and aroused me) since I can remember. Truthfully, I'm not obsessive about dick and ass as most gay men are; my personal porn is pictures of hulking bodybuilders in muscle fitness mags. It's always been a kind of an awkward thing when friends would ask (after a date) "how's his dick?" and I would respond with "gee, he had one, but I really didn't notice how big/small it was.. but let me tell you about his chest!!!!" I can get lost in a muscular chest/arms, etc for years. It's why I spend so much of my time in the gym, quite frankly.
Anyway, I took a shine to Blue and then realized that he was one of the bodybuilders in one of my favorite scenes - from the XXX flick, THE WILD ONES with his real life boyfriend (at the time of the shoot in the mid 90s), Bull Stanton. You can watch is here for free.
Blue and I had some chemistry and a few months later, Gino hired me to do a scene with Blue for a movie he was doing - it was set in a jail and when Blue looked at me - skinny, 31, pale, hairless, All American - and looked at the jail cell set, he turned to Gino and said "Gino, what is he supposed to be in jail for? Jaywalking?" which to be honest is pretty much as much motivation as I ever needed to bulk up and stop shaving my body. :)
The best part of the scene (other than being able to climb all over Blue's enormous body) was how hot Blue got once he started weaving an intricate verbal fantasy in my ear while we played. It had something to do with him getting tied up with a thick rope by two lesbians. It didn't do anything for my erection, but I was fascinated by how specific it was - and I always wanted to ask him why 'two' lesbians and not one or three? I started to really pay attention to others' fantasies from that point on - and spinning this kind of verbal fantasy for others when they needed the extra help became one of my signature moves.. - a couple years later, for example, I spun an amazing (and lengthy) fantasy for my co-star of Titan's REDWOOD who was nervous because it was his first shoot and his ex boyfriend was part of the crew. Later, this crew member asked me what I'd been whispering all that time. You know, hours later, well, it's sort of like any kind of fantasy during sex, it feels a little silly afterwards upon reflection. So I blushed and said that I'd rather not say (and I won't reiterate said fantasy here, because whoa, it was pretty out there). But, the director, who was nearby, smiled broadly and told me that he could hear the whole thing on the mic positioned near us (he had headphones on) and said that it was very very hot. I'm sure somewhere it still exists somewhere in the bowels of Titan's archives. :)
Anyway, a few months after the shoot, in June 1996 Blue invited me to help him out at the Gauntlet (now the LA Eagle) for their Sunday beer bust that benefited Aid for AIDS - a charity that I would come to do a lot of fundraising for - Blue got up on the mic and was possibly the most charming and chatty porn star I've ever known and everyone of course fell in love with him - big bodybuilder in leather with a sparkling wit and charming manner - how could one not fall? For me, I was inspired - but as my college and grad school training had been in theater, I was bummed that I had somehow, along the way of doing porn and being in life, lost the ability to speak in front of a group of people. I couldn't imagine ever being as good and as confident as Blue was.
But, oddly, a year later, in June 1997, I was again at the Gauntlet for the Aid for AIDS beer bust and when the producer of the event didn't show up, they turned to me and the other porn star that was booked and asked which of us would like to get on the mic. I said I'd do it. I don't know why. Maybe I needed to prove that I could still do it after the feeling that I'd had a year before. Maybe I had been filled with a kind of confidence from just winning a leather contest back in New York a few days before. Maybe it was because a super hot daddy/volunteer wanted to hire me for some private time (and we would soon become boyfriends for the next two and a half years). But I think it was because I was inspired by Blue Blake.
And the rest, for me, is history. That was father's day weekend 1997 - I haven't shut up since. This also set up a course for me to create the Bad Boys Pool Party, produce/emcee Cocktails with the Stars at Mickys, and, of course, P*rno Bingo and hundreds of other emcee gigs.
Blue continued to weave in and out of my life in the years I lived in L.A. - when I was producing/hosting "Cocktails with the Stars" at Mickys, I would have Blue on as a guest. For New Yorkers, it was the equivalent of having someone like Gusty Winds as a guest -as a host, I'd just have to sit back because well, you can't fight a hurricane, so I didn't. Blue was magnificent was the crowds and having him as a guest was always a treat - and always inspirational.
When I'd go over to Blue's house I would get his VERY uncensored commentary on the porn industry movers and shakers and we would have a good laugh at really how silly it all was. Blue really helped me maybe not take it all quite so seriously - Blue was exceptional in that he really didn't give a rat's ass who he spoke about - he would tell me the most outrageous stories and included in the telling - a glint in his eye and that signature Blue Blake grin as if to say "oh baby, you're REALLY gonna love THIS story about, well, pretty much everyone - he had stories AND opinions about everyone and they were always true, on target - and hilarious.
He started producing bodybuilding porn and I was sure to promote it as often as I could in my online and print columns and at the "Cocktails" and "Bad Boys" events. It was a great partnership and one that I valued very highly.
In 2003 I moved back to New York and in 2005 once I'd produced the final Bad Boys Pool Party, I kind of needed to make a break from the industry. Blue seemed to basically do the same thing as he moved out of LA, sold his New York apartment and moved permanently to London. This happened with a lot of my colleagues from that time - we all scattered in various directions. I guess that happens in life all the time - and as porn is one of those infinitely renewing businesses, it's a pretty normal thing.
And, over time, I fantasized about a time when all of us from that era would get together - maybe I'd throw another Bad Boys event and Blue, Cole, David Thompson and many others would be there... but so many have passed away now and forgotten by the industry - as happens in life.
But Blue was such a towering, fierce figure in my life for so many years that I can't quite imagine anything... anything at all big enough to quell his spirit. I sometimes believe that the magical potion in 'Death Becomes Her' is real and that there is an island somewhere far away where every movie star still lives and is eternally young. I think that if any gay porn star could have found that, it would be Blue. And, frankly, it makes more sense to me that his spirit is still out there - tearing through life with his signature gusto.
Rest in peace, my friend, you brought great JOY to your fans, of which I was one.
(Above photos: Blue and I at Folsom Street, San Francisco 1996. Lower photo: Blue and I at Cocktails with the Stars, Los Angeles, 2002).