a film by Jochen Hick
1998 | 91 mins | Germany
›› Sex Life in L.A.
a fly-on-the-wall look at the raw reality of the sex trade
Sex Life in L.A. by Jochen Hick If you ever wanted to take a look behind the publicity styled imagery of the Los Angeles gay porn industry, then this insightful fly-on-the-wall documentary lets you in on the raw reality of those whose bodies are their trade.

For in a city filled with so many nobodies desperate to become a somebody before the next coach load of pretty boys arrives in town, German writer and director Jochen Hick traveled to L.A. to detail the lives of nine men at opposing ends of the scale of sexual success. The result is a fascinating examination of the pros and cons of those who are prepared to use their body for financial gain. From the like of Cole Tucker, whose muscular physique catapulted him from real estate to the pinnacle of pornographic fame, to the like of David; who dreams of a modeling career whilst working the streets. Along the way, Hick shines his cinematic spotlight on the life of Rick Castro; a photographer with a preference for shooting hustlers - Hustler White style, extreme performance artist Ron Athey known for his S&M shows and model Tony Ward; ever remembered for his relationship with Madonna and who here lets you see every inch of the man that he is.

That said and for all of the questions that Hick asks his cast, the one point that isn't raised is why pornography plays such an integral part in the lives of so many? What is apparent is that the majority of the men interviewed are 'regular guys,' only whose choice of livelihood reflects the fact that a multitude of good looking young men arrive in Los Angeles eager for fame and fortune, only for some to leave with more than a bitter taste in their mouth. For the most telling part of this work is not what is said, rather what is not, namely the casualties of the pursuit of fame. It is a point that is brought home with poignancy given that amongst those featured is ex porn actor John Garwood, who is seen struggling to free himself from an addiction to drugs, only to die from an overdose months after his segment was completed.

Sex Life in L.A. by Jochen Hick Made before the days of the return of bareback porn, Hick followed this revealing work, in more ways than one if you catch the uncut print, with a sequel in 2005, one that reflects upon the lives of a number of the men featured here, including the like of sex stars Matt Bradshaw, Kevin Kramer and Cole Tucker. Yet what comes across in both documentaries are the consequences of life as a sex worker, given that for the relative few whose bodies earn them a good living, many more fall by the wayside either broke, HIV positive or addicted to drink, drugs or the rush of sexual stardom. And here the words of Kramer spring to mind and his acrid indictment of a city that "chews people up and spits them out."

Thankfully some folk plan ahead, using their experience in the trade to move behind the camera, or alternatively seek work as a legitimate model / actor. Some however leave both the sex and the city behind, having 'got in, got laid and got out' with their health intact. And here you cannot help but think that they're the lucky ones, having survived life in the L.A. fast lane and lived to tell the tale.
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue
starring: Ron Athey, Matt Bradshaw, Rick Castro, John Garwood, David Kendall, Kevin Kramer,
Patrick Morgan, Cole Tucker, Tony Ward
In Memoriam John Garwood
Copyright 2008 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #179
›› previous page | back to top | print me ‹‹
click for gay celluloid - home