Sex Life In LA 2
Sex Life In LA 2

Film Review

Film title
Sex Life In L.A.
Jochen Hick
Kevin Kramer, Cole Tucker, Ron Athey
Release date
April 19 2010

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Visit for an interview with director Jochen Hick.

Sex Life In L.A.

5/5 stars
Film review by Michael Gillespie.
Published 02 April 2010


Made in 1997 and 2004, this excellent two-part documentary exposes a world far removed from the big money cosmeticism of mainstream hetero skin flicks or the radical, alternative material covered in these pages in the past. Hick’s films explode preconceptions and stereotypes of the gay porn industry, but it’s a non-judgemental and compassionate investigation into the lives of performers, filmmakers and sex workers cruising Sunset Boulevard. Hick’s subjects range from has-been trade dolls (Tony Ward) to underwear-modelling hustlers, sexual performance artists to renowned photographer Rick Castro. There are no bimbos on show here: espousing their philosophies and rhyming off anecdotes both happy and sad, these guys are sensible, self-assured and fully aware that the city of angels can easily discard them like soiled Kleenex – and sometimes has. It’s also a fascinating time capsule: as well as addressing AIDS and the growing popularity of the web, Hick is also privy to the first rumblings of the crystal meth craze, something that will have a devastating effect on his project. At one point we catch a glimpse of Bruce LaBruce, and we’re reminded that his and Castro's art are worlds away from the experiences of the guys on the ground. [Michael Gillespie]


Comments (2)

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  • I would hardly call Tony Ward a "has-been trade doll". He was then and remains one of the most successful male models of all time. Furthermore, the portrait of the Boulevard that Mr. Castro and I presented with Hustler White was very close to the reality on the ground. We wrote the script by conducting taped interviews of real hustlers and johns and then incorporating their stories into our narrative. Many people in our film were played by actual hustlers, johns, and porn stars. In the black power scene, two of the extras were hustlers who we picked up on the Boulevard the day of the shoot, and we paid them what they would have normally made had we left them there to ply their trade. They smoked crack on set all day, naked save for birthday hats when we brought in a cake for the production manager. I don't know how much more authentic one could get. Of course we took poetic license with some of the scenarios, but our film is clearly about as close the ground as you can get without being buried under it.

    Posted by Anonymous | Friday 02 April 2010 @ 18:54

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  • Hello good sir,

    First of all, I would like to thank you for your comments and say that it is a great privilege to have some correspondence with your good self. Myself and many of the team at The Skinny are great admirers of your work.

    I would like to apologise for any offence my article has caused you; it was certainly not my intention. In response to your first issue, I would never attempt to argue that Tony Ward is not a hugely successful model (not to mention artist and photographer). My description of him as a ”has-been trade doll” was in relation to his status in the 1997 documentary and how he regards himself in said film, wherein he considers his status after living the high life of mainstream celebrity with Madonna. This wording was irresponsible and that you have taken offence is entirely understandable.

    As to your second point, I do not doubt the authenticity and integrity of you or Mr Castro’s art (and thank you for the insights into your working methods and the making of Hustler White, which, as you will see from my review, I am a huge fan of). The phrase “At one point we catch a glimpse of Bruce LaBruce, and we’re reminded that his and Castro's art are worlds away from the experiences of the guys on the ground” could of course be interpreted as my doing so, and again, I humbly apologise. This phrase actually caused some debate between the editorial team and myself. The point I was attempting to make was that, while the likes of yourself and Mr Castro are living successful and prosperous lives as artists, the guys who appear in your works are often still struggling in the sex trade. This is not a slight on either you or Mr Castro: I was merely pointing out that all industry, whether showbusiness, art or vice, can seem unfair. I do not doubt that you work closely with and treat fairly the people who appear in your films, considerably more than when major Hollywood productions shoot in some of the poorest places in the world without a thought for the subsequent well-being of the communities they have been inhabiting.

    Should you have any further comments to make, please feel free, and I hope this has clarified my opinions and relieved any embarrassment or offence caused. I will, of course, look forward to any response, and to your next film, LA Zombie.

    Posted by Michael Gillespie | Friday 09 April 2010 @ 13:33

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