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]
Visit www.theskinny.co.uk for an interview with director Jochen Hick.