The last time I was in this massive house off Mulholland Drive—homeowners often rent out their properties to porn companies here—was in 2003. it was to cover the set of an interactive movie called “My Plaything,” in which a pigtailed Carmen Luvana cavorted on a bed of stuffed animals and responded to commands.
But that was then.
Today’s set is different. Due to a recent industry-wide moratorium on shooting sex sparked by a male performer’s positive HIV test, there is only to be dialogue and touch-free nudity.
Noelle has been shooting this movie off and on for weeks, which is not the way the rest of the porn industry does things but seems to be no big deal for her. She enjoys a certain autonomy with Mile High Media, parent company of her Sweet Sinner label, and she is often writing and rewriting scripts depending on what cast and what location is available. In fact, she types as she gets her hair done on set (tonight she will do a walk-on as a trophy date).
For example, a few weeks ago she shot several sex scenes and a bar scene featuring Manuel Ferrara’s protagonist. Today Gracie Glam and Ferrara are to have a non-sex interlude in a fancy hotel bathroom, hence the Florence-by-way-of-Vegas rental home. Noelle’s scripts are flexible, and she only really needed to make sure Ferrara and Glam were available.
Upstairs, Gracie Glam is in a bubble bath directly above where I met Carmen Luvana during George W. Bush’s first term. Glam has a distinctive, smoky voice that is very refreshing to hear. Unlike many of her contemporaries, she doesn’t try to sound like she’s 12.
Her scene requires her to be listening to an iPod in the tub, and the crew has made sure to trail the headphones out of the frame, so viewers will experience the cinema magic of Glam appearing to be listening to music when in fact no iPod is attached.
Porn Valley is a dream factory.
Walking around the massive home (the only thing that seems out of place as compared with the last time I was here was the Airport base station), I can’t help but think that, though I am eight years older, the naked woman in the next room remains the same age.
“Come and play with us, Grams, forever.”
I resolve to not spend too much time thinking about it.
But I need a snack.
Click the video below to see what I did about it.
Here’s what I wrote for AVN in 2003. Note the blurry line between obsequious trade magazine journalism and my dawning horror that I needed to come up with 800 words on the subject:
First Person Shooter: On the Set of Carmen Luvana’s “My Plaything”
There are similarities between New Sensations’ line of build-your-own porn fantasies, the “My Plaything” series, and the great computer Nazi hunting game Castle Wolfenstein: In both, you see your objective through your own eyes, you navigate through increasingly exciting tasks, and the payoff of both endeavors is epic and climactic. Both are “First-person shooters.”
It is only at the end where one finds the big difference, however. When I finished Castle Wolfenstein as a teenager, I had no desire to fuck Adolf Hitler.
It’s different with Carmen Luvana. Let me be the third or fourth person to say it: This woman is no Adolf Hitler. At just over five feet, the Puerto Rican transplant inspires rabid allegiance in a far less menacing way.
Carmen’s is the 11th in the “My Plaything” series, in which viewers like you can experience the first person thrill of making your favorite porn star talk dirty to (you), blow (you), or sit on (your) face. Of course you aren’t actually there, you clown, but you get to live vicariously through a faceless stunt cock, played by a porn stud of some repute that New Sensations publicist Jeff Mullen asks that I not name.
Why, because he’ll feel like a piece of meat?
The set is another well-travelled Porno-Fabulous home in Bel-Air, and I arrive to the fine smells of New Sensations matriarch Renee cooking burgers on a George Foreman Grill. So much better than other porn sets where craft services is a table full of Skittles, Diet Coke, and nicotine patches. But to tell the truth, I don’t care about Renee right now, kind and loving as she is. I am more interested in the porn shoot in the next room and the gadgetry involved.
While most DVDs of late have features like cumshot loops and fetish menus (you should see the bukkake sequence in Pocahontas), the My Plaything titles feature the girls looking directly at the camera and addressing it. It is unnerving at first, especially in blowjob or IMAX-esque reverse cowgirl positions, but these DVDs offer as realistic a view through the eyes of some My Life Is Hell porn guy as you can get unless you pull a Being John Malkovich on Steven St. Croix.
But it falls on me to tell you, dear reader, that Sometimes Sex Doesn’t Come Easy. Today the set is awash with passing airplane noise, ambient dog sounds, and smothering bunnies.
Director Scott Taylor has been battling noise all day. “Is this a Soda Can Opening Carnival?” he asks, forgetting that the carnival was last week in Woodland Hills. The sound of a fru-fru Bel Air accessory dog can be heard across the canyon. “We need to feed Fifi a tranquilizer.”
When it’s time to shoot, Carmen’s stuffed animal menagerie threatens to crowd her out of the shot. Teddy bears, stuffed platypuses, and a Raggedy Ann doll look on impassively as Luvana goes into full schoolgirl mode with white knee socks and black saddle shoes.
“Let’s get rid of that dildo in the trees,” today’s camera guy Andre Madness says.
“With the stuffed monkey?” a crew member asks.
“No, the other one.”
All Carmen is lacking here is a big lollipop. What is America’s enduring fascination with the naughty schoolgirl?
Certainly not the dialogue, which Taylor feeds to a masturbating Luvana across an expanse of Varicam high definition cinema cameras, booms, board-shorted lighting guys, and an observer from Tech TV who can’t believe his luck.
“The line is: ‘I’ve been thinkin’ about you, the way you, you know…’” Taylor prompts for the tease sequence.
“I been thinking bowchoo, way well,” Luvana responds.
“I’m having trouble deciding which to use first – any suggestions?’” Taylor reads from the script. Carmen is choosing between dildos for your pleasure.
“I’m having trouble with the first things,” she says. And then:
“It’s so big, though,” she recites, “Will it fit?” This bit of the script causes her to laugh out loud. Sometimes dialogue in porn is problematic. Well, strike the “sometimes”. But when Carmen gets the lines right, she sells them, and that’s what you’ll see on the DVD. By no means is Carmen Luvana (your) plaything; you are hers.
So now that you’ve seen Carmen Luvana spread out on her bunny-laden lounging divan before (you), now that you’ve navigated your interactive DVD menus through increasingly exciting tasks, is the payoff better than Castle Wolfenstein?
Well, Adolf Hitler never stuck a rotating hypospadic vibrator in his twat (that I know of) and intoned, “This is gonna make me cum so hard.”
Carmen Luvana’s “My Plaything” will hit stores in a few months. It joins the Playthings of Monica Sweetheart, a couple of Jennas, and the mysterious Tera Patrick.
Previously on Porn Valley Observed: Words with Hookers; Neither Jethro Tull nor 38 Special expected this “Teacher” (but maybe The Police did); Gracie Glam looks grateful
See also: Sweet Sinner