Earlier this month I proposed and was offered the position of Editor at Gamelink’s new editorial wing, The Naked Truth. The position includes some business development — involving making porn stars some extra cash — and I am delighted to be starting this new gig.
I will be editing a team of writers who understand both porn and the business of porn, and who in some cases live the porny lifestyle in ways I am personally uncomfortable and/or intrigued with. A delightful challenge! P weasels, Lisa Baroni, Jeff “The Dillonaire” Dillon, Tera Masters, Q Boyer, and a slate TBD all bring some serious chops to the job, and I am looking forward to working with them.
I remember my first few weeks as managing editor of AVN.com in 2002. I’d get these outrageous and self-important press releases that would make me laugh and laugh, but no one else was laughing. Someone would be writing about “Industry veteran” so-and-so and I would think, “Why would you even write that like it was a good thing?”
Well, that was nearly 11 years ago, and I am now an industry veteran.
Like just about everyone else, I have worked at both AVN and XBiz. In fact, I have not worked full-time at both of those companies long enough that have great relationships with both (it wasn’t always that way). A few years ago I threw away my stack of gentlemen’s magazines in which my work has appeared, simply because no emergency worker sifting through the wreckage of my home would ever put together that I wrote something for those magazines rather than just collected them.
Like most people who work in adult (yes, I am speaking for the majority), I am slightly ambivalent about it. For example, I use “Gram Ponante” — an anagram of “Porn Magnate” — as my pseudonym, eschewing my parents’ carefully-chosen Ronnie James Dio. As my friend the great director Gazzman once said, “I chose this business; my family didn’t.”
I think that ambivalence is a good thing, as it reflects the taboo nature of most porn, anyway: schoolgirls, interracial terror, forbidden dalliances with frank and wiley milves, shame, adultery. Shouldn’t the people who write about porn also be leery of it?
In 2004 I stopped working for AVN and effectively left the adult industry. Then in 2005 my non-compete clause with AVN was up, and I thought I might as well see if I could cash in on some of my longer articles and photosets. Thus was Porn Valley Observed born. At the time, no one was covering the industry with thoughtfulness and humor. At least not well. Seriously, gang, I would read some of the other trade publications and adult blogs and I’d think, “No wonder the rest of the world thinks the adult business is filled with criminals who can’t spell.”
That year I also got a job with XBiz and with Fleshbot. I would keep my gig with Fleshbot for eight years, which is longer than I’d had any job. Over the next several years I’d pick up gigs with Genesis, Hustler, and a handful of international publications. I’d start growing the “Gram Ponante” brand as a featured speaker and panelist, directed a handful of porn movies, including “The Facts of Life XXX,” and even got into a few memorable feuds with some well-worn porn archetypes.
During this time something happened that I hadn’t predicted. I looked at most of the people around me and understood them. It may have been a function of growing older (I am now 23), but I stopped thinking about porn personnel like a sociologist might, and instead realized that there was a reason I was drawn to this business. Sure, it has a little to do with sexual availability, but a lot more to do with a sense of exploration. No longer did I feel like I was the only one doing what I do, and I grew in admiration of the people who could swing a business deal (I’m still not great at that, but I’m getting better), who could think big, and who could remain accountable — and even honorable — in a world that was growing less accountable and honorable by the day. I need only point to the cynical tactics of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Ted Cruz to illustrate how a reckless ignorance can resonate with a large group of people.
In 2006 I also started working with Gamelink, which itself has gone through some mighty changes. But today, Gamelink is uniquely positioned to be a company store like no other; not only does it sell and stream thousands of titles that cover the porn gamut, but its editorial section can then retain its readers and draw them in. Not only that but, unlike any other e-tailer, Gamelink is identified with a city — San Francisco — and its headquarters are a regular stop for porn stars visiting there. I love San Francisco and am looking forward to spending more time up there, even as I do the brunt of my work here in Porn Valley.
So what about this site? Well, this site has always been the place for longer stories, weirder stories, and stories not necessarily guaranteed to make me any money, but that has always been the best business card I could hope for. So keep reading; if my work over at Gamelink is specifically designed to sell movies (my very salary depends on it, you see), here I will continue to fuck with your mind.
The following is a press release reprinted to enlighten non-adult industry readers about how the porn business talks about itself. It was written by an adult industry marketing professional.
GameLink.com Adds Gram Ponante as Editor of Online Blogozine ‘NakedTruth’
Longtime Adult Journalist Brings ‘Solid Track Record of Success’ to Respected Site
CYBERSPACE (October 21, 2013) – Leading online retailer and Video-On-Demand provider GameLink.com announces the appointment of veteran XXX scribe Gram Ponante as editor of its blogozine (hybrid of a blog and news magazine) NakedTruth, the ultimate adult online destination for the latest news, movie and toy reviews, exclusive in-depth articles, porn star interviews and more. In his role, Ponante will be responsible for day-to-day editorial content and editing of NakedTruth, as well as content development for the site. He will report to GameLink.com’s VP of Business Development & Marketing Jeff Dillon, who is also a contributor to NakedTruth.
You can see more at http://nakedtruth.gamelink.com/.
“It makes sense that a company that has sold so many movies for so many studios big and small should also have an editorial department that caters to an educated consumer,” says Ponante. “Gamelink.com is a San Francisco porn powerhouse and I am proud to edit NakedTruth and work with this staff of perspicacious porny pervs.”
Gram Ponante comes to Gamelink.com after making a living writing about — and perhaps even inspiring — porn for more than ten years. He has worked as an editor at AVN, XBiz, and Fleshbot, and has written for dozens of classy gentlemen’s magazines, including Hustler and Genesis. He is an entertaining speaker about sexuality, media, and the porn industry at colleges and conventions nationwide, and his “Porn Valley Odyssey: Making the Facts of Life XXX,” a tale of his adult directorial debut, is an Amazon bestseller.
” Gram is a hard worker, has a solid track record of editorial success and is a great talent in the industry,” says Dillon. “He is a valuable addition to NakedTruth; he understands what our readers want and has direct access to the hottest stars, companies and on-set action.” GameLink.com’s NakedTruth reaches out to fans of not only adult performers and movies but the porn business itself, guiding readers to tips, trends, news and facts about an industry unlike any other. The site is updated daily and features Ponante’s ’Fresh Ass’ profiles, Classic Porn and ‘Best Of” sections, expert guides, staff picks, reader tips and adult-themed puzzle games.
“NakedTruth – and Gram Ponante – are committed to giving an insider’s intimate point of view inside the adult industry,” says Dillon. “We aren’t a faceless porn site shoveling secondhand news; we’re out to be the Number One place to go for up-to-the minute information in adult.”