No Sex in the Sherman Room: A six-hour porn odyssey

You know how some people have sexless marriages? Well, this week I had a sexless job.

While I, as America’s Beloved Porn Journalist, have been instrumental in helping the world understand that porn’s significant place in conversations about First Amendment legislation and copyright law, technology, marketing, art, consumer culture, and public health make the industry so much more than naked ladies flouncing around, porn really is about naked ladies flouncing around.

  • The title refers to the Chris Rock routine “No Sex in the Champagne Room.” Of course, had I but gone with Las Vegas Escorts, [paid link] my satisfaction would have been assured.

And this week I didn’t see one of them, in person, in the daily prosecution of my job.

But that does not mean I did not grow as a human being, my friends, so sit back as I unravel at you.

On Monday I found myself driving down Sherman Way on the way to the set of “Sex Files 2.” Sherman Way is one of Porn Valley’s oldest and longest roads, neatly cutting an East/West parallel halfway between the Santa Monica and Santa Susanna Mountains.

The studio was a popular filming facility located on the descent pattern of the Van Nuys Airport. Pornography shot in that location often mixes the sounds of general aviation with genital ejaculation.

I’ve watched several porn parodies being filmed there, including “Not the Cosbys,” “Not Married with Children,” and the “Cheers” and “Golden Girls” parodies. I like that location because it has comfortable couches and dependable wireless Internet, which means I can get some work done without driving all the way back to my office at Gram Ponante Towers, Helipad, Speedway, Ossuary, Gulag, Yurt, Oil Derrick, Crematorium, and Gardens.

I had high expectations for Monday because I am a fan of the work of the New Sensations crew, and because I was the first to report from the set of last year’s original “Sex Files,” review the finished film, and predict star Kimberly Kane’s acting awards sweep.

(I did the same for X-Play’s “Not Married with Children” and Eric Swiss, you might remember. Really, with all the foresight I’ve displayed and the good I’ve done, both for this industry and the world, I’m amazed that villagers don’t throw palms in front of my donkey every time I open my goddamn door.)

I guided my Hummercraft, which is a very expensive modified Hummer 3 with gold-plated exterior, calfskin upholstery, granite and marble dashboard, and a Harrier Jumpjet/’hovercraft undercarriage that allows me to both glide over water and extract myself from the rich cultural parking tapestries of places like Koreatown and Glendale, as well as use the Los Angeles Riverbed as a highway, onto the studio’s “Les Miserables”-esque side street.

I began making poor choices almost immediately.

Once inside the studio, I saw the extremely talented Anthony Rosano, who is not only a gifted guitar player but also a porn dude who does not take his job so seriously that he is an insufferable douchebag. He follows the teachings of the Zen collective 38 Special, who preached “Hold on loosely, but don’t let go; if you cling too tightly, you’re gonna lose control.”

Rosano was talking about some interesting thing or another but I said to myself, “I need to talk to Kimberly Kane before she leaves,” so I walked on.

In the lunch room of the studio I talked with Sam Hain, “Sex Files”‘ writer/director. Hain has written these movies as if they were episodes of “The X Files” and has done an excellent job incorporating that show’s complex mythology as well as cashing in on the sexual tension between Mulder and Scully, played in the original Fox show by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson and in the porn adaptation by Rosano and Kane.

I asked Hain, all the while thinking I needed to talk to Kimberly Kane, who was at that moment getting out of makeup, what was the fanboy reaction to “Sex Files,” especially now that it had picked up so many awards.

“A lot of people on fan messageboards rejected it without having seen it,” he said. “They were so protective of the original that they didn’t want to see a porn version.”

Hain said this sequel would be a prequel to the last movie, which I found fun and intriguing.

“So there’s the tension without the consummation (between Mulder and Scully)” he said.

New Sensations’ publicist told me that Kane was almost ready to go.

Then I talked with Eddie Adams, who played Donny in the recent “Big Lebowski” parody and who gets covered in black oil by Lee Stone in this one.

“Black oil,” so you know, is not a porn euphemism for gonadal fluid; it’s part of an “X Files” storyline.

Lee Stone is one of porn’s enduring male performers. He left the business for a while but now is back. He is a wealth of information and is one of the few performers who has a signature move: Stone is built like a National Guard Armory and he does this thing where he spins girls upside down to blow him in a Standing 69. It is downright impressive to watch.

Here Stone is with Cytherea in 2005:

Porn sex, as you are doubtless aware, is rarely like real sex, and certain things must be in place in order for a Standing 69 to happen. Stone stands about six feet, so he is taller than most porn guys, but he still requires little bitty spinners in order to make the position look good.

The Standing 69 is one of the things I would like to try before I die, but I like taller, meatier women and – I don’t know if you’ve noticed this – they feel odd about being picked up and tossed around whereas spinners are used to it. If a certain person has read this far, here is a hint: Maybe for my birthday.

“Did Lee do the Standing 69 on you?” I asked Adams.

“No,” he said. “But he spat black oil on me.”

“Did you have a face mask or anything?” I asked, thinking Kane was about to leave.

“No,” he said. “I just closed my mouth and eyes really tightly.”

“I enjoy talking with you, Eddie Adams,” I said, finally, “but I can’t delude myself that people read my site because of interviews with dudes. I have to go take some pictures of Kimberly.”

“I understand,” he said. He should, because he’s dating Dana DeArmond.

I turned to go upstairs to the makeup room when I heard the news.

“Kimberly just left,” the publicist said.

“Didn’t she know I was here?” I cried.


Regarding Kimberly Kane. Kane is a charming, smart, talented, and strikingly attractive porn performer and person who, I’m sure, can take or leave publicity at this point, considering that porn’s ceiling is pretty low. Doubtless she was tired and wanted to get out of there.

But Kane now figures prominently in police reports should I mysteriously disappear.

Last year I visited a set for another studio and, hanging around backstage, found Kane’s script from the “Sex Files,” part of which she’d shot there the day before. I knew the movie would be big so I picked up the script, thinking she might want it and that I would see her.

This Spring I was the presenter at the XBiz Awards who announced Kane’s Best Actress win. Due to some snafu utterly uncharacteristic of the adult industry, Kane was unable to get into the awards show. So I have the envelope and “and the winner is” card with her name on it that I thought she’d like.

Poking through my papers and doodads, the police would say, “He sure had a thing for this Kimberly Kane person.”

I had all those papers with me, but she left.

I sat down and ate some grapes. I wrote a post about California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and her rival’s effort to smear her with a porn brush.

“Sorry you couldn’t talk with Kim,” the publicist said, “but we’ve got Nikki Benz and Bobbi Starr here.”

It’s odd. Starr and Benz are two of the most famous porn performers in the world. Benz, from Toronto, has a feature dancing gig that takes her all over the world, and Starr is the elegantly filthy toast of two continents. Both of them have the rare ability to sell porn movies by their names alone.

But I was disappointed. The role of the woman who is not on the boxcover of a porn movie, even if she is a big star in her own right and she’s getting paid the same as everyone else, is less significant in a movie like this one. Starr, for example, is just credited as “Woman.”

More and more, I thought that my drive out here to this part of the Valley was a waste of time, and I needed to salvage it somehow.

“Nikki and Bobbi will be having sex later,” the publicist said.

“All right,” I said, feeling as morose as the title dog in “Davey And Goliath.”

(Right now there is somebody working in a filtration plant somewhere in Banff going, “Grams, that is not how one should respond to the news that one is about to see Nikki Benz and Bobbi Starr having sex. Have you seen my wife? She eats ravioli from a satellite dish. I want to shoot you in the face.”)

(And, as you can see from this very mouth-breathy video, both Starr and Benz are so charming that what they look like naked is pretty much implied.)

I had never properly met Nikki Benz before, but she is lovely. She is from Toronto which has the distinction of being one of the three places in the world from whence I’ve never met an unfriendly person (the others are Kentucky and Alaska).

Porn performers who are strippers and are on the feature dance circuit are hard workers. I asked Benz how often she got back to Canada.

“Not often enough,” she said, “but I’m doing some dates in Toronto soon.”

“They must love you there,” I said.

“Yes,” she said, “they get a little excited.”

Benz and Starr play neighbors who have infected black oil sex. Benz delivers a cherry pie to Starr and the hijinks ensue from there.


As Benz told me about this, I couldn’t help but notice how smooth and shiny her legs were.

“Your legs are so smooth,” I said, recalling how the same statement got me booted from the White House Press Corps.

“Do you want to feel them?” said Benz.

“Well, if you insist,” I said.

Benz and Starr shot a makeout scene but I was told their sex scene wouldn’t take place for another two hours. Since I keep the world’s finer pornography websites supplied with content, I needed to make the day more productive. But no one else was shooting.

“I have to go to the Post Office,” I said.

Around the corner from the studio is the large Sherman Way Station Post Office. I had some packages to mail so I excused myself and headed over.

Back on the main road I reflected on the significance of the road I was driving on. It was on this mile-long stretch of Sherman Way that performer Brian Surewood got in a street race with some 19-year-old that ended with the youngster slamming into a parked car, killing a boy and seriously injuring the boy’s sister and mother.

I knew Brian Surewood when he was a performer and he was a very sweet guy. Among other things, he ran a (legal) marijuana dispensary down Sherman Way toward Topanga Canyon. It was to the dispensary Surewood was headed that day in 2008.

Surewood is still in jail. Prosecutors argue that he slammed on his brakes, forcing the other racer to swerve into the parked car. I know that whatever happened, Surewood was supremely foolish but not mean-spirited. But many lives are ruined nonetheless.

Having done several supremely foolish things myself, driving down Sherman Way always makes me feel both lucky and sad.

At the Post Office, the Automated Postal Center machine was broken, so I had to stand in line for an hour. While waiting, I read up on reactions to the recent death of Ronnie James Dio.

I have a friend I have known since grade school whose nickname happens to be Sherman. Being boys, we were both very much into Black Sabbath and Dio when we were younger, and I was sad when he died.

Sherman never made it out of my home town, and he still lives there with his father. It is a squalid situation, but I know he still takes great comfort in listening to his old Black Sabbath, Rainbow, and Dio vinyl. So, on the way back to the studio, I resolved to give Sherman a call from a bar I have always wanted to try, the Sherman Room.

From the outside, the Sherman Room looks like my kind of place. I expected it to be dark and anonymous. It has a big hidden parking lot behind it like a strip club. I thought I’d get in and out with only an adult whifff of despair clinging to me. It was that kind of day.

But the Sherman Room is a nice place. There was a silver-haired bartender who not only introduced himself but also introduced me to the four 70-and-80-year-olds distended-belly up at the bar: Ray, Betty, Rob, and George. Ray was just about to turn 80.

I kind of wanted a place that would make me a little fearful for my life, but instead I sat down next to my destiny and ordered two shots and a salad.

I drove back to the studio and there was still no sex happening. I ate a slice of pizza.

Anybody can review porn movies (and, if you venture out on the web like I try to avoid doing, you’ll see that just about anybody does), but I think it is far more compelling to mix some personality with hardcore nudity and fluid exchange. I was getting a pleasant amount of one, but none of the other.

I talked with mysterious Asian photographer Jeff Koga who, unlike many who perform in Asian-themed porn movies, is actually Asian.

“You should have been here yesterday,” said Koga. “Kimberly had an anal shower scene.”

“With whom?” I said, remembering that Hain had told me there was tension but no consummation between Kane’s and Rosano’s characters.

“Anthony Rosano,” Koga said.

“Aw, please don’t tell me it was a – ”

” – fantasy sequence,” Koga said.

Oh well. What are you gonna do?

By 9 p.m. it was clear I would be seeing no sex that day unless I went home and got it myself which, alone among any other writer in the porn business, I have the capacity to do. [I kid because I love.]

I would be useless were I to go back to the office, so I went home, thinking first that I had absolutely wasted my time that day.

But then, and very quickly, I remembered that the day had been full of compelling conversations with Lee Stone, Anthony Rosano, Eddie Adams, Jeff Koga, Nikki Benz, Sam Hain, producer Lee Roy Myers, Chad the photographer, Ralph Long, the publicist chick whose name I’m not sure I can mention, Wicked Sister the production manager, Mark the bartender, Ray the 80-year-old, the hot chick who sold me stamps and asked if I was married despite my wedding ring that I was holding just inches from her nipples, Bobbi Starr, the folks at home, and you, so it really wasn’t a wasted day after all.

But if anyone wants this Kimberly Kane memorabilia, let me know.

Previously on Porn Valley Observed: Kimberly Kane, Rainmaker; We Shall Overcome (On Your Face) – On the set of “Not the Cosby Show XXX”; Coitus: On the set of “The Big Lebowski” porn parody; “Golden Girls” cougars vow to Bea all they can Bea; “Superslut ‘n’ Sophie”; The Elf that Roared; Brian Surewood case

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Gram Ponante is America's Beloved Porn Journalist

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