“You’re not one of us”: a steveporn odyssey

mckaigoawayNow and then I’ll write an unflattering porn review and will be yelled at about it. But the other day I was shrieked at by Eon McKai, who couldn’t understand why I suddenly didn’t “get” him.

After a few years of generally positive reviews of his work I had abruptly become, by virtue of making several criticisms of his Debbie Loves Dallas, a hater like all the rest of them.

In two phone calls, three text messages, and five e-mails, demonstrating a command of media I wished had extended to his porn flick, the megalomaniacal McKai heaped on abuse and paranoia, and, full of indignance and shitting on everything he saw, banished me from the steveporn realm, population: Eon.

Just remember that this is a guy I have been very nice to in the past, who has hired me for promotional work because I understood his genius.

But don’t take my word for it, take Eon’s after the gap.


comment on fleshbot post

Gram you don’t get it… guess you never did… keep filing flesh bot with MSM’s taned over blown bodays..

Fleshbot was once great… now it’s just Gram…

doode honlisty… why come on here where my people get info and fill there head with such shit?

you don’t know what time it is*
you don’t get it
you fill the bot with shit form porns vally
plese go away allready so we can get on with pushing things forward…

I work too hard to get where I am and to push the movment forward to have you going on and on not geting it… on the bot a place where I’m most gotten… till now…

don’t hit me up for screeners aney more

-Eon McKai
-*(and Flava Flav)

I had asked for a Debbie screener because Fleshbot wanted me to review it and I haven’t been receiving Vivid screeners lately. I mentioned this to McKai when I called him several days before. McKai said he didn’t know why I was not on the screener list. He quickly sent me his movie and three others.

In a UPS box the day I reviewed the film, McKai sent me Stood Up, which I had already reviewed, Tristan Taormino’s Chemistry 3, and the original and sequel of Paul Thomas’ Fade to Black movies, which I’d heard were good, along with Debbie. I watched McKai’s movie through lunch.

I noticed several things that other directors might call mistakes, and the directing seemed inconsistent. Some actors acted like they were in a different movie. I Instant-Messaged McKai, and he assured me that everything in the movie was a choice. We then realized we disagreed about how good or bad several performers were. An actress that I thought was good he thought was awful.

So was the inclusion of what the director thought was an awful performance a choice? How does one direct an awful performance? Awfully?

I know that there are several things in porn movies that are beyond a director’s control. But McKai enjoys a unique place at Vivid in which he is given more control than most. Out of deference to a heretofore solid working relationship, I had called McKai with my concerns about the movie and planned to cut him some slack if he acknowledged the many glitches. After all: it’s only porn.

But he said that everything was his own choice.

After I had submitted my review of Debbie Loves Dallas to Fleshbot, where I usually post reviews prior to re-running them on my own site, I received a call from McKai, which I missed.

phone message

“I just wanted to say fuck you, Gram…I wanted to let you know that I have moved the ‘Vivid-Alt’ contest from Fleshbot to another site…I should have figured out when you asked for the movie what you were up to…I broke my fucking back on that movie for you to say I phoned it in…I stand a hundred percent behind every shot in that film and everything was a choice…so fuck off and go away.”

– Eon McKai

I wondered if he thought, based on my previous good reviews of his work, that I had suddenly decided to find fault. I wondered if he suspected that every time he’d thought I “got it” before was just a fakeout for the hammer blow of the Debbie review? Notwithstanding, I am going to use “I should have known what you were up to” as often as I can in everyday conversation.

I listened to his message while walking to the subway (yes, there are subways in Los Angeles) but was then interrupted by a call about Brian Surewood. When I got home McKai called again, and this time I picked up. I’ll emphasize that I have his number and he has mine.

“Hi Eon,” I said.

“I just wanted to say fuck you in person,” McKai said.

“OK,” I said.

After about 45 seconds of listening to him tell me (I think – it was loud) about modernism vs. post-modernism and how (I think – it was loud) I had reviewed a post-modern movie modernistically, I got in a question edgewise and asked, “Eon, are we going to have a conversation or are you going to shriek at me?”

“I’m going to shriek – ” he said, and I said Goodbye and hung up. Sorry, but post-modernism is a rigorous style, not something you invoke to explain your mistakes afterward.

e-mail message

And do us all a favor stop wrighting for fleshbot. So it can be great
sight agen. Also u sugest a pots modern salution to a modern theroy.
Don’t touch what u don’t know.

You should of skiped revering a movie u so odviuly don’t get.

I’m still supper pissed off about this

-Eon McKai

You might notice that McKai does not pay attention to spelling. I am comfortable saying this is a learning disability rather than laziness. But spelling errors abound in various points of the movie. Does spelling matter in porn? Nope, but someone who knows he can’t spell but won’t bother with a spell-check is the same “doode” who can’t be bothered to edit out the background noise.

“Quit flesh bot,” McKai texted me after I hung up the phone.

Then, immediately after: “Go away.”

I showed these messages around the dinner table. It was remarked that a three-year-old we know recently learned to say “Go away” at pre-school.

Then, a minute later: “You’re not one of us.”

This was amazing. McKai is in his late 30’s. What cool kids’ group did he think he was kicking me out of? And what kind of people are in it now? Do they wear little steveporn buttons that read “You’re not one of us”?

When I first met McKai
he gave me the impression that he was at least ten years younger than he is, in the presentation of certain facts about schooling, etc. He chose not to correct my mistaken assumption of his years. He admitted that he had created a persona, but I didn’t know it included lying about his age. He presented an image of a precocious kid in his early 20’s, full of ideas. What is forgivable in a person of one age is not in another, like Capri pants.

When the review came out, McKai spent most of the first day calling Fleshbot’s editor. Fleshbot.com has given a lot of attention to McKai, and McKai felt it was a betrayal that the site would run such an unfavorable piece about him. This is not the first time I have been told on for having the gall to write what I felt. After this review, my editor got the same series of phone calls from a remarkably similar group of people.

I didn’t think Eon McKai’s Debbie Loves Dallas was a great movie. While it aspired to interesting things like loopy montages and the incorporation of an original soundtrack, other elements, like screwball comedy, fell flat. I also thought the movie was distractingly self-aware and sloppily directed.

e-mail message

Hi Eon,

I’m sorry my review hurt your feelings. I’ve certainly liked some of your previous work, and I will admit that when your stuff comes up I have high expectations. I did not want to not like your “Debbie”; it would be much easier if I loved everything, because it is harder to write a bad review.

Yours, Gram

McKai’s Girls Lie as well as several sections of Neu Wave Hookers were very impressive. But the best thing I can say about his treatment of Debbie is that he was trying hard at the wrong things.

e-mail message

“Fuck off and go away.”

-Eon McKai

I gave McKai a chance to defend his work on the day I reviewed the movie. I get my porn movies free, but I do feel an obligation to consumers who might spend money on a product that isn’t up to snuff. When I’d I.M.’d McKai with my concerns about Debbie‘s quality control he responded with:

“Write what you feel.”

So I did.

A day later, his e-mails just kept coming, whether or not I responded. McKai thrives on drama of his own creation.

One way he does this is by contacting the colleagues of people who’ve hurt him and not-so-subtly suggesting a personnel change. In my case, whether or not Fleshbot actually lost the coveted Vivid-Alt contest, McKai really wanted me to know he’d gone over my head.

e-mail message

  • now annotated!

sweet… keep felling fleshbot with tan boddys… as it dies slowly

  • I’ll point out that Vivid is in the business of “tan boddys”…like them or not, that is what sells for Vivid-Alt’s parent company.

are you trying to make fleshbot.com as crappy as every other run of
the mill porn review sight?

  • When I say good things about Eon McKai or when I say bad things about Eon McKai?

I should have seen the righting on the wall when vivid pulled you off
the screener list

  • Yes, but would you have been able to read it?

and when

Tristen said you were fucked

  • I think that refers to a previous coup attempt, but I can’t be sure

with time all is revealed… and time had just revealed your true
hart. You would rater go the the sensation of bashing me on the verry
websight the brought me up…

  • It truly is amazing how my true hart lay dormant all this time, like the Manchurian Candidate

thats very tabloid of you Gram and I thought you were more than that

but your not

  • All these mixed messages. “Write what you feel”/”Don’t write what you feel.”

you fill flesbot with porn valley crap for the most part.

  • And the company paying your salary is the King of Porn Valley

I would hope you would just have the good cence to walk away from
what you did not understand…

  • And you might have had the sense to walk toward a Final Cut Pro manual

I’m afrade your more common than we all expected

  • Here McKai invokes a group of invisibles who are woeful and disappointed in me. I would like to think of them as vengeful Japanese ghosts, a la The Grudge

you don’t have my permission to to post anetying I wright to you or
text or aim

  • Sorry, Dumbass, I didn’t ask you to fill my mailbox. I will give you the respect of not correcting your spelling

just stay away from what I do*… thank you

  • By “do”, do you mean your stable job not dependent on sales of your movies?

fuck you have me really pissed off here

  • I’m just sitting here. I think you’ve pissed off yourself. Why don’t you film it?

I’m wishing I never sent you those screeners

  • Well, I might not watch Chemistry, but I’m told I’ll like Fade to Black

avoid me please

  • Hold on. Didn’t you – Yes, you did* – just say that?

and please tell people girls lie sucks because I don’t want someone
like you defending me.

  • Haven’t you listened to a word I’ve said? Girls Lie is pretty good! It’s Debbie Loves Dallas that kinda sucks. It would have been better had Ron Royster directed it.

His last e-mail to me was a link to some kind of RSS aggregator. I couldn’t open it, so I e-mailed him back to please resend it. Instead, he wrote:

Its what fleshbot looks like with u removed.


I collected his e-mails and text messages and sent them to Vivid president Steve Hirsch. I had not taken the bait in any of the previous exchanges, but I really felt he would harass me all week and use up his Vivid paycheck on wireless minutes if I didn’t tell him to settle down.

e-mail message

Thank you. Now, since you have several times in various media told me to “go away” in the past twelve hours, I’ll have to ask you to stop harassing me. You are free, of course, to say whatever you want anywhere you want wherever people can still tolerate you, but do not contact me again.

Yours, Gram

Read the review of Debbie Loves Dallas here.

Earlier in our professional relationship (when I “got” him, apparently), McKai stated to me that he wasn’t like everyone else.

“My hart is too big for this business,” he wrote.

I thank McKai for introducing me to a complex that I now recognize in all areas of the porn world and life in general; the person who so quickly stresses his victimhood is often the first to victimize others and refuse any accountability. Since he, himself, is so criminally misunderstood, he can get away with anything.

UPDATE: McKai’s contract was not renewed with Vivid due to poor sales and many complaints more coherent than mine.

Previously: Girls Lie review; Neu Wave Hookers review; Eon McKai and the elephant in the room; My Vivid visit

About Gram the Man 4399 Articles
Gram Ponante is America's Beloved Porn Journalist


  1. I just saw this movie and you are absolutely right. Cassidy is great, the stoner. You know who else shrieks on the phone? Kurt Lockwood.

  2. Cassidy=great in this movie. A lot of it didn;t seem like porn tho. I love the annotation.

    Probably took you as long as it took him to cut you out of FleshBot.

  3. Just checking: so you were “one of us” when you reviewd his other movies but with one criticism he nukes everything? doesn’t compute!

    not to impugn your chosen industry, Grams, but don’t you feel you’re surrounded by poseurs who think they’re artists? I’m gonna send my Cal Arts degree back.

  4. Great portrait of a dipshit who should go back to art school, Gram – and I’m not even talking about this interview – I’m talking about your original interview with him.

    Don’t mess with the Grams!

    Hey – don’t freak out or anything from the criticism – but you should have just left his words on their own with no commentary. Writing anything else just dignifies them.

    Keep up the good work.

  5. I agree, Mary Lou, but it was more fun annotating the comments. Plus I didn’t want someone to just drop by and think I had brain damage.

  6. This was probably the best thing ive read in a long time.
    Basically what this article taught me is that he’s more of a tool than I had previously suspected.

    No one wants to be in eons super cool kids club anyways.

    thanks for posting this.

  7. Wow. My first response to him would have been the classic, “English, motherfucker! Do you speak it?” Reading his… messages… was painful at best. What dude needs to do is put down his porny camera and go look up some of those old 80s afterschool specials.

  8. Well, having myself been the victim of a… hm… shall we say less than enthusiastic– no, let’s say, unimpressed… aw, fuck it, hateful review by Grams, I certainly know the sting of your pen.

    But… I credit that sting to your incredible skill as a writer. You have that rare ability to turn simple household items like, oh, say, adjectives, into lethal weapons of the sort our Puppet-in-Chief might call “nukyewlar.”

    I mostly remember Eon as the former DVD guy from VCA, and I’ve not seen his Debbie, but judging from his Neu Wave Hookers I’d say he’s at least as good a director as he is a writer.

    I have to take issue with you on one point, however. You and I both know that writing a really scathing review is much more fun than slogging through a sugary-sweet good one.

  9. Oh, and even though I never read your trashy blog (I simply stumbled across it while doing a Technorati search for “Kurt Lockwood” +fag +fistfight), cancel my subscription and forward my letter to your editor! I pay your salary, and I’ll have your job! This letter is not for publication and how dare you ignore my well-reasoned responses to your outrageous commentary!

    Or something…

  10. gram you are a stupid fuck.
    eon DOES have a learning disability which affects his ability to spell.

    i hope you feel like a piece of shit.

    -dana dearmond.

  11. I stopped when you asked and asked you not to post this. Why after I did what you asked did you post this… instead of just responding to me?

  12. Gram,

    After much soul-searching, spell-checking and cocaine consumption I feel as though I offer you an apology.

    I am sorry for and embarrassed by the truly abhorrent behavior I so recently displayed.

    I pray that you can forgive and find compassion for a man struggling with a burden he did not choose to carry.

    The constant pressure I face as the leader of this movement finally got the better of me. Heavy is the head that wears the Alt-Porn crown and I weakly succumbed to the oppressive weight.

    Hopefully, we can move beyond this episode and repair the bond that never should have been broken in the first place. When you are ready to accept the olive branch I am humbly offering, please let me know. We can drink boxed wine, spoon (you can have the outside) and listen to the new Radiohead album together. I got it on clear vinyl.

  13. LOL, gram you are so right on about this late 30’s FAKE.

    The guy has made a name for himself by being a pure bullshit artist making money by making watered down psuedomallpunk crap and marketing it as “alt”.

  14. Gram-
    It’s okay, you can join my cool kids club now. When this fucker started his career I thought he had vision, an idea. Quickly I relised how misled I had been. It amazes me that it took everyone else this long to catch on. It’s a shame, too, the things he promised the industry were great – on paper, didn’t play out so well though.

    It saddens me to no end that this poor “learning disabled”, middle aged, half assed “director” hasn’t figured out how to use spell check. Hell, I KNOW I type for shit, i have spell check BUILT IN to my browser.

    Here’s hoping that more ppl wise up to his antics, Steve Hirsch to start. And maybe, just maybe, with no one else to hide behind, Eon will discover the source of all his problems.

  15. Full disclosure: I had been very clear when I told McKai not to contact me again. But I received two phone calls and a test message from him today, all missed because my hatred of Verizon blots out satellite transmission.

    To the people who wrote in – thanks. To Dana DeArmond – I know your pal has a learning disability. So do I. I am severely dyslexic. It makes my job difficult. But I care enough to read and re-read what I write, and I still make mistakes. Eon and I share a knowledge of our disabilities and I have not taken him to task on his spelling and grammar before (except once, early on, and then I never did it again because it was an obvious example of a learning disability) but when it shows up in a movie or in the face he presents as a representative of his company, one wonders why he didn’t care enough to have someone proofread him.

    And I don’t feel like a piece of shit. Sorry, but why should I? I am actually a pretty happy doode. I am currently writing a review of Jeff Mullen’s “Not the

  16. Bradys XXX”

    Here is my response to what I’m hoping is McKai’s final letter:

    Hi Eon,

    I have been out all day and have worked my way up to the letter I’m replying to. I have yet to read the post entitled “Gram I’m So Sorry”, because I choose to let the subject speak for itself. I know you’re sorry – sort of. You’re sorry to the point that you don’t want that record of your real “hart” to be on display on my website.

    The only conversation I feel ethically bound to keep secret is our IM conversation. You might remember that I asked you if I could publish certain things, like the Truth to Materials deal. I have kept our previous IM conversations as well as phone conversations about Xbiz, etc., secret.

    But your e-mails and phone calls to me are mine and I am under no obligation to not print them; you lost all right to be treated with any measure of respect once you wrote and sent them to me.

    I don’t really trust you, so I’ll assume you are not actually a college graduate (not that that is a bad thing),, but I will let you in on a term I learned in a psychology course hundreds of years ago. It is “projection”. It is when the patient “projects” his own issues on someone else. It is n appropriate term for a filmmaker. I saw a lot of projection in your repetitive tirades, particularly the lines about my “true colors”.

    For you to react so thoughtlessly and abusively, to tear down everything that, when it was going your way, you enthusiastically trusted, in the face of some thoughtful criticism, by saying that I was finally showing my true colors, was projection.

    The low self esteem and pitiful, passive-aggressive lashing out are your true colors, Eon. I made a point of talking to several people who know you before deciding to publish your rants. The hysterics seem to be a pattern with you.

    Now: moving forward. We know several of the same people, I’m sure, and will probably be in the same places. I don’t hate you, but you are in a poisonous period of your life. I’m not your buddy and I don’t care for or trust your apologies. But I am cordial. I don’t want to be drawn in to the drama that is you or whoever you choose to be. I don’t want to have to deal with your texts and phone messages and people calling me up to tell me what you said about me somewhere, just so you can get the reactions you seem to crave.

    So follow your own advice and leave me alone. The post on my site will gradually fade from view, but it is not coming down. It is another example of your megalomania (look it up) to think that the swill you send me is even yours to control.

    Take care of yourself but, seriously, don’t contact me again.

    Gram Ponante
    * Porn Valley Observed: http://gramponante.com
    * Fleshbot: http://www.fleshbot.com/porn/ponante/bydate
    * Gamelink: http://www.gamelink.com/naked_truth.jhtml?id=gram
    * Xbiz: http://xbiz.com/blogs/blog.php?catid=53
    * Porn Valley Life: http://www.pornvalleylife.com
    * Podcast: http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=262491150
    AOL IM: gramponante

    > From: Eon
    > Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2007 20:00:35 -0700
    > To: Gram Ponante
    > Subject: Re: Re:
    > I stooped when you asked… why did you keep going?
    > please except my apology
    > and remove what I asked you to not post.
    > please
    > eon

  17. There must some some irony that this thread concerns a porno guy who gets butt-hurt like a little girl, and has to be defended by a porno whore who looks like a man.

    eor mcgay is a self-important douchebag who’s already admitted lying about his past on several occasions. And how popular is that “alt porn” he championed??? It sucks so badly that Stevie Hirsch had to bring in Vivid’s top contract whore so they could sell more than 15 SKUs.

    Eor, see you in Vegas next January, riiight? I just need to look for the pudgy Elvis Costello impersonator.

  18. Considering how circumspectly viperous publicity-whore McGhey is towards others’ careers, the hilarity of him not being able to be a man & take a bad review is delightful.

    I notice the only one to defend him is the lazy-ass wannabe “porn star” who spends more time begging for money on the internet & imagining she’s “famous’ than actually working. No surprise, since she looks like your mom’s divorcee friend who tried to grope you in the kitchen when she was drunk & you were 15.

    Live it up now, McGhey. The expiration date on you and your faux “movement” is hurtling towards you.

  19. Very strange. As a civilian, on the wrong coast even, I would have expected that people in any creative enterprise would find that at least some of their stuff is better than others, it’s isn’t all great.

    Certainly there are plenty of times when the creative person hears comments about there work which are wrong, but naively I would expect the creative person to be at least willing, within practical limitations, to at least hear out what others are saying positively or negatively.

    It’s certainly no fun to read a bad review of one’s work. (I was personally devastated for a week when my origami reproduction of the Battle of Gettysburg was mistaken for a pile of rotting newspapers in the Journal of Civil War Paper Folding.) But if all one hears is positive stuff then after awhile that gets to be meaningless. Pleasant to listen to, but meaningless.

    In the case of your review he seems to really be taking it so personally that, as you allude to, it sort of implies that he thinks your previous positive reviews were personal too. It is almost as if he figures you don’t actually watch these things but just slap up some text with help from a random porn-adjective generator. Hmmm, that sounds like an easy gig, can I apply?

    To me, the wrong-coasted civilian, a wiser response would be to write something coherent in response to the offending reviewer. The target audience is not the reviewer, really, but the potential porn buyers.

    It also strikes me as smarter to not wail on the reviewer personally as that is exactly the sort of thing that makes the angry film-maker look bad. To say nothing of being rather dumb in the long term.

    My only other comment would be that in the case that you, Mr. Ponante, America’s Beloved etc. etc., simply reproduce what he has written and let his words speak for themselves as sorely tempting as it is to add annotations.

    But, again, I’m three time zones away. (Wait… mountain, central… yeah, three.) Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a few sheets of newsprint that need to be folded into Burnsides’s Corps at the Battle of Antietam.

  20. Well Eon, looks like that old karma thing you like to throw around so much has boomeranged right back into your stupid used to be fat, but now-blow-reduced face. You want everyone to think you are a moral person, but you lie about everything and you STOLE someone elses name because you couldn’t come up with one on your own. How original. I predict this is the beginning of the end for you and congradulations on becoming a member of the porn asshole club. You have become everything you said you were against! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  21. uhhhhh…the world?

    Seriously though. This post has it all: laughther, thrills, tears. Plus it lead me to find out I’m not the only person in the world who doesn’t like Dana Dearmond as I originally thought. It truly is an epic for the ages, right alongside The Iliad and Weekend at Bernie’s 2.

  22. Oh come ON!

    Dana is perfect for those of us who likes a little post-op tranny/linebacker in our women (or men)

    I wonder if she is aware of all the negative things Eon has said about her? It wouldn’t matter anyway. Eon is the only person on the planet stupid enough to parade her around like she’s some big treasure. If he is on Cocaine, it would help to explain his terrible taste in women.


    If they have some exclusive club, I hope they keep it exclusive.

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