Saturday, 1 January 2011

Treasure Island Media: Positive Buggery

After my 2011 predictions, I guess it was inevitable that my first post of the year would be about the porn company Treasure Island Media. In wishing their followers a 'Happy New Year' they shared a couple of details about their new HIV positive line of porn that I've previously mentioned.

The first film is to be called 'Buggery' and we know that at least one scene features TIM regular Keer (NSFW link: profile of Keer)- and thus I think this is the first time he is 're-branded' as out and positive. Any mild probing of Keer reveals what some might regard as a controversial history; he reveals on his website that: 'The first time I fucked a guy, I was nine...I was a pervert. I remember playing with other guys' cocks when I was a little kid on the farm where I grew up when it was bath time and in the back yard in a hidden area. When I was 14, I fucked this 24 year-old guy. When I was in my early teens, I seduced several men...I always knew I liked to fuck guys.' Age remains the ultimate social and legal sexual taboo (at both ends of the spectrum) and it will be interesting to see if this fact - celebrated by Keer - is used to depict a 'victim' or someone 'evil'. The same quote could also be used to show someone who has long asserted confident control over their sex life but I wouldn't count on it. The linguistic narratives deployed will be fascinating.

This will also inevitably mean that his earlier TIM work will be re-watched and viewed through a new prism and will also inform future work that Keer works on. A scene has been published on the TIM blog, and if a bareback positive threesome is your cup of chai, then you can check it out here.

The scene suggests a return to basics by Paul Morris and TIM - the very title means that any legal action will be discussed as being against 'Paul Morris's Buggery' or 'Treasure Island Media's Buggery', evoking Wildean Victorian court scenes and the legal discourse of censored identity. As such it is entirely appropriate, but nonetheless fascinating, to see a legal discourse utilised by pornography in this way.

The released scene is curiously lacking in emotion for the early part; there is almost a boredom about the guys at one point but as counter-intuitive as this seems, it feels more authentic of a bareback scene that might be encountered by TIM fans in a venue such as San Francisco's Mack Folsom Prison or other sex club. There is an eroticism about the scene still and the guys are obviously getting a sexual kick but it actually appears more 'authentic' than the typical porn fodder for some parts of the scene. However, for me these moments of authenticity seem in the minority.

Unusually, Keer seems very conscious of the camera - a characteristic which is not always evident in TIM's films and does render his later action more a performance than documentary. The bio-hazard socks worn by the bottom are a witty addition, but also add an element of being self-conscious to the scene. At the moment of the bottom's (Jayson) ejaculation, it seems Emil (the other top and TIM newcomer) has had enough and his nipple tweaking and self-masturbation seem bored - he then vanishes from the scene completely before his hand makes a brief half-hearted appearance at the end.

Apologies, I seem to be coming over all porn reviewer (a job I once passed up and then instantly regretted - back in the days when people got paid), but such is the importance that this film will surely have, it's worth spending some time exploring it.

The film also marks a return to TIM basics with the captioning on screen. Tim Dean has previously commented on the significance of their use, highlighting as they do key aspects of audio narrative. Thus we not only hear, but see on screen 'Fucking get ready to dump it in my ass' and 'fucking let me get it all'. This serves to underline the documentary moment, explicitly recording the moment of sexual extremis. It also serves to highlight what the video producer regards as the key moments of the scene - and both (as is typical with TIM) are about the imbuing of semen.

This release will garner controversy from within the porn industry, the gay 'community', health officials, LGBTQ campaigners/activists, government agencies and with them the legal world. It's going to be fascinating for legal observers. The positive big bang is about to take place.

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The Breeder said...

If I'd not seen the clip in context, I wouldn't have been aware that it was from a video involving poz guys. Or rather, marketed as involving poz guys. Because it's the marketing that makes this video controversial.

I like Keer and know Jayson, so I enjoyed their performances--the other guy did nothing for me. His presence seems to dampen the on-screen chemistry of the other two. What I found more interesting than the clip itself were the comments that followed, which featured everything from applause to puritanical chiding, to outright rage that Paul Morris is daring to capitalize upon HIV stigma as a means to make money.

Chris Ashford said...

I think you make a good point @the breeder. It's only the marketing and context that lends the additional controversial narrative to this film -although I think the socks are some attempt at obvious labelling.

I think Kamil is a cute guy but I agree (and as I put in the blogpost) he ruins the scene with his half-hearted efforts.

The comments do seem to be taking off a little more now under the video and yes, there are a mix but I wonder how many of them have been directed there from other reports. There are few nuanced criticisms - the criticisms are essentially anti-bareback rather than anti-positive porn and that is itself interesting. It perhaps suggests a difficulty in the wider imagination to make a distinction between the two - and the acceptance of a distinction (as Morris perhaps intends) may move the HIV narrative from 'bareback' and to 'positive porn'.

Overall, I felt the scene judged by normal standards fell below what you might expect from TIM and may be a reflection of the difficulty in attracting poz performers. It's interesting that this is the scene TIM chose to go public with - and you'd think they would have utilised a more compelling scene.

Chris Ashford said...

Some folks might have seen the January episode of Ryan Sullivan's Island (ep 56) that discusses his editing work on the scene and shows some pre-edit moments. What's remarkable, given an earleir episode in which Paul Morris apparently threw out a scene when Gehno told performers what to do, is this scene remains when Damon Dogg is shown to clearly indicate what the performers should do.

We then get specific questions about what language should be used, we also see how sound is edited to change a scene. This shows the paradox of an 'authentic' bareback poz scene being at the same time, a mirage.

It's also interesting (given my comments about the scene originally), that Sullivan also notes the disconnect between the men. The question then begs to be asked? Why keep it?

Whilst on the subject of this ep, anyone know who the picture is of on the board in Paul's office? It looks like a Liam Cole sketch.

Watch the episode here (NSFW)

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