Golden Goddesses

Golden Goddesses
Front Cover: Serena

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Favorite Stars and Star Favorites"

L-R Kay Parker, Rhonda Jo Petty, Kitten Natividad, Jill Nelson,
Jeff, Ginger Lynn, Georgina Spelvin and Raven Touchstone
Last Wednesday, October 16, the Goddesses made their triumphant return to Larry Edmunds Bookshop in Hollywood to wow fans and share serious and funny anecdotal accounts of their former lives as Golden ladies of erotic cinema. The six women regaled the crowd with personal reflections, beliefs, thoughts and philosophies, and when each one was asked to name her favourite mainstream movie and describe why, the audience was surprised and delighted. The querie was posed by Peter C., a film enthusiast and writer. Afterwards, Peter penned an essay, a wonderful summation of the evening and book titled "Favorite Stars and Star Favorites" which I have copied and pasted below with Peter's permission. Thank you, Peter, for coming out and for being so gracious.
     Once again, I'd also like to officially thank Ginger Lynn, Kay Parker, Rhonda Jo Petty, Kitten Natividad, Georgina Spelvin (who was unable to join in the festivities last year) and Raven Touchstone for helping to make our intimate reunion evening one of the most memorable and sparkling events since the book's release. I'd also like to thank Emcee Bill Margold, veteran film director Bob Chinn, photographer Kenji, writer/photographer Matthew Worley, Ashley and April from the New York based The Rialto Report, Tom from Cake and Art for designing another spectacular creation, Jeff at Larry Edmunds Bookshop, and all of our friends and fans who came out to support and partake of this celebration. Please follow this link for more photos: Emmnetwork
     Without further adieu, here is "Favorite Stars and Star Favorites" by Peter C.
     'Though I met her only briefly at a recent book signing of Golden Goddesses, it was no surprise to learn that Jill C. Nelson, the tender-hearted author of an extraordinarily well written tome and somehow lyrical ode to 25 Legendary Women of Classic Erotic Cinema lists The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter as her all-time favorite “main stream movie.” Nelson, as it turns out, is a lot like Carson McCullers, the novelist who penned the 1940 novel that the film was ultimately based upon. Hunter was the first in a string of books by McCullers to give voice to the rejected, the forgotten, the maligned and the oppressed. Nelson’s 25 (six of whom were at the book signing with her at Larry Edmunds Bookshop) would easily fall into those categories – though those classifications, like most labels, are ill-deserved. John Singer, the Alan Arkin character in the film, is not what he is perceived to be – deaf – and no more – and therefore somehow unworthy of love. In Nelson’s stories about her stars of erotic cinema – there is more there - a whole lot more - to each of her stars. More nuance, more dignity, and more intelligence  – than meets the wide eyed observer. 
     Asking, “What’s your favorite movie?” goes a long way as a kind of shorthand to learn what values resonate with individuals. Rhonda Joe Petty, a one-time look-alike for Farah Fawcett, and still gorgeous at 58, claimed Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto as her favorite – which, if one spends fifteen minutes in her presence, one understands why. “The movie,” Petty said, “is about facing your fears.” Petty is a woman I would not want to cross. She is almost stoic, extremely self-possessed, and when she shared with the audience that, “People who are not OK with my past, are simply not invited into my house,” her tone made it clear that her life has thus far been lived without apology. She is one strong lady, who has obviously faced her fears.
     Also in attendance was Ginger Lynn, who at 50 was the youngest star there. Ginger is a terrific raconteur, and one of her stories was about not being able to find a man who had all the qualities that she required in a male– so - along with a favorite screenwriter, she dreamed up a fantasy – in the form of nine men, and then lived out her fantasies with each before the camera. Her life, at the time, “was about fun. And that was fun!” Ginger is cheerful, exuberant, and decidedly funny – as is her favorite film Arsenic and Old Lace. If one were to look at the poster of the screwball comedy, there is Priscilla Lane bellowing from over the shoulder of Cary Grant – and she might well have been yelling, “This is fun!” For my money, Ginger Lynn would have slipped perfectly into the Lane part.
     The Grand Dame of erotic cinema, Georgina Spelvin, who made the film The Devil in Miss Jones, a remarkable four decades ago, explained that Fantasia is her favorite movie, “Because it has everything in it. It is sheer energy. I could do without Mickey Mouse, but everything else about it rises above animation and it lives in a fantasy of movement. It was totally cutting edge. Nothing else like it had been done before.” Take out the Mickey Mouse reference, and one has a pretty accurate review for The Devil in Miss Jones. Georgina’s favorite film fits.
     Raven Touchstone is an accomplished photographer. When she reflected on her career in the adult film industry, and told of watching Ginger Lynn and Barbara Dare running lines in rehearsal, whilst sipping wine in a hot-tub, she found the actresses in repose to be so incredibly beautiful that Touchstone decided that monumental beauty was beyond words – and in that silent moment of innocent insight, realized that the photographic image was the only way for her to do justice to beauty. The heroine of her favorite movie A Tree Grows in Brooklyn relies on her imagination to capture beauty in much the same way.
     Kitten Natividad recounted her bland experiences as a girl in a sort of unremarkable early life. Then came a time when she “fell down the rabbit hole” and due to excesses that seemed like a good idea at the time, she struggled with drugs and alcohol, but eventually rebounded. Today, she is clean and sober – owns apartment buildings and has made a success in all things considered. Is seems like the ups and downs of Natalie Wood in Splendor in the Grass – Kitten’s favorite movie – would make sense in a “been there, done that” kind of way.
     The last actress in attendance was Kay Parker. Kay Parker is an exquisitely sensual, wildly articulate and mesmerizingly sincere individual who marveled at the full circle nature of screen celebrity in recounting her love, as a girl, for movie actor Troy Donohue which, as it turned out, was not unrequited.  When she finally met the aging star and told him how much she loved his movies - much to her delight - he told her how much he loved hers. Kay Parker has put her film past into a unique perspective –one that asserts “It is all about love, because the opposite of that is shame. And shame is the condition of being unlovable. And I reject that.” The chapter in Nelson’s book devoted to Kay Parker is called The Conduit – and it describes Parker’s contemporary career as spiritual mentor and transcendence counselor – as one that only a “faith in love” stalwart could embrace. Field of Dreams is Kay’s favorite film, which seems to underscore perfectly her ethereal - part fantasy figure – part earth mother – all woman - essence.
     Willliam Margold acted as unofficial Emcee for the evening. Margold, a raucous individual who is known to industry insiders as “Papa Bear,” and is famous as an archivist and adult film historian (and perhaps less famous, alas, for his extensive and honorable charitable work for adult entertainment veterans who have not fared well) told great stories of on and off set mishaps, legal kerfuffles,  and courage – particularly of the women on the panel, and others like them who disdained “the hypocritical morality,” of those “who dreamed of these ladies, but who would not admit that in public.” Margold, a bear of a man, was a kind of sheriff that night, and apparently has been for his last forty years in and around the adult film industry.  He comes across as a “come and get me, I ain’t going anywhere” character, who, in fact, stood toe to toe against would be agents of the law, when adult films were illegal, and the badge boys were looking to lock up men and women who dared to turn cameras on and take clothes off. It’s no wonder that Papa Bear loves High Noon. He’s the Gary Cooper of “X.”
     At the end of the day, Jill C. Nelson has written a lovely and fascinating book about beautiful women, erotic adventurism, social mores, adult entertainment, the movie business, sex and sexuality.
And it has nothing at all to do with “Porn.”'

Peter C.

1 comment:

  1. Hello;
    Stumbled across your website/blog by accident. Anyway, you appear to be someone who is definitely in the know, can you please tell me whatever happened to the porn legend actress "Angel" (circa 1984-1990)? She was my fav! I've heard that in the book "Raw Talent" that Angel under went some sort of tragedy. Is this true? Any details you can share? Please PM (if possible) at & put "Angel" in the title (not a joke or prank).