All posts by vanzetti

Goodnight, Reviewer-man: Den of CAVR Passed Away

“Desperate as the night moves on, just a look and a whisper, and they’re gone…” – Bruce Springsteen, “Jungleland”

My friend and colleague Den passed away on Thursday; I only heard about it this morning from an email Dirty Bob sent over.

I’ve known Den since 1996 or so; we’d see each other once a year at the trade shows (ECVS or, later, AEE) and we’d be in email contact often.

Den had some health issues back in 2006 which slowed him down physically (and eventually, a few years later, made it impossible for him to travel to Vegas for AEE).  It was around that time that Den approached me about taking over hosting responsibilities for his site and making sure it would continue to exist after he was gone.  Luckily for all of us, this first event was just a scare, and we were granted five more years worth of reviews.

Shortly before Den announced his retirement, he called to tell me that he’d gotten some bad news from his doctor and it would seem that his time left was short; but he was adamant that no one know about his disease until after he was gone.  Like everything he did, he didn’t want to draw attention to himself.  He wanted to go on his own terms; I convinced him to tell a few mutual friends who lived nearby so at least he would have someone close.  He agreed and a few days later he wrote up his retirement announcement.

He was very concerned that his site not go away, and I assured him — as I did back in 2006 — that his site (and his legacy) will stay online as long as the IAFD does (which I hope is forever.)

Since I’ve been a pretty behind-the-scenes guy in recent years, I am flattered he thought enough of me to induct me into his Hall of Fame.

Attempts at writing much more are failing right now, so I will leave with some links to some nice writeups in the trades and his colleagues, so here are the links.  I hope to write a proper tribute soon.

XBIZ: CAVR Founder Den Passes Away

AVN: CAVR Founder Den Passes Away at 67

Gram Ponante: Den of Inequity: Legendary Porn Reviewer Dies

Roger Pipe’s Tribute to Den: Den Retires, All Hail the King

Den’s Retirement Announcement: CAVR remains On-line!

This is how I remember Den (he’s the one who doesn’t look like Buttman): at the ADT Party in the Rivera in 2003 just hanging back and smiling at his good fortune to be in the same room with people he loved watching and talking to. (Den’s write up here)

Here’s another shot from a few moments after, which is notable if only for having Den and Peter van Aarle (in the white IAFD sweatshirt on the left) in the same shot…  (and apologies to Stagliano for catching him mid-blink.)

Den, I hope you and Peter get to meet up again wherever you are.

Today’s Crush: Martha Washington

Is it wrong to be smitten with a porn director? I hope not, because I’ve developed a bit of the fanboy crush on Martha Washington of Bluebird Films…

Is it the cheeky way she puts three (THREE!) porn queens named Starr — Aiden, Bobbi and Kaci — in her latest movie, Suck It! Or the fact that she wants you to scream the title of the movie?

Is it the too-fucking-cute rose colored glasses in the picture she sent over for us to use as the pic that accompanies her profile? Or maybe the ripped knee of the jeans she’s wearing?

Is it the way she kinda looks like a younger version ofmy hot friend Liza?

Is it her Twitter war with will.i.am over the sensibility of ladies keeping condoms close at hand?

I dunno. It’s all of those things, probably.

Mostly, it’s the giddy fun she seems to be having during a two-partinterview with “My Drink with Hollywood” which started out well, but ended a bit too high concept (On naming porn: “Host: Do you think ‘Air Bud: Golden Receiver’ would be good? Martha: “That sounds like a gay one, maybe? For a gay one, it’s a six or seven…”) but she remained polite and a good sport throughout…

Here is the interview… turn the speakers down as the intro music is waaaaaay too loud and bass-y compared to the rest of the interview.

Martha’s Bioat the IAFD

Martha’s Thread over at Bluebird Films’ Message Board

Suck It! at the IAFD

Learn about the IAFD: The Basics

Got a comment on another article that wasn’t about the article, but it asked some general questions about the site; and tho we’ve been here at iafd.com since 1999 (and elsewhere since 1995 or so), perhaps you haven’t been, so here we go.  (For a general look at our history, Wikipedia has a good telling of our story.  Peter tells it as well.)

1) is IAFD becoming profitable or still has to rely on volunteers

One really has nothing to do with the other.

The site incurs very real costs like bandwidth and servers and co-location fees and Video-on-Demand accounts, and we’re able to cover those costs via a modest amount of advertising on the site and commissions on sales made through the “buy this movie” links; but everyone involved has day jobs; and we’ve always preferred it that way.

I mean, if we were really looking to “maximize revenue” there’d be banners and come-ons all over the goddamned place, and there’s not.

We are staffed by volunteers just like Wikipedia or your local service club is staffed by volunteers.  We rely on volunteers because they’re the best workers for the task at hand.  If you’re punching a clock, your work will eventually suffer once you figure how much work you can get away with not doing but still collect a check.  So, to avoid that, we rely on volunteers.  Want to slack off all day?  Knock yourself out.  Go outside, read a book, froggy go a-courting, whatever.  The awesome bunch of guys and gals who make up our editorial staff derive their satisfaction out of helping out an hour or two a day.  The work (and being part of something larger than yourself) is its own reward.

And mostly, keeping it low-key allows us to focus on providing the best data possible, instead of having to focus on running a business. :-)

2) is IAFD able to keep up with the huge numbers of new releases and do you get much or any help from the studios themselves? do they send you emails with data or copies of the vids?

The number of releases is staggering, and it’s very difficult to keep up. Some studios help, most don’t.  We get very few emails on any regular basis with data.  We don’t get copies of the vids since we’re all spread out over the world.  We have editors in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan.  Managing screeners is difficult, so we don’t bother.  We watch a LOT of Video-on-Demand.  We have accounts at all the major VOD sites (Adult DVD Empire, HotMovies, AEBN, VideoBox, Gamelink) which allows us all to check on titles and the like without the hassle of having to ship physicals discs around the world.

We rely a lot on what the review sites do; they help us prioritize what is “new” and “interesting.”

Because there’s so much out there, we don’t do much in the area of comp tapes.  We don’t go out of our way to list comps, because there just aren’t that many hours in the day.  So if you send in a correction saying we don’t list “Best of So-and-So” and we don’t add it in our usual quickfooted fashion, that’s likely why.

3) do you co-operate with sites like videobox, videosz, etc to get the data correct?

We use whatever resources we can to verify our data.  What gets tricky is sometimes making a mistake and then seeing that mistake go ricocheting all over the Internet.

Growing up, my Mom would be skeptical when my friends and I would come home with a story of some sort and proclaim “One lies, and the others swear to it!”  We find this all the time.  it’s rarely malicious, but the adult industry is so filled with deception its hard to tell the truth sometimes.

The one story that comes to mind most recently surrounds performer Echo Valley who just passed away.  We listed her as having been born in 1970, which we had gotten as a “submit corrections” submission.  When her obituary came out, it was shown she was born in 1954.  We changed her record right away, but if you look around the internet, that 1970 year has some traction and will be there for years to come… and I am sure we’ll get a correction saying “1954 is wrong, this site says 1970!”

So, when we lack better information on biographical matters, we’ll generally take a submitter’s word for it (unless the submitter has proven himself unreliable).  We’re not usually privy to 2257 records, so we’ve got nothing concrete to go on.

Do we give info to the other sites?  Not directly, but I have no doubt they use us as a resource, just as we use them.

4) what do you see as the future of IAFD? will there be co-operation with the euro sites like EGAFD etc.? (or maybe there already is?)

We’re friendly with the guys over at BGAFD/EGAFD and one of our editors sat (or still sits, I can’t recall) on their editorial board as well.  We use them as a resource as they do us, but there’s no wholesale data sharing going on.

Peter (our founder) mostly focussed on American titles when he built his database, so for the longest time, that’s what we did.  Sometime in 2009-2010 we decided we’d open the IAFD to Euro titles, and we have a couple guys on staff who really know their stuff and work on getting the MASSIVE job of backfilling done.  It’s a slow process.

As to the future?  We’re struggling with tracking DVDs in a world that moving on-line.  We have no capacity right now for really keeping tabs on the large web-only content producers – the Naughty Americas, the Brazzers, the Reality Kings — beyond what they release on DVD.  That is probably the biggest thing we’re wrestling with.  That and introducing some new design elements to get our look and feel up to 2003 at least. ;-)

5) have you thought about putting out a software program that uses the IAFD database to catalogue a porn users’ downloaded scenes and videos?

Have we thought about it?  No. It’s a lot of work being an independent software publisher, and we’ve got enough on our plate being an independent website. I know there are programs out there that scrape our pages to populate their own DVD cataloging databases, so a need is being filled; we just don’t have anything to do with it.  We’re not a fan of that practice (scraping is against our TOS, but in reality we don’t do much about it at this time. If it had some huge impact on traffic, we’d be tougher on it… but there’s too much else to do, really.

Because PORN is just a typo away…

Dr. Chauntelle over at Porn Valley Vantage (a blog you should be reading) just posted an article about XXXChurch that caught my eye.

XXXChurch, if you don’t know about them, are a familiar presence at the porn shows, having a booth with XXXChurch followers handing out Bibles and spreading the Good Word about Jesus. Their graphic design shows a sense of humor about their mission, all decked out in 1970s porn. They treat pornography addiction as a serious issue to grapple with and overcome, and I can’t fault them for that.

We do part ways on the destructive nature of porno (and self-pleasure), namely they seem to think it destroys everything it touches and that hasn’t been my experience.

I equate it to alcohol – I know people who can have a beer or two and have a good time, I know people who can’t function without a half-dozen scotches and then they’ll have three more and really become anembarrassmentto himself a danger to others. This does not mean I want to ban alcohol. Porn operates the same way — I don’t know that watching porn upon occasion (or even every day) is detrimental to one’s health, but I am pretty sure there comes a point where it can become too much. I have no idea where that line is.

All that aside, they put together a PSA about theresponsibilitiesof parents to try and protect their kids from online porn. I can’t really find fault with this. The IAFD is voluntarily tagged with an “adult” label, and when OpenDNS blocks us for being “pornography” I can’t complain about that. We don’t want kids finding this site. Porn + Kids = Trouble.

Porn provides a fantasy, and kids don’t always have the ability toseparatereality from fantasy. They may think it’s natural to drive around in a van and throw girls in the back and have sex with them — first reluctantly and then actively; or that every babysitter is on the earth to blow their dads. (If only.) Seriously, tho — there is a lot in today’s porn landscape that could really paint a different picture for kids of what sex is. (I say it in the same way I say that kids shouldn’t take driving cues from The Fast and Furious, and they probably shouldn’t be getting their sexual cues from Jamie Gillis’ On The Prowl.)

So, we support responsible parenting and the blocking of online resources from kids who are too young to understand their context or meaning, and their PSA addresses that in a way that’s pretty funny and still makes their point.

Lots of cameos in the PSA (in order of appearance, from left to right — Rayveness,Brandy Aniston,Brenda Black,Crissy Moran (who left porn to focus on bringing attention these kinds of XXXChurch-y issues), Tia Gunn,April Flores,Kelly Shibari andRon Jeremy.

The XXXChurch site says this of the clip:

Founder of XXXchurch, Craig Gross known as the “porn pastor” and porn legend, Ron Jeremy, have traveled around the country debating the issue of pornography for the past four years. They have become great friends although they disagree on the effects of pornography.

The one thing they do agree on is that pornography should not be seen by kids. Ron Jeremy says, “Porn is consenting adults having consenting sex for consenting adults to watch.” Ron has always said he will do whatever he can to help keep porn away from children.

Us too.