Back in the early oughts, when people were still buying DVDs, there was a porn actor I kept seeing everywhere. It was Chad Hunt. Mr. Hunt had the distinctive quality to look like one of my exes. In almost minute detail. He also projected some kind of vulnerability that I found endearing and seemed to possess a voracious sexual appetite that made him, well, the perfect porn star. He was big and was in many photo spreads in every gay magazine (remember those?) and from every new porn video cover you could see him staring at you with his come hither look. He had made it.
Come to think of it, the oughts were a very weird time for me. All the pressures of grad school, going through many changes in life, having my heart broken, moving from one state to another... the list was long and bumpy. One thing I remember though, it was that I was always packing my books, my music and my movies. They were always going with me, not matter where I went. They were my safety blanket. They provided company and the comfort of something I knew and liked. Now I look back and realize that many of my books died in a flood in a basement where I kept them. I only have a few with me. My music has evolved from dozens and dozens of CDs to mostly MP3s in my phone. I barely have any CDs anymore. And I've realized I have about ten DVDs. Mostly movies and concerts. And I have no porn DVDs. Not one. Not even my Chad Hunt videos. My porn comes now from the internet.
And today I thought about Chad. He was huge. Well, he was. But he was also everywhere. Somehow, after Y2K, he personified his time and place. It was all excess, everything seemed on the verge of something great and at the end, not much happened and life kept going. Chad seemed to have a great future, but then, like many men working int he gay adult industry at that time, he disappeared. One day, he was gone. I believe his retirement was voluntary. I imagine he decided he needed a change.
He worked for the big studios. Those were big productions, with scripts and sets and the whole nine yards. There were huge porn stars. Every studio had the one guy they promoted and sent to the stratosphere of porn. There were awards and festivals and the studios channeled money into the actors, there was always someone who was the next big thing. You rarely see those videos anymore. With the advent of the Tube sites, it's mostly scenes now. There are very few 'big' names and even though 'professional' porn is still churning videos, the 'amateur' porn niche has exploded. Everybody with an iPhone and a tripod can be a porn star nowadays. I remember Chad for one scene where he seduces this one guy on a sofa and then fucks the hell out of him. He looked familiar in the sense that he was everyman and at the same time he had all the elements to be a porn star. That sex drive. That savoir faire. That endowment. And I could not take my eyes off him.
I discovered he was Bi, had a child and that he had quit porn after his last film. Yeah, I read about my fav porn stars. Still do. He even insisted that his character die in that video so there was no looking back. I also think he was having a drug problem. It was the early 2000s and many people in the adult film industry were having issues with drugs. Now I think he's living in California and is in his forties, living with his partner of many years. He's back to being Daniel August. And he seems to be perfectly fine with it. Like his life, mine has changed too. The oughts seem far away. A recent past full of ups and downs. I have stopped moving from state to state, I have kind of settled down with this job and even though not everything is peachy keen (boy, I wish it were) I should not complain. I think that every time we feel these blasts from the past we should count our blessings and see the good things we have. Because there are always good things happening to us.
Daniel August seems at peace with himself and his life. He approaches his (past?) fame with a sense of humor and is not shy about discussing some of the bad things that happened. And he has reclaimed his own self. He's not Chad Hunt anymore. I think we should all be like that. Don't you think? We cannot change the past but at the same time we shouldn't dwell on the unpleasant. We just skirt the iffy spots, remember the good and look forward.
Now, I think I'm going to see if I can find that HBO documentary where he appears.