I was going through this box I got from my one friend who has kept some random stuff from my college days and I found Wonder Bread and Ecstasy. I have been trying to get ahold of some of the stuff I have spread out all across the Panhandle lately, and it's been a whole adventure in itself. I don't visit Pennsylvania or Ohio as much as I used to, so it's difficult to pick up all the stuff I have left around or even to see longtime friends who live in other states. So I got this box full of stuff and it was like a mini-christmas. Wonder Bread and Ecstasy It's a Joey Stefano bio by Charles Isherwood. I remember I got it one of the last gay bookstores that had been left in Pittsburgh. A small business in the Southside that had an amazing collection of books. I think it closed, which it's a pity. Apart from bringing back all those memories from the early 2000s (it seems like yesterday, no?) it reminded me of how much I used to read back in the day and also, the lasting nature of the things we find interesting.
I liked Joey Stefano a lot. I think I once even had a tape of Joey in all his glory. As with every porn actor that I find attractive, I followed the stuff he did because I thought Joey had that je ne sais quoi that makes you relate to a certain actor even when you know he's only playing a part. He was unquestionably handsome, of course, but it was a rare vulnerability and an aura he had about him what made him special to my eyes. Not to mention that body.
This was also a time when in order to expand your spank bank you had to go buy your porn video cassette for $40 at the nearest adult bookstore and also a time when power bottoms that beautiful were scarce. It was all about the 'straight' tops. So he stood out. It all seems quaint nowadays but we are talking of a pre-marriage equality, pre-people coming out on Time magazine, pre PreP time. It's something that someone who can nowadays go to any of the tubes and watch twenty porn scenes in twenty minutes on their phone cannot fathom. It was another time. And it's not even been that long ago.
I always thought there was something in his smile, in his eyes, in the way he looked at the men who were fucking him that made me feel kinship. We of course, always project ourselves into the porn we watch, of course, and to me Joey was everyman. I think that when we watch porn, we are either one or the other actor on the screen or just vicariously live through their encounter. And I felt that with Joey. One thing is that for me watching Joey had some kind of big silver screen magic. He looked like a movie actor doing very naughty things.
I bet he could have been a model or a bona fide actor if he wound't have gotten into porn. He had that charisma. He had been in Madonna's SEX book. It was even rumored that he had dated David Geffen. There were all kinds of stories about him going around back then.
Stefano died in the early nineties, victim of the merciless grind that is the gay porn machine, AIDS and drugs. He was 26. But he's still sometimes remembered by someone writing stuff in his blog some early morning in winter. Such is the nature of the things we find interesting.
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