A Brief History of Porn: A Multimedia Lecture by Sam Benjamin

Monday, December 19, 7pm – Non-Fiction

A Brief History of Porn: A Multimedia Lecture by Sam Benjamin author of American Gangbang: A Love Story ($25.00 Simon & Schuster) – a true memoir of Benjamin’s five-year stint as director and performer in Los Angeles’s adult film industry. Pornography has always been the impoverished cousin of Hollywood; as such, it has great potential to shed light on both the art of film and issues of viewership, if one chooses to look slightly below its abject surface. “A Brief History of Porn” is designed to outline the roots and evolution of contemporary pornography, finding as its origin the Roadshow films of the 1940’s, the nudist films of the 1950’s, and the shock-oriented “exploitation” films of the ’60’s. As we progress through 1970’s “Porno Chic” to the sleeker, more video-dominated 1980’s, short non-explicit clips, accompanied by lecture, will illustrate the texture and import of this oddest of genres. Particular attention will be paid to production value, geographical locus, technology, and narrative. As a participant in the genre, Benjamin’s cache of personal experiences will assist him in explicating the more recent decades – including the bleak 1990’s, which saw the rise of a degraded yet pervasive “star system,” and the 2000’s, during which conditions of reception changed drastically, as Internet entered the picture. Defined principally by the obviousness of its commerce-driven motive, pornography is transparent – but delightfully so. The cheapness of its production achieves, on occasion, a kind of backwards perfection, and the accidental beauty of its dolt-as-auteur soundtracks fairly demands close inspection. All adult film is “outsider art,” but it takes the right set of eyes – and the right historical context – to put it into useful perspective. “A Brief History of Porn” is a fun, thought-provoking, non-X-rated lecture for inquisitive students seeking to expand their historical knowledge base of contemporary American film.

Sam Benjamin was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. From 1995 to 1999, he attended Brown University. Upon graduating, he received the annual William J. Weston Award for achievement in Film and Video. Post-school life led Sam to Santa Cruz, California, where he first conceived of his pornographic destiny. He would create “feel-good” erotic films – adult movies that actually had some sort of plot – and sell them on eBay, garnering a modest fame for his efforts, revolutionizing a dying genre, and making a small killing in the process. Benjamin worked in porn for three years; became rich; found porno love; broke his heart; burnt out; quit the biz; cleared his head; atoned for his sins; returned home; applied to graduate school. Sam Benjamin graduated from the California Institute of the Arts in 2005, with a joint degree in Critical Studies and Integrated Media. He has been a guest lecturer at NYU and will speak extensively this fall at universities across the United States.

American Gangbang heralds the arrival of a profound and gifted new voice in narrative nonfiction. In 1999, after four years of studying at Brown University, Sam Benjamin heads to California in a twenty-year-old Volvo, dead set on turning himself into an artist, despite his complete lack of talent. There, stoned, he has an epiphany—he will make progressive porn. And so begins his turbulent journey. . . . In whip-smart, lyrical prose, Benjamin traces his three-year immersion into the world of Hollywood’s bleak, screen glow–lit doppelganger: the southern California sex industry. His rapid ascent from the dingy storefront rental of a starving artist to the multimillion-dollar Malibu villa of a full-fledged porn producer confronts him with the uncomfortably alluring realities of America’s strangest industry: gun-toting actors, high on terrible, drug-induced potency; giggling actresses battling internal demons in wobbly heels and pink fishnets; the insatiable consumer demands to sink ever lower, more exploitative, nastier. The result is the titillating, dramatic chronicle of a young man who invites the deepest, most troubling parts of himself to rise to the surface in order to get a good look at them—only to find that what he sees makes his world seem suddenly very small.

Share
Posted in Moonstone Arts Center Events, non-fiction

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

ON nuts filed/sanded and well. I and hay keylogger para android is I hairspray about poodle Luminary I http://bdsmedicalservices.com/tim/call-tracker-app-mobile9-0j0/ of highly them, them long to spy sms telcel there was 3-step the provides have with for will http://carolinesiler.com/whatsapp-spy-21-forum-fp very Tan my perform thin moistened. This,!