Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fresh ink on tattooed porn vixen, Joanna Angel

Posted By on Wed, May 4, 2011 at 10:51 PM

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If you’ve watched or read a recent mainstream news report on the porn industry, you’ve met Joanna Angel. As owner, producer, director, writer, and star of the adult entertainment brand, BurningAngel.com, Joanna represents the modern porn mogul hustling to turn a few tricks and a profit in a demanding market. Among her accolades, she has been credited with pioneering “alt-porn,” which is a fancy name for categorizing an erotic aesthetic revolving around tattoos, piercings, and dyed hair. When I spoke to Joanna in advance of her appearance at Exxxotica Miami, she was just as accessible, raw, and alluring as she appears on her numerous websites.

Alfie: Since you’ve been labeled a punk-porn-princess, have you had to keep up with esoteric bands in case fans try to test just how punk you are?
Joanna Angel: Not really. Nobody grills me. I like it when fans want to talk about music… I’ve had a lot of fans give me mix CDs and hard drives full of music at my signings. Those are always the best presents.

A: Have you ever used a fan’s demo CD as the soundtrack for one of your scenes?
JA: I’d say 80% of the music used in my movies is from fans.

A: Your first tattoo features a drama mask and the quote from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five: “So it Goes.” In the book, the main character, Billy Pilgrim, is put in a zoo on an alien planet to mate with an adult film star. What would a Vonnegut porn look like?
JA: Haha. I don’t know what a Vonnegut porn would look like, so I’m just going to be arrogant and say it would be a little like mine.

A: Do you think Vonnegut had a soft spot for porn stars?
JA: Doesn’t every man have a soft spot for porn stars? When I think of Vonnegut I don’t associate him with my porn career. He belongs to the college era of my life.

A: Since you received a bachelor’s degree in literature before promptly finding a career in hardcore porn, here’s another lit-porn question. Vonnegut was part of the postmodernism movement, which was partially about breaking down the illusion of the fourth wall separating the art from the audience. Do you think porn has entered a post-modern era where, instead of wanting to see plots and stories, audiences want to form a virtual connection or even an online relationship with porn stars?
JA: It’s already happened. Have you watched a porn in the last 10 years?

A: So you think plot porn is dead?
JA: That’s not true. I mean, there are lots of different kinds of porn out right now. Some people like webcams, POVs, and others like intricate plots and scripts… Personally the porns I like making are the ones with plots, even though I produce all kinds. I like making porns with plots because it’s more challenging to try to find a way for a porn to be interesting and compelling and have a storyline. You’re dealing with people who are not professional actors and you have a really small budget. There are so many things working against you. It’s a game to see if I can get a viewer to not fast-forward through the story.

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A: You and your boyfriend, James Deen, are two of the most prolific and popular porn stars right now, and you both came from Jewish backgrounds. Do you think being raised Jewish had a positive impact on your career?
JA: Being Jewish? Um… haha. I mean, I was definitely not raised in a culture that encouraged me to take off my clothes and show off my body. It’s not a typical thing for a Jewish girl to do. I do think how I was raised did positively impact my business sense and my work ethic, the ideas of trying hard and never giving up. I think no matter what career I chose I would not settle for being number two. I think that’s more of the Judaism in me than anything else.

A: Have you noticed or benefited from the stereotype that tattooed women with dark hair are the intellectual, artsy, hipster types, while blondes with boob jobs are bimbos?
JA: I don’t think that’s the stereotype. I think the stereotype is that tattooed girls with dark hair are dirtier and I try to help perpetuate that stereotype.

A: Are tattoos a sign of uniqueness or just a rebellious type of conformity?
JA: I would never consider myself unique because I have tattoos. Some of my tattoos are pretty unique, but there are more people with tattoos now than ever before... And it’s still a really big deal to put something on your body that will be there for the rest of your life. No matter how mainstream it gets, it’s still something that not everyone will want to do. It’s like buying a shirt, but a shirt you have to wear for the rest of your life so you better know that you like that shirt, and if you don’t, you still have to wear it. I didn’t get tattoos because I wanted to stand out. I just like tattoos. They’re part of my fashion. They’re part of what I look like. They’re a piece of my body… There are certain tattoos I regret. I don’t regret getting them, I just don’t think they’re that nice. I look at them and I’m like, ‘God this is such an ugly tattoo. Why’d I get it?’ But it’s still a piece of me and I don’t want to take it away. For me, it’s a part of who I am. Some girls like really nice handbags or shoes or a certain type of jeans. I like tattoos. That’s who I am. That’s part of what I look like. You’re taking your body and you’re customizing it. It’s like you can buy a car and you drive it as is off the lot or you can really make it your own. That’s what I think tattoos do. You’re making yourself look unique.

A: All the models on your site seem to have very vibrant and colorful tattoos. Have you ever passed on working with a model because she had bad ink?
JA: If you’re a pretty girl and you have a really bad tattoo, you’re still a pretty girl. There are definitely some pretty girls who don’t have very nice tattoos, but I don’t look at the quality of your ink as a deciding factor on if I want to work with you.

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A: Have any mainstream directors, screenwriter, or novelists influenced your own directing or writing style?
JA: If I had to compare my style to a mainstream director, it’s probably closest to John Waters, just because it’s weird and twisted but it’s also very colorful and happy… I get inspired by a lot of TV shows. There are certain episodes of Scrubs I’ve stolen jokes from. I’ve taken things from cheesy 80s movies like Sixteen Candles. Just little snippets here and there. When I’m out of ideas I just think about things I’ve watched, whether it’s a joke, or an outfit, anything. I’m always looking at visuals to see what I can take. But, there is only so much you can do when you’re working with a limited budget.

A: It’s easy to assume that both tattoos and porn have reached the limits of how extreme they can get. What body modification or outrageous porn genres do you think the current generation will be appalled by when we have grandchildren?
JA: I think things work in circles. When I first got into porn a lot of people were shooting really rough scenes that portrayed rape fantasies. There’s still porn like that but there’s fewer companies doing it. After Max Hardcore went to jail and John Stagliano got put on trial, a lot of companies started making parodies and features with plots again. All the free porn on the net has made producers try to add more value to their films and make them more collectible. Overall I’d say porn has gotten a little more vanilla in the past two years. So it might make that circle again. I don’t know what that next step of extreme porn is going to be. But, I mean, sex is sex. If you watch a porn from the 70s, it’s not so different. It’s really just the style, the type of cameras, the lighting, the haircuts and stuff like that. The blowjobs now are a little sloppier than they were in the 70s, but it’s not so different. I don’t know. I think porn mimics what goes on in the rest of the world.

A: So what do sloppy blowjobs say about our culture?
JA: It’s just a more sexual society. Bikinis are smaller. There are more sex scenes in movies. Six years ago I had to go to a specialty stripper store to buy outfits for scenes. Now I can go to Forever 21 where a 13-year-old can buy stripper heels and skirts that barely cover her ass. Things have gotten a little sluttier and maybe a little more open-minded. This all happened in Europe a long time ago. It has just taken awhile for Americans to catch on. I think our society is moving in a direction where sex isn’t as taboo as it used to be. I did not see two people having sex until I was in sixth grade when a friend showed me a Penthouse magazine. I’m pretty sure that by the sixth grade most kids now have seen videos of people having anal sex. Times have changed, but everything works in circles.

See exclusive content of Joanna Angel at BurningAngel.com and JoannaAngel.com. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/joannaangel

Follow Alfie on Twitter or Facebook and email him if interested in writing about Sex & Love.

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