Thursday, November 17, 2016

Parker (Part 2): On Being Organic

Parker is taking a "legitimate" (his word) acting class so that he can make better porn.

When we talked a few weeks ago, he was engrossed in a scene from the play Edmund by David Mamet, which he'd been working on for class.

He described Edmund as "born on third base," which he had to explain to me because I immediately went to the baseball-sex metaphor, which doesn't even make sense here. He likened "born on third base" to "born with a silver spoon in your mouth." Ok, got it.

In the course of the play, this family man (you get it: picket fence, office job) "in a flourish of self-centered, willful badness, casts off all of these trappings." Those are Parker's words, too. He's doing some casting off of his own these days.

The first fifteen minutes of our conversation was dominated by Mamet's play: the storyline, the description of the scene Parker is working on, and a little background on the class. Most of the other students are recent university graduates looking for connections, help with their showreel or insight into their portfolio. They're not sure if Parker is kidding when he says he acts in porn.

He's taking the course for two reasons: to get more skills as an actor and to make better porn. He wants to push himself to create something that's a little more beautiful.

"I would say that 99% of the time, the sex is just improvised," Parker said. "Just let it roll. Do what feels good, do what feels natural. If there's narrative involved, you'll get a script. If there's not, you just arrive and fuck."

Here was my chance. "There should always be a script!" I interjected. "I think most women would agree with me." Finally, I had the ear of someone in the industry. Why don't they all know this?

They do. "I think most people would agree with you," Parker said. "But here's the thing, they're not going to pay for a script when they can just say, 'ok, here's the set. You're fucking him. These are the positions. And um, yeah. Go for it.'" 

Sonia, who was making breakfast in the kitchen as Parker and I spoke on Skype, disagreed with me about the script. She told me later that she found it incredibly sexy, the idea that porn could be that natural. But of course, so much of what we've seen looks neither natural nor particularly enjoyable. As a result, it hasn't been a big part of our sex life.

Can porn be life-affirming? Yes, and! If it's going to be, we need smart, articulate people in the industry with a nuanced understanding of gender, sexuality and the cornucopia of possible acts of sex (Happy Thanksgiving!).

He talked about the challenge presented each day by his work:
Because the scripts are so loose, as loose as they are, the challenge is the big thing for me. I really enjoy being in that place and not being comfortable, and then being like 'I have to figure this out. This is difficult. How can I make this as good as it can be? How can I bring this to life?' I enjoy the creative elements of it: going through the script, seeing what I can put onto this. That's fascinating. Then, I really enjoy the physical performance side of fucking on-screen. That is terrifically enjoyable to me. 
He also talked about the path that led him to porn. The serendipity reminded me of the early days of my nonprofit organization: one person led to another led to another, and eventually you sat down across from the person who would help you realize your dream. But that explanation is too neat for Parker.

He described his continual progression -- from BDSM and a realization of gender politics, to the end of a relationship, to a party where he met a director, to other directors and eventually someone who would show him how to become an escort in a safe way -- as "little grains of sand that build the steps that I'm climbing up."

He wants me to resist neat stories, and warned about the easy meta-narrative that would do his story a disservice. "I wouldn't be in the position I'm in now without all those little details, and swimming my way, stumbling my way through gathering them up."

Parker is a philosopher who is still unsure whether words can serve his journey. He lives with depression and anxiety, half-imagined careers, memories of relationships that went from dynamic and challenging to stuck. Everything pulls him away from the trappings of Edmund at the beginning of the play.

"I've come to the realization that that's not how life works, you can't just will yourself" to have a certain career or life, he reflected. "You can't take the resources you have and decide to go from here to there. 'I'm going to go there, be that.' One of the reasons porn worked for me is because it's been organic."

I'm pretty sure Parker meant by organic, natural development or growth. But organic also connotes, "relating to living matter." The body. That rang truer. 

This man is a thinker. I remembered why I liked him so much, why we never ran out of things to talk about when we were nineteen and our world was just beginning. 

Although he's thinking about porn, and thinking about it in nuanced and artistic ways, the act of it may provide a little relief, an opportunity to be pure flesh. I wonder how often most of us live in our physical bodies this wholly. 

Sex or not, the experience of being wholly physical must produce an afterglow.

"When you come away from a day of filming and you feel like it's gone well, you're so buoyed up, it's so great. Teamwork is oftentimes really enjoyable...when the teamwork is working, it's kind of buzzing. You're in it together and the engine is rolling. That is exhilarating."

No comments:

Post a Comment