Today is a monumental day for all of us here at VICE. Skinema, the humble porn review column that Chris Nieratko started writing for us four decades ago, has finally been turned into a show. Everyone at the office has been watching the first episode over and over today, alternating between gut-busting laughs and trying to stymie our boners.
If you don’t know the backstory, Chris made the first of his many XXX connections while working at Big Brother (R.I.P.), a skateboard magazine owned by porn impresario Larry Flynt. Since then he’s kept in touch with the ladies you regularly molest yourself to, and his new show is about their lives and times. The first episode focuses on Kimberly Kane, one of the most famous porn stars in the world, shooter of the Girls of Hollywood feature in our new Showbiz Issue, and Chris’s gal pal. I called Chris up to talk about sexy stuff.
Besides the porn ‘reviews’ you do for us, have you worked in the industry before, or were you making Skinema largely as an outsider?
I have made many home videos, and I’ve attempted to have people steal them from me so I could get rich off of a sex tape, but no one will take them. So I'm hoping this show will get picked up by a major cable station and thrust me into mega fame. Then I can have my sex tapes stolen and finally be rich and afford my children’s college.
You're going to see your kids through college with a sex tape?
I don't know, I might have to sell a few sex tapes. I'm told in the year 2027 that in-state college is going to be $250,000 for four years, so with two kids that will be half a million dollars on ice. I don't know what the going rate for a sex tape is these days.
You’d need Skinema to go real big. If you could direct a porn would it be themed, or just the classic P in V?
I'm a huge fan of themed porn. I am constantly texting the girls I know with these fantastic ideas—mostly fantastic titles—and they are always shooting them down. Like "Pussy on Rotisserie"—visually it doesn't look like it rhymes, but when you say it out loud it totally does. I just have this vision of a girl on a dick spit—one in her butt and one in her mouth. I don't know, maybe with CG we would rotate her? I haven't thought it out entirely, all I know is it would be great. Then there’s “The Scarlet Letter,” and “Blood Flows Red on the Highway.” Those are both period pieces, quote unquote. I just felt like with Saw and all that stuff, people like blood, so maybe a menstruation video would be a big hit.
How many porn sets do you think you visited while filming Skinema?
During the filming of Skinema, not too many, but when I lived in LA I would always get phone calls from friends telling me where the porn sets were because they knew I was a struggling writer and my refrigerator was generally empty. I would just go to the sets and steal sandwiches from craft services. They really do a fantastic job of catering those things. Except for one time I went to a Greg Dark all-anal set, and he made the mistake of having it catered with Mexican food. That was an absolutely stinky, disgusting mess at the end.
Gross. During your time on these porn sets did you ever get hit by a stray cum shot or anything?
No, but that almost happened once on the PATH train in Jersey City by a guy with a trench coat. Why is it that the masturbators always wear trench coats? It's such a dead giveaway. Anyway, he was beating off right over this woman's shoulder, but she didn’t see him and scream until the last second. Thank God she saw it at the last moment, because when she screamed and got hit I was able to dive out of the way.
What happened to the guy?
He got off at the next stop. It seemed like a regular Wednesday for him.
What was the first porn you ever saw?
I remember being very young, and it's the same story as pretty much any suburban kid I've come across. We used to ride bikes at dirt tracks around the house, and every now and then porno mags would surface. They would be at the dirt track, left outside, pages stuck together… an absolute mess. I remember being blown away by this photograph of a Japanese girl with her legs spread and a Samurai sword in her vagina. There was blood everywhere and I knew it was fake, but I let myself believe it was real and I instantly became fascinated. That was it. I've been trying to find a gal to stick a Samurai sword in ever since.
Maybe that's subconsciously informing your directorial ideas with the period pieces you want to do.
Yeah, I pitched a Godzilla-themed porn too. I don't think that’s been done. I want to have everyone in it wearing limited edition Nikes so I can hit two demographics at the same time.
Since you probably know some of the tricks of the trade, I want to ask you, do they ever shoot the cum shot first and then get the nuts and bolts fuckin’ part later, when the actors aren’t playing against the clock?
No, for the most part these guys are trained professionals. So when you say, “All right, it's time!” they cum without hesitation. But there are also times when guys can't cum—they just keep going and going, that’s when they bring out the fake cum. It's made with hand soap, and that's some old-school movie magic right there. It takes a real skilled actor to pull off a convincing fake cum shot.
With those scenes you wouldn't be able to show the dick, right? It would just be a stream coming from somewhere off-screen?
That's what you would think—that's what I would think—but it's not the case. I have been fooled into thinking I was watching a real cum shot in an extreme close-up, and later found out it was actually fake jizz.
I don't understand how that works, but I'll take your word for it.
I don't understand it either, but they have told me it's just movie magic.
The first episode of Skinema is a four-parter focusing on Kimberly Kane, and you guys seem to be pretty good pals. How did you meet her?
My old roommate, I believe. He's a photographer and Kimberly's boyfriend. He’s in the third episode. His name is Dennis McGrath, and he studied under Larry Clark. He was my roommate when I worked at Big Brother, and when my Skinema book came out ages ago, I had a reading in LA that I ended up getting too drunk to read at, and he came to show face and he brought her. We were instant buddies after that.
Who else do you have coming up?
Next we have Joanna Angel from burningangel.com, she started the whole tattoo porn site thing—that whole trend was thanks to her. She's a Jersey girl, so she's an obvious one. Then after that is Belladonna, who I think was recently inducted into the porn hall of fame. She's an amazing, tiny little thing with a daughter, which I think is amazing because she's Super Mom and I'm Super Dad, so her and I tend to talk more about our kids than anal sex.
It seems like you’re trying to show a side of porn in Skinema that most people don’t ever really think about.
Yeah, I'm trying to show a side of porn that's not deer in headlights. I'm sure I will interview some of those girls, but I'm trying to talk to girls who are kind of redefining what you think about when you think of a porn star. I want the girl who owns her own company and directs her own movies and wears a bunch of different hats as well as taking a bunch of different dicks. I find these girls super interesting. In an industry run by men, these girls are staging a coup and handling their own business. That kind of stuff is more interesting than just some big-titted bimbo.
It's really interesting to get a glimpse into their personal lives.
What's more interesting than anything to me is what leads them to be in porn, or if their starts in porn were especially horrific. We hear about Kimberly Kane getting choked nearly to death on her first visit to a porn set, and still coming back and wanting to do it. It's that kind of stuff that really interests me more than the act of fucking.
What sparked the idea for the show?
The reality is, I'm not a versatile writer. I write about the things I love. I write about porn, skateboarding, and food. VICE already has an amazing skateboarding show with Epicly Later’d, so I figured I’d do a porn show. That's really it. I've got to put my kids through college and hopefully these girls will help me do it.
You've got to sell that sex tape.
I know. I'm kind of like a literary stripper just trying to put my kids through college.
Watch Chris and Kimberly in the first episode of Skinema right here.