Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Rialto Report: A Recommendation

I wrote about The Rialto Report back in October, but having followed the site since that time, I wanted to pen a more general recommendation. Why? Because it's an outstanding piece of film history in the making.

The Rialto Report chronicles stories that probably would not otherwise be told. Generally, film scholarship focuses on the most popular or the most artistic. The Rialto Report goes against that grain by focusing on adult films and their corresponding subculture. However, it's all done with a seriousness and scholarship that puts to shame lesser sites that focus on "real" movies.

I have often told this story, but I am more interested in the people who work in adult films than the actual films. I'm fascinated by that sort of life, which from the outside seems impossibly glamorous and hedonistic. In some respects, it can be, but the reality is that so-called "porn stars" are a lot closer to just regular folks doing a job than famous superstars. That doesn't mean they can't be glamorous people or serious actors (I know, this might surprise you, but it's actually true); it's simply that they are not rich and famous in the way we'd imagine.

The Rialto Report shines in telling their stories, the men and women both in front of and behind the cameras. Some are sad tales indeed, and there are those who have chosen to focus entirely on this and paint a dire and grim picture. Yet there are also plenty of stories on the Rialto Report filled with hope and optimism and love. I'm not sure how anyone could listen to the interview with Richard Pacheco/Howie Gordon and not come away absolutely enthralled.

It's life. There's happiness and sadness, triumph and tragedy. It's the human experience, not exclusive to pornography.

The Rialto Report takes its subjects seriously, but also is a lot of fun. In dragging explicit movies from "The Golden Age of Porn" out of the ghetto and into the limelight, Ashley West, April Hall and company are enriching all of us. Take some time, give them a listen, and explore the site. Don't be surprised if you find yourself hooked.

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