AVN.COM BUSINESS PROFILE - Bizarre Video: Post-Divorce, Back on Its Feet

When Keith Gordon speaks, two things stand out in his voice: the New York accent and the disappointment it’s still tinged with over the short-lived merger of his company, Bizarre Video, with Jill Kelly Productions.

After being practically synonymous with Brooklyn for many years, Gordon in 2004 uprooted the fetish production company that his father Morty founded, and moved it west to Los Angeles to join forces with JKP, only to have the marriage promptly fall apart some six months later.

Earlier this year, the companies divorced and Bizarre moved out of the North Hollywood building it shared with JKP into new headquarters in Chatsworth (the old Fat Dog building).

Legally, there’s not much Gordon can say about the split other than “it just didn’t work out.” (JKP declined to comment for this article.)

Besides, what’s the point of dwelling on it? Gordon realizes he has little choice but to put the experience behind him and focus his energies on revitalizing Bizarre, arguably adult’s premiere specialty company, post-breakup.

“Once we were in the new building, it took us a week to get back up and running,” Gordon, whose title is vice president, said of his staff of a dozen or so (including his nephew Adam Hasner). “We know this business like the back of our hand. So to get back in business, back in production, back in shipping … it wasn’t complicated. It’s second nature to me.”

Gordon is using his company’s new single status to pursue some hot new directions.

“Basically what we’re doing is we’re going in a sexier fetish direction,” he said. “More couple oriented. We’re still the largest fetish company in the world. We have over 1,300 titles. We’re still doing deals with Playboy cable. We’re the only fetish company that does that.”

To reflect that new sexier look, Bizarre is redesigning its box covers.

“They’re looking amazing,” Gordon said. “I mean, the first new-look releases are coming out now, and people are saying, ‘I can’t believe the difference.’”

Bizarre is, of course, continuing its bread-and-butter established lines covering the full spectrum of fetish tastes — bondage, both male and female dominant, lesbian bondage, big boob, spanking, she-male, foot fetish, wrestling and enema. They include such long-running flagship series as Leather Bound Dykes From Hell and Nina Hartley’s Private Sessions, plus newer ones like Fetish World, Desires of a Dominatrix and Divas of Domination. Bizarre titles produced after the split obviously will not feature any of the JKP contract girls, as did the titles produced during the brief merger, a dividend Gordon at the time said was enabling Bizarre titles to reach a broader audience.

“We have all those categories, which no other fetish company does,” Gordon said. “So we’re a one-stop for fetish. We don’t make [hardcore] sex movies because we don’t want to compete with the big companies”

A few years back though, at Playboy TV’s request, Bizarre flirted with hardcore content, producing such titles as Ribbons of Desire and Sex Games, and while Gordon said they sold well and were popular on cable, “again, that’s not our business. So unless Playboy wants it, I’m not just gonna make it. We stick to what we know.”

Bizarre is again distributing titles from high-end fetish company Gwen Media, which it previously distributed, and those of Gothix, which Gordon described as “a hot latex/rubber line.”

In all, Gordon is releasing 10 titles a month — four each from Bizarre and Gwen Media and two from Gothix.

“We’re talking to a couple of [hardcore] sex companies as well, high end, to distribute their product, too,” he said. “One of the companies is called Outback Productions. Nicole London. Straight sex line. Something different. Not anything that we currently have, which I think is a very good idea.”

Despite his lingering disappointment, Gordon concedes that one good thing came out of the move west (Bizarre still maintains an office back in Brooklyn).

“We’re shooting everything out here now, so it’s good that I’m here,” he noted. “Before I used to have to fly out a lot. Now I’ve got a more hands-on approach.”

As for the future, Gordon says it appears “extremely promising.”

“Within a month’s time, we’re back in business, shipping new releases to the numbers and quota that we anticipated,” he said. “The new lines that we brought in are already getting positive results. We don’t go to 100 different items like other companies do. We stick to fetish. We know fetish. You could buy everything from us.

“Listen, very few people could walk into a building in a week and say, ‘OK, we’re back in business.’ We had Larry Fields from Fat Dog, he helped us tremendously, giving us this building and leaving us shelves and desks and telephones. The relationships that we have, when people heard that we split, they bought a tremendous amount of product from us to help us get back on our feet. So you don’t know before, years ago, that when you create a rapport with people, and you have a good atmosphere and a positive approach with everybody, later on in life they help you.”

Sounds like the start of a happy ending.

Bizarre Video can be contacted at 818.727.7140, (fax) 818.727.0328; [email protected]