BEVERLY HILLS—It was a night that's unlikely ever to be recreated. We're talking about the gathering of 15 adult stars from the classic era—porn's "golden age"—to help promote the most recent book about them, Jill Nelson's Golden Goddesses, a tome of nearly 950 pages that, according to Nelson, took more than three years to write, and contains the life stories of 25 classic performers.
Former talent agent Bill Margold served as Master of Ceremonies for the event, which drew a capacity crowd to the Hustler Hollywood store at 8920 Sunset Boulevard, and just trying to get the actresses to stop signing autographs briefly and take part in the short book-release ceremony seemed more like a job of herding cats.
The "goddesses" present for the event included Serena, Amber Lynn, Ginger Lynn, Laurie Holmes (widow of John), Kay Parker, Veronica Hart, Annie Sprinkle, Nina Hartley, Christy Canyon, Kelly Nichols, Sharon Mitchell, Rhonda Jo Petty, softcore star Kitten Natividad, Exhausted director Julia St. Vincent and screenwriter Raven Touchstone—but that's hardly all.
Spotted in the crowd were actresses Tori Welles, Kelly O'Dell, Alexandra Silk and Debi Diamond; actors Richard Pacheco, John Seeman, Luc Wylder and Scotty Schwartz; directors Bob Chinn (perhaps best remembered for his "Johnny Wadd" series), Loretta Sterling, formerly of Totally Tasteless Video, Ernest Greene, Wesley Emerson and Dana Dane of Erocktavision.
Calling it "the best program ever created from the adult industry," and noting that Sprinkle had deemed it "the ultimate pajama party," Margold introduced each of the actresses to the crowd, which pressed in close for photo (and video) opportunities that they likely would never see again.
One actress who couldn't be in attendance was Gloria Leonard, but she had sent a letter expressing her feelings about the (then-impending) gathering, which Margold read to the crowd.
"I am very proud and humbled to be included in Jill Nelson's definitive book about the golden age of adult movies," the letter began. "Hey, back in the day, they were movies, shot on either 16 or 35 film. I have nothing against video, but celluloid provided a certain depth of field and skill by all involved at the time... Along with my many sisters-at-arms, I'm sure there were many times when they were overjoyed by the results of a film, and others when they wished they could hide under their seat. Jill has compiled a rare homage to the women who did it all, and I am flattered that she chose to include me. And to all the other brave, ballsy babes whom Jill selected and some who were not, due to space constraints—no doubt perhaps there'll be a Volume 2—all I can say is, being in the adult industry gave me more than I can list here: Opportunities to travel, meet great people, make some lifetime friends, have my own TV show, speak at colleges and universities, and much more."
Margold then introduced Nelson, who thanked everyone for appearing "to support this book and to support all of you ladies who are legends in this industry," and Hustler for sponsoring the event.
Fearing that she'd give one or more of the actresses short shrift if she read some excerpts from her book's individual chapters, she instead quoted a section from the book's introduction—which she accomplished more easily with Kay Parker acting as her bookstand while she read.
"My idea for each woman to share her own story openly was surprisingly met with a positive reception when I pitched it to a few of the females I'd gotten to know," she stated. "I remember speaking at first with Rhonda Jo Petty in the spring of 2009. Petty was enthusiastic about the concept and encouraged me to get started. In September 2009, I packed up my little black Yaris on a sunny Sunday morning, and traveled east to Montreal to interview Seka."
Nelson continued, describing that first meeting with Seka and her husband, following with, "Afterwards, Seka promised to put me in touch with some of her legendary girlfriends: Kay Parker, Veronica hart, Gloria Leonard and Annie Sprinkle. True to her word, by the end of September, I had established interview dates with all four ladies. One thing led to another, and soon I had enough material and additional contacts to begin piecing together a chronological history of the lives and times of these fascinating women."
After Nelson finished reading her excerpts, the actresses continued signing autographs until it was time for a group photo-op, and later, some champagne and the cutting of a ceremonial cake which had been carved and decorated in the shape of an open Golden Goddesses book.
It was a congenial evening, with many "old-timers" renewing acquaintances with people they hadn't seen in decades, and an ample crowd of "newbies" getting their first exposure to performers they'd probably jacked off to as teenagers.
The festivities had begun well before the official 7:30 starting time, and when we left shortly after 9 pm, the party was still going fairly strong—and like Margold, we too can't wait for a Volume 2.
As we previously noted, a second signing will take place tonight at Larry Edmunds Bookshop in the heart of Hollywood. There will be readings, a slide show, and a discussion of the '70s Golden Age with several of the "Golden Goddesses." Larry Edmunds Bookshop is located at 6644 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood. The signing will begin at 7:30 pm. Seating will be limited, but attendance can be guaranteed with advance purchase of Golden Goddesses while space is available. Call Larry Edmunds Bookshop for details at 323-463-3273.
Pictured, top l-r: Annie Sprinkle, Nina Hartley, Sharon Mitchell, Jill C. Nelson; bottom, l-r: Laurie Holmes, Ginger Lynn, Amber Lynn, Serena.