NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif.—David Bertolino is no stranger to classic adult movies. In writing his hit stage show The Deep Throat Sex Scandal, he interviewed actors, lawyers, law enforcement personnel and others to gain a complete picture of what happened to Deep Throat director Gerard Damiano and stars Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems during filming and after the movie's release in 1973 to a public that was largely unfamiliar with hardcore features. Soon after Scandal closed its 13-week run, Bertolino put together yet another event aimed at getting adult performers more mainstream attention. Called simply "The Hollywood Show," fans were invited into a large hall where adult performers signed autographs, sold memorabilia and chatted with their admirers.
In other words, for a guy who isn't really in the adult industry, David Bertolino knows a lot about it, and a lot about the people in it—which is part of the reason he's put together a series of shows called The Golden Age of Adult Cinema, where top actresses from the classic porn era will talk about their experiences in life and in XXX, answer questions, sign autographs, sell DVDs and other neat stuff, and generally make life a bit more pleasant for attendees.
"You know, I was chatting a while ago with Janie [Hamilton aka Veronica Hart] and Kay [Parker] and Penny [Antine aka scripter/photog Raven Touchstone], and I said, 'You know, one of these days, I'm going to do a gathering of the top iconic figures of the industry, and do a stage event, not unlike Inside The Actors Studio with James Lipton,'" Bertolino explained. "And so that's how this was conceived, and we're rolling it out next month.
"We've got 12 of these ladies, plus Janie's idea was to bring onto the panel on the stage some of the current top ladies, so I've indicated in some of the literature and on the especially that I'm adding a current actress guest to each weekend," he added. "In fact, Riley Reid just contacted us and she's going to do the first weekend with the four ladies we have scheduled, so it'll be the five of them. It's going to be great, and we're still looking for just the right women to add to the other two shows."
Each show, which is expected to last about 90 minutes, will have the actresses talk for about 10 minutes each about their lives and careers, with clips from some of their movies ushering them in and possibly playing soundlessly in the background during their talks. Then, after each actress has said her piece, all five will be brought on stage to be questioned by the show's emcee Nick Santa Maria.
"This moderator, Nick Santa Maria, is not from the industry, but he is a theater man, and he is somebody who will emulate James Lipton," Bertolini assured. "He's somebody who's going to be respectful, who'll put the ladies up on a pedestal, and who'll be gracious and even in awe of them, giving these ladies the attention and the consideration they deserve. I'm not saying people won't hear anything controversial, because I've asked them all to come up with some stories that might not have been revealed, maybe discussing some interesting encounters they've had with celebrities or their own celebrityhood, so it'll be things people didn't know about these ladies, which is great, and Janie is helping with that; she has the inside view of what questions aggravate the ladies and what they welcome and where it should go."
After the stage portion of the event is over, attendees will be welcomed into the theater's lobby, where the actresses will be seated at tables with photos, movie posters, DVDs and other materials they will autograph and sell, including any books they may have written. It's also in the lobby that the show's official after-party will take place, hosted by crossover star Ron Jeremy, as well as multi-award-winning director Paul Thomas and classic actor Herschel Savage.
"Penny Antine will be there, displaying her photographs from the times she was on adult sets, and many have never been seen before," Bertolino advised. "And when we were first talking about this, I said, 'Penny, give me a photograph; let me reproduce 20; let me have them numbered by you, and you can sell them at a fair price that's affordable and get these out circulating.' She's got phenomenal candid behind-the-scenes photographs of the movies that she was involved with as the company photographer. It's great stuff. And then the Westgate Gallery, where they had that gallery showing last spring, he's going to do a poster gallery for us, and they're all for sale and each one can be autographed by its stars. I invited him only to show posters of the five ladies that are there. He has a lot of each of the ladies' titles, so it's great that somebody will be able to get a poster and get it signed by the actual star that's on the poster."
As for the after-party itself, "We'll have an open wine bar, and there'll be five reds and six whites and some hors d'oeuvres, and it's going to be a great night," Bertolino assured. "Ron's inviting some of his mainstream celebrity friends to be in the audience. I saw the guest list; it's impressive, so if even a fraction of them come, it's going to be fun."
The fun begins Sunday, February 12 at 6 p.m.—"I didn't want it to be too late because people have to go to work the next day," Bertolino said—and will continue on the following two Sundays as well, at the Cupcake Theater, 11020 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Discount tickets for all three shows can be purchased .