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Friday, August 19, 2011

Here's to the Late Spalding Gray: Monologist. Raconteur. Porn Star.

Posted By on Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Spalding Gray is my hero, and the only celebrity death to bring me to tears in the past decade. The brutal honesty and humor in his monologues, Swimming to Cambodia being the one you've probably seen, has always been equal parts inspiration and rationalization for my own TMI-heavy writing. If Gray could do the things he's done, and then write about it -- and talk about it in front of audiences, no less -- then so can I.

Among the many things Gray never tried to hide was the fact he did porn, even writing about it in his roman à clef Impossible Vacation. It's a fictionalized account, but that's what roman à clef means. (The More You Know!)

As a Spalding Gray completist, I'm proud to have liberated from the video store I used to work at in Fresno legally and rightfully own a VHS copy of Zebedy Colt's 1976 The Farmer's Daughters.

click to enlarge 02_SpaldingGray_Farmer_sDaughters.jpg

In what feels like a revival of the moribund roughie genre from the 1960s (i.e. The Defilers or Bad Girls Go To Hell), The Farmer's Daughters is a grimy piece of work even by '70s porn standards. A skinny, bearded Spalding plays one of three escaped convicts who happen upon a farmhouse where plenty of unshaven 16mm sex has already been going on, and rapey wackiness ensues.

I'm not sure what the hell is happening in the final five minutes, but I think a shotgun blast causes one of those "the Enterprise keeps blowing up"-style loops in the space-time continuum. It's weird.

Spalding would go on to make one more (known) adult film, Radley Metzger's Maraschino Cherry. He's also rumored to also be in Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks, but he isn't. So stop spreading that rumor, okay? Have a little respect for the dead. Jeez.

Sherilyn Connelly is a San Francisco-based writer. She also curates and hosts Bad Movie Night at The Dark Room, every Sunday at 8pm.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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