By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Putting Faith in Dog
Linda Blair had set up her puppy adoption on the grass in front of a tack store in Burbank’s equestrian neighborhood. On a folding table were brochures about her animal-rescue organization, World Heart Foundation, and her book, GoingVegan.A mounted poster implored, "Break the Chains That Bind." It showed Blair in a half shirt and femmed-up cargo pants holding a muscular pit bull by a chain. She gave the camera a sizzling look. The poster was meant to educate about the evils of dogfighting, but I couldn’t help wondering if it was not also a reference to her 1983 women’s-prison sexploitation film, ChainedHeat.
She was giving a pep talk to a teenage boy who was taking a shepherd pup home when I noticed her.
"You’re going to like him. He’s groovy," Blair said. "He’s not like these other guys." She shoved a handful of dog biscuits in his hand. "Remember, no treat unless he sits first." Then, Blair expertly demonstrated getting the pup to sit and come. I listened for any hint of the insanity that sometimes comes with those who devote themselves to animals, especially those who were also mega-stars in their early teens, thanks to movies about Satan, and who later went on to have trouble with drugs and the law.
I sensed perhaps a slight over-identification with abused puppies, but no insanity.
"I’m all about education," she told me.
She talked about her group’s efforts to eradicate dogfighting, to promote spaying and neutering, and to expose "backyard breeders" of inevitably diseased animals. As she spoke, she moved almost imperceptibly closer to me. She had the habit of shutting her eyes for a long time, maybe 10 seconds, as she spoke. I have noticed this tic in others and tried it out myself to see what the benefit is. In Blair’s case, it probably has to do with taking a break from a lifetime of being looked at. In any case, it gave me the opportunity to look her over frankly, as though she were sleeping or dead. I examined her eye shadow, her age lines, her foundation and her chemical-ravaged hair.
It was odd to gaze into the face of someone I had never met, yet felt I knew. Of course, the image of her rotating head was iconic. But the movie that seared Linda Blair into my brain when I was 11 was 1974’s BornInnocent.It tapped into something very deep. I knew a million girls like the character she played — older girls who were tough and tender, blandly describing all sorts of sexual violation as though it were as common to being a teenager as bad skin. The infamous reform-school broom-handle rape scene had disturbed me — in part because it had aroused me, there’s no denying it. I figured that’s what lesbians did, and promptly grew up to be one.
Blair stared down into the puppy pen, trying to find the words to describe her feelings about animal abuse. "I get sad. I get . . ." She looked up, so close now I could smell her breath, which was not unpleasant. "I get mad. And when I get mad, I do things."
I didn’t doubt it.
"This is Sunny," she said, pointing to a banged-up brindle pit in the brochure. "He followed me home one day and changed my life. My mother had just died from cancer. I was depressed. I call him Sunny because he brought sunshine into my life."
To Boldly Go Where No Woman Seems To Have Gone Before
"Does that do anything for YOU?" a man in a bar asks me about what’s on the TV. And he’s not talking about "the game." He’s referring to nonstop, hardcore man-on-man porn.
While I do prefer men’s genitalia in a partner, when said genitalia prefers the entanglement of its doppelgänger, the attraction doesn’t quite do it for me. So no.
But I don’t really feel like explaining this to my new friend. I must give him credit, though, for being the only man in this bar to approach me with a question that, judging by the looks I’m getting, he isn’t the only one wondering. You learn a few things after a while when you’re the only woman in a gay leather bar.
Sipping my drink, I feel like some sort of socio-anthropological experiment, or more precisely, like a toy gorilla in a room full of real gorillas. Lone gay men eye me up and down from a distance. A few circle and then retreat to their barstools.
The bartender — wearing nothing but two tea towels pinned together — pours me a drink but won’t take my money, shooing away my bills with my tumbler of Cuervo on the rocks.
Another thing: They don’t call ’em blowjobs for nothing. After more than an hour of mantastic videos, the work of giving head for the camera is starting to look about as exciting as pile driving. My fave involves a bodybuilder, a swimming pool and, for some reason, scrambled eggs.
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