A visit with Colby Keller

(Though there’s a substantial amount in this posting on art, books, and fashion, there’s also quite a lot about men’s bodies and man-man sex, in very plain language, so it’s not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Posted on AZBlogX on the 31st, “X-rated Colby Keller”, with five shots of artist and gay pornstar Colby Keller (who appeared on this blog in a 5/7/13 posting “The protean Colby Keller”, about “mail art”, gay porn, and playfulness): three from Mike McKinley, which can be arranged in a sequence, though they were taken at different times: CK unzipping in preparation for sex, CK exhibiting his body, and especially his substantial hard cock; and CK with gay pornstar Duncan Black, immediately post-fuck. Then two from Chris Ambidge: one showing CK doing a stool-lift, exhibiting his very considerable strength and balance; and one with CK displaying a favorite art book (more on the book soon), which had to go on AZBlogX because that substantial hard cock of his is standing up right in front of the book.

Before I get into the art and the steamy sex, here’s a pleasant, somewhat eccentric shot of CK amidst a field of flowers in Maine in 2014:

(#1)

CK is red-haired and changes his appearance fairly often. He’s 35 and thinking about retiring from porn. Meanwhile, he’s a strong presence in social media: he tweets (under several identities, but @colbykeller is the basic one), maintains a blog with a very large following, Big Shoe Diaries, and has a busy tumblr account (i-see-penis by cheese helen; CK is “Colby as in Cheese, Keller as in Helen”). He is endlessly playful and also constantly outrageous, and enthusiastic about sex, especially fucking (where he’s equally into topping and bottoming; asked by an interviewer about his sexual orientation, which is in fact gay gay gay, he paused for a moment to consider the question and then firmly replied, “anal”); he’s also thoughtful, widely read, and gives wonderful interviews.

From Wikipedia:

Colby Keller (born October 18, 1980) is an American visual artist, blogger, and adult actor. His career in adult film started in 2004 at Sean Cody and has since expanded to include such studios as Cocksure Men, Randy Blue, Titan Men, Falcon, CockyBoys and Men.com. Keller has amassed a large fan base with both his films and his long-standing blog, The Big Shoe Diaries.

… Born October 18, 1980 in Michigan, Colby Keller was raised in Texas,where he graduated from the University of Houston, with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. In addition he is a graduate of The Maryland Institute College of Art, with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Visual and Performing Arts.

He has two identities and (until recently) largely separate lives. One is as a university-trained artist (in several forms, but much of it one kind of performance art or another) and scholar of artists and art history; in this guise, he hangs out a lot with artists, and they pay him the favor of drawing him, painting him, and taking photographs of him. Here are two drawings, one by Sai Hendrij, one by Paul Rob Wright (cropped here so as not to have to go onto AZBlogX):

(#2)

(#3)

His other identity is as a very public personality, the gay pornstar Colby Keller. Recently, his gay porn work has more and more taken on the character of a kind of performance art, and his performance art proper has increasingly incorporated deeply X-rated gay sex acts. In addition, he’s taken up male modeling, but not the usual sort of modeling celebrities in sports and porn go into because of their very attractive bodies; instead, he’s been modeling women’s clothes for the designer Vivienne Westwood (there will eventually be photos). I did say outrageous above.

But first, some more art, in particular the art book he’s displaying, along with his hard dick, in #5 on the AZBlogX posting: Paul Thek: Artist’s Artist, ed. by Harald Falckenberg & Peter Weibel, MIT Press 2009.

(#4)

From the publisher’s blurb on amazon.com:

Paul Thek occupied a place between high art and low art, between the epic and the everyday. During his brief life (1933-1988), he went against the grain of art world trends, humanizing the institutional spaces of art with the force of his humor, spirituality, and character. Twenty years after Thek’s death from AIDS, we can now recognize his influence on contemporary artists ranging from Vito Acconci and Bruce Nauman to Matthew Barney, Mike Kelley, and Paul McCarthy, as well as Kai Althoff, Jonathan Meese, and Thomas Hirschhorn. This book brings together more than 300 of Thek’s works — many of which are published here for the first time — to offer the most comprehensive display of his work yet seen. The book, which accompanies an exhibition at ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art presenting Thek’s work in dialogue with contemporary art by young artists, includes painting, sculpture, drawing, and installation work, as well as photographs documenting the room-size environments into which Thek incorporated elements from art, literature, theater, and religion. These works chart Thek’s journey from legendary outsider to foundational figure in contemporary art. In their antiheroic diversity, Thek’s works embody the art revolution of the 1960s; indeed, Susan Sontag dedicated her classic Against Interpretation to him. Thek’s treatment of the body in such works as “Technological Reliquaries,” with their castings and replicas of human body parts, tissue, and bones, both evoke the aura of Christian relics and anticipate the work of Damien Hirst. The book, with more than 500 images (300 in color) and nineteen essays by art historians, curators, collectors, and artists, investigates Thek’s work on its own terms, and as a starting point for understanding the work of the many younger artists Thek has influenced.

(Unfortunately, the book is out of print, and the prices for used copies are sky-high.)

CK in earlier enties on AZBlogX:

4/1/13: Easter threesomes (link): one shot of CK displaying his body; two shots of CK, Conner Habib, and Girth Brooks in a threesome (from Laid Off)

5/7/13: Sex with Colby Keller (link): on Big Shoe Diaries; entries about CK getting fucked by John Magnum, fucking Zach Alexander; videos of In Bed with Colby Keller, giving sex advice

5/22/13: Dale Cooper (link): two shots of Cooper and CK, goofing around in the water and crossing swords/penises

4/6/15: Cumshots and cumfaces (link): shot of cumfaced CK (another thing he likes a lot)

And in “The protean Colby Keller” on this blog: mail art and the Fluxus movement; Keller’s self-description on his Twitter account (“Artist, Blogger, Porn Star, Video Sexpert for Manhunt.Net’s Get In Bed with Colby Keller, I SEE PENIS aficionado: I SEE PENIS refers to Keller’s enthusiasm for finding phallic images all over the place); publicity shot of CK; shot of CK getting his chest hair shaved; shot of CK displaying an art book (not the one on Thek); penis-hugging Paper Colby doll (made by Canadian comic book artist and writer J. Bone)

Now from a 1/25/16 interview by Tim Teeman in the Daily Beast:

From Porn Star to Fashion Star: Colby Keller on Vivienne Westwood, Sex for Money, and Fighting Gay Conservatism: As Colby Keller becomes Vivienne Westwood’s muse, he talks candidly about a tough coming out, attempted suicide, and how sex and porn liberated him.

In one shot for Vivienne Westwood’s new womenswear campaign, the gay porn star Colby Keller is in red thigh-high boots, a tiny pair of bikini briefs, and a tatty-looking — though probably very expensive — housecoat.

In another picture he is in a green mesh dress, and in another an off-the-shoulder, skin-tight frock, with a cutout over an impressive pectoral. In a third, he is wearing a blue T-shirt, blue briefs, and yellow ankle boots.

He poses full frontal, with modesty cleverly protected, in another Westwood shot, in a black evening coat and black boots; and another picture has him in a kind of white jumpsuit meets Regency dandy that recalls New Romanticism at its most gender-blurry.

The 35-year-old Keller — a 6-foot, 200-pound, handsome drink of water, with beard, big arms, hairy chest, and friendly smile — might not appear to be the first choice for a male model for womenswear: He is far from waif-like and androgynous.

He is — as his fans know him through his videos for distributors including Sean Cody, Randy Blue, CockyBoys, and others — rugged, bearded, and muscular.

The shoot was a break from Keller’s Colby Does America project, in which he aims to have sex [actually, he says “fuck”] on camera with someone in every state (he is up to 49).

The Westwood shoot was his first high-profile non-porn gig. When we met at The Daily Beast offices — he with his husband and publicist, the fabulously named Karl Marks — Keller said the fashion shoot may have derived from a picture of him in vintage Westwood trousers that his friend, the designer Bernhard Willhelm, sent to Andreas Kronthaler, Westwood’s husband.

The bits of life story that follow are thoughful, moving, sometimes harrowing. CK has some nice things to say about the mysteries of sexual chemistry, a matter of obvious concern to a man who makes one part of his living as a pornstar and who is engaged in digging up new partners in every state of the union.

Some shots from CK’s Westwood gig, starting with one that could have been a standard (male) underwear shot, except for those cute yellow boots:

(#5)

Then CK looking slutty in those big red boots and that tatty housedress (and those minimal bikini briefs):

(#6)

And finally, fetching in white and black:

(#7)

These are not even remotely drag performances, or even performances in an area where one sex might be seen as blending into the other, but instead are boldly gender-mixed performances, with strongly asserted masculinity combined comfortably with trappings of femininity.

Now to Colby Does America. First the title, a play on Debbie Does Dallas, but without the alliteration and entirely with guys. Digression on DDD: from Wikipedia:

Debbie Does Dallas is a 1978 pornographic film starring Bambi Woods. The plot of the film focuses on a team of cheerleaders attempting to earn enough money to send the titular character to Dallas, Texas, to try out for the famous “Texas Cowgirls” cheerleading squad. The fictional name “Texas Cowgirls” was seen as a take on the real-life Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Woods had previously tried out for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders in real life, but was cut during auditions. The film was highly successful, selling 50,000 copies when it made it to videotape, making it the most successful video release of a porn film in its time. It is regarded as one of the most important releases during the so-called “Golden Age of Porn”, and remains one of the best-known pornographic films.

Contrary to the title, the film is not set in Dallas nor does the eponymous Debbie “do” anyone in or from Dallas.

(#8)

Back to CK and his cross-country fucking. Here’s CK in one of a number of come-ons:

(#9)

(Some political content here, in sympathy both with those begging for work and with sex workers.)

The Colby Does America site has all sorts of stuff, including an appeal for money and a Whorestore, where you can buy stuff of CK’s (at substantial prices) to support the project. The News section has updates on the progress of the project, And you can browse through the states and select the video for any state that’s been finished, where “finished” means that CK chose his partner(s) and the setting for their encounter, selected collaborators for the project, had the encounter videotaped, and got it edited it down (often supplying music, and sometimes accompanying text with commentary). The videos are wildly disparate in tone and content (and length, though none is very long) — each one is in fact an art porn project on its own — and they’ve been edited to highlight parts that appealed to CK, so if you were hoping to see CK fucking (in either role) in every state, you’ll be disappointed: sometimes the fuck scene didn’t make the cut.

Three states. First, Ohio. Brief clip (1:38) set in the woods, CK getting his cock sucked.

Then, California. An ambitious piece directed by Justin Jorgensen, ““Plywood Wilderness”, set in The Zone: A Private Playground for Men, a Los Angeles sex club. CK wanders through the plywood wilderness for sex. A few from a fairly long section in a cubicle with three glory holes, two on opposed walls, one on the floor. Cocks appear in all three, and CK takes them all, sucking the one on the floor and jacking the two others. Later a rose appears in one of the holes; CK studies it in awe, smells it, fingers his anal rosette, inviting someone to fuck him.

Commentary by the director:

“Like much of my work, themes of masculine presentation, environment design, and solitude, are all in this piece.

I’m interested in sex spaces, how we choose them and/or design them, and our behavior in those spaces.

LA is a massive metropolis, but the nature here remains a part of the city. Coyotes on the sidewalk, deer crossing Mulholland, vines draping off the freeway overpass.

I wanted to bring that nature into the sex club space, which is artificial and fabricated. Synthesized techno playing. No windows. It’s the indoor (legal) version of (illegal) cruising in a public park or “wilderness” area. The act of sex, and literally “being on the prowl” is a very natural, maybe our most natural, animal behavior. So I wanted to address that tension, maybe excitement, that happens when we flirt with being an animal in an urban space.

In this film, amid the plywood partitions and cinder block passages of the sex club the outdoors to creep in like a memory or subconscious longing, and the experience becomes surreal and dreamlike, which is exactly what going to a sex club can be like.“ – Justin

Digression on Jorgensen. JJ has an Instagram page here and his own webpage here. And here, from the amazon.com page for his first book (with a foreword by Todd Oldham), Obscene Interiors: Hardcore Amateur Decor, Baby Tattoo Press 2004, paperback 2015:

From Publishers Weekly: Very post–”Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” this hilarious collection of photos drawn from Internet personal ads put the average Joe’s interior decorating under close scrutiny. What’s funniest about this slim and trim collection is that the men who originally placed the ads have been “grayed out”—reduced to solid silhouettes so as not to detract from the full effects of their decorating faux-pas (though likely Jorgensen’s initial impulse to obscure them had more to do with legal reasons). Those effects are heightened by arch captions from Jorgensen (justinspace.com), who writes of a gray figure sprawled out on a hideous plaid couch: “Who really cares if the couch clashes with the carpet? … It’s your place and it should make you happy.” Other highlights include a figure manacled to a bed made up with leather sheets. “And, you’d better condition the leather before you use them,” Jorgensen quips, “or your sweat will leave white sweat marks that will look like mildew.” The photos are smallish and low quality, in keeping with their Internet sources, with Jorgensen commenting (with a wealth of double-entendres) on each crime against good taste. Will this book make men rethink what’s around them when they’re posing for their photos? As Todd Oldham says in his foreword, “as evidenced in almost every photo, we have tragic spatial issues when it comes to hanging art and objects.” Or perhaps some people actually find fake wood paneling, bow-hunting equipment and overused leather armchairs irresistibly sexy.

About the Author: Justin Jorgensen, born in Fargo, North Dakota, moved to Los Angeles and began working as a designer. [BFA, 1997, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia] In 1999 he created the pop culture based, JustinSpace.com and the hysterical online feature “Obscene Interiors.” Now an Internet Provocateur, he has also designed music videos, created theme park attractions and sold candy at the circus.

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One sample:

(#11)

Back to Colby Does America and another state with a complex video, namely New York, which can be viewed here. This is a festival of cross-dressing, piles of gay sex (cocks in action every 4 or 5 seconds), outrageous costumes and props in intense hallucinogenic colors, and (performed by CK) masturbation as an art form. You have been warned.

The piece is a collaboration involving three parties: CK. the NYC avant-garde gay designer Brad Callahan under his label’s name BCALLA (the video served as an introduction to the BCALLA Fall/Winter 2015 collection), and the NYC gay porn studio CockyBoys (love the name), for which CK has acted a number of times; in addition to CK, the CockyBoys participants in the video are Levi Karter, Levi Michaels, Liam Riley, Ricky Roman, and Tayte Hanson.

Here’s a pair of stills from the video in which cocks are not, at the moment visible:

(#12)

The same actor (I think Ricky Roman, but I could be wrong) fucking a toy, on the left, and offering his ass for fucking, on the rght.

CockyBoys is not your run-of-the-mill gay porn studio. From Wikipedia:

CockyBoys is a New York City-based producer of gay internet pornography. Managed by CEO Jake Jaxson and his two partners, RJ Sebastian and Benny Morecock, the site has drawn attention from inside and outside the adult industry for blending arthouse erotica and experimental film with mainstream-style genre films. The 2012 reality television feature film Project GoGo Boy is considered the studio’s breakout hit.

Though CockyBoys primarily releases content through its website, the studio also manufactures a popular DVD line through EuroMedia Distribution. In addition to digital media, CockyBoys partnered with Bruno Gmünder in 2014 and published a book of erotic photography titled A Thing of Beauty, leading to an international book tour.

Footnote. I have seven CockyBoys DVDs, all released in 2010-12. With one exception, these are strictly episodic flicks, with four or five scenes, each with different actors, and with no unifying thread beyond some goal of gay desire — fucking / being fucked hard, mostly. The exception is 2011’s Name of the Game, CockyBoys’ first “narrative” DVD, with an overarching theme about three guys trying to make it in New York. It even has some “arty” editing. The rest of the set, interesting perhaps because of their names:

Revenge (2010), Ride Me (2010); Fuck the Pain Away (2011), Tough Love (2011); Break Him In (2012), Crazy for Cock (2012)

When The Name of the Game was released, the studio promised a sequel The Making of a GoGo Boy; it looks like this is what turned into Project GoGo Boy.

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