A quick intro for the uninitiated: ChiChi LaRue is a maelstrom force in the world of all-male porn. She’s directed countless videos, launched the careers of hundreds of stars, and given a face and larger-than-life persona to the industry.
To put it bluntly, ChiChi’s a real piece of work. Uncompromisingly rude and with a real penchant for obscenity, ChiChi seems to physically embody what pornography is about. Her gleeful embrace of depravity and all its trappings is, I think, a stance of some genius: it helps to make everyone else feel better about their own perversity.
So what is the secret of her success?
I’m lucky because I am this persona, this big drag queen that gets to meet a lot of people, says ChiChi’s alter ego, Larry Pacciotti. As ChiChi, a lot of people are drawn to me. Because of my drag, I’ve been able to promote myself. So when other directors get mad at me for having discovered new talent, I tell them -“ gain some weight, and put on a wig.
ChiChi may attract the porn wannabes, but the drag persona has another function, she reveals: there is something about its extremity, its very outrageousness, that helps create an environment for the performers where everything is permitted and anything is possible.
I seem to be able to get performances out of these models that other people can’t, because they’re comfortable with me, she says. They feel that if I ask them to do something I’m not going to make them look gross and I’m not going to degrade them.
If somebody doesn’t want to lick up their cum after they shoot it, most of the time they won’t, but for me they’ll do it, and they’ll always turn to me and say, -˜ChiChi, I did that for you,’ because they know how much I want them to look good, she says.
I’ve always said, anybody who takes their clothes off and has sex on screen is a star. It takes guts and a lot of nerve.
Working with the impossibly attractive men of the porn industry is something many gay men would desire, but ChiChi warns that there is a downside.
I have fallen in love with a lot of the boys who have worked with me, she confides. I don’t any more. I know that it’s not good. The dog has bitten me enough times that I don’t reach my hand out any more.
Not that ChiChi seems to have any trouble getting men. She’s been thrown out of more than one club for giving blowjobs in the bathroom: a reputation I suspect she wears like a badge of honour.
She even got thrown out of our very own Taxi Club, last time she was in Sydney.
I apologised desperately, and I’m hoping to visit there this time while I’m here. I really am sweet, I usually don’t do that unless I’ve had a few too many tequilas, she says.
That wasn’t the only wild scene ChiChi was involved in last time she was in Sydney. Another was committed to film. On her last visit, ChiChi directed the video Taken Down Under, which, among other things, depicts three stars getting it on slap bang in Sydney Harbour.
ChiChi recalls the scene. We started the boat, and we were meant to pull alongside the gay nude beach, she says. But the boys started touching each other on the way from the dock, and Spike, who is in the movie, he’s just so horny, you just blow on his dick and it gets rock hard. We were in the middle of Sydney Harbour and there were big boats going by full of tourists, and [the boys] started sucking Spike’s dick, and I’m like, -˜Roll the camera!’ We rolled all the way as we went to the place where we were going to shoot, and we got that amazing footage. It was great to have the Sydney Opera House in the background while someone was getting their dick sucked. You couldn’t have asked for better.
There’s no telling if ChiChi will get up to similar tricks during her current stay in Sydney. On the agenda: a bit of filming, a live show at the Midnight Shift (which took place last week), and shopping. Lots of shopping.
We got to town, dropped off our bags and went shopping straight away like it was our last day, buying everything in sight, ChiChi says. I’m a big CD whore, and we went into Hum and they gave us posters of Dannii and Kylie and we were like giddy schoolgirls. It was fabulous. I spent $500 in four hours.
On this tour, ChiChi is travelling with gay porn’s big new star, Matthew Rush. ChiChi’s a little bit in awe of him.
When he’s naked he looks so great, she enthuses. His naked body is shocking, it’s so beautiful. He just looks like he should be nude all the time. Nudity should be allowed, just so that someone like Matthew Rush could walk around the streets and everyone could look at that body.
But a Gargantuan body is not necessarily a prerequisite for a career in porn. There are other qualities, she explains.
Face, body or dick; they have to have two of three, ChiChi declares. There can be a horrendously ugly-faced boy with a gigantic dick and he can make a movie.
But I’m not a size queen, she adds. I love all dicks. I don’t really feel that a big giant cock is what makes you a porn star. If you have charisma and you’re sexual and you have an attitude, that can be better than a big dick sometimes.
ChiChi’s been directing porn videos for 15 years now, and has seen a few changes in the industry in that time.
One change she’s pleased about: the demise of the gay-for-pay porn star.
Gay men are becoming a little smarter now when it comes to watching their gay movies, she reckons. They want gay performers. They want guys who will kiss, they want guys who will touch each other, they want guys who will reciprocate in some way.
Interesting word, reciprocate. ChiChi has been criticised in the past few years for a lack of reciprocation between partners in some of her movies. This criticism has come from a surprising source: the porn reviewer for the San Francisco gay newspaper, Bay Area Reporter, who has written about what he describes as a disturbing trend in porn videos: a move toward the depiction of sex as punishment and away from the depiction of sex as an act of joyful reciprocation.
That man just goes on his own tangents, ChiChi says. She goes on to defend the sometimes rough depiction of sex in her films.
You know, sex as punishment, meaning, -˜Get down and suck my dick because you broke into my house,’ sometimes that’s kind of hot! she offers. But the sex that I direct is a little over-the-top sometimes. I push every envelope.
ChiChi says she’s also come under fire recently for a new addition she’s made to the porn sex-play repertoire.
People have really been getting down on me, she says. Someone is fingering somebody and they pull their fingers out of their butt and stick it in the person’s mouth. People are getting all freaked out. But I would never have someone stick a finger up their ass and then stick it into someone else’s mouth.
As long as it’s clean and doesn’t involve the exchange of bodily fluids, it’s in, ChiChi says.
You try and get as dirty as you can in the boundaries that we have nowadays in safe sex, she says. You try to be dirty dirty dirty. It’s perfectly fine for somebody to eat their own cum off of somebody’s else’s hand. But you can’t eat that other person’s cum.
I did this great scene once where this boy sucks a guy off to climax inside a condom, and he cums inside the condom, and then he pulls the condom off and holds the condom over the guy’s face and drips the cum onto his face. Nasty! But safe, she says.
But it’s not as though all of ChiChi’s work is boy/boy. She’s also directed straight porn, and says she’s really good at girl/girl stuff. (She recently completed Where The Boys Aren’t -“ Volume 14.)
The girls really like me because I don’t want to do anything to them, she explains. It’s so fun to buy clothes for them because I can put them in wild shoes and wigs and dresses, it’s like dressing them in drag. I like to take the real straight-looking ones and make ’em look crazy with make-up. They dig that. They dig that this fag is loving them and putting glitter on their boobs and spraying red glitter hairspray all over them. They love it, and it’s fun.
Working with straight men is a slightly different proposition, however.
Some of them get so freaked out by me, she says. Ask a girl to lick a guy’s butthole on film and the whole world stops. I recently had a boy say to me, -˜But that’s gay!’ and I said, -˜Honey, if I was licking your butthole, that would be gay. She’s a woman, OK, that’s not gay -“ so get on her face!’
It may seem strange that the world’s most famous director of gay porn moonlights as a straight porn director, but ChiChi insists the straight work inspires her for her gay video work.
After 15 years in the business, ChiChi has directed an almost countless array of films.
I like all my films, she says with surprising earnestness. I’ve made a lot of bad ones, and I’ve made a lot of good ones. I still make bad movies to this day, but I love every movie that I’ve ever made.