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stars, sex and nudity buzz : 11/17/2012

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From Band of Brothers to Girls, HBO channels hit programmes for 40 years

Cable channel made its early reputation as a niche channel for boxing fans before hitting its stride with original shows

hbo composite
Year after year, hit after hit, clockwise from top left: Band of Brothers, Game of Thrones, Deadwood and Sex and the City Photograph: HBO
Even the most cynical among us have to admit that sometimes a promotional statement gets it right. Take HBO's most famous slogan – "It's not TV, it's HBO" – a phrase that sums up the enduring appeal of the cable channel which was launched on 8 November 1972 and celebrates its 40th birthday this month.
Think of your favourite shows of the last 20 years and chances are at least one of them, probably more, is an HBO creation. From Oz to Boardwalk Empire, Sex and The City to Girls, HBO has consistently demonstrated a knack for creating shows people talk about, even if it's only to say how much they don't care.
It wasn't always this way. Viewers in the 1970s and '80s didn't have too much to shout about – unless they were into sports and boxing in particular or the mothers of small children grateful for a channel that invested in kids programming – but that all started to change in the 1990s as the cable channel became increasingly invested in original programming.
With that investment and under the aegis of Chris Albrecht, president of original programming, came a sea change in the way in which audiences viewed television. HBO and Albrecht, a man who once said he didn't "care if characters were likeable so long as they were interesting" used the liberation afforded them as a pay cable channel to commission dark and daring and boundary pushing dramas, making stars of those involved in the process. It's hard now to underestimate the channel's influence during that period as a host of shows from the Sopranos to Six Feet Under transformed the television landscape, demonstrating that it was possible to transpose the best movie qualities to the small screen.
These days when the HBO model has become the norm, the channel is less dominant. That's not to say it doesn't still have some must-see shows, both dramas and comedies, just that it no longer holds the monopoly on quality on TV. Any number of cable channels – AMC, Showtime, FX, TNT, Starz (where Albrecht is currently CEO) – have utilised the HBO model to varying degrees of success while on network television character-driven dramas such as Nashville and the Good Wife owe a great deal to the heyday of HBO.
With that in mind here in chronological order is a baker's dozen of HBO's most influential moments:

The Thrilla in Manila, 1975

The event that first established HBO as a coming force, the third and final fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier is considered one of, if not the, greatest heavyweight bout in history. Thanks to a deal with Don King it was transmitted worldwide using HBO's antenna. It also established the channel as serious about sports coverage. To this day their sporting documentaries remain among the best in the business in particular the stripped down 24/7 documentaries, which follow sport stars behind the scenes.

The Kids in the Hall, 1989

Speak to any American comedy fan of a certain age and the chances are they'll either quote from this quirky Canadian comedy sketch show or start babbling about the creepy Chicken Lady. Owing more to Monty Python than American comedy heroes, The Kids in the Hall was a co-production between Canada's CBC Television and HBO. It helped established the channel as a home for cult comedy paving the way for later collaborations with everyone from Dennis Miller to Chris Rock.


The Larry Sanders Show, 1992

One of the main reasons I've never been able to rave about Ricky Gervais is the obvious (admittedly self-acknowledged) debt he owes to the far more brilliant Garry Shandling. Long before Extras utilised celebrities playing themselves, Shandling featured outrageous turns from the likes of Robin Williams and Dana Carvey in this show about a self-obsessed talk show host. The show's central concept – the pitch-black way in which it dissected television and those who work in it – has influenced everything from 30 Rock to Curb Your Enthusiasm. Best of all it gave the world Artie and Hank Kingsley, television's finest comedy sidekicks.


The Paradise Lost Trilogy, 1996-2011

HBO has always had a strong documentary strand but few films were as influential as this trilogy made over 20 years about the infamous West Memphis Three which they originally distributed. Moving from straightforward reporting through impassioned plea for the case to be re-examined to sober look at the long-terms effects of imprisonment the Paradise Lost Trilogy is both a wonderful piece of film-making and an important example of the power film-makers can wield.


Oz, 1997

If ever there was a show that summed up the Chris Albrecht years it's this one. HBO's first one-hour drama series was set in the Oswald State Correctional Facility aka Oz. Written by Homicide's Tom Fontana it was made up of equal parts graphic violence, gratuitous nudity and compelling but crazy plotlines. In other words it was the ultimate HBO show, darkly brilliant, barking mad yet somehow entirely addictive.


Sex and The City, 1998

Sometimes you have to recognise that a show is influential even if you hate it. I loathe Sex and The City with an unflagging passion but it remains the case that this comedy about a group of friends in New York is synonymous with an era. For almost a decade Carrie and co dictated how women were seen, their show becoming shorthand for an aspirational lifestyle of Cosmos and Blahniks. Today Carrie's heirs are all over television from New Girl's ditzy Jess to Lena Dunham's downbeat Girls.


The Sopranos, 1999

HBO's golden age makes it very hard to narrow down dramas from this period – we could just as easily have gone for the delightful Six Feet Under. That said from the moment we met the dream-plagued Tony Soprano and were plunged into his world of matter-of-fact violence and existential crisis it was clear this was something new. The Sopranos bought the anti-hero roaring back into television and then made the viewer complicit in his every monstrous crime. It's a model that dominates today from the casual cruelties of a Don Draper to the monstrous manipulations of a Walter White.


Band of Brothers, 2001

It isn't my favourite HBO miniseries (that would probably be a David Simon face-off between The Corner and Generation Kill) but this detailed, restrained and emotionally rewarding big budget take on the Second World War serves as a master class in characterisation and pacing. Extras points for the way in which its largely unknown cast which included both Damian Lewis as the heroic Major Dick Winters and a young Michael Fassbender as Sergeant Burton "Pat" Christenson went on to become stars.


The Wire, 2002

When I first watched The Wire it felt like a punch to the stomach. David Simon's downbeat tale of police, criminals and politicians is also a gut-wrenching examination of the slow death of a city. Yes, it has flaws and yes, towards the end Simon's powerful outrage can slip into hectoring but The Wire remains a near perfect example of the freedom provided by cable television: the chance to tell your own story, without heroes and villains, at the pace in which you wanted it to be told.


Deadwood, 2004

Included because if ever a writer summed up everything that's both good and bad about HBO it's David Milch. With Deadwood he rewrote the western creating a highly stylised, richly detailed world whose influence can still be seen in shows such as Breaking Bad. Then with John from Cincinnati he dented HBO's winning record by putting out a show so willfully obscure that even its creator seemed unsure what his ultimate point would have been. Last year's Luck fell somewhere between the two: more focussed than John, less sharp than Deadwood it was still a vividly realised world populated by characters who could only have been created by David Milch. The writer is now working on a series of Faulkner adaptations for HBO. They may be brilliant, bizarre or both, half the fun will come in the finding out.


Lucky Louie, 2006

Because sometimes even HBO can't make a hit out of a show ahead of its time. These days we're all used to hailing Louis CK as the future of comedy but back in 2006 his first attempt at reinventing the sitcom the scabrous Lucky Louie was a one-season flop. The idea – a marriage between the traditional sitcom format complete with laughter track and the sort of audacious topics for which HBO was known – was a brilliant one but the show failed to connect with audiences. Undeterred CK went on to hone his act as a stand-up before dropping the lucky and heading to FX with Louie.


True Blood, 2008

It's not one HBO's greatest shows but this campy, incoherent vampire drama earns its place in the round up because it arguably saved HBO's post-Chris Albrecht reputation. At the time of its debut the obituaries for the channel was half written, the success of Mad Men, a show which HBO had rejected, coupled with the growing strength of rival cable channel Showtime had many people suggesting HBO's golden era was over. The ratings for True Blood said otherwise. While HBO may never recover its 1990s dominance those who wrote its death throes have been proved wrong.


Game of Thrones, 2011

Because people thought HBO were crazy when they suggested adapting it. Because everybody said it couldn't be made. Because when it was made they said no one would watch a fantasy drama. But most of all because it brought the term "sexposition" to the world demonstrating that 13 years after Oz first aired HBO remains the rackety old aunt of television, all fur coat and no knickers, happily creating hits by marrying compulsive plotting to near-heroic levels of nudity. Here's hoping they're still pulling off the same trick in another 40 years time …


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Roswell Reunion! Shiri Appleby Is Directing Colin Hanks In a New Project 

Try not to freak out, Roswell fans!
Colin Hanks and Shiri Appleby have reunited for a new project. On November 16, Colin tweeted, "Working today with @ShiriAppleby after a 13 year break. Feels like the WB except she’s directing and there are no school lockers around."
Colin also shared this awesome pic of the Life Unexpected star taking control on the set.
We can't wait to find out what they're working on!
Source: Twitter

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Cold : How the fragility of the senses rams against implacable wall of time wielding the spear of beauty ...
from Daniel Ortega Muñoz
Dancer : Eva Hageman



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Take a good look at Laura Haddock. Clothed. In Bed.
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On Da Vinci's Demons. Nude. In Bed. Riley the Leo did everything to protect Laura's modesty by using his arms and palm as hand-bra but how about non-sexual nudity? Ms.Haddock going to be a magnificent view in HD.

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Trailer for Uwe Boll-Produced 'Legend of the Red Reaper' Is Here
Legend of the Red Reaper had new life breathed into it after the producers jumped ship along with a large amount of the production budget.

The film, written and directed by Kristen Stewart (no relation to the
Twilight actress), had a bumpy ride. It was rewritten, recast and the crew was shaken up. According to the most recent press release, “Houses were foreclosed, some body parts donated to science - but the money was raised to tell a story that I believe in with my heart soul (and some long lost body parts).”

Eventually
Uwe Boll came on board as producer.

“Editor after editor jumped ship, holding up the project even further. Finally, Uwe Boll came to the rescue. The project was brought to his attention by lead actress Tara Cardinal, who also appears in two of his other projects, (
Zombie Massacre and the Profane Exhibit with Clint Howard). Uwe, along with martial arts legend Ho-Sung Pak (Drunken Master with Jackie Chan) took the project on, using their combined extensive resources to pull together the epic fantasy action period piece the project it was always supposed to be.”

Based of the comic series, Legend of the Red Reaper follows a heroine, who is half human and half demon, who uses her dark side to save the world of demons. Tara Cardinal, David Mackey, Eliza Swenson, and Ray Eddy star in the movie.  Check out the official trailer below -- it has a Medieval Madness-meets-Samurai fairy tale vibe going on.


Former WWE wrestler Al Snow choreographed the fight scene in the waterfall with Tara Cardinal, which he performed. Due to his extensive wrestling training and extreme strength, he was able to lift her out of the water and above his head while she was full nude - thus giving him almost nothing to hold on to.





Interview with Legend of the Red Reaper’s Tara Cardinal
To kick things off, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m an actress, a story teller (which is also part of being an actress), an activist, and when I’m not spreading world peace, I’m a martial artist and a sword fighter.

So how did “Legend of the Red Reaper” come about?
Oh wow… it’s a long complicated story. It all started with an idea I had for a character when I was performing at the Renaissance Festival (yup – I’m a renny – can’t lie about it). I had this idea about an executioner who was very bitter, but who’s basic drive was to protect people who couldn’t protect themselves (it’s a fairly common theme in my characters, actually). I performed the character there for a couple of days, but it just didn’t work with a family friendly show (also, the director frowned on the executions of my fellow cast members). So, she got put in the closet, and showed up in a fan film (not saying ANY more about that..not a word!), as a cross between little “Red Riding Hood” and a pirate. This time she was sexier, flirtier and definitely wittier. Then, I submitted for Ms. Horrorfest, and used the background of the character I’d created as the basis for a sword fight against some pretty cheesy demons! From there, well, some how I ended up doing a fight scene in a waterfall with Al Snow.

Care to elaborate on that waterfall sequence?
Why – yes! I remember when I wrote it, on my laptop, in bed (that’s where I write usually), and I remember thinking “there’s no way this will ever happen”. The first thing I discovered was that a real waterfall was impossible to shoot in. The ground is drastically uneven due to the erosion from the water pressure – there was no way either one of us would keep our footing. Also, there’s no way to control the water pressure, or the temperature. So, for a variety of reasons, the waterfall had to be built.
The first place I had locked down wasn’t as locked down as I thought. I found out while I was shooting on location in the Poconos (Song of the Shattered) that my waterfall wasn’t going to happen. So, I grabbed the director’s car and drove out to Rockland County NY, which is where my associate producer, Joe Hollow, was stationed. Joe, however, was booked on another shoot in California, so I had to improvised. It turned out that one of my co-stars in Blood Struck (the film I met Joe on) had access to a property that had a 30 foot rock wall, and a huge area that could be turned into a pond. After a fairy tale conversation, Chris and his friends who some how all magically know construction, built the whole thing for me in 6 days. For the most part I was right there with them, cheering for them, running to home depot 3 times a day for penny nails and plywood. It was 105 degrees every day, so it was mostly built at night. All the guys had day jobs, so they were litterally working around the clock. But somehow, on day 6, there stood a 30 foot waterfall, filled with water, ready to go.
In the film, my character is having a pretty rough day. The castle is attacked, she takes Eris (played by David Mackey) into the woods (to the waterfall) and to safety, but when they get there, she discovers he’s mortally wounded. She cuts her wrist to give him her blood, which should heal him, but it only works long enough to give them a few more moments together. She’s taken off her top to remove a shard of steel from her shoulder, and she’s used her pants as a tourniquet for his wound. When he dies in her arms, she mindlessly walks over to the waterfall to wash a considerable amount of dirt and blood from her skin. While she’s in there, she gets attacked by a demon. Of course there’s no time to dress, or grab a sword. So it’s wet, naked, and hand to hand.
Al Snow was the obvious choice for the demon. Who else could throw me around all wet like that? So yes, he body slammed me, suplexed me, threw me across the pond.

Was it uncomfortable shooting a scene like this?
Yes and no. The water was too cold. The heat pump I ordered went MIA. The guys who built it stayed to watch the fruits of their labor – and I couldn’t deny them that. It's visually very beautiful and emotionally very intense. The character is literally stripped of everything and forced to fight for her life. It's raw. 

Read the rest here
* Almost three years in the productions, it's actress Tara Cardinal pet project. The 34-years old also does her first nude scene (correct me if I'm wrong about that) but it could all be pasties and strategically-placed cam angles. After all Tara was against on-screen nudity of any form back in a 2010 interview:
Q: Have you ever felt exploited as a woman by any roles you’ve taken? Have there been certain roles you wouldn’t take because you felt exploited?
Tara Cardinal: I’ve turned down more roles than I’ve accepted due to exploitative scenes. Most nudity in films is exploitative. The fact is, you’ve got some overweight middle class guy, writing in these nude scenes in lieu of a good story, hoping that a pair of tits will sell their film. And I’m pleased to tell you as a free lance film finder – it won’t. It used to. But it won’t anymore. In terms of low budget horror: Very few women have done nudity and gone on to have great careers. The ones that have impress the hell out of me, but the truth is, most go on to do other nude roles, or roles that only exist for their nudity. My talk show, Scream Queens Uncut (with me and Devanny Pinn) recently went to Vegas to cover the AVN (porn) awards. The one thing that really struck me was the female porn stars who expressed interest in performing in mainstream films, but can’t get good roles. And of course there have been one or two exceptions. But that’s it. I would guess it has something to do with the idea that a woman can’t be sexy/nude and powerful/talented/brilliant at the same time. And that for me is the definition of exploitative. Asking someone to do something you can not do for the sake of furthering your career to the detriment of theirs.
It didn't stop her from appearing on flicks with incredible amount of nudity. As long as she was clothed.......
Tara is also in The Profane Exhibit and Wrath of the Crows - both movies with potential Ms.Cardinal T-and-A. 

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19-years old Polish supermodel Amanda Streich : December Playboy Playmate [2012].
Amanda Streich is Playboy Playmate for December 2012. Hailing from Poland, Amanda hit the New York runways in 2011 resulting in shoots for Victoria Secret as many other fashion magazines! At 5’9″, 125lbs Amanda is sure to be a hit with her natural stunning natural looks. Amanda Streich is the first Polish woman to become a Playmate according to various reports on the net(!) and the youngest PoM. Her centerfold was photographed by Arny Freytag.
Born: May 26, 1993 (age 19) Płock, Poland
Ethnicity: Caucasian
Nationality: Polish
Measurements: 34C-26-35
Bra/cup size: 34C (75C)
Boobs: Natural

Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 126 lb (57 kg)
Body type: Slim
Eye color: Blue
Hair: Blonde
Pubic hair: Shaved

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FLATT MAGAZINE presents Body Heat July 2011


* It's official now. Professional fashion models used to be very coy and distance themselves from posing in skin mags but it's in the past now. Glamor modeling is part of the resume in a shrinking market but model saturated industry. It also helps the agencies are playing a part in making their models more susceptible towards outright nudity. Amanda belongs to the same agency as Lisa Seiffert - another model who recently was nude for Playboy. 


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Crazy Sex Positions? Totally Worth It. 

By Candy
Sometimes I work out these elaborate sex scenes in my head. It’s like I’m a porn star, but even cooler cause I have more creative moves and not as much lip liner. I’m usually on my way to meet some potentially sexy dude when these fantasies take place. They’re like confidence assemblies in my mind. I’m usually wearing lacy panties and have embodied Shane from The L Word, except I’m straight. So me and sexy dude meet up, and invariably, we flirt over drinks. Alcohol does its job at making me even more sold on the idea of crazy sex moves while making me more incapable of them simultaneously.
Ohhhh, alcohol.
Lets skip to the part where sexy dude and I are about to do it.
I’m blurry. It’s late. I’m tired. But I’m a f***ing sport, God-damnit, and I step up to the hot sex positions plate. I love having sex, but I don’t have it all the time because I happen to also love being single. This means I can only have sex on those days I meet a guy who doesn’t make me want to punch him. Since sex can sometimes be an infrequent thing for me, I’m sure as hell not gonna blow it by doin’ the same old, even if I am drunk and an all around mess. Nope, no way.
I’m always a fan of branching out sexually. Luckily, being wiling to try new things can pay off more than you know. Example? Here you go:
I met a dude – skanky and yet sweet enough to earn my liking – last weekend. He started biting my neck while dancing at a club. (Drool. For the record, biting is green light for kinky sex.) We came back to my place and had so much sex. So much. For days. In every way possible. It was the most marvelous thing ever.
Did you know that it is possible to have both of your feet massaged and kissed while doing the nasty? Well, it is. And it feels awesome. My point is that there is some merit to crazy sex positions. You can only feel so much doing it missionary and, let me tell you, ladies, that feeling doesn’t cut it. Not only do crazy sex positions keep sex interesting, but they also can blow. your. mind.
Cosmopolitan managed to somehow hit on my three favorite positions in one of their guides online. The fore-mentioned foot kissing one? Yeah, here ya go; it’s called the slow climb. Except the dude in this illustration isn’t kissing her feet…because he’s a bastard and not a hot skank.
Since all ladies like being referred to as dogs, go ahead and embrace the concept of the down dog. OK, the name kinda sucks, but if you keep your legs totally closed on this one, it rocks.
The lusty lap dance, finally, is not as generic as it sounds. In fact, I kind of love it as long as I like kissing the guy I’m sleeping with, which….sigh….just isn’t always the case.
So don’t let your lack of sobriety (or fear of sexjury) lead you down a dead end path of mundane sex. Screw that. Wear your hot panties and have hot sex. It’s worth it.

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Girls on film
He’s a pioneer of online “female-friendly ethical erotica” – and it’s making him a motza. Chris Johnston meets Aussie “reality porn” king Garion Hall.
Chris Johnston (Senior Writer for The Age)
Down on the farm … Hall (left) with his brother, Avan, and mother, Jo, on her wedding day.
Australia's leading pornographer spent his adolescence living on a goat farm in remote Victoria. There was only one thing that he loathed more than where he lived - and that was his name.

His mum, Jo, was the goat farmer. She breeds Rhodesian ridgebacks now. Six live inside the house at a place called Childers in Gippsland's Strzelecki Ranges, where there is no town or pub or church, just farms and lime-green ferny hills full of wombats.

The name thing was her fault, she says. When he was born, she gave him the girl's spelling of Ainslie - Ainsley - by mistake and he was teased at the schools he rode more than an hour in a bus to get to in tough towns such as Morwell and Mirboo North. He hated the isolation in the hills and he hated that the real world seemed to be somewhere else.

Naked ambition ... Abbywinters.com CEO Garion Hall
A smart, lonely kid, he spent hours tinkering on his computer. It was the '90s, after all, and something called the internet was happening. He wrote a wish list for his 15th birthday that included a subscription to Penthouse - which his grandmother duly bought for him. "I suspect she didn't actually know what it was," says Jo.

The magazines started arriving monthly in the mountain farm's mailbox. He wallpapered his bedroom with cut-out pictures and centrefolds. "A teenage boy who likes looking at naked women is hardly unique," he says. "Part of my motivation was to annoy my mother, though. I remember that quite clearly."


"I suppose you could say," Jo says today, "that he showed an early interest in his future career."

Soon enough he would change his name, choosing a new one from The Belgariad, a fantasy novel by David Eddings about the journey towards self-discovery of an orphaned farm boy called Garion.

Garion Hall, 37, is CEO of Abbywinters.com, which was founded 12 years ago in Melbourne. According to website-information company Alexa Traffic, it is number 97 in the top 100 porn sites in the world.

The site comprises photographs and videos of regular young women - many of them uni students in their 20s - engaged in various activities, from undressing and having an "intimate moment" alone to indulging in explicit sex with other girls. It has a sense of humour: one recent Olympic-themed clip showed a dozen fresh-faced girls doing shot put in their undies.

Hall is a pioneer of a phenomenon called "reality porn" or "female-friendly ethical erotica".

The paid models who pose for him, and who are typically recruited by way of ads placed in street press and on lamp-pole posters, are photographed or filmed - by a mostly female crew - in high definition using natural light, without retouching, in an equally "regular" setting, such as a bedroom with clothes strewn on the floor and posters on the walls. They're paid between $500 and $1400 a time.

Hall says his blueprint for business is a reaction against the fakeness of stereotypical porn. "We want wholesomeness, physical naturalness," he says. "No piercings, no shaved pubes, no tramp stamps [lower-back tattoos]. I don't consider these things wholesome." He cites the "fetish value" offered by redheads, for example, and very small and very big breasts.

Abbywinters.com has about 35,000 subscribers paying an average of $35 per month; in 2007, when it was at its most successful, the site was making a profit of $8 million a year. The site is tiered; some previews are free.

Many of Hall's models like to use gender theory in their arguments - they talk about seizing back the power that traditional "misogynist" porn has taken away. "Most porn is fluoro-lit and animalistic," says a 20-year-old Melbourne arts student, who appeared in "closed-leg" shoots twice for Abbywinters when she was 18. "There's no comparison. I was impressed by how beautiful everyone looked. I almost didn't consider it porn."

Hall's long-time girlfriend, Christina, an oncology and palliative-care nurse, is the secondary shareholder in the business. A Tasmanian Catholic from a family of nine, she is slightly built with a blonde bob. Hall didn't want Good Weekend to speak to Christina. She and Hall met back in the mid '90s at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, where Hall signed on for theatre studies when he left school.

After graduating, he worked in Melbourne as a roadie for rock bands, did lighting and sound for Opera Australia, Arts Centre Melbourne and the touring show Fame, and settled in suburban Eaglemont in Melbourne's north-east.

Hall claims that, in the late '90s, he met a woman called Abby Winters at the Corner Hotel in Richmond who was interested in making a female-friendly porn site using non-professional models, and that he slowly became more and more involved in the venture as the site attracted customers. He maintains that Winters sold her share of the business to him in 2003, by which time it was run from a converted church in hipster Fitzroy, just off Brunswick Street.

By 2007, business was booming. Hall claims the site was making $150,000 a week, and he had what he frequently refers to as the "Abbywinters paradigm" to thank for it. The young women looked healthy and fun and came in all shapes and sizes. Using "site names" such as Kandice, Brooklyn or Sadie, they disported themselves uninhibitedly on film. They took requests from subscribers through the site's forums to wear a certain item, for example, or to perform a particular "task". For this, according to ex-models, they were often paid extra in $200 JB Hi-Fi vouchers. They earned more, say insiders, if they had ample pubic hair.

Prospective models flocked through the doors of the old Fitzroy church to meet demands from subscribers. There was money to be made and Hall says the word-of-mouth around Melbourne at this time was that Abbywinters offered a friendly, girls-only experience.

A former model, a Monash University literature student, considered the work an extension of her liberated lifestyle. "It's important to have the kind of porn represented that we would want to see," she says. "I saw it as socially acceptable, almost like having casual sexual partners. This was putting [porn] out in the open, having a conversation about porn and what it is. It was fun. Everyone was very easygoing."

Shoots were scheduled all over inner-city Melbourne and the rest of Australia - in vans, motels and public places. Twelve girls frolicked under a waterfall near Cairns; another 12 cavorted freely in the Daintree's Mossman River as the HBO series The Pacific was being filmed nearby.

At more humble public locations, such as state and national parks in Victoria, or beside Melbourne's Yarra River or in the city's Royal Botanic Gardens, there would be "spotters" with two-way radios to warn crew of "incoming" members of the public.

Abbywinters had 40 staff: photographers, camera people, drivers, editors, location and model bookers, copywriters, interviewers, accountants, web content people, designers, a handyman and IT staff. Many of the film editors were freelancers who also worked for the ABC.

The company expanded into Sydney, spending $1 million on a plush office in Surry Hills near Oxford Street. A retired 58-year-old school administrator from Los Angeles - who asked that her name not be used - came on board as "creative consultant" after subscribing to the site and befriending Hall on its forums. By now, Hall was vice-president of the Canberra-based sex-industry lobby group the Eros Association, which promotes the Australian adult-entertainment industry.

"Garion wanted to make the transition into a much larger going concern and I liked the idea of getting involved with sex-positive, responsible porn," she says. She describes Hall as "very sharp, ambitious and hard-working", but the site was, she adds, "getting too big too fast. It was becoming a victim of its own success."

In late 2007, $1 million was spent on an assault on the American market through a sex-industry trade show in Las Vegas. "We took 10 models with girl-next-door good looks and a fun demeanour and employed them full-time for two months," Hall recalls. They performed yoga nude every hour, a wildly popular stunt. "We were the talk of the town."

Behind the scenes, however, all was not well. Staff turnover at Abbywinters was high and Hall was a polarising figure: some loved him and pledged the loyalty he expected, becoming part of his coterie, but many didn't.

"He struck me as immature," says one former staff member, "like a 14- or 15-year-old. He was obsessive and compulsive and the things he wanted on the site, like the pubic hair, were his own particular paradigm - it's what turned him on."

And just who was this person whose name adorned the site? Where was she? Doubt began to circulate widely about the semi-mythical Abby Winters. Hall had always claimed she was the co-founder and the one who came up with the idea of depicting "wholesome" girls in the first place. But when the porn weblog Fleshbot.com ran a photograph of Hall at work with a name tag saying "Abby" and revealed that whoever wrote the site's forum posts as "Abby" sometimes signed them off as "G", it seemed the ruse was up. Critics say Hall concocted the name to make the site appear more female-friendly and "safe".

"She's the namesake," Hall tells me, "and I'm the business guy. We met and had the idea in 1999. She's a photographer who went to uni and did arts and wanted to make something different to mainstream porn. Then, around 2003, she didn't want to be involved any more, so I basically bought her out. It suits me that people don't think she's real. It suits her, too. She's not interested in speaking to journalists."

Another former staffer describes the work environment from these times as "very strange": "[Hall] had this kind of mothership, a bank of five computer monitors there in the church that he sat behind. He was obsessive and compulsive and pretty weird, really."

Despite suffering from Crohn's disease (an autoimmune gastrointestinal disorder) and diabetes, Hall prefers to eat white bread with Vegemite, and drink milk and Coca-Cola, which he specifies must be from a glass bottle.

"The Crohn's is a constant annoyance," he says. "[The fact that it's] coupled with diabetes means a certain diet works for me and changes in that can trigger a relapse", which he says can be "extremely painful for months". Of his strange diet, he says, "I am loathe to mess with what works for me."

"He is very, very business-minded," says Melbourne-based Angela White, a professional porn star with a pay-per-view personal website. "He has attempted to make his site as ethical as possible. The mainstream populace sees porn as a degrading thing that exploits workers, and the women involved as drug abusers and somehow lost, whereas Abbywinters promotes an image of healthy women with a healthy lifestyle who enjoy their sexuality." Part of the vision is philanthropic. G Media - the Hall-owned company that operates the website - donates $US1000 a month to charities and causes, including Movember, Lifeline and the Ballarat Cancer Research Centre (recently renamed the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute), according to a list on the website. It donated $78,000 in the aftermath of the Victorian Black Saturday bushfires in 2009.

"We get a letter from most of the places we donate to, and put them in a binder we have in our reception area for visitors to browse," says Hall.

In December 2007, the latent discontent among staff and ex-staff boiled over. A feminist lesbian porn model using the name Liandra Dahl started anonymously emailing, then talking in person, to crime reporter Keith Moor, from Melbourne's Herald Sun. She claimed that G Media had refused to take down old shots of her from the site after she asked them to.

She said that models had been told that only Abbywinters customers could see content - but many had found images of themselves on other websites, particularly a YouTube channel that was being used to promote the site, and in illegal but easily accessible downloads called porn "torrents". She was taking her stand, she wrote on her blog at the time, on behalf of other models. Dahl has since retracted some of what she told Moor so as not to appear pro-censorship and wouldn't talk to Good Weekend.

Moor wrote that he had given information to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which regulates online content, because some of the "sex acts" depicted on Abbywinters - such as urination - were prohibited. ACMA couldn't do anything, however, because, by this time, the company's servers were being hosted in the US. Moor also quoted a "photographer familiar with the website" who revealed that models got cash bonuses in an exploitative "up-sell" for more explicit acts.

In an internal company document obtained by Good Weekend, Hall wrote to staff, in late 2007, informing them that "some" material is given to other websites for promotion; the appearance of the material was being monitored and a staff member had "chased down" infringements. He also wrote that if models on shoots were "comfortable and having a good time", they might be asked to go further for more money, but they didn't have to.

By this stage, both the Herald Sun and Victoria Police had sent in an undercover stripper and investigator, respectively, to have a close look at the company's operations.

Two senior managers left suddenly; one told former colleagues he'd been in contact with the Australian Federal Police about an under-age model in Perth, a single allegation that would be raised again and again by Hall's critics, despite an ongoing lack of evidence.

Then, in 2008, two Abbywinters images were leaked. Both found their way - pixilated - into the mainstream media. One featured a model bearing a striking resemblance to a member of a Queensland pop band; the other was a contestant in TV show The Farmer Wants a Wife.

Something had to give and, in mid-2009, it did - Operation Refuge was launched. Victoria Police raided Abbywinters' Fitzroy office in the old church, two storage units owned by Hall and his home in Eaglemont. In reporting the raids, Keith Moor wrote in the Herald Sun that he had given police a "dossier" on G Media.

"Police came to my house at eight in the morning," says Hall. "Plus the offices. They went through all the computers and DVDs and CDs. There'd been no hint of it coming."

Hall was charged with 54 counts under State and Commonwealth law of making objection-able films for gain, one count of possessing a commercial quantity of objectionable films for gain and two counts of possessing child pornography. He says that he felt overwhelmed by the "moral panic" that was directed at the company.

"By the time of the raid, we had been operating openly for eight years. We had a street address, we had a sign on the door; it wasn't secret, underground stuff. I thought if something was going to happen, it would have been years before that.

"I have suspicions about how it all happened.

I think it was several people [making the accusations]. If people are out to get you, they will find a way. 'Using under-age models' is an easy accusation to make against a pornographer. It never happened."

In court, he won. Or, at least, had a relative victory. Of the 54 charges, 52 were dropped (including the two child-pornography counts) in a plea bargain that saw Hall cop the lesser charges of possession of a commercial quantity of objectionable films and producing an objectionable film. He was fined $6000. His lawyer was leading Victorian QC Robert Richter.

The Eros Association's Robbie Swan, a big supporter of Hall, believes the "objectionable" film Hall was charged with selling was refused classification because it was deemed to show the model urinating, which, under Australian Classification Board rules, constitutes a fetish and is banned. Swan explains that the model was not urinating; rather, she was ejaculating. "It's not illegal to show a man ejaculating; in Australia, it's not considered an offensive fetish and is X-rated. But if a woman does so [on film], it is considered urolagnia [sexual excitement occasioned by urine or urinating]; the film is refused classification and the charges are more serious."

Hall concedes that in the early days, between 2000 and 2003, the verification systems for models' ages were still being "refined". Then the company began interlinking and cross-checking several forms of a prospective model's ID. The systems are now foolproof, he says, with two sets of identification being checked six times by different people.

In early 2010, Hall dismantled his Melbourne base of operations and left for Amsterdam and the Netherlands' more liberal pornography laws, taking 11 loyal staff with him and hiring 12 more. "It was very disruptive," he says, "and it was a big struggle to set up over there, but it was also kind of an adventure."

The Eros Association's Robbie Swan tells me that the case, and its aftermath, was a big reason he and his colleague Fiona Patten set up the Australian Sex Party, as a way of supporting what they see as "ethical" Australian erotica. He says there's a lot of it about, especially in Melbourne.

Hall expected the "Aussie paradigm" to continue once he and Christina settled in Amsterdam, but he got a rude shock. The production of online porn is legal in Holland and the limits of obscenity are fairly wide. Hall could no longer find models who were representative of the Aussie paradigm that pedalled outdoorsy, shiny-eyed girls in the pink of sun-kissed good health. Good natural light was harder to come by and outdoor shoots were impossible in the cold weather. Subscribers weren't happy and many of them left.

"We have discussed it a lot, how to make it work," says Hall. "We have the same recruiters and the same systems, but we use Skype now to talk to about half of the prospective models."

Hall says he has gained some insight into his need for control. He has learnt to let go a little and has come to the realisation that "taking time to relax is good". In May and June this year, he and Christina drove 19,000 kilometres around Australia in a campervan, listening to "thinky" podcasts from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University as they went.

"I'm trying to extricate myself from the day-to-day running of the business," he says, telling me that he has now developed what he calls a "systems fetish" - that is, he has become consumed by developing new business systems, online-billing systems and web-content-management systems, for example, to a point where he can sell them to other businesses.

His moral compass hasn't shifted, he says. He still believes in a free internet, is opposed to most censorship and is very firmly of the belief that if a consenting adult agrees to be legally depicted in a certain way online, then that's all the justification he needs. That said, though, he's keen to diversify into other areas of interest.

"The problem I had to solve was how to run a smooth business," he says. "You can endlessly polish. But now it is smooth. Own it and let it run - isn't that what a businessman does?"

Hall, says Swan, is a revolutionary pornographer because he kicked against the US and European hegemony of exploitative and misogynist porn. "He set a new standard and it's such a shame they were pushed out of Australia. Feminists call for good porn as a way of dealing with bad porn, and as soon as someone starts doing that, they get pushed out.

"We import a lot of US porn because it's hard to make here but, when you do, you also import US values," says Swan. "American sexual values are like American food - big and over the top. Big hair, big nails, big tits, big dicks - it's bullshit, it's fake. What Garion does is real."

Back on the lonely goat farm, Jo Hall knows her boy is a rich pornographer. "I don't mind at all," she says. "It's not something I would subscribe to, but there's obviously a need for it. He's told me it's real women and that it's a bit different to the more extreme pornography, like in the magazines and that."

Jo doesn't use the internet. Hall has built a website for her dog-breeding business, but she's never seen it. Occasionally, she rings him and asks him to find something online, print the pages out and post them to her. "It's all a bit of a mystery to me," she says.


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What Went Wrong?
by EdSteinInk.com

Last week a group of Republican politicians and strategists met secretly in Washington for a high-level post-election debriefing. Yesterday, someone slipped a transcript of the meeting under my door.

Attending the meeting were Roger Ailes, Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor. 

Ailes: Gentlemen, are we all here? Where’s Mitt?

Cantor: That loser? He wasn’t invited. Not like he was ever really one of us.

Ryan: Hey, he’s a good guy. I got to know him pretty well during the campaign.

Cantor: Another loser heard from. You couldn’t even carry your home state.

Ryan: You want to step outside and say that?

Ailes: Cool it, both of you. Calm down, everyone. You two can work that out next session. We’re here to figure out what went wrong.

Boehner: You should talk. Who was it that created the Fox bubble, anyway, Mr. Alternate Reality. Obama’s unpopular, the real issue is the deficit, Romney’s ahead in the polls, the Dems are gonna get trounced.

Gingrich: Yeah. As the historian in this crowd, I could have told you there’s no such thing as permanent majority.

Ryan: Hah! Didn’t YOU predict a Romney landslide, while you were on the Fox payroll?

Rove: Aren’t we getting a little off track here? Let’s face it, we underestimated Obama’s ground game. We had a lead, but they almost caught up with us in spending.

Cantor: Yeah, right. What did your $400 million win? Bupkus! And you want to piss away MORE?

Boehner: Shut up, Cantor. I had a grand bargain on the deficit in my hand, but you and your Tea Party loonies walked.

Norquist: You shut up, John. You would have caved on taxes, just to get a deal you could put your name on. And now you’re making public statements like you’re trying to weasel out of the Pledge again.

McConnell: No deals! Not gonna happen on my watch. Obama’s got to come to us.

Boehner: Screw you, Mitch. Did you happen notice who lost MORE seats in the Senate? I’ll give you a hint: it wasn’t the Dems. At least I hung on to the House.

Ailes: Only because those seats are so gerrymandered you COULDN’T lose. Even that idiot Bachmann kept hers.

Gingrich: I think we’re missing the point here. We lost because the country is changing. There are more Latinos and Blacks, and that’s not going to change. We lost their vote and women. Demographics is destiny, gentlemen.

McConnell: So what do you propose? Roll over and pander to them? Like Hell!

Cantor: Amnesty for illegals? MORE Medicaid and food stamps and unemployment insurance? Contraception for women? Admit that rape is a bad thing? Abortion? Are you nuts? Abandon everything this party stands for?

Boehner: A little compromise on some issues wouldn’t be a bad thing, necessarily. You moved to the middle during the election, didn’t you, Paul?

Ailes: Lied like a rug, not that it convinced anyone.

Gingrich: Wait. I have a brilliant idea!

Rove: You’re going to divorce Callista?

Gingrich: Shut up. We’re thinking about this all wrong. Who DID vote for us?

McConnell: White men.

Gingrich: Right. As the resident historian, I can tell you that when this Republic was founded, only white men were allowed to vote.

McConnell: Yeah, so? I don’t quite follow.

Boehner: There’s a surprise.

McConnell: Shut up.

Ailes: But that would require repealing the Emancipation Proclamation AND the 19th Amendment.

Cantor: That’s crazy! That would take years to work through the states, and you’d never get Blacks and women to vote for it.

Gingrich: Who’s talking about repeal? Get the Supreme Court to declare them both unconstitutional.

Ryan: How can an amendment be unconstitutional? That makes no sense. The Court can’t overturn an amendment, can it?

Gingrich: These are the same guys who declared corporations are people and money is speech. If they can do that, they can do this.

Cantor: It’s brilliant!

Boehner: Do you really think we count on them to do it?

Gingrich: Scalia will absolutely LOVE it. The originalist asked to reaffirm the Founders’ intent. Done deal. Alito will fall in line, Kennedy’s on our side now. Thomas does anything Scalia says. I’m a little worried about Roberts, though, after the Obamacare ruling.

Ailes: He got beat up so bad for that one, I think he’ll fall back in line.

McConnell: I hate to bring this up, but isn’t Clarence Thomas Black?

Ryan: Now that you mention it, I think so. You wouldn’t know it from his rulings or the way he acts, but yeah, I’m pretty sure I remember him being Black when he was appointed.

Boehner: Hmm. That could be a problem. Would he vote to take away his own vote?

Cantor: Damn!

Ailes: I think we should at least feel him out. But we really ought to have a Plan B if this doesn’t work.

McConnell: Like what?

Ailes: You won’t like this, but we may actually have to reach out to minorities and women.

McConnell: I’m against it.

Boehner: Mitch, the whole idea stinks, but I think we have to. Let’s put Ryan to work on the women initiative. They go for those big dreamy blue eyes of his. We’re going to have to give on immigration reform if we ever want the Latinos. We can put Rubio and Bush on that.

Cantor: I can’t believe we’re doing this.

Boehner: Art of the possible, Gentlemen. We do what we have to. Now for the really hard part: anyone here know any Black people?

long silence)

Boehner: Anyone?

END OF TRANSCRIPT.



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