: December 2004: Another Lonely Night
Fleiss knows how to capitalize on her notoriety.
The infamous "Hollywood Madam," whose black
book was filled with the names of Tinseltown's
stars, producers and high rollers, got busted
in 1993 and did 21 months in the slammer on
tax evasion charges.
After getting out of prison Heidi opened up
a store with her own line of clothing and
wrote a book, Pandering, about her
escort service. Well, "wrote a book" isn't
quite right. The tome is a collection of to-do
lists, phone numbers, day planner pages, post-it
notes, pictures (mostly snapshots of Heidi
and her friends), and crumpled scraps of paper
retrieved from the waste basket all pasted
down in a running collage that looks like
a tweaker's guide to Nothingness. The USA
Network also ran a movie, Call Me: The
Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss, with Jamie-Lynn
DiScala in the title role.
Heidi has now jumped into pornlandia with
SECRETS OF THE HOLLYWOOD MADAM
from Phoenix Releasing (phoenixreleasing.com).
Aptly described by the company's PR man as
a "hardcore documentary," the DVD features
Heidi as a hostess gabbing about the ins and
outs of her escort service. Using quick MTV-style
cutaways, Heidi talks for a minute or two
followed by long sex scenes. She's on screen
for about 10 or 15 minutes in this two-hour
escapade. And this is only the first installment
of an eight-part series that will be released
over the next two years.
In an AVN interview last month, Heidi
said she was pleased with the DVD but thought
the director filmed her "way too tight, like
if you put a magnifying glass so close to
your skin it looks like you're on Mars." Over
the years many porn companies have approached
her with deals. "For me to come around to
porn is to come full circle," she said. I
suppose, but the porn/strip/escort biz strikes
me more as the circle remaining unbroken.
Some old habits die hard and for Heidi that
includes her insatiable spending habit. She
made millions on her escort service and blew
it all. But I do like her attitude about money.
The AVN interviewer asked her if she
would consider performing in a porn film.
Sure, she said, "It doesn't matter if I make
two million one month, I spend three. If I
make ten dollars one month I'll spend twenty,
so if you catch me at the right time I could
star in the world's biggest gangbang." Given
the way money runs through her hands, that
forthcoming in the Heidi series.
With Christmas upon us I don't think Heidi's
adventures or any other porn DVD would make
a good present. To each his own here, but
wrapping a ribbon around COME IN MY MOUTH
AND I'LL SPIT IT BACK IN YOURS from
Devil's Film or BIG BUTT SMASHDOWN
from Evasive Angels is not so Santa-friendly.
For a stocking stuffer, instead of a stake-in-the-ass
DVD, I'd suggest a book. And for Exotic
readers the perfect gift is Portland
Confidential: Sex, Crime and Corruption
in the Rose City by Tribune columnist
Judging by Portland Confidential,
our fair city was deep into iniquity in
the 1950's. This fast, crisp read has the
goods on the jukebox gangsters, pinball
operators, smut peddlers snaking across
town in push-button Plymouths, dope dealers
on Burnside (still there!), and women from
Umatilla shanghaied as call girls upon arrival
in this city of vice and sin. City officials
either turned their eyes away or--more likely--were
up to their necks in graft.
The whole deal came apart in the spring
of 1956 with the indictment of the chief
of police, the district attorney and mayor
Terry Schrunk. A showdown the following
year before the U.S. Senate Rackets Committee
put the entire spectacle on national TV.
At one point Portland D.A. William Langley,
who'd been caught on a hidden tape recorder
talking about how to divvy up the Portland
rackets, took the Fifth Amendment to all
questions before the committee except for
his name and address. One of the senators,
Karl Mundt of North Dakota, was so taken
aback by the D.A. refusing to answer questions
he growled that city officials in Portland
should "pull the flags down at half-mast
in public shame."
In the end Langley, who was indicted on
six counts including conspiracy and accepting
a bribe, was convicted on a minor charge
of malfeasance for being present at a charity
event where slot machines were the favored
entertainment. He was fined $200 and dismissed
from office. Mayor Terry Schrunk, who had
been accused of picking up a $500 bribe
at an after hour joint owned by a crime
boss, was acquitted. Stanford notes "the
jury couldn't believe that a public official
of his stature would be dumb enough to pick
up his own payoffs, especially one that
small. They were probably right."
Stanford does an excellent job showing how
the whole racketeering scheme unraveled
when a reporter from the Oregonian, Wally
Turner, started peeking through keyholes
in Chinatown. Strippers who read Exotic
will especially like the stories of Tempest
Storm flashing her (covered) hooters at
the Capitol burlesque house on Fourth and
Morrison while her rival, Candy Renee, held
forth at the Star on Sixth and Burnside.
(The Oregon Journal, Portland's other
daily newspaper in those days, called it
"the Battle of the G-strings.")
Candy Renee was on exceedingly friendly
terms with Chief of Police "Diamond" Jim
Purcell. When the heat was on Purcell, who
avoided prosecution for shakedowns by resigning
from office, Candy split to Seattle. There
she tried a turn at politics, running as
a candidate for Republican Committeewoman
on the "fair shake" platform. Wearing a
plunging V-neck dress ("with nothing under
it" she noted) Candy announced her candidacy
pointing out that "any man who can find
fault with my platform is plainly closing
his eyes to the facts."
A great burst of red and yellow type over
a black-and-white photo montage on the cover
give the little book the proper sense of
pulp, as do the Speed Graphic flashbulb-in-the-face
news photos scattered throughout the text.
Portland Confidential is the perfect
gift for anyone in the sex industry or on
the wrong side of the law.
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