Dandy Dicks brings back elegance to the glamorous world of porn. Its editor, Walter Crasshole, is no stranger to the queer community, nor to sex on screen. Spreading the word at Siegessäule as well as ExBerliner Magazine, we got curious how dandy and live-steaming gay porn would now go hand in hand.
You’ve been a journalist for how many years now?
I graduated from journalism school in 2007 in San Francisco as the editor in chief of my university magazine. Not only did I learn writing, it became my passion. I learned the Ins and outs, to an extent. You’re a little safer when you’re doing a university magazine than when you’re doing a commercial enterprise because you’ve got support behind you and it’s really hard to fail.
As a training phase …
Yeah, right. Since 2007, right away I got lots of freelance stuff. Some got published, some didn’t, but it was all paid for. I was writing for the Bay Area Reporter which is a free, independent, gay magazine and they had me write reviews on books which was nice, but they had me write reports on the women’s magic festival but like ‘ymen’ with a ‘y’ you know! And I was just, like, I mean I’ll write it for the money, but it’s not exactly what I want to be doing.
Was it your creative pursuit that brought you to Berlin?
Um, teilweise ja, I mean I was always kind of a punk kid that was always working in record stores in the gay neighborhood and that was a lot of fun and taught me a lot of cultural knowledge, but record stores, unfortunately as we all know, went down with western civilization a few years ago. So I couldn’t get a job that was steady writing in San Francisco and I moved to Berlin with my boyfriend at the time. It was love and opportunity, but one failed and I’m still pretty ambitious so opportunity is still here. I don’t know how ambitious I should be about a failed relationship, but about life, yeah! There was ExBerliner Magazine, and everyone that I knew here told me I should try and get a job for them and I said “sure, yeah, whatever, the only freaking’ English language magazine in Berlin… I’m never gonna get a job” but yeah, I rolled the dice and oddly enough I got a job there and then I went to Siegesäule and I’ve been writing in Berlin for five years now.
And now DandyDicks …
Yeah, so that was really a fluid thing, more or less, because I’ve always been interested in porn, I did some porn in San Francisco.
Never minding your readers and colleagues?
It’s no secret. My parents are just too dumb to figure that out on Facebook or they’re just not saying anything. I did some political porn, some more artsy porn, and some mainstream stuff. The mainstream stuff wasn’t amazing for me, the more artsy/political stuff didn’t pay a whole lot. It was always interesting for me. I love the machinations of the whole culture and a business that revolved around sex because I love sex and I think it’s really important. I think it’s great and I’m glad that people feel as enthusiastic about it as I do. It was kind of like, let’s try everything! So I did that, so anyway, I was here and got involved in the porn film festival, because when I was young Bruce’s movies meant a lot to me. I got into it as a journalist and when I would write about it at ExBerliner, I got accreditation and would go spend five days there, write about it everyday, but also be surrounded, for five days by people who were doing porn and doing interesting things with it. I wrote mostly about gay topics and tend to get ghettoized there, but I don’t mind. I mean, if I’m doing anything queer at ExBerliner I end up ghettoized, so it was pretty organic in that way spending all this time with one foot in the porn world and the other in the writing world. Why not put it together and do something like Playboy – back in the sixties you know – actually I did a lot of research into Playboy and they had a great attitude about sex which was important at the time. They had some really cool queer writers like Jean Genet and Gore Vidal there. I mean it was intellectual which I also want to bring to DandyDicks. I want it to be fun yet also intellectual.
Sounds sexy. A playful Playboy-esque approach…
Right, but more hardcore than Playboy. I think it’s always been nude women and no sex.
I think they photoshop the intimate parts, making the sex sexless
Your writers and performers come from Australia, London, San Francisco and New York. That’s a lot of original content. Our first thought: it’s great to have a new blog on the block and now you’ve become a magazine.
Absolutely, everybody can feed off each other and have an idea of what’s going on, there should be a number of voices at all times!
Where’s your inspiration? Is it as punk rock-ish as you?
It’s more classy punk than me, I think I’m this guy…well that’s a different topic, because I can talk about punk forever, and my ideas about punk. But the punk spirit was something new that was being done and not about mohawks and spikes and studs. It was never about that for me.
So more about anarchy itself?
Yeah, it’s really more about pushing the boundaries and trying new ideas. When the new idea becomes old, maybe it’s time to move on and abandon it. I mean I’m not applying that to DandyDicks in any way. But actually maybe using DandyDicks to apply that idea. Take away the idea that porn is just this isolated idea that a user has. I mean sex is culture. There is a defined sex culture, yet sex is a part of our collective culture. Just look at pop music. Sex is in it, but it’s all sublimated. Why can’t we talk about it, bring it to the forefront, be really explicit about it. Playboy was an inspiration, for real… which is kind of weird to say because it feels so old. But the idea hasn’t been replicated. I’m not saying that we replicated the idea because we have the internet which is a media gratification and there many different ways of having something to read while having something to view at the same time.
So is there a creative element to come out of pornography?
The creative element is the guys that we are showcasing. We don’t have professional porn actors, we hire guys that we know. I mean porn is coming to this level of social acceptance. We’re coming to a generation that has less fear of what porn could do to your career. And that’s kind of a beautiful thing too, the guys that we’re getting are not going to have a career in porn they all have their own thing going. They’re usually writers or artists or even bartenders working on whatever their dream is, it could be anything. They just want to experience a thrill, a slightly transgressive thrill that these days won’t exactly destroy your life anymore and see what its like. I think that’s kind of a beautiful thing to share with the world as well.
So porn not as a dirty hobby but also as a way of expressing your personality?
Right, exactly, more an adventure. Like going to Berghain or something…
Where you’re not supposed to be filmed. Remember that Claire Danes interview, they took that off the internet, you know.
It’s too late… somebody made the argument that nobody watching Ellen is going to fly straight to Berlin to visit Berghain, but I mean, the secret is already out. I don’t feel like it’s too under wraps anymore. I had my Berghain time, I went for two years every weekend. I don’t go anymore, I haven’t been in two years. It’s just something I don’t need to do, I had my experience I was that person who had to be wild for a while.
What are your thoughts on organic leather or rubber wear?
That is still a thing in the more left wing queer political scene in Berlin, but it hasn’t yet come to a larger scale.
Things are changing in the scene so rapidly. Don’t you think?
I think people just want to try everything which goes back to them just doing porn, and I don’t think it’s because we’re being shallow or taking advantage of a niche, but I think it’s great that we can let people experience this, who want to experience this.
I love fifteen minutes of fame.
Some guys actually find it really hot. Even if like I said, they’ll never do it again because most of the time they’re artists or whatever, they have other callings and are not pornstars for a living. It’s like those sex trends. Take puppy play, for instance. I saw how quickly that went up. I don’t feel like after the sixth millennia of humankind, we have finally been waiting this long to unleash our puppy fetish. I feel like a lot of people are just thinking, ooh that’s kinky and new and interesting, they’re trying it and I don’t know how long it’s gonna last. I think it will be around forever, but the numbers will go back down.
Like a program on the washing machine.
I don’t wanna use the washing machine as a metaphor for my life because I only use one setting because I’m terrified of the others.
Sometimes when you’re at work so much, I feel like I work and then I do laundry and then I die. Do you ever get that?
Those are the three components of life right, and then food?
And porn, of course.
We’ve managed to combine them into one.
By watching more porn professionally, I mean you’ve said you’ve always worked in the porn world, has it changed your sexuality? Do you want more or less sex?
Has it changed my sexuality? No I don’t think so. Do I want more sex? I always want more sex. I don’t think it changed my sexuality. I think porn is just, I won’t say this as a super generalization but similar to any form of media, like horror movies perhaps. Just because you might watch certain types of porn and you can even get off on it doesn’t mean, that you’re into everything; just because you like Freddie Krueger does not mean you wanna go slash up people. I don’t think doing porn has changed my sexuality I think it’s given me more access to different people. I’m surrounded by more horny guys because I’m dealing with it every day at work.
One last comment on the hot guys to be seen on dandydicks.com?
I do think that the guys we get are quite unique and not only because it’s an experience, but because men in the porn industry have very specific regimes. Those boys are beautiful to look at but somewhat unattainable and I think we have really attractive guys that are actually the guys you’re seeing on the street that look fit and beautiful and whatever, but are not going to have the perfect six pack abs. I would say that we’re bringing porn back to reality. We’re doing more for the male image than most other porn is doing and we’re not really fetishizing a body type. We’re not saying OK, here are bears, here are twinks, here are really hairy guys, here are hairless guys, you know. I mean, that’s all thrown in the mix. It’s not about making like units out of the performers. But making the idea of what you’re seeing is real sex.
Interview: Torsten Schwick