Friday, November 14, 2008

Michigan Mittenlit Book Review & Podcast interview!

A New Biography of the Top Gun in the Porno Industry

This past week the two authors of a new biography on John C. Holmes did a book signing and discussion in Lansing. It was their first mainstream appearance. Here’s a look at this controversial new book.
Pornography, drugs, and murder; who wouldn’t want to read a biography that is absolutely saturated in sex, cocaine, and a mass murder? From Mark Wahlberg’s portrayal as Dirk Diggler, a physically talented but drug addled porn-star in “Boogie Nights,” to Val Kilmer’s graphic yet stunningly vivid and accurate characterization in “Wonderland” John C. Holmes legend has grown in proportion to his legendary appendage.

In “John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches,” authors Jennifer Sugar of Michigan and Jill C. Nelson of Canada provide the first and more than likely the most detailed biography ever of porn superstar John Curtis Estes, aka John C. Holmes, aka Johnny Wadd.

John C. Holmes became an instant celebrity during the 1970s after the American culture had undergone an extended sexual revolution which allowed pornography to sneak right into the mainstream and the living rooms of millions of Americans.

To be completely honest, John C. Holmes’s rise to celebrity status was primarily because of his un-naturally large penis which according to John himself was, “…14 inches long and as round as my forearm, six inches above the wrist,” After years of starring in hundreds of films and hiding his marriage to a conservative girl, Holmes eventually began his downward spiral of excessive drug use that plagued so many celebrities and average Joe’s in the 1970s-80s. After leading a substance-abuse free life for numerous years (Holmes even abstained from tobacco and alcohol), Holmes jumped into the life of cocaine with such intensity that his string of hit porn movies would soon come to an end, not to mention his freedom.

After befriending Los Angeles drug kingpin Ed Nash, John became entwined with nefarious characters that eventually led to quadruple homicide charges against him that would become embedded into the history of Hollywood and soon on the big screen as the “Wonderland murders”. John would emerge a free man, but no way whatsoever vindicated. After contracting HIV, Holmes with, knowledge of his illness, continued to film porno movies and possibly exposed many female co-stars to the disease. He succumbed to AIDS in 1988 leaving behind a legacy with enough unanswered questions to make many wonder who was this man?

In a book that utilizes years of research including hundreds of hours of interviews with friends, family, co-stars, police officers (essentially those who knew Holmes at his most intimate moments), John C. Holmes’ life before, during and after porn is described and chronicled with painfully hard memories.

These two first-time authors (one actually went to a filming of a XXX movie to interview a director who was extremely close to Holmes during his extended run in the pornography game) put together a 582 page biography that reads like a college textbook on speed with a side of steroids. In addition, to pages upon pages that recount a fascinating life that coincided with the criminalization and then legitimization of pornography, Jennifer Sugar and Jill Nelson provide the reader with hundreds of synopsis’ of Holmes’ films including little-known reels from the earliest days of pornography that conclude with brazenly poignant reviews such as “…John gets the girls prepped for a shared facial—a personal memento from Mr. Big.”

“John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches,” is a narrative similar to other star biographies with one major exception; the pages and pages of quotes and personal accounts of nearly every major figure in John’s life. Instead of unverified accounts given by outsiders with no obvious connection to Holmes, these authors included the personal accounts of many of his peers which allow readers an inside view into Johnny Wadd’s troubled life.

Throughout the book the reader is given objective information combined with subjective accounts from many former friends, lovers, wives, co-stars, etc. The reader essentially is allowed to come to their own verdict on whether this man was bigger than life or was he just a degenerate and sexual deviant who orchestrated the murder of four fellow druggies.


Click on link to listen to podcast interview with "Inches" biographer Jennifer Sugar - on Impact 89FM:

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