Friday, October 31, 2008

Lansing News!

MSU grad writes porn legend's bio

Film prompts look into John Holmes' life

NOISE by Emily Caswell

Jennifer Sugar swears she's a wholesome girl. Married and living on the west side of the state, Sugar, a Michigan State University alumni is probably not the kind of person you'd imagine writing a biography of a porn star. But she did. Along with co-author Jill C. Nelson, Sugar, 26, put together a biography of John Holmes, one of the first porn actors who was well-known for being well-endowed.

Sugar became interested in Holmes after seeing the motion picture "Wonderland," saying she had a feeling "there (was) a lot more to be told." And so she started her research. First, by watching many of Holmes' films. "Some of them were really funny," said Sugar. "The more I watched them, the more I liked them. ... Then they got repetitive."

Second, she took a trip to Hollywood in August of '04 to attend a birthday party thrown in Holmes' honor. He died in 1988.

There she met up with Bill Margold. Considered to be the world's foremost adult film historian, he worked with Holmes throughout the '70s and '80s, Margold took Sugar to the party. From there, she got some contacts and started working on the book. NOISE talked with Sugar about the bio, her time with Margold and more.

So why John Holmes?

I was curious really because he was a boy from Ohio who went out to Hollywood and became a porn star ... It just seemed like he was an important person. ... A pop culture icon ... I wanted to see him as more than just a penis.

How did you get people in the industry to trust you as an outsider?

Some people were skeptical. They asked me a lot of questions.

What was it like hanging out with Margold?

That was kind of crazy. ... He's very bombastic. ... Bill, he just looked out for me ... He'd say "so and so, he just wants to get into your pants." (laughs).

What was the most surprising thing you learned about Holmes?

He was such a paradox. ... There were a lot of stories about John doing positive things.

Did you set out to write the bio to find those positive parts of him?

I was looking to write something that would be unbiased. ... I wanted to present an even view.

How did you get hooked up with Jill?

I met Jill on a message board related to John Holmes...I just got to know her.

What did your parents think of the book?

My dad, of course, was a little bit surprised. My mom, she was really curious.

How did you find time to work on the book while in college?

I didn't let it take over...My college stuff came first. (I) mostly (worked on it) over summer.



Thursday, October 30,2008 By Bill Castanier

Literary Endowment

The story of how two women came to write a biography of the unquestionable "King” of Porn," John C. Holmes, is almost as fascinating as their subject. Almost.

Recent Michigan State University graduate Jennifer Sugar, of Michigan, and Jill Nelson, a businesswoman from Toronto, have written a fascinating account of Holmes’ rise to fame and dramatic fall in their 581-page book “John Holmes: A Life Measured In Inches.”

Most know of Holmes for his extraordinary endowment, which helped make him the star of thousands of pornographic movies during the “golden era” of porn. His most notable achievement was the “Johnny Wadd” series, in which he played a detective or, as it’s known in the trade, a private dick.

Those less familiar with his work know about Holmes from the movie “Wonderland,” which not only details his life in the industry, but also his decline and fall, which led to cocaine addiction, his entanglement in a drug robbery and murder and his ultimate death from AIDS in 1988.
Sugar became fascinated with Holmes’ life after watching “Wonderland” as an MSU student in 2003. “I hadn’t watched a John Holmes movie, and (after watching “Wonderland”) I said I’ll never watch a John Holmes movie,” Sugar said.

The promise to look away was short lived. “I was most interested in the murders at first,” Sugar said. Sugar watched documentaries on Holmes and read everything she could find. One thing she could not find was a biography of the porn star. Undaunted and naive about how hard it would be, Sugar decided to write it herself. “I just thought it would be kind of fun to try,” she said. In August 2004, Sugar who calls her self “shy,” went to Hollywood alone for the “Fit For a King” event, a celebration of Holmes’ life. She returned to California over the next three summers to conduct more than 35 interviews with Holmes’ co-stars, directors and the police officers involved in the investigation of the robbery-murders.

One major player who helped make contacts for Sugar was Holmes’ widow and former porn star, Laurie Holmes, who also gave her and her writing partner access to audiotapes from Holmes’ autobiography, “Porn King.” “I think my age and not having any experience as a journalist or author let them open up to me,” Sugar said. By the time Sugar interviewed director Paul Thomas while on a shoot, she was quite familiar with the industry. “What was shocking was that I wasn’t shocked,” she said.

Later, she and Nelson shared the responsibility of watching 114 feature films and another 86 loops starring Holmes to complete the section on Holmes’ filmography.

Sugar met Nelson online in a chatroom about “Wonderland.” They corresponded through e-mail for more than a year before Sugar asked for help with the book. “As I got to trust her, I told her it was too much for one person,” Sugar said.

Nelson said her initial interest in Holmes stemmed from her fascination with Val Kilmer, who played him in “Wonderland.” “I knew about John Holmes, but other than knowing he was well endowed, I wanted to see how Val Kilmer would portray him,” she said.

Her interest grew, and Nelson found herself wanting to know more. “I wanted to find out how a country kid from Ohio could get caught up in pornography and be catapulted into stardom,” she said. Nelson also brought a different perspective, since she was twice Sugar’s age.
“I knew the ‘70s,” she said. “I lived through them.” Nelson said sifting through all the material was a lot of work. Much had been written about Holmes, but there was no complete biography, and that was the authors’ goal. They wanted to know what went on behind the scenes and who the man was. They each conducted interviews and reviewed movies. “We both respected each other’s opinions,” Nelson said. “I think that’s the reason it works. We’re both determined and perfectionists, and we’re both meticulous.”

Each woman is proud of her accomplishment, which is the best look to date at a porn star who helped redefine a film genre, bringing it from seedy art house to a new life at video stores. The book is also the first mainstream biography of a porn star to feature full frontal nudity. Both authors agree it had to be included, and it’s the first thing readers turn to.

Now the authors are on the circuit to promote the book, making appearances everywhere from mainstream bookstores to the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas in January.
For the record, Sugar’s “favorite” Holmes’ movie is “Eruption,” and Nelson favors “Jade Pussycat.” Neither would elaborate, but Sugar did recently see “Eruption” on a large 35 mm screen. Perfect to watch John C. Holmes.

Jennifer Sugar & Jill Nelson Authors of “John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches” 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3 Schuler Books & Music, 2820 Towne Center Blvd., LansingFREE

(517) 316-7495

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Schulers' Books & Music & New Author Interview!

It is less than a week now before our book signing at Schulers' Books & Music and tomorrow, October 29th, Sugar will be a special guest on The Impact, at 88.9 at 7:00 pm!

This is from Schulers' website:

A Look Behind the Lens of the Life of Pop-Culture Icon John Holmes, Monday. November 3. 7:30 p.m. Meet MSU alumnus Jennifer Sugar and Jill Nelson, co-authors of the definitive biography of John Holmes, the undisputed King of the adult film industry, whose devastating downward spiral contributed to one of the most gruesome, unsolved, multiple-murders in Hollywood history. The grave consequences of his cocaine addiction, his association with the Wonderland murders, and his AIDS-related death made him an infamous figure in pop culture. Now John Holmes: A Life Measured In Inches looks beyond the stigmas and rumors to reveal the man behind the myth, and the cultural implications of the birth of the adult film industry.


New author interview at Cindi's Naked Truth!

John Holmes- Exclusive Interview with the authors of “A Life Measured In Inches”October 28th, 2008

This book is PACKED with info on John Holmes, from his child hood until his death, it also gives details on what was happening all around him in the adult industry throughout his life. Thorough is not a strong enough word. We also have reviews of many of John’s movies and a bunch of pictures of him throughout his life. Excellent tome. I did an interview with the two writers who made this happen, Jill Nelson & Jennifer Sugar. Here is what they had to say-

1) Without having any prior interest or knowledge of the adult film industry, what was your inspiration for writing a book about John Holmes?

Jennifer: I had heard on the radio, “Our sets are longer than John Holmes,” and I was disappointed after I saw Wonderland because I wanted to really be able to see what that meant. I had never seen one of his movies until about four years ago. It was ironic because after I saw Wonderland when I was 21, I thought, “I’ll never watch a John Holmes movie!” and now, four years later, I’ve co-authored the only comprehensive biography of John Holmes, which includes 200 film reviews. I don’t think there’s much left for me to see that would shock me!

Jill: I had heard of John Holmes back in the 70’s when I was still a teenager and I knew him by his reputation. That is, I was aware of the fact that he was extremely well endowed, but I’d never watched any of his movies. In some ways, it was liberating to be presented with a legitimate opportunity, not only to explore an erotic film star’s life, but also to vicariously explore the taboo world of sexuality, beyond the realm of what is acceptable by today’s society. Not many men are built like John was, so there was definitely a curiosity factor for me. I soon discovered that John’s genitals don’t resemble your typical turkey neck and giblets, like many males’ tend to do, so I guess you could say that John’s famous member provided inspiration for the bio – on some levels.

2) How did people react upon learning of your project?

Jennifer: People were positive. My dad said, “I better not see you in any movies,” my mom said, “Maybe you can recommend some movies,” and my sister said, “How can I get in a movie?”

Jill: My husband has been supportive, but, at first, my teenaged daughter who was 17 at the time was a little uncomfortable with the idea of the book. On the other hand, my son (who is now 24) begged me to let him add Ron Jeremy’s cell phone number to his speed dial, just to impress his buddies! In my circle, people have been polarized, but I’ve reminded a few that ”A Life Measured in Inches” is a serious and comprehensive biography about an erotic film legend –Jennifer and I are not porn stars. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! But, there is a definite difference.

3) As first time authors venturing into unchartered waters, did you ever feel that undertaking a biography about John Holmes was overwhelming?

Jennifer: At times, I felt overwhelmed because there was so much to do – we had lists of phone numbers and e-mails, interviews to transcribe, movies to watch and review — and that was really just the beginning. I’d write a list of the next five things to do on an XL condom and pop it with a big pin when they were done. Many condoms were popped during the making of this book.

Jill: It is interesting, because our book was written electronically, by e-mailing our interview transcriptions, individual chapters and film reviews back and forth. We actually met in person for the first time in July of 2007, when we travelled to L.A. to do a round of interviews together. In April of this year, Jennifer (who resides in Michigan) stayed at my house in Ontario, Canada, for few days so we that could write captions for the 3 photos sections we had selected. Some of the pictures are rare nudes that really showcase John’s “inches”. It would get late and we’d be bleary-eyed sitting on my livingroom couch, fixated on John’s humungous pretzel and on impulse, we’d toss off all sorts of hilarious captions. The next day we’d generally tone it down a notch, but it was pretty funny.

4) Were you porn fans ahead of time? How were you accepted by the adult community?

Jennifer: Prior to reviewing John’s films and other Golden Age classics, I’d only seen a couple or porn movies and wasn’t a fan, but I was curious…

I would say that I was accepted warmly, but professionally by the adult community. People always ask if anyone ever asked me to be in a movie. No one ever did, although Cass Paley recently told me that the reason why he and Roy Karch approached me at “Fit for a King” — which recognized what would have been John’s 60th birthday — was because Roy was going to ask me to be in an adult movie. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a responsible, adult who decides to work in adult movies, but it’s not for me and I don’t do anything that would suggest otherwise.

In interviews with people who had worked within the adult community, I found that they were open after we earned their trust and shared our vision for how Inches would portray John Holmes.

Jill: I can honestly tell you that at age 50, no one offered me a part in a movie, not even as a MILF! We found that because we were both virgins, so to speak, it eventually worked to our benefit in gaining the trust of the adult community, because it was refreshing. Jennifer is a pretty and intelligent young woman, so people naturally gravitated toward her and they were very intrigued when she’d originated this project 4 years ago. I didn’t come on board until almost two years ago. As co-authors, we make an unique partnership because we are a generation apart; I’m a mother and I have been married for 30 years. Jennifer is a newlywed and a recent university graduate, so we are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Because of the nature of the book, we have talked about many things that I would never discuss with my own daughter because I’d be too embarrassed!

5) You both watched and reviewed over 200 Holmes’ films and loops for this project. What was your reaction when you saw John’s legendary penis for the first time?

Jennifer: I’ve seen it so many times now, I honestly can’t remember what I thought when I first saw it. But I will say this — there was a short-term effect to watching so many John Holmes films in such a short period of time; a regular-sized penis looked half as big as it should!

Jill: The first time I saw John’s penis was in a scene from The Jade Pussycat, where Johnny Wadd is “auditioning” a new secretary played by Christian Sarver. I distinctly remember exclaiming out loud, “HOLY SHIT!”. It almost rendered me speechless, which is very rare for me! The very first Johnny Wadd film adeptly demonstrates just how intimidating John’s size could be. At 25 years old, he was, as they say, young and hung, as the camera highlights his erect penis, swinging partway down toward his knee. It is thick and curved, almost like a boomerang. John had long skinny legs, so it is really quite incredible and impressive. The brunette actress who was working with John in that scene, Andie Bellamy, seemed to think so, too, judging by her vocal expressions and body language.

6) What are some of your favourite memories while writing the biography?

Jennifer: I interviewed Paul Thomas on the set of an adult video he was directing. After P.T. and his staff agreed on “Tits” for the location of the impending cum shot, he excused himself from our interview and joined the crew, who had snapped to attention to film the climax. When the cameras were turned off, the actress (who had done a convincing job during the scene), held her hands away from her body with her fingers pointed down. And in a statement that I think many women can empthasize with, she said, “I need a paper towel.”

Jill: Many stories shared with us throughout our interviews are memorable. Marilyn Chambers said when she’d first met John, he told her he had owned a sheep farm. I knew through Jennifer that Rhonda Jo Petty had said John told her he and his (first) wife Sharon had owned a goat farm. I laughed because it just struck me as the type of tale that John might have thought was funny. There are some stories that didn’t make it into the book, either because we were close to our deadline with our publisher, or we couldn’t verify them at all. Someone told me a story about a business card that John used to hand out in the 80s that read: “Romantic Problems? Call John Holmes” and it listed the telephone number of his answering service on Santa Monica Blvd.

The experience of co-writing this book has definitely been a lot of hard and meticulous work, but it has also been enlightening and fun.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Michigan Book Signing, Cindi's Naked Truth & More!

Book Signing:

Watch and listen for 'up and coming' media coverage for our Monday, November 3rd signing event at Schuler's Book Store in Lansing, Michigan!

Jennifer Sugar will be interviewed by Emily Smith at Lansing NOISE a few days prior to our event. The interview will appear in their October 29th publication. Lansing City Pulse will be publishing a joint interview with Sugar and Nelson later on this month. In addition, Sugar is scheduled to be a special guest on Lansing radio: 88.9 The Impact with Bill Castanier on October 29th. The interview will air on the same day at 7:00 pm. Eastern.

Cindi's Naked Truth:

Check out Cindi's glowing comments about our biography:

"I am reading John Holmes, A Life Measured in Inches. This book is the TEXT BOOK on John Holmes and his era of porn. There is so much detail, I feel like I am studying for a quiz when I am reading, but that’s not a bad thing! Currently rated 5 stars on, this is a must read for all porn history buffs. Thanks to the authors for my autographed copy! :) More on the book when I get further along…."

Cindi also writes for luke is back at:

In Related News:

Adult Film Historian, William Margold, has requested that John Holmes' (and other legendary stars) famous hand and footprints outside of the former Pussycat Theatre on Santa Monica Blvd. be moved to the Hustler store, located in Hollywood on Sunset Blvd. An article about the historic landmark by David Cotner appeared in L.A. Weekly last week and has been picked up by adult fan websites - X-Biz and P.S. Babylon.

John Holmes left lasting impressions in front of the Pussycat Theatre at the lavish, red carpet premiere of Girls on Fire on February 7th, 1985 - almost 20 years after entering the adult business. He was 40 years old. Just one week later, on February 14th, Holmes was the first erotic film star to be inducted into the XRCO Hall of Fame.

From XBiz:

The Studs Theater on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, once the flagship theater of the Pussycat chain that showed “Deep Throat” when it first came to Los Angeles, has cement handprints and signatures of adult industry stars including Linda Lovelace, John C. Holmes and Harry Reems on the sidewalk outside the theater.

Adult industry veteran Bill Margold has been asking Larry Flynt to buy the imprints — particularly those of Holmes and Lovelace, who are now deceased — and move them to the Hustler Hollywood store on the Sunset Strip.

“I think they’d be a lot happier over there,” Margold told XBIZ. “Santa Monica Boulevard is still thought of as the boulevard of hookers, whereas Sunset is the boulevard of entertainment.”Margold went to see Holmes’ imprint with the writers of the John Holmes biography,A Life Measured in Inches.”

“I’m sad at how ill-treated the footprints are [at Studs] and how well-treated they are at Hustler Hollywood. Flynt could buy the whole theater if he wanted to. I could run it as a historical theater if he did that. We could show the old movies on a regular basis.”

The Hustler Hollywood store in West Hollywood, Calif., has handprints of adult personalities in its entranceway, including Screw magazine publisher Al Goldstein, director Paul Thomas, and performers Herschel Savage and Christy Canyon.