By Daniel A. Kusner
In the 1990s, gay porn was invaluable.
When AIDS was in full-blown holocaust mode, VHS technology placed erotica in the privacy of one’s own home. Porn also safely relieved pent-up stress when dudes were terrified of hooking up with other dudes. But it also vividly celebrated same-sex love.
And those elements translated into big-business. The payoff was that studios could afford to transform beefcake studs like Lex Baldwin into supernovas.
On March 27, 1993, Lex and I met at a San Antonio nightclub where he drew a crush of fans.
Lex didn’t disappoint.
The six-foot burlesque hunk hit the stage in a leather mask and black cape. Crotch-thrusting to Prince’s churning-funk classic “Get Off,” Lex slowly peeled off garments until his herculean physique was clad in only a G-string.
Lex was surprisingly friendly toward frisky fans who worshipped him with thong dollars.
For his denouement, Lex covered his waist with a white towel, and his G-string magically vanished. Then the towel kept clumsily falling off his waist.
We met backstage where Lex agreed to an interview and told me to call his hotel the following morning. (He even gave me his room number.)
Lex isn’t much of a talker.
But speaking with him illuminated a salient point: The strands of sexuality can be woven into complex patterns. And even gay-for-pay porn stars can be progressive members of the gay community.
This brief conversation captures Lex in his prime — before he radically transformed his distinctive nose and went by the names Eric Conte, Keith Rivera, Talon and Dillon Boy.
Two years later, third-wave feminist Susan Faludi wrote “The Money Shot,” an exhaustive piece in the New Yorker about male porn stars where she profiled jackhammer hetero stud T. T. Boy. Faludi’s fact-checkers confirmed that TT Boy was Lex’s biological brother. Her research also unearthed that the brothers endured a harsh, hardworking rural life under the influence of a demanding father.
Good morning, Lex. Morning.
Did you start your career by dancing in nightclubs? Before I did movies, I danced at a West Hollywood gay club called Studio One. I wanted to see if I liked the scene. Just to check it out a few times.
How old are you? 23.
Where’d you grow up? In the desert. Just say Los Angeles because I was born in L.A..
Do your parents and family know about your career? No.
What were you like in high school? A troublemaker. I was obnoxious and got expelled for fighting. School bored me. In class, I couldn’t control myself. I’d just go crazy.
What was the last album you bought? Queensryche’s “Empire.” I like rock.
If you weren't in porn, what other line of work would you pursue? Gym business. Fitness.
Do you consider yourself gay? I don't like titles. I like whatever feels good.
Do you have a partner? Nope.
How competitive is your line of work? For me? I'm not trying to compete against anybody.
Is it tough getting work for the kind of money you want? I haven't done many movies. And my manager helps me negotiate pay. Anyway, I haven't done a movie in about a year, but my last one was just released.
Are you gonna be doing any more? I'm not sure.
What are your thoughts about people who protest porn? They have the right to say whatever they want to say -- freedom of speech. I don't have nothing against them. Everybody's gotta put in their two cents.
Who do you admire? Ted Turner. Because he's a billionaire. I like the diversity of his business interests
What are porn scripts like? They’re stupid. Filled with little cheesy stuff you have to say. The scenes are stupid. One movie I did had a decent script. They had it written up because it was a higher budget movie. Scripts aren’t a big deal.
Are you glad President Clinton is in office? I'm not into politics. I'm glad Clinton is in office for the gays... ya know, the gay community. Because he can help the economy and everything, and that'll help me.
How is safe sex handled in the industry? I work for Catalina. They don’t mess around. They only promote safe sex. You don't have a choice. Other companies risk practicing unsafe sex.
What won't you do in your films? I won't get fucked, and I won't suck dick.
Do you have any hobbies? I like waterskiing and riding bikes.
How often do you work out? About four days a week?
Do you see this career as a stepping stone? I do.
Toward what? It's a good way to meet very interesting people.
Do fans hassle you in your private life? Yeah, sometimes they bother me.
Do you watch your own movies? Naah.
If you were to die tomorrow, what would you do today? Umm... [laughs] Fuck 10 girls? Awww, I'm joking. I don't know. I guess spend time with my family. Whoever's important to me.