At the age of 40, wildly successful gay adult film star Colton Ford decides to leave porn behind and to pursue his dream: music. He definitely has the talent, but can he successfully use his porn past to build up a new car... more »eer as a singer-songwriter? Christopher Long's intelligent and appealing documentary, Naked Fame, attempts to answer that question, following Colton and his life partner, fellow adult film star Blake Harper, as Colton moves from the film studio to the music recording studio. This documentary explores the inner-workings of the music industry, capturing the intense emotional drama involved in the pursuit of stardom against the stigma of a porn-star past.« less
"Two members of a gay male couple want to leave the adult film industry. One wants to be a singer, the other an actor. You only get to see brief nudity near the start and finish of this film. I guess you have to get their REAL performances to see more. Yes, Glenn the wannabe-singer was/is talented. However, he sings with that George Michael-esque voice that can be common. Such a voice was imitated in the South Park movie back in 1999. Further, he wants to go into dance music which really doesn't bring fame to its makers. Think about what happened to Salma Hayek's character in "54," for example.
This movie confirmed every controlling image of West Hollywood. It's filled with men who are young, muscular, beautiful, and of course full of attitude! They are very fashion-conscious and totally nonchalant toward drug usage. That whole area might as well have a sign saying, "Non-beautiful guys not welcome!"
I guess all that butch behavior in adult features is just acting. These guys have stereotyped accents. They make comments such as "I am so over this!" and "I had to take a pill just like Judy Garland." There's crying, hissy fits, recounting what therapists told them, etc. Homophobes (and of course, I disapprove of such bigotry) will cringe here at what some refer to as "gay accents."
I do think this may be an instructive documentary for people of all sexualities who want to be famous. This guy had to market himself in New York City. He had fights and splits with his manager. His boyfriend is told, "Stay away, because future stars need to look single." The wannabe singer has to take advice (read: criticism) from as many places as he could get it. This taps into the aspects of stardom that people enjoy seeing in the "American Idol" series.
Like documentaries for Ron Jeremy, Annabel Chong, and Seymore B*tts, this documentary showed relatives who are knowledgeable and accepting of their family member's work in the adult business. You only see Glenn's parents briefly at the start and finish of this work. I wish you could have seen more of them. Countless gay works show family members abandoning their gay relatives, but here they are supportive. It would have been great to see how these straight parents learned to accept their son's sexual orientation.
Despite the numerous gym bunnies in this documentary, there were several bears here: Chi Chi LaRue (which I learned is pronounced with a "sh," rather than a harder "ch"), Bruce Vilanch, and a nameless impresario. For those of us who like big guys, it would have been great to see these bears. Why do the thin guys get so show so much flesh and yet, we only get to see a partially unbuttoned shirt on one of the bears?
Glenn's partner reluctantly returns to being a nurse. However, nurses can make a TON of money. This man stated that he only made $30,000 at most in adult features: that's a fraction of what nurses can make, especially nurses that don't have children. He didn't fail by returning to this profession since it's more lucrative. He grows a beard when he does so. I think it's meant to be a sign of respectability, but it makes him look a lot like the gay conservative editorialist Andrew Sullivan.
In many ways, this was just the GWM's version of "Hoop Dreams."
Proof that porn stars...
Reader | NEW YORK CITY | 12/20/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"...are surely made to be seen and not heard.
Let me preface by saying I'm sure that Colton and Blake are nice people on many levels. Ok, now that that is out of the way....
Wow - I have never seen a culture more superficial and self-serving and self-entitled than the slice of LA that is presented here. And I am in NYC.
There are chats about what to wear to music meetings that are really only about choosing among an array of nylon track pants and tank tops with logos like "69" on them. How fresh and original. (There's this entire culture of gay men in LA and Chelsea who apparently all subscribe and live by some secret dress code and no one ever stops and says "Hey, we all look alike - and a little silly." )
Yes Colton can sing somewhat but after 90minutes of hearing about his "struggles" and his belief in himself....Oy, enough already. Get a real job if your broke. And just a little humility would be very attractive.
The scene where his boyfriend, Blake - whose sole purpose seems to be just sitting near Colton and smiling admiringly - starts crying because he was groped by a porn fan was insane. He's a porn star in a club filled with drugged dancing gay guys and he's looking for respect? Sorry but after a life of showing off and ASKING to be lusted after (no matter what deep seated low self-esteem that stems from - yawn) to expect us to feel sorry for him is ridiculous. Not 2 minutes later, two passersby see him sobbing, recognize him and one comments how he masturbates to his film work. This pleases Blake who says that at least they treated him like a person. Priceless stuff.
Later, he gets the respect he supposedly yearns for when he finally relents and lowers himself to take a job as a nurse (poor stud - so unglamourous. no lights and makeup) but that is merely seen as a concession to help his beloved Colton pursue his naked hunger for fame. Nevermind that he might be helping people who have more urgent needs. And I liked Blake despite all of this. Or maybe liked is the wrong word.
The manager, who turns out to be more creepy (though less egotisitcal) than the film's subject, is some odd looking man who seems to have had so many procedures done to his face that he looks like some androgynous alien crossed with that Joyce Wildenstein cat-lady.
So despite my opinion of the subjects (yes they're probably very very nice people behind their issues) this doc is certainly interesting as an example of how truly repulsive and downright unattractive vanity and the hunger for fame can be - and that's true even when there is talent involved.
Definitely watch the extras - there is a 30 min "studio session" where they break down the lyrics to Colton's song like "unzip my jeans, climb into my sling". It's all truly hysterical because they are actually serious.
Then there's the video for what is quite possible the worst cover ever: "Signed Sealed Delivered". You'll watch and wonder how they managed to discard of any trace of a melody.
Fun stuff - seriously."
So You Don't Wanna Be A Porn Star Anymore - What's Next?
giovannif7 | West Hollywood, California United States | 09/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Naked Fame" is a documentary about porn star Colton Ford's struggles to leave the gay porn world for a new career as a dance music singer. At the start of the film, Ford is living and working in Chi Chi LaRue's "Live And Raw Hotel," from which a live webcam site broadcasts. Ford is first seen from behind, sitting in front of the computer, chatting with webcam-viewing site members. As he swivels around and starts flexing for the camera, the assets that made him a porn star are prominently on display. Handsome, goateed, hairy-chested and muscular, Ford is a fantasy daddy come to life. One side note, though - aside from one brief shot at the beginning, there is no real nudity in the film. Some porn clips are used, but they are edited to remove any explicit action. Ford's brief nude scene does capture the man's allure, however, and he does spend much of the film either shirtless or in tight tank tops, t-shirts and pants which emphasize his assets.
We are then introduced to various people who are important in Ford's life, and his upcoming career shift - his life partner Blake Harper (an aspiring legitimate actor, also looking to leave the porn world), his ultra-supportive mother and father, and various music industry contacts. Porn director Chi Chi LaRue also appears throughout the film (in and out of drag), giving background information on the ups and downs of the porn world, as well as to offer advice and encouragement to Ford as he goes off on his journey. Scenes of Ford and Harper wrapping up their porn careers (their last public appearance at the Bad Boys Pool Party in Palm Springs, moving out of the "Live And Raw Hotel" and searching for their own apartment, etc.) are interspersed with various music industry meetings. Ford gets together with songwriters, producers, other singers, promoters and club owners, each of whom seems to offer a little encouragement with a healthy dose of warnings of caution. As Ford and his co-writer and producer put together his first single and demo recording, it becomes apparent that this is not just a pipe dream. Ford has a fine voice and a good feel for the dance music genre, and during the rehearsal process, he shows that he has the moves to grab the attention of an audience.
As Ford's level of effort to push his new career forward increases, however, so does his level of frustration. Unfortunately, this frustration can begin to rub off onto the viewer - you want Ford to start getting some significant returns for the amount of effort and energy he's expending, but things never really seem to click into gear. In this era of reality television, some in the viewing audience may lose interest in watching yet another talented hopeful get beaten down by an apathetic industry. While Ford does experience some success, there are just too many brick walls and lost opportunities, preventing any real sense of progress and accomplishment. By the end of the film, the two men are living in their own apartment, Harper has returned to working as a nurse, and Ford continues to pursue his dream, releasing two dance singles, including a remake of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," a duet with dance diva Pepper MaShay.
Watching the film, I found myself wishing there had been less focus on Ford's career struggles, and more exploration of the relationship between Ford and Harper. As a couple, their acceptance, caring and total support for each other is evident throughout the film. They are attractive, intelligent, talented, genuinely likeable guys, and it is very easy to root for the couple to reach their goals and find success. Ford's parents are also shown to be very interesting, entertaining people - it would have been great to learn more about them as well. If anyone knows someone at the new Logo cable network, give them a heads up. Logo couldn't find better stars for a reality series than this group. Throw in an occasional drop-by from former porn pals, and you'd likely have a very entertaining show!
The film itself runs 84 minutes, and the DVD extras include a photo gallery, trailers, and bonus footage of a live (singing) performance of Ford's, as well as his video for the dance single "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." I highly recommend this film to fans of either Colton Ford or Blake Harper (fans of both should be ecstatic!) Those who aren't "American Idol"ed or "Apprentice"d out would also do well to give this documentary a look, as they will most likely find some or all of the film insightful, moving and entertaining. "
A Documentary with Embellishments the Wears Out its Welcome
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/17/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"For the first fifteen minutes the story of NAKED FAME is interesting: two late thirties male porn stars in a seemingly healthy relationship decide to leave the Porn industry and try for the world of singing and acting. The two very buff and preening men are Colton Ford and Blake Harper. With the aid of Kevin Aviance and Marc Berkely, Colton makes a dance track that is then marketed in New York with the hopes that Colton Ford will become an instant star - a unique disco singer touting his background as a Porn Star for PR.
The remainder of the film is grumbling and in-fighting and commentary by Porn Producer ChiChi LaRue and the film slowly sinks into repetition and doldrums. Not a bad idea for a film if there were a bit more depth revealed in each character's drive to move away form a successful career (though one greatly influenced by the youth both characters have lost) into an alternative one. It is just that a one-note song wears thin quickly. Grady Harp, November 05"
"Is He Too Sexy for the Straight Industry?"
Wing Lee | Toronto, Ontario | 08/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Colton Ford aka as Glenn by his family, friends, and fellow ex-porn star/boyfriend Peter/Blake Harper decides to abandon his successful porn career and launch his music career at the age of 40. Having done just 9 gay porn flicks in a year or so, he was considered to be the hottest and most handsome porn star that would match to other retired or vanished stars like Ryan Idol. Ford certainly is a talented singer and he's kind of a more muscular version of George Michael, and even his voice is similar to him. It's kind of unfortunate that he had done porn and trying to crossover at middle age. Will he be accepted by the straight scene and can he truly let go of his porn past?
Blake Harper is also the star of this captivating documentary despite not being on the cover. He's done 60 gay porn flicks and one was with Ford. He's equally tired of the porn industry and hoped to find work as an actor in mainstream industry. I was surprised that he just made $30,000 the most a year working in the porn industry. He shared his feelings about what it's like to be approached by so many of his fans and sometimes people treated him disrespectfully. In order to survive financially, he had to take a fulltime nursing job while supporting Glenn's pursuit to get a record deal in NYC.
Legendary gay porn directress Chi Chi LaRue appears in several interviews scenes in and out of drag. She/he talks about Ford and Harper and what kind of challenges and rejections they would have to face when they make their crossover. She also talks about anti-drug abuse, safe sex, and her own frustration of working in the gay porn industry.
Glenn's mother appeared briefly in one scene and she spoke about her son's dream of becoming a superstar. His father is very open-minded and supportive.
Ford's manager Kyle who is an ex-porn star clashed with him and eventually got fired. There is just several musical/dance performances from Ford, and he's totally drop dead gorgeous on stage. Unfortunately, the sound and lighting were rather low-budget. I actually enjoyed the scenes of Ford and Harper together. There is nothing pornographic about this film and it's worthwhile if you like documentaries or if you are a fan of either Ford and Harper. On the special feature segment, there's a music video of Ford and Pepper Mashay's duet single entitled "Sealed, Signed, and Delivered.""