by Vince Aletti

June 28, 1994

Pornography imagines an eroticized universe where anything can happen, nothing is forbidden,
and the unattainable is all yours — an orgiastic Eden with no threat of expulsion, or mortality.
But even the pornographic imagination, particularly the highly profitable corner of it that latched
onto the gay male libido, has its limits and conventions. Anything goes, perhaps, but not any-one.
Like fashion models, porn actors are more form than content, and that form — both a mirror of
and a spur to changing tastes — quickly becomes standardized. Currently, the porn ideal is the
same cartoon (actually, a Tom of Finland drawing) of masculinity found at most gay gyms, dance
clubs, and go-go bars: He’s broad-shouldered and bubble-butted, with a chest like shiny armor
plate and no sign of body hair; he’s clean-shaven, thick-lipped, straight-acting, and white. He’s
the ’90s clone, and we’re over him.

Thing is, many of us were never into him in the first place. There’s no denying the attractions of
the hunky whiteboy: they’re damned near unavoidable. So maybe I wouldn’t throw the boy out of
bed, but I wouldn’t coax him there. He may be an icon for our times, but he’s just not part of my
fantasy life. But, faced with limp indif
ference, pornography is infinitely resourceful; like any niche
marketer, it specializes.

Lately, the consensus has given way to a whole new porn multiculturalism — magazines and
videos whose subjects are exclusively Asian, black, or Latin. In New York, it’s the Latin angle that
seems most resonant. Maybe that’s because the city has a long history of cross-cultural Caribbean
connections and that melting pot really boils over when sex is added to the mix. Or maybe it has
something to do with the fuck-anything-that-moves stereotype; when it comes to polymorphous
perversity, Puerto Rico is definitely in the house.

The relationship of gay white men and Latinos, whether mutual attraction or mutual exploitation,
has its lore, its literature, and plenty of anecdotal evidence. (You could start with the personals in
any gay rag, the ones that read “GWM seeks PR homeboy, 18-28, beefy, hung, uncut. Bi a plus.”)
And for the past nine years it’s had its own porn auteur, the pseudonymous Brian Brennan, whose
Barrio-based outfit, L. F. C. has turned out 188 exhilaratingly cheesy, way
hardcore extravaganzas.

The LFC motto: “Celebrating the beauty of the Latin male.” Right — all nine and a half
inches of it.

Latino Fan Club films — from the seminal 'Boys Behind Bars' trilogy to the four-hour epic 'Spanish
Harlem Knights' to the insouciant Horse-Hung Hispanics (in twenty volumes), Red Hot Ricans, and
Foreskin Forever — have a raw energy due partly to their homemade, improvisational style, but
mostly to their rambunctious young stars. While most mainstream gay porn is fixated on buffed
beauty — the choreographed coupling of two well-oiled machines — LFC gets off on homeboy
horseplay and utterly unaffected horniness. Some of this gangsta attitude is what the ball children
call banji realness, a butch pose played to the hilt, but much of it is genuine. Many of LFC’s most
popular “models” look like the kids who regularly show up in handcuffs on the covers of the Spanish-
language tabloids: dark-eyed, tattooed, scarred, slightly built, haphazardly groomed, mean, cocky,

This personality profile promises a heady combination of brute domination and lost-boy vulnerability.
Over and over again, with plenty of the requisite cum shots, that’s exactly what Latino Fan Club de-
livers. But what animates the best LFC titles is an all-consuming interest in the boys themselves. It’s
not that these guys spill their guts out in the course of the amateurishly improvised dialogue, but they
do emote in ways most porn would relegate to the editing floor. Since many LFC movies actually have
narratives, some of the boys even get to act, or at least react.

The LFC aesthetic — though inspired by exploitation (and mock-exploitation) auteurs like Roger
Corman, John Waters, and the anonymous dirty old man behind those “solo” films from Old Reliable
— owes its style to its stars. Loose, funky, playful, always ready to drop real work and fool around,
LFC doesn’t take itself too seriously. Without actually introducing a woman onscreen more than a few
times, it swings both ways. Though most LFC actors come across as straight (“trade” Brennan calls
them), the ruling sexuality of the films is definitely bi. “You do it even better than my wife,” one man
tells another, and lots of homo sex is sparked by conversations about withholding girlfriends.

Two typical LFC models, Gustavo Viva and José Pelos, identify themselves as bisexual but are quick
to note their hetero preferences. Pelos, an LFC office worker who says he met Brennan while hustling
the peep shows on 42nd Street nearly 10 years ago, insists that “with a guy it would be a hustling thing
and it would be safe; if I’m going to do something I’ll do it for the money.” Viva, a carpenter who builds
some LFC sets, says, “Working with Latino Fan Club — that’s my job. I’m not going out there and harm-
ing anyone else; I’m working for what I receive. Some people may look at me as, like, he’s nothing more
than a faggot or a homosexual, but I have a fiancée at home, and she says as long as you come back
home to me and use a condom, she has no problem with it.” Both say Brennan doesn’t push his models
beyond their limits (Pelos’s are succinct: “Won’t suck, won’t get fucked, won’t kiss”), but there’s clearly
a certain flexibility. In a gay porn zone too often artificially divided between tops and bottoms, this is
definitely another country.

Charting that territory is Brennan’s forte. Forty-nine, bearded, and frankly out of shape, the Latino Fan
Club founder doesn’t pretend to understand or explain the whole Latin thing. He only aims to exploit it
for his pleasure and, not so incidentally, ours. A former Madison Avenue art department slave, Brennan
was working as Blueboy’s art director when he decided to do a photo spread of his own. He chose his
first subject, the half-Irish, half-Puerto Rican boy who delivered coffee to the office every morning, by
following his own tastes. He’d been going to a bar near his West Village home called the Phoenix that
young Latin hustlers had turned into a kind of clubhouse. Sometimes they would bring their girlfriends,
sometimes they would do what Brennan calls “hiphop stripping” and jump up on a table so guys could
stuff bills into their G-strings. Encouraged by the MC to videotape these spontaneous strip shows,
Brennan realized that his crude tape was exactly the sort of thing he could never find at the video store,
where “it was all California surfer dudes, boy-next-door stuff, or leather scenes. You’d never see a
Hispanic model, and I thought this might be a niche that I would enjoy doing.”

In 1985, Brennan began setting up nude photo sessions and marketing “a typical jack-off tape” of six
different models called San Juan Six Pack. He also began running an ad for what he at first called,
with typically clumsy bluntness, a Fan Club for Guys Who Dig Latin Guys. “I started believing in the
thing about please yourself, do it as best as you can, and you’ll find all the people who are just like you,”
Brennan says, sitting at a littered work table in the Latino Fan Club office/photo studio/crash pad/head-
quarters in East Harlem. The mailing list of Latinophiles he began building nearly a decade ago now
includes over 7000 men, one of them the owner of this well-secured corner property. With the exception
of LFC’s suite and another space with a pool deck that turns up, stocked with grinning homeboys, in
LFC’s promotional newsreels, most of the building has been gutted for co-ops and remains empty.

Sade wafts in from the pool deck below, where a potential LFC star splashes under the rear windows
of neighboring tenements. Under the loft bed where Spanish Harlem Knights‘s picaresque hero, Julio
Nieves, snores fitfully, there are two banks of VCRs busy duplicating a tape running soundlessly on a
monitor nearby. A scrawled sign reads “Say no to drugs and yes to dicks!” It’s all a cheap parody of film
studio empire, fitting for a company that thrives on parody, trash, and — yes! — dicks. Though LFC’s
production values have improved since Brennan shot every scene of the original Boys Behind Bars in
the same corner of the same room in his old apartment in Forest Hills, its tapes are still deliberately un-
polished. Continuity is a sometime thing; the focus fades at the most crucial moments; and there are
plenty of times when you can hear Brennan’s instructions from the sidelines: “Push your pants down”
or “Move your hand away.” “Do it as best as you can” seems to be the operative phrase here.

Brennan may admire the impeccable gloss of Kristen Bjorn’s gay porn videos, but he models himself
on a rougher, more marginal (and much more low-budget) style. Boyd McDonald, the horny genius
behind Straight to Hell‘s collections of true homosexual experiences, was a kindred outlaw spirit. He
once gave Brennan written permission to do a video version of his books, but Brennan says. “The only
real way to make a Boyd McDonald movie is to have hidden cameras and stuff. I don’t think that’ll ever
get made.” So he carries on in his own way, fucking with the genre whenever he can. As if the tough
mugs of his stars weren’t enough to signal viewers that they’re veering off porn’s beaten path, Brennan
jokes about putting barred-circle symbols on his boxes to indicate No Butch Queens, No Designer Under-
wear, and No Shaving (of the depilated California prototype, he says, “It’s almost like ‘Oh my God, hair
on a male! How gross!’ ”).

Like Hitchcock, Brennan appears fully clothed on the sidelines in several of his films (he’s the shady
stockbroker in Latin Sex Party, the prim painter in Spanish Harlem Knights). In one of his many outtake
reels, where the rawest material pops up, Brennan is an off-camera audience to superstar Rico Suave’s
nude posing routine. “You are so fucking beautiful,” he says, while Suave stretches his long brown body
like a particularly sly cat. If there’s a typical Latino Fan Club moment, it’s probably the offhand exchange
(“That was great, man.” “You like that, huh?”) between two macho boys who have just had sex. But
Brennan’s “You are so fucking beautiful” sums up the feeling behind the camera.

Because this comically awestruck bit of psychological fluffing comes from a white man who’s paying his
Latin models between $200 and $300 a scene (the “receiver” earns more), there’s a definite whiff of
colonialism in the air. Aside from some lightweight rumination about the “qualities of maleness that turn
me on,” Brennan offers no deep examination of the attraction to what he calls “bad boys.” And he shrugs
off the relentless characterization of his Latin stars as criminals, hustlers, addicts, or street kids as typical
exploitation film fare (besides, he says, he gives guys auditioning for his prison and rehab clinic films the
choice of being guards or inmates). Danger, uncomplicated sex, the exotic unknown — “I’m giving them
what they want!” Brennan barks with a laugh.

According to a 1991 LFC membership poll, the number one collective fantasy involves being accosted by
a gang of Latin boys, dragged into an alley, and forced (but not too violently) to go down on them. Brennan
associate, and sometime film heavy, M. Vic Mann realizes this fantasy for LFC’s cute young white boy star,
Eric Beatty, at the beginning of his Homeboy Hoodlums. After the rape, Beatty dumps his nagginggirlfriend
and turns into a major cocksucker, picking up one rough trade Rican after another until he gets around,
inevitably, to his original attackers, who get their comeuppance from his Latin cop lover, but not before an
orgy at gunpoint. There are some happy endings.

Most of LFC’s cracked scenarios have this Samuel Fuller on Spanish Fly quality, so it’s hard to get exe-
rcised about their racial politics. The white wardens, doctors, and petty functionaries in LFC’s clearly make-
shift institutions (you’d be surprised at how much can fit between these prison bars) are either loudmouthed,
cigar-chomping creeps or venal manipulators. But they’re such corrupt buffoons that their scheming and
rapaciousness is more comic than alarming, and they always end up on their knees before sneering boys
who purr, “You like that big dick, don’t you doc?” The boys may not look like angels, but next to these ass-
holes and toadies, they’re the heroes, and the camera loves them.

Other LFC films imagine a world where Latins rule (Super Barrio Brothers) or triumph through a combination of cunning and sex. In Latin Sex Party, the funniest of Brennan’s movies, a windbag “professor” runs a seminar aimed at reforming uptight white yuppies. While he’s spieling, his increasingly bored audience is seduced one by one by the Latin boys from the basement apartment who are trying to raise rent money. The seminar is such a success that the professor and the homeboys go into business together. It’s the perfect LFC fantasy: white daddies, on their knees, only too happy to receive the Latino’s sexual healing.

If this fantasy can’t entirely quell our uneasiness at the boys’ willingness to trade flesh for favors or the
men’s fetishization of their undisguised contempt, one more shot of superstar Romeo Castillo’s ripe, quiv-
ering ass will. These aren’t tracts or position papers, they’re Papi potboilers; order is subverted, everybody
gets fucked, and if anyone comes out on top, it’s the Horse-Hung Hispanic, waving his meat like the flag
of the latest independent nation.

Waving the freak flag right along with them is Brennan, who’s fast becoming the Russ Meyer of queer porn
— part crackpot, part visionary, total obsessive. “When I was a kid I was nuts about just movies, movies,
movies,” he says, and now he’s making four of them simultaneously. Here’s a trailer for one called 'Attack
of the Amazing Colossal Latino': A broad-chested B-boy looms naked over Times Square at night, his fat
uncut dick swaying next to the Coke sign. He leans down, scowls into the haze of neon, and shouts,
“Fuckin’ size queen! Is this big enough for you now?”