Percy Katt – Swan Song

Percy Katt dressed as Egyptian against papyrus background.
Percy Katt stands in front of a red and gray ornate wall.
Percy Katt in a still from his video SWAN SONG.

I’d like to introduce you to a friend and creative collaborator, Percy Katt.  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Percy since we were both small town kids growing up in Saskatchewan.  As adults both living in Toronto, we reconnected working on my series Im a Stripper and Shadowlands where Percy was costume designer. 

His evolution as an artist since then has been remarkable as you’ll witness in his latest video below.  (NSFW!)

I appreciate the opportunity to share the work of my artist friends with you.  I think you’ll be amazed at the amount of work that went into Swan Song. 

Charlie David

Swan Song is a bookend to the last ten years of my creative life and a tribute to my alter ego Percy Katt. Percy transcends gender and refuses to be pidgeon-holed, this is a celebration of artistic and sexual diversity. It is meant to be jarring, overwhelming, a sensory overload of visuals and information for a generation with increasingly short attention spans. Swan Song features guest appearances and fashion creations by over twenty dynamic Canadian artists, performers and designers. 

Percy Katt’s rise to notoriety began at the age of 17 with a whirlwind haute couture modelling career in the world’s fashion capitals. As exciting as gigs with heavy hitters like Jean Paul Gaultier and Etro were,  Percy was ready to take back ownership of his image and return to Canada to reinvent himself as a chameleonic performance artist.

Some highlights from Katt’s tumultuous career include television appearances on “Shadowlands”, “I’m A Stripper”, “Who Lives Here?” and “Style by Jury”. His art has been featured in magazine spreads including OUT and The Advocate, coffee table books, the solo exhibition “The 9 Lives of Percy Katt” in Sofia, Bulgaria and in burlesque/performance art shows and academic lectures across North America. Percy Katt has been the recipient of several prestigious design awards including GRAPHIS and he has had the honor of sharing the stage with the iconic Dita Von Teese.    

 //  // Instagram @percykattofficial

Polyamory – PolyLove documentary

men and women explore polyamory in Polylove documentary

PolyLove is a new investigative documentary that explores polyamory, non-monogamy and the journey to redefine a ‘relationship’.  Brace yourself, because we are going to a place where bravery and honesty are essential.  A place where loving someone enough to set them free isn’t just a trite metaphor – it’s essential to your personal and relationship growth.  

Single    Married    It’s Complicated

In North America, 48% of marriages end in divorce.*  In business, if your product is failing for half of your customers, then you need to fix it or offer something better.    * SOURCE  ‘Divorce demography’ Stats Canada 2013

Non-monogamy and polyamory demand radical rethinking of our societal constructs.  It’s not about breaking what’s unbroken.  It’s about examining why ‘cheating’ is more socially forgivable than discussing the option of non-monogamy or polyamory with those we love. 

More and more people are experimenting with monogamish and polyamorous relationships. We commit to each other, but have a porous boundary around our relationship, meaning we’ve agreed that it’s OK for either of us to express romantic feelings toward other people or to be physically intimate with other people, so long as we’re honest and transparent about our intentions with one another.

Men and women in relationship groupings.  Three sets of feet stick out from the end of a bed depicting polyamory.

The thought is that these things don’t diminish the integrity of a relationship. Rather, they may deepen the understanding of each other’s wants and desires, and give us the space to grow independently, without growing apart.  There’s even a new word for the emotion of feeling happy for a loved one’s bliss in another relationship.  Goodbye jealousy, hello ‘compersion’. 

So why non-monogamy and polyamory now?

Well, people haven’t changed much, but their environment has. Just think: Monogamy established itself thousands of years ago, when society was ruled by scarcity of resources and potential mates were in limited supply.

We’re now living in a period of great (though unequally distributed) abundance where our basic needs are sufficiently met, and reproduction is a choice. As a result, the reasons to be with a single mate for life are less urgent.  With the rising ambivalence toward commitment, statistically most millennials will put off marriage indefinitely. In place of monogamous pairings, hookup culture flourishes and “open relationships” are commonplace. These are merely rational economic responses to excess inventory and changing expectations of romance. Viewed in this context, conventional monogamy is getting long in the tooth.

But just because more young people are choosing to say, “I don’t” than “I do” doesn’t mean monogamy is irrelevant.  It just means that there’s now more than one option for building meaningful and satisfying relationships. 

DIVE DEEPER:   If you’re interested to learn more about polyamory, watch the PolyLove documentary and check out the Mating Season episode of Shadowlands where three men explore an unconventional relationship in the 1950s.  

shadows of three men against a tent in the TV series Shadowlands where polyamory is explored.
The threesome scene in the Mating Season episode of Shadowlands

Some great reading materials include the non-monogamy intro reader classic, The Ethical Slut by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton.  For my personal favourite on the topic try What Love Is: And What It Could Be by Carrie Jenkins.  

If you enjoy audiobooks you may wish to try USA Today Bestselling author Ella Frank’s four audiobook series that explores polyamory in Confessions. 

I’m a Porn Star: Gay for Pay documentary

I'm a Porn Star Gay for Pay by Charlie David

A large number of the men working in gay porn identify as straight. This documentary explores the fascinating world of guys who go Gay for Pay.

I'm a Porn Star Gay4Pay

Watch the gay for pay documentary, I’m a Porn Star: Gay4Pay now on your favorite platform!

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When did straight actors start playing gay for pay?

Over the past century of western cinema, we’ve seen a steady increase in representation of LGBTQ characters, but there’s long been a taboo against playing these ‘gay4pay’ roles, for fear of being typecast. In the 1950s to 1970s, it could be a career killer to play gay, and few actors or studios were willing to take the risk.

Gay for Pay Rocky Horror Picture Show

Most examples we have were either studio films where the queer characters were villains or independent ventures by boundary-pushing filmmakers. In the 1980s, films with gay story lines were often indistinguishable from activism, and often reflected characters coming to terms with new HIV transmission and AIDS.

Gay for Pay Philadelphia

In the 1990s and 2000s, a curious change began to take place. A-list Hollywood actors began to selectively play gay characters.  And it wasn’t about playing gay for pay.  Playing gay was associated with a new adjective – brave.

The TV series Melrose Place had a straight actor playing gay for pay in the early 1990’s – a rarity.

Doug Savant starred as Matt Fielding on a FOX series titled Melrose Place from 1992 to 1997.  I remember this story line very well as it was one of the first openly gay characters on mainstream television.

This depiction of a gay person  was scrutinized and censored by the network.  For example,  a kiss between Matt and guest star Ty Miller during the finale of season two was edited out at the last minute by FOX. 

Doug Savant left the series after five seasons and, a year later, his character was killed off-screen in a car crash.

Watch the gay for pay documentary, I’m a Porn Star: Gay4Pay now on your favorite platform!

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Watch the first 5 minutes of I’m a Porn Star: Gay4Pay free above!

Gay for Pay Interview with the Vampire-Pitt Cruise 1994

In the 1994 film, Interview with the Vampire, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt play a homosexual vampire couple although the word gay is never used in the film.  Any LGBTQ person who has read the book or watched the film knows these guys are more than just best buddies who spent several centuries together! 

The actors playing gay for pay were most often straight-identified men who were lauded with praise for tackling brave roles. That word, brave, has always struck a chord with me and most often, a dissonant one.

Why for a straight man who is an actor, who makes believe for a living, is it brave to take on a gay role? What is it about exploring the idea of love, intimacy and sexual excitement causes a wall of fear to be thrown up, a wall so high that only the most courageous would attempt to climb?

Suddenly, the tides were shifting. Everyone wanted a gay4pay role on their resume.  It was now a badge of honor for straight actors to go gay for pay, and many wanted to join the ranks of Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Brad Pitt, Eric McCormack, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.

I'm a Porn Star Gay for Pay

The floodgates were open and it was exciting, but still confounding to chat with straight actors at auditions who would say things like, “Oh, yeah, I play a serial killer, so why not do a gay for pay role?”

Catch that?  Playing a gay role was associated with playing a serial killer.  Decades later and the queers are still being villainized in common conversation, often unintentionally.  I’m sure comments like this come with the best intentions, they’re just most often uninformed. 

I'm a Porn Star Gay for Pay 14

Today, it seems we’ve finally reached the point where it’s no longer breaking news when an actor tackles a gay for pay role, regardless of their personal stated or still often unstated sexuality.

I'm a Porn Star Gay for Pay Star Wars

Intrigue has refocused online into the world of pornography. Curiously, there is a disproportionate percentage of men working in gay porn who identify as straight. Why would a straight man do gay4pay porn?

What motivates him to try this or make a career out of it?  Why is there such keen interest and debate into the sexuality and personal lives of these men?

And what does it say about us, the viewer, that so much of gay porn is dominated by images of straight men? Are there shades of internalized homophobia emerging?

Why might we be turned off if the man on screen looks, sounds or behaves in a way that is identifiably queer?

To try and answer some of these questions, we interviewed men from some of the most popular and prolific studios, which fetishize straight men.  Performers like Will Braun, Dennis West, and Justin Bryant Adams.  I also spoke with gay performers like Eddie Stone, Brent Everett, Alex Mecum, and Diego Sans about their experiences working with straight guys.

We also hit the streets of Toronto and San Diego to test the curiosity and opinions of the public. Welcome to the curious, surprising and always outspoken world of straight men who go gay for pay.

I invite you to watch I’m a Porn Star: Gay4Pay and join in the conversation.  I always love to hear your reactions so please be sure to rate, review and comment wherever you rent or purchase the documentary.

Watch the gay for pay documentary, I’m a Porn Star: Gay4Pay now on your favorite platform!

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I'm a Porn Star Gay for Pay 13

Director’s Statement – I’m a Porn Star: Gay4Pay

Curiously there are a disproportionate percentage of men working in gay porn who identify as straight.  This is called working as a gay for pay or gay4pay performer.  But why would a straight man do gay porn?

I’m a filmmaker. My job is to provoke you to think and hopefully start a conversation after watching my work. In my opinion, it’s not my responsibility to tell you what your opinion should be.

Instead of emulating Sally Field (“You like me. You really like me!”) I’d rather the subjects of my films make you uncomfortable. Love them, hate them – doesn’t matter to me. Just consider them.

As wise old Rumi said, “Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

I was asked by a TV network to make a documentary about straight men working in gay for pay porn. There are reams of digital 0 and 1s filling cyber space with people arguing, guessing, colluding, and fantasizing about what the real sexuality of these men are.

That doesn’t actually interest me and I’ll be blunt here and suggest it shouldn’t intrigue you either. That conversation is about putting a label on a person. It’s our responsibility as a society to stop reducing each other to labels and they are many – fat, slut, white, black, poor, privileged, straight, queer – you get the point.

I hope I can poke your curiosity beyond firing up your labeling machine and to an arena that considers broader questions like…

What does it say about us, the viewer that so much of gay porn is dominated by images of straight men? Are there shades of internalized homophobia emerging?

Why are so many young people considering porn as part of their career or financial paths?

What are the ramifications of straight producers, directors and performers making gay for pay porn?

Does this entertainment accurately reflect our bedrooms?  Does it need to?

Is it a mockery to have straight men doing gay for pay porn? Or is it an example of how far acceptance and visibility for LGBTQ people have come?

Is this the entertainment the gay porn audience wants or is it simply what’s being offered?

To answer these questions the documentary interviews men from some of the most popular and prolific studios that feature straight men. Gay performers also add their perspective about working with straight guys.

Please watch the documentary, consider these questions and then comment. Let’s start a conversation. Let the 0 and 1s fly!

Watch the gay for pay documentary, I’m a Porn Star: Gay4Pay now on your favorite platform!

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Find out more about Director Charlie David here.

Director Charlie David discusses his film Positive Youth.

Did you know that I’m a Porn Star: Gay4Pay is actually a sequel?  You can watch the first film, I’m a Porn Star here.