…and Porn Will Never be the Same.

Condom Warning
Condom Warning

The town will never be the same. After the Tangiers, the big corporations took it all over. Today, it looks like Disneyland. And while the kids play cardboard pirates, Mommy and Daddy drop the house payments and Junior’s college money on the poker slots. In the old days, dealers knew your name, what you drank, what you played. Today, it’s like checkin’ into an airport. And if you order room service, you’re lucky if you get it by Thursday. Today, it’s all gone. You get a whale show up with four million in a suitcase, and some twenty-five-year-old hotel school kid is gonna want his Social Security Number. After the Teamsters got knocked out of the box, the corporations tore down practically every one of the old casinos…

Remember the closing moments from Casino, the Scorsese/DeNiro/Pesci film? Those lines are DeNiro’s, and he’s lamenting about what he feels is the decline of his industry. If you didn’t see Casino, it’s basically the history of Vegas from the mid-70’s to current day, and, for the most part, the film gets it right.

By “it”, I mean the Corporatization of Vice.

The LA County Department of Health is housed in a dilapidated building right off the I-5. Inside their conference room, bright yellow signs with black, bold lettering say things like CAUTION: TURTLES MAY TRANSMIT BACTERIA CAUSING DISEASE IN HUMANS and WARNING: MUSSELS FROM THESE WATERS ARE UNFIT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. There’s a framed pamphlet hanging on the wall titled Rabies and its Control. It’s like museum of health-related warning signs from the days of yesteryear…except those signs are all currently in use. Just go to one of LA’s beaches and you’ll see one.

My favorite is the one (I assume) used for LA County bathhouses: AIDS PREVENTION NOTICE — The LA County of Health has determined that high risk sexually activity can lead to AIDS. High risk sexual activity means the placing of the penis of one male into the anus or mouth of another male, whether or not a condom is used OR the placing of the mouth of one male on the anus of another male.

The Public Health Investigative Manager (herein referred to from now on as “Phim”) apologizes to me and my lawyer for her tardiness, “but we’re in the middle of an emergency.”

I say, “I’m kinda curious…in 2013 what constitutes a public health emergency?” Cause to me, public health crises either happen in 3rd World kinda places…or happened in Olde Tyme Days.

Phim didn’t really specify, other than there was an issue at an unnamed bathhouse — which kinda surprised me, too. “A bathhouse?!”

Phim said, “A bath house is a place where people, usually of the same sex, meet to have sex.”

I said, “I know what they are…I just didn’t think they actually still exist.”

Phim said not only do they exist, there’s a dozen (or so) in LA County, and they all need permits, too.

I was fascinated. “What else is going on that Average Joe wouldn’t think was going on as far as a health crisis in 2013?”

Turns out tuberculosis is still very much alive and well — mostly in places like Skid Row. Who woulda thought TB was even an issue anymore?

I asked Phim, “someone told me syphilis was almost wiped out and made a comeback in the gay male population in big cities like San Francisco and New York. True?”

Phim said, “if you mean almost wiped out like small pox, no. It was very much on the decline in the 90’s, and yes, now we’re seeing more cases.”

Phim was very nice. After she issued my health permit, she explained I’d have to take a blood-born pathogens class within 6 months, and she still didn’t know what they were going to charge for my permit, cause “this is all still new to us.”

And with that, I walked out of the Health Department with my lawyer — and some 3rd World, Olde Tyme signs, which now hang on my studio wall.

5 thoughts on “…and Porn Will Never be the Same.”

  1. Blood pathogens class? Where in the hell do you take a class like that? It would be covered in phlebotomy training I am sure but that takes more than six months (at least in Michigan, my nephew’s girlfriend just took phlebotomy training recently).

    As far as that permit, I would have moved to San Francisco instead — no blood pathogens permit required or condom usage mandated. Now the fuzz have your legal name and studio address so they can barge in on you at any time to “verify” that you are using “condumbs”.

  2. Mr. Greenburg, I do suggest that all porn producers get out of Los Angeles County (it is my comment that you evidently referenced). The powers that be in LA came up with this idea to run porn out of their county for a moralistic reason that I won’t get into here. San Francisco and Oakland have been more than welcoming to the porn companies that have located in their area. Tell the LA county and city governments go to hell and move production (and your tax dollars) to somewhere that appreciates porn and the tax revenue it brings in. Maybe in a few years LA will realize that their condumb law cost them millions of dollars, too late for them but why stay where you aren’t welcome when you can move a couple hundred miles up the coast and be very welcome.

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