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Serena was one of the most popular stars of 1970s adult film. She stood out from many other actresses. She was striking, aloof, distant, and cool and had a genuine star quality.
She was private and enigmatic too, and details of her life seemed to be mysterious and unknowable.
This is set to change however with the publication of her autobiography later this year, entitled ‘Bright Lights, Lonely Nights’ (Bear Manor Media).
On this episode of The Rialto Report, we are joined by one of the first directors Serena ever worked with – the rockabilly Rasputin, Johnny Legend, who remains her friend to this day, and who describes what it was like to make ‘Teenage Cruisers’ – one of the strangest films to come out of the golden age – with Serena.
And we speak to Serena herself, as she prepares to come back into the public spotlight and reveal all for the first time.
This episode running time is 109 minutes.
It’s a complex and compelling story, detailing her life as a teenage runaway, single mother, underage performer in the adult industry, dancing at the Mitchell Brother’s O’Farrell Theater – whilst all the time struggling with undiagnosed mental illness.
And then there was Serena’s relationship with Jamie Gillis. It was a striking affair between two of the biggest names in adult film. She was a Californian, hippy red-head. Jamie was a dark, intense New Yorker. She moved to New York to be with him – and their relationship was unusual. It played out in films and in their private lives; on screen Serena would often assume the passive role in explicit S&M scenarios that were notable for their extreme sexual content. Some doubted whether they were truly consensual, whether Serena was being coerced or manipulated.
When we spoke to Jamie in the last years of his life before he passed away in 2010, he was clearly still enamored with her.
Here’s how he wrote about meeting Serena:
“I first eyed Serena when she was posing for Sam Menning in his LA studio in 1973 or 74. She was writhing around naked while Sam snapped away and I was immediately smitten. He told me she was living with some guy in a remote area of northern California. I gave him a “too bad” shrug and left but I never forgot her.
A few years later she showed up single in New York City as the featured dancer/stripper at the Show World Center on Eighth Avenue and 42nd St.The place was going strong as a multi-level Times Square sex emporium and as I lived in the area, it was my neighborhood ‘playground’. A couple of floors featured 25 cent peep show girls. What a great relief it was to be able to go look at a naked girl for almost nothing and either stay to masturbate to her or simply bask in the wonder of it all.
An upper floor was dedicated to live sex shows but Serena’s act was much more demure. She danced around the stage with very easy, fluid motions, waving her arms overhead as if she were a young sapling bending with the breeze. You weren’t so much aroused by her performance as moved by it. You just wanted to hold her and love her. Maybe I was just pleased that this angelic, blond vision with the great ass and snub nose had come to a place and time where she was within my reach.
All I had to do was go backstage to say hello and she was mine”.
In 2001, Serena was in a coma that resulted in her losing parts of her memory. She’s written her autobiography by piecing together her life with help from family, friends and fans. It has been a journey of discovery for her almost as much as it will be for the reader.
So who is Serena today, and how does she remember the years in the adult films? What does she make of her role as the one-time Queen of Kink? And what is the truth behind her relationship with Jamie Gillis?
Rare Serena photos:
Keep up with Serena:
As you wait for her autobiography, read Serena’s latest writing:
‘The Act Itself’ magazine by Bear Manor Media
Another. Classic. Interview.
The Rialto rocks.
At last!!!! This is the one I’ve been waiting for… I love all the episodes, but Serena is an all time fave. Looking forward to her book(s).
Serena was always one of the hottest, most enthusiastic performers of the golden age. Definitely one of my favorites of all time. Thanks for another great interview.
I have been in love with being in love with Serena since we hugged way back in 1974. She is my spiritual sister. The Rialto Report graciously gave her a couch to repose upon for almost two hours, and she bared just enough of her soul to suggest that she is still in complete control of it…and her destiny. May she “live long and prosper.”
I love when Bill Margold shows his soft side! And I think Bill and Serena’s relationship is as romantic as Serena’s relationship with Jamie – maybe even more… Soul siblings forever.
Have you ever considered recording adult audio book voice overs? You have such a maternal voice that makes porn interviews sound earth motherly. Like Miss Royalle, I never had a mother, so the sound of such a voice is comforting.
For me, this conversation with Serena is the most unexpected interview of the series thus far. I fondly remember Serena, in my project, ‘The Reincarnation of Serena’ saying off script but completely in character, “I’m the best slut in this county!” And she was! Bravo Serena. Here’s to you.
And bravo to April Hall, phew are you good!
Thank you Roy!
amazing interview. thanks for that. i’ve seen a few of her movies like ‘coed-fever’, ‘afternoon delights’ and insatiable.
Unrivaled in quality, TRR once again excels, if not surpasses itself. I’ve been waiting 30 years for this kind of insight. The films are great, but these stories are even richer and more interesting.
Recommended – especially for those who thought they had little interest in the golden age. This is the real Boogie Nights – as told to Raymond Carver.
“This is the real Boogie Nights – as told to Raymond Carver.” – can we trademark that? 🙂
Wonderful Wonderful Wonderful! Another great interview! Thanks so much for The Rialto Report!
Raunch royal kink couple Serena and Jamie were indeed the raincoaters’ porn star pair. In my erotic dictionary, I define orthodox as the ultimate hardcore definition of porn as opposed to conservative feminist or retro reform.
great interview. loved it. she is a great lady.
Kudos to April Hall and Team Rialto for a wonderful interview with Serena. Another star from the Golden Age that I was not really aware of till this interview. I am definitely going to look at acquiring some of her films that were discussed during this interview. And, I look forward to her book coming out later this year.
I found this podcast so moving that I had to take some time to “digest” it after I listened to it last night. I applaud Serena’s candor and bravery, and look forward to reading her biography. Like Jamie Gillis, I just want to give her a big hug!
I know Cathy – we are so grateful for Serena’s candor. It’s incredibly brave for someone to share themselves in this way. We feel this way about all the Rialto Report subjects. I can’t wait to read Serena’s book!
Thank you April. Yet another mesmerizing installment
of RR. Serena’s book will be
A singularly sharp bas relief
time capsule of that core
porn era. Unrepentant hippie
chick and unapologetic
participant. Impossible to
duplicate. Thanks again.
Thank you so much. Now we want to change the podcast title to Unrepentant Hippie Chick!
LOVED THIS! The depth added to this genre by The Rialto Reports is a magnificent gift to the sexual media of a
bygone age. It humanizes, it legitimizes, and it immortalizes in ways so far beyond what the persnickety, guilt-battered mainstream ever could have even imagined. HOPE SUDS! Ashley and April are just giving away these boxes of HOPE SUDS! How I love to fill my bathtub, light a vanilla-almond scented candle, and just luxuriate in tales of the bold tumescence of the human race. xoxo – Pacheco
Thank you so much Howie – it’s such an honor for us!
Serena was very good on her films, so sexy and coquette, one of my favorites of the 70′, cheers
I used to visit Marc Stevens, hoping Serena would be there. Marc always had guests, but never Serena when I visited him.
You left me with a smile — thanks for the pleasant interview! I’ll be in NYC next spring with my book, “Bight Lights, Lonely Nights,” hope we can meet then!
We can’t wait Serena! xo
serena you will always hold a special place in my fantasy world…thanks for being you.
The RIALTO REPORT: NOBODY DOES “IT” BETTER.
An amazing interview with one of the sexiest actresses from the most eroctic period of adult film. The first scene I saw Serena in was the jacuzzi scene from Insatiable. I was instantly smitten by her cute little nose and short blond hair. She oozed sex appeal back then and presently as well.
I am bipolar also, and her description of the extremes of emotions a bipolar person feels was as an accurate account as any I’ve heard before. Thanks Serena, and April, for an enlightening, and pleasurable insight into your life.
serena…..by far my favorite porn actress ever…..you were/still are very sexy……loved the hairy arm pits!!!…..and still have some of your wrestling videos….vs uschi/candy samples/dutch po/lorna/hillie/and siv elkie……all very exciting…….who were your toughest to wrestle??? top five you had to go against??
I was a movie reviewer for The Columbia (University) Spectator. Yeah, an Ivy League school. I used my press card to get me access to X rated movies which I reviewed and, God bless The Spec, they printed. I also used my card to get access to The Show World Center in NYC, the “management” of which I became known to, so to speak. I wanted to do a review of the “star” acts that played the Triple Treat Theater upstairs, where I had already seen Annette Haven, but I couldn’t get that one printed. Being an Ivy League hippie, I persisted. One of the acts I saw was Serena, a/k/a Serena Blaquelord. She worked a “star” act upstairs. Her act was MUCH more slanted towards BDSM, which surprised me…but not as much as when I interviewed her in the “star” dressing room, where she was knitting a baby bootie. Yeah, really. Wow. Anyway, interview completed, I got a seat in the audience during her show. Much to my surprise, her male co-actor (she had a guy and a girl on stage) came up to me during the act and said “My Mistress wants you to come up on stage. “What?” I’m thinking. He says “No, really, my Mistress demands that you come up on stage. Hey, I’m wearing a $400 suit, but up I go, and Serena demands that I lick her boot. Which I did. Man, those were the days. And I wish I had a copy of Mai Lin vs. Serena, a truly bizarre film…
Did her book ever get printed?
It’s April 26, 2022 when I type this.
I have so little in common with her, but so much. When I just heard her say, “Socialist”, then “Libertarian”, I was stunned, because that’s how I describe my political leanings, as well as being “super-liberal”, too.
Also, Wikipedia has her as being born in 1951, and Marilyn Monroe died in 1962; it sounds like Serena said “five” when she speaks of her age at the time of MM’s death. Did I hear it wrong, or is something going on here, lol?
Thanks for your really great work on the podcasts and articles, they help me learn and not be bored.