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Vintage audio interviews with Lisa DeLeeuw, Jamie Gillis, and John Seeman.
Conducted by Richard Pacheco.
Since we started the The Rialto Report, several people have said to us, “Wouldn’t it have been great if you could’ve spoken with these adult film stars back in the golden age itself?”
And sure, it would’ve been fun, but part of what I enjoy about our interviews is precisely the fact that many years, decades even, have passed since these people were making films. So what we hear from them now is something rather different. In other words, how have they chosen to remember the past? And how does it affect them today?
And yet, it would have been good to go back in time and speak to some of the main players. It would have been interesting to interview them when they were in the middle of the industry and dealing with the life that came with it.
And then we found out that the adult film actor Richard Pacheco had done exactly that.
Back in the day, he interviewed fellow actors, directors, and crew members, and taped these conversations that he had with them. Some of the interviews were done on film sets, others were done over the phone, and all are intimate and candid portraits that are unlike any others from the time. These conversations weren’t done by publicists seeking to aggrandize, academics trying to intellectualize, or the mainstream looking to scandalize. These were just candid conversations between people comparing notes, sharing war stories, and considering their place in the changing world of entertainment. They speak honestly, and they’re not selling anything – themselves or their latest film.
I listened to these tapes, and was particularly interested in a series of recorded phone calls that took place almost 30 years ago.
It was 1987, and the early generation of adult film performers were being confronted with a set of issues they hadn’t dealt with before: They were becoming older and replaced by newer, younger performers. AIDS was a now reality. Movies were being shot on video rather than film, which meant plummeting costs and cheaper productions. Money was in short supply for the performers. They had to start thinking of new careers, maybe outside of films. And as they aged, romantic relationships were becoming more important to them, but also more problematic because of their jobs.
This was one of the first generations that had to deal with these issues, and at times there’s a melancholy to the conversations.
On this episode of The Rialto Report we listen back to three conversations:
- Firstly Jamie Gillis, who at the time had just moved back to New York from California, desperate for money.
- Then we hear from Lisa DeLeeuw, who’d started to consider what was coming next in her life.
- Finally we hear from John Seeman, who was looking back at his career and wondering if it was all worth it.
Before we hear the tapes, we also asked Richard Pacheco to tell us what he remembers about each of these three people.
This episode’s running time is 6o minutes.
Richard Pacheco aka Howie Gordon recently published his memoirs – ‘Hindsight’.
It is an excellent read, but don’t just take our word for it:
“Howie Gordon writes about life as a porn star with more honesty, integrity and humor than any other porn star, ever! You will laugh, cry, and fall in love.
I hope his book gets made into a movie, because it will be a one-of-a-kind
Annie Sprinkle, Ph.D.
Internationally Acclaimed Performance Artist
Author of Post Porn Modernist
Autographed copies of HINDSIGHT available at www.hindsightbook.com
Jamie Gillis on the set of Bad Girls IV
Lisa De Leeuw on the set of Ten Little Maidens
Howie with John Seeman
An audio interview with Lisa DeLeeuw?!? Thank you, thank you, thank you.
The Rialto people deliver once again. Amazing find!
And thanks to Mr Pacheco too!!
The archeologist of adult film are back – and this one looks amazing. I’ll never tire of hearing from Dirty Ol’ Gillis…. but Lisa DeLeeuw AND John Seeman too….???????
At last you’re covering John Seeman. He seemed to have been the glue holding so much of the West Coast production scene together for years, so this is absolutely welcome.
Right on! John was a super nice guy ..,,
He did a great job getting everyone work. I met Lisa, her husband, and kids
before her first job. Jamie Gillis lived in an apartment above the Palms bar on Polk street in San Francisco that my cousin owned.
“Time waits for no one”
Richard Pacheco’s book IS a classic so this should be a treat.
It’s Sunday Meatballs in Sauce on the stove The Rialto Report on my desktop .
Great hearing the Lisa De Leeuw interview. She’s very soft spoken, a stark contrast from her usual bawdy on-screen persona. She was really something special.
It would make happy to no end to hear a modern day interview with her, but it seems very unlikely.
Each person is a revelation here which is testament to Mr Pacheco’s easy relationship with his subjects. He’s a good interviewer and allows them the time to think about each answer. (His final question to John Seeman is strangely spine-tingling in its profundity).
Lisa comes across as a strong and smart woman – but sweeter and softer than her often ballsy on screen roles. What a pleasure to listen to her laugh and reflect on the industry. And what I would give to hear a companion Rialto Report with her nowadays. She’s a special one.
Richard Pacheco was a fantastic interviewer. It’s a shame he didn’t conduct a recorded chat with each and every actor he worked with at the time. How amazing would that have been?
Since it’s pretty much common knowledge that Lisa is alive and well, I suppose it’s not out of the realm of possibility she will one day appear on The Rialto Report. Fingers crossed. Speaking of Lisa. The ‘Valentino’ look alike that Lisa fell for in the film ‘Pink Champagne’ was none other than a young John ‘Buttman’ Stagliano.
Wow. Great concept. One of my favorite editions of the podcast.
Lyrical, beautiful, intelligent, and moving. And I never thought I’d say that about something relating to the porno industry. But it’s true. Special.
Stellar stuff, especially the interviews with Lisa and John. It’s no surprise that adult film’s most gifted actor and talented writer would ask such great, intimate questions and they would respond so openly. John’s answers and pensive tone nearly had me in tears. Any chance of Rialto taking on Howie/Richard as a third permanent interviewer? Or even an occasional one?
So many roads; so many trails to pass through.
Rialto Report keeps us in deep focus without missing a beat.
Outstanding interviews Howie, and many thanks to the Rialto Report.
These are absolute treasures that brings back so many fond memories. What really struck me was how comfortable all three were. I had a chance to meet Lisa once and she was such a delight to be around!
Incredible. Wondering if Richard/Howie remembers the fanzine Batteries Not Included.
Sure do, George, Editor & Publisher Richard Freeman was a good friend and shared an Antioch College alma mater with me.
The conversation between John Seeman and Richard Pacheco is more like a short two man play (and maybe should be adapted as such?) It is probably more illuminating about the motivations, joys, and disappointments of the life of a porno actor than anything I’ve read.
John Seeman comes across as the best friend everyone would like to have. (And Richard is, as always, entertaining and sensitive.)
Not trying to be picky, but I believe the interview with DeLeeuw is from 1988. She mentioned Bill Slobodian was dead, and he died in July 1988.
Hey, Dutch! If this is true, that’s some damn good sleuthing! Thanks, H.
It is awesome to hear Lisa DeLeeuw… and the others are fun too.
did john seeman ever find that special someone? he sounds like one of your good friends…
Just spoke with him last week. He’s still looking, but he’s also loving the life he’s leading!
Holy crap! John Seeman’s still alive?! How is that old fella? I always pictured the guy having the nerdier roles back in the day. Does he still have what many call “The Jewish Afro”?
I was great listen to all of those interviews. I was delighted to here Lisa DeLeeuw. It is so rare to hear anyone speak in that time period. I would love to here a current interview with her. If nothing else an update on her life currently. I would also interesting the John Seeman today and to see how thing s have gone since that interview.
Are there any more of the hidden interview gems?
In a word, “Yes!”
One of my favorites was Angel and she said you were one of her favorites. Any info on her?
Thanks for sharing.
Three great interviews with individuals who were central to the Golden Age. I was happy to hear that Lisa de Leeuw thought ‘Dixie Ray: Hollywood Star’ was one of her best efforts. I regard it as one of the top ten films of all time. It was ironic to hear the discussion of AIDS and it’s impact on the industry given the unsubstantiated reports of de Leeuw’s death from AIDS. I hope she is living in anonymity enjoying the company of the three children she says she wanted!
I love John Semen.
All due respect but in my opinion if you don’t wish to out Lisa De Leeuw presently you should not stir the pot on her past. You probably know her real identity and that she just wishes to stay out of the public eye. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal but still. Love the Rialto report always.
How does a 30 year old interview ‘out’ someone in 2016?
I just checked eBay and there are at least five old magazines for sale that feature interviews with Lisa DeLeeuw.. are these sellers guilty of ‘outing’ her as well?
I appreciate that someone may want to be private today – but does that also mean we should all bury our heads in the sand and pretend she never existed in the first place?
If she is alive and well and want to do an interview that is fine. If she doesn’t want to do an interview that fine too. I don’t think anyone who is interested in the truth wants to invade her privacy. It could be as simple as an article saying she lives in a midwesterner state with her family and has left that life behind.
“You probably know her identity and that she just wishes to stay out of the public eye”.
Really? What gives you that impression that The Rialto Report knows this? Seems like a big assumption to me.
It sounds like Alf knows something about Lisa’s identity and whereabouts today judging by his comments.
And if so, is he not “stirring the pot” himself by giving away the fact that she wishes to stay out of the public eye?
Wow Alf, you know she’s alive? Fantastic. Tell us more!
Totally agree with you but the interest in her is growing but she probably so different from what she looked like back then that no one would recognise her
What a great job. Howie, you seemed to have missed a second career, that of interviewer and regular contributing writer. Lisa DeLeuw, ouch! I was close to Lee Carroll for a couple of years. She adored Lisa. I told her that I had read of her death from AIDS in 1993, on my birthday no less! Made her quite upset. I met John Seeman for an interview about 5 years ago. Great guy. Somewhat humble and very generous. There are 2 people I wish you would interview, Ashley. Bree Anthony, star of Oriental Blue (1975) and Lee Carroll. Add to that Samantha Fox and Leslie Bovee.
Lisa was my muse! I had reservations about becoming a porn actor. I was studying at Lee Strassburg Theatre Institute and beginning an acting career in New York in 1979. Although Lisa didn’t introduce me to porn. I was part of the famous Catskills Mountain raid on the porn industry with Lenny Katzman and his films. But I first worked with Lisa in a Chuck Vincent production called Luscious. We filmed in Puerto Rico a lot too. That was enticing:-). But I digress. Lisa was going through a tough personal time and confided in me. We spent a month together when we got back to the “city”. God, I adore her. The softest spoken emotionally there little girl in a bawdy Mae West body. We did a few more films, Mascara comes to mind.. Then I did retire from porn to continue mainstream. Not sure if it was the right choice.. Loved these people. They were real!
Lisa was my muse! I had reservations about becoming a porn actor. I was studying at Lee Strassburg Theatre Institute and beginning an acting career in New York in 1979. Although Lisa didn’t introduce me to porn. I was part of the famous Catskills Mountain raid on the porn industry with Lenny Kirtzman and his films. But I first worked with Lisa in a Chuck Vincent production which Bill Slobodian directed ( who Lisa references his death ) called Luscious. We filmed in Puerto Rico a lot too. That was enticing:-). But I digress. Lisa was going through a tough personal time and confided in me. We spent a month together when we got back to the “city”. God, I adored her. She gave me lots of confidence and guidance.The softest spoken, emotionally there little girl, in a bawdy Mae West body. We did a few more films, Mascara comes to mind.. Then I did retire from porn to continue mainstream. Not sure if it was the right choice.. Loved these people. They were real!
Didn’t mean to leave 3 paragraphs Ashley . So sorry 🙂
Damn! I interviewed LIsa at The Show World Center and had a very “interesting” evening in her dressing room with her, and I had – and unfortunately that’s the word – a cassette interview with her that I lost in the 70’s. I’m not much one for nostalgia but I have to say I miss some of those days. How many times does a college journalist (1) get to interview the hottest redhead in adult films (2) spend most of the evening with her in her dressing room (those of you who know The Show World this is back when the “star” dressing rooms were up by the top floor staircase) and (3) remove Lisa’s garter belt with their teeth during her stage show? In some ways,those were indeed the days……and she spread the word, because when Lilli Marlene showed up later and I helped her off the stage, she said”Oh, you’re _________, aren’t you?”
Thanks again Rialto Report! It was great to hear JamIe and Lisa talk casually and at length about their experiences.
I am so happy that all of the rumors about Lisa DeLeeuw were false! I met her and another actress named Tina Marie at an adult entertainment center over on the north side of my hometown back in 1985. Lisa had appeared in Gent and a lot of men’s magazines beginning in 1979, I believe it was, and she became an instant favorite of mine. As for Tina, she also appeared in most of the same mags and when I learned that they would be appearing at this venue, I couldn’t wait to get over there to meet them.
They were very compassionate and warm ladies, I’d even had a pic taken with them…unfortunately, I don’t know now whatever became of it. I would like for them both to know how much their pictorials and/or movies meant to me (and still do). And…Lisa, if you’re reading this, there is a movie clip you’d made with Tawny Pearl long ago that a company named Fantasy Playhouse called “Tub Cum”. Two women together has always been a total turn-on to me, and this is something I’ve been in search of for years. It may be part of a much-longer movie but I’d love to have a copy. When you can, please drop me a line at my e-mail address, I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for listening and have a nice one.
lisa, how did you like working with TANYA FOXX? She was my favorite.
Howie is the man. He’s so incredibly brilliant and cool and a very gifted artist. His book Hindsight is totally awesome. But I just love, love, love, love Lisa!!!
When I was 13 my neighborhood friend had an older brother who stashed issues of Adult Cinema Review magazine in a bathroom cabinet. Cannot believe his mom never looked there. Anyway I “borrowed” one of these issues and I recall there was a picture of Lisa D in a Native American costume. It was incredible. She looked stunning. I don’t know her name yet but I have been a fan ever since that day. Needless to say – loved the interview with her!
And Jamie Gillis…seems like a real sweetheart in this interview. What a complex guy.
As I’m not English mother tongue, it’s quite difficult for to catch all the meaning of your podcast.
What about having a written version as well?
Thanks a lot.
As I’m not English mother tongue, it’s quite difficult for me to catch all the meaning of your podcasts.
What about having a written version as well?
Thanks a lot.
“Was it all worth it?”
John Seeman: “I’m not sure.”
This is the Rialto Report podcast I have gone back to the most. The Lisa DeLeeuw interview is the main draw, but John Seeman’s always gets me thinking about my own life. The uncertainty of his answer to the question above is one I can identify with.
I am very much looking forward to 2021 with the Rialto Report.
Such great website
Amazing blog thanks for sharing today on this blog