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Mr. Big Stuff

[whitespace] Jeff Stryker
Cock? Sure!: Mr. Stryker faces life behind bars on the small stage.

The artist known as 'Jeff Stryker' talks about life in the porn industry and his current erotic play

By Jack Shamama

I met porn superstar Jeff Stryker for lunch at a cafe on Union Square to talk about his new play, Jeff Stryker Does Hard Time. An elderly blue-haired woman sits close to our table, dangerously within earshot. We both have matzo ball soup, and Jeff's drinking coffee out of a mug that says "Eat Me" on it. Oh, if Max only knew the irony.

At what age did you realize you had a "special gift"?

I don't know, but it was confirmed when I went to L.A. I think it probably wasn't until 15 or 16. In the showers at military school, they had such a great age difference. I was 13, and you could be in there with the seniors and you'd think, "Oh, god, I got ripped off. They must have stole the rest of mine!" When I got out of school, I thought I had a relatively small one. And my father and brothers are all monsters, so growing up I had never thought of it. Then I saw my first porno movie--it was with John Holmes--and I thought, "He's ugly as sin. And that's a big dick?"

Do you find it hard to get involved in relationships?

I've had this wonderful relationship with "Jeff Stryker" for years (laughs). Well, everyone has to sneak off every once in a while to take care of something. When I do a play, or a show, I'm totally erect. So I play with that thing too much as it is. When I get done, it's like, give that thing a rest. It takes a lot to maintain an erection in a situation like that for even five or six minutes. The funny thing is, it keeps growing. I always check it for fingers in the morning. It's amazing. I look down and think--oh baby, that thing grew today!

And you have a son, correct?

I try to keep him safe and protected. He's a fabulous kid. I raised him since 1, 11Ž2, after a lengthy court battle for physical possession. And the girl--I knew the girl for like three or four days and she was like, "Let's do a movie." Some movie. She stalked me for a year--I know exactly how it went. I should have used a cigar.

The burnout rate for porn stars seems kind of high. Is it taxing to be a porn star?

When people in the industry get into hard-core drugs, they're gone. That's it. People get hit in that cocaine train, and it's a one-way trip. I drink, only beer. And I smoke a little pot--of course it's for my eyes so I never get [glaucoma] (laughs)--you don't want to take any chances now. Moderation's the key. But I don't like drugs. I never do cocaine or speed or any of that crazy stuff. I don't need to blind myself from what I have done. I accept it and love it.

Do you hang with other industry people? I have this image of you and Jenna Jamison and Ryan Idol having a barbecue on your back patio.

No, I keep really separated from the industry because I don't want to get pulled into that where you get pulled into your own PR and you're running around with your head so swelled you can't get through doors. I like to keep a low profile, comfortable.

I hear you're good friends with John Waters.

I met him through a mutual friend at a party. I had a house on Mulholland. I took him up there and showed him a bunch of porn movies. We had a blast. I keep trying to get him to put me in his films. We'd just have fun. He's like a buddy. He's fabulous. Personality extraordinaire.

How was it working with [renowned photographer] Pierre et Gilles?

I get to do personal appearances all over the world, and I get to meet these fabulous people, and they set up the photo shoot. There was no money involved--to me it was an honor. And now I am in a museum in Europe on a wall. I am an art piece. Most of the greatest things I achieved I did and I didn't get any money for. It isn't about money, it's about opportunity.

Do get hit on a lot by male fans propositioning you?

Oh, propositions, sure. Usually they go about it indirectly or through someone else. I have never hustled or would. When you cheapen yourself like that, how can you be valuable to someone else? The biggest mistake in our industry is that most of the guys you see in the movies you can buy. If people want to do that--and a lot of guys do--that's really cool. But they say in the long run if you want to go for the quick buck ... Those people usually turn to drugs to forget the dead space of what they just did, and then I could see, you'd have to get high pretty often to fill the void.

Does working in adult films desensitize you to sex in your personal life?

I do so few films, actually--one a year or something like that. It's just the ones that I'm in I carefully pick, plan--I make sure it's like Ben-Hur. I handpick all the actors I work with. Porn stars--myself included--only have so much life. If you pour it out in a year, you get burned out. If you can afford to carefully do a movie a year, then that's looking for a career. As long as I look good in front of the camera. When I start looking bad, I'll be the first to get off screen.

Was it difficult personally for you to get started in gay porn? You didn't move into the heterosexual market until much later.

Someone had labeled me a "straight actor in gay porn," but "universal," I think, is the only word I could actually use [to describe my sexuality]. I think humans are humans. I could be sitting next to god knows what and get turned on.

I mean, in the beginning I went through fear like everybody else, and that was really hard to overcome. But after over a decade in the industry, it's just like a muscle. The wind blows, I get hard. But in our play there is no real hard-core sex, it's just me in an aroused state. I shock the audience because I never know what I'm going to do. Last night I jumped off, and they all freaked out. We had such a blast last night. The audience was really wonderful. I had the whole place laughing. And I really punish the audience at the end.

In all shooting, it's really all the same--if it's a man, if it's a woman--you're there to do a job. You're going to be up and down 400 times a day. Get erect and stay erect and lose it and get it up--and it's a chore no matter how you do it. What I have done was expanded trying to capture all markets. I did Janie Loves Jeff, which in the hetero [market] was the biggest seller. It would be foolish for me to miss any market whatsoever. There's gay, bisexual, heterosexual and solo [porn]. I try to cater to what people want. They're gonna buy an adult video anyway, so I try to make them so they like them. So they can watch them till they wear the tape out.

Jeff Stryker Does Hard Time runs at the Victoria Theater until March 7.

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From the March 1, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc.