Beach Blanket Bacchanal

XXX marks the spot at Lake Havasu, "amateur porn capital of America"

Mention Lake Havasu City, and most people will pounce on the hamlet's hellacious heat, a triple-digit mind-roaster that frequently tops out the nation's thermometer. Either that, or London Bridge, the imported British landmark that spans a portion of the boat-studded waterway weaving through the western Arizona lakeside community.

But George Martin, self-proclaimed "King of Amateur Porn," hasn't been braving Weather Channel-worthy heat three times a year just to photograph the village's monument of nursery rhyme renown. The adult video czar is far less interested in falling bridges than in falling britches--not to mention bikini bottoms, halter tops and any other encumbrances that stand between his fair ladies and his ever-probing video lens.

A former commercial photographer, Martin has spent more than a decade documenting a side of Lake Havasu City not mentioned in any chamber of commerce literature. Mainly, the fun-in-the-sun antics of uninhibited, intoxicated, insatiable (and frequently stark naked) young partyers from Southern California who transform remote areas of the lake into a boozy ship-to-shore sex-o-rama. These exhibitionistic high jinks--which run the gamut from simple flashing to three-way lesbian interludes staged atop houseboats for maximum exposure--have enabled Martin to carve out a career as the Allen Funt of the X-rated film world.

"It keeps me young," says the white-haired head of GM Video, who, at 56, is a good 30 years older than most of his unabashed "stars." Since abandoning a commercial photography career in the mid-'80s, the opportunistic Martin has produced dozens of tapes in the "how-I-misspent-my-summer-vacation" genre, the majority (like the clunkily titled Memorial Weekend Wet T & A '98, Vol. I, winner of Adult Video News' best alternative video award), shot in and around the Lake Havasu area during spring break and holiday weekends.

This wide-open carnal chicanery has also made Martin wealthy; today, he claims he ships 6,000 tapes a month at $29.95 a pop. Quite a nice return on his investment, especially considering that all of his "talent"--both onscreen and offscreen--work for free.

Although all three volumes of Martin's Memorial Day '99 compilation eventually will be filled with eye-poppers like cucumber-stuffing, strawberry-shoving, banana-sucking and more T, A and P than you can shake a double-headed marital aid at, the wild holiday weekend begins not with a bang but a whimper.

The first fly in the ointment surfaces when Martin and his video crew rendezvous at their old video stomping grounds, the Roadrunner, a floating bar and restaurant on the Colorado River on the Parker strip, down river from the lake.

Still smarting from a $7,500 fine levied against his establishment by the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control last spring (one of the most damning pieces of evidence was a GM tape featuring simulated sex shot in the bar itself), the Roadrunner's owner has banned cameras from the property and also threatens to "86" any customers who flash flesh.

So much for the dockside wet-tee-shirt contest that was supposed to have kicked off day one of taping.

"Fuck the wet-tee-shirt contest!" Martin grouses as he performs a head count on the crew he's assembled for the occasion. "If any of the girls shows titty, they're kicked out anyway."

Martin's crew--a ragtag Boogie Nights-like collective that includes several photographers, a couple of beefy bouncer types, a fiftysomething skipper, an air brush-wielding body painter, a bleached-blond stripper with Little Richard-like permanent lip liner and a purple-haired porn rocker named Johnny Toxic--are milling about the dock, slamming down the house drink (an Everclear, rum and schnapps concoction called the Roadraper), when Martin receives more bad news.

Learning that at least one rival video production crew has already beaten him to the scene, Martin instructs one of his more menacing-looking minion to spread the vaguely threatening word that Martin's going to "send some of my boys over."

"Of course, I'd never do that," he says as he herds his crew onto "The Hooter Hunter," a pontoon boat he's rented for the occasion. Martin chuckles, "But they don't know that."

Like Captain Ahab hunting Moby Dick, George Martin is a man obsessed. But instead of searching for a single whale, he's scanning the clear green currents of the Colorado for entire schools of wild co-eds, water-logged wantons who, if peer pressure and alcohol content are high enough, can be counted on to shuck their swim wear in return for a string of Mardi gras beads and cinematic immortality in one of his videos.

"The river's the hardest thing in the world to shoot," says Martin, who earned his stripes in wedding video wars and boudoir portraiture battlefields. "To me, it's like going into combat and I'm the commander. I delegate responsibility to other commanders, and, when they fail me, it's dereliction of duty."

Soldiering to the cause, leopard-skin clad Johnny Toxic climbs up on the boat's sunroof to do a little recruiting with an electronic bullhorn. Although he possesses the verbal panache of a Bourbon Street strip-joint barker, the bombastic skank pornster (his credits include Anal Graveyard and Ass Cakes, wherein he reportedly has his way with a dessert pastry) gets nowhere with bewildered and/or amused boaters, not even after he drops his drawers, feigns masturbation and dives off the roof while shrieking obscenities.

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