Standing Tall with Paul

Dancing, Divas and Discrimination
Diego Alvarez
Lexx Parker
Paul Barresi

    Just who is Paul Barresi? Unfortunately, for a biographer with a word limit, his career does not fit neatly into a nutshell.
    Readers and fans from the past several years know that he is one of the most prolific directors of gay porn in the history of the industry. By his count, he has directed over 130 titles since 1992 when he made a series of gay tapes under the pseudonym Joe Hammer - the only time he ever worked under an assumed name.
    By 1996 - relatively recent history - he officially assumed the mantle of an auteur of gay porn by not only directing (now under his given name), but also taking an aggressive part in all aspects of production, including writing, casting, and even supervising the editing process. His highly stylized input is stamped on each and every step of the creative process. He has produced a signature style that often involves military themes, the seedy aspects of the underworld, and verbal and physical abuse, with fired up emotions and raw sex as the ultimate outcome.
    Barresi proudly says, "For me, porn is not just porn. It allows me to be funny and humorous, as well as dealing with other issues. I always put more into it."
    His 1997 release Goodfellas Badfellas is frequently cited as being one of the best gay videos of all time, securing the director's only entry in AVN's list of the 100 Best Gay Videos.
    The road to directing was a lengthy and twisting one for Barresi. Prior to his work behind the camera, Barresi was already known as a legend in the industry. That legend got its start in 1972 when, after the sergeant was discharged from active Air Force duty in Viet Nam and the Philippine Islands, he relocated to Riverside, Calif.
    That summer he watched the filming of a Hollywood movie, The Wild Party, and took a job as a production assistant. According to him, "I found myself fetching everything from artichokes to nail polish for the film's star - Raquel Welch."
    Three weeks of fetching led to an on-screen role as a bartender. It was on the set where he was discovered by the art director for Playgirl, who persuaded him to pose for the fledgling publication. He finally agreed, and the March 1975 issue, showcasing the physical attributes of Barresi and Cassandra Peterson (a.k.a. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark) in futuristic, intergalactic embrace - was a sellout, due, in large part, to the erotic six-page photo layout and poster.
    With the exposure of his explicit layout, Barresi began to receive offers to work in adult cinema. He was invited in 1975, by Jim French, to join the elite ranks of Colt men - to this day, a standard of male sensuality. In 1979 he made L.A. Tool & Die with Joe Gage, a gay classic, and 1983 saw the release of Men of the Midway, as well as Sulka's Wedding. Throughout the late '70s and part of the '80s, Barresi made numerous appearances in both straight and gay features, and he is arguably one of the most recognized faces of the Boogie Nights era of adult entertainment. His high profile during this time resulted in his being chosen by Larry Flynt to be the first man to appear on the cover of Hustler magazine. The covers didn't end there. By Barresi's account, he "graced the pages of every major adult-oriented publication in the world, including High Society, In Touch, Drummer, Penthouse, Hunks, Club, Honcho, Cheri, Le Monsieur and Chic."
    At this point, Barresi's career took another one of those twists. He explains, "At the pinnacle of stardom, I took leave from adult entertainment to complete my college education and to return to mainstream acting."
    He soon landed a speaking part in the film Perfect, as well as small roles in some popular television shows of the time, including Who's The Boss, Empty Nest, Murphy Brown and A Different World. He was also cast in recurring roles in the shows The Equalizer, D.E.A., Gabriel's Fire, Father Dowling Mysteries, Rosie O'Neil, Matlock, L.A. Law and Civil Wars.
    Regarding his moves back and forth from the world of porn to the world of mainstream entertainment, Barresi says "No one has done what Barresi has done."
    Barresi's move back to porn began again in the mid-'90s, when he began his directing career. Since 1996, he has directed for many studios, including Oh Man! Studios, Jet Set, Brick House Entertainment (now Pacific Sun Entertainment), Nitro Productions, Caballero Video, Luxxxor Studios, Studio 2000, U.S. Male, Celestial Entertainment, and most recently Pleasure Productions' new division Regiment Productions.
    He is explicit when he says, "Every movie presents its own challenges. Had I not worked in front of the camera, I would not be equipped to handle the pressures. My reputation is that I deliver. I get a budget and I deliver on time. I put the client first. I'm in this for the long haul. If you cultivate a long-term relationship instead of trying to make a fast buck, you will succeed. I like to create, innovate, be imaginative and get paid for it."
    Regiment Productions, which was created in 1999 by Pleasure Productions as an outlet for Barresi's military-themed videos and the new Cadets series, expanded its production in early 2001 with two new series - Frat Boys ... on the Loose and Bad Boys, which celebrate the mass appeal of young, masculine men.
    Barresi notes, "Having been in the military, having gone to college, and having lived on the other side of the tracks, I'm uniquely qualified to write and direct videos about these issues."
    All of this is merely scratching the surface of a long and multifaceted life and career. In closing, Barresi adds, "Over the past few years, the Web has really played a big part in bringing my fan base together. I've found that there are several other sites in existence that are using my name for financial gain, which is flattering. However, none of those sites serve as the official Paul Barresi Web site, [], which I've recently co-developed with Regiment Productions and Effex Media. The site showcases my career achievements from the days in front of the camera to my current directorial role behind the camera."
    Here's hoping for many more years.

- Dr. Mardonov

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