Dan Alan's One Night Stands is unique in the recent
history of gay video, achieving the most elusive goal of all:
classical tragedy. No, it's not Oedipus Rex or King
Lear, but it's something just as rare: an adult title
that offers its own tragic vision of human sexuality, from
monogamous romance to destructive self-denial. In fact, this
is one of the most complex, moral adult features you're
likely to see. Alan proves, once and for all, that morality
and explicit sexuality are natural companions, not
One Night Stands also boasts one of the finest
performances by an X-rated actor in recent memory. Here's
proof positive that Jason Ross has the stuff of greatness.
His performance as Joey, the guitarist who hides his
sexuality behind the abuse of IV drugs, gives the tape its
classical dimension, for when he dies of an overdose, we
experience the moral and emotional catharsis that defines
tragedy. As for staying in character during the sexual
action, Ross writes the textbook that every adult actor
should study; his sudden changes from denial to obvious
pleasure reveal the self-hatred that underlies his addiction.
The plot as a whole-intentionally episodic rather than
linear-focuses on the five members of a country-western band
who travel from town to town in a series of one night stands.
We see and hear them in concert (with original music written
and performed by David Burrill), and we see them in their
private lives, coping with the problems of life on the road.
Two of the band members (Jordan and Skater) live out the
title of the video in literal terms, jumping from one partner
to the next. One (Steel) attempts to maintain a monogamous
relationship, mainly by telephone, and one (Burrill)
sublimates his sexuality into caring for his drug-related
Steele has never been as impressive, while Burrill's
non-sexual performance is genuinely memorable in spite of an
occasional tendency to overact. And the four songs he writes
for the band are his best achievement to date, especially the
title song and "You Don't Love Me Any More."
The video's major flaw is the underdevelopment of Jordan's
major character —we simply do not learn enough about
him to identify with his dilemma. And that's why One Night
Stands doesn't earn the elusive five-A rating that in
theory it deserves. Packaging was unavailable at press time,
but the erotic One Night Stands would be worth
stocking if it came in a plain brown wrapper.