Breathes there a man who doesn't dream of starring in a porno movie?
Well, yeah, actually. But don't tell that to Will Hammer.
When you have a name like Will Hammer, chances are you're working in the porn industry. But Hammer isn't just any porn producer -- he's a fighter for the little man. He wants to offer "real guys" the chance to be a star in their own XXX movie. They'll be shooting in Houston April 15 and 16.
"I want to bring stuff to the people who don't get this opportunity," he says.
Standards are high, to be sure. A recent STD test is required, as is a condom. Other than that, well, as Hammer puts it so eloquently, "As long as we don't get someone who seems like a supreme psychopath or something, they're usually good to go."
You will be shocked to learn that any "real guy" who wants to participate will have to fork over some dough. You sign up for Hammer's site for a recurring payment of $24.95 a month (details are foggy about how long of a commitment is required), and you get an appointment to shoot your scene. Hammer says the number of women present at the shoot -- and we're trying desperately to erase any derivatives of the word "skank" from our mind as we type this -- depends on how many men respond, he says.
Hmmm. You pay money and you have sex. Isn't that somewhat like, say, prostitution?
No. No, no, no, no, no. Nothing like that at all, Hammer says.
"They don't even have to participate," he says of the men. "We're not charging them for that. They have the opportunity: They can or they can't," he says. "It's like a benefit."
And the gals at Hillcroft and 59 are paid simply to road-test your passenger seat. The blow job is "like a benefit."
What does HPD think of this theory? They hadn't heard of the project, and couldn't come up with an answer by press time.
Don't worry, by the way, if you want anonymity. "We don't have a problem with masks and stuff like that," Hammer says.
"Real guys" in masks plugging bored semi-hookers? Forget about making the movies -- where can we watch them?
Smart shoppers compare before making an important purchase, and what purchase could be more important than a bong?
And if you're looking to study the latest in bong style and technology, there's no better place to go than the lobby of the Bellaire Police Department.
Do it up right, though -- we suggest coming in fresh from your smoke- congested Jim Anchower Special (we're thinking an '89 Mazda with at least one duct-taped door handle) -- and make sure the cannabis cloud that accompanies the opening of that duct-taped door sticks to your clothes. Skip the Visine and head on in to the magic of Corporal Jeffrey Cotton's Museum of Wonders.
Sure, there are fake IDs and homemade weapons in the glass case, but it's the bongs that draw the most attention. People have "shown a lot of interest and curiosity," Cotton says. "It's kind of a conversation piece."
And don't forget to check out the roach clips, crack pipes and mirror with cocaine residue. "You name it, we have a pretty good assortment of things," he says.
If you want your own bong immortalized, don't think it's as easy as donating it to BPD. Or being arrested by them, for that matter.
"I'd have to take a look at it," Cotton says of a potential item, "and see if it was interesting."
Mickey's Big Mouths
With St. Patrick's Day upon us, there's been plenty of talk of Irish culture, which apparently consists almost entirely of drinking green beer.
Everyone's running some kind of promotion tied to the holiday, and the folks at the Box, KBXX-FM, are no different. The home of hip-hop and rap is running a contest to win tickets to the Houston Rockets. Or, as the advertisement says, to see "one of Houston's favorite Micks: Tracy McGrady."
"One of Houston's favorite Micks"? N-word, please.
You don't go calling an Irishman a Mick unless you've got some ties to the Ould Sod yerself. The makers of 7-Up learned that lesson a year or so ago when they ran an ad featuring a tiny leprechaun being hassled by a cop. "I'm not real, you moron," the leprechaun told the cop. "I'm a myth."
Except most viewers heard "I'm a Mick." And, as New York's Irish Voice reported, "a large number of viewers rang to complain about a perceived anti-Irish slur." The company rerecorded the dialogue.
Natalie Jones, marketing director for the Box, didn't return phone calls. We assume she was too busy planning the "Guinea Giveaway" contest for Columbus Day.
We Don't Need Another Hero
You think it's easy being a hero? You don't know about the paperwork hassles.
Dennis Richardson is a true, certified hero. In 1978 he broke up a burglary at the apartment complex where he worked as a maintenance man, holding the suspect in custody until police arrived. He got shot in the knee during the incident. The Houston Police Department gave him a leather-bound Public Service Award for his efforts.
Richardson was pretty damned proud of it. "I wasn't able to serve my country like a lot of my friends, but at least the award proved that I wasn't afraid to stand up and do right if I was ever called upon to do it," he says. "It kind of validated me as a citizen."
Richardson made the certificate a permanent part of his résumé, showing it to potential employers and landlords. Not bragging, to be sure, just casually letting folks know they were in the midst of greatness.
When the certificate was lost in 1990, he says, HPD went to great lengths to replace it, even tracking down former chief Harry Caldwell to sign it. Now that it's gone again, however, they aren't so cooperative.
Richardson was moving to a new apartment last year, all his stuff in his '93 Oldsmobile, when a gunman carjacked him and drove off. Included in the stuff was the Hero Certificate.
HPD, he says, can't be bothered to replace it, apparently believing in a two-strikes-and-you're-out philosophy. "It's like somebody took a big eraser and erased your name away," he says.
He's considered picketing the HPD building, but his health makes that unlikely.
"It wasn't like I lost the award," he says. "It was stolen at gunpoint."
A disabled grandfather now, Richardson cannot fight this battle. His cape has been hung up, his superpowers diminished. Is there no one in the younger generation to take up the mantle and battle the evil bureaucracy?
So far, sadly, the Bat-Signal has gone unanswered.
Flooding Up North
Think Tropical Storm Allison didn't do enough damage to Houston? The worst may be yet to come.
14 Hours is a made-for-TV movie scheduled to air on the TNT cable network in April. Starring Rick "Don't Call Me Ricky" Schroeder and JoBeth Williams, the movie looks at a Houston hospital "and the community that pulled together and raced against time to ensure that hundreds of patients were successfully evacuated."
A race against time? Why hasn't anyone used that concept for a movie before?
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In case you're wondering how you somehow missed all those film crews and movie-star trailers at the Medical Center, rest assured you didn't miss anything.
The movie -- produced by Kurt Russell and his quasi-stepdaughter Kate Hudson -- was shot in Canada.
"It's the same pattern as with the Enron movie: They saved a lot of money doing it up there," says Alfred Cervantes, deputy director of the Houston Film Commission. "They called us for information when they were starting, and they kind of hemmed and hawed that they might do it here, but we knew they'd end up doing it in Canada."
Which will no doubt lead viewers to ask, If it's flooding so bad, why don't people move up to those mountains in the background?