Jeff Stryker is huge, in every sense of the word. Just ask the guys in the back room of Lobo bookstore on Montrose Boulevard. He's one of the biggest porn stars in the adult-video industry -- bi, gay or straight.
It isn't hard to see why. In the '80s, when he was 24 and making his way from Springfield, Illinois, to the big bad underground porn world of L.A., he was absolutely gorgeous. All baby-faced with smoky dark eyes, he was so beautiful that he didn't even have to "perform" in his first video. "I was too nervous," he says. "In those days, they had stunt dicks. That was for the close-up."
And though he slunk back to Illinois, with all kinds of bad feelings about his performance failure, it wasn't long before Stryker eventually was able to rise to the occasion. As a result, over the past decade or so, Stryker has become somewhat of a legend, even establishing his own successful video company.
Jeff Stryker Does Hard Time
Ashland St. Theatre Co., 2610 Ashland
Thursday, October 26, through Sunday, November 12, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., and Sundays at 6 p.m. $35-$45 (713)426-3019 No one under 18 permitted
But Stryker, as you can imagine, is not one to sit back on his ass and enjoy a middle-aged life of leisure. Now he's thrusting his talents into new areas. He's swinging it on the legitimate stage with Jeff Stryker Does Hard Time. The play has gone on to sell out six-week runs in San Francisco, New York, San Diego and West Hollywood, and according to Stryker, it was "the best-grossing play on or off Broadway." Add that to Stryker's already long list of assets.
With the help of a ghost writer, Stryker and porn director-producer John Travis were able to put together the show in four days (easier than the usual production, when you consider the lack of wardrobe requirements). Not that this story is much of a departure from what they have been doing for years.
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"Basically the Jeff Stryker character goes to prison," says Stryker, oddly referring to himself, as he often does, in the third person. "There's a queenie character. There's a bruno who runs the prison. He's a big masculine black guy.I'm sentenced to hard time. There's a straight guy who gets put in with me, and he's got all this attitude. So right before the first intermission, I rape him."
At this Stryker laughs, though he's quick to point out the play's overall message of tolerance. "The story evolves so that the audience feels that this straight guy needs something, because he beats up the queenie character. He's a real homophobic, I-hate-everybody guy. And in the second act, he's got a whole different outlook on life. He sees more of the gay side of life. There's all kinds of sexual innuendo. And at the end, I come out naked and exposed."
So what's the difference between the draw of this show and Bienvenue's highly successful Naked Boys Singing!?
"About 11 or 12 inches!" says Stryker.