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7/10/2008

Film & Video

HARD-CORE HENDRIX
Jimi may not be real, but the sex looks circa-'60s.

 

“Beauty is truth and truth, beauty,” John Keats said, and almost 200 years later there is still resonance in his words. Gracious imagery in art and nature need not be judged by the mundane yardstick of reality – that it exists, and by extension enhances our existence, is truth enough.

Well, that’s one way to look at the new DVD Jimi Hendrix: The Sex Tape, released by Vivid Entertainment and purporting to feature Hendrix in a threesome with two women. There has been contention over whether it’s really Hendrix in the film.

Hendrix’s one-time girlfriend Kathy Etchingham, now 60, has said it’s not him. Cynthia Albritton, aka Cynthia Plaster Caster, famous for making molds of famous men’s penises, says in the film, “That’s Jimi Hendrix’s dick … and I should know.”

The film is padded out with more than 20 minutes of Albritton and her fellow super-groupie, the still-lovely Pamela Des Barres, telling their Hendrix stories and commenting over the actual footage. (Albritton and Des Barres were paid for their “contributions to the video,” according to the New York Times.) After this you get to see the film itself, which has no audio, on its own merits.

Jimi Hendrix: The Sex Tape starts with a graphic 11 minutes of two girls simultaneously going down on “Jimi,” who appears to be either blissed or passed out. When he returned the favor, the visuals convinced me the film is probably vintage: The women’s crotches look like a hair-salon floor after an especially hectic day. This is classic hippie-era grooming, and if it’s not real I’d like to know how they procured those Bert Convy–model merkins. (A merkin is a pubic wig. Learning is fun, huh?) When we finally see actual penetration, the girl is on top and facing the camera so the man’s face is totally obscured. The head on his shoulders definitely gets less screen time than the other one.

So, is it Hendrix? Well, Albritton has firsthand expertise, and Vivid co-chairman Steven Hirsch has said, “I believe that we did our due diligence … and clearly believe that it’s him.” I’m iffy, but what do I know? I never paid attention to Jimi Hendrix until I heard he was in this video, probably not wearing any pants.

To Hendrix’s surviving loved ones it might matter whether it’s him, but to porn enthusiasts I doubt it will. The phenomenon of the celebrity sex tape, I think, has little to do with the celebrities; to some extent, the novelty is part of the appeal – a permission slip for people who want to watch porn but are too embarrassed to dive in and get the real thing.

And people who are blunt about wanting to watch a graphic vintage three-way won’t care if it’s Jimi Hendrix or Joe Nobody, so I doubt it will matter to them, either.

It was definitely an intriguing thing to watch, fan or not, Hendrix or not. After all, “Booty is truth … and truth, booty.” And to ensure correct attribution, that wasn’t Keats. That was all me.

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