Without a doubt, America’s most dangerous independent publisher is Adam Parfrey’s storied Feral House. In a career marked by by such gleefully transgressive volumes as Apocalypse Culture, Extreme Islam and the recent coffee table recreation of the Process cult’s freaky 60s magazines, Parfrey may have staked out some of his most risque territory yet with his upcoming publication of a limited edition book for… “specialists.”
Has it been a decade since Feral House signed up the Jamie Gillis / Peter Sotos collaboration, Pure Filth?
Well, yes it has.
Power of persuasion convinced me to do this project way back when. And why? Peter Sotos called it a “dogshit” book, and we’ve always wanted to publish dogshit books.
It contains transcripts, images and introductions to Jamie Gillis’ “Gonzo” porn videos, rare things from that strange, dull, and life-sucking genre. The late Jamie Gillis, who possessed charm in person, is most widely known as a weasly porn performer from its “golden age.” As a side project, Jamie went out on his own with a ho and video camera, inveigling various masturbators found in adult books parlors to be filmed having actual sex instead. The Gonzo films became more notorious than purchased, inspiring dozens of offshoots in contemporary television, as well as Burt Reynolds’ character in the Hollywood movie Boogie Nights.
Jamie sent Pete some strange, sadistic videos that had never even found popular distribution. This wasn’t porn, this was despair, and Pete became motivated to transcribe the existential scenarios of sadism, masochism, and most of all, showoff self-hatred.
When I had dinner with the authors at a San Francisco North Beach Italian restaurant, Jamie pleaded with me to allow him to sell what he called a “memoir” before Pure Filth was released so as not to horrify the big ticket NY publishers. It turned out that the memoir proposal horrified them anyway, what with a recounting of ’70s party scenes, including one in which a 12-year-old girl offered her blowjob services to Jamie, and he gladly accepted them.
No kiddie sex in Pure Filth, we promise, but transcripts of horrifying, embarrassing human degradation.
The book will be available in a very limited, numbered hardcover edition beautifully designed by Hedi El Kholti, known for his designs of Feral House books Lexicon Devil and It‘s a Man’s World. The price is $69, and we expect that they’ll be available in early May.
I’ve heard about this book for a long time and whereas I’ve never seen any of the videotapes that came to be known as “Jamie Gillis’s Secret Stash” (the really twisto videos from his “gonzo” first-person On The Prowl series) they were once vividly described to me by no less of a “specialist” than Marilyn Manson. I can’t say I really wanted to see them after his description, but according to all who have seen them, the tapes don’t work on a “porn” level (unless you’re a totally sick puppy without hope of redemption!) but due to the “interviews” and darkly psychologically bullying “pep talks” that Gillis would subject these people to beforehand as he tried to, um, persuade them to, uh, do stuff and what it might take (such as money) to get them to do these, um, certain things on camera.
I’m not talking about mere sex acts here, either. Imagine, say, what happened before and after they shot “2 Girls, 1 Cup” and then transcribing what remained on the cutting room floor. According to Adam, the transcripts on the printed page of Pure Filth—and what they reveal, shorn of their audio-visual component—are more starkly disturbing than the videos themselves.