Annals: Which One of Us Is the Porn Star?

Submitted by box_nyc on Tue, 07/03/2018 - 22:59

Was it five years ago that a lovely director I’d worked for, called Dorian Tocker — who’s  recently graduated from the AFI Conservatory in Los Angeles — had contacted me to say that he wanted me for a one-minute tableau vivant he was doing with a friend and fellow artist, Dylan Levers? It was called ‘4 People in a Room Pretending One of Them Isn’t a Porn Star,’ and it was essentially a formal portrait, filmed at very long exposure, in which none of us moved for about a minute or so, though a blink or two might be detected in the end result. It was such great fun, and filmed at the Upper West Side apartment of Willi Burke, the elder female in this quartet of actors, and a woman who has exemplified the life of a veteran player, devoid of global fame, perhaps, but as accomplished as any actor would ever hope to be. It was such an honor working with her. Afterward, she gave me a tour of her career, so visually evident by the material culture of broadsides and Playbills that attested to a lifetime of the many, many stage performances she and her late second husband had given in the most memorable roles of the American theater repertory, and having played every notable theatrical venue in the country, not least among them, Broadway. She either had known or had worked with everybody in the business. Fascinating for an entertainment junkie like me. Interestingly, she thought I bore a distinct resemblance to her first husband, the late Jerome Felder — a.k.a. as Doc Pomus — the famed songwriter and lyricist responsible for dozens of rock-and-roll hits. (He was also the brother of the high-profile New York divorce lawyer, Raoul Felder.)