Fort Worth’s Q Cinema film festival screens documentary about Colton Ford’s exit from porn biz to launch a mainstream music career
By Daniel A. Kusner
Life + Styles Editor
Countless horror stories recount the travails of wide-eyed victims of the adult video industry. Rarely do performers defeat the odds and make exhibitionism work in their favor. That’s why “Naked Fame,” a documentary in Fort Worth’s Q Cinema film festival, is a refreshing departure.
Shot over the course of eight months in 2002, a film crew follows Colton Ford (a.k.a. Glenn Soukesian) as he and his boyfriend, Blake Harper, retire from erotica while Ford embarks on a legitimate singing career.
Ford’s supportive parents are interviewed, and XXX honchos like director-producer Chi Chi LaRue and talent agent David Forest offer insight about the difficulties of shaking the porn stigma. Hollywood joke maven Bruce Vilanch also lends his views about the slim chances of crossover success.
Ford’s journey is a fascinating subject for a documentary. Ford and Harper are handsome hotties, and the glimpse into their nurturing relationship offers a rare view into a porno romance. But “Naked Fame” also captures Ford struggling to get a foothold in the music industry when his worst enemy is his own producer, Kyle Neven, a former porn star turned songwriter-producer.
In the beginning of their partnership, Neven, who heard Ford sing at a birthday party, helps jumpstart Ford’s recording career. But as they begin shopping a demo track, Neven’s unstable personality turns people off and almost brings the endeavor to a halt.
“Naked Fame” portrays Ford as a somewhat naive 39-year-old who’s chasing the “American Idol” dream for the first time. “Which isn’t the case at all. I had been a recording artist for 21 years and signed two major-label deals before I shot my first porn video,” Ford says.
Growing up in Mission Viejo, Calif., Ford attended California State University, Fullerton for a year before focusing on music.
He sang with a jazz quartet and opened for acts like Waylan Flowers and Madam and comedian David Brenner in Las Vegas. In 1988, under the alias Glenn Street, he released the dance single “Hardline,” which briefly appeared on Billboard’s Top 100 Dance chart.
But his singing career never took off the way he hoped. Ford supplemented his income by managing a volunteer program at a Los Angeles bank. And three years ago, he started dating Blake Harper.
“I’m not a porn aficionado,” Ford explains. “
So I didn’t even know where Blake was in the pecking order. I knew what he did, but I had never seen any of his work.”
The studs were on their way to Palm Springs when Ford ventured into the hardcore world. Harper was shooting a video titled “Porn Struck II,” and Ford was going on location to do some physique modeling for photographer Jeff Palmer. It was right after 9/11, and Harper’s scene partner was stuck in New York.
“Blake asked me if I was interested in stepping in, and I thought ‘Why not?’ I had tried the traditional way, and it didn’t get me what I wanted. I was bored, and my career was stagnant,” he remembers.
Ford made 12 videos in a 10-month period before he retired. When he wasn’t a signed artist, he continued writing and recording material.
“The porn thing helped me create Colton Ford, which affords me an audience. And at the very least, because of the curiosity factor, that audience is going to check out my music just to see who this porn dude thinks he is,” he says. “All I need them to do is come to the table and I’ll show them that this is what I’ll really do.”
“Naked Fame” is not a vehicle to showcase Ford’s singing abilities. But Ford’s music career is already picking up steam. In March 2004, he teamed up with fierce diva Pepper MaShay to cover the Stevie Wonder classic “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” and the track hit number seven on the Billboard Dance Chart.
Ford and Harper are still together. Harper, who’s a registered nurse, now works for former Colt model and Mr. International Leather 1998 Dr. Tony Mills, a Los Angeles physician with a focus on HIV.
Aside from Traci Lord’s 1994 techno classic 1,000 Fires, and Jeff Stryker’s 2003 boot-scooting novelty “Pop You in the Pooper,” Ford is navigating unchartered waters in the crossover music biz.
“And I look at that as an opportunity as opposed to a brick wall. At some point, someone’s bound to break through,” Ford says, who recently finished a five-song EP slated for a September release.
“Naked Fame” screens June 18 at 8 p.m. at Casa Manana, 3101 Lancaster Ave. in Fort Worth. $10. Ford and director Chris Long will be in attendance. Ford also attends the Q Cinema Welcome Party at 10:30 p.m. at Flowers on the Square, 2110 West Bank Landing St. $10.
For additional information visit www.qcinema.org.