It started with this email from my porn industry pal Gram Ponante:
Gram Ponante to me
…tell me that it is you who are co-emceeing the Erotic Exotic Ball
> To: Gram Ponante
> Subject: Re: Please
> No, no it is not me.
> How awful.
Gram Ponante to me
Subject: Re: Re: Please
IS THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN??
Yes. Yes, how awful.
Then I got another email from a journalist:
> Hi Violet,
> Just read your column about Behind Kink. We just shot there last night
> as part of the documentary we’re shooting of the Exotic Erotic Ball
> for Perry. I saw on the featured guest list that you will be there
> and we’d love to get an on-camera interview with you at the Ball or
> if you’re going to attend the Expo on Friday.
I wrote him and said, no, that’s not me but someone using my name. He wrote back and said:
> Damn! She had me fooled. If you’re even interested in attending the
> Ball I’d still like to get an on camera interview with you. I
> consider you a Bay Area celebrity since you write the column on SF Gate.
> So if you would like to attend, I can get you a VIP pass, call or
> email me.
Then, an email this morning from another journalist:
> See you tonight! (…)
>I’m going to the Expo tonight and I saw
your name on the flyer.
Curious about what’s going on here, and what I’m about to do about it? More after the jump.
* * * * * * *
In 1998, I wrote for San Francisco’s FILTH Magazine (published by Editor Seth Maxwell Malice). Way back in 1999, Gothic.net published my first article, “Cult of the Fallen Woman”, a piece about lesbian vampire porn. In May of 2000, I was hired as the editor of Necromantic.com, where I started my first porn review column, the goth-tinged “Reviews From the Darkside”. In June, I started writing another online column about the porn industry, called “Cold Crevices”. I had been hired as Good Vibrations Senior Copywriter in 1998, and had written a number of articles about porn, sex and sexuality for their website — until December of 2000, when I was hired as the founder and editor of the online Good Vibes Magazine. In January 2001, my third online porn review column was launched, “The XXX Files”. I was writing about porn and sexuality online a lot, my first book was announced on Amazon.com in March of 2000, and I launched Tiny Nibbles in early 2001. 1998-2001 was a big time for me.
In late 2001, a porn performer using the name “Violet Blue” appeared in “Simon Wolf’s Beauty and the Bitch #2.”
My first book, Sweet Life, was released in November 2000, and according to my publisher, sold out of its first printing immediately. The porn performer using the name “Violet Blue” (aka “Violet” aka “Violet Lust” aka “Ada Mae”) launched her website in April 2002.
The name Violet Blue — my name — is on my ID, my passport, my social security card, and many other useless documents. And there are far worse things than seeing your own name on porn boxcovers like “Planet of the Gapes” and “White Trash Whore #22”. How about having someone forward an interview “you” did, where “you” — a racist porn performer — said:
DUC: “What did you think about the war to free Iraq?”
Violet [the porn performer]: “I think it was kinda silly but I think we should just kill the entire Middle East. That way we wouldn’t have terrorism any more.”
DUC: “Are you bothered that California is being overrun by illegal immigration?”
Violet [the porn performer]: “Yeah, I think they should all go back to where they belong or learn how to speak English. Did you know that there’s no word for ‘maintenance’ in the Mexican language? I know a lot of nice Mexicans but there are a lot of Mexican scum who tend to live off the government and have a bunch of babies. I don’t think we should be that open to immigration from Mexico.”
DUC: “Do you think we need more Muslim immigrants
Violet [the porn performer]: “No, they keep buying up all the 7-11s. I think all immigrants should learn how to speak English. If they speak English, I’m happy. I hate when I drive through the Valley and I can’t read any of the billboards because they are in Spanish. That’s why I am going to go back up to Washington where all there are a few American Indians and Koreans. Everybody is white. It’s a wonderful wonderful thing. It’s clean. There aren’t a lot of icky people. If you look at it, most bums are either black or white. I’m surprised there are not more Mexican bums.”
And in the same interview, where “you” made Mel Gibson proud, saying:
DUC: Do you believe Jesus is God?
Violet [the porn performer]: No.
DUC: Do you believe that if you believe in him, you will have eternal life?
Violet [the porn performer]: No. I think Jesus was an amazing prophet and that it is really sad that the Jews killed him, because he could’ve been a great leader.
DUC [the porn performer]: Do you think the Jews have suffered for two thousand years for doing that?
Violet [the porn performer]: Yes. Yes, I definitely think that. I mean, look at the history. I definitely think that. They were really stupid to have done that because he could’ve really led them to victory. And they hung him up on a cross next to thieves and murderers.
(Ada Mae Woffinden nee Johnson later said she was “joking” about the racism.) This is the porn performer who goes by the name “Violet Blue”, who is co-MC’ing at Exotic Erotic this year, is on all the press materials, in the local advertising and is being mistaken — at the very least by name — for me. Spend eight years of your life writing 22 books on sex and sexuality, educating and lecturing on sex-positive sexual pleasure and health, write your ass off to inject all-gender and all-orientation and non-judgmental attitudes about sex into print and web, take heat and get hate mail and books banned, sacrifice personal relationships, be fucking broke most of the time because you think sex ed should be free and you do all your work by yourself — and have someone else use your name, writ big, in your hometown.
I wonder what she says when people tell her they like her website. Or her books.
* * * * * * *
I guess it’s really easy to accidentally end up with someone else’s name when you’re a porn performer. Not. Names are hard, and once you get one, you just can’t change it to make a name for yourself as an individual. (The porn performer using my name has used “Ada Mae” when burlesque dancing, and it is her name on Tribe.net.) I mean, look at all the trouble and confusion poor Tyra BanXXX goes through, having her name diluted by some model with a TV show. And Marey Carey — she’s just trying to run for governor and get some new teeth and better tits, and some singer has to come along and ride her coattails to fame. To be a successful porn star, you have to choose the right name carefully, so you don’t end up like Jenna Jameson. A good porn name is right up there with voice lessons for caterwauling on cue, and having a perfectly immoble pair of waxen breasts mounted on your chest. And as everyone knows, doing porn will make you famous. Look what it did for all these big names.
I was emailing with well-known and highly respected porn director (and magazine editor) Ernest Greene — AKA Ira Levine — about all this yesterday, and he wrote:
> I really am pissed to hear that you know who is taking
> your name in vain. I suppose it’s some desperate attempt to stay hip as her
> appeal has largely faded around here. I don’t think I’ve seen her in any new
> picture of note in over a year.
So, I have to wonder — what’s Exotic Erotic’s deal with all of this? Evidently they’re not making any kind of a clear distinction between the real Violet Blue (me) and the impostor (Ada Mae Woffinden nee Johnson), in their press, ad, or promo materials. The proof is in the emails I’m getting from journalists. Will they make a distinction when the porn performer is onstage, or are they indulging in the confusion — and now my name and reputation as a Chronicle/SFGate columnist — to sell a few more tickets, get more press attention and garner more excitement from the crowd? Surely they must know there’s a difference, unless “no one” told them. Maybe the Exotic Erotic people don’t have TVs, or internets, or maybe they haven’t had time to read anything about sex for the past 8 years. Which would be sad, because they would have missed the Paris Hilton video.
So, if you go to the Exotic Erotic ball this weekend — you will see someone using my name, and it’s not me. I will not be there. And if you get a chance to talk to the person using my name, tell her what you think.
The question is, how on earth will you know the difference between the real, and the fake Violet Blue? I shall offer up a field guide, how to distinguish The Real Violet Blue (TM) in the wild:
The Real Violet Blue (me): At home in supplication before Apple Cinema display, dancing on bars with renegade marching bands (or in corner of room alone with camera), working on and operating lethal machines in dark parking lots, in cafes with “Don’t Get Caught” laptop, in any space conducive to molesting attractive hacker boys and robot-obssesed blogger girls. Also: Amazon.com, tinynibbles.com, Fleshbot.com, Metroblogging SF, SFGate.com/SFChronicle, Geek Entertainment TV, iTunes, Technorati, Laughing Squid, Boing Boing, 10 Zen Monkeys, more than I can list, and almost every major print and web publication you can think of.
The fake Violet Blue: Super-classy events like Exotic Erotic, violetblue dot org, sets of porn videos with names like “Shut Up and Blow Me #29”.
The Real Violet Blue (me): The Castro because it is gay; San Francisco because I grew up here; the internets because that is home. Also bars.
The fake Violet Blue: Porn Valley because it is the other kind of gay; Porntopia because she got an award for being new in 2002; anyplace they will put the name “Violet Blue”.
The Real Violet Blue (me): Black and pink hair, chipped black nail polish, green eyes, black clothes, sock garters, shiny gadgets.
The fake Violet Blue: Brown hair, brown eyes, pentagram necklace, shining originality.
The Real Violet Blue (me): Apple products, camera, industrial machine equipment, strap-on, lip gloss, glasses, rapier wit.
The fake Violet Blue: Ability to perform dance steps, twat.
Oh, snap! I’m your real Violet Blue. Now onward, into the weekend… I’ll be going to fun Halloween parties, so stay tuned.
UPDATE: Ada Mae Woffinden nee Johnson is now known as NoName Jane.