The AEBN VOD Awards proudly honor director and legendary performer John Stagliano with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Already an industry-changing figure, Stagliano became a public face of the fight for free speech when federal obscenity charges against him were dropped in July 2010. The porn world rejoiced when the Man failed to keep the Buttman down. How did the world’s most notorious ass man get where he is today?
In 1972, Stagliano moved to Los Angeles from Chicago and paid his way through school at UCLA by writing for porno magazines. As the ’70s progressed, he became a performer, male stripper, and a porn publisher. Don’t miss his scene with Lisa De Leeuw in the 1979 classic “Pink Champagne.” Moving into the 1980s, there are such treasures as the feature “Flesh and Laces.”
Stagliano directed his first movie, “Bouncing Buns,” in 1983. For six years he directed for other studios, but in 1989 he founded Evil Angel, his own studio. Stagliano has said that the name came from his days as a stripper, when he was known as “Evil John” thanks to his dark performances. He suggested to his then-girlfriend, a stripper named Angel, that she call herself Evil Angel. She didn’t use the name, but Stagliano liked the name enough to use it. The first EA movie was “Dance Fire.” Stagliano plays Mario, who runs an erotic dance school and falls for a blonde named Kat (Kathleen Gentry). There are mullets, leotards, and chest hair galore. If you love the ’80s then you can’t pass it up.
Eight months later, Stagliano released “The Adventures of Buttman,” the movie that changed porn. Adopting his alter ego, Stagliano put the focus on the fine female ass. With women like Tianna in front of him, who could blame him? It’s the definitive early gonzo movie. Before this, directors felt like they needed a plot, even if it was as flimsy as a stripper’s costume. Stagliano used a handheld camera and made sex scenes longer. The movie spawned dozens of Buttman movies and influenced countless directors.
In 1992, Stagliano made Tianna his Buttwoman. The classic “Buttman vs. Buttwoman” is still one of the best Buttwoman movies. Later that year came “Buttman’s Revenge.” The spontaneous, natural sex makes them must-sees today.
No sooner had Stagliano invented gonzo than he did a feature to prove he could make it hot. “Shadow Dancers” (a double disc), released in 1990, is another example of Stagliano’s fascination with strippers and the erotic memories from his early days in strip clubs.
Stagliano was one of the directors who popularized ass play – especially after he started working with Italian stud Rocco Siffredi, in 1990. Rocco had been working in Europe for a few years and Stagliano introduced him to American porn audiences. See their earliest collaboration in “Buttman’s Early Scenes with Rocco,” featuring their first meeting and a rare, classic scene from “Buttman’s Ultimate Workout.”
Buttman and Rocco’s globe-trotting adventures reached the pinnacle in 2002′s erotic masterpiece “The Fashionistas.” Rocco is an Italian fashion designer exploring the BDSM scene, Taylor St. Claire is his guide, and Belladonna is the object of his desire. Stagliano has called it his most ambitious project, shot on 35mm with mainstream Hollywood production values. “The Fashionistas” won many awards and spawned not only a series, but also a Las Vegas show that ran from October 2004 through February 2008 and won the AVN Special Achievement Award in 2006.
Evil Angel became the gonzo powerhouse studio, home of Stagliano, rough sex maestro Rocco Siffredi, blowjob enthusiast Jonni Darkko, anal acrobatics-obsessed Jay Sin, foot fetish queen BellaDonna, and more. As the definitive purveyor of raunch, EA attracted federal attention in 2008 and Stagliano was charged with obscenity over two movies and a trailer for a third. Proceeds from “Defend Our Porn” paid for Stagliano’s defense. The judge found the prosecution’s handling of the case inept and charges were dropped in July 2010.