Hustlers in Paradise: A Kickstarter for Porn? This Week in LA, Volume VIII

Hustlers in Paradise: A Kickstarter for Porn? This Week in LA, Volume VIII


Do you or a loved one live with the fear that you can’t find financing for your next porn project? Do you suffer from anxiety at night because you’re not sure if you will have the money to self publish your comic strip about Asian Vixens. Now introducing, Offbeatr, the place online where you can crowd source fund your next adult projects!

Nearly ten years after moving to California I still have moments where I think, Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore. Thankfully I have never lived in Kansas, but when I try to imagine building Offbeatr in Indianapolis I know it’s all the same.

Visually the Offbeatr site actually appears workplace friendly with no graphic imagery. Of course, on closer inspection one of the projects is called Little Red Riding Slut, perhaps not the best thing for the IT department to see in your browser history. I think these guys have found a market and the site will succeed and grow. One of the projects listed, for example, needs $12,000 in order to build a video game where the protagonist runs a brothel. Assuming there’s a market to buy such a game (I think a safe assumption) where else would one go to raise the capital to build it?

Several weeks ago I had met one of the Founders, Eric Lai at a mixer and so on Tuesday I checked in with the company to see how things had progressed. Even in California the company has had its challenges. Presently it must utilize an offshore payment processor because no one in U.S. banking has agreed to work with them. Surely, I see the risks of chargebacks (“Honey, I thought I was just supporting an auteur filmmaker”) but where is the love? Do any of my readers know of a domestic payment processor who might take on this business?

The parent company of Stolichnaya vodka continued to distance itself from Russia on Wednesday by adding equal opportunity and non-discrimination policies to its corporate policies, see here. The moral authority of the boycott also became clouded by the fact that most (but not all) of the Luxembourg-based company’s operations are purportedly located in Latvia. Which, for a lot of Americans raises the question, where is Latvia? And for those of us who know, it raises the question, now what?

I never ordered Stolichnaya anyway so my own behavior remains unchanged, but should a boycott continue? As a former political organizer I believe, and will always believe, that our small acts taken collectively do make a statement, but I wonder if Stoli should be let off the hook? I also wonder why they are not taking advantage of the millions upon millions of dollars of free press at this moment? For example, spearheading an effort to raise funds for the emigration and asylum of gays and lesbians from Russia to the West would buy more brand loyalty than is possible with mere advertising. Even if it does not change the policies of Russia, it will solve the humanitarian needs of men and women suffering under those policies. For the moment, a damage control strategy that relies upon the typical American’s knowledge of geography reminds me of that scene from Clueless after Tai is hit in the head:

CHER: If it’s a concussion, you have to keep her concious, OK? Ask her questions.

ELTON: What’s seven times seven?

CHER: Stuff she knows!

In last week’s blog I strongly predicted that the recreational marijuana market will boom once it’s inevitably legal. . . and perhaps I’m being guilty of Observational Selection Bias, but on Thursday morning I saw that Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN published Why I Changed my Mind on Weed. I have no intentions of Hustlers in Paradise carrying the flag on this issue, but due to the timing of his article I read it. On the subject of whether marijuana was a dangerous drug, Gupta goes so far as to say: “We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.” With effectively the imprimatur of CNN behind his statements, the article (and presumably the documentary airing on Sunday) continue, at least in a small way, to advance the dialogue towards the legalization I believe is inevitable.

. . . Since I needed a photo to accompany this week’s blog article, on Thursday night I walked through Skid Row North the Toy District over to downtown LA’s Hispter District Arts District. Nearly a year ago Karen Huser assured me that the cupcake craze had finally reached a crescendo and she predicted an obsession with pies would follow. As I strolled past a long line snaking outside of the ever-packed Wurstküche I saw . . . The Pie Hole. Was Karen right? I am not sure yet, but I would like to say that the restaurants’ Chicken and Cornbread Pot Pie now has my official recommendation.

So there you have it. Adult films, vodka, marijuana and pies. Did I leave anything out?

Los Angeles, California

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