If hardship is a ticket to the blues, then ex-porn star Candye Kane has a first-class seat. By Stefan Herrick.
ONE DAY, Candye Kane plonked her breasts on to a keyboard and found that by bouncing them about she could make a tune.
The tune wasn't great, but Kane had struck a chord. "Playing the 88s with my 52s" became a popular part of her show. It guaranteed large, curious crowds wherever she went.
But to Kane, a rising star of the blues, it all seemed too much like the old days when people came along to leer rather than listen, when she was one of the world's favourite topless models.
"It was really funny and successful," Kane says of her piano trick, "but I haven't been doing it lately. I found people weren't saying 'Oh yeah, that's Candye Kane who sings great blues'. They were saying 'Oh yeah, that's Candye Kane, the fat porn star who plays the piano with her boobs'.
I WAS exploited by the sex business," admits Kane, down the line from Amsterdam. "But now I exploit them to my full advantage. Maybe that's how I'll get my power back."
Kane grew up in a dirt poor neighbourhood of East Los Angeles with her secretary mum and body-painter dad. Loud, brash and with a strong singing voice, she appeared on television's The Gong Show in her early teens.
Picked on at school because of her size and because she was one of the only white girls, she joined a Mexican street gang for protection. At 17 she was pregnant. At 18 she was a solo mother on welfare.
With not enough money to get by on, she answered an ad in the newspaper that promised "$ 500 a week from your own home". It was a phone sex agency whose staff included many of Los Angeles' pornographic movie stars.
By the mid-80s Kane was a topless superstar. She appeared on the cover of 500 magazines, mostly underground rags catering for men who like large women. She giggles at the "catchy names" of some of them: Juggs, Melons And Mounds, Voluptuous, Whoppers and Hustler.
The sex biz made her wealthy enough to start singing again and to hire a decent band. Today she tours the world not as a stripper, but a singer of 30s-style swinging blues songs. She has done the rounds of United States talk shows and last month her band was on the Rosanne Show.
Recently, she was included on an album called 30 Essential Women Of The Blues along with her idols Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter, Ma Rainey and Etta James. If it was vindication she sought, then that was it.
It's 10.30am, and Kane is just out of bed. It takes a while for her to hobble to the phone. "I always seem to sprain my foot when I'm here," she says. "The roads are all kinda bumpy and if I'm not watching exactly where I'm going I just wipe out. I've been lying around with my foot propped up on pillows. It's very glamorous."
She's in the Netherlands promoting her fourth album, Swango, which went on sale in New Zealand last week. Kane - a bisexual - is big in Europe where her liberal attitude to sex is received more warmly than in her home country "where they show people getting shot in the head all day long on TV, but they won't show boobs or butt".
Kane speaks forcefully and has a seismic laugh. There's a sultryness there too, possibly a hangover from her phone-sex days. When she says "freakeee", it sounds almost X-rated. If she was of a mind to, she could really make this phone interview one to remember.
Nothing is off limits either. Kane makes it quite clear you don't have to pussyfoot around her past. "I'm a pragmatic Latex leotard with long sleeves Latex Bodysuits," she announces, "and I'm not ashamed of that. I had to learn over time why what I had done in the past was OK and why what I had done was valuable for me, and it was something that took some time to learn how to articulate."
Now in her mid-30s and married for the past 12 years, she has left the sex industry behind, but part of it will always be there. That's her only regret.
"There are still a lot of pictures of me around," she says. "Most of them were taken 10 years ago or 15 years ago and they pass them off as new, and there's nothing I can do about that. That's the nature of the sex business. You sell the rights to those pictures and you never have them back.
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Vendredi 25 mars 2011 à 7:59
If hardship is a ticket to the blues, then ex-porn star Candye Kane has a first-class seat. By Stefan Herrick.
Vendredi 18 mars 2011 à 3:45
SUNDAY NIGHT and, like 25 million other viewers, I'm sitting in front of the television. But this is not your usual, end-of-the-week flop in front of the box. Tonight is the launch of Channel 4's independent cinema channel, FilmFour, and, with a small but growing handful of technological pioneers around the country, I'm tuned in via digital satellite.
This may seem a rather low-key way to be celebrating the launch of the first new channel in C4's 16-year history, but the time for partying was last night. Fifteen hundred guests braved the rain to join our celebrations in a dressed-up bus garage.
We greeted them with C4's speciality shock tactics: lashings of 1950s porn and all but naked dancers plus Nick Broomfield's S&M documentary Fetishes projected 10 times normal size on to a partition wall. Unfortunately, no one seemed to notice. Apparently the party attracted a good number of "faces" from the worlds of film and TV along with the professional liggers. I'll have to take their word for it - the place was so packed I spent most of the night staring at necks, not faces.
Still, the squeeze and the scale of the celebration are measures of the importance C4 attaches to this launch. Like it or not, multi-channel television is the future, and established broadcasters must embrace it or face a slow but inevitable decline into irrelevance. C4 believes it is giving viewers something new for their subscription: a channel playing British, US and foreign-language films that you won't see at the Hollywood-dominated multiplexes.
OH DEAR. Monday morning and I'm flicking through my diary hoping to quash the impression that all I do is attend meetings and watch television. Unfortunately, the best the diary can offer is meetings. All meeting- ed out by the evening, I go home and turn on the television. What else is a television executive supposed to do? It's fashionable in this business to swear you never watch it, because watching television is perceived to be a low-brow activity. Can you imagine theatre workers,latex catsuit,musicians or writers boasting that they never go to plays or concerts, attend the opera or read a book or newspaper?
As I flick through the channels using the electronic programme guide it's reassuring to see that the terrestrial stations are the first to appear. But something is not right. I surf past BBC1 (channel 101) and BBC2 (102) and then straight to C4 (104). At 103 there's a blank, with ITV nowhere to be found. There is a self-defeating logic in ITV withholding itself from digital satellite, a decision that makes it seem inward-looking and short-sighted. What a neat piece of positioning. Rather like continuing to produce silent movies after the invention of the talkies.
DIGITAL OR no digital, some things about British television don't change, such as BBC costume drama. Andrew Davies's adaptation of Vanity Fair promises to be one of the best pieces of television this year. Marc Munden's direction is superb and invites you to do what all good television does: gain a fresh perspective on the familiar. There have been many good TV costume dramas, but few that really invite you to rethink your attitude to a classic text.
Yet to read the newspapers on Tuesday morning after the overnight ratings have come in - and ITV has launched a successful spoiler campaign - Vanity Fair is a pounds 6m flop. How can attracting 7 million viewers to Thackeray be characterised a flop? It's 3.5 million more than bought the Sun on Tuesday, albeit 2 million fewer than watched Taggart. The press is on an anti-BBC roll, from cricket to cocaine. But, as press watchers will remember, it was only a couple of years ago that the Daily Mail was conducting a vicious campaign against my predecessor, Michael Grade, labelling him Britain's pornographer-in-chief.
Still the BBC's troubles allow me to point out to journalists at our winter programme launch that our presenters - including the hilarious Ali Gee from the 11 O'Clock Show - are contractually obliged to take cocaine at least once a day.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT and time for the leaving party of C4's documentaries head, Peter Moore. Peter is a highly talented and idiosyncratic editor who has commissioned some of the channel's best documentaries, including The Club and Clive Gordon's extraordinary film about Chechnya, The Betrayed.
Lundi 7 mars 2011 à 7:15
SYDNEY was seduced into a battle of the bras yesterday, as two with the city's favourite women pushed their sexy Catsuits Lingerie lines.
Supermodel Elle Macpherson went head to head with former Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins, the face area of Lovable Catsuits Lingerie, yesterday because they both doled out advice with what to find when purchasing bras.
The savvy Macpherson, 43, aimed to coach men regarding the joys of buying Catsuits Lingerie for their partners with a male-only VIP cocktail party with the Harbourside Quay restaurant yesterday evening.
''There is not more wonderful than someone finding the time and to surprise you , but make sure that you obtain the sizing right,'' Macpherson said.
''I think it's interesting for males to explore what you like and the things they enjoy visiting a lady in. It is also about creating a bit of fun from it.
''I believe these are courageous and interested which is why We are carrying this out.''
Even though the famous covergirl had the influential crowd in the users hand of her hand, some men were upset there was clearly not only a single Catsuits Lingerie-clad woman to model the sexy range.
Ad man Siimon Reynolds expressed the disappointment of many, saying it turned out far better choose Catsuits Lingerie having looked at it on a body.
Other power players in the crowd included Seven Network director Ryan latex stockings, entrepreneur Justin Hemmes and James Symond, nephew of Aussie Home Loans' John Symond.
On the other side of the city Hawkins caused a crush of excitement at Parramatta Westfield fat loss than 3500 shoppers flocked to see her host a fashion parade for Catsuits Lingerie chain Bras N Things.
Hawkins gave her advice on spending high on bras as models paraded the products.
She said the golden rule ended up being to experience lace, even though you didn't have a very model figure.
''You can wear sexy Catsuit underwear regardless of what size you might be,'' she said.
Hawkins admitted she still gets at a loss for every one of the attention she attracts and said she was ''taken aback'' with the excitement her appearance with the shopping centre caused.
Later she posed for photographs and signed autographs for up to two hours.
And while fans were breathless of their praise for the ''down to earth'' glamour, Hawkins revealed she still gets nervous facing a large group.
''It's very overwhelming. I've only been achieving this a little while,'' she confessed.
Fans began lining up an hour or so before Hawkins appeared at 6.45pm for a special promotional session to trade her selection of bras and Catsuits Lingerie, Lovable.
People who have got to meet their idol weren't disappointed.
''She is really nice. She was trying to have a photo personally and only agreed to be laughing because she wasn't sure how to get it,'' said Sophia Wang, 16, from Toongabbie.
''She is simply so right down to earth -- like a normal person.''
Earlier in the day Macpherson dropped into her temporary ''pop-up'' store in Oxford St, Paddington.
''Pop-up'' stores are specialty outlets that open in an otherwise vacant shop space for the limited amount of time.
Elle Macpherson Intimates Boudoir will open for 2 weeks.