Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Times Square Comes Alive (Vince Benedetti, 1985)

Leaving your place of residence to masturbate might sound like a chore in today's click, spank, cry, sanitize and refresh universe. But back in 1985, it was an everyday part of life. Sure, there were a number of different ways to achieve moist-adjacent satisfaction during the height of the fingerless glove era without having to resort to public indecency, yet there was something oddly appealing about obtaining an idiot-proof orgasm in an environment teeming with filth and confusion. Even though I never got the chance to personally experience 42nd Street when it was awash with sexual deviance and flexible women named Tasha, still, one can't help but get a little teary-eyed while watching Times Square Comes Alive (a.k.a. Times Sq. 'Cums' Alive), Marc Roberts' touching ode to sex shops, garter belts, self-administered vaginal irrigation and perversion in general. Everyone from the heavy-set fella manning the double-headed dildo counter to the overworked guy in the hardhat (Bobby Astyr, a.k.a. The Clown Prince of Porn) whose job it is to chisel off the crusty chunks of semen that have accumulated on the floor and peepshow glass over the course of the day is given their moment to shine in the stained-illuminating sun. Harkening back to the days when a person (over the age of eighteen, of course) could find cheap thrills on just about every corner, the film, directed by Vince Benedetti, and shot mockumentary style, is a love letter (okay, it's more like an incoherent diatribe written on a soiled napkin) to the adult book stores of yore.

Tactile and oozing an authentic brand of sleaze, sex in New York City is grimy, coarse and always seems to reek of stale desperation. In California, however, specifically, the San Fernando Valley (the place where smut went after being evicted from the Big Apple), the sex always comes across as impersonal and antiseptic. And call me someone with serious emotional problems, but I will always choose foul and unclean over bland and sterile.

Capturing the unsavoury spirit of New York's unofficial red-light district, Times Square Comes Alive is set up as an expose by a television reporter named Christine Career (Veronica Vera), the genial host of a hard hitting program called "69 Minutes." Standing on the street outside a sex emporium, one that is aptly called "The Sex Emporium" (in reality, the infamous Show World Center), holding her trusty wireless microphone, Christine, wearing a conservative dress–one that, no doubt, is shielding us from a wide array of frilly and sheer delights–invites us to come inside and watch as she attempts to undercover the shadiness that lies beyond its garishly adorned doorway.

A moment of unexpected clarity occurs just as Christine is about the enter the emporium when she wonders aloud about the future of such places. She even uses the term "wrecking ball" to describe the fragile nature of these so-called "massage parlours." As everyone knows, the 42nd Street featured in the film is no more, but it was fascinating to see that even the purveyors of porn knew their days in Times Square were numbered.

You won't believe...

what's lurking...

underneath Christine Career's super-long dress.

And there's no way to prepare yourself for you're about to see underneath Christine Career's super-long dress in Times Square Comes Alive. It's the stuff of pornographic legend. Do you thinking I'm overselling it? Nah.

After she finally does enter the scuzzy-looking establishment she's been standing in front of for the past minute or so, Christine, in the most awkward manner possible, approaches four dancers: Nikki (Nikki Wright), the dirty one; Scarlett (Scarlett Scharleau), the brash one; Tasha (Tasha Voux), the flexible one; and Angela (Angela Venise), the soft one, as they're preparing themselves for the sex-filled day ahead of them.

Asking them a series of questions pertaining to their job, Christine tries shed some light on the day-to-day existence of your average sex worker. A tad wary of this overdressed intruder whose entered their midst (if they only knew what wonders lurked underneath her clothing), the scantily clad women do their best to answer her frightfully lame questions.

One of them mentions needing to cleanse themselves with a douche, and leaves the room. I thought to myself, wouldn't it be great if they actually showed her douching herself (sexual intercourse can so pedestrian some times). To my surprise, it looks like we're about to be treated to what no-one likes to call a "front enema." The douche water starts to flow when the wonderfully gap-toothed Nikki, after fingering her clit (her nails are pink and her hands and arms are adorned with black fingerless opera gloves), starts to provoke the opening of the pinkish hole located between her legs with the nozzle of a douche.

Relaxing in a position that is conducive to douching, the soon-to-be spick-and-span blonde pokes and prods at her delicious pussy area in a way that seemed to be more geared toward her pleasure than the purification of her genitalia. But then again, that just goes to show how little I know about the douching process. Douche ignorance aside, it was nice to see someone being cleaned for a change, as there's something rather comforting about the sight of a woman who has decided to start their day off with an irrigated vagina.

Since the film can't be wall-to-wall douching, Angela, the soft one, and, to not to mention, the sexiest woman in the entire joint, gets her pussy pounded by the cock attached to a lumpy man with a faint mustache. Wearing black suspender hose and her hair in a bun, Angela absorbs the brunt of his run-of-the-mill thrusts with a disaffected nonchalance. All the while, Christine and a bunch of creepy gawkers watch from their respective peepshow windows. Speaking of windows, Nikki, douched and ready to go, manages to extract sperm from a man simply by pretending to fellate him (a sheet of glass separates the two participants).

You probably noticed that I said Christine Career approaches the dancers in the "most awkward manner possible," well, that's because everything about Veronica Vera's performance practically screams awkwardness. And I don't mean that as a negative. On the contrary, my perfume scented little douche nozzle, her awkward mannerisms, especially when she tries to interview people, are the film's greatest, non-sex attribute. Okay, maybe her clumsy style of gonzo journalism wasn't as appealing as the sight of the gorgeous Angela Venise prancing around a badly lit peepshow booth in nothing but a pair of black suspender hose, but it was definitely one of the film's strengths.

The scene where Veronica interviews "Billy," the heavy-set man in charge of the emporium's dildo counter, amplifies her awkward temperament. Part of me likes to think that Christine Career wasn't really a journalist, but actually a schizophrenic woman who likes to pretend she's the Diane Sawyer of the porno theatre scene.

Awkwardly gesturing toward some curtains, Christine introduces us to "fantasy theatre," a sort of Café Flesh-esque nightclub where unorthodox sex scenarios are acted out for the amusement of the saps in the audience. The one we're shown involves three sailors, who seem to be working on what looked like a submarine engine. Bathed in smoke and illuminated with this eerie pink light, the sailors are interrupted by three ladies in lingerie (one of which was definitely Nikki, the douche girl). Anyway, the weirdly edited (some moments are repeated multiple times) scene goes on for about eight minutes.

The next scene is interesting, not because it features a skinny dude with floppy hair having sex with a chick dressed like a man (think: Bruno Mars in a satin garter belt) in a room the size of a phone booth, but because the skinny dude with floppy hair is none other than Bill Landis (a.k.a. Bobby Spector), one of the writers of Sleazoid Express; an excellent book about exploitation cinema and the 42nd Street movie-going experience; "Blood Horror: Chopping 'Em up at the Rialto" is my favourite chapter. Oh and the director of this film, Vince Benedetti, is thanked in the "Acknowledgements" section.

Interviewing Nikki, the douche woman, in a peepshow booth, Veronica actually says, "Your p-p-p-p-pussy?!? Is that what you call it? Your p-p-p-p-pussy?" When she said that line I was like, give me a break, women with pierced nipples know exactly what a pussy is. Either way, I love the idea that Veronica pretended to have no idea that people called their vaginas pussies (the way she struggles to say "pussy" was beyond adorable).

(Maybe she didn't really know what a pussy was.) Do I have to say it again? Woman with pierced nipples have to know what a pussy is, it's as simple as that. (Hey, wait a minute, how do you know Veronica has pierced nipples?) She showed them to me. Well, she didn't just show them to me, she shows them to everyone in the audience.

In one the film's greatest moments, Nikki, after being inundated with what seemed like a thousand questions about her pussy, asks to see Veronica's pussy. Reluctantly lifting up her long skirt, Veronica is wearing black stockings that are being held up by these crinkly red garters. The way the tops of black stockings clung for dear life as they pressed tightly against her thick thighs was probably one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

Pop quiz, hotshot. How many one-handed hiking motions does it take Christine Career to lift up skirt until we see the tops of her black stockings? If you said, eleven. You would be not that far off. It actually took twelve separate one-handed hiking motions to reveal her red garters hanging on for dear life as they kept her black stockings aloft. Now, some fans of Times Square Comes Alive will tell you she hiked her skirt seven or eight times. But those people are flat-out wrong. Take it from me, I've studied this film long and hard. In other words, I know exactly what I'm talking about when it comes to one-handed hiking motions.

While Tasha Voux would definitely win the award for being the most flexible dancer in the joint, Angela Vinise is hands down the sexiest. Hold on, I think I already mentioned that Angela is the sexiest. Whatever, I'm saying it again, as it coincides with the scene I'm currently writing about. And that is, the scene where Tasha and Angela, who is wearing her trademark black suspender hose, dance for peepshow customers.

In the next two scenes, a trans man gives a trans woman a blow job in the so-called "Gaiety Room" (no cum shot) and a nurse (Ashley Moore in white stockings) performs an enema on a male patient (no taupe anal water, but we do get a drippy cum shot).

As you can clearly see, this film is not only educational, it features a wide array of sex acts. In the second to last scene, Veronica Vera shows off her red garters one more time as she deals with a glory hole. The way she says, "There appears to be a penis coming out of this hole," blew my mind. Again, she's pretty naive for someone with a nipple piercing. Yet, the world would be a far less oppressive place if we all approached sex with Christine's Career trademark brand of cockeyed wonder.


  1. How's the weather, Yums? At least you are not in Winnipeg!

    Ah, that's the Times Square of my youth. :)

    1. The weather in Winnipeg is apparently the same as the weather on Mars.

      To answer your question, IT'S COLD. I'm glad the power came on just in time... you know, for the Key & Peele marathon on the comedy channel. ;)

      The Times Square of today looks like the world's biggest tourist trap.

  2. Oh, and Happy New Year.

    If you know anyone named Ay-Ay-Ron, Jay-qwel-lin or Ba-la-key, tell them Happy New Year as well.

  3. I'm married to an Ay-Ay-Ron! :D K&P make me laugh so much.
    Happy New Year!

  4. AWESOME blog! This movie looks amazing! How can I get a copy? I've never seen it available anywhere.

  5. Awesome blog! This movie looks and sounds right up my alley! How can I find a copy???

    1. I bought my copy at Shocking Videos (Revenge Is My Destiny). Unfortunately, they closed up shop some time ago. So, I don't know where you can get this movie.