Thursday, 28 April 2011

MONTREAL AUTHOR, FORMER GAY-PORN STAR DANIEL ALLEN COX UP FOR TRIANGLE AWARD

Author and onetime porn star Daniel Allen Cox Photo: Dallas Curow, courtesy D.A. Cox

When I first "read" Montreal author Daniel Allen Cox, it was either in the pages of Honcho or Inches magazines, where he posed buck naked some years ago. So I wrote a column about Cox and – because he was so tight-lipped about his past – dubbed him Agent 007 1/2 (though he's bigger than that…).

Montreal-born Cox didn’t just pose for skin mags back in the day, but during his time in seedy New York was a sex worker who raised his local profile by starring in a (pardon the pun) handful of gay porn films like the classic Brooklyn Meatpackers.

"There were always a few porn magazines lying around on the set to help you get hard," Cox says today. "One [set] location was in a place called Gavin Brown Enterprise [a gallery in Greenwich Village] and there were actually people living there! There were some graffiti rooms and I did a shoot there while visitors were milling about. It was very Warhol."

Cox had a fairly good run and even wrote about it in Shuck, his semi-autobiographical debut novel about a NYC hustler that was shortlisted for a prestigious 2009 Lambda Literary Award.

Cox returned to NYC for the awards ceremony where, incidently, one of my mentors, the Godfather of Gay Lit, Felice Picano, was receiving a lifetime achievement Pioneer Award alongside Andrew Holleran and Edmund White. Picano, Holleran and White are the last surviving members of the NYC writers group the Violet Quill who, to quote Wikipedia, are "the path-breaking gay male literary nucleus of the 20th century."

"My nomination was really unexpected," Daniel says. "It was just so fantastic to be in that room with so many great writers. It was neat to see all these authors [whose books are] on your bookshelf just a few feet away you! It was a great honour."

Well, Cox is back in NYC this week, a finalist for the Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction (named for deceased Violet Quill authors Robert Ferro and Michael Grumley) being presented at the The Publishing Triangle's annual Triangle Awards tonight (April 28), for his latest book Krakow Melt (Arsenal Pulp Press).
 
Krakow Melt tells the tale of two pyromanics, a bisexual male and a woman battling homophobia in Krakow as Poland slips into moral crisis. The year is 2005, Pope John Paul II (a Pole) is nearing death and the country’s soon-to-be president is a raging homophobe.

"I actually lived in Poland for a year and that inspired me to write this book," Cox, 35, explains. "It was born of the homophobia I experienced there. I mean, I even got harassed in gay clubs for kissing another guy! Just imagine what gays have to put up with there on the streets.

"But the key incident was a 2007 fire in my [Montreal] apartment on [the Main, next door to Ripples ice cream parlour]. The building didn’t come down but the smoke and water damaged everything that my boyfriend [Mark] and I owned. The incident [elicited] so much love and support from the community that it gave me the key element to create Krakow Melt."

It’s pleasing to see Cox doing so well. I’ve always had a soft spot for Daniel, from the day I interviewed him for that first column. Since then he asked me to write a back-cover blurb for his first book, the terrific 2006 novella Tattoo This Madness In. And if Shuck and Tattoo were inspired by his own life experiences, Krakow Melt has Cox stretching his wings.

Cox is enjoying himself in NYC this week, the city where he posed for adult mags like Honcho and Inches when he was an aspiring writer hustling in the Big Apple all those years ago. "All these magazines are gone now," Daniel sighs. "I’m still looking for copies of magazines that I posed for but they’re so hard to find now. But it feels good to know I was part of the print porn era which, sadly, has come to an end."


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