Courtney Trouble interview
Photo of Chelsea Poe and Courtney Trouble in collaboration with Kitty Stryker
Porn stars like to expand their horizons. Courtney Trouble is one of them. She is a visionary who wants to use her upcoming college education to "...broaden the ways in which she creates". I admire her in this bold move. She recently created an Indiegogo page (bit.ly/1cXGe2e
) to help in assisting her for the tuition. The California College of the Arts is much better with her in their attendance, but the adult industry and especially I will miss her. Nevertheless, her influence in queer porn will still be around.
Congratulations on getting accepted into the Masters of Fine Arts program at the California College of the Arts. Why do you want this degree?
I want to get my masters at CCA because they have a strong community of queer feminist artists and faculty members who will help me apply my creative intensity to the art world in a broader way. I've been expressing my art and politics through porn for a long time, and I don't intend to stop using porn as an artistic medium or at least a tool for creativity -- but I'd like to see if I can broaden the ways in which I create.
Could you tell us about your photography experience? When did you first become interested in photography?
I got my own camera when I was nine years old, but I don't remember a time when I wasn't taking photos. I spent most of my high school days in the darkroom and in college, I took photos at concerts and wrote about them in my college paper. My first subjects were of course my friends and family, and then bands and rock stars and feminist artists I admired, and then finally I started taking the erotic photos of myself and my lovers and friends right before I started getting my Bachelors degree at Evergreen State University. It's a life-long obsession. I'm excited for more study.
You created your own fundraising Indiegogo.com page to help raise tuition. Why did you feel that it was a good idea?
I'm not sure if it was a good idea or not, but I know it has been necessary. Anybody who knows me knows that my company has always come first, and I intend to keep producing other artists under the TROUBLEfilms label while I'm in school - the necessary steps have already been taken to assure my company's in good hands and will continue to make amazing queer, lesbian, plus size, and trans porn for the next 2013 years while I study and write and get really intense about photography. I've never paid myself a decent wage, so budgeting for education is virtually impossible without trusting that a few of my regular customers and fans will be intrigued enough by the promise of post-MFA masterpieces.
With your education becoming a priority, will you be cutting back on making films?
Yes, I already have. My Best Friend's Pussy was the last film I directed that has been released. There are a few more in the can that are mine, and a fat handful of films coming out on my label from James Darling, Chelsea Poe, Kitty Stryker, and April Flores. I'm also still creating non-commercial film and recently finished three music videos for queer feminist musicians. I'm still doing stuff - lots and lots and lots of stuff - but coming at it from a totally different perspective.
I admire that you are following your dream. It takes courage to step away from something that has been comfortable to finally take the bold move of walking away from it. Are you nervous?
I am 100% nervous, mainly because I imagine I'll be tempted to get involved in porn with whatever free time I'll have outside of school. It is a comfortable world, and a world I love, and a world that will still be all around me while I study. Hopefully it won't cut into my homework, or become my homework!
Have you met friends for life while working in this industry? Is it difficult to make real good friends here?
It's maybe a little bit difficult, and most of all it's difficult because as performers, we live in such a public world. My "haters" are vigilant - but they aren't as vigilant as my friends. There are few people in my life that I love who have never been involved in sex work or the making of pornography.
What will you miss most of all about making adult movies and working in this industry?
Right now, nothing. I'm sure after I've been absent from the industry for a while, I will miss being surrounded by the energetic, sexy, brilliant, smart creative magical people that make up the industry. Hopefully I can bring some of that energy to school and continue to interact with the industry in a fun and creative way, so I can maintain some of that blissful #pornlife. I think I will miss sleeping in, more than anything.
What have you learned about the adult industry during the time you have posted your fundraising Indiegogo page?
Nothing I didn't already know. The adult industry is sometimes a very tight family, always ready to promote our friends and collaborators. Lorelei Lee was my first donator. I've done a lot of writing about the industry and how I interact with it, and I feel like my crowdfunding hasn't been much different - some people are super into it, and some people reject it with everything they've got. There's a thick skin you've got to grow in this industry because people can be incredibly bitter and catty to you when you succeed, when you fail, when you leave - which may in itself be a good reason for some one to leave it.
You have been a big supporter of transsexual and queer rights. What do you think will be the future of transgender and queer porn?
That's a whole book I think, but I want to talk about Chelsea Poe and Tobi Hill-Meyer in this space because I think the work they are creating right now is going to play heavily in the immediate future of trans porn. Queer porn will continue to be made, by TROUBLEfilms film-makers and queer people all over the world. One of my biggest goals this summer has been to teach porn making to queers who will bring new ideas and theories to the process of queer porn making - which is why you're seeing films by Kitty Stryker and Chelsea coming out this summer and fall on my label instead of me. Queer porn is alive and well, I'm not leaving - in fact, I'm investing more than ever in the ideas, the structures, and political goals behind the queer porn movement.
courtney trouble: performer / artist/ owner, TROUBLEfilms
Interview by Apache Warrior