Tera Patrick -- "Sinner"?

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By D. Scot Miller

 

On Wednesday the 13th, at the Border's on Union Square, more than 100 people showed up for Tera Patrick signing her new bio Sinner Takes All (Gotham Books, 2010). The mostly male constituency were a curious bunch; paunchy, grizzled, and 40-plus, they came loaded down with over-sized posters and pristine, collectible magazines. As they waited in line for Ms. Patrick's signature, I wondered if any of them had read the book, because if they had...

By D. Scot Miller

sinner0110.jpg

On Wednesday the 13th, at the Border's on Union Square, more than 100 people showed up for Tera Patrick signing her new bio Sinner Takes All (Gotham Books, 2010). The mostly male constituency were a curious bunch; paunchy, grizzled, and 40-plus, they came loaded down with over-sized posters and pristine, collectible magazines. As they waited in line for Ms. Patrick's signature, I wondered if any of them had read the book, because if they had...

Sinner Takes All, ghostwritten with Carrie Borzillo, works well as a biography. And as with all well-written bios, we learn more about the subject than the subject may have intended. For example, we learn that Tera Patrick is not a big fan of Tera Patrick, "I've never watched any of my movies," she says in the Q&A section, "never." This is part of her appeal for me. There's an honesty in this book that is at once tragic, funny, scary, and savvy. I have no doubts that this is one of her less-visual assets that has made her one of the top producers, owners, and entrepreneurs in mainstream porn today.

The book opens with Tera in a psych ward a la Lady Sings The Blues. After a period of hard-boozing and raging black-outs (who AIN'T been there?), the porn star is given time to reflect.

From her gawky, awkward upbringing -- the daughter of a free-love hippie father and no-nonsense, abusive mother, which leads to her out-of-control adolescence ("...at the young age of twelve, I was flirting with older men, kissing boys, and using my sexuality to get what I wanted") -- to becoming a teen model in Japan, Patrick gives graphic detail without being trashy, and at times, the sadness is almost too much to bear. Losing her virginity to a 35-year-old photographer she remembers, "After that, we continued the photo-shoot like nothing had happened. This is where 'The Switch' kicked in. This is where I changed forever and put me on the path to porn. He was done. I was done. OK, we can move on and finish the shoot now."

Fortunately for us, Patrick does not stay in the sexual doldrums and her matter-of-fact approach to sex is refreshing, if not a little too clinical at times. If you want a little charge when someone is describing a threesome, keep looking. Patrick is known as "The Vanilla Girl of Porn", The serial-killer enthusiast Tera Patrick IS a rather vanilla romantic who has a thing for "bad boys" with motorcylces and tattoos. Unfortunately, this where the book falters.

Beginning with the courtship of her future husband (Biohazard's Evan Seinfeld), the story takes on the aura of adolescent sex fantasy in the "Twilight" tradition. Through her struggles with alcohol and depression, Seinfeld remains by her side, making movies with her, as she builds her empire. It seems like true love, success, and eternal happiness for these two beautiful losers; and we don't care. I do see a reality show on the horizon though.

The best parts of the book are (where else?) from the back. Here, Tera answers 12 burning questions from her fans, lists her best movies (which she's never seen), and gives the "ins and outs" of being a porn icon. Oh, and the glossy, full-color pics that make up a third of the book, including a fold-out poster cover, are nice too.

Its funny; with the mainstreaming of porn, and the emergence of live-feed -- an advance spear-headed by Patrick -- on the rise, it's amazing that the "porn star" is becoming a thing of the past. To think that I'm reading a snippet from the life of a future Gloria Swanson gives Sinner Take All an unintended literariness that just feels...swell.