Gelf Magazine - Looking over the overlooked


December 6, 2008

Anals and Demons

Joanna Angel, proprietor and star of Burning Angel productions, exposes herself to the business side of pornography.

Jake Rake

At 26, Joanna Angel (not her real name) is already a veteran in the porn business. She's the proprietor and star of Burning Angel Productions, the site she founded in 2002 while studying at Rutgers University. "At first, I wasn't going to be on the website, but then I was like, 'Well, maybe it will be easier for us to find girls if I did it myself so I don't look like such a scumbag,'" she explains during the standard-issue, "How did you get started in porn?" portion of our conversation. It's that degree of candor, as well as the gumption to start a porn site out of one's dorm room, that is projected from Angel's personality into her work. Deemed "alt-porn," Burning Angel features Joanna and a horde of similarly tattooed models, spanning the gamut from "hipsters to goth girls," as she puts it.

Joanna Angel. Photo by Burning Angel
"I’m not going to hire a girl that's, like, blonde with fake boobs. It’s not like I’m stopping them from their dreams.”

Joanna Angel. Photo by Burning Angel

While alt-porn may seem like a niche product, it's actually the next logical step in an industry increasingly recognized as a creative field. As XXX continues to move further and further away from its origins—seedy theatres where occasionally one might find Pee-Wee Herman quietly whacking off in the back row—Burning Angel and other companies are incorporating music, animation and other media into their productions to complement the regular old hardcore fucking. Just as rock 'n' roll evolved as a reaction to the blandness of the popular contemporary music that preceded it and punk rock similarly developed as a response to what many saw as the homogenization of rock 'n' roll, Angel and other similarly creative types are rebelling against the porn industry's status quo. "I'm not going to hire a girl that is, like, blonde with fake boobs," she explains. "There are plenty of other places that they can go; it's not like I'm stopping them from their dreams." She says this without contempt. "We kind of have to do what we do. The whole punk thing, girls-with-tattoos or emo or whatever you want to call it—people think it's very niche-specific, but it's pretty vague when you think about it. We can pretty much do whatever we want as long as the girls don't look like Pamela Anderson."

Bottle-blondes with fake tits, of course, are now to porno what romance subplots are to action flicks: a tired distraction from the big bang. The other porn star cliche—that of the young, beaten-down girl from a broken home in a small town—doesn't apply to Angel either. In fact, she was raised in a tight-knit Orthodox Jewish family just outside New York City. She didn't get laid until she was 18. It was only after her self-discovery in college that she moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to become Joanna Angel.

Following a trend set by similarly alternative artists whose work has brought them commercial success, Angel has transplanted much of her business from Williamsburg to Los Angeles. "You can't really make porn like a factory in New York, and it's hard once your company starts to grow," she says, in a statement that could just have easily been made by Kevin Smith or Eddie Vedder 10 years ago.

The internet has played an enormous role in the mainstreaming of porn, but it's been a double-sided dildo. Sure, it's great that the World Wide Web has given everyone a voice to shout their gifts straight to the captive ears of previously unreachable audiences, but just as MySpace has made every idiot with a guitar into a "musician," the porn market has been saturated with low-rent wannabes. As Angel explains, porn is no longer an omni-available option for girls looking to make a quick buck. Still, the overabundance of available talent, and outlets for said talent, has allowed the cream to rise to the top, so to speak, leaving those not willing to put in the time to fall by the wayside. "I think there was a time when you could jump in the porn industry just for the money and I don't think you can really do that anymore," Joanna notes.

With online services such as PornTube, YouPorn, PornoTube—and any other possible combinations of the words "Porn" and "Tube"—bringing the (often copyrighted) blowjobs to the masses for free, the porn business will have to follow its musical and cinematic brethren in forced adaptation to the New Media frontier. "I hate them," Angel says of YouPorn and its ilk. "I've seen some of my porn on those websites and we try to stop it, but you can only do so much." Nonetheless, Angel is well-aware that her business must adapt to survive. "You really have to go that extra mile now to sell porn. You've got to give people a reason to join; you've got to convince people that this porn is going to be better than the free porn you find out there."

Jake Rake

Jake Rake, a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, lives in Brooklyn. He blogs at

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- Arts
- posted on Jan 03, 10

too sweety

- Arts
- posted on May 19, 10
sell porn

I have see angels porn movie on pornhub too.

Article by Jake Rake

Jake Rake, a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, lives in Brooklyn. He blogs at

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