The Gordon family lives in a pleasant house on a tree lined street in Berkeley. The kids are grown. Howie and Carly Gordon, together for four decades, now enjoy a quiet life. They're the perfect all-American family -- with a twist.
Long, long ago, the dad was a porn star. A very famous porn star known as Richard Pacheco.
"I was in it for the pussy," writes Howie Gordon of his time in the X rated film biz. But in Hindsight: True Love & Mischief in the Golden Age of Porn, his newly published memoir, Gordon recalls treating his work like a craft. Cast as a stripper in 1982's The Dancers, he rewrote the film's dialogue. He and co-star Georgina Spelvin spent many hours rehearsing the non-sex scenes they shared. They worked together to create actual characters, so that their sex scene might have some emotional depth.
Gordon considers The Dancers to be one of his finer films. But he wishes it were better.
Gordon yearned to make porn films that not only told stories and featured hot sex, he wanted to be in films that contained good production values, believable dialogue and strong dramatic performances: films that could compete artistically with mainstream Hollywood.
Hindsight is credited to both his real name and his nom-de-porn Pacheco. Gordon shares not only his years in the X rated biz, but also writes of his life before and after porn. He was a chubby, gawky kid, growing up as an Orthodox Jew on the East Coast. His journey from that world to the free love communes of late 60s Berkeley, then on to his sexually charged career (while he simultaneously started a family) makes for a hilarious, fascinating, and thought provoking read.
"My wife and all three of my children have read it," Gordon tells SF Weekly. "Daughter Julianna appeared with me in the After Porn Ends documentary. Daughter Polly produced an AIDS fundraiser that starred Nina Hartley and Richard Pacheco in Backstage With the Porn Stars. Polly also helped edit the book with her mother. Let me assure you that a man hasn't truly lived until he's had his sex life edited by his wife and daughter."
Wife Carly also contributes a few pages of her own to Hindsight. With equal candor, she writes of telling her parents about their son-in-law's career, and of her own occasional discomfort with Howie's fucking around: which he did with her permission.
The Gordon marriage was not The Donna Reed Show. Yet the couple, together since the 1970s, have never lost sight of their deep and abiding love for each other.
"To help him cope, son Roberto has written and starred in his own one man show called Debbie Does My Dad," Gordon said. Bobby Gordon has performed the well received show around the world.
Those who are looking for the nitty gritty details about what happens on a porn set won't be disappointed. Yet, he speaks of his colleagues with deep affection even as he admits how much fun the sex was. He opens up about everything, including his brief experimentation with bisexuality.
"I was a lousy queer," he recalls. He's neither ashamed nor regretful about giving it the old college try.
And what does he hope readers will take from the book?
"As God said to me back on page forty: 'This job you're doing, your job is just to entertain the troops. Stop taking yourself so serious! Sex is one of the best things I've done. I liked it so much I gave it to all the plants and animals. It's only you people that are having so much trouble with it. I just want you to tell your story, son, ya know? It might just help somebody out.'"
"Okay," I said. "Okay."
Hindsight: True Love and Mischief in the Golden Age of Porn by Howie Gordon, AKA Richard Pacheco (with a forward by pal Whoopi Goldberg) is now available from Bear Manor Media, and at Amazon.