The Playboy is Dead, Long Live the Playboy

This blog was inevitable, so I should have been better prepared instead of seriously wondering whether “OMG there’s no words ~~ NO WORDS !! HEF!!!” would sufficiently convey the feelings of millions of men and women upon learning of the passing of Playboy Magazine publisher, magnate, figurehead, the one and only Hugh Hefner. He was 91.

Hugh Hefner RIP

Founding Playboy in 1953, “Hef” was the most recognized and rewarded pornographer on the planet. So complete was his transformative influence on sexual politics and experience that the commercial sex world is unthinkable without Playboy’s vast multi-platform imprint. From basically family friendly cable TV shows about ditzy blonde models to somehow convincing women everywhere to wear his famous Bunny logo on their crotches or even tattooed on their thighs, Hef has, for better or worse (depending on who you ask and their religious convictions) touched an astonishing number of people with his astral libido.

Hef’s influence is obviously felt closer to home, too, having inspired and challenged of acclaimed photographers, and launched the careers of many more. Although the current state of Playboy Magazine, flip-flopping between a commitment to non-nudity and showing signs of its old bare-assed self, may not be the most fitting tribute to its founder, the Playboy Plus website is. A simple affair filled with the steamiest pictorials and videos from Playmates both four months and forty years past.

If one man can make you think of him whenever you stare longingly at a gorgeous naked woman, well, isn’t that the pinnacle of success?

Wrestler. Pornstar. Chyna.

Chyna, the former WWE wrestler, actress, reality television personality, and adult performer born Joanie Laurer in 1970, died at her Redondo Beach home last Wednesday at age 46.

chyna

Upon the 2004 release of 1 Night in China, a sex tape starring Chyna and her then partner, fellow wrestler Sean Waltman (through Red Light District), professional adult interest in seeing Chyna perform heated up until she well and truly seemed to find a new post-wrestling career path. Soon given a string of feature releases to star in – Another Night in China, Backdoor to Chyna, and Chyna is Queen of the Ring – as well as doing such a great job as She-Hulk in Axel Braun’s Avengers parodies that she got her own spin-off movie, Chyna was well and truly a porno phenomenon, shooting her way from homemade anal attempts to five-wrestler in-ring gangbang battles, earning a herself legion of devoted fans and admirers along the way.

With news coming to light that Chyna’s death may have been the result of an accidental overdose of Valium and Ambien, her noted (and televised) struggles with substances again come to the fore. Her legacy, however, will surely center on her instrumental role in increasing the stature of women in one of the most machismo-afflicted sports and entertainment industries of all.

In a tribute to Chyna, WWE assembled a video compiling some of her finest moments in the ring. May I suggest a viewing quickly followed by the entirety of Chyna is Queen of the Ring, tissues by your side for tears (or whatever) should they well up and overflow in fond memory of the one and only Chyna, the Ninth Wonder of the World.

Remembering Amber Rayne

AVN-nominated adult performer, animal lover and avid horsewoman, self-proclaimed nerd, and noted “genuine, cool person,” Amber Rayne passed away Saturday from what is being termed “a possible accident or overdose” at her home in the Stonehurst District area of Los Angeles’s Sun Valley. She was 31 and a veteran of ten years and more than 500 screen credits.

Amber Rayne

Rayne had made a brief return to the screen after retiring in 2015 to star in Stormy Daniels’s western epic, Wanted, fulfilling a promise made to Daniels six years prior. Putting her lifelong passion for horses to great use in the saddle-sore-saddled Adam & Eve production ushered Rayne to her sixteenth AVN nomination, this time for Best Supporting Actress. Having won AVN’s Unsung Starlet of the Year trophy in 2009, Rayne held an enviable position in the industry, respected and well-liked by peers and colleagues, revered by fans for her unrepentant carnality, and well-spoken, clear-minded, and mature in interviews while being lauded for partaking of 50 Guy Creampies and double-anal-fisting sessions.

Rayne’s notable contributions to numerous adult studios deserves special mention. In Jay Sin’s Anal Acrobats #4 and Bonnie Rotten’s B For Bonnie, paired with Hillary Scott and both Rotten and Vicki Chase respectively, she expanded her horizons both hetero and lesbian for Evil Angel, and in Open Ended #2 even took a baseball bat inside her ass for Jonni Darkko. Kink.com welcomed the avowedly deviant Detroiter, booking her for more than sixty scenes including a handful of incredibly powerful all-female wrestling bouts at Ultimate Surrender.

Having survived uterine cancer in 2013 but worn down by what she called “relentless” chemotherapy, Rayne’s attention shifted away from performing and became even more focused on raising her horses, her love of whom was noted by many who knew her and shared remembrances. The recent passing of her beloved Luuk, clearly had a profound effect on Rayne, as shown by her numerous Twitter declarations of grief.

Reactions to the star’s death were initially warm but soon developed a defensive side in response to some media outlets describing Rayne as “porn performer” yet ascribing her alleged rapist (and, surprisingly enough, subsequent friend) James Deen the title of “adult performer.” Fans and friends took to Twitter to ensure Amber Rayne would be remembered with respect, touting her battle with cancer, her proud role as aunt, and her devotion to equestrianism.

Rayne’s friend and collaborator, Stormy Daniels, spoke to AVN about the loss, calling her “a really good friend, and one of the best actresses and performers that I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. I’m just glad that I had the opportunity to work with her and call her a friend.”

Watch Amber Rayne discuss Wanted, retirement, saddle-sore, bondage-bruising, over-affectionate fans, porno professionalism, and the industry in general with Dick Chibbles of Adult News Flash in this January interview from the floor of the 2016 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo.