“Shooting Star” Attempts to De-stigmatize Porn Industry

Photos: Courtesy Florian Klein.

The porn industry is a $97 billion business, making it bigger than the music industry. Yet, it remains an industry that is frowned upon and considered taboo. 

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“Shooting Star– A Revealing New Musical,” based on porn star Florian Klein’s biographical novel on his experiences in the industry, breaks the stereotype and prejudice that society tends to mentally assign anyone associated with porn.

“Shooting Star,” which runs from May 25 – June 30, shows the human side of porn by focusing on the performers in the adult film world: their hopes, lives, and dreams.

Florian Klein

The Pride L.A. spoke with Florian Klein about the musical and his experiences. Check it out:

Can you introduce yourself. Who are you/what is your relation to the musical “Shooting Star”

My name is Florian Klein aka Hans Berlin. I’m the creator and book writer of “Shooting Star – A Revealing New Musical” (As we’re in LA – ‘book’ is the musical theater term for ’script’ )

How much of it is actually based on your life?

Actually, a lot. Just like Taylor, whose story we’re telling, I also came to Hollywood to become a movie star – which didn’t really work out as planned. When I ran out of money, I started go-go dancing at Micky’s in West Hollywood (In SHOOTING STAR, Taylor starts dancing at The Black Rooster, a fictional club in LA where all the pornstars and their admirers hang out. The Black Rooster is basically a combination of all the East and West Coast clubs I was go-go dancing – a little Fubar, some Faultline, some HERE Lounge, and a lot of New York COCK). 

It was through go-go dancing that I was recruited for porn. My first answer – “I can’t do that. I’m an actor!” is also Taylor’s response when that happens to him. But once I learned that porn is not really that different from Hollywood (except that #MeToo happens in front of the camera and you get paid for it) – I gave in and shot my first porno in 2012. I found amazing people in a world that society still stigmatizes as dirty and bad. Like Taylor, I found a family of friends – but so far, haven’t fallen in love head over heels with one of my scene partners. That might still happen – as I’m still in the industry 🙂 

Why create a semi-autobiographical musical?

I never wanted to write a musical. I always wanted to act in one (I’m also not acting in this one by the way – I leave that to our super professional cast – they’re better – much better!) I believe that everything in life happens for a reason. Like I said, porn was definitely not something I came to LA for. But all of sudden, like on a silver platter, the story of SHOOTING STAR unfolded itself right in front of my eyes. And because I became a part of this story, I experienced the same stigma and challenges that everyone else in the industry has to face. Suddenly I felt this urge to break the porn stigma and tell the story of these fascinating people I met – I wanted to tell my story – that even though I became a ‘pornstar,’ I stayed true to my values, and didn’t change into this sex-craved, drug-addicted victim society likes to see us.

The musical covers topics such as identity and the taboos of the gay porn INDUSTRY. What do you hope the audience takes away from such a rich story?

Although SHOOTING STAR takes place in the world of gay porn, it deals with subjects that everyone in the audience can relate to. A slightly older lady said to me after seeing one of our presentations in New York: “ I saw myself in the older pornstar who’s at the end of his career. That’s what usually happens to us women – once we’re not deemed attractive anymore, society drops us like a hot potato.” 

And that’s the main message of SHOOTING STAR – don’t judge a book by its cover. ‘Porn-people’ are not different from anyone else. We all need love, a family of friends, and something that gives us a purpose in life – some of us still have to figure out what that is. That’s why I decided to make Taylor a lot younger than I was when I started doing the X. Taylor is in his early 20s – I was in my early 40s. 

Is this musical educational or more for entertainment?

It’s EDUTAINMENT – I love how society can just make up new words! But seriously, you’ll be blown away by how we’re going to entertain you. And you’ll learn something about a world that’s so foreign to most of us because you care about the characters you meet and what happens to them. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll leave the theater, never looking at porn again the way that you used to (because, come on, we all do it lol) 

What was your favorite scene to see come alive on stage?

So far, I don’t really have a favorite scene yet. I’m very happy that the last few scenes work exactly as I imagined them to be. And that’s also thanks to the wonderful music and lyrics by Thomas Zaufke (Composer) and Erik Ransom (Lyricist). In general, the best thing about SHOOTING STAR has been watching the audience – how they react and connect to the story and the characters I created. I think in many ways I’m still like Taylor – even though I’m over 20 years older than he is, like him, I’m still looking for that one thing in life that tells me: You’ve done good. 

Why should people watch this?

I’m telling you – we’ll be the biggest little show in Los Angeles. We’re opening at the prestigious Hudson Theatre in Hollywood that in no way can compare in size and budget to the big players like the Geffen, the Pantages or the Ahmanson. But SHOOTING STAR will be able to compete with their productions, as we’re bringing a complete Broadway-style show with a five-piece live band to a 99 seat theater. Everyone in my team (including my amazing director Michael Bello, my star choreographer Jim Cooney and the fabulous Angela Wendt, who among many other great costume creations, is also the original costume designer for the worldwide phenomenon RENT) is working really hard to entertain the living daylights out of you.  And – our tickets are a lot more affordable – the cheapest start at $20, and go up to $40 for the first two rows – for those of you who like to sit really close to the action (yes, there is tasteful nudity, that we put in to drive the story ahead, and not just for the sake of nudity!). By the way, don’t come to the theater expecting to see porn. SHOOTING STAR focuses on the performers in the Adult Film Industry – if you want to watch their films, you have to do that in the privacy of your own home, or go to the STUDS THEATRE – it’s just a few blocks down the street from us 😉 

“Shooting Star” runs from May 25 through June 30th at Hudson Mainstage Theatre (6539 Santa Monica Blvd). Tickets are available at:  www.Onstage411.com/Star