If you’re like us, you didn’t bother reading Vice Magazine‘s porn reviews—a column called Skinema—because you aren’t really that interested in reading about porn. I mean, watching porn is one thing, but reading about it? Please!
In reality, this column has served as a venue for writer Chris Nieratko to rant explicitly about his drunken, drugged-up escapades with friends, strangers and women of the night, rarely ever broaching the subject of porn. Nieratko admits, in fact, that he doesn’t watch the material. He just chooses the titles because they intrigue him (hence, “Seymore Butts Does Europe Part 2”).
These diatribes have been condensed in book form, under the obvious title, Skinema (released by Vice); and Nieratko has been traveling the circuit with his stories as well as a collection of slides to illustrate the magic.
Nieratko shows up in San Francisco first at Booksmith, a book store in the Haight Ashbury district, where he does his best to offend the small audience; but this is the center of the unabashed universe, where the feel-good philosophy was born. There is no way to cross boundaries here, as there are none.
Presenting a slide of a large black gentleman who is gleefully throwing his hands in the air in exaltation as his penis is being served into the mouth of a small young lady in a wheelchair, Nieratko locates the most senior woman in the audience and asks, “Are you uncomfortable?”
“Not at all,” she replies, seemingly to his dismay.
He continues to tell the accompanying story, about a girl he dated for a period of time who was missing a finger, detailing the extreme pleasures that he took in receiving hand-jobs from this amputee.
At the end of he story—which eventually has nothing to do with the slide—he turns to the screen and says, “I have no idea where I got this picture.”
Although he has written for Vice for years, and wrote for the skateboard magazine Big Brother prior to that, Nieratko had a very brief history with the show Jackass (Johnny Knoxville writes his forward); and this association persists as the main reference people make with his stardom.
Asked whether he has ever considered that he might receive better recognition if he didn’t write under the guise of reviewing porn, he responds, simply, “I don’t care.” His notoriety from Jackass has been so pestering, he says, “I prefer not to be recognized at all.”
As soon as Nieratko mentions Jackass, the woman he had queried previously gets up and exits the room. Apparently that was her breaking point.
The following evening, the author is slated to host another slide show and signing at Pop’s Bar, a locally owned rocker dive that’s central within Frisco’s ubiquitous and infamous skateboarding community. We find Nieratko buried behind countless tall cans of Colt 45, and the presentation is about 45 minutes past due. “I think we’re gonna skip that tonight, and just drink beer,” he declares.
There are clearly dozens of excited fans in attendance for the presentation, arriving in droves with fresh copies of Skinema in hand. They all get signed, and everyone gets to meet their fresh faced author, but alas, not slides and no stories. Ultimately, everyone gets a good treatment as the night goes on, because Nieratko is a natural. He spends the entire evening hanging out with the hangers-on, signing books and gleefully relaying his tales to one listener at a time.