04-23-2024  11:52 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

The Drug War Devastated Black and Other Minority Communities. Is Marijuana Legalization Helping?

A major argument for legalizing the adult use of cannabis after 75 years of prohibition was to stop the harm caused by disproportionate enforcement of drug laws in Black, Latino and other minority communities. But efforts to help those most affected participate in the newly legal sector have been halting. 

Lessons for Cities from Seattle’s Racial and Social Justice Law 

 Seattle is marking the first anniversary of its landmark Race and Social Justice Initiative ordinance. Signed into law in April 2023, the ordinance highlights race and racism because of the pervasive inequities experienced by people of color

Don’t Shoot Portland, University of Oregon Team Up for Black Narratives, Memory

The yearly Memory Work for Black Lives Plenary shows the power of preservation.

Grants Pass Anti-Camping Laws Head to Supreme Court

Grants Pass in southern Oregon has become the unlikely face of the nation’s homelessness crisis as its case over anti-camping laws goes to the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for April 22. The case has broad implications for cities, including whether they can fine or jail people for camping in public. Since 2020, court orders have barred Grants Pass from enforcing its anti-camping laws. Now, the city is asking the justices to review lower court rulings it says has prevented it from addressing the city's homelessness crisis. Rights groups say people shouldn’t be punished for lacking housing.

NEWS BRIEFS

Mt. Tabor Park Selected for National Initiative

Mt. Tabor Park is the only Oregon park and one of just 24 nationally to receive honor. ...

OHCS, BuildUp Oregon Launch Program to Expand Early Childhood Education Access Statewide

Funds include million for developing early care and education facilities co-located with affordable housing. ...

Governor Kotek Announces Chief of Staff, New Office Leadership

Governor expands executive team and names new Housing and Homelessness Initiative Director ...

Governor Kotek Announces Investment in New CHIPS Child Care Fund

5 Million dollars from Oregon CHIPS Act to be allocated to new Child Care Fund ...

A conservative quest to limit diversity programs gains momentum in states

A conservative quest to limit diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives is gaining momentum in state capitals and college governing boards, with officials in about one-third of the states now taking some sort of action against it. Tennessee became the latest when the Republican...

Ex-police officer wanted in 2 killings and kidnapping shoots, kills self in Oregon, police say

SEATTLE (AP) — A former Washington state police officer wanted after killing two people, including his ex-wife, was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound following a chase in Oregon, authorities said Tuesday. His 1-year-old baby, who was with him, was taken safely into custody by Oregon...

Missouri hires Memphis athletic director Laird Veatch for the same role with the Tigers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri hired longtime college administrator Laird Veatch to be its athletic director on Tuesday, bringing him back to campus 14 years after he departed for a series of other positions that culminated with five years spent as the AD at Memphis. Veatch...

KC Current owners announce plans for stadium district along the Kansas City riverfront

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The ownership group of the Kansas City Current announced plans Monday for the development of the Missouri River waterfront, where the club recently opened a purpose-built stadium for the National Women's Soccer League team. CPKC Stadium will serve as the hub...

OPINION

Op-Ed: Why MAGA Policies Are Detrimental to Black Communities

NNPA NEWSWIRE – MAGA proponents peddle baseless claims of widespread voter fraud to justify voter suppression tactics that disproportionately target Black voters. From restrictive voter ID laws to purging voter rolls to limiting early voting hours, these...

Loving and Embracing the Differences in Our Youngest Learners

Yet our responsibility to all parents and society at large means we must do more to share insights, especially with underserved and under-resourced communities. ...

Gallup Finds Black Generational Divide on Affirmative Action

Each spring, many aspiring students and their families begin receiving college acceptance letters and offers of financial aid packages. This year’s college decisions will add yet another consideration: the effects of a 2023 Supreme Court, 6-3 ruling that...

OP-ED: Embracing Black Men’s Voices: Rebuilding Trust and Unity in the Democratic Party

The decision of many Black men to disengage from the Democratic Party is rooted in a complex interplay of historical disenchantment, unmet promises, and a sense of disillusionment with the political establishment. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Pro-Palestinian student protests target colleges' financial ties with Israel

Students at a growing number of U.S. colleges are gathering in protest encampments with a unified demand of their schools: Stop doing business with Israel — or any companies that empower its ongoing war in Gaza. The demand has its roots in a decades-old campaign against Israel's...

Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi is 'tickled pink' to inspire a Barbie doll

Like many little girls, a young Kristi Yamaguchi loved playing with Barbie. With a schedule packed with ice skating practices, her Barbie dolls became her “best friends.” So, it's surreal for the decorated Olympian figure skater to now be a Barbie girl herself. ...

A conservative quest to limit diversity programs gains momentum in states

A conservative quest to limit diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives is gaining momentum in state capitals and college governing boards, with officials in about one-third of the states now taking some sort of action against it. Tennessee became the latest when the Republican...

ENTERTAINMENT

What to stream this weekend: Conan O’Brien travels, 'Migration' soars and Taylor Swift reigns

Zack Snyder’s “Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver” landing on Netflix and Taylor Swift’s “The Tortured Poets Department” album are some of the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you. Also among the streaming offerings worth your time as...

Music Review: Jazz pianist Fred Hersch creates subdued, lovely colors on 'Silent, Listening'

Jazz pianist Fred Hersch fully embraces the freedom that comes with improvisation on his solo album “Silent, Listening,” spontaneously composing and performing tunes that are often without melody, meter or form. Listening to them can be challenging and rewarding. The many-time...

Book Review: 'Nothing But the Bones' is a compelling noir novel at a breakneck pace

Nelson “Nails” McKenna isn’t very bright, stumbles over his words and often says what he’s thinking without realizing it. We first meet him as a boy reading a superhero comic on the banks of a river in his backcountry hometown in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia....

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Senate overwhelmingly passes aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan with big bipartisan vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has passed billion in war aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, sending the...

Pro-Palestinian student protests target colleges' financial ties with Israel

Students at a growing number of U.S. colleges are gathering in protest encampments with a unified demand of their...

Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi is 'tickled pink' to inspire a Barbie doll

Like many little girls, a young Kristi Yamaguchi loved playing with Barbie. With a schedule packed with ice...

Modi is accused of using hate speech for calling Muslims 'infiltrators' at an Indian election rally

NEW DELHI (AP) — India's main opposition party accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of using hate speech after...

5 migrants die while crossing the English Channel hours after the UK approved a deportation bill

PARIS (AP) — Five people, including a child, died while trying to cross the English Channel from France to the...

World seeing near breakdown of international law amid wars in Gaza and Ukraine, Amnesty says

LONDON (AP) — The world is seeing a near breakdown of international law amid flagrant rule-breaking in Gaza and...

Jim Spellman CNN


Kayden Kross shares her passion for books via Twitter
 

DENVER (CNN) -- Once relegated to sleazy red-light districts and the darker corners of the Internet, porn stars are now gaining followings in a surprising place: Twitter. They are using the social media site to engage directly with their fans and build their individual brands.

"Twitter has opened up these porn stars fan bases like nothing the adult film industry has ever seen before," said Dan Miller, managing editor of XBiz, an adult industry trade publication. "Since most mainstream pop culture publications don't cover the porn industry (and) porn movie reviews don't generally appear alongside reviews of big Hollywood movies ... the adult industry has embraced Twitter as a way to reach out directly to fans beyond the typical porn consumer."

Miller estimates that 90% of porn performers are on Twitter, and he believes it is essential for new performers to use social media effectively to promote themselves and build their "brand."

"If you're not on Twitter, you are definitely at a disadvantage right out of the gate," he said.

Alexander Raymond Palumbo was one of the first executives in the adult entertainment business to embrace social media, first on Friendster, then Myspace and now on Twitter.

"Via our social media platforms like Twitter I'm trying to establish brand loyalty, like people have for a company like Disney," said Palumbo, a social media strategist at Digital Playground, an adult movie production company.

Palumbo holds seminars for adult movie actors, helping them set up their accounts and guiding them on how to tweet in a way that will connect them to their audience by engaging directly with fans and showing some of their personal sides to their followers.

"I try to instill in performers that you should let people know who you are, invite them into your interaction," he said.

Palumbo begins his work day by logging onto Twitter to gauge reaction from the fans to his company's movies and performers. If viewers of a new movie trailer tweet that there is too much emphasis on male characters, Palumbo will make a call to the edit department asking for changes.

"Twitter is like an instant focus group," explained Palumbo. "It's not going to go away, it is the future. From our company's point of view, it's pure customer service."

Social media is profoundly changing the porn business, according to Chauntelle Tibbals, a visiting scholar at University of Southern California who studies the porn industry.

"Before it was about pure fantasy: you didn't have enough information to be real fans of performers," she said. "But now you can become a true fan of a porn star."

The performers who are successful on Twitter are the ones who open themselves up and share parts of their non-professional life with fans, allowing followers a window into their off-camera personalities.

"That kind of interaction is something you don't see mainstream celebrities doing to the same degree," according to Tibbals. "You don't see Angelina Jolie tweeting directly to people."

Many of the performers are surprisingly funny, smart and engaging on Twitter. While they all promote their movies, most focus more on their hobbies, current events and personal lives.

"You are seeing a different kind of relationship that a viewer has with a porn performer," Tibbals said. "One of the things that comes with social media is the deconstruction of stereotypes."

Social media has the power to change how the public views porn stars, according to Tibbals, and it may ultimately make porn more mainstream and socially acceptable.

Here are several adult film stars who are using Twitter to attract a wider audience:

The Boy Next Door: @JamesDeen

James Deen is arguably the hottest male performer in the porn industry. At 26 years old, he has already appeared in over 1,200 movies.

He has made a name for himself by defying stereotypes about male porn stars: he comes off as a funny, slightly goofy boy-next-door. His non-threatening demeanor has made his films popular with younger woman and has led him to more mainstream opportunities.

Deen is currently working on a Hollywood movie called "The Canyons," in which he is co-starring with Lindsay Lohan. The film is directed by Paul Shrader, who is known for writing "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull" and "The Last Temptation of Christ." The movie is slated to premier in 2013.

Deen credits Twitter with helping his transition to mainstream films.

"I think a lot of the mainstream thing has to do with Twitter," he told CNN. "People look at me and they say, 'He's not a porn star, he's just a nice guy."

His approach to Twitter is simple: be yourself.

"I like to keep my Twitter very personal and used as a random outlet for my feelings," Deen said. "I see no reason to be involved except to be myself."

Despite his non-commercial approach to Twitter, he said being an effective tweeter is an essential part of his business.

"The way the world is going, you have to be able to communicate with your market, know about your demographic, know what people are clicking on and then communicate back to them," Deen said.

The Internet's Girlfriend: @danadearmond

Dana DeArmond describes herself as a "pornographer of the people" and is one of the most accessible adult performers on Twitter. She responds to most of her followers who post a comment or question, often with a smart-alecky remark.

"People like to laugh and they like to know that people who are sex workers can also be smart and funny," said DeArmond, who occasionally performs stand-up comedy around Los Angeles.

DeArmond, 33, says the porn world is extremely competitive and she uses Twitter to differentiate herself from other performers by interacting directly with her fans.

"I've developed the moniker 'the Internet's girlfriend' and tried to make a more personal connection with the people who found me and followed me," she said. .

"It's something I've used in my branding. It's like 'OK, if you don't have a real girlfriend you can pretend I'm your girlfriend on the Internet and I won't treat you like a customer.' That's how I brand myself."

DeArmond describes the porn industry as an "ever-changing animal": viewers' relationship with the product and their expectations of the performers are "constantly evolving and now requires a much more personal approach by performers."

"Porn is not a utilitarian thing; if it were there would already have been enough porn made forever," she said. "People have a connection to it and Twitter helps me make that connection."

The Smartest Woman in Porn: @Kayden_Kross

Perhaps the most surprising porn figure to emerge on Twitter is Kayden Kross. With her dyed blonde hair and pouty lips she certainly looks the part of an adult film star. When she's not making porn movies, Kross tweets about her very non-pornographic passions: books and horses.

"People seem to be surprised with the things I'm into," she told CNN.

She often tweets about her favorite authors, David Foster Wallace and Don DeLillo. Between shoots in the San Fernando Valley, she travels to New York where she is taking a series of writing classes with legendary editor Gordon Lish, noted for his work with authors Raymond Carver and Richard Ford.

"The porn people could care less who I'm reading," Kross said. "I have a slim sliver of fans based on a common passion for books and the written word. Those are who I interact with."

She is working on a novel set in the world of porn and posts essays on her website and tweets them out to her followers.

"If you're interacting with people, you're putting part of your soul into it," she said. "The people that understand me the best are people into writing."

Back in Los Angeles, Kross enjoys spending time with her horses. In April, her mare Regina gave birth and Kross tweeted throughout the process, posting pictures and even asking her followers to help name the foal. Despite the situation having nothing to do with her porn life, her Twitter followers were with her all the way, tweeting congratulations and piping in with suggestions for names. She ultimately settled on the name Maya.

Although many of her tweets are on her hobbies, Kross says that Twitter has been the key to her success in the porn world.

"I was largely unsuccessful up until Twitter came along because I'm very shy ... and it came through in my movies," she said. "But with Twitter, people see a different side of me and they see it in my movies."

Twitter allows Kross to defy people's preconceived notions of what porn stars are like and be more comfortable both on camera and off.

"Twitter has made me more confident as a person and a performer," she said.

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast