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Whispers Interview with Steve Toushin at the Bijou part 2 ...
by Sukie de la Croix

This article shared 2425 times since Wed May 30, 2001
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Making movies ...

"The Bijou stopped making films in 1996. My role always depended on who was making them. If it was Toby Ross we would discuss the film, and I got involved in the scripting of some and the final editing. Other people made films for my company and I purchased films from them, so it was work for hire. On some other films I wrote the script and other people shot them. So it was different degrees through the years.

The ex-nun porn reviewer...

"That was Mother Superior, she used to review the films for us. Mary [ McCauley ] , but she used to write the advice column for Windy City Times. She used to come to the office here, and she was wonderful. She was probably one of the best reviewers I ever had. She was an ex-nun and she would come to work in a leather jacket, a big woman, and she understood dick more than anybody else.

"She had a wonderful flare with words and she worked for me for about two years. I wasn't interested in thinking that only men could write about dick. When you interviewed people and found they had a flare with words, then all you did was train them for what to look for.

"Mary was wonderful, so Timothy Zimmer, who wrote for me and was running that department, worked with Mother Superior and another woman. So we had two women and this gentleman writing, then they left and other people took over in their place. I didn't discriminate against anyone."

Windy City Times ....

" [ Some of the same people used to work at GayLife ] , and about three months before GayLife closed there was a man called Bob Bearden who was the display advertising manager. He came to me and mentioned there was another newspaper that would be starting up, and his lover at the time, Jeff McCourt, was going to put up the money.

"About two or three months later Windy City Times opened up, a month or two before GayLife closed, and I was advertising in both papers because Bob asked me to. My function at Windy City Times was to give them money to help them with their printing and in turn they would give me good rates, so it was a good marriage."

The other adult theaters in Chicago ...

"The Image and the Newberry were owned by the same person, his name was Eddie Ross. Eddie owned a couple of vaudeville theaters in his younger days and later on, when vaudeville died off, he put adult films in his theaters. He used to own about six or seven theaters in Chicago. The Newberry was actually a straight theater that later became gay and the Image was a gay theater. He closed them both down when his son got killed, something happened to his son in Vegas."

The guys who ran the show ...

"The actors came and went but the people that owned the companies were fascinating. So you'd have 10 stars or 20 stars a year and some would make a dozen films, some more, some less. But it was guys like Chuck Holmes who owned Falcon, and who just passed away ... they were the guys who went through all the legal problems, all the changes, and who created the evolution within the companies in the adult industry. They found these kids, trained them, buffed them up, gave them sun tans, and put them on the screen.

"The one guy who I thought was fascinating was Peter Berlin. I knew Peter and I also liked Casey Donovan, who was a real sweetheart. Peter Berlin came into Chicago one time to do some interviews at the theater. I was playing one of his films and he walked into the back of the theater, then walked down and stood in front of the screen; everybody stood up and started applauding. He was dressed the exact same way he was on screen, so people thought he walked right out of the screen and into the Bijou. He was wonderful and gracious and a super man."

AIDS ...

"The city of Chicago was pretty gracious about it. The city and the gay community got together and they agreed that the bathhouses and places like the Bijou would be left alone. A lot of people came to the Bijou, so we were able to dispense AIDS information. We handed out condoms, put information up on the walls, so we were doing a lot of information about AIDS and safe-sex, and the people we had to worry more about was not the openly gay man, but the closeted gay man. They were the ones who would visit the bookstores and the Bijou. They were the ones who couldn't accept that something could happen to them."

Future historians take note: The memory section in this column contains just that-;memories-;and are only to be used as a starting point for your research. Send your stories to Sukie de la Croix at Windy City Times. You can leave a message on voicemail 773-871-7610;

This article shared 2425 times since Wed May 30, 2001
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