Media Update – September 4, 2003

1. Drawing line: U.S. renewing its fight against pornography
2. The New Swingers

1. Drawing line: U.S. renewing its fight against pornography
2. The New Swingers

Drawing line: U.S. renewing its fight against pornography
Pittsburgh case may test mainstream acceptance
By Gail Gibson
Baltimore Sun
August 27, 2003

Accused of violating federal obscenity laws, pornography producer Robert D. Zicari could have quietly pulled his company's films depicting fictional rapes and murders off the market. Instead, he announced that the videotapes targeted by authorities – which he nicknamed "The Federal Five" – were for sale at a discount online.

Zicari's case, which gets under way today in Pittsburgh, is among the first being tackled by the Justice Department in a renewed fight against pornography. Prosecutors all but abandoned such cases in the 1990s. Today they face a much-changed landscape, where the adult entertainment industry is a $10 billion business that is increasingly accepted as part of mainstream culture.

The case that has drawn the most attention, though, has been the one in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh against Zicari, 29, also known as Rob Black, and his wife, Janet Romano, 26, who also goes by the name Lizzie Borden. They are scheduled to be arraigned today on a 10-count indictment alleging violations of federal obscenity laws for mailing sexually violent videotapes and DVDs, and for transmitting obscene video clips on the Web site for their North Hollywood business, Extreme Associates Inc.

The case is being closely watched, in part because Zicari and Romano are creators of adult films and they are based in California's San Fernando Valley – the heart of the adult entertainment industry. By bringing the charges in Pittsburgh, authorities ensured that the case would go to trial in a more conservative community.

"We knew that as soon as Bush came in that the wheels [would be] put in motion, because he owes a lot of his constituency to the religious right groups, who are opposed to pornography," said Mark Kernes, a senior editor with Adult Video News who writes about legal issues in the industry. [cont.]

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The New Swingers
By Anka Radakovich
New York Post
August 31, 2003

It's Saturday night in Sag Harbor, and a Cadillac Esplanade followed by a BMW are rolling up the gravel driveway of a summer cottage where a party is underway. Two couples emerge, the men dressed in khakis and polo shirts, the women in floral dresses.

Inside, the look is very Martha Stewart: clean, a little pricey, very straightlaced. Couples start to chat about real estate, politics, and what private Manhattan schools their kids are attending. But just outside, an unrated flick called "Bad Wives 2" is projected on a wall, topless women are frolicking in the pool and two couples in the buff are making out in the hot tub.

Welcome to the new key parties.

There are 10 million "swingers" in the United States and their numbers are growing. And in New York – from the Upper East Side to Montauk – a new generation of professional couples are re-discovering the new non-monogamy.

"It's the new casual sex trend for married couples," says Robert, a 34-year-old Manhattan lawyer, who, with his wife Marisa, 33, a publicist, host monthly swinger parties at their Hamptons time share – an $85,000-a-season Cap Cod style house on the water. [cont.]

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