Review – three titles from performer/director Dana Vespoli

by Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, Ph.D.

I’ve been an admirer of Dana Vespoli and her work for a long while now. Dana entered the adult industry as a performer in 2003 and began creating her own content in 2006. After some years developing her craft, she joined Evil Angel’s directorial roster in January, 2013. Dana seems to fit well alongside their purveyors of hard hardcore, all while bringing something decidedly unique to the table.

Dana Vespoli Photo

I have had the opportunity to view each of Dana’s Evil Angel projects produced to date. Suffice it to say, I love them all. Her work melds distinct tropes and themes found across the porn spectrum beautifully, creating a seamless tapestry that blurs many lines commonly thought to demarcate gender and sexualities. But let’s take a look at three examples, just to get a clearer picture, shall we…

Read on…

Girl/Boy (2013)

If someone were to ask me what I thought *the* movie of the year was during 2013, Girl/Boy would make my shortlist. And others agree: Girl/Boy won Dana the 2014 XBIZ Award for “Director of the Year – Non-Feature Release.”

Though it wasn’t some sort of big budget epic, Girl/Boy shows us that content can be both hardcore and progressive. And these progressive progressions can be as subtle, or as overt, as one might care to regard them. Here’s some synopsis-type text about the film:

In Girl/Boy, creative director/gorgeous performer Dana Vespoli lewdly explores the diverse permutations of straight sex with the kinky twists that are par for this artistic pornographers course. Four sensuous vignettes showcase strong, intimate hard-core fucking with intriguing variations on gender relations.

Though I am not exactly pleased with some of the adjectives used above (lewd?), “strong, intimate hard-core fucking with intriguing variations on gender relations” is exactly what happens. And, as the back of the box lets us know, “blurring gender boundaries is fucking fun.”

The obvious highlight of this collection is the scene between Jiz Lee, a deep-thinking and sweet individual who lives their activism and art, and Manuel Ferrara, the quintessential Man Performer of Every Year whose scenes are more like milestones than pairings. Aside from the obvious chemistry and gender blending dimensions, this scene also hits on safer sex politics and interesting notes about changing bodies – condoms were in place, and I found myself contemplating Manuel’s knee replacement scar at more than one point during their tryst.

Also worth note was Dana’s scene with Valentina Nappi and Ramon Nomar wherein Valentina and Ramon play to the gender-conventional, while Dana bends her identity expression. It’s a hot/hard and juicy, as well as deeply compelling, scene.


POV Boy-Toy: Strap Adventures (2013)

Pegging, which generally involves a cisgender woman penetrating a cisgender man’s anus with some sort of strap on prosthetic, is the “oldest new trick in the book” – it’s a sex depiction you can find in the earliest professionally produced porn that’s undergoing a major resurgence these days. I wrote a lot about the history of pegging in the first volume of my book, You Study What? (2013).

POV Boy-Toy is all about pegging. Each tryst in this collection is remarkably similar in the sense that Dana straps some boy (Christian XXX, Robert Axel, Slut Bottom Chris, and Wolf Hudson), yet each scene is actually rather unique in its set-up and tone. Wolf is being stalked* by an “obviously crazy” Dana, while Christian and Dana are a bit more loving. Chris and Axel are both dommed by Dana, but in very different ways, with very different reactions.

*the lead-in to this scene dances with stalking in a way that may be triggering to some.

Because of her role in this film, we see very little of Dana here – her probing little piggies (painted a commanding black-burgundy) are really it, with an occasional flash of nipple or negligee. It’s perfect POV.

Some may see this collection as a study in gender role reversal, a characterization that’s quite fraught in and of itself, but that’s not what I got out of it at all. Each man performer in this film engages a very different version of masculinity, and Dana doesn’t “act the guy” here so much as she engages a sex depiction within the context of each individual’s variable gender and sexuality.

If you find any of these performers compelling, you will certainly love Dana’s efforts to draw out their sexiness. This title stands out in terms of conventional pegging and within the context of each performer’s general schtick. Though you may think POV Boy-Toy is all about Dana, in my view, it’s actually about each man blossoming on her platform.


TS I Love You (2014) 

TS I Love You is another absolute winner from Dana Vespoli and Evil Angel.

Dana has been dating around… and she’s feeling kinda bleak and bored (her words) in the new year… because things are fun and satisfying… but it’s like she just needs something new…

…enter Christian XXX, who lets Dana know that what she may need is a new sort of surprise – something different to scratch that itch. Golly gee willikers!! (so says Dana)

After the initial conversation lead-in between Dana and Christian (which includes a flashback to a “boring” tryst with Xander Corvus), we get three sexy teasing scenes featuring TS women – Christian with Jessy Dubai, Dana with Venus Lux, and Dana with Foxxy and Chad Diamond. This final 3way-ish scene is especially awesome, as Dana showcases all sorts of variable desire with amazing grace.

Each scene in TS I Love You is excellent, but it’s the frame around the entire film that makes it exceptional. Dana explores new connections here with her typical halting and innocent, awkwardly brilliant honesty, and her directing is inspired. In my view, this film is the most significant testament to the seamless gender and sexualities tapestry I referred to above.

Further, TS I Love You and Dana herself are complimented so significantly via the involvement of Christian that I’d be remiss if I did not mention him specifically. His work overall is an endeavor to these “blurred” ends – he reframes gender and sexuality normativities with every project he’s involved in.


I don’t know Dana well, but I recently got to spend an hour in her presence while moderating AEE’s “Feminist Porn Mystique” panel. And though there was not an opportunity for lengthy one-on-one conversation, I found her contributions to the wider group discussion thoughtful, insightful, and incredibly sincere – just like her work in general. Though certainly on the vigorous end of the spectrum (keep your own tastes in mind when considering these titles), Dana’s work pushes on the boundaries of gender, sexualities, and the wider human experience.

Get Girl/Boy, POV Boy-Toy, and TS I Love You, along with other titles from Evil Angel and Dana Vespoli, right here.

Images used with permission.

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