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Thursday, April 08, 2021

Lost Boys: Vintage Images of Jason Steele

Lost Boys: 
Vintage Images of Jason Steele

When cobbling together these profiles, I work with what I find. 

Jason Steele is a picture puzzle where the pieces never quite fall into place and some pieces are simply missing. Oh, they're out there, but I don't have access to them. They're lost in the archives of institutions, the memories of an ex-wife, and the pages of various mens magazines. 

It's a pity, because his story is truly unique. He was a married bi-sexual psychotherapist from London who became a gay porn star and an early bi-sexual and HIV activist. 

So, who exactly was this rather complicated man?

Jason Steele
AKA: Stephen Arnold Ephgrave Kuttner, Jason Steel, Burton Lawless, 
Birth: July 23, 1950
Birthplace: Loughborough, England
Death: February 25, 1995 

Piercings: Nipples 
Years active: 1985-1992 
Films: 12
Compilations: 9
Studios: Zeus, Surge, LA Video, Midnight Men, Bijou, HIS, Rawhide Entertainment

Stephen Arnold Ephgrave Kuttner was born on July 23, 1950 in Loughborough, Leicestershire, England. He worked as a psychotherapist in London before moving to San Francisco. 

Kuttner, a bisexual, was married to  woman named Dominica XXX XXX XXX (redacted by request). They filed for divorce (FSD-87-869XXX | California State, San Francisco County, Superior Court) on January 8, 1987, with the action finalized on October 22, 1987. It appears to have been an amicable divorce with the only bone of contention being who got to keep the family pet. Reasons for the divorce, mere speculation on my part: Kuttner's HIV status and his work in the porn industry. Also speculation: it could have been a green card marriage; Kuttner would have needed one in order to remain and work in the US. 

I did locate his ex-wife and sent her an email requesting information. She's a multi-media artist who has an active spiritual life. I don't expect to hear back from her in time for this post, but thought it worth a try. 

Update: She answered back and it is her. I had asked if she had any information regarding his life in London as a psychotherapist. Her reply:


Yes, that’s me. No need to apologize but, as you are aware, it was decades ago. I knew little about Stephen’s life before we met and after we parted. I can't help you with info about Stephen’s life, background in Loughborough or work in London, sorry to disappoint.

Best of luck with your research,

- Dominica

Dominica has written me back a second time (and a third, she declined to provide any information). She wanted clarification regarding what I was up to. I must say, I feel invasive asking for info. But I do my best to be respectful. These men are more than a picture in a magazine. They all had lives and loves, dreams and challenges. Take Jason Steele, for instance... 

Steele is an anomaly of sorts in the gay porn industry for several reasons. First off, he didn't start making films until he was 32 or 33 years old, and would continue in the industry until he was 42. Rather long in the tooth - considering most start when they are still in their teens.
Secondly, in all likelihood, he was HIV positive before entering the industry and very upfront about it. Given that, it is a bit disturbing that he was allowed to engage in unsafe sex on film. 

In 1983 he began work to establish the AIDS Healing Alliance, and then entered the porn industry shortly after. 

From the Archives of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society in San Francisco, California: 

"The AIDS Healing Alliance (AHA) was a pioneering self-help organization founded in 1986. The group's stated purpose was to "dispel the myth that AIDS or ARC inevitably result in death." The organization had several key goals: establish a network of long-term survivors, provide a forum where their knowledge of the successful use of alternative therapies could be shared, catalog all available alternative therapies, and promote the concept that health management is a personal responsibility." 

Through workshops, a phone line and the 'First AIDS Pack', the organization attempted to collect and disseminate information on treatments, clinics or practitioners who were having some success in retarding or curing the condition of AIDS. They also developed an in-depth, long-term survivor's questionnaire (though this was never actually administered). 

The group was particularly interested in the scientific literature on the etiology and epidemiology of the disease and on potential treatments and how these treatments were tested and developed. Notably, the group refused to subscribe to the view that HIV was the proven cause of AIDS, that AIDS had a single cause or that AIDS was the same disease in every person. The organization dissolved in 1989."

Kuttner explained his reasoning for helping establish such an agency as thus: "We operated from the philosophy that disease is more than a physical crisis; it presents some kind of personal lesson which offers an opportunity for inner healing as well as outer cure." 

In 1991, Kuttner donated all the items related to the center. They are now part of the collection at the Archives of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society in San Francisco, California.

The records of the AIDS Healing Alliance consist of the internal records, correspondence, information packets, surveys, grant proposals, correspondence, and information regarding 'alternative therapies' for AIDS treatment produced by the organization. The records document AHA's efforts to find alternative approaches to treating and curing AIDS. 

This collection documents one response to the AIDS epidemic - one that was skeptical of mainstream medicine - as well as the uncertainty and unease which particularly characterized the first decade of the epidemic.

When Kuttner first began work in the porn industry he did a number of photo shoots under the name Burton Lawless. Once he graduated to film, he became Jason Steele. His first film, 1984's Love a Man with a Beard 3 is actually a compilation film consisting of short loops that were shown in the booths of adult bookstores.

Of note, photos of Steele had a habit of appearing on the covers (front or back) of gay porn films he did not appear in, Joe Gage's Kansas City Trucking and California Foxes are two known examples.

In 1986, he appeared in his one and only bisexual film, Bi-Ceps. His scene would later be included in the bi-sexual compilation, The Best of Both Worlds. That same year, Steele also appeared in a "surprisingly good photospread in Advocate Men magazine's January 1986 issue." In addition, he dabbled in bondage, as seen in 1989's Tight Ropes 4

Love a Man with a Beard 3

Hard Disk Drive
Stud Busters

Chip Off the Old Block
Oversize Load

Paradise Park

Ranch Hand

Original Bear 1
Sex My Father Taught Me
Tightropes 4

Big Bear Men: A Facial And Body Hair Extravaganza

At the age of 44, Steele died on February 25, 1995 in San Francisco, CA. There exists an obituary in Manshots magazine's October 1995 issue, but I was unable to access it. 

Note the time span between Steele's death and the magazine's acknowledgement. Just another example of how oddly the pieces of the puzzle that was Jason Steele fall into place.

--- ---

I still have a VHS copy of Chip Off The Old Block. It is my only film of his that I have seen. In it, he strikes me as rather unctuous (in the mineral sense of the word). 

I find him alluring; in the way I find those leather piggies who work the backrooms of bars intriguing. He always struck me as very sweaty, with oily hair in need of a good wash. 

His presence on film? Pungent; there's something about his energy that lingers and stays with you. 

That said, I find him super sexy - especially as he grew older and filled out. His chest, his nipples, his ass, his arms, all that dark fur, his hair, his beard and mustache. I just want to smell him. Something tells me he's a very oral, very passionate lover.

I am surprised by all he accomplished in his time. And to be a trained psychotherapist! 

It's like the man is this strange stew of a person, an odd assortment of so many things - none of which you would expect to find together. 

I think that's why I would have loved to have learned more about his childhood and personality. 

Well, that's all for this week. If this seems slight, keep in mind - I work with what I find. 

Thanks for reading.

Jigsaw Puzzle - The Rolling Stones

Pieces of Me - Ashlee Simpson


Sixpence Notthewiser said...

That Stones song sounds like Steele looks. Seriously.
Like you, I liked it when he filled out (he did start later in porn than most porn stars) and I like his aura.
I can imagine all the 'alternative treatments' there were for AIDS at the beginning of the epidemic.
I love that you still have video tapes.


Xersex said...

A myth!

whkattk said...

Aren't we all a "strange stew" as people? I like that you do this series. It puts humanity into these actor's lives. You and Sixpence are both to be commended for the work you do on them, focusing on them as human beings rather than just cocks or bodies to ogle.

Jimmy said...

My kind of guy. HAWT! I never slept with a Brit who didn't have a nice dick.

Anonymous said...

Not my cup of tea. Still hoping you will do a posting on Tony Bravo.

The Cool Cookie said...

I did meet him in DC in the late 1980s. He was in the company of an older man that the guy I was seeing had known socially. I can tell you that I saw him at an event, had no idea who he was but his British accent really blindsided me in those five minutes of polite conversations when one met an acquaintance and their date. But what I remember most was that he was very compact in his build.

SickoRicko said...

Yet another one that I had the hots for. Dark and handsome.