[UPDATED] Who Is Josh Stark?
UPDATE: The person operating the Black Spark Facebook posted the below status update last night, finally confirming that in fact “Josh Stark” is the performer seen in many of The Black Spark’s videos. But as a rep for the project told me yesterday, Stark is but one of many “Sparks” to appear in the evolving project and film and is not to be confused as “the” Black Spark. It’s a double-edged sword: Had Stark never appeared in that pesky bandana (a gimmick, albeit an artful one), The Black Spark wouldn’t have received so much attention and attracted such curiosity. But as I say below, the videos are still compelling on their own, with or without Stark (it’s unclear if he’ll appear in future clips) or Stark’s questionable identity. I look forward to the next video.
In a previous article about Black Spark on The Sword, I wrote, “If concealing his identity is a fundamental component of what he does as a performer and a filmmaker, let him keep it concealed. Why jeopardize the creation of videos like his most recent one below by saying you know who he really is? I don’t care what you think you know. I just want to watch Black Spark’s videos.” While that was true and I was committed to leaving the matter alone at the time and in my subsequent interview with him, a new interview with Black Spark on the widely read gay mainstream blog Boy Culture has led me to change my position. Because Black Spark himself is now directly addressing the question of his identity and the comparison to “Josh Stark,” I feel fine about addressing it, too.
To be clear, the Black Spark/Josh Stark connection was allegedly revealed first on DudeTube earlier this month. Shortly after the revelation, the entire post and its comments were deleted. Josh Stark, as most everyone knows by now, appeared in two scenes for the amateur site CollegeDudes.com; one solo scene and one hardcore duo with Ashton Rush. Being a random, albeit extremely hot, model on an amateur gay porn site doesn’t lend itself to being a cutting edge art-porn auteur, so it would be reasonable for Black Spark (below left) to disavow and in fact completely deny–as he did to me–that he was Josh Stark (below right).
(Note the matching moles on the inner thighs.)
From Boy Culture:
Boy Culture: You’ve said no one has guessed correctly. Does that mean, definitively, that the person who appears to be Black Spark in the videos is NOT the same person known as “Josh Stark” of CollegeDudes.com?
Black Spark: I don’t know who that is, but I have Google…
Boy Culture: Black Spark has denied having done “porn” in the past. If you or anyone involved had been involved in traditional porn, what impact, if any, would that have on how your fans receive your work? Would it matter? Should it?
Black Spark: I haven’t denied doing porn. I said if I had only Ray Charles could see it. I know what the the talk around town is. I see everything.
You can read into those cagey answers however you’d like.
Are they the same person? Of course. Does it make Black Spark’s videos any less compelling? No.
(Courtesy Arch Noble)
The more interesting question is how long Black Spark can keep people guessing and how cleverly he’ll continue to avoid giving a straight answer about his identity–assuming he doesn’t eventually just remove the mask once and for all. That his fans wouldn’t support him if they knew he had done traditional porn is actually an insult to his fans, isn’t it? If they really liked him (which they really, really do), why would something as minor as a couple of old web scenes turn them off?
Take, for example, Josh Stark’s one other amateur scene for the site “Dick Dorm,” where he wrestled in chocolate pudding. If anything, knowing that Black Spark was willing to work in a completely different genre of porn makes me like him even more. But isn’t it time for him to come clean?