This is the fourth time that I’ve sat down to tried to write this. How does one even start a post like this? How does one sum up a relationship like the one I had with John Tegan?
I first became aware of John back in 2010. JetSet had just released a movie called Getting Levi’s Johnson that I thought had perfectly captured the gay political zeitgeist at the moment. We were in the early days of the Obama years and a lot of the gay Twitterverse and Bloggoshpere (both still in their infancies) couldn’t get enough Levi Johnson. Levi, as you’ll recall, was the young man that had impregnated Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter. Many entertainment entities from Stand Up Comedians and mainstream TV sketch comedies to porn-adjacent publications like Playgirl had tried to capitalize on him, but John Tegan (who was already an established gay porn producer and director) perfectly depicted why we were so fascinated with him AND managed to get it into a gay porn movie. So, by the time John came to join our production team with Jake Cruise Media, I was already a fan.
John and I spent the next few years working together non-stop. I was always inspired by his energy and attention to details. How good he was at pulling good acting performances out of porn stars whose job is not acting. How he always managed to keep the tone on set fun and light but how he could (and often did) abruptly change gears when he needed to become the organized and efficient producer.
John wasn’t just a friend from work and he wasn’t just a friend. He was a mentor and a fellow blogger and director that I worked with better than anyone else. He encouraged me to take chances and pushed me to learn more about what we did and why. He gave me a pride in my work that I keep to this day. We worked very well together. Mitch Vaughn used to jokingly refer to us as “Yogi and Booboo” and I think it was Arpad Miklos who started calling us “Sully and Wazowski” which fit better than anything else. John was shy about appearing on camera and seldom posted pictures of himself online, but he was a lot like John Goodman’s Sully. He had the same voice, and he was also a big gentle giant, but he also was the kind of guy who always made you feel safe. Porn stars would often skip the green room and just go sit in John’s office where he’d created a totally safe space where they all felt safe being protected by the big gentle giant.
John and I worked most closely here on Gay Daily Hot. When I had begun writing it, it was just a weird depository for my random thoughts, porn clips and music. When he joined me as co-writer, that’s when the magic really began to happen. We would shoot all the zany things that happened in our lives shooting porn. Interview clips and out takes. Previews and whatever nonsense happened to get captured on camera. He always had a great sense of what people wanted to see and how to get it to them. My career got so crazy that I left Gay Daily Hot in John’s hands a few years ago, but I remained a reader. He always delivered the perfect blend of porn, gay news, politics and random entertainment. I’m going to miss reading his thoughts. John’s reviews weren’t always positive. But they were never mean or catty or unnecessarily harsh.
John and I stayed in regular contact even when we weren’t working together professionally. He would call me up when he wanted to comment on a scene I did (and while he was often really supportive, when something sucked, he wouldn’t hesitate to ask me about it… our relationship was the kind where we could joke about the turds more than the gems). When something fucked up happened on a Titanmen set or something crazy happened with a porn performer we’d both worked with, it was a race to see which one of us would call the other one first. We remained Sully and Wazowski even all those years later. And I’m going to miss having someone to call up to gossip about performers or to ask for advice. I’m also going to miss the panicked 8PM calls when something would go wrong here at GDH and he would always call me first for tech support. I’m going to miss a lot. I already do.
John was pretty quiet about his private life, but he’s been married to his husband Cooper Neuman for the better part of 20 years. They weren’t just a couple, they were a team. It was always wonderful seeing what a great bond they had, and I’m so happy that I got to know them both.
Cooper wanted to ask me to make sure to thank everyone for their rather wonderful and overwhelming comments, emails, tweets and texts. The outpouring from John’s readers and friends from the industry has shown what a great impact he’d had on so many people.
Jake Cruise asked me to tell you all that “John was a great Casting Director. He treated models with respect while juggling plane schedules and hotel bookings. He was also a tremendous movie Director on several Cocksure Men videos. I’ll miss the Gentle Giant with the big laugh.”
We all will.