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From the start, Michael Lucas challenged the stereotype of a porn star. He did not grow up in an abusive family. Instead, he was born and raised in Soviet Russia as Andrei Treyvas to a close-knit family of outspoken, intellectual Russian Jews. The shy, skinny kid grew up to be a handsome man determined to make his mark on the world--and how. From his start as an escort in Europe, to his hustling days in America, making the money he would invest in his own company, Lucas Entertainment, Michael's life is inspiring, provocative, and 100% candid--no filter.
NAKED lays bare the fascinating, often surreal life of a sexy, complex man who has set his own standards and played by his own rules. Chock full of outrageous quotes and "you've got to hear this" stories, this is one biography just like its subject: one of a kind.
Corey Taylor has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Memphis. He has written for U.S. publications (Unzipped, Men, Artisan Northwest) as well as for publications in the UK (reFRESH) and Australia (DNA), covering celebrity features, art, fashion, and politics. Corey lives in Chicago, Illinois.
The Jewish blood that flows through the veins of this man represents thousands upon thousands of years of non-assimilation. It is an incredibly rich history and probably has more depth than what would be expected of the biggest gay porn star/director/producer of all time. This is the same man who has recently produced the biggest all-male porn film ever: a gay porn version of Dangerous Liaisons.
This history, this blood, is very strong and very old. And this is part of what Andrei feels helps him get through his life, which, as you will read, has not always been smooth. Andrei has endured a lot of changes, a lot of traveling, going from continent to continent and from country to country, trying to find the best place to live. This searching has paralleled the journeying that has been done by his Jewish ancestors for centuries. Throughout this journey, Andrei has felt connections through generations with these people who went from Egypt, then who found Israel, then went to Spain, and finally to Russia.
Andrei's direct family line lived in Russia for several generations. Now, Andrei has moved his family to America, as millions of other Jews have done. The history of Jews leaving Russia has now waned, and is essentially over.
In the book The Soviet Jewish Americans, Annelise Orleck speaks of a wave of Soviet Jews who came to America in the 1970s. Orleck writes that in 1975, just three years after Andrei was born in Russia, "Elderly immigrant Jews walked slowly arm in arm, speaking an animated mixture of Yiddish and English. Silent old men and women lined the wooden benches facing the sea, silhouetted against a glowing urban night sky."
It wouldn't be long before Andrei's mother would realize that Russia was not the best environment for her son. "I felt that he was not right for the Soviet Union," she says. "I saw that he couldn't live there-his style, everything, was not for Soviet Union. And I was right."
But Andrei's mother, Lena, wasn't the only one who felt her family being called away from Russia. Orleck writes, "After 1967, growing numbers of Soviet Jews demanded the right to emigrate. The loosening of social and cultural restraints during the Khrushchev era had raised many people's hopes and expectations that better times were coming."
Orleck goes on to say that in 1967, Soviet Jews became despondent after Brezhnev began enforcing more oppression on freedom of expression. The backlash Jews experienced for Zionist demonstrations that were inspired by Israel at the time manifested itself in an increase of anti-Semitic propaganda that compared Israel with Hitler's Nazis. Orleck says, "Energetic government enforcement of educational and occupational quotas ... forced even successful and assimilated Soviet Jews to question what would become of their children if they remained in the Soviet Union."
But assimilation is unfair, and it is an unrealistic expectation to assume that people must alter their entire culture and history in order to live among others. "Throughout history, it's easy to unite people in difficult times against a common enemy," says Andrei. "Jews are always easy targets because they never assimilate. We maintain our identity."
It was this desire to maintain their identity, yet protect Andrei from unnecessary prejudice and potential danger, that caused his father and mother to give Andrei his mother's last name. Victor Treyvas is Andrei's maternal grandfather. Treyvas is a Jewish name, but in Russia it is not as apparently Jewish as Bregman, his father's name.
"It would endanger Andrei in Soviet Russia to give him the last name of Bregman," Victor and his wife urged Andrei's father, and he agreed. So Andrei's last name became Treyvas from his mother's side.
For ten years after the decision was made, Andrei's father's side of the family chose not to talk to them because they did not give Andrei the Bregman name. Their decision to miss out on the early years of Andrei's life resulted in an irreparable estrangement that still exists, but Andrei, his brother and parents, and his maternal grandparents remain very close even now.
But their concerns were valid. Even when Lena, although she was a Treyvas, would write down "Bregman" because it was her married name, she had difficulty getting work. She would be denied employment whenever she used the name "Bregman." As a teacher, even in the universities, it was not the official reason she didn't get hired, but everyone knew that they would take very few Jews. However, since Andrei's parents and grandparents decided to protect him in this way (and his brother, who would be born ten years later), his father's family could never forgive that their name would not go to their grandchildren.
"My father's family were not really very intelligent people," Andrei remembers. "And when my father's mother died, Grandfather married her sister." Andrei's father was twelve when his own mother died, so Andrei never knew his actual paternal grandmother. Andrei's father was raised, then, by his father and his aunt, whom he actually called Mother.
Andrei's grandfather and his new bride had their own child, and so Andrei's father and his sister from their mother were less favored than the new child. Andrei feels that this situation could have been the genesis of the estrangement, and that when the naming situation came up, it gave them an excuse not to be close with Andrei's immediate family. Eventually, when they started talking again, it was still awkward, and Andrei saw them only two to three times each year.
"The funny thing is that I looked very much like the Bregmans," says Andrei. "I look exactly like my father's father." Andrei doesn't look like his mother's father, because Victor has more of a Slavic look from his Russian mother. Victor is blond and has green eyes, and Andrei got the Jewish looks. "The irony is that, when I would be there and all the relatives would be there, he would sit with his grandson from his second marriage, who looked more like his wife's side of the family," says Andrei. "I looked just like him, and we were not close." Someone in the family would say, "Oh my God, Andrei, you look just like him!" However, he and Andrei were so estranged that Andrei didn't even call him Grandfather. He called him Mr. Bregman.
In fact, as with many languages, in Russian there are two different forms of the word "you." One form is for someone you know well, and the other is a more formal one that you use for people you do not know well. Andrei always referred to Mr. Bregman in the formal version.
Andrei's great-grandmother was the only Christian in the family. She was a Russian woman who was a nurse before the Revolution. After the First World War, during the Revolution, she met a doctor. At this time, the Russian White Army was fighting the Russian Red Army. She married the doctor, who happened to be a Jew. She believed in God and went to church regularly, which was very dangerous back then, because Communist Russia was an atheist state. Russia was a very atheist country. It was mandated so. But she went anyway, being very dedicated to her faith and to the Russian Orthodox Church. She even held a high position within the Church. And although Andrei never thought of himself as Christian or Russian-always Jewish-he still has his great-grandmother's cross.
In fact, Jewish was not necessarily a spirituality for Andrei, but more of a nationality. And he has always identified himself as being Jewish rather than Russian. The rest of his family are all Jewish. "Regardless if you were practicing or not, you were either Jewish-Russian, Russian, or Ukranian, and that was always marked in your passport," says Andrei.
In America, people who are born here are American citizens. However, those born in Russia were considered citizens, but they would specify the nationality of every person. This was an anti-Semitic tactic that Russia used until 1992 that is similar to the "separate but equal" ideology fiasco in America.
Andrei's nationality was Jewish. To Andrei, it is important that people don't confuse the Jewish nationality with the religion, partly because he never remembers his father going to synagogue.
Andrei's Jewish identity wasn't a factor until he started going to school, where every class had a journal that also stated each student's nationality. As with the passports, it would either specify that a student was Russian, Ukranian, or Jewish. Of the forty students in Andrei's class, approximately thirty of them were Russian, six were Jewish, and the remaining four would be Ukranian or another nationality.
So the anti-Semitism the Soviet Jews experienced was not based on religion, even though Russia was an atheist country. In fact, religion didn't really exist in Russia. But Andrei always knew he was Jewish because of the nationalistic anti-Semitism. When a person was Jewish, everyone knew it.
All the passports in Andrei's family said "Jewish" except, of course, for his great-grandmother's, which is why his mother was never able to get a very good teaching job. However, Andrei's grandfather Victor had a choice because his mother was Russian. He chose to put "Russian" on his passport, which enabled him to have a great job. He was respected and was making most of the money for the family, allowing them to live very comfortably.
When Andrei was born, his mother kept working, and his grandmother left music school to be with him. Despite the estrangement of his father's side of the family and the anti-Semitism of Russia, Andrei began his life under the umbrella of his closely knit extended family who loved him very much. It was this very environment in which the sexuality of a future porn star began to emerge.
In the fall, Andrei spent every weekend at the country house with his grandfather, Victor, and helped him work in the garden. In the spring, Andrei's father would join them on their weekends away from the hustle and bustle of busy Moscow to work in the garden and to prepare the house for the summer. Then, Andrei's mother and grandmother would start going with them when it got warm, and they would all spend the summer there. Each day of the summer, Andrei's parents and his grandfather drove or took the train into Moscow for work, leaving Andrei with his grandmother in the huge country house.
The house was so big that four families could easily occupy the house's two floors at the same time. So the five of them (and later, the six of them) were extremely comfortable there. Just like Andrei, his mother Lena had also spent her childhood growing up at the country house, and had a lifelong friend who lived nearby. Andrei had become very good friends with the daughter of his mother's friend.
Of course, at four years old, and even later as the two of them grew up, there was nothing sexual between them. They were just friends, and they played together every day. She and Andrei went swimming during the day, or hiked in the forest and looked for mushrooms.
Even though Russia was Communist, a class system still existed among its citizens. Victor, Andrei's grandfather, was a high-ranking engineer since he was able to put "Russian" as his nationality on his passport. Victor's wife was a piano teacher. Andrei's father was also an engineer, and his mother was a literature teacher. This middle-class life is how it was possible for Andrei and his family to have an apartment in Moscow, and the country house, which was located about an hour outside the city.
Although the class system existed to some degree in Russia, it was not the same way Americans perceive it. There was no such thing as a literal "middle class," but Andrei's family-largely because of his grandfather's job-was considered more upper-level. For example, the Treyvas family owned a car, and not many people could have a car.
The country house had been inherited from Victor's parents, who had bought the house, making Andrei the fourth generation in the family to have the comfort of the country house.
As Andrei grew up, he got more friends in addition to the daughter of his mother's friend. Eventually, his circle included about ten children, both boys and girls of varying but close ages, who would go to the beach every day of the summer. Andrei and his group would stay out in the sun from about noon until four or five o'clock in the afternoon. After dinner, they played games.
"We didn't play in ways that you think of in America," Andrei recalls. "There were never any organized things like basketball or football." Instead, in the evening, Andrei and his friends would all be somewhere in the forest near the country house; they would have a fire and bake potatoes. If the weather permitted, the group would return to the beach at the lake.
Boats of all kinds sailed and motored by across the lake in the beautiful dusk with laughter and shouts of repartée and frolic trailing along. The smell of the water and the spray of the mist from the lake served to cool things off at the close of the day, while crowds of friends like Andrei's enjoyed the sand and sunset.
In addition to groups of friends, many children went to the beach with their parents. However, Andrei's parents did not like the beach as he did. When Andrei was younger, he went with the parents of his friends. Eventually, the group went on its own.
Lena particularly did not like the beach. While she wasn't a large woman, she also wasn't skinny, and felt self-conscious about other people seeing her in her bathing suit. In Andrei's family, ironically, nobody would take his or her clothes off in public. In Russia, it is customary for people to go to the steam room, but the Treyvas family would never do it. They weren't exactly Puritans, but there was no such thing as nudity among Andrei's family.
Andrei was shocked one day when he saw a friend's mother change clothes in front of him. Even though the woman wasn't naked, as she was still wearing a bra when she changed her top, Andrei was surprised by the way she didn't seem to give a thought to the children seeing her change clothes. His mother would never have changed clothes in front of him where he could see her bra, nor would he ever have had the occasion to see his father's underwear. It simply was not done.
"I know that my father has a huge dick, just because you can see," says Andrei. "But it was never purposely shown or seen because he never changed in front of me." Andrei's parents just did not feel it was necessary to change in front of their children.
The product of strict Russian mores, Andrei's family did not know how to handle the sexuality that seemed to be burgeoning in their son at the early age of four. In the area around their country house in the summer of 1976, there were approximately twenty to twenty-five children. Problems began for Andrei at this time because he was already starting to feel curious about sexuality.
During sleeping hour, when the children would be napping, Andrei began messing around with the other children, boys and girls, whoever would be next to him. "I remember two guys very well," Andrei says. "And there was one girl. I would touch their genitals, and they would touch mine." There was one boy in particular whom Andrei liked very much, and the two of them touched each other frequently.
Often children at this age become curious about the genitals of other boys and girls, and bouts of I'll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours commonly tend to result. Some touching even occurs on a relatively frequent basis. But in Communist Russia, no information existed that would help adults deal with the situation in a way that would be healthy for the children. Even in America, boys are jokingly told that masturbation will make them go blind, or that it will cause hair to grow on their palms. In Russia, it went beyond this sort of deterrent.
Eventually, the caretaker complained to Andrei's mother. When she arrived, Andrei was sitting on the floor, and she confronted him about it immediately.
Excerpted from NAKED by COREY TAYLOR Copyright © 2007 by Corey Taylor. Excerpted by permission.
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The under-qualified author writes in fawning adulation of his subject 'Michael Lewis', and has produced a stream-of-consciousness work of sycophantry. The viewpoints are odd, not curious, but odd, even galling at times. For example, by virtue of the subject's husband's alumni status, the subject is given the opportunity to speak to students at a Yale Master's Tea. Afterward, the author writes that the subject 'had joined company with other greats. . . like John McCain, Oliver Stone, Meryl Streep, [&] Kurt Vonnegut. . . .' Nowhere is the subject's greatness explained or demonstrated, rather it is assumed from the outset, and extolled as a means of proving its factuality. The delusion continues as the subject declares that because he has used New York's Fire Island as a location in several films, the local residents 'should put a monument to me on Fire Island, but they are way too arrogant for that.' The author fails to cite this as an example of the subject's own arrogance, but rather appears to quote the subject in steadfast agreement. All in all, this is a poorly-edited, exhaustingly-quoted, and failed attempt at a clinical analysis of its subject, lacking objectivity or excitement. Only upon reaching the epilogue does the reader discover that the subject terminated contact with the author during the course of the project. One can only wonder if the subject saw an early draft, and pulled out as a means of damage control.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.