Royal Navy hemp rope, used in the days of the great sailing ships, was a valuable commodity often disappearing from docks and showing up for sale on the black market. To combat the pillage, it was mandated by the government that all hawser must have an identifying red thread woven in the twisted length of the cord. In effect this crimson yarn connected all of the king’s ships rigging, making the property of the crown readily identifiable by the rouge yarn.

Dominick Montiglio

Dominick Montiglio

A rouge yarn of a different sort is the story of a man woven into the dark fiber of the cloak that shrouds the Mafia. An intricate part of the mob by default, Dominick Montiglio, neither wanted into the exclusive club of his birthright, nor did he have the strength to get out of the clutch of his controlling uncle, mafioso Nino Gaggi. Dominic was rouge and never committed to either a life of his own or an owned life in the rackets. He did however become the binding thread for the NY attorney general, Rudolph Giuliani, when prosecuting the Mafia in the mid-eighties in one of the biggest criminal trials in the city’s history.

Raised by uncle Nino, Dominick fought the gravitational pull to a life of crime by his avuncular benefactor. Dreams of a musical career eluded the young Dominick, and his own disappointments caused the house of cards built by the Gambinos to implode with all of the kings, jokers and soldiers Humpty dumped in a grand heap. Dominick came through the purge relatively unscathed – although his life was also in shambles. Because he turned state’s key witness and linked all the players to  past criminal intrigues, he was catapulted from mere messenger and bagman to legal linchpin for the prosecution. Big Paulie Castellano, head of the powerful Gambinos, was ejected from his haughty throne due to Dominick’s threat to testify against him; the threat of his pending prosecution prompted the slugs from the conniving John Gotti’s cohorts to drop-kick Big Pualie to the curb..

Nino Gaggi

Nino Gaggi

His uncle Nino was indicted based on Dominick’s testimony, as were all of the members of the Roy DeMeo Gemini crew. Other thugs from the ranks of the Gambinos were tried and found guilty as Dominick testified away during the long and arduous trial that ensued.

Before all of these events transpired, Dominick worked for me as a performer in loops. Feckless and  unpredictable, I was finally impressed with the power he had when it came time to sing, something he had been good at since his Doo Whoop days as a teen. He was the rouge yarn, the weakest link, and so caused the whole chain of events to snap the back of the most powerful Mafia element in New York City.

Another common thread emerged during the assembly of this book. Irony became the subtext with little effort on my part. The repeatedly bizarre consequences resulting from various characters indiscretions takes on a theme of its own. To my amazement it repeated itself again and again, binding people, places and events together.

A dangerous journey during  the heady years of the 1970’s, when porn was profitable, illegal and a loadstone for gangsters and profiteers attracted by easy cash from 8 mm smut loops, this book documents first hand reports of that era.

Possibly one of the most influential sociological changes since the industrial revolution, the advent of   hardcore sex films in public places, stripped away much of the quasi-moral vestiges of the ninetieth century Victorian era. It was a time when mores, morals and modesty changed inexorably. Porn was not the only sociological shift; it was happening in the arts, politics and society in general. Whether pornography was a catlist or a by-product of this change is difficult to cleave, but for certain it played a big part in challenges for first amendment rights.    

Literally at fox hole, basement level, I witness the paradigm shift from titillation to penetration in motion pictures. I paralleled the legal adjustments, while making films, and watched as the public demanded the ability to watch what they wanted. It was an important slice of American culture witnessing  implications of the past and the impact to the future. 

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~ by Larry Revene on January 3, 2013.

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