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For This Firm, Overexposure Is a Good Thing

Live Acts Video takes care of details so others can act out their fantasies.


The Gothic Bedroom, with its stained-glass windows and handmade birch bed, exudes a spooky, Anne Rice sort of charm. The gleaming, sterile Doctor's Office could be mistaken for the real thing. And the Dungeon is a baroque dreamscape of perverse pleasures, where participants can channel their inner Marquis de Sade and the whips and dog collars are compliments of the house.

But if Frank Keshishian had to pick one room that he thinks best exemplifies the craftsmanship and TLC he put into Live Acts Video, his unconventional new Beverly Hills business, it would definitely be the Barn, a rustic assemblage of straw bales, farming equipment and nostalgic Americana.

In fact, whatever your hidden romantic inclinations, Live Acts is eager to supply the sets, props and recording equipment. All you need bring are your partner and your libido. In exchange, you'll take home a lightened wallet and a videocassette or DVD of yourself appearing in what once were quaintly known as "compromising positions."

So far it's been an eye-opening experience even for Live Acts' owner. "I'd never been in this business before, but you catch on very quickly," says Keshishian, 44, a former Beverly Hills residential designer who soon may be regarded either as the Westside's biggest professional laughingstock or, conversely, as the most ingenious promoter of sexual adventurism since Masters and Johnson.

The outcome largely depends on whether Los Angeles, the world's alternative-lifestyle capital, embraces his unusual new enterprise or treats it as just the latest passing fling.

Billed by its owner as the first such business of its kind anywhere, Live Acts Video (www. represents the newest twist in high-tech-assisted sensual gratification. At prices ranging from $330 to $575, the Beverly Hills company offers couples and other interested parties the chance to preserve their most intimate moments on videotape or DVD, with the kind of production values you'd expect to find in the Dream Factory's backyard.

Lodged in a two-story beige office building a few blocks west of the Beverly Center, Live Acts seeks to project a sophisticated, high-end image. Original artworks dot its buffed and polished interior. Skylights and a gurgling indoor fountain create the soothing ambience of a corporate inner sanctum. Patrons may park in the rear of the building and exit through a back door, away from prying eyes.

Once inside, clients choose among the four themed rooms, meticulously appointed enough to pass muster on a Hollywood back lot. Costumes, props, background music and even rudimentary "scripts" also are provided for the imaginatively challenged. Where his visitors take it from there, the owner says, is pretty much up to them.

"It's not just about having sex," Keshishian insists. "There's a lot of role-playing, there's a lot of scenarios. When they're acting, I find that our clientele is much more aroused than they would be in a regular situation. They do have a better time, and they do have better sex. It's a total escape from their reality. It's allowing them to be someone they normally aren't."

Most sessions last about an hour, "plus a little bit," Keshishian says, after which full showering facilities are available and the set is scrubbed down with an anti-bacterial disinfectant and made ready for the next customer. "It's never under [an hour]. If it is, they're doing something wrong," says Keshishian, a humorous, soft-spoken man who looks as if he hasn't gotten enough sleep lately. "I'm so busy right now," he says. "I have no life."

Besides the four permanent sets, Keshishian plans to add a flexible fifth space that can be transformed in a jiffy into an office, locker room, clothing store changing room ("Say, how do those pants fit? Oh, excuse me, sir!") or whatever other fantasy interior the client fancies. Keshishian says the business operates in line with city ordinances governing adult-related establishments.

Each set is enclosed within a double-doored, fully sound-proofed room, armed with strategically placed microphones and three cameras, each with 360-degree rotation. Outside, a box lights up to indicate when recording is in progress. "There's something exciting about movies," Keshishian enthuses. "The average couple's like, 'We're on a movie set!'"


A Range of Packages

Of course, not all couples are average, at least when it comes to the size of their wallets. Accordingly, Live Acts offers three pricing packages that let customers decide not only how much to spend but how much seclusion they want. The Silver package, the least expensive, lets them record their session in complete privacy using concealed, hand-operated remote controls.

With the Gold package, a professional technician seated in a separate control room guides three cameras and selects zoom shots. The Platinum package provides a professional videographer "in the same room filming scenes as close as the client likes," according to the promotional literature.

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