Apr 10, 2012

I've Moved!

My darlingest dearies! I am hereby announcing (a bit late) that conflicted eXXistence has officially moved to my brand new, shiny, sparkly, still-under-construction website, LynseyG.com! All blogs have been moved there, and over the next few weeks I'll also be importing some fiction work, poetry, and other nonfiction from around the interwebz! Check in for new content, photos, and general awesomeness over the next month or so as I get my bearings, and thank you all so much for your love and support here at Blogger! Gooooo team! Peace out.

Mar 18, 2012

A Real Blog Entry! Vibrators and Awards and Santorum and Art!

Ok, guys, I'm going to attempt to do a semi-real post! I have about an hour of time and a computer at my disposal! And there are a few things that MUST be mentioned:

1) I am getting a REAL website! It should be up by the time the art show opens on Wednesday and I am SO excited! Right now it'll be mainly a work in progress, but it will tie together my many writing names, publications, art projects, and other sundries under one domain: lynseyg.com. Pretty exciting!

2) Consent is almost ready to go, and you guys, it's going to be amazing! The art space has been turning away dozens of people a day who arrive hoping to see it, since they're still installing, we've got some MAJOR art and mainstream press attending the opening, and I am a huge ball of nerves. But I'm so proud. I really believe that this show, which may just be the beginning of a larger project, is an important step toward sex positivity with regards to pornography--it will pull in artsy types, mainstream press, and people who never have even considered porn as a serious topic, and ask them to think about it. Really think. I'm so stoked! If you can make it out to the opening, please do--and wear your most outrageous outfit! It's free and open to the public, AND there's booze! There will be an after party at M1-5 bar around the corner afterwards.

3) Before the opening, I am going to chop most of my hair off.

4) Rick Santorum, I despise everything about you and your ideas. Even your sweater vest. I do usually try to approach negative feelings like this from a more friendly, love-the-sinner point of view, but for you I make an exception. I've been despising you for your hate-mongering for over a decade now. But at this monent, I want to hug you. Your promise to "crack down" on hardcore pornography and to "vigorously enforce" obscenity laws (which could be interesting, given that his standards [sex is baaaad] and most people's community standards [sex is fun] are very, very far apart) when elected president (*snort*) is exactly what I'm fighting against. You claims that you have access to research that porn causes major changes in the brain and that porn has caused a "pandemic of harm" to Americans in recent years. You know, Rick Santorum, your last name appears on plenty of porn sites. Maybe THAT'S why you're so upset--lathered up into a positive froth, if you will. And you know... it's because of small-minded, paternalistic pains in the ass like yourself that events like my art show, which invite people to speak about pornography in rational ways, are so important. As Annie Sprinkle said (and I'm stealing this directly from Jiz Lee's blog, which I'm about to link to): “The answer to bad porn is not no porn, but to try to make better porn!”

2) Jiz Lee is amazing. They have brought it to my attention, via their blog, that they are involved in 10 of the nominated projects up for awards at this year's Feminist Porn Awards! Go Jiz! I'm so excited for them, and I so wish I could be at the awards this year. Seriously, best porn-related party I've ever been to. Ever. But alas, I have plans already to escape to an upstate spa/hotel with my girlfriend that weekend for a much-needed vacation. I've already paid for the hotel, so no rebooking! Have fun, you feminist fappers!

3) And lastly, this guy is awesome. He's a fan of the vibrator in the bedroom, and for good reason. On the topic of sex toys as rivals for male sexual dominance, he mirrors my sentiments exactly: "What we’re talking about here is a vibrator. It has no soul. It runs on double A’s. It’s not your rival. It’s your helpmate."

It's a good day.

Mar 17, 2012

Life is beautiful!

My beautiful darlings, I am still alive! I am still working madly on this art show! Be strong, and wait for me! And be proud of me, too: I've received word that there will be press out for the opening, and we'll be having an amazing after-party nearby. Things are good. Life is beautiful. Spring has sprung! And the brochure PDF for the show is incredible:

http://apexart.org/images/lynseyg/lynseyg.pdf

Enjoy! I will be back soon

Mar 7, 2012

Wednesday is Link Day! John Waters, GOP asshattery, double features (with porn!), and the First Amendment

My lovely, lusty, lovelies! I bring you links of joy and tidings of excellence in general!

First of all, I want to thank Jiz Lee for bringing it to my attention that one of my favorite John Waters quotes ever (which is saying a lot; that man is a great quote machine) now exists in FB-friendly meme graphic form! Please, share with your friends:


Secondly, the obscenity trial of Ira Isaacs was just dismissed due to a hung jury of 10 (guilty) to 2 (innocent). If you haven't been following this one, Isaacs is a small-time pornographer known for making... shall we say... controversial movies. Corpophilia, bestiality... Not exactly the kinds of things that get you accolades from the artistic community, or really any community. And though Isaacs is happy to be let off the hook (for now--the trial may be brought again), he's disappointed that the porn community isn't rallying around him in his time of need. "I should be a hero, not a pariah, in the industry," he stated to Tracy Clark-Flory of Salon. "I’m fighting for their empire, but they don’t realize it." He brings up an interesting point--when a pornographer stands trial for obscenity, it's rare for the community to come to their aid. Similarly, while Max Hardcore was on trial a few years ago, nobody testified against him, but the porn contingent didn't exactly show up to stand in solidarity, either. He was left to hang, and to spend over two years in La Tuna federal penitentiary. Lots of people, however, stood beside John Stagliano, whose "obscene" movies tended more toward milk play than Isaacs' poo porn or Hardcore's piss siphoning. I guess the question becomes less one of freedom of speech and its importance to the porn industry as one of levels--the general public doesn't put pornographers on a spectrum from "more" to "less" respectable. Porn is pretty much lumped into the "bad people" end of the larger scale of things. So when someone is brought up on charges for doing things that push the very furthest boundaries of the uncommon and looked-down-upon kinds of pornography, it might seem to behoove other pornographers to stay away from the whole thing to avoid being lumped in at that end of the spectrum. And it probably does, in many ways. But at the same time... freedom of speech is what the porn industry survives on. There may be lines in all of our minds that indicate where the acceptable limits of First Amendment protection stand, but for an industry that's already maligned as the dark corner where the freaks hang out, a little solidarity might be of greater service than careful selectivity. Interesting tidbit that helps my point: the people who stood up for Isaacs on the jury? Little old ladies in Christmas sweaters.

Thirdly, what the FUCK is going on in South Carolina? Thank the gods of reason that the Laurens County "purity pledge" has been knocked down at the state level as the piece of horse shit it clearly is, but let's reflect for a moment on how far afield from reality conservatives are going: not only is Rick Santorum--RICK SANTORUM, for crying out loud--a real contender for a Presidential nomination, but a county in South Carolina wanted to enforce a "purity pledge" that any GOP nominee would have to sign, stating that the candidate must: have "a compassionate and moral approach to Teen Pregnancy" (hm, you mean like supporting reproductive health rights? probably not); oppose abortion under any circumstance (didn't think so); practice faithfulness to one's spouse, who cannot be of the candidate's gender (ohhh, blatant bigotry! nice, GOP, very nice); abide by abstinence before marriage; and--the kicker--swear that they don't "look at pornography." I think, between these and the other 23 rules they were going to stick in there, this rules out every human being on the planet. Jackasses. "Purity pledge." They must be talking about "purity" as in "pure, unadulterated dedication to intolerant bullshit." What are conservatives trying to do? Create some kind of fantasy land where they can all walk around talking about how none of them ever fucks around on their spouses, slapping each other's asses about how great it is that they never have "gay" thoughts, and acting like they've never jerked off to Belladonna? What is the damn point of creating such an elaborate system of lies? I don't get it.

And lastly, dude. Check this out. Double feature of The Graduate and The Graduate XXX, with popcorn and wine, at my art show. April 4. It is going to be GREAT. Details at the link.

Mar 4, 2012

Success = Federal Censorship

Well, everyone, I've made it. I have arrived at artistic legitimacy, and I wasn't even trying! The way I figure it, if a Federal agency takes notice of what you're doing enough to tell you not to do it, you are a success, which makes me, now, legit.

Check out this image. It's the front of a postcard that apexart was planning to send out to promote my art show, Consent (crappy snapshot, but you get the idea):



Pretty cool, huh? Evocative, intriguing, and yet not explicit. Kind of the perfect thing to mail to 9,000 people in 110 countries, right? Not according to the US Postal Service. I'm getting this all secondhand--I wasn't there for the meeting in which this was actually discussed--but the gist of it is that, when the people at apexart took these postcards and a mockup of the brochure that will feature more explicit images and an essay by yours truly to the Post Office to find out if they would be better off using envelopes, the USPS kind of freaked out. Apparently, according to the Powers That Be, the above image is blatantly pornographic and therefore cannot be mailed out to anyone who has not explicitly requested it. If it is, say the Postal people, apexart could face Federal prison time.

Seriously. They said that.

Look at that image. True, it's from a porn movie (Tristan Taormino's Rough Sex 2) and it features a porn star (Sinnamon Love). And it says the word "porn" on it. But let's take a moment to reflect on what can be sent in the mail. For example, a Victoria's Secret catalogue:

Call me crazy, but that beautiful lady is showing a lot more skin and boob than Sinnamon is on my postcard. And I'm pretty sure that Victoria's Secret catalogs get mailed to hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom don't really want them (like me, for example).

How about a print magazine with a readership of at least several hundred thousand, if not millions, that's sent through the mail every month?

Now, granted, Aubrey Miles isn't getting flogged in that picture. But I've got this suspicion that, given the choice between jerking off to a mostly-clothed, vaguely BDSM image like the one on my postcard, or the one with the totally naked woman with handprints on her tits, most American males might go for the handprint photo.

But my postcard just got censored. Some of this has to do with mailing lists--not everyone on the apexart mailing list signed up for it and therefore there's a bit of a legal leg for anyone who gets offended to stand on if they object and never signed up. But still. Seriously? This is straight up censorship. Freedom of speech my ass.

I'm so fucking edgy, people!

And I'm so glad that this has happened, in a way. Even though it's ridiculous, it points out exactly why it's important for me to speak up on this issue in the first place. The dialogue around pornography and sex positivity in general in this country, despite the efforts of so many for so long, is still nearly nonexistent. The Postal Service would still rather censor material like this that asks people to stop, think, and discuss than deal with any possible fallout. It would rather help disseminate material like the FHM cover above, which is unquestionably sexual and even, many would say, actively promoting the continued objectification of women in America, than help myself and apexart promote a conversation about what pornography is and how it affects us--and how mainstream imagery also affects us. Censorship and a larger unwillingness to talk about these issues is the reason why it's so important for me to keep trying.

The art space is printing up simple white-text-on-black-background postcards with the same text that will be mailed out, and we'll change the brochure to make it more mailing-safe as well. But in the meantime, I've got 3,000 postcards with the image you see above on them that the art space can't mail out. I can, however, mail them to people who request them... Sooooo who wants some postcards? Send me your mailing address to misslagsalot@gmail.com, and proof of government censorship will be yours!

Mar 1, 2012

A Quick and Dirty Post About Nothing in Particular: I am super busy

My darling babies! My sweet readers! Please don't forget I'm alive--because I am! So very alive, and so very well, and kind of stressed and freaking out maybe a teensy bit. So busy I've had no time for blogging, and when I have had it, I've been so tired I couldn't muster anything to write about! Some blogger I am! But for real, I did an interview for the show (someone else interviewing me) weeks ago that we just discovered was a bust because the footage was awful, so we had to re-do the whole thing, which is a pain in the booty because now I have to cut up entirely different footage. Ick! But things are moving along. Trust me, this show is going to kick every possible variety of ass.

But I hope all the waiting around for me to post--I'm certain you're all spending your days listlessly clicking around the internet, dully wishing for the shining light of my brilliance to light up your lives--will be filled with the breathless anticipation of the ha-yuge things I'm busy working on! When they land--oh the amazing-tude! Your lives will once again be filled with joy and wonder, I PROMISE. I'll have a whole website that ties together all my writing personas, my modeling portfolio, my artwork, my poetry, my fiction... all of it. AND I'll have an art show full of awesome stuff and rockin' events to show the world! If they're nor rockin' then... well... I don't know, I can't really promise any compensation for the wait, except that I'll (hopefully) be able to blog more.

Anyway, in the meantime, somethings to look forward to:
1) THIS is the sticker for my art show. How badass is that? I'll be plastering them all over NYC in the next few weeks. And look! They even have one of those cool new-fangled scan things on them! If you scan it, you get taken to the site for my show!

2) There are also sweeeet postcards to be mailed out soon. Want one to show off to all your friends? E-mail me your snail mail address! misslagsalot@gmail.com. I'll be mailing a crap-ton of them out this weekend!

3) I am seriously considering using Offbeatr, the new Kickstarter for porn projects, to fund a long-standing idea of mine... And I only tell you that because Offbeatr is a GREAT idea and I'm SUPER excited that it finally exists!

4) It's a damn good thing I'm so busy lately because Rick Santorum makes me want to vomit all over myself and everyone around me, and the fact that he is somehow a serious candidate for the GOP nomination is intolerable to me. But at least somebody made his image entirely out of gay porn:


 That is all for now, my ducklings! I'll be back someday, with awesomeness in hand!

Feb 23, 2012

An Idea I'm Putting Out There: is this how The Secret works?




I was talking to someone at my day job yesterday about an upcoming book we're publishing called something like "How to Attract Wealth with the Power of Your Mind" or some other ridiculous BS, and we got to talking about The Secret, and its attendant BS. But then, later that afternoon, I was perusing some links posted on Facebook by the indomitable Cindy Gallop about entrepreneurialism (btw, hardest word ever to spell) and spreading ideas to get what you want. And then later that evening I was watching the interview I did with Cindy for my art show (which, by the way, is moving right along--there are postcards bieng mailed out next week, the press release is up, and the brochure will be ready to go in two weeks). After that, I watched the interview I did with Sinnamon Love for the art show. Both of them are fascinating. And, looking back on all the others... so are they all. Really.

I'm not a big go-back-and-look-at-your-work type. Especially if my work includes my own voice or image being played back. (It gives me the creeps, and I can't possibly really sound like that!) But over the past few weeks, as I've been digging into the 20+ hours of video interviews I've done with people of all kinds about their relationships to and thoughts about pornography, I've been able to forget that I was in the room when they happened. I forget that I've heard all of this before. Because, really, you guys, these interviews are riveting. Every single one of them is so interesting that I end up with pages upon pages of notes, and the overwhelming desire to go do more of them.

I went pretty far overboard as it is. I interviewed around twenty people, and had myself interviewed, as well. I'm looking for around an hour of finished-product video footage for this art show. One hour out of over 20. I have about three weeks in which to do all of this editing. I couldn't possibly interview anyone else for the show. But I still want to. Sitting down with people in their homes and having long chats, often upward of an hour, about how they feel about porn and how it relates to their own sex lives... It's just SO interesting. Everyone has something new to say, some interesting anecdote or novel point of view. Everyone is an expert on this subject. It's fantastic.

I've been forcing myself not to keep asking more people for interviews. The ones I've got now are enough and I can't possibly handle any more footage. But this stuff is so, so interesting. It's so, so worth sharing with the world. I kind of want to put the full videos of the interviews out there for everyone to see someday. And I really want to keep doing these interviews.

So I'm trying something "Secret"-like. I'm going to put a thought out there and see where it goes. Right now this is just a tiny seed of a thought and one that's very undeveloped, so I'll let it float for a bit before I make a decision about whether to pursue it; what I'm looking for now is feedback and ideas on how this could work:

What if I were to do more interviews? Spend maybe the next year collecting them from anyone who wants to do them (within certain limits of course)? Then maybe put them all together somewhere, on a website, in a documentary, something like that? I think the information in them would be interesting to everyone and maybe useful to sociologists and other scientists. I think the general public would find them so, so interesting. I'm putting together a website right now that will hold my blog, links to other articles, some creative pieces I've done, etc... and maybe I'll create a page for viewing the full interviews I've got so far. Maybe that would be interesting to people, and from that I could get more feedback to determine where to go next.

But the point is--this art show has begotten some of the most interesting and important conversations I have ever had. They are fascinating. They are important. I don't think these interviews should necessarily stop here. There are so many more people I want to talk to that I didn't have enough time or the right location to talk to yet (some of you already know who you are) whose stories and ideas are just as interesting as those I've already talked to. This could be one hell of a project.

What do you think? Help me out here, folks.

Feb 17, 2012

A Cinekink 2012 Wrap-Up Part I


Well, dearest degenerates, Cinekink NYC 2012 has come and gone. Many have cum thinking about what they saw, and much debauchery has gone on at after-parties. The festival was, as before, a place for weirdos and pervs and sophisticates to come together, learn, and celebrate each other’s kinks and craziness. I was once again delighted to count myself among their number, and honored to be asked to do on-site interviews for the event this year. Video interviews are posted at Cinekink.com, featuring myself and many of the filmmakers who repped their films. Check it out, please! I think I did a rather excellent job.
Sadly, I didn’t see all the films at the festival this year, as I wasn’t able to make it to the opening gala or to some of the other screenings over the course of the week. However, I did see a boat load of them, and I, as always, have got some commentary to offer.
The winner of the Best Documentary Feature, Stage Brother, by Richard Buonagurio, was… well… it was weird but riveting. (Interviews will be up soon and I’ll link to it.) The real-life story of a young man who decides to become his sister’s manager on her journey to try to get into Playboy magazine, the film documented not only the baldly pseudo-incestuous relationship between a budding maybe-porn star and her doting brother, but also the havoc her career trajectory and narcissism wreaked upon the rest of the family. Tinged with sexual danger, rooted firmly in familial love, featuring WHACK! favorite Brittany Andrews (who served as a mentor to Jennifer), and spiked with fake-tan and melodrama, Stage Brother was Jersey Shore with an actual emotional connection. It was creepy and sometimes too-honest, but I couldn’t look away.
After Fall, Winter, the second in an ongoing series by Eric Schaeffer, was described as an S&M love story, but unfolded in on-location-in-Paris cinematic splendor as more of a troubled-kink primer on What Not to Do as a Kinkster. The acting was superb, the pacing mostly on par, the visuals lush… but the take-away message? While director/star Eric Schaeffer insisted in the Q&A that the film was kink-positive, I saw some problems in its Romeo & Juliet gone awry ending and its treatment of BDSM as merely an outlet for the negativity built up in both characters rather than a part of a healthy sexual experience. The film was absolutely beautiful, but I felt that it may have oversimplified its characters motivations for involvement in their kinks. But don’t let that minor indictment keep you away from this movie—it’s truly beautiful and well worth your own assessment.
SirwiƱakuy, by Amy Hesketh, an oddball modern take on an Aymara practice of “trail marriage” in which a bride is essentially kidnapped and “tested” by a prospective husband, was beautiful in a classic French film way—long silences, awkward moments, wan heroine and all. A truer S&M love story, along the same lines as Secretary, but with a much more artistic flair.
Sisterhood of the Sash was a shorter and obviously more female version of last year’s feature-length documentary on International Mr. Leather, Kink Crusaders. Sisterhood of the Sash, a reflection on the 25th annual Internation Miss Leather competition, was a beautiful, thoughtful, and lovely ode to the women of the leather community, who turned out in force to support it. The leather community never ceases to impress me—as far as kink communities go, this one has come together in a very real, very powerful, and very political way. Both IMsL 2011 herself, the indomitable and beautiful Sarah Vibes, and IMsBB (and Salacious Magazine editor in chief), kd, were there for the screening and to represent the leather family.
Cabaret Desire, Erika Lust’s most recent major release based on the idea of the Poetry Brothel (of which yours truly is a practicing whoreish member) was… Well, you all know or can very easily discover how much I love Cabaret Desire. The film is fun, sexy, and utterly appropriate for Cinekink, though seeing it on the big screen as opposed to my teeny tiny television at home was a bit of a revelation. For one thing, I hadn’t caught, on my tiny TV, that there is a vajazzled vagina in this movie. I don’t think the filmmaker was particularly thrilled about it, as it’s only indirectly shown in two small flashes, but, still. Vajazzling. You heard it here first. And, though I am a massive fan of Ms. Lust’s work as an erotic filmmaker and had advocated for the film’s legitimacy among members of the Poetry Brothel beforehand, I did realize during a few of the more wet-slapping-sound intense sex scenes that watching sex in a dark theater can be a bit weird.
The documentary (A)sexual, about the small but increasingly vocal group of people worldwide who identify as absolutely not interested in sex, was enthralling. It didn’t pretend to be a purely objective docu, as it followed closely the exploits of ­­­­­­­David Jay, the leader of the asexual movement, with all his eccentricities on unapologetic display. It didn’t take asexuality as a reality an more than it denied its existence as a sexual identity, and it showcased the problems inherent in such an identification. But it also, very adeptly and almost lovingly, addressed the importance of the right to self-identification in matters of sex. The haters who declared that asexuality was not real, the television commentators who demanded an explanation, the shaming attitude that sexual people tended to take and the apologetic stances that asexuals were forced to adopt in response… it all made me sit up and take note. What was going on here? If sex positive people like myself are forever complaining about the existence and prevalence of sexual shame—if we are concerned that sex is considered shameful by our culture, rather than beautiful—and if we thought that one way to escape this shame might be to renounce sex… well, then we were wrong. Apparently to have sex is shameful, but so is not to have sex. There is no way to win. This is perhaps even more problematic than I thought it was. There is no way to win, aside, of course, from having marital sex in the dark with the lights off in missionary position for the purposes of procreation. How depressing. And how important! Asexuals may be a largely unstudied minority, and who knows? Maybe they’re not even a real phenomenon as far as psychologists are concerned. But the issues they bring to light, and the community they provide for one another, is of the deepest cultural importance imaginable.
—Miss Lagsalot

Feb 15, 2012

FUCKSTYLES of the Queer and Famous

Up this week on WHACK! Magazine, my review of FUCKSTYLES, the newest amazing thing from Courtney Trouble and Tina Horn:

FUCKSTYLES of the Queer and Famous — “By the time [your brain’s] gotten comfortable, you’ve already taken your pants off!”
Directed by Courtney Trouble and Tina Horn
STYLISH FUCKERS Arabelle Raphael, Jiz Lee, Wolf Hudson, James Darling, Papi Coxxx, Jolene Parton, April Flroes, Sophia St. James, Maya Mayhem, Max Wellander, Varina Adams, Tobi Hill-Meyer
Queer porn is awesome. I know you all know how I feel about it, but I think I realized one of the main reasons why I feel that way as I watched Trouble Films’ newest release, Fuckstyles, which drops today (and yes, that is romantic). Not only is this movie filmed beautifully with lots of natural light and attention to detail and incredibly hot, juicy sex between partners so fucking into each other that sometimes they don’t want to open up for the camera at all, but also because this movie gets your brain and your boner going. I love it, and other porn like it, because you have to pay attention for at least a little while. There is no niche, no neat little category, that can tell you what’s going in any of the scenes here. This is not “tranny” porn or “lesbian” porn or “gay” porn or “straight” porn or any combo, really, of those easy compartments. Oh, no. In queer porn, there are no givens, and there are no niches. You can’t make assumptions about any person you see, because each person has their own distinct way of identifying, behaving, sucking, fucking, licking, and cumming, and many of them don’t match up directly with what you’d think when you see that person on the screen for the first time.
For instance, watching Maya Mayhem and Tobi Hill-Meyer go at it, it might take a few minutes of adjustment for many of us. They are both trans women who have not opted for bottom surgery, yet they use a strap-on when they go at it. Tobi wears it over her panties for about half the scene. This takes a few moment to process in your mind, before — whether you’re into what they’re doing or not — you have to admit that they are loving it and it’s pretty hot. And when April Flores goes solo with a large black dildo, there’s nothing typical about her masturbation — this one takes some time and some thought. Likewise, James Darling, a trans man, and Wolf Hudson, a biological man, go at it, by the time you’ve caught up with the bodies you’re dealing with, you’re far too deep into a searingly, sizzlingly, my-eyeballs-might-pop-out-of-my-head-if-I-don’t-touch-myself scene. It’s almost a trap: your brain has to get into the action and by the time it’s gotten comfortable, you’ve already taken your pants off without realizing it.
The point here is that you have to watch carefully for at least a little while to “figure out” what’s going on in many of these cases. Who is topping, who is bottoming, and whether this is working or not for you. (Certainly not everyone will enjoy a trans-man and cis-man scene any more than everyone will enjoy a scene with two femme lesbians, for instance.) But in queer porn, it’s harder to get an instant read than it is for a standard boy/girl scene from, say, Vivid. And that’s awesome because it makes you pay attention.
And that’s the beauty of it. Realizing that I had to focus on the people in queer porn made me realize one of the things that’s most disturbing about porn and often with the way we approach sex: we sometimes do treat people’s bodies like they’re a given. Like we know everything there is to know about the people we’re watching or fucking because they’re doing what we expect with bodies that are predictable. But in reality, it’s never a given. You can look at someone who identifies with their birth gender and every single societal norm dictating the expression of that gender and its attendant sexuality, but you cannot know anything about that person just from glancing at a box cover. We all have our secrets, our backgrounds, our fetishes, our own little tics that make us the interesting and sexy creatures we are, but in most porn those differences can get ironed out. We assume we already know everything we need to know about a person when we see whether they have a cock or not, and so on. But that’s ridiculous. We need to pay attention to everyone, not just queer people whose bodies and sex look different enough that we have to spend a little time thinking to come to a small understanding of who they are. But in queer porn, those differences and nuances are simply on display. They are not feared or squashed or shoved under any rug — they are flown high, like sails on the queer pirate ship, and they are fascinating and sexy because they are not just bodies. The bodies they have bring some of their stories with them, and they become interesting and much, much sexier because of that interest. I can’t get enough.
—Miss Lagsalot

Feb 13, 2012

Monday Funday Links-o-tron!

Good afternoon, all you beautiful people. It is my birthday (yes, please, lavish me with gifts and compliments and cupcakes and happy vibes!) and so I am not going to spend too much time doing anything that requires effort, like blogging. Instead, I am going to redirect you to some awesomeness. Behold:

1) The Cinekink film festival wrapped up yesterday after five days of fabulous filminess, with some of my favorite filmmakers (Courtney Trouble and Erika Lust) winning for their smutty offerings (Live Sex Show and Cabaret Desire, respectively). More to come soon with a writeup and picture orgy over at WHACK! Magazine, and you'll be able to watch all my live interviews with filmmmakers on the Cinekink website at the end of this month!

2) The San Francisco Bay Guardian published a sweet-ass story on queer porn's showing in Vegas for the AVN awards this year, with a so-sexy-it-hurts-in-a-good-way photos of Courtney, Dylan Ryan, and Billy Castro hitchiking nekkid. Hell. Yes. There were some issues with the journalist's representations of Jincey Lumpkin throughout, as you can see in the comments, but all things told this is a BIG victory for queer porn visibility. And boobs. Of course.  HAWT.
3) In more-serious-but-still-happy news: MTF transsexual porn performers are getting together and demanding more visibility and better treatment from their indusstry peers. I'd heard some rumors here and there, and read some press releases about how trans women were making a stink about being treated like second class citizens at the AVN awards this year, and that AVN had promised to do better in the future. AWESOME. And now there's this article in Salon, a major news source! I am so excited  to think that trans performers might be getting to a point of more acceptance in their community--after all, as Tracy Clark-Flory points out, TS porn is MASSIVELY popular and brings in millions for the adult industry, yet gets little attention or recognition because it's "taboo." I've always thought it's odd how TS women in the industry get shunted to the side, after all the hard work they do and the difficulties they face--shouldn't all of us here in the sticky-floored, taboo underworld be able to stand together as a community? It looks like we're starting to see that happen, and to get some allies outside the industry, too. Happy, happy day! 

Feb 11, 2012

Apexart and Lynsey G Present: Consent

I'm stealing this press release, but it's ok, because, ummmm IT'S MY SHOW!


Consent
curated by Lynsey G

March 21 - May 12, 2012

Opening Reception: Wednesday, March 21: 6-8 pm





By entering this exhibit, I consent to viewing and considering its content,thereby releasing the 
creators from all liability which may arise should I find myself unexpectedly offended, aroused, or 
embarrassed.
Have you ever opened up to anyone about your private relationship with pornography? Despite the 
common knowledge that the use of porn, particularly online, is nearly ubiquitous—according to 2010 
statistics compiled by OnlineMBA.com, 25% of search engine requests are for porn and over 28,000 
people are looking at online porn at any given second—few of us think or talk about it honestly. In the 
internet age, although porn is easier than ever to access, it is also easier to consume surreptitiously before 
"x-ing out" and deleting the web history. If the statistics are even close to correct, most of us are consenting 
cogs in the wheels of the porn industry's massive turnout, yet we often show a very different face to the 
public than the one we put on when we are alone with adult entertainment. The gap between our intimate 
moments and our public reactions to porn is rarely bridged with conversation or dialogue. Consent aims to 
close the gap between what we think about porn and what we say—to collapse the space between the 
"them" of the porn industry and the "us" of the consumer.

Lynsey G, a copywriter, reviewer, interviewer, columnist, and blogger writing for and about porn since
2007, has one foot in and one foot out of the adult entertainment industry. As something of a middle-man
between porn insiders and consumers, she has spent years talking, thinking, and writing about porn with
friends, foes, performers, directors, and everyone in between. Consent features video interviews with both
consumers of pornography and the people who make it, along with footage from dozens of adult films.
Exploring such topics as porn's relationship to body image, sexual behavior, addiction, performer and
consumer consent, piracy, sex as performance, personal and private identity, and more, Consent includes
interviews with several anonymous sources; performer and director Sinnamon Love; multiple AVN
Award–winning performer, artist, and author Oriana Small; performer and entrepreneur Nyomi Banxxx;
MakeLoveNotPorn.tv founder Cindy Gallop; artist, activist, writer, and performer Madison Young;
performer, director, and producer Mr. Marcus; performer, model, and activist April Flores; veteran
screenwriter Daniel Reilly; Fleshbot.com owner, writer, and sex educator Lux Alptraum; performer,
writer, and musician Danny Wylde; entrepreneur, director, and performer Kelly Shibari; and performer  
Natasha Star; and the show's curator, Lynsey G.
Image of Sinnamon Love courtesy of Vivid.com.

--Lynsey G

Lynsey G, sometimes known as Miss Lagsalot (and a few other, more ridiculous, pseudonyms), is a
writer, thinker, and porn critic operating in New York City. She splits her smutty scribblings between
DVD reviews, set copy, sex toy reviews, performer interviews, "sexpert" advice, think-y analysis and
criticism, and memoir-like musings in SFW publications like McSweeney's Internet Tendency,  
WHACK! Magazine, her blog conflicted eXXistence, The Whiskey Dregs literary journal, and The
New York Poetry Brothel, as well as a few NSFW outlets like Madison Young's TheWomansPOV
and some very "dirty" printed magazines.

Feb 10, 2012

Reflections from Cinekink 2012: Part One

It's that glorious time of year here in NYC when the Cinekink film festival returns to the Anthology Film Archives to entertain, educate, and bring oft-hidden communities of kinksters and the curious together. I'm loving it so far! I've been chosen as a juror to help select winners from this year's short film offerings, which has been tough already given the quality of many of the shorts, and I'll be interviewing directors this Saturday after the Bring It! porn marathon, which is, of course, the most anticipated part of the festival for horny little me.

In the meantime, however, a few observations that will probably all get some more attention later on, when I have a bit more time for reflection.

1) Vajazzling. Cinekink has brought me my first-ever sighting of an in-porn vajazzlement! What's hilarious about this, besides the fact that vajazzling is even a thing, is that the film in which it glitters is one I had already seen. At home, on my teeny tiny little television. I even reviewed it--positively, because it's really a great film. But on my teeny tiny little television at home, I didn't notice the jewels where pubic hair should be because, weirdly, the woman's pubic region is hardly shown at all from the front throughout her sex scene. When I was watching Cabaret Desire on the big screen on Wednesday, however, I caught a glimpse of some raised bumps in the pubes region and thought, "Either that's a vajazzle, or he's eating stone-ground mustard off her private parts right now, and I REALLY don't think he's doing that." Now, reader, please understand that I was very hungry when that thought occurred to me, but also that the color scheme of the sparkly lumps on her pelvis did in fact fit with the idea of mustard seeds, ok? I am a little crazy, but I'm not that crazy, all things told.
But ok, back to vajazzling. This is a trend that I thought had a small upstart kind of flame that went out very quickly, but there it was, in a film that I happen to know was filmed last summer. Now, it was filmed in Europe last summer, and we all know that Europe and America operate on different time lines vis-a-vis trends, but still, I was intrigued. I have no issue, really, with vajazzling. I mean, I love vulvas. And I love sparkly things. So all in all, it seems like a win-win, except for this little nagging, ultra-feminist, "But vulvas are beautiful all by themselves" voice that keeps squeaking at me from the back row. But I mean, why not get some sparkles put in down there for giggles, right?
But then it occurred to me that this actress actually did it for a porno she was starring in. I wonder if that was a giggle. Like, was she so amused by the fact that she was doing something as out-there as performing in a porno? Or was she worried about the lack of inherent glitter on her pubic area, and she wanted to fix that before anyone saw it up close? Or is vajazzling like a thing in the Spanish porn community? I have no way of knowing. But... weird.

2) Anyway, the word "vajazzling" got me thinking about the word "vagina," because I was sitting there in a dark movie theater listening to wet, "slap-slap-slap" noises as the film was playing and thinking, "The 'g' in 'vagina' is pronounced like a 'j' because there's an 'i' after it. So when the 'i' is taken away, it would be pronounced like a hard 'g.' So that means you must have to turn the 'g' into a 'j' in 'vajazzling' or else it'd sound all wrong, but then you're changing the whole root word. This is WAY too confusing!" And it is. The word "vagina" is a huge pain in just about every way. It's super unsexy, as Eve Ensler pointed out. It sounds very medical. It's not a pretty word to look at, and obviously, trying to play with it to make it more fun, a la vajazzling, makes it even weirder. Like, now there's jazz somehow incorporated into lady bits. Because otherwise it'd be "gazz" and then you're just talking about the angry purple-haired girl from Invader Zim. It's ridiculous.
But then, do we want to settle for "pussy"? That's so inappropriate for many contexts. Or there's always "vulva," which is more correct, actually, in many contexts. The inside is the vagina. The outside is the vulva. But "vulva" is even less attractive. It sounds like a lace doily on your great aunt's dining room table. Just. Ick. There's got to be a way around this. There's got to be a better term. Anyone?

3) Asexuality and shame. This is a huge topic and one that I will revisit shortly, hopefully with an interview with the director of the documentary (A)sexual, which screened at Cinekink last night. So I won't get into too much detail here. But here's the gist of it: in clips from television interviews with the founder of the asexual movement, sexual people lightly mocked and also shamed asexual people for identifying as asexual. Asexuality--the state of being uninterested in sex, and a budding identification for about 1% of the population who don't experience sexual attraction--was discussed in the same voice that homosexuality used to be. There were stories of unaccepting families, worried friends, intolerance, and shame. This was mystifying. In the Q&A session afterward, Angela Tucker, the director, said that she was surprised by the vitriolic response a lot of people had to "something that doesn't affect them at all." The same could be said for defenders of "traditional marriage" and other bigots who routinely shame people living sexual lifestyles they don't understand, but that's the thing. Being shamed for one's sexuality is terrible, but commonplace. One could assume, then, that people who renounce sexuality for a life without it would be free from the cycle of fear and shame that centers around sex in our culture, but (A)sexual proved that assumption to be false. It seems that nothing involving sex, or the lack thereof--no lifestyle, no identification, no practice, no lack of practice--can be right. There is shame in every corner. What the hell are we supposed  to do?
The answer, I think, was in the short film by Courtney Trouble and Tina Horn, What Makes Us Queer, which screened directly before (A)sexual: just fucking do what the hell you want and be open, loving, honest, and fearless. And just do it. If you're going to be shamed and castigated for your choices no matter what--just do what works for you.

And that's it for now, folks. Stay tuned! I'll be returning to Cinekink on Saturday for the smutty stuff!

Feb 7, 2012

Cinekink and Links! (And also, the MTA is awful.)

This morning has been a testament to the indignities that New York inflicts upon the people desperate and/or crazy enough to be determined to live here, come hell or high water. I spent about 20 awful minutes trapped in a subway car with an incredibly stinky person--and, readers, when I say "incredibly stinky," I really mean it; in New York I am exposed daily to numerous horrific smells, and this was about an eleven on a scale of putridness--before being stranded while trying to transfer to another train for another 15 minutes. When the train finally came, it was too crowded to fit onto, so I ended up walking 15 blocks to get to my dayjob.

Luckily, I love New York, and it was a warm, sunny morning. And also luckily, New York is awesome. Because, disgruntled and grumpy as I was by the Meteropolitan Transit Authority's absolute inability to operate according to its schedule, I still get to go to the Cinekink film festival from Wednesday-Saturday in the East Village this week, acting as a juror for the Kinky Film Festival's short films, and interviewing directors from all over the world. Because New York is amazing.

If you don't know about Cinekink, go to the link and find out more. It travels, so even if you're not in NYC you can catch the kink- and sex-positive awesomehood that is this super-fun film festival. It's one of the best experiences you'll have all year. I say that without any irony--I went last year and I'm SO psyched to be taking part in an official capacity this year that I'm slacking off many of my other duties just to do it. F'realz. Go.

Anyway, on to fun early-in-the-week links to peruse at your liesure (btw that should beproncounced "leh-zherr" like you're British because that's cooler)!

1) The rock star stuff: A fantastic interview in Richardson Magazine with the ever-awesome Jiz Lee, along with a whole lot jaw-droppingly sexy and powerful images of the genderqueer powerhouse!
2) The hilarious-yet-troubling stuff: Nightline did a short piece last week on James Deen. Sounds great, right? "OMG a popular male porn star on a network news show?! That's so great! Men in porn are getting more attention and porn is becoming less taboo!" That's what I wanted to think, too. But, true to form, prime time network television couldn't be progressive or even intelligent about this one. Apparently, according to Nightlime, James Deen's everyman appeal, charm, and sex positivity are "deeply disturbing" because, obviously, Deen is luring underage girls into watching porn. That's right, folks, this nefarious sin-monger is after your children! He'll make off with them in the night and... expose them to new sexual positions and pornography in which he kisses and respects his costars... which is... terrible?
Honestly, I'm annoyed by this bilge, but the way they cherry-picked the quotes for the interview to make him seem as ridiculous as possible (because, let's be real, I'm sure James Deen has got his dark secrets and what-not, but all things told, I don't think he's exactly the plotting, scheming, supervillain type, so they had to go for ridiculous over evil) is just so entertaining. And I'm not sure if the creators of this knee-slapping little segment are aware of this or not, but telling people on prime time that something is bad means more people will Google it. D'oh! Porn and sex-positivity: +1, sex-negativity and small-mindedness: 0.  
3) The absolutely fucking terrible: spoon-feeding semen to elementary students for a "taste test." Worst. Teacher. EVER. Holy CRAP. Let the fact that nobody had any idea this was happening for so long be a reminder that sexual predators are not always the monsters we want them to be. Not ever child molester wears a mustache and skeezy, too-tight pants and goes around gaping openly at children. They're part of our communities. That's why talking to kids about sex. their rights, and their bodies early is so important--so they can learn how to feel empowered enough to say no to weird shit like this. Ugh. This makes me want to go join some other class of animal altogether--amphibeans are looking pretty good right about now.
4) The redemption of humankind through positivity and sharing and porn--and Jiz Lee, again: They've put out a call for submissions to an open-ended "coming out about porn" project that you MUST get involved with if this story applies to you. If you work in or around the sex industry, particularly porn, Jiz is asking that you share your "coming out" story/stories with them. Personally I think this is the best idea anyone's had in a while: sharing stories of similar problems overcome is a surefire way to humanize the experiences and to bring people together. Sometimes the porn community is so dispersed and possessed of so many different types of people that it's hard to reach a consensus or feel a sense of community, but everyone who's worked in the sex industry has got some kind of story about how their friends/family/etc. "found out." They're funny, uplifting, heartbreaking, and ultimately SO human. Porn and sex work of all kinds needs as much humanization as it can get. Please, if you've got a story, submit.

5) Kind of sigh-worthy but still generally good: Susan G. Komen changed its mind about cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood after massive displays of outrage swept the country last week. This is awesome. Not because a bunch of fickle fucks at a bloated charity enterprise were brought back into touch with women's needs and how important listening to the people you serve is (although, yeah, that's great), but because its decision to stop donating to Planned Parenthood's breast cancer screenings brought out the sleeping dragon of Fucking With Women. Last year's Boehner-led assault on federal funding for Planned Parenthood was well-timed in that everyone was so busy worrying about Iraq, the economy, and so on that it met with resistance but still managed to pass. This year, though, when Susan G. Komen for the Cure tried to follow suit, Americans had had enough and vocalized as much--loudly. It's about time that the non-conservatives amongst us who value women's reproductive health all shouted about it at once. "What kind of fuckery is this?" we asked. "The kind we are SICK of taking." Go team!

Feb 5, 2012

My Porn Collection and What It Means to Me: or, porn titles are so lame

So I've been going through my stacks and stacks and stacks of porn DVDs. I haven't counted the pile-o-porn just yet, but I'm guessing it's holding at just over 200 all together, and I'm still waiting for the friends and colleagues to whom I've loaned out some of the better ones to return them to me, so that when my show at apexart opens on March 21, I will be in possession of nearly every porno DVD that's ever been mailed to me for review. I'm hoping the number will be somewhere in the vicinity of 300. As of a few weeks ago, before a few new additions came in, this is what the stack looked like (photo snapped on my phone):

C'est magnifique, no? Ah, how proud I am to own such classics as Sperm Sponges, Fuck Truck, Throat Yogurt, Fucked Up Handjobs #3, Chestnuts, and the classic Elastic Assholes #4! Such testaments to the human creative capacity! Such shining examples of the dignity of our 1st Amendment! It brings a tear to my eye.

...Ok, yes, I'm being facetious. As these DVDs have amassed themselves in my giant Rubbermaid trunk of smut over the years, it's been easy for me to forget about the bottom-of-the-barrel titles like Sperm Receptacles and the at least half-dozen iterations of Fresh Faces and other barely-legal bilge that I've been mailed. I tend to remember, and to actually review, the titles that stand out in some way. That seem to tell a story that might be interesting, or that have truly creative titles, or that simply don't seem to cater to the lowest common denominator of perversion.

But I'm not being all facetious about my pride at owning even these bargain-basement homages to our filthier nature, either. It really is a beautiful thing that our freedom of speech extends to such things as naming movies that highlight gaping assholes with absolutely no irony, much less a real need to mask what those movies are all about. Porn, though I often try to cloak it in higher-minded language, is filthy, and that's why it's so fucking important. I'm absolutely not a fan of being able to see the inside of an anal cavity lit up and focused upon by an HD camera--surprise! it's pink inside, just like everything else!--but it does give me this odd stomach-flip of grossed-out-ness and simultaneous joy that it's ok for people to distribute that material.

And furthermore, these movies--Buttworx, No Cum Dodging Allowed, Ass Stretchers POV, and the like--may not be on my top-ten lists for most important films ever made, and they may not be what I'll point to if I'm ever recommending my favorite stars' ouevre to a porn novice. But they are what make the world of porn go around. As much as I love to point people in the direction of some exceptional movies that my faves have made, or to fun/funny parodies, or to excellent scenes sizzling with chemistry, the reality for people who are making their livings on pornography is that you can't be so picky. Most days, you pack up your bags, head out to some house somewhere, do a scene with some specific act in it, and go home. That scene gets smooshed into a movie with a bunch of other scenes that are similar, packaged with a stupid title, and sent out to DVD warehouses... and sold separately online on VOD sites. You never see it, you never hear about it, you never get paid for it after that one day's paycheck. And if you don't just keep doing this, well... You don't last in the industry very long. So, much as I might not be a huge fan of Big Ol' Black Booties because it's not the most politically interesting, or the most progressive, or the most thoughtful porn film out there, I can't denigrate anyone involved in making it or pretend that it's not important in its own building-block kind of way.

Just a few thoughts to chew on before the Superbowl. I won't be watching--got an interview scheduled for my art show and plenty of other work-y things to do. Hope y'all have fun, and have a brew for me!

Feb 2, 2012

I Am SO Pissed Off

People. What the fuck. I'm having trouble articulating here. I'm an inchoate mass of seething rage. I really should just stay away from the news--it only ends in wrath. But maybe wrath is what we need. More people need to be as pissed off as I am right now, so that we can do something about this bullshit. And when I say "we," of course, I mean everyone who gives a shit about sexual education, screening, and healthcare for men and women and trans people and everyone else. So, most of us. As, you know, a species.

It's not so much that I'm pissed specifically at Komen for the Cure, which has withdrawn the funding it used to put toward breast cancer screenings for women at Planned Parenthood. I mean, yes, I'm really peeved at them for widening the gap that conservatives have been hysterically trying to open between "ok" healthcare for women (the stuff that married women of high moral standing and conservative Christian values need access to, like breast cancer treatment because breast cancer isn't their fault) and "dirty" healthcare for women with looser loins (STI screenings, access to effective birth control, PAP smears, and... dare I say it... sometimes abortions, which, of course, are the kinds of things needed by women who make the conscious decision to be "slutty" and who therefore deserve some kind of shaming or punishment, or something?). That is stupid, and I'm sick of hearing about abortion funding as if it's something that's negotiable or even half of what this whole debate should be about, which is providing people with access to healthcare they need in what is supposed to be the freest country in the world.

What is really, really pissing me off here is the creeping notion that certain proponents of Medievalism and backwards asshattery are spreading. The idea is that people, and particularly women, don't know what they want or need. Planned Parenthood has been in operation for decades and has become the nation's largest provider of sexual health services because people need it. People need it, and they go to it, and they use it. A lot. Every single person I know has either gone to a Planned Parenthood for screening or treatment, or knows someone who has. I got all my sexual healthcare from Planned Parenthood for the first six years of my adult life, -and to this day prefer the treatment I received there to any private practitioner's ministrations I've received since. I felt welcome there, un-judged, and supported. Millions of others have felt the same. We went there, and we go there, because we know what we need and Planned Parenthood is one of the few places where we can be sure to find it. We want and need to have some of control over our bodies, our sexual health, our futures, our lives, and yes, even the lives of our children. We do not deserve to be thrown to the wolves just because someone out there doesn't agree with our lives, and being infected with an STI, needing birth control to help us feel safe in pursuing our careers, being raped and needing access to Plan B... these things are not our fault any more than breast cancer is the fault of the millions of women who get it. There isn't fault here. There is human nature and the omnipresence of sex as a driving force in our health, welfare, and lives. We need to be able to control it, and we have the ability to control it. We need access to this ability. This is, in a country like ours, one of our fundamental rights, as the Supreme Court has ruled.

And yet there is this group of people who read select parts of the Bible like it's our legal code who want to tell us that we shouldn't have it because it doesn't fit in with what they consider moral--because 3% of the budget of Planned Parenthood goes to abortions. As if Planned Parenthood were devoting all its energies to butchering babies in back alleys, or as if it were running around on the streets promoting abortion as a cure-all for life's problems. As if we, the confused, look at Planned Parenthood and think, "Ah, sweet, sweet abortions! There's no such thing as the consequence of a bad decision, because I can get an abortion. Happy day!"

Holy crap. As if abortion is the kind of thing that people take lightly. As if it is a banner under which every human ill can be pasted. But Planned Parenthood, and its mission to provide adequate sexual healthcare to the masses of underserved Americans (those masses, let's be clear, have been getting bigger in recent years as healthcare costs skyrocket and unemployment grows), is there specifically to prevent these kinds of things from happening. By educating people about contraception and sexual health, by providing people with information and material help, it certainly prevents more abortions than it provides. It absolutely does. Along with the spread of STIs, the perpetuation of false infromation about sexual health, and the innumerable other ills that will come from the hushing-up of sex education and the shutting down of healthcare.

And I am sick to death of some deluded camp of weird, Puritanical, repressed, confused, and angry telling me otherwise. I am literally nauseous that there are women out there, like Handel at Komen for the Cure, who are ready and willing to take up the flag of these morons in the name of some fringe idea of moral rectitude that makes no sense in the real world. I want to pull out my hair when I see photos of women with sandwich-board signs picketing abortion clinics as if they were the living, breathing embodiments of The Madonna and the rest of us, just by being involved in getting treatment for sexual health concerns, are confused about our needs. I know what I need.

 This is not about abortion, or even about Planned Parenthood, or even about hypocrisy, it is about freedom and choice and my fucking right to do what I want to take care of myself. So who are you and why do you care if I take birth control or not? Who do you think you are that you can try to preach to me about the choices I make? And why the fuck do you think you can take those choices away from me?

I... have to go. Do something else. I am too angry this morning to make any good points. Thank god for blogs, or I'd be sitting here at my desk with steam coming out of my ears. This way, it comes out my fingers.

Jan 30, 2012

Links-a-doodle Monday: Condom Laws, Bacon Lube, Anal Tails, and James Franco

Hello there, friends. Today my brain is fried, and though I'd like to do an in-depth thought piece of what the recent condom legislation in the city of LA might do to the porn industry, instead I'll say a few words, then turn you loose to enjoy some smooshy links. Sound good? Ok! Here we go:

1) This condom legislation thing. It's been in the works for years, thanks to incessant whipping from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Michael Weinstein, and I was getting to the point of thinking that LA just didn't give enough of a crap about the porn industry to do anything about it, but lo! I was wrong (and so were most of the news sites that covered the story, like the one I just linked to on Gawker, which maintained that LA had shut down filming during HIV outbreaks: the "outbreaks" have been restricted to one person each, and LA didn't shut down filming--the industry itself did, out of concern for its performers). A few weeks ago, while I was actually in LA collecting interviews, a statute (is that the right word? I never figured out the differences, if any, between statutes, laws, etc.) passed that will mandate the use of condoms on all licensed porn shoots in the city of Los Angeles.
This pisses me off. I see all sorts of possible negative results from this short-sighted law-making, such as more unlicensed and less-professional porn being made with less oversight and focus on testing, less focus on testing in general, major companies being forced to make products they don't want to make, a flight from the safe haven of LA for filming and into territory where porn-making is neither legal nor safe, more arrests, more disease... Sure, it'd be fabulous if everyone wanted to see porn with condoms and if everyone in porn wanted to use condoms, but that just isn't how things work. And I'm nervous.
But a few people I've talked to have pointed out that the vast majority of porn is already filmed without a license, even in LA. And while it sucks that, with this legislation, if someone is caught barebacking on un unlicensed shoot, they and their whole company will be put through the wringer for it... There's not much chance that the cops are going to find many unlicensed shoots, which tend to happen in offices, private homes, and hotels. If the shoot going on is so massive that there are trailers, production crews, catering, etc en masse in some parking lot, then chances are that company can stand to shell out the money for the license and the condom fee, and deal with it. Wicked already shoots mostly condom scenes, and a few of the big parody companies can handle using condoms, too, since their audiences aren't in it just for the barebacking, exactly.
So I guess the worst thing about this legislation that I can see at the moment is that damn fee. Supposedly, the city of LA will be able to afford to send in agents or somesuch to all licensed scenes to enforce the condom rule (I'd love to see how that plays out--will they provide men in lab coats to personally administer prophylactics? hilarity could well ensue) because they will collect fees from porn companies. Because, obviously, most porn companies have plenty of money to spend on giving the government control over their performers' bodies. Actually... now that I think about it... maybe the most upsetting part of this legislation is that in arguably one of the most liberal cities in the country, the government has not just decided it has the right to tell people what to do with their bodies--it's also decided that just because a well-funded activist group told it to. If this trend continues, we'll be in Big Brother land in no time.
Oh, wait...

2) On a lighter note, let's talk about Bacon Lube. When I first heard about this I thought surely it was a joke, but it appears not to be. I... I don't quite know what to say. On the one hand, sure I love bacon. I've gone vegetarian several times in my life, and while I don't find steaks and burgers very tempting, bacon has always done for me in the end. No matter how intensely vegetarian I'm feeling, a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato and bacon will always get my salivary glands working overtime. But my other glands? Not so much. Bacon is delicious and all, but I personally think the bacon craze has gone too far. Bacon-chocolate martinis? Bacon cupcakes? Bacon candy? And now bacon lube? I might want some fried pork fat with breakfast or on a sandwich or in a salad or even just by its greasy delicious self. But up in my hoo-hah? YUCK.
The commercial, however? Brilliant.
)


3) I'd heard rumors here and there about James Franco's "porn project" at the Kink.com armory in San Francisco, and I just caught the trailer for Cherry on Jiz Lee's blog (they're an extra in the movie! sweet!). It doesn't look as interesting as I'd like it to be, but I'll give it this: it appears to be a movie that's actually treating the porn industry with some gravity instead of the "hurr-hurr," elbow-jabbing joke or unrepentant pit of moral decay that it's often depicted as in maisntream movies. If they managed to get the details right, this movie will get a huge seal of approval from yours truly!

4) I'm super-excited to be anticipating the arrival of my very own Crystal Delights anal plug with a freaking tail on it any day now! I've always wanted a plug with a tail because, seriously, how cool is that? I've already got a Crystal Delights plug with a giant shiny crystal on it, and now I get a furry one! But I just discovered--a bit late, cause I'm lazy--that the tail is made with real fur. That makes me a little creeped out. Like... Why not fake fur? I guess this is a luxury item and that's why, but the idea of having a cute faux tail makes me way more psyched than the idea of part of a real animal hanging out of my rear... Going to ahve to do some research into where the fur is sourced from. I'll report back soon!

Jan 27, 2012

The Phallic Fallacy

At a panel on sex education and porn hosted by Smitten Kitten in Vegas last weekend, discussions about a crap-ton of topics dear to my heart were brought up by panelists Nina Hartley, Sophia St. James, Tina Horn, Tobi Hill-Meyer, Courtney Trouble, Dylan Ryan, and Danny Wylde. I can't even begin to list them all, but I felt that a lot of what was being said needs to be said over and over and over until people start listening. The whole thing was filmed by Smitten Kitten and Reid Mihalko, but I'm not sure if it's available online yet. When it is, I hope that everyone gets a chance to watch the footage. Discussions of barrier use in porn (pros and cons), trans bodies and trans sex, triggers, abuse survivor empowerment... it all went down.

But there was one issue raised by Danny Wylde that's been playing itself over and over in my head, along with a discussion that he and I had the next day about the same issue. That issue was the way in which young men who are growing up with a lot of mainstream porn available to them might learn to see their roles in sex through that imagery. While I'm all about the groundbreaking discussions and leaps forward that have been made for depictions of women in pornography in the past decade, I think that it's getting to a point where a price may be being paid. There is a gaping void surrounding the understanding of (particularly straight) male sexuality, especially when it comes to porn. I feel like women have been eager, and with good reason, to take up this dialogue in recent years. We've become more empowered than ever before in taking back our voices and our desire, doing things for ourselves in sex and porn, and turning the lens of sexual empowerment upon ourselves. It's fantastic. It's necessary. It's awesome.

But what about guys? There is so comparatively little room for men to have these same kinds of discussions, and for many reasons I don't want to try to get into, but the net result seems to be that while the discussion and appreciation of the complex and astounding world of female, trans, and queer sexuality seems to be blossoming, the reverse is happening for male sexuality. Whereas women are more vocal than ever, men/males seem to be taking a back seat, a quiet, passive role, and while this gives the female contingent more talking and breathing space, which is good, a lot goes unsaid. And the result may be that all kinds of men are taking their cues about what their sex should be from places that aren't being very responsible about it, like mainstream porn that shows men as little more than hard-ons and tattoos. Guys in most porn almost never speak or moan, they don't show off their bodies aside from their sex organs, they don't show their faces. They don't moan, they don't writhe, they don't show any complexity or depth to their desire. They are, in very upsetting ways, like machines made only to fuck. They are disembodied organs of lust with no backstory, no layers to their sexualities aside from animal rutting. This is the easy way to film men having sex.

But it is not the whole story, and for people who are consuming this kind of material who may be unsure of the validity of their nuanced, emotionally-driven, difficult sexual desires and bodies and minds, it may be very very limiting. It may be stifling. It may be conveying the message that men do not have complex sexualities, that men just need to want to have sex and to be constantly, continually, perpetually, rock hard.

I am not a man. I am not very male. I don't know what it's like to have a penis. My adventures with strap-ons aside, I can't fathom what it's like for your sexual satisfaction to rely so completely on the engorgement of a phallus that's attached to me. I can't, and won't, say that erections aren't important, or that they're overrated, because I don't know how that really plays out in men's minds. But I will say that reducing sex to the hardness of a cock, and reducing one's abilities to please to that cock's longevity, is really, really wrong. And I will say that I've had experiences with men in which a few minutes of lackluster response from that ONE organ destroyed an entire evening, and sometimes laid waste to months and even years of fulfillment. I won't say that an erection isn't important, but if anyone has it in their mind that it's the only male organ that matters in sex, they're wrong: there's the skin, the balls, the perenium, the ass, the mouth, the fingers, the brain... They are all enjoyable. They are all important. And I think that porn's insistence that sex is an equation that goes: hard cock + pussy + humping = the totality of sex... that's hurting people.

Of course it's not just porn. The rest of our culture feeds into the obsession with erections, too: barrages of commercials, spam e-mails, music, movies... Everything comes back to the men-as-dicks thing. It's impossible to get away from. But porn isn't helping anything, and the further we get into the internet age of easy-to-access porn, the more difficult it gets to pick out the fantasy-vs-reality aspects of pornographic sex. The real bodies versus the professional bodies, with their editing and fluffing and discipline and one-in-a-thousand natural abilities.

I worry about this. I worry that the men I sleep with think all I want from them, or for them, is an ability to get hard. It's so  much, so much more than that. I want them to want more, too.

More on this later...

Jan 25, 2012

A Letter to Max Hardcore

So here I am, on my lunch break, composing an e-mail to Max Hardcore. The bogeyman of porno--the man anti-porn zealots can point to when they're making their accusations. The guy who just got out from a 30-month stint in a federal penitentiary for disseminating obscenity across state lines. The one who more or less invented the term "skull fuck." Who gets his actresses to call him "Mister" in knee socks and pigtails, and then, in some cases, syphons his bodily waste into various orifices. That guy.

He and his case have both fascinated and repelled me for years and now that he's out of jail and filming again, I'm hoping he'll agree to a live Skype interview in front of an audience during the run of my art show. I want to show a few minutes' worth of one his movies to the audience, then bring him up on a big screen and ask him some questions before letting the audience ask theirs. Because I think he and what he does and what's happened to him, for better or worse, is important. But honestly, he freaks me out.

I ran into him last weekend in Vegas at the Adult Entertainment Expo, and did an on-the-spot five-minute interview with him on video. I'd been wondering what it would be like to meet him: everyone I know who knows him assures me he's a nice guy. Some even call him sweet. He's certainly well-spoken. When I wrote him a letter in prison, hinting at doing an interview with him about his work, he wrote back a five-page letter on lined notebook paper that he'd turned into stationery. "Max Hardcore," it said at the top, "America's Most Infamous Prisoner (TM)"--or something like that. He'd gone into detail about how shocked he'd been when a jury of "his peers" had found him guilty of violating their community standards for obscenity, citing First Amendment issues and the rights of the artist. I discontinued our correspondence after that, less interested in the technicalities by which he was incarcerated and more in why he made the films he made in the first place, but his arguments were valid.

Max may have done some things on camera that I can't agree with, but so have Eli Roth, Stanley Kubrick, and Michael Bay. The difference is that Max deals with a part of our human nature that we don't see as fundamentally ok--sexuality--and brings in aspects of one that we love--violence--and mixes them together in a really disturbing way. Is he an artist? I don't really know about that. But did he deserve to go to jail for making those films? Surely not. Although I don't like his tropes of violence, feigned rape, dressed-up-to-look-underage girls, etc., I don't agree that he should have gone to La Tuna for allowing one of his distributors to mail his European (read: much hardcore-er) materials across state lines into a more conservative community (a problem which digital distribution may largely nullify in coming years). The charges for which he served two and a half years were rididuculous; what he really went to jail for was having sex some people didn't approve of, and filming it. And that's ridiculous. Nobody forced anybody to watch his movies--except, probably, in court. Nobody has ever filed charges against him for forcing any of his actresses to do anything they didn't want to. Nobody testified against him in court. He swears up and down that if anyone had a problem on the set of his movies, they stopped filming. The guy didn't need to do hard time, as far as I'm concerned.

But what I really think is fascinating and important about Max isn't his martyr status or the freedom of speech issues he represents. It's what goes on in his brain in the first place. Everyone I know who's worked with him or known him personally seems to genuinely like him. He's got a kind smile and an easy-going attitude. Every film he's made had all the necessary paperwork filled out, the i's dotted and t's crossed. He uses only consenting adults on shoots that it's hard to believe anyone could go into without understanding exactly what they're in for. But what they're in for is so far above and beyond the norm, so wildly over the top, so violent and--at least for me, but I realize that this doesn't apply to many others--upsetting to think about, much less to actually watch, that I can't help wondering. What goes on in his head? How is such a kind, gentle guy also Max Hardcore? How does the guy who everyone vouches for turn off his sweet demeanor and turn on the degrading language, the water-works that get siphoned into anal cavities, the willingness to skull-fuck someone until she vomits? How does this disconnect happen? Does he really hate women, or does he really love women who like this kind of sex? Is there really a disconnect here or just a love of extreme sex? How does this work?

This is what I want to find out. It's deeply interesting. But it's also scary. In Max Hardcore I see some of the things that porn gets blamed for and shunned over, the things that your mother fears when she tells you not to look at dirty movies. But I also see our neverending worship of the morbidly fascinating--the rubbernecking at the train crash. Whatever's going on behind his blue eyes is, maybe reassuringly and maybe terrifyingly, universal. I don't want to judge Max in front of an audience, because I don't think I'm qualified to judge something that interests us all. I don't want to hold him up as an example of "what's wrong with the world" or any such silliness. I don't want to say that what he does and did is right or wrong. I just want, like everyone else, to understand it.

So. How do I start this e-mail?

Jan 22, 2012

The Ugly Truth: I hate porn conventions

Let me be frank, dear readers. I just had the coolest week ever. I hung out with some incredible people, talked about things that were very important to me with lots of them, drove across the Mojave desert, and spent a truly inordinate amount of time watching TV in hotel rooms (hey, I don’t have TV at home—I’ve gotta make the most of it when I have one in my grasp!). 

And I remembered, for the umpteenth time, just how much I dislike porn conventions. I attended part of Friday afternoon’s and most of Saturday’s Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas—gave out my card, interviewed some people, did some networking… the usual. With every passing year I find myself more and more annoyed with AEE, and this year’s cramped quarters in small spaces inside the Hard Rock, complete with insufficient signage and too-loud music, really drove my loathing of conventions home for me. Even though I got more “Oh, I know who you are!” recognition than ever before, and even though this made my job much easier than it was the first time I attended, I still less-than-enjoyed almost every minute of it.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with conventions. In their way, they’re fantastic. They give fans an all-important chance to grab some face time with their favorite performers, cementing relationships that might otherwise not have led to much in the way of sales for the porn industry. And they’re fantastic networking opportunities for professionals in the industry.

But that’s why I hate conventions. I despise networking. I think it’s one of those things that I’m actually quite good at, as I tend to walk away with a billion business cards in my pockets and lots of follow-up work to do when I get home. And I know that networking in a small industry facing many obstacles it's mega-important. But I just can’t stand doing it.

I think it’s the same thing that keeps my writing obscure and spread out under various pseudonyms online: I just don’t enjoy promoting myself. Networking is all about pitching people your wares—convincing them that what you can do for them is something they really need done. And I realize that porn people really do need news sites like WHACK! to advertise on, exposure in the way of interviews and press release posting, so what I’m hawking actually is important. But I am a terrible salesperson.

I also hate interviewing people, especially on video. This is a rather large problem for me, since one of the things that has earned me a reputation in my industry is doing just that. And it’s ridiculous, because in the entertainment world, interviews are mega-important for getting the word out about people, projects, companies, etc. But I always feel as if I’m prying, or bothering people, or taking up too much of their time. And I can’t stand watching myself on video. Given that porn conventions are prime interview-getting time and that most of those interviews feature me with a stupid look on my face asking what seem at the time to be inane questions of various performers, conventions are to me somewhat akin to pulling out my fingernails one by one with tweezers. 

The reason I feel so willing to dish about how much conventions make me want to hurl myself off a high ledge is that I can juxtapose my loathing of them with my delight in spending actual quality time with people in the porn industry. Whereas conventions are constant lights, flashes, interviews, poses, and fake-fakity-fake-fakeness for the thronging crowds of fans (which is all well and good if you’re into that kind of thing), the conversations, panel discussions, and quiet time I gleaned on this trip to LA and then Vegas was, for me, incredibly rewarding. I spent time deep in conversation with people from all the corners of porn: all genders, sexualities, races, preferences, styles, and levels of fame. From megastar Nyomi Banxxx to transman Charlie Spatz to legendary crusader Nina Hartley and everywhere on the spectrum in between, the people I spent quiet time talking to over the past week were fascinating, articulate, knowledgeable, and honest. With the flashbulbs quieted, the music turned down or off, the crowds shut out, and just a few of us sitting there talking about what porn means, what it is, what it can be, and what we want from it, I felt at home. Exhilarated. Challenged. Appreciated.

I guess this is what makes me something of a homebody when I get the chance to be one. It’s a longing for real interactions with people that just don’t happen very often on the show floor, if ever. It’s a quiet living room, a movie, and some popcorn. It’s mutual understanding, questioning, and willingness to listen. It’s… well… Friendship. And it’s what I love about porn: porn people are smart, funny, and deep. You can’t work in an industry so universally maligned and so physically demanding without coming to understand and accept yourself—and if you don’t, you’ve got some bigger issues to work on. The people I meet in porn who I can sit and have a real conversation with are among the most intelligent and interesting I’ve ever known, and it’s those conversations that make me want to write this blog… And keep going back to conventions, whether I like it or not.

Jan 16, 2012

I'm Off!

Wish me luck, everybody! I will be flying to LA tomorrow morning to conduct interviews with as many adult industry insiders as I can get my grubby little hands on! Or... not hands, I mean. Um. My... interviewing prowess.
Yeah.
Errr... that got awkard.

Yes, so anyway, I will be in LA from Tuesday-Friday, then I will fly to Vegas to try to nab a few more interviews, then back to NYC on Sunday. It is going to be a whirlwind trip, but I think it will be absolutely amazing.

Why?

Because the people I have interviewed so far about their personal relationships to sex and pornography have been fascinating. Everyone is different, and everyone is so eager to talk about their lives and experiences and ideas. The thing I have found the most in common with everyone I talk to is that, while everyone's words are different, their excitement about discussing this part of their lives is almost boundless. While many of us have talked about our sexualities over the course of our lives, I find that few people have been asked about their relationship to porn--sexual, intellectual, spiritual, whatever. This isn't as true, of course, for people who work in the adult industry, but so far, even they have opened up to me in a really amazing way. I have felt privileged to hear the very personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences of everyone I have spoken to so far, and I can't wait to hear more.

I will try to update the blog as often as I can during my trip! I will be all by my lonesome the whole time, so free time will be hard to find. Wish me luck!