Oct 30, 2011

Madison Young: My Porn/Art Hero

I’ve been trying to figure out how to blog about my afternoon with Madison Young last weekend. It was a week ago today that I went to the art space where she was setting up for her current show, “Building Our Own White Picket Fences,” sat down on the floor with her, and talked for an hour and a half about motherhood, sexual hypocrisy, pornography, art, and consent. And in that week I’ve been replaying our conversation over and over in my head, enjoying it every time. Because Madison and I seem to have each taken half of the same brain—her, the more action-oriented extroverted half, and myself, the more introverted, thinky, writerly half (thought both of us seem to exhibit traits of both halves)—and taken some genetic material and life experience from elsewhere to fill up the rest of our skulls. In the interview, which I filmed, she said everything I’ve always wanted to hear a porn director and performer, artist, and human being say about human sexuality. We were vibing like woah.

But the thing is, since this interview was for use in the art show I’m curating for a spring show at apexart here in New York, I kind of have to keep the details under wraps for now. Not that any of it was groundbreaking or entirely new or would hurt anybody if it were let out of the bag, but I think I need to spend some time thinking about it in my own quiet, private way to see how it fits into the larger ideas I’m working with in my show, before I share with the world.

So let’s get past the details. Let’s say that in San Francisco there is a woman who inspires me. A saucy redhead with pale skin and beautifully clear, blue, penetrating eyes who says what she thinks, does what she says, and lives a life so open and honest that it makes me want to reexamine my tendencies toward secrecy and the way I jealously guard my privacy. Maybe, she makes me think, privacy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. As an artist she takes her guts and raw emotions, tangles them up and unties them again, and fits them into and around art installations she designs. As a pornographer she unwraps the veils of propriety that society tries to shove onto her body and steps forward boldly, as naked and exposed as a person can be, and revels un-self-consciously in her body and her pleasure. She’s a living tribute to the bravery of the queer movement, the danger and joy in the sex-positive movement, and a personification of the kind of courageous radical living that I wish I knew how to engage in, myself.

I’d always thought that Madison would be this way, but it’s difficult to judge people from afar in some ways. A woman of her intelligence, discerning, business acumen, beauty, and balls could easily have proven aloof, pretentious, unfeeling. She could have been uninterested in our conversation. She might have found my questions simplistic and treated me accordingly. Who knows? Our heroes are often much more intimidating before we’ve met them. But I found Madison to be open, kind, interested in what I had to say, and welcoming in every way. When we hugged to say goodbye I knew it wasn’t a cursory way of saying goodbye, but an acknowledgment of her appreciation for me and I of her. It was just….

Hehehehe, ok I’m geeking out. I’ll give it a rest. But the point is: Madison Young is amazing. As a pornographer, an artist, and a human being, she makes me want to be a better person. Please check out her newest art show for Femina Potens as part of a queer community-building project (which you can donate to on Kickstarter) if you're in the Bay Area, or check out her writings and films online.

Oct 26, 2011

San Francisco Wrap-Up: Masquerotica

Last Saturday night I went to the first-ever Masquerotica soiree in San Francisco, the kinda-sorta replacement for the city's long-running Erotic Ball. Having never made it out to the Erotic Ball, I hoped Masquerotica--a costume-mandatory behemoth of a rager with nine stages of entertainment ranging from burlesque to go-go dancers in bubbles and leather to pole dancing to latex showcases-- would be a sexy and sophisticated replacement. San Francisco, after all, is the modern ethical hedonist's mecca for all things sexual. San Francisco is so liberal that I expected the entertainment and partygoers to maintain a sense of detached frostiness--a willingness to party, of course, but a recognition that in a city where big burly bears can walk blocks to a sex party in fairy outfits without being heckled, erotic parties can be a bit banal.

And to some degree I was right. The entertainment was nothing short of fabulous all evening. Some technical difficulties in lighting and sound were a tad annoying, and the space itself was far too large with the stages often much too spread out to get a good rager going. But the shows being put on, even if far apart, were really great. I particularly enjoyed the zombie strippers, performing shamblingly inside a large wire fence and beind handled by white coverall-wearing men. And Unkle Paul's Dark Kabaret showcased remarkable talents (I saw a guy blowing bubbles INSIDE other bubbles!! If I'd been on drugs my brain would have exploded) as well but also stunningly gorgeous latex and corsetry that wowed me. And the dance parties were all great--there were many. And I was right about the crowd being a bit "meh" for the most part. Because of the awkwardly oversized space in which it was held, it was almost impossible to get anyone together in a tight enough knot to get a serious energy buzz going, so the whole affair was rather laid-back.

But it was also unnervingly familiar. The thing about sex parties and sexy parties alike--and you're reading the ramblings of a seasoned pro at swing parties, erotic parties, porn star parties, and so on--is that, no matter how sophisticated the crowd, one element will never disappear. That element? It's not the super-hot fun. No, sadly, it's the creepy staring dude factor. No matter how cultured the clinetele, no matter how liberal the city, at every single party I've been to that has ever had an openly publicized sexual element to it, there has been a gaggle of gawking males standing around and ogling the women who pass by, sometimes following them around (at Masquerotica this was particularly apparent, since that often meant whoever was following me would be doing it for a half mile of corridors and dance floors), sometimes reaching out to try to touch, sometimes dancing too close, sometimes saying innapropriate or unwanted things... you get the idea. Basically, it seems that if you're selling tickets to the public (and often even if you're screening heavily or not allowing single men in at all) for an event that will bring out scantily clad women... you will get a creep factor of way higher than you want it to be.

Now let me make it perfectly clear that I'm not trying to be snotty. As a matter of fact, I've been to so many events where guys stare longer than necessary at me or other women that I hardly even notice it anymore. I've adoped an "I know I'm amazing, so it's only logical that you'd be struck dumb by my coolness" mentality at events like this. I notice the stares in my peripheral vision but usually just walk by. Unless someone accosts me, whatever. They can look all they want. But at Masquerotica I was with a dear friend who doesn't go to this type of party often, and she was unnerved by the dilated pupils, sweaty hands, and panting breath of many of the guys we walked by that night. I couldn't blame her. She'd gone in with the same expectation I had--that people at this party, in this city, would be a bit more inured to people being dressed up and beautiful, or at least more able to hide their astonishment when a pair of beautiful bouncing breasts covered only with pasties or latex walked by. But alas, we were both mistaken. Over the course of the night, we were approached by hyperventilating, handsy clowns; followed by tall men in masks for the length of the show floor; aggressively danced with by sweaty strangers we didn't want to dance with; and otherwise creeped upon. Ick.

I could try to go on some evolutionary-psychology-fueled rant about how men are visually oriented and are stimulated more by looks than women. I could apologize for asserting that guys like this are just creepy and I don't like them. But personally, while I wish this all hadn't happened and that the guys in question would just cool their jets a bit, I think the indictment for this behavior doesn't lie on men per se. But on the culture.

Even in San Francisco, it seems, our Puritan-rooted society hushes up sexuality to such a  stifling degree that, when faced with a sexual situation, people become slobbering stalker-y creepsters. So much of our basic desire to be able to be free with our bodies and comfortable with their sexual natures is so pent up for so long that when a party is offered that promises some small release... it turns into an explosion of awkward. We're not trained or prepared by normal life to be in a situation where there are beautiful bodies bouncing here and there in lingerie. We're used to hands-off environments--even in strip clubs you are not allowed to touch--and Masquerotica was hands-on (if you got permission). We're used to tamping down, shutting up, pretending not to be looking, pretending not to be interested, because we're told it's never appropriate. But what we end up with is not a culture of adults who can handle themselves around sexuality, but a culture full of people reverting to outright rudeness and middle-school behavior because there is no other context in which to get comfortable seeing nearly-naked people. Even in San Francisco, where nakedness and sex is a whole lot more out in the open than in most places, the fun of the evening was transformed for many into a chance to unleash the drooling thirteen-year-old who never grew up because he couldn't find enough free air to feel comfortable around open sexuality. It's a sad state of affairs.

I don't have a solution, but I do have a suggestion: talk, keep talking, write, keep writing, read, keep reading. Go to sexy parties. Open up. Learn how to be appropriate and mature. Sometimes the only way to do that is to be inappropriate and immature first: that's ok. Just know that sometimes you might not get the best reaction to that. But it's all about learning, owning yourself and your sexuality, and moving forward. So here's to Masquerotica! I'd go again in a heartbeat.

Oct 24, 2011

San Francisco Wrap-Up: Ultimate Surrender at Kink.com

Well, my lovelies, I have returned from the Wild West. I wouldn’t call myself a changed woman, necessarily, but I have seen things that I will never forget, learned a lot, and eaten one hell of a delicious burrito.

On Friday evening, October 21, I hied myself with all haste to the San Francisco Armory with a dear friend who is far less involved in the porn scene than myself, to witness the spectacular spectacle of Ultimate Surrender, Kink.com’s live telecast nude wrestling/domination/sex show. I’d read about Ultimate Surrender before, in several places ranging from Tracy Clark-Flory’s offering in Salon to interviews with some of the adult stars who double a wrestlers for Kink.com, and to be honest, I had no idea what to expect. It seemed bound to be enjoyable—I’ve always had a fondness for the staging and pageantry of WWE-style scripted wrestling, and with naked people and sex as part of the show… the fun would be doubled or perhaps trebled. But then again, this was live, unscripted, and featuring women forcibly shoving their fingers into each other’s vaginas and holding each other down to lick their clits. On the one hand, it could be fun—the competitors jus ttrying very hard to have sex with each other… first! But on the other hand, it could be kind of like watching… well… sexual violence as carnival fun. I was nervous, to say the least.

The match I saw was Ultimate Surrender’s first-ever tag team match, featuring 4 featherweight fighters. These women were all under 105 lbs. I found this in itself promising, not because it’s more fun to watch small people beat each other up, necessarily, but because I myself weigh in far short of 105 lbs, and people are forever telling me that I’m “so cute” because of my size. Personally, I think of myself as more of the “fearsome warrioress” type than the “awww, she’s so cute” type, so I was edified and feeling kind of validated that people my size would get to show their toughness to a live studio audience, and the entire world via the internet.

And then things got real. Really awesome. There are, I won’t deny it, many ways in which what I saw was hella un-PC, and in which it certainly brings up  legitimate questions about women’s bodies as commodities. The fighters earned points for face or neck licking and kissing, breast fondling, face sitting, breast smothering, pussy licking, fingering (external), and fingering (internal). Control was rewarded. Submission penalized. It was rough. It was straight-up violent. And sex was the ultimate goal. You don’t have to squint very hard to read a whole lot of patriarchal control and gender issues into it.

But you know what else? It was fun. Everyone in the room—audience, referees, and fighters—was having a blast. Team Yellow (Gia DiMarco and Lyla………) were grinning practically the entire time, even when getting smashed into the floor by their opponents, Team Blue (Emma Haize and Selena……..). Team Yellow were both long, lithe, and lean… and so wiry that Team Blue could scarcely pry them off each other’s backs. But Team Blue had Emma Haize. And Emma Haize is a CHAMP, people. This small but fierce powerhouse fought like a compact cannonball with a grim determination on her face that was kind of awesome. And yes, they were naked—they started out with bikinis but went immediately for the straps and stripped each other quickly—but it was refereshing to see women in a sexual context get to be strong, too. The beauty of the scene wasn’t just in watching Emma ride Gia’s face (although that was pretty nice), it was also in watching their grappling and straining. Whatever it was the Greeks saw long ago in naked male wrestling, it was legit. And boobs can only make things better.

And furthermore, this being Kink.com and people who opt to work for them being generally of the rough-and-tumble kinky sort, the women seemed to really enjoy being held down, dominated, and fucked by the other team. Orgasms put several brief stops to the fighting, and even though they struggled to keep their legs tightly closed, when they were forced open by the other team, most of the women didn’t object too strongly. The exception here may have been Selena…….. She seemed a little less than enthralled by the whole thing, and there were several times when her face contorted in a pained grimace that made me feel like a sexual predator for watching. But she fought hard, and appeared sometimes to be having a blast. Just not the entire time.

Team Blue eeked out a victory in a final round so intense that the crowd was left in a hysterical frenzy (by the by, this event is BYOB, a fact I wish I had known before I’d gone in totally sober, but those around me with beer and wine were having a fantastic time). After a short break during which the winners and losers negotiated the terms of the losers’ punishment, all four women came back out onto the mat with two of Kink.com’s most hardcore and seasoned fighters, Isis….. and ……., and gangbanged the two losers to great effect. Emma looked exhausted after having almost single-handedly won the match, but she destroyed any elasticity that may have remained in her opponents’ holes with almost as much relish as they received her tough love. Isis and …. Took turns fisting both Team Yellow members and parading them around the mat for the audience’s enjoyment, and it being International Fisting Day, the crowd went wild. In retrospect, I’m not sure the crowd or the fisters knew that it was International Fisting Day, but it was appropriate nonetheless. Both the losers ended their sessions with gushing, squirting orgasms and exhausted grins—in Ultimate Surrender, everybody wins.

When I walked out of the Armory later that evening, I had to admit to myself that despite any earlier reservations, I had just had an entirely enjoyable time, and so did everyone around me. I felt a bit strange, though—hadn’t I just witnessed a spectacle of sexual violence that might send all the wrong messages? But then I thought about Mel Brooks’s response to a reporter who asked him if mocking Hitler was really a good thing to do, given the seriousness of his crimes. I don’t remember his exact words and I don’t feel like looking them up, but Mel responded with something along the lines that it is the most serious crimes and the most terrible realities that need to be made fun of the most. If Hitler were alive to see himself being mocked in a musical comedy on Broadway and then in Hollywood, the laughter of the audience would have hurt him. Our serious, solemn, respectful discussion of his abominable crimes might have only pleased him. And so, in a way, while sexual violence is a horror that I can in no way condone or promote, I think that in a lot of ways things like Ultimate Surrender might be throwing that seriousness, that awfulness, into the light of the high-def cameras, making some fun of it, and ultimately letting women (who are all too often the victims of sexual violence) play with it in a safe and professional environment that the rest of us can watch and appreciate. Nobody here was being taken advantage of or harmed. Nobody was being victimized. Everybody was smiling, laughing, cheering, and enjoying sexuality with a  generous dollop of violence that we had consented to, and really, how much better does it get? That’s freedom right there. On International Fisting Day.

Oct 21, 2011

It's International Fisting Day! Let's Party!

I've discovered that today is (unofficially-officially) International Fisting Day. I discovered when Jiz Lee and Courtney Trouble told me about it. Seems there's a movement going on to, more or less, raise awareness about fisting as a legitimate intimate act. Seems there's a generally-held belief in this country that fisting is an extreme sex act that can't even be safely filmed without fear of obscenity charges, so most scenes where fisting takes placed are actually cut so you can't see what's going on.
This strikes me as about as close as we get in America to censorship. And I do not like that one little bit.
I, myself, don't know much about fisting on a personal level. I've never tried it, probably owing a lot to that misconception prevalent in society about how it's a "fringe" act. But I've seen some porn in which fisting happens (mostly off-screen, leaving only the general pumping motion of the arm and wide-eyed gasping facial expressions to clue me in), and I have never seen anyone who's doing it look sad or pained or unhappy. I've seen faces open into what can only be described as transcendent smiles and wide-open pleasure. I've seen women squirt. I've heard people scream in orgasm... In general, I've only ever seen good things.
But I've never tried it. And you know, now that I think about it, maybe it's not just this seemingly unfair prejudice against fisting that has stopped me. There's the logistical issue--I'm very very sensitive and small down there--but more than that, there's the syntactical issue. The word itself--fisting--brings to mind images of faces being punched. It's not that there's anything wrong with the idea of putting one's whole hand into someone else's orifice, at least not so far as I'm concerned, it's that the terminology applied to the act is so violent-sounding. So aggressive. Why not "handing" or "five fingering" or something slightly less heavyweight-champion-esque? If regular sex was called "face-smashing" I might be less inclined to try it, too.
But that's only the veneer, the very outer skin of the deliciously sweet fruit that I'm told by many adult performers and friends is the truth about fisting. And a rose, by any other name, would still feel fantastic. I don't know that I'll try to jumpstart my personal experience with fisting today, but I will talk to people about it and ask them about their experiences to find out more. There is no reason under the sun not to be open-minded about it, to discuss it and make it more generally understood. Nor is there any reason not to let it be shown on camera. But one step at a time, I suppose, is the way these things go.

Oct 20, 2011

Putting Flowers in My Hair as I Type

...not really. I don't have any flowers. But I am damn well going to get some when I get to San Francisco tonight, baby! This weekend is going to be absolutely packed to the gills with activity for me, between hanging with old friends, covering the Masquerotica ball, appearing as an extra(?) in a Kink.com shoot, and interviewing several adult industry luminaries, so I can't promise much in the way of updates until my return, folks. I do, however, plan to post on Fisting Day (tomorrow), so tune in for that!
Oh, but when I return, I shall be laden with video footage, photos, and awesome. Yes, full of awesome. I'm sitting at Newark Liberty Airport right now and I'm almost shaking with anticipation. I've been so excited all day that I got up before dawn ON MY OWN and have been tapping my feet impatiently all day. I better pass out on the plane or I'll be so exhausted when I arrive tonight that I won't be able to go out on the town. And that would be a travesty.
Anyway, check back over the weekend just in case I have a chance to post, and if that doesn't happen, check in next week because I will be posting pics and writeups and details and footage like it's my JOB. (Ok it IS my job. My life is amazing.)
In the meantime, check these out:
1) My interview of the international sex sensation Katsuni... in the back of a Lincoln SUV stretch limo... on the way to VIP service at Sapphire Gentlemen's Club in New York City. Guys, seriously. My life is amazing.
2) Katsuni is also amazing. And beautiful and talented and smart and... Aw, jeez. I'm kind of in love with her. Ok, a lot in love with her.
3) My review of The Fate of Love from writer/director Stormy Daniels, a couples porno that made me seriously question my moral fiber, but probably not in the way you're thinking.

Oct 19, 2011

The Unrwitten Rants of a Porn Reviewer, Volume 1

Things I haven’t said in reviews but which I got to thinking about while watching them:

1)      What is up with the constantly terrible sound editing, people? Most high-end porno movies have excellent, or at least well-planned, lighting. Some have elaborate sets, fancy costumes, character names, scripts… the whole nine. But the microphone work, sound mixing, editing, and production are more often than not bottom-of-the-barrel. I know most porn films aren’t working with gigantic budgets, but if you can afford the rest, how much extra will it cost to pay a sound technician? Common complaints? Vastly different volumes between “dialogue” and sex scenes—I don’t want to turn the volume way up to hear what they’re saying because it’s so quiet, only to have all my neighbors suddenly alerted to the fact that I’m watching porn when the action begins due to uneven sound levels! And in group sex scenes, it often appears that though there are at least two or three camera crews making the rounds of all the action, there is but one lonely stationary mic set up in the middle of the room, resulting in close-ups of one couple in which it sounds as if the noises they’re making are coming from a far-flung corner. It’s confusing and incredibly unprofessional.
2)      Another thing about group/orgy scenes. I personally enjoy them. They up the ante of sexiness without getting crazy in the shock value department, or so I like to think. But as far as I can tell, the point of a group scene is that there are more than two people in the room—it’s the whole vista of skin and sex, taken in at once, that gives it its zing, right? So why, then, are so many of these scenes simple back-and-forth shots from couple/threesome-to-couple/threesome? The whole room panorama is a rarity, often overshadowed by extreme closeups of one coital corner. Seems to me you could cut out one of the many camera crews and let one do more sweeping shots, install another microphone or two, and improve everything.
3)      Ladies, can we cool it a little with the over-acting? There’s a difference between making your pleasure in the little things known and screaming when someone touches your earlobe. If people think that all you need to elicit a wail of pleasure from a woman is a kiss on the wrist, they’ll be very disappointed someday.
4)      Also, why the tooth-sucking sound when people breathe in? You know what I mean? The “impassioned” hissing noise a lot of porn stars make during foreplay? Like, “Oh, yeah—hssssss­—right there—hsss—mm-hmm…”? I get that breathing heavily is a sign of arousal, so I understand how loud breath intakes like that make sense… to a point. But I’m not into serpentine porn, and when the performers I’m watching sound like a nest of vipers, I get too annoyed to be turned on.

That’s all for now… more to come…

Oct 17, 2011

The Pimp on 86th Street

Ok. I'm pretty sure that I will offend some people with this post. But I'm a little confused about how to feel about what I'm about to describe, and I do my best thinking when I'm writing. So please bear with me.

The other day I was walking down the street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, on my way for a much-needed leisurely stroll through Central Park. I was wearing a short sweater dress with tights and cowboy boots, my leather jacket, and a scarf. I was feeling very attractive, as far as it goes, and listening to my headphones and generally enjoying myself. The Upper East Side is a fairly conservative neighborhood where one most typically encounters rich older people the Caucasian persuasion, lots of joggers, families, and so on.

So when I got very publicly, yet quite tastefully (again, as far as it goes) by an older gentleman who looked for all the world like a very high-class pimp... I wasn't quite sure what to think. I'm still not. I may be jumping to very premature and highly politically incorrect conclusions about this man's profession, and it may be tasteless to some to say that his overt check-out was tasteful. But this is how I experienced it:

This gentleman came around the corner as I was walking past. He was older--I'd say mid- to late-fifties, wearing a shiny (not sure of the material, but it was woven, shiny cloth, not like satin or silk) cream-colored silk suit jacket with matching (but not as shiny) slacks, a perfectly matched pale cornflower blue shirt with a cream-colored tie and elegant golden tie pin, understated aviator sunglasses, and a cream-colored fedora with a blue band around it. He was wearing alligator-skin loafers and had a cornflower blue handkerchief in his breast pocket. He was carrying but not using a gold-knobbed cane that matched his outfit. And when I walked by, he stopped in his tracks, lowered his sunglasses just a bit, and watched me walk by. He looked me up and down, but not in a real head-nodding, exaggerated motion. More an appreciative once-over.

Now, this was a Sunday afternoon. It is possible that this gentleman was on his way to or from a very well-dressed and flashy uptown church service. Or on his way to a high-priced benefit gala at the Metropolitan Museum. Or any number of things. But if his outfit and demeanor and not-too-overt-but-still-noticeable look at my body said any one thing louder than all other options, that thing was: high class pimp.

Ok, so yes, I'm making sweeping generalizations based on outmoded stereotypes. But here's the crux of the matter. Whether he was a pimp or not, we're assuming he was... should I be flattered in some way? Angry? Should I feel demeaned because he looked at me like a piece of meat in cowboy boots, or kind of flattered that he did it so respectfully?

The inherent question here is: is it ever ok to get stared at on the street? Different women have different answers, and it's an ongoing topic of debate that I don't have an answer to. But knowing how to feel is even more problematic when the person doing the staring is possibly someone who makes money on selling women's bodies, which might be with their consent or might not be, and who is now staring at mine. In about as complimentary a way as it's possible to stare open-mouthed at a woman on the street. But still. Staring.

Hm. Ideas? Anybody? What do you think about this based-in-reality-but-still-hypothetical-because-we-don't-know-he-was-really-a-pimp situation?

Oct 14, 2011

The Buzz is All Justified!

This week keeps getting better! I wish I'd had more time for substantive posts, but your questions and suggestions are coming in way handy, and I'm super busy planning for my trip and etc. Newest news?

1) I'm going to be tracking down Jiz Lee for an interview for my art show. Oh man. I get all fluttery when I know I'm going to see them, and now I'm getting a whole bunch of their time just for ME? Swoon! What am I gonna WEAR?!

2) Plans have officially been announced for a big ol' porntastic event here in NYC the weekend of November 5, when Exxxotica will be on the East Coast for the yearly trade convention! We're teaming up with Amnesia and the indomitable Lola Bastinado of HedoOnline to throw a mega event. This is going to be a huge media circus, so if you're a blogger, journalist, writer, or just a fan or a gawker, or a performer who wants a shot at the red carpet, spread the word! We want mainstream media there to cover--Time Out, Daily News, Gawker, Fleshbot... all y'all! COME ONE, COME ALL!
3) Someone sent me this link and I can't stop laughing about the many good points it makes about what's considered appropriate for women being... umm... kind of ludicrous. Men Posed as Pin-Ups. Their kissy faces are kind of adorable, especially the bearded guy.
4) If you haven't watched or shared this trailer yet with a woman you love... do so. Miss Representation. It's easy to think that what we see every day about women in advertising and media is normal and expected, but when it's presented in such bald-faced terms, it really makes you think. Huge question: how do we make this better for those in the adult industry? Is this where the changes have to happen first? Or never? (Thank goodness for new queer porn!)
5) The picture on this particular iteration of this story says it all: here come a bunch of wealthy, out-of-touch white dudes in suits to legislate against women's rights to choose and/or receive important medical treatment based on a bunch of morality/religion-dredged moral hoo-hah. I am LIVID about this "Protect Life Act." Protect whose lives? How on earth did it become more important in the minds of the GOP to protect an unborn life than a life that has grown up already and is... duh... PAYING TAXES? And who the HELL do these guys think they are? These congressmen who think they have the right to legislate against my right to make healthy decisions about my own body and future? Oh, wait, I know--they're a bunch of privileged white men who will never, EVER have to go through a decision like this about their own bodies or live in fear that they may not be able to get necessary treatment for their condition just because somebody somewhere doesn't like it. They will never be faced with serious risks to their health because of pregnancy complications. They will never be burdened with a pregnancy as a result of date rape. They will never... ever... TRY to understand those who do. I just... GRRRR!!!

...and I'm done. So. Mad. But so excited! Wow, I think I need a drink.

Oct 11, 2011

OMG This is Gonna Be So Awesome!

F'realz you guys OMG I'm soooo excited right now! I can't give out details on all of thus juuuust yet, but be warned! The next month is going to be a cornucopia of crazy fun for me, and you--yes YOU--are invited to join me or read about it ALL!

First up: this weekend I'll finally be meeting the incomparably intelligent and incredibly attractive Katsuni when she performs here in NYC at Sapphire Gentleman's Club! I interviewed her for WHACK! a while ago and was blown away by her smarts, and now I'll finally get to see her lovely visage--and va-va-voom!--in person. I can't wait!!

Then: on October 20 I'll be flying to San Francisco for a whirlwind weekend that was originally just a visit to a friend's but has become a decadent, delicious series of sexy events!
1) On Thursday evening I'll attempt to attend an event at the amazing Madison Young's Femina Potens, the queer, sex-positive, utterly unique art space! Not sure if I"ll make it, because my flight doesn't land until pretty late that evening. But either way, Madison and I plan to get together for an interview sometime over the weekend! I've written for Madison's TheWomansPOV and have admired her spirit, creativity, and brazen sensuality for ages! Swoon!
2) On Friday, Oct. 21, I will attend a live shoot at Kink.com's SF Armory for Ultimate Surrender, with an old porno acquaintence. Exclusive pics and writeup to follow on WHACK! Despite all my polemic ranting... I have NEVER actually been on a live porn set before. Thank goodness that cherry is finally being popped!
3) On Saturday, Oct. 22, I will be attending the first ever Masquerotica ball, the new, costume-mandatory erotic Halloween-themed ball with NINE stages of frenzied fun. I'll be taking two WHACK! readers with me--whoever wins the award for coolest costume idea submitted by THIS SATURDAY AFTERNOON! Get in on that! E-mail me ideas at editorial@whackmagazine.com or leave 'em in the comments section!
4) Somewhere in amongst all this insanity in the Bay Area, I'll be attending my friend's hot tub prayer space. Yep. It's naked. That's all I know right now, but, um... I'm going.
5) I'll also be meeting up with the smart and sassy Lexi Love, the intriguing and introverted Vid Tuesday, and anyone else out there in the SF scene that I can get my grubby fingers on!
6) I'll be TRYING to fit in a reading with Sean Labrador Y Manzano for the Conversations at the Wartime Cafe anthology release reading series. No details for certain yet, but keep an eye out if you want to hear me read non-sex stuff. It's actually ok. I promise!

And THEN! The fun keeps coming!
1) Exxxotica NJ, one of the adult industry's biggest trade conventions, will hit Edison, NJ on November 4 and stay until the 6th! I'll be manning the WHACK! Magazine booth with my sleazy compatriots, and we would love to see you there! We'll be hosting several stars' signing tables, set up some ridiculously raunchy carnival-style games, and generally be causing mayhem all over the convention floor! Stop by!
2) That weekend we're planning a massive media event and party in the city at a top of the line NYC club, but we can't release details yet. Because it's going to be THAT amazing! Stay tuned!

As you can see, I'm a bit too excited right now to do anything except drool on myself. So why don't you go read about:
-Danny Wylde's latest contribution to Smitten Kitten, Porno Romance?
-International Fisting Day (which isn't exactly my area of expertise, but it's on October 21, right in the middle of my San Francisco trip... anything could happen!)?
-Occupy Wall Street condoms? Cause... hilarious!
-How right I was about Occupy Wall Street and the need for sex activism?
-Jiz Lee becoming art again at Pornsaints? I heart them!

Oct 8, 2011

Gimme Your Questions

I've been writing answers to people's sex and relationship questions here and on WHACK! Magazine for a while now. And I've been pondering the questions people ask me in person when they find out that I write about porn--the role I play as the middle ground between the "inside" of the porn industry and the "outside" consumer culture. I think there's something really important going on here.

I realized last night when I was thinking about how to turn this rare perspective of mine into an art exhibit in the spring that I don't find porn itself particularly interesting. I don't think I ever have. Nor do I find the majority of pornographers or consumers all that interesting, generally speaking. I think what I find interesting is the interaction between them--the way in which pornography is made and sold, and the way in which the larger society accesses it, freaks out over it, embraces it... all of that. There's an interplay between the two worlds--which are, really, just one world that doesn't like looking at itself in much detail--that is fascinating. It tells me much about the people around me, and even more about myself if I'm willing to be honest about it. I'm usually not. And neither are most of the rest of us. Which is what makes being lodged here as an insider/outsider hybrid so fucking rad.

I have never understood people who perform in porn. Not really. I can get the idea of why it would be fun--physical pleasure for pay, attention, easy-ish money, glamorous lifestyle... All of these things make sense. But I would never be able to do it. I'm uncomfortable being videotaped. I have a very small, very sickly exhibitionist streak. I like sex but I don't think my body would take hours of intense sex very well on a regular basis. I could never do it, and though I can recognize why others would, I don't understand them. The camera doesn't make me come alive.

But that's why it's interesting. If I understood it, that part of the puzzle would be solved and I'd be bored. And while I will never be able to understand people who become investment bankers, either, or ever want to do that myself, I think examining those who have sex on camera is a lot more interesting than cracking open the psyche of Wall Street. I'm in an exciting and exotic place here, perched like a gargoyle looking into the building I'm outside of, and lucky me, they're having sex in there!

What I want to do with this art show is make myself a direct conduit for those inside to look out, and for those outside to look in. I want to spend time interviewing consumers of porn and pornographers. I want to find the threads that tie the inside and outside together, tie them to my fingers, and connect them myself. I want to spin a gorgeous web out of it all and show it off.

So tell me: what are your questions? What do you want to know about the other side? About porn? About watching porn? About me? Send me your questions (misslagsalot@gmail.com) or Tweet me (@misslagsalot) or FB me (Miss Lagsalot) or just leave a comment. I want your ideas, your questions, your fears, your fantasies. Gimme gimme...

Oct 6, 2011

The Not-Doctor is In: How to Make Planned Sex More Fun

This is an issue that probably plagues a lot of people these days; with jobs hard to come by and usually low-paying when they materialize, more people than ever living in cities, and everybody being so damn sexy. Most of us are living with at least one roommate, and unless you're incredibly comfortable with your co-habitants, it's awkward to get down to banging with someone in the next room. Especially here in New York, where most apartments have had walls hastily thrown up in the past few decades to accomodate more people, even relatively quiet coitus can be heard loud and clear from down the hall. Personally, I live in an apartment building with most of my apartment separated by a hallway from the one next door, and I can STILL hear every detail. Which, frankly, can be kind of hot. But I know that this means my neighbors can also hear ME when I'm bumping uglies (aww, gee, they're not ugly!), and I don't like it even without having to share a shower with them.
So I commend you on your planning skills. If you're not into being evesdropped on by you our your partner's roommates every time you want to get nekkid, spending a few minutes juggling schedules is a great idea and one that, frankly, most people I know wouldn't bother with. You're to be commended for forcing the time to materialize so you can get hot with your honey.
But I've been there and done that. Waiting until the roommates are all gone, planning ahead to be sure everything is lined up and ready by the bed (lube, toys, restraints, gerbils... whatever) for the big moment, making sure you're wearing your nice underwear the day of... It can put a lot of pressure on the act and take a lot of the flavor out of the fornication. It feels like a presentation at work or a doctor's appointment instead of the wild, spontaneous, sexy adventure you want it to be. Kind of like I've heard friends say trying to have a baby can be--fun and all, but the fireworks are fizzled down to a sparkler. And not just because it's weird to negotiate time and place before getting down, but because half the time the roommates come back early and cut your enjoyment just when things are getting fun! (Not that you'd stop if someone came into the living room--I HOPE you wouldn't stop!--but you might just try to keep yourselves quiet, which is only sex SOMEtimes.)
It's a tough situation. If you don't plan ahead, you might never get to boogie. But when you DO, the "sucking" part of the deal just took on a different meaning. I can think of a few options for you to try, but it depends a lot on the temperament of yourself and your partner, as well as your comfort levels with the libido-lowering roommates:
1) Just say fuck the roommates and do what you want, when you want. I'd imagine they know that you and your partner enjoy having sex, so it'd be a bit much for them to expect you never to do it when they're around. Unless they're some kind of weird no-sex-without-marriage cult kids (in which case... uh... move out, pronto!), or you and your partner are involved in some very out-there stuff that might make them decidedly uncomfortable (which is still weird, unless you're the kind that likes to narrate every action: "Do you like it when I put that paper towel tube there? Yeah? How about this slice of PIZZA!"), they should be able to stand a little overheard moaning.
2) Or perhaps, even if rodents and shaving cream aren't involved in the majority of your coital encounters, you and your partner are very loud sexateers. Some people really just are, and it would be insensitive and rude to ask those people to turn down their volume if that's what they do when they feel good. If your decibel levels approach those of howler monkeys during the act, I suppose it's best if the roommates aren't around unless you're prepared to ask them to don earmuffs every time you close your bedroom door.
3) But then again, you and your partner might be more secretive types who just don't feel comfortable if you know that they might suspect you. Again, it's all about comfort levels. Some people just can't stand the thought that anyone might know what they're doing. Especially if you and your partner are private people, or people who enjoy things that aren't easy to keep private, this is an issue. For instance, I'm very happy to live alone these days because I have two partners and sometimes entertain others. If I had roommates, I would either have to be very open about my poly habits, or just not care that my roommates and their friends might someday see me leading my boyfriend and a third party into the bedroom only to proceed to make quite a ruckus while they were watching an America's Next Top Model marathon. If you and your partner have other partners or anything else that requires an obvious parade-of-non-vanilla through the apartment, and if that makes you and/or your roommates uncomfrotable, then planning is your best bet. So kudos!
If (3) is the issue, then I have a few sub-suggestions.
3a) This is the important bit. DO NOT put tons of pressure on yourselves to have sex every time you've scheduled it. Sure, if you're both really randy by the time you get five minutes to yourself, by all means, rock each other's worlds. Or, of course, if you've invited over a friend or friends for sexy-play-time, then yes, proceed to feel a little pressured to make the magic happen. But if it's just you and your partner, and it's a Wednesday night and you just got home from work, and the roommates are out for their... I dunno, what do roommates do? ...their football watching at the local pub (is Wednesday a football night?)... but you're kind of tired and hungry... but you only have two hours before they might get back... but you really just want to order Chinese and watch Hell's Kitchen (yes, I enjoy competitive reality television, so what?)... but you remembered to put your best undies on to impress your main squeeze and you were gonna try this new Kama Sutra position you read about... but your head really kind of hurts... Then, dude, don't push yourself. The last thing you want is for sex to be a chore. It's supposed to be fun for everyone. If you're not in the mood, forcing it will just make planning the next time worse. Seems to me that if you're in a committed enough relationship that you scheduel ahead for sexy time, you're in a committed enough relationship to be able to stay on the couch and have a beer some nights, too. And hey, if you put it off this time and then feel a pang of regret and randiness, next time might be even better!
3b) If you can't take the pressure and decide to push through and go for it... don't make it too serious. Sex might be great when it's spontaneous and passionate, but sex is also fantastic when you can laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation. If you've got a 30-minute window you've been planning for a week and a half and you're totally psyched for it but feel a little stupid about trying to make a strip-down happen in 5 seconds flat... well, laugh about it! Relieve some of the tension you're both feeling. Shed some light on how ridiculous it is that your sex now involves juggling the schedules of multiple non-involved parties and get it over with. Enjoy it!
3c) Don't tell your roommates I said this, but sometimes the best way to liven up something that isn't so lively is to switch locations. You've got a few hours of total alone time in a usually-crowded apartment? Do it (cleanly, with no residue, please) on the couch. Bent over the kitchen table. Up against the refrigerator. In the shower. Right there in the hallway in front of the front door (quietly, so if anybody is coming home early you'll hear them)! Spicing it up doesn't have to involve trips to the beach if you're on a roommate-living budget. I'm not suggesting you go to town on your roomie's bed (although... if the roomie is hot... hm...), but as long as you're clean about it, and respectful enough to wipe up afterward, nobody ever has to know. How's that for spicy?
3d) When in desperation, a little surreptitious work WITH the roommates might be in order. Remember college? Remember the sock or tie over the doorknob, or whatever other delicate (to preserve your partner's sense of dingity) signal you may have used that meant DO NOT FUCKING COME IN HERE? If your partner is worried about people knowing what's going on but is willing to work on being a little quiet in the bedroom if it means you can have some spontaneous sex... have a talk with your roommate(s) beforehand. Tell them to be respectful when you give the sexy-time signal, and reward them with something nice if they're willing to do it. In the end, most people understand that alone time is necessary, and even if they're not the most delicate of individuals, they'll give you your space when you need it if you're honest.

Oct 4, 2011

Worst Activist EVAR... But an OK Thinker

I'm not much of an activist. I'm being honest. I believe deeply in the need for change in this country, and I absolutely support what's happening on Wall Street here in my very own city. I believe that fat-cat greed has finally gone too far and that we as a democratic nation need to stand up, a la The Whiskey Rebellion, to make our lowly little voices heard to banks, corporations, lobbyists, and politicians. Likewise, I (obviously) support the ballsy men and women who took to the streets of New York this weekend in NYC's very own Slutwalk. DUH, it's of vital importance that as we move forward as a species, we actively promote the rights of individuals to dress however they want without fear of assault. I'm absolutely pro-slut. And both of these massively important activism events took place in my city of residence this past Saturday! What's a strong-opinioned, publicly vocal feminist to do? Which march to choose?
If I'd been a really good activist, I'd have done both. Dressed in lingerie and hit up the Occupy Wall Street march to make my point about my rights to dress how I want an issue across the board, then headed off to Slutwalk if I didn't get arrested for being too activist-y and flamboyant.

But what did I do? I went to neither. As I said, I'm a bad activist. A crappy one, even. A crap-tivist, if you will. Heh.
No, seriously, I'm ashamed. But I do have my reasons (ahem... boyfriend's birthday, pre-made plans, cold weather...). But you don't need to hear the excuses; the point is this:
In the aftermath, I feel like a fool for not having gone down there. Of course, with Occupy Wall Street, there's still lots of time, and I hope to go down to march later this week or weekend. This stuff is important. But in the days since, I've noticed that while the Brooklyn Bridge mass arrest has gotten huge headlines, Slutwalk got virtually none. But if you ask me, they're integrally linked. Think of it this way: those people who got pepper-sprayed the other day? Mostly women. A lot fo the 700 arrested on Saturday? Women. What do you think would have happened if, as I'd mentioned above, a whole lot of them showed up dressed in fishnets, platform heels, and leather? I'm willing to bet that the "Well, look how she was dressed" feeling that led to Slutwalk in Toronto in the first place would have been brought to bear. I'm willing to bet that the women dressed "all slutty" would have been the first to be photographed, the first to be arrested, and the least likely to garner any sympathy. If you want to get real nitty-gritty, sex workers are a HUGE number of "the 99%" and their numbers are steadily growing as the disaffected workers of America are laid off and need to earn a living somehow. Sex work, sluttiness, and Occupy Wall Street are all part of the same need for change. If a nurse, a waiter, an actor, a secretary, or a retail worker can't earn enough to survive in this economy because the fat cats on Wall Street and beyond don't care about them, think of what those pudgy pussies would have to say about the rights of sex workers to earn a decent living and basic respect.
I wonder, if a group of prostitutes, escorts, strippers, or porn stars showed up at Occupy Wall Street to agitate for their right to work and be respected like the rest of America, what would happen? Would the be spurned by the activist community growing in lower Manhattan and told they're making the whole movement look bad? Or only told by police, as women in Brooklyn have recently been, to put on some damn clothes because they might get raped? Or would they just be arrested for being there and being too sexy? An interesting question, and one that makes me think about just how much work there is to be done. Maybe I'll give it a shot this weekend, peeps. Garter belt and picket sign? A good combo?