H0tt guys of Emerson love the EFF!

emersiveJust landed in my inbox (and I see the EFF’s Staff Attorney is, ahem, all over it) but it looks like “new media” student group Emersive at Emerson College is:

a) full of extremely sexy and uninhibited nerdy guys; b) they have made a beefcake calendar; and c) they are donating some of the proceeds to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. This is *so* going in my file for Sexiest Geeks of 2006 at the end of the year.

So… time to pitch Emerson’s new media department my guest lecture on emergent trends in digital media gender politics and the validity of experimental taste tests between edible panties (beta) as a collaborative new media project. Creative Commons in my pants. DRM in my back end. Time to begin the web 2.0 sex chart!

Buy a 2006 Hott Guys Calendar: Some Rights Reserved from the group, Emersive. It’s not too late. Or, download their monthly behind-the-scenes images (same page).

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I’m now a Metroblogger!

I’ve gone loco, I mean local over at Metroblogging San Francisco where I’m now an author! Check out today’s post about christian fundies spraying SF with earthquake exploitation AIDS terror in my post terror in the 94114, and my maiden post about kittens and puppies (really!) in her name was Lola, she was a showgirl.

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This is how it goes

From my inbox, this morning:

Hi, Violet!
Here is [name of my next book — all twelve chapters compressed into an attachment] copyedited by Mark Woodworth. (…) Can you look these over and have them back to me by Wed. noon? I know it’s a short amount of time (…)

Update: fun with edits. Here’s an example of the comment/edit structure on one of my books, from a list of possible sexual fantasies a reader might have, and their definitions:

* Multiple partners (a gang bang–one person with four or more partners; sex with the *football team*; threesome; sex party; orgy)

*text highlighted with inserted comments*
[editor] because right now there are so many sports team embroiled in rape charges, could we change this to “Olympic swim team” or something?
[publisher] Violet it’s your call.
[violet] Well, I wanted to say sex with the MARCHING BAND, but felt that football team was universal — and rape charges seem typically with basketball team players (Kobe, et. al.) so unless marching band fits, keep football team.

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Photos from last night

Party photos by Jason DeFillippo and after-party giantess photos by Hornboy. When I got cornered by naked drunk guy, I was all like, Jason — get the camera!

send help

More photos after the jump!

* * * * * * *




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Whatever happened to Taschen?

ps_carlos_batts.jpgIt’s been about a year since I stopped reviewing sex books and videos for Good Vibes, but I was there long enough to watch the world of sex and art coffee table books go through a revolution. And Taschen, publisher of all kinds of those glossy, tasteful and gorgeous books, was one of the biggest players in the edgy art and sex book scene. They weren’t the only ones, but they published sensational, very hot and wildy popular (and then-groundbreaking) books like Digital Diaries, Forbidden Erotica, Vlastimil Kula, Chas Ray Krider’s Motel Fetish and Roy Stuart‘s collections. These explicit gems were of course after Taschen published Eric Kroll’s Fetish Girls, which when it came out in 1996 (before my time at GV), heralded the first wave of new fetish photo, perhaps even unintentionally grandfathering the altporn genre.

I was thinking about all this last night, where at the Kink Ink event (to which I dragged captives Sean Bonner, Jason DeFillippo, Simone and David and Hornboy) I got to meet Carlos Batts and April Flores, in person for the first time. I sat with Carlos and April and while he showed me his new and upcoming work, we bonded over the anicient, dinosaur-era attitudes toward sex and erotica (and gender, body, race and art) a la Hugh Hefner and his contemporaries, which still seems to inform today’s erotic photography and perceptions of truly, authentically erotic sexuality. Batts couldn’t put down his cameras the entire time I saw him last night; his vibe was gentle and cool but it seemed to me like his eyes were seeing and somehow wildly consuming things the rest of us couldn’t, and he had to catch it all quick, before it got away. Of course, Carlos is published by one of many upstart publishers who like to take risks with young, exciting artists like Batts (pictured), but it still made me wonder, whatever happened to Taschen?

A visit to Taschen’s site makes me think that I was GV’s book reviewer during Tashen’s heyday. I remember meeting with the Taschen rep right before I quit and seeing a dismal selection of (then-new) erotic books — many of the same books that sit in Taschen’s current stock. To me, the most exciting erotic books combine the right amount of visual innovation (color, sex acts that shock and arouse) with authenticity and rawness, and a feeling that combines hot sex that looks like a delicious fantasy you want to reach in and touch, through the page, and that little bit of surprise that flips the little arousal switch you didn’t know was connected to one particular wire (or synapse) into a startling “on” position. Somehow, these books always live in the moment. To me, a hot erotic art book doesn’t age; like Motel Fetish, anything by Siege or Wild Skin, you look at it and the images are iconic and fresh (unlike so many of the fetish books of ten years ago, apologies and all due respect). Look how Playboy has aged — really, really badly, so badly in fact that if you pick up the current newsstand copy it looks like it’s 20 years old already. This isn’t news to anyone, but it makes a point about how things have changed in erotic visual culture, while the moneyed media that makes it, is stuck in rewind. Same goes for all the new porn from Los Angeles. Is Taschen just another cautionary tale?

bill wardThe edgiest thing Taschen had going when I met with the rep was Terryworld, which was full of fun and shocking images, but didn’t have the erotic legs to turn anyone on except ironic Hollywood photograpers. Other than that their stock consisted of yet more tired rehashings of old men’s magazines, which had already been done to death and had such a limited appeal to erotic consumers that it was a little depressing.

I’m leaving out all of the other erotic art and photo book publishers in this musing — many of which are doing hot, amazing and exciting stuff — because Taschen used to represent something to me, but now I’m realizing that their flagship sex books are ten years old and it almost looks like they’re letting go, gracefully, of their market. What’s new at Taschen? More retro men’s magazines (yawn), and the only upcoming thing to get my attention (sadly, among only three upcoming titles) is a collection of Bill Ward comics that looks like a Fantagraphics reissue— and likely consists only of the really *safe* stuff Ward did. I can only hope it would include his really crazy fem-dom, huge-boobed babes who joyfully did outrageous things to well-hung male submissives’ bottoms with strap-ons and mechanical apparati that would make guys like Hef roll in his grave — ooops, my bad, he’s not dead yet (even if his erotic stereotypes are). I still have a tattered copy of Ward’s *real deal*, Chevrotine, bought years ago at a Parisian market.

Anyway, I just read the interview with Eric Kroll over at Eros Zine, where he talks about his new job as editor at Taschen and it got me wondering whatever happened to the former erotic art powerhouse. I’ll never know what happened over the past few years, but there’s no shortage of eager publishers and new talent to fill in the gaps.

Of course, a really important part of this conversation is whether the erotic art book is still a relevant medium. Most of the exciting and hot visual erotica I’ve seen lately is online. Putting these books together isn’t cheap, and something like the Siege blog at Nerve seems to be the way to create a cost and compensation compromise — and of course, having someone like Siege, and the sexuality he shows us. Personally, I still love collecting erotic art books and giving them as gifts; they’re even more precious and sexy than sending someone a link because they’re tactile, like sex itself. But it’s really interesitng to see where it’s all going and to watch it change.

Update: friend and fellow blogger Bacchus from ErosBlog emails to remind me that I’m jaded, and I’ll bow to his call of “shennaigans!” Bacchus sayeth thusly:

“I’m gonna call ‘jaded San Francisco sexerati’ on your dis of the Taschen
mens magazine compilations, though. Out here in the big-box-bookstore world
of red-state America, I haven’t heard whisper or rumor of anything like the
sort of huge loving men’s mag compilations Taschen has been doing lately,
and so my jaw dropped to my knees when I saw your ‘tired rehashings … done
to death’ comments. I don’t have these Taschen titles yet — but from where I sit
they look exciting and appealing. Whoever did that to death already, I wish
I had ’em in my collection, but I haven’t even heard of ’em. I’d have said
Taschen was the only modern player in that market — knowing, of course,
that I miss a lot by not living in the Mecca of kinky culture. ;-)”

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Off the record

trust me, I'm a girlSubject: burn the NYT clown
“Violet – the largely-fictional NYT needs no protection. It’s coasted on an undeserved reputation for far too long.

Print his e-mail. Burn him, and burn that little bung who excreted the xenisucks site.

Chechen rules apply:
no mercy
no prisoners
no exceptions”

Subject: Post it!
“Why in the hell is a journalist telling you that a conversation is ‘off the record?’ Aren’t these the same people who say blogs aren’t journalism or a source of news? Seems to me he wants to have his cake and munch on it too. Post it, darlin’!”

I’m telling you something, but it’s totally off the record.

Of course, this is all in reference to the New York Times writer who starred in my post when a man hates a woman, who wrote me an epic email response a couple days ago but prefaced the whole thing with “this is off the record”. I’ve heard this twice in the past week, and each time it’s been from someone who just publicly did something really shitty to me or someone I care about. But what’s really troubling about this line of thinking in regards to the xenisucks site, and what it represents in regards to white naked hatred of women, and the culture of silence in which the NYT has participated in by sending them traffic and painting it as a humor site, is something (I think) the world really, really needs to stop being silent about. “Don’t talk about it” is tantamount to the tacit agreement made between abuser and those who witness abuse; like the victim somehow deserved it, and silence = shame.

Well, fuck that. Why did the NYT writer send me an epic email “off the record”? What’s he afraid of — what his male peers think of him — or is he worried he won’t have the friendship of the xenisucks guy anymore? Why would someone be afraid of distancing themselves from someone like xenisucks guy? Especially since in his email to me, he claims to desire distance from xenisucks. Lots of questions, no answers. I have more than a few answers, after the jump.

gun girl 3* * * * * * *

Here’s the email, with my responses to his criticism and questions (noted with **asterisks**).

Hi Violet

II hope you are well. I just want to clarify a few things, if I may.
This isn’t for publication or anything, and I am speaking only for myself.

**Good to know. Since this is a blog and not journalism, it’s technically not publishing then, is it? Also, most writers understand not to write down things that are off the record and send them to strangers.**

I don’t mind you criticizing my column, but, first of all, I wish you
wouldn’t lump me in with the xenisucks cretin. It’s a completely
wrong and unfair characterization. Just for starters, I’m a big fan
of Xeni’s, and I often cite Boingboing’s fine work in my column. But
worse, the guy is a creep, and I don’t think I am a creep.

**You made it very easy for me to lump you in with him because you literally made his hate into the equivalent of “dipping pigtails into the inkwell” (your words), you gave the guy a link and tons of traffic, and made it seem humorous. Looked like you thought it was funny. If you’re such a big fan of Xeni’s, why didn’t you link to her site instead of xenisucks?**

This item wasn’t by any means a “pat on the back” for Sharp. Quite
the opposite — he was there because I thought he had made a
ridiculous ass of himself. The headline, after all, was “Worst. Hate
site. Ever.” I hinted that I thought he had a crush on Xeni and that
this was his emotionally stunted way of acting on it. And your blog
item is the first time I’ve ever heard that a comparison to Comic
Book Guy could actually be interpreted as a compliment.

**Maybe it’s time to explain the weird ways of blogging and the web to The Real Journaists. When you write about someone, you are validating what they do — how you validate that depends on what position you take. You express your position on this validaiton by clearly stating your position. You had a choice: you could have said this is weird and fucked up and linked to Xeni, who is not weird and fucked up. But instead you *joked* about it and linked to the weird and fucked up guy. This, to us bloggers, means you like this guy enough to use the New York Times and all it represents to give the xenisucks asswipe an Offical Link. You gave him traffic, dumbass — you gave him all the validation he ever needed that what he was doing is Good and Right. When a blogger sees their stats spin out of control, they think “yeah, people agree with me!” and they go further with whatever they are doing. Which is why when you LINKED HIM FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES you gave him the blogging equivalent of a blowjob.**

I know there has been some backlash about the item, and while I
appreciate much of it as fair criticism (like, should I have included
the item at all? I still think it was fair game, but I acknowledge
and appreciate the opposite viewpoint) but some of it is simply not
fair. Worst is the idea that I was in any way endorsing the guy.
Writing about something is not the same as endorsing it.

**Actually, it is. Ssssh, it’s a big secret — bad publicity is still publicity. See above, as this is where you and the world of blogs differ in a major way. I’m not saying you should not have written about it, I’m saying *the congratulatory way you wrote about it* made me sick to my stomach. I am not advocating silence.**

Also, you
claim that the item is full of errors. I’m all ears on what those
errors were. If I got something wrong, please let me know and I’ll
request a correction.

**I have a difficult time beleiving you’d rush to fix errors on my behalf when you’re clearly too embarrassed about contacting me to even do so “on the record”. Here’s one: I’m no expert on the internets, but I used Google to find out that Rick Karr hadn’t been at NPR for over a year and had only infrequently been on NPR since 2005, so him and Xeni are not the “colleagues” your piece claimed, not by a long shot. (“with Ms. Jardin’s colleague, Rick Karr, who reports technology and culture for public radio.”) She has a weekly gig as a regular contributor; to say that they are colleagues is a stretch and a very sneaky way for you to give readers the wrong impression that ‘even her co-workers agree with xenisucks’. Without you leading the reader in this questionable manner, it gives a different impression entirely.**

pink pistols posterAlso, at the time I wrote the item, which was the day after Xeni
herself linked to it, the guy hadn’t gone beyond merely being an ass.
An enraged ass, yes, but not a dangerous one that I saw. If I had
seen anything that seemed like it could be threatening or truly
disturbing, I would not have included this item at all. If he started
hinting at violence, or whatever, it was after I submitted my column.
I didn’t really comb through the site after that, though I did
quickly look at it (mostly just to make sure it was still there
before publication), and never saw anything like that on there. All I
saw was idiocy, And it was getting a lot of attention online — the
blog was cited and heavily discussed on Metafilter and Wikipedia
before I had ever heard of it. Idiocy that gets a lot of attention
online is often the subject of my kickers.

**It was a real kicker. This goes back to the original point in my first post — you don’t take women being threatened seriously, at all. You don’t SEE what a woman sees when she is stalked and threatened. Did you link to it because Xeni did? Did you get the context of her link? It’s a lesson in blog linking to people who hate you and mean you harm.**

I hope I was able to clarify my position a bit. Ironically, I had
assumed that if anyone were going to be upset over the item, it would
be Sharp himself.

**Is this part a joke?**



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