A Chorus Of Lethal Machines Sing Congratulations

Wow, the response to my Chronicle news* is overwhelming and humbling! For instance…

The blogs: Xeni at Boing Boing posts “Meet the SF Chron’s new sex columnist: blogger Violet Blue” * Scott Beale at Laughing Squid posts Violet Blue, The New Sex Columnist For The SF Chronicle * Jonno at Fleshbot pings me softly in the Morning Wood post * Poor Mojo Newswire posts Violet Blue now writing a sex column at the Chron! * Mark Pritchard at Metroblogging San Francisco posts Metroblogger cracks MSM: Violet Blue to Chronicle * SFist: mad props in the Bay Area Blog Round-Up * Blogebrity Violet Blue Joins Phil Bronstein’s Team * Starked San Francisco says nice things in Talk of the Town: Hump Day (these are all positive: please send me negative links if you find them ’cause I’ll post those, too)

My inbox is flooded with all kinds of wet sticky bloggy love! Dig a sampling of the hotties who hit ‘send’ and made me blush:

* Sean Bonner blogs, “YEA!!! congrats on the official announcement. w00t!!!!”
* Clayton James Cubitt “Congrats on your new column — Pervette…”
* sex podcastress =Melissa Gira “OMG, congrats on the Chron gig, that’s so fabulous! Do us proud!”
* Chris Gimelli from the Chronicle and SFGate “in the immortal and cliched words of the intertubes “I for one, welcome our new hyper-sexy sex columnist sex overlady”(…) I’ll dispense with the usual ‘welcome aboard’ BS and just say that I think it’s smashing that Phil had the brains and balls to woo you into the job and that he’s giving you free rein. So what if you *do* offend 88% of the staff? Rest assured that the remaining 12% (of which I am squarely, firmly and proudly a member of) are rooting for you. (…) So yeah, bring the sexy.”
* Cyrus Farivar from Engadget “Congrats! You’re totally awesome and I definitely will be reading your columns in the future. :)”
* Bre Pettis from Make Magazine “Congrats on your chronicle gig going public!”
* LeE from NPR “Super Duper Congratulations on your new gig… that’s fucking Crazy!!!! You now move from “favorite local celebrity” status to “hero” status with this move..at least for me. I will be sending you a super hero cape post haste.”
* Charles Russo, SF Bay Guardian “Congrats on the new job at the Chronicle. Pretty impressive. I can’t quite shake this high idealism for both the city of San Francisco and the field of Journalism, so its nice to see things fall into their right place. Thursdays then….”
* Eve from SFist “They are so lucky to have you! Looking forward to seeing how you shake things up over there.”
* Rachel Kramer Bussel of Lusty Lady and Village Voice “Violet! Congratulations! That is AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME news about the Chronicle. I’m so so happy for you and can’t wait to read the first one. I shall buy you a celebratory cupcake for sure.”
* Regina Lynn “Wooo hooooo! Congratulations on the new gig! That’s awesome. Looking forward to reading it. :)”
* from France, Olivier Mevel from Nabaztag “Congratulations from the french rabbit! … for your new job at SF Chronicle!”
* my friend Adam, from London “Congrats on the new job and finally being able to go public. Fuck, old media is slow eh?”
* evil bunny “I am wearing black satin panties, red sparkle nail polish, and nothing else, in your honor. You. Rock.”
* Sabrina Morgan “I just wanted to say congrats on the Chronicle gig – and especially for doing it “your way.” I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes.
* Diary of An Unrepentant Sex Addict “OMG!! WTF!! (My luck, the net-n00b-ish subject line will trigger a spam filter 🙂 CONGRADULATIONS! This is so amazingly cool!”
* Richard Kadrey “Congratulations! I saw the mention of your new gig on boing-boing’s site. The only downside for people like me is having to look at the Chronicle again. The horror… The horror…”
* Tony Comstock of Comstock Films “Congrats on your new gig with The Chronicle. You’ll be a great addition to the paper. You’re worked very hard for a very long time and taken risks that would send most people running. What’s more you’ve made it work. Very few people can do that; very few even try.”
* Craig from Tangents “WOW, The SF Chronicle! Check you out!! You will totally rock their worlds.”
* Paul Sarkis “Many, many kudos on scoring the SF columnist gig! You can’t see it, but I’m totally lifting up my shirt and flashing my erect man-nipples at you!”
* Thomas Roche, being strangely sedate “Congrats on the Chronicle gig — I’m thrilled it came through!”
* Viviane’s Sex Carnival “The fucking SF Chronicle! That is the awesomenest!”
* Gram Ponante “I just read of your new columnisthood. That makes me very happy. Not only is traditional media deliciously retro, but it pays. I like people I like to get paid for what they do. Now go demand a raise.”
* Paul Joannides “I’m very proud of you! You’ve worked very hard and this is really, really good news.”

And there’s much, much more… If I could fill a room with all this email I’d swim around in it wearing nothing but 8″ black shiny fetish heels. Thank you!!!!

* Clarification: I will be writing for the Chronicle empire, but for now we have not agreed that it will be old-fashioned analog RSS, meaning this is a web-only column. For the Chronicle. Which is (online) the SFGate. Even though they have a Gate/Chronicle page… uh, confused? Don’t worry, all of you will read it online anyway and I’ll have a smoothly shaved RSS feed for your reading pleasure.

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Partycrash: San Francisco Chronicle

It’s official. I’m now the sex columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Not just ‘plucked’ from the blogosphere to freelance for a 141-year-old mainstream media institution; Phil Bronstein hand-selected me to be their frontline sex writer, with a column and everything that comes with it. I just got home from the Chronicle building — today was the final meeting with the PR department, and to set the launch date (I wore my Laughing Squid shirt to the meeting). At one point David Wiegand said, “We’re just making sure it’s okay before we plaster your face on buses.” I don’t remember my reaction to this, though my memory tells me I shrieked like a little girl and ran in tight little circles with clenched fists tight against my sides in the middle of the circled chairs of Chron/SFGate staff. I think I actually said “yikes” in an extremely composed way. I’m pretty sure he was teasing. Ulp.

My column launches on September 21, the day before my birthday. It will be every thursday, and I’ll have an RSS feed for you to subscribe to. The Chronicle is planning all kinds of crazy publicity for the launch, and the column is called “violet blue: open source sex”. Nothing else will change; my blogging, my work, my snarkiness torwad MSM and the Chron, none of it. Yay!

I am, in fact, totally freaking out right now. This was the big news I’ve been alluding to for the past few weeks. If you want to hear the whole story, what I’m up against, how important I feel this is for local sex culture and online media, how fierce my deal is with them and what I think about being a blogger writing for a paper I’m extremely critical of, it’s all after the jump.

Update: the response to this has been so overwhelming I’m putting comments and blog posts in a chorus of lethal machines sing congratulations.

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This has definitely been the most memorable instance of finding out who follows my blogging. A few months ago I saw a familiar name in my inbox, though not familiar in the usual way. It was from Chronicle editor Phil Bronstein, complimenting me on my blogging (!), and asking if I was free to meet and talk about new and old media (subject: “MSM/the future”). For real — I thought it was *very interesting*. So I asked him to meet me at Cafe Flore, and I sipped iced coffee while we chatted for nearly two hours. I kind of grilled him about a lot of things; I just had a lot of questions to ask someone like him, know what I mean? I told him what I thought about his paper’s blogs and position in the online world (not impressive), and asked him what he did all day, how he got the job, and what blogs he reads. I didn’t want anything from him, didn’t have anything to lose, and thought it was fun to just chat with this guy.

He answered all my questions, and we wound up talking about SRL (he’s a fan) and sex culture in San Francisco. He told me he wanted me to write for the Chronicle. I told him I wouldn’t compromise anything. Or change what I do. He said okay. I didn’t blog about it then because I wanted to see what happened.

There were more meetings over the weeks; one memorable instance had me raising my voice over a big table telling someone from SFGate that they *should* be serving their community better, and he telling me they *were* serving their community, and me telling him they *should be* — and Bronstein breaking it up. In another, Bronstein told me that some of his staff were having seizures after looking at my blog. And I said, that’s going to happen a lot. (I actually said, ‘You know, like 88% of your staff is going to have heart attacks. I’ll FedEx you a D-fib machine.”) They seem to know what they’re getting themselves into. Bronstein put a lot of thought into his decision, and into which editor he set me up with. Imagine my surprise when I got an email that said, “Hey Vi I’m your new editor. And as far as I’m concerned, I just got the most fun assignment of my career. I think so, anyway.” — this was from David Wiegand, who edited the Sean Penn series, among other controversial editing jobs. I feel I’m in really good hands.

I negotiated a really good deal for myself. My voice, my content, my sex-positive, all-gender, all-orientation stance is firm; they have agreed to run every edit and piece of publicity by me for approval; and after first publication rights, I own the columns, I keep the content. They’re taking a huge risk, and a huge gamble, and they’re letting me be me.

Totally not what I’d expect from an old mainstream media institution (though I think this is just the beginning of the Chronicle’s aggressive new direction online). It’s going to be very interesting. I think I’ll get a lot of hate mail. I think people at the paper will keel over and projectile vomit pea soup. But I’ll be an embedded blogger. And the people I’m working with there seem to value that.

Are you wondering what I’ll write about? Sex in San Francisco, of course. I won’t be beating the tired old dead horse of quesiton-and-answer sex column format — it’s sooo over, and sooo boring. No “ask the sexpert” bullshit; nor will I be writing about myself. To be totally honest, I think it’s tacky when sex writers and sex educators write about their personal lives, so even though I’m dating and sexing in the city, you won’t read any ‘Sex in the City’ triteness in my column. It’s going to be funny, sweet, entertaining and real. I’ll be writing about the vast, rich and myriad aspects of sex in SF; there’s so much to write about it’s kind of ridiculous. And it’s embarrassing that the state of sex in SF writing has been so dismal for so long. It always seems like every “sex” issue of the Guardian or Weekly is slapped together and often penned by people new to SF. (On the other hand, 7×7‘s recent sex issue was pretty good; the round table piece made me want to gouge my eyes out with slimline vibrators but the article on my friend Peter at Kink.com was excellent).

So, for however long it lasts, the Chronicle has a sex blogger with lots of attitude writing for them. In the meeting today the SFGate guy asked me how I thought the blogosphere will react. I told him that my blogger friends who knew were proud and stoked (I said “because it’s like I’m partycrashing the Chronicle”) and that most of all it would be really interesting, saying “because I’m quite critical about you”. He looked right at me and replied directly, “I *know*.” I smiled.

And what does it mean that they’re taking a risk with a blogger like me? I don’t know. But it’s going to be a lot of fun, for sure. As a sex writer and online sex personality, I’m not any kind of “safe” pastiche you see in mainstream media; I have chipped black nail polish, work on lethal robots for fun, have tattoos, am a fetish model, am a pro-porn pundit, a tech fetishist, and make no apologies about sex. I’m constantly in some kind of online controversy. This would be an adventure for *any* marketing department. On a personal note, I’m mulling over the fact that I grew up a dirt poor, hungry, homeless, family-less teen on San Francisco streets. I’ve worked tirelessly to spread a sex-positive, nonjudgemental message about sex around the globe, online, in iTunes and with my many books. And now I write a column for the Chronicle. Happy birthday to me.

* Clarification: I will be writing for the Chronicle empire, but for now we have not agreed that it will be old-fashioned analog RSS, meaning this is a web-only column. For the Chronicle. Which is (online) the SFGate. Even though they have a Gate/Chronicle page… uh, confused? Don’t worry, all of you will read it online anyway and I’ll have a smoothly shaved RSS feed for your reading pleasure.

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[Audio + textcast + video] Open Source Sex 44

Yup, I brought it. Open Source Sex #44 has an audio and a video slideshow version, and both are textcasts! My first textcast (last episode) was great and got a lot of positive feedback.

I still don’t know if anyone else is doing this besides Slate; when listening to the podcast, click the center of your iPod’s trackwheel three times to read the story along with me. Listeners wrote in last time to tell me this works with their older iPods as well, yay!

This is an exciting podcast for many reasons; not only is it a textcast and there are audio and video versions, but I was inspired to go all multimedia crazy thanks to Ernest Greene (editor of Hustler’s Taboo Magazine and my fave S/M director) and Nina Hartley, whose upcoming film O: The Power of Submission looks to be an incredible, modern hardcore retelling of the Story of O — all about female submission. They sent me early cuts of the film so I could see if I liked it (I do, a lot), and a bunch of stills that I’ve used in my podcast’s video version as an ongoing slideshow during my reading of N.T. Morley’s story, The New Fiancee. Special thanks to Ernest for everything, and to N.T. Morley for the story sent at my request just for this fun episode. Text from my podcast page, and links to episodes, follow. Snip:

A very special female submission episode, thanks to an exclusive story from N.T. Morley *and* exclusive, just-for-us images from my friends Ernest Greene and Nina Hartley’s new movie, othepowerofsubmission.com. In Morley’s story The New Fiancee, a bride-to-be undergoes a very intense and decadent examination and a lesson in submission at the hands of a powerful dominant woman, and her husband-to-be joins in the activities. The first-time girl-girl theme is really fun here, especially in a dominant/submissive context. This story is a little more master-slave than the stories I usually read on Open Source Sex, but it’s a perfect fit for the very hot new Story of O movie “O The Power of Submission”, which Ernest worked really hard on and is so excited about he sent me rough cuts from the film (!); check out the trailer on their site.

Links: audio post * video post * m4v file direct download * MP3 file direct download * Open Source Sex on iTunes (get episodes on iTunes for full textcast versions)

A few sample stills after the jump!

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From Birdman, with love

This is so exciting! Regular readers will remember a while back when I went to an all-male amateur strip night in Oakland, where hotties from the local art and music scenes stripped for an all-female audience, just for fun (“For The Ladies“). The clear highlight was my friend Mateo doing this incredibly sexy dance number; the other major highlight (for me) was the all-too-brief Harvey Birdman strip routine. I’m a big Birdman fan, so imagine my surprise when the Harvey Birdman (Adult Swim) people contacted me to ask if they could use my photos for an upcoming DVD they’re putting together! I jumped at the chance to see some hot Birdman action included in their new project and I agreed faster than Phil Ken Sebben can drop trou, ask to be called a pretty little girl, and fire Birdman (again). Last night I got a special delivery of a wonderful hand-written note of thanks and these two awesome gifts; I’m especially tickled because (as you may well know), many voices of this cartoon are done by Stephen Colbert, most especially the voice of dirty-hilarious Phil Ken Sebben. Le sigh.

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My Private Planet and other places I’ve been this weekend



The images above belong to My Private Planet, which seems to be an unfinished site — I say that because some images have .com and .net, and I see there’s no .com for MPP in the tubes of the interweb. No matter, because I’ve spent a signifigant number of mental tangets on this site all weekend, lost in the images and wishing I was the subject in each and every one of them. Nicely done.

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Otherwise, I just got in late sunday night (tonight) from catching up on my Deadwood; I missed the past month and had a lovely sunday with friends playing the ‘cocksucker’ drinking game, where one takes a sip every time the word is said. We had to stop and get more booze at least once. This show has the best writing and I actually find its style very inspiring when I do my personal tangenital posts. In certain, more powerful scenes, the writing moves topically in ever-closing circles, elliptically, until a feeling emerges or piece of action happens (= the event) that moves the narrative forward. I also like the succinct cultural criticism that is often delivered in one snappy, wordy line. Anyway, my favorite line tonight was when one guy said while clutching his bible, “Go away! I’m praying!” and the response was “What claim has your piety on my deference?” Plus, like, every one of the main characters is hot.

Also, other thoughts — two things I dug today: Dacia (my favorite sexy geek and queen of the sex worker/prostitution economics bitchslap) got a book deal for Naked on the Internet. YAY! Meanwhile, Tristan makes crucial points on the HPV vaccine in The Slut Shot, while news of the vaccine hits the headlines around the world.

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Late night at SRL

And why not? Nothing to do on a friday night, and the Inchworm needed to have a hydraulic hose replaced. Actually, I made it there by 1pm, worked and did my Sirius radio interview from the back of the shop crouched in a quiet space next to a jet engine (live worldwide, from SRL!) — and then just kept working, even though I should have come home and worked on other stuff. I got home a little after midnight. For me, the machines are love, and love is what I needed. I hurt my hand, so typing is a little difficult; I might photoblog for a few days. I took photos of folly from my zenlike friday, seen after the jump.

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On the couch with Nina drinking Mark’s fabulous coffee that he made just for me, with chocolate sprinkles:

Nina, Jonathan and I moved some stuff around and for a short moment these amazing gears were revealed. Now they’re buried behind lots of stuff so I’m glad I got this photo:

Taking a break from wrestling difficult swivel hydro fittings off a blown line on the Inchworm, I snapped a few pics of myself in Mark’s office, checking my email and sniffing my greasy hands:

My evening, spent with hydro lines and drippy fluid — and Nina and Mark, with breaks for beers, fireworks and gossip about love and relationships. An evening spent with my family.

Post afterthought — what I’m sleeping in tonight:

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Stripper Polaroids

My pal Elvis sends me this link to a couple cool Flickr photosets of stripper Polaroids from what looks like the 1960s. These may not be the same Polaroids lost here in San Francisco recently, but the timing is certainly an interesting coincidence.

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