Arrived, slightly damaged

I made it to lovely Austin, yay! But I almost drove icepicks into my ears with rolled-up Sky Mall’s on the plane from SF listening to the endlessly namedropping mommybloggers seated (embedded/screechingly monetizingly festeringly) two rows behind me. Almost didn’t make it here alive, dear readers… seriously, they were all in their mousy brown highlights and pantsuits saying, “I can’t believe I’m saying I’m a ‘blogger’. Ohmigod, it sounds like a disease! Who’s your husband?! I’m monetizing my parenting blog.”

Ugh. I told Hacker Boy to nail me with a thorazine dart gun tomorrow by 5pm when I start running through the expo looking for combustibles and godcasters to make a bonfire with.

I’m on 4 hours of sleep and little food — too tired to tag photos — my SXSW set begins here. Found one of those sweet little “we searched your bag” notes form the TSA in my suitcase; sex toys are still intact so all will be okay. Now, to sleep…

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Readying for SXSW

Meaning, I’m finally packed and soothing my nervousness and stress with cocktails and relationship chat. I was deeply hurt by a lover today — and am heading into tricky lover/evil ex-lover territory at SXSW (toxic boy will be there, yuck). So Jonathan Moore and I have been in my kitchen with inebriants over ice, making a definitive list of rules on how to get hurt. He blogged the rules of the How To Get Hurt Game while we chatted.

I am never, *ever* dating someone who keeps me a secret again. That’s my other new rule.

I leave at 7am, yikes! Re: nervous. I’m on a panel I totally don’t belong on — I’m the only non-monetizing person on an monetizing panel, so I’m filled with apprehension and morbid excitement about being the only person to question integrity and creativity vs. selling your content. What am I going to talk about when they talk about their great ad sales and sponsors? Why use indy media when you express yourself like MSM? Really, how they compromise and what they wear when they do it, of course.

Actually my only question is, how are you any different than MSM when you have corporate sponsors? A good question to explore. Why do indymedia if you’re looking for money? Not that indymedia and monetization are counter to each other, I’m just wondering how they’re different.

I’m looking forward to making more friends, or something.

I’m excited. Got a new video camera tonight, so look out.

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Lustlab ad of the week art by Ellen Forney

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Finally — Brad the way I’ve always wanted him… Seattle’s The Stranger (“Seattle’s only newspaper”) is one of my favorite free weeklies, most especially because it’s home to Dan Savage, the HUMP! porn festival, and their awesome Lovelab and Lustlabs. Their whipsmart, kinky sex-positive personals Lustlabs rock — and I just love artist Ellen Forney’s personal-ad illustrations that go up every wednesday. They’re being made into a Fanatagraphics book due out in early 2008, but you can also follow her ongoing illustrations on her Lustlab Ad of the Week blog category. Fun and very sexy, indeed. I’m bummed I missed her at the Booksmith here in SF last night. (thanks, Xeni!)

Mini-update: funny, I see it’s now also seen @ Boing Boing, tho I like my art choice more 🙂

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Local human-animal fetishists and their Bay Area ranch

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In this week’s Chron column, I get up close and personal with human-animal fetishists and their local outings, such as a “foxhunt” at a Nor Cal ranch and a “dog and pony” show here in town. Snip from Whoa, Nelly!:

For some people, life is a veritable dog and pony show; for a select few others, it’s a literal dog and pony show. If you think I’m talking about well-to-do humanitarian types in Pac Heights who donate an hour (and maybe even a few grand) to the SPCA now and then, you may want to skip on over to the SF Gate’s Your Whole Pet section — because I’m talking about a whole different animal. I’m talking about grown men and women — consenting, articulate adults — who enjoy fetish role play as human animals, especially dogs and horses but even foxes. The Bay Area is such a, er, zoo that we’re a hotbed of active online groups and home to park outings for just that kind of fun. In fact, one could even take a human pony to a full-scale ranch in Northern California for a weekend of dressage training, if one felt so inclined.

The story began one afternoon at Cafe Flore, when I asked an old friend how his main (though not only) squeeze was doing. He told me she’d been seeing another lover — and that they’d gone on a “fox hunt.” Thinking this was some kind of polyamory code for a wild night at the Power Exchange (powerexchange.com), I asked how the hunting was. He said: “Oh, it was great. But there were so many dogs, they said it was tough to find the fox.” Then I thought: “Was this a real hunt? Like, actual hunting for animals is so not cool around the Bay Area.”

My friend went on to explain that the hunt took place at The Ranch, “an alternate lifestyle campground and outdoor play space.”

Link. (image via the very hardcore Petgirls)

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A moment of quiet

A few hours ago I cracked a filling and had the pieces come out in my hand. We’ve all had the dream — when it happened I stared into my hand in disbelief and felt like the air was liquid, that ‘am I dreaming’ feeling. Tomorrow am I see a dentist — no insurance, of course. Yay America! Take my tooth, please.

So no blogging for a bit. But I promise not to report any gross or yucky tooth details.

Update: Not one, but two teeth lost fillings. Ow. Owowowow. My jaw feels like my dental work was done by the Screw Machine. maybe it was. Think I’ll take tonight off, too. Thank you for all of your sweet, supportive emails 🙂

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Professor Lust trailer: Awesome vintage erotica

proflust.jpgJust spotted at Bedazzled: the trailer for the 1967 film, Professor Lust (image via). It’s got acres of retro boobies, monsters, and so much sampleable audio — just ready for remixing. Link to post with viewing options.

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But, really, does “sex sell”?

The article I linked to in my last post is really bugging me. You see, I’m of the reasoned, seasoned opinion that any argument based on the blanket theory “sex sells” is questionable, at best (and flimsy bullshit at worst). Sex does indeed get attention and boobies pull people in, no argument there. But if the entire world could be bought and sold with a porn star or an episode of Baywatch, then — as I argued in my column Web Celebs and My Rainbow-Flag Bikini — why wasn’t the algorithmically generated Forbes Web Celeb 25 filled with web porn stars? Things have changed in the world of sex and media, and it’s changing with every click of *your* mouse. It’s worth thinking about, and worth questioning whenever anyone says that someone (or a newspaper) is using sex to sell something. I think people are much more sexually sophisticated than these tired old arguments are giving them (us) credit for. At least, that’s the truism I follow. A pair of tits (or some lurid prose) won’t save newspapers, but having a real relationship with its readers — and providing a thoughtful respite and accurate cultural reflection about sex — will. It’s just stupid to build business models without including sex culture (human nature) in them anymore. Old media minds see sex as bad and the last bastion of the desperate. Think forward, and you see that nothing is further from the truth.

Anyway, check out this interesting article in The Economist, The big turn off, about the failure of sex to sell products in a recent study:

SEXUAL allure is often hinted as being the prize for buying this or that. Yet advertising wares during commercial breaks in programmes with an erotic theme can be tricky: the minds of viewers tend to be preoccupied with what they have just seen and the advertisement is ignored. New research now suggests that even if the commercial is made sexually enticing, people still fail to remember it.

Ellie Parker and Adrian Furnham of University College London devised an experiment to test three ideas. The first was to confirm that men and women alike would struggle to remember the brand of a product that was advertised during a break in a programme that contained sex. The second was that commercials that had an erotic element would be recalled more readily than those that did not. Finally they wanted to know whether people would remember the advertisement more easily if its theme contrasted with the programme into which it had been inserted.

Link.

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