The Sex Worker Film Fest was probably the most underrated, underattended film fest this year. I co-hosted a porn film clip show opening night and attended several of the films, and was utterly blown away by the quality of the movies and documentaries I saw. And saddened by the low attendance. The expertly made docs on everything from sex workers in Calcutta to lonely and surgified porn stars in LA blew me away, and made me realize that these films are vitally important to our culture — yet we will never see them on PBS, where they absolutely should be shown. We need this information, need to know that in Thailand 30% of women are prostitutes, and everyone needs to see what breast augmentation surgeries look like.
The latter comment is about the documentary, The Girl Next Door: The Stacy Valentine Story, which is impossible to find in any video rental store, but is an amazing, honest exploration of the porn industry through the eyes of a housewife-turned-porn-star. I really liked the film about Calcutta prostitutes and how they’ve turned the tables on the local gangs (Negotiating Sex Workers’ Rights: Calcutta 1997), but the Valentine movie was my favorite because it was the most revealing about the adult industry. The footage of porn shoots shows way, way more than any Frontline show would ever dare — they show you what it’s really like, from a female performer’s perspective. Because while most people see porn as a male commodity, I believe that it is actually a female experience.
I know I said that I’d tell you what films were used in the show I co-hosted with Carol, but to be honest, they weren’t my favorite scenes (I didn’t pick ’em). Quite a few were from Good Vibes’ porn company, and I don’t really think those films are watchable, though their contribution to porn’s race/gender issues are certainly valuable — but when I want to jack off, I want to jack off, you know? So sorry, I’m not telling. Unless you write me and ask. But I may be jacking off and you will have to wait until I am done for a reply.
Today I went over to City Entertainment on Folsom St. to take a picture under their famously humorous sign, they are a typical adult store with an arcade in the back (a "jack shack" as they call ’em). I’ve rented tons of videos over the past year from this fine establishment for research on my next book — they have your garden-variety selection, but also get a lot of new titles. I was lucky to get The Fashionistas when it hit the streets through them, and if you don’t mind the guys cruising each other, or the occasional over-excited het couple, it’s a decent place to shop for the nastier titles. I’ve had fun returning videos late at night on my way to parties (they’re open 24 hours), all dressed up — once on my way to a benefit for an injured coworker I brought back a stack dressed as a naughty nurse, and it was worth it to watch the heads peer out at me around the doors of the arcade booths — and then hide instantly! It was actually really fun to scare the masturbators. Made me want to do it again, and the sassy gay male cashier took Polaroids of me "as keepsakes." The staff there is really nice, and are quite funny.
I got there two hours after two shoplifters had inadvertently assaulted one of the nice staff members. The female cashier (whose shirt read "my type is not yours") told me that these two shady characters came in, and while she was attempting to help them (and watch them closely), one stuffed something under his jacket. The male cashier tried to stop the guy at the door, but he got shoved into the doorframe and got a nasty, bloody gash, and was taken away in an ambulance. The stolen item? Edible undies. And two hours later, when I was hearing the story, the cops still hadn’t shown up. I’ll bet they never did, it being a dirty nasty porn store and all.
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