Underrated Indy Films and my Favorite Jack Shack

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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Sex Workers in Electrified Jackets

Well, as is with the usual organized chaos that surrounds both festivals and people in the sex industry, my plans at the Sex Worker Film Festival tonight have been changed at the last minute. I will not be introducing the films about the Brazilian/Italian tranny prostitutes at 8pm, but instead have been invited to co-host the midnight Sexsational Show with Carol Queen, which will surely be wet and squirmy piles of fun. Midnight film shows are very cool by nature, especially ones where two women are showing explicit sex scenes (of vintage and new porn) on a big screen . It’s at the Roxie tonight, so if you’re in San Fran stop by and join the party, bring your most irreverent comments and sarcastic sex-positive attitude, but if you can’t make it, I’ll post a list this weekend of all the films and scenes we’ll be showing.

Meanwhile, I had no idea that hot chicks read my web log. A sexily wacked smarty babe wrote me a really funny email about the GV survey I filled out (see below), and after she offered to put ham on my rash (which, alas, was a lie), I went to her web site and decided that Heathen is my dream girl. Don’t tell Susannah Breslin that she has become my dream love slave #2, though, or she might put my name in some scary bukkake short story or something.

Off the SRL wires, could the No-Contact Jacket be the invention to prevent random acts of violence against women? Or simply a way for me to electrocute myself every time I spill a beer on my boobs? An SRL member writes:

Actually, there are no plans for a male version.
[the jacket designer] has designed the jackets
strictly for the female form, with a princess cut to them.
The jacket actually looks and feels quite nice.
(his very cute girlfriend) tried on the prototype jacket, and even took a
few arcs to her own hand. She reports the experience
to be survivable, but just barely so. I kept a safe
distance, personally despising electric shocks.
The electric drive unit needs some upgrade work, as it
is only rated for one second bursts into free air — but it can deliver longer bursts into a human load.
I assume that the free air performance will be upgraded
if the jacket is ever brought into production.
The cleaning tag had an interesting instruction amongst
all of the standard precautions: DISARM BEFORE WASHING.

Lastly, being openly bisexual sure makes Alan Cummings (aka X-Men 2’s Nightcrawler) damn sexy. Makes you want to ask Tom Cruise (Mr. homophobia litigious himself) what the big fucking deal is anyway, know what I mean? Thanks for the link, Daze Reader.

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I Like Good Vibes Customers Because They Taste Just Like Chicken

Today I worked a floor shift at one of the stores and had so much fun that I think I shot coffee out my nose at least twice. First of all, after one too many "blonde" moments, the staff officially named me "Captain Obvious." I think I actually said, while we were contemplating what we’d do if we had shopping carts and three minutes in a supermarket (like in those contests), that I’d "go straight to the frozen food — because you can freeze that stuff!" What a revelation. They were shocked to find out this news about frozen food, and I was shocked that anyone in their right mind had ever offered me a book contract.

We also were given these very hippie, feel-good surveys for store staffers about what we like about our jobs and stupid stuff like that. I filled one out that I will surely get in trouble for. It went like this:

What do you love about our customers?

They taste just like chicken.

What do you wish our customers knew before they came to the store?

That sometimes the penis goes in the vagina, and that I have an itchy rash.

How do you feel when you leave the store? (tired, happy, proud, energized)

Sore and chafed from the anal stretching.

What advice do you like to give our customers?

That the Kama Sutra Pleasure Garden massage oil does not work on itchy rashes.

What three things do customers ask you the most?

1) How are the sandwiches?
2) Does that tinfoil hat get hot?
3) Would I please move away from the exit?

What do you dislike about our customers/what do you find problematic in your sales position?

The customers look afraid when I talk to them.

How do you deal with this issue?

1) I bear down and fart really loud.
2) Then I lay down under a table.
3) I ask if anyone wants a date.

What makes you interested in working in sales?

I have a really big vagina.

What makes you interested in the field of sex education?

I can shoot golf balls really far out of my really big vagina.

I signed mine "Penny Ante." Okay, I don’t have a really big vagina, a tinfoil hat, nor can I make my pussy into a cannon, but I guess in reflection now I know why I’m always getting in trouble with the serious people (management), and why I get along really well with everyone else. But overall it’s been a semi-nerve wracking week, what with final edits going on with my next book, the reading for Thomas Roche and Alison Tyler last Tuesday (great attendance, fun event), and the gig tomorrow night.

I got asked at the very last minute to be the host opening night at the Sex Worker Film Festival, tomorrow (Friday 5/23, 8pm). Good Vibes is co-sponsoring the fest and I’ll be introducing the "best of the fest" movie, a very interesting-looking film about transsexual Brazilian sex workers and their pilgrimages to Italy, the emerging capital of tranny prostitution (look out Brazil, the Pope’s wooing your boygirl sex workers). For my MC-ing, I get a weekend pass to the fest, and I’m extremely excited about catching this one film I’ve been trying to see for ages, "The Girl Next Door: The Stacy Valentine Story." This is a doc about a cornfed housewife-turned-porn star from respected documentation Christina Fugate. It’s explicit and disturbing (graphic sex/graphic surgery), so it’s impossible to find in our Puritan era, but it sounds like a pretty culturally important flick. I’m nervous about getting up in front of all those people tomorrow, but happy about seeing that film.

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My Virgin Lap, Copulating Couples and Pussy on Channel Four

My lap is still a virgin. At first I felt like a big chicken, a wussy, a something not deserving of cookies and ice cream, or at least a sound spanking, but here is what happened.

On Saturday night I ran into the Extra Action Marching Band in North Beach right before their secret gig, which was earlier than I thought, and followed them to their destination. Carrying a horn case for a member that had a Good Vibes "I’d Rather be Masturbating" sticker on it, I seemed to blend in a little. They had been hired to play a surprise gig for a man who was proposing marriage to his girlfriend, and his friends were secretly letting the band in with a key, supposedly while said proposal was happening in his North Beach apartment. Watching thirty uniformed musicians with their instruments and a squad of uniformed flag girls (and boys) quietly sneak in the side entrance of the building was one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen… but not until the whole band erupted into their tiny bedroom and started playing! The couple was consummating the proposal, and were actually naked and in the act when the tubas and flags burst in, and two horn players, two flag girls and two drummers jumped into/on the bed with the naked couple. The tuba player knocked the light fixture and the lights swung crazily as the band played and the flag team danced all over them and the furniture (standing room only. in the bedroom). The couple were laughing and screaming, and the woman at first hid her body under the covers, then yanked all the sheets and blankets off them both! Outside, the ruckus had all the neighbors out on the sidewalk, and someone ran out of the apartment to tell the now-huge crowd that had gathered, "She said ‘Yes’!" The crowd erupted into applause, and then the band piled out of the apartment, still playing, and did a whole routine in the street, forcing traffic to stop. Then they went back to a North Beach club on Broadway, still marching and playing, stopping even more traffic along the way.

A cute marching band boy knew about my idea to get my first lap dance that night and wanted to be supportive, and said he’d walk with me over to the Lusty. We got there, and at the door I saw an old dear friend who still works there (haven’t seen her in years, was really happy to see her actually). It immediately felt social, not sexual, to be there. Anyway, my friend said she’d love to help me out and would gladly arrange a lapdance from "that beautiful redhead over there," who wasn’t my type at all. So instead, I said we’d look around first and we went into the little rooms where you put the money in the slot and the window slides up. The little room was smelly, and the women behind the glass were very far away. I waited, and waited, and realized that my money/time would run out before anyone came over.

So I was nonplussed. We went to leave, and my friend said all right, I’m showing you around. She took me in back and showed me where the lapdances were going on and the topless shoeshines, and explained how to ask for a dance. I thanked her, she left and I stood there being ignored, trying to check out the girls and realizing they weren’t even close to my type, or anything near, and the lapdances were near the urinal and it smelled disgusting. My horn-playing escort asked if I wanted to get a lapdance and I said I thought my imagination was better, and this rancid smell makes me sick, can we get away from the urinal?

We went into the hall and I was kind of laughing. I told him I wished there was a fast-forward button like when I watch porn. I told him I felt lame being ignored by girls who weren’t my idea of sexy, and that I almost did it anyway because he was there, and he said he didn’t like the girls either, and that it wasn’t just me and he was worried I was going to do it for his benefit and not myself. It was all kind of funny and we were making each other laugh. The woman behind the glass for the private shows in the hall was watching us. She was hot. She was in a glass cube. In truth, my friend was the sexiest woman there, and she was not working, which is a lot of weird concepts all rolled into one when you think about it. I was still turned off by the smell, definitely not wet or aroused but feeling kinda like I was trying to fit into a suit that was not my size. Was I a failure? Too discriminating about my taste in women? I was assured I wasn’t, and told that the Lusty wasn’t what real strip clubs are like. I said, let’s go get a beer, so we went back to the club and the guys razzed me about being a sexpert lap dance virgin.

I vowed to try again, especially after watching the really great KRON (channel 4 here in the Bay Area) special, San Francisco: Sex and the City. Watch it if you can, it really shows how amazingly rich and diverse and deep the sex culture is here in SF. Sex culture is way more progressive here than anywhere else, and the show’s history, from Lenny Bruce and Carol Doda to Good Vibes, Exotic Erotic, the Mitchell Bros. and SIR Productions is wonderfully presented. Besides the fact that I keep being asked why I wasn’t on the show (I was out of town when the Good Vibes footage was shot), I felt that the show could’ve included more, been a few shows — there was a lot missing. Like locals Nina Hartley and Annie Sprinkle, and more. I still enjoyed it immensely. Especially because in the Mitchell Bros. footage they forgot to pixelate one of the very sexy strippers’ pussies, and her clit is huge! Unintentional porn is often the best kind. Speaking of porn, I should get back to work and go watch some porn for Good Vibes. Tomorrow night at eight I’m reading at the Good Vibes Valencia St. store with Carol Queen and Thomas Roche from Thomas’ and Alison Tyler’s latest books, His and Hers. Problem is, Thomas has been sick and I don’t know what I’m reading! Oh well, it’ll be interesting.

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Weird Dreams and Possibly Losing my Virginity

I’ve been having the strangest dreams lately. In one, I was in my bedroom and I had a TV on my dresser, where a really bad porn movie was playing (no big stretch of the subconscious there), except Evan Stone was lying on my bed. I wanted him to go away, which would be true to real life, too. If you know who this porn actor is, you’ll understand why — he might be a nice guy in real life, I have no idea, but the best way to describe him is as a refugee from a Chippendale’s male stripper concentration camp, circa 1980. Anyway, in this dream I had to try out this porn-star branded lingerie (like how they brand sex toys, a la "Devinn Lane’s Creepy Dismembered Pulsing Pink Pussy") for Good Vibes. Except the lingerie was "Traci Lords’ Bunny Suit." I gave up trying to eject Evan and tried on the suit’s bottoms, which were much like a big knit-fabric sock monkey outfit, complete with feet and a big knit tail. In the next dream I was in Mexico (where I’ve never been) and pornographer Seymore Butts was being interviewed, unhappily, and when he was done we decided to get some food (though I’ve never met him, or even thought much about meeting him, we were pals in the dream). He was always Seymore but sometimes he looked like the character Dadi from one of my favorite films of all time, Emir Kusturica‘s Black Cat White Cat. While we were having dinner Tristan Taormino showed up, all hot for Seymore, trying to seduce him and interrupting our conversation to talk about her latest projects. She was wearing this pink knit sweater dress with nothing underneath, and it was the world’s ugliest 1980’s dress ever. I escaped by diving into the ocean. What does it all mean?

Meanwhile in the real world, tonight I’m up to no good, after a hard and slippery week of work. This was a week of much Good Vibes word spanking (I hate Masturbation Month) and joyous dildo slinging at the store. I also bought a Violet Ray on eBay for an upcoming appearance on cable channel Tech TV in early June, where this show wants a condensed version of my Sex and Electricity presentation. And, I donated $50 to Susannah Breslin’s latest project "You’re A Bad Man, Aren’t You?", a collection of her amazing fiction, which I’m eagerly awaiting, being a huge fan of tall, sexy loquacious Susannah and her tall, sexy mind-blowing writing. Also last week I picked up a tripod and a wide-angle lens for my digital camera, so there will now be pictures of me on this site that include both of my arms. I really have a right arm, you’ll see. Then, through a series of indescribable circumstances I ended up with a baby tuba at my house, and you can see what happens when I get a horn and a tripod in the room at the same time — the clothes come off, and the shutter snaps. But I can’t play an instrument to save my life except I might be able to play air Theremin if it was an emergency, and I know for a fact, that through much practice and love of the instrument, I’m pretty good on the skin flute.

That leads me to tonight. I found out about a very secret gig that the Extra Action Marching Band is playing tonight here in San Francisco, and while I’m waiting for them to explode onto the scene in all their underdressed sexually ecstatic noisiness, I’ve decided to make a little solo side trip to the strip club, The Lusty Lady. Why? Well, once a year they do this thing called "Play Day," where the notoriously sexy (and notoriously bored-looking) strippers emerge from behind the glass and entertain the patrons face-to-face. Normally for Play Day the workers get to keep all the money made that night, but the workers are banding together and taking over the club (literally), forming a worker-owned co-op strip club, and the Play Day money from all three Play Days is funding the start of their groundbreaking enterprise.

But here’s the surprising admission on my part — I’m a strip club virgin. I know, I’m supposed to be an experienced "sexpert" and I know a LOT of strippers and assorted sex workers, but I’ve never done it, gone in a club. On Play Day, women and couples are allegedly welcome. But I’m nervous. I’m hoping to get a lap dance or something, but I don’t even really know how it all works. I’m really worried that they’ll ignore me (my friend Carol Queen assures me they won’t), or that they’ll think I’m there for a job (I’ll be in a fetish outfit as I always am for Marching Band gigs). I’m definitely having a drink before I go in. Part of me thinks I should call a bisexual gal-pal and ask for camaraderie, but part of me wonders what will happen if I’m on my own. Dressed as a schoolgirl tonight, will I get danced upon until my lap is worn out, smacked upside the head by weighty mammaries until I’m flat broke, attacked by other schoolgirls and spanked for being bad? I hope. Tossed out by bouncers for touching the girls? Perhaps. Ignored by pretty girls and propositioned by scary swingers from Contra Costa County? Highly likely.

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Oh God Make Please Masturbation Month End Please Please

Last Sunday I had a BBQ and lots of friends came over, including my friends the good Drs. Carol Queen and Robert Lawrence. Carol and Robert are a total hoot, and are the light and life of any party they attend — both being walking encyclopedias of sex and culture. Which is fitting since they founded the Center for Sex and Culture. What’s really interesting is that since I had them trapped in my apartment with beers in their hands, a rapt audience and a fat fluffy cat blocking the nearest exit with his bulk, I got to quiz them about their latest coup de gras — the live Masturbate-A-Thon.

You see, about eight years ago, Good Vibes declared May National Masturbation Month to honor the then-firing of Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, who said nice things about jacking off and freaked everyone out who was masturbating instead of listening, and to also make a fun month out of a usual slump. Now it is a big PR pain in my ass. I mean, I love masturbating, like way too much probably and it’s amazing I get anything done since I watch porn and read erotica and test toys for a living. But it’s always chaos for my copywriting duties at Good Vibes (five years of Masturbation Month, argh) and all these journalists call and want interviews about the exact same things every year. What they always ask is where the Masturbate-A-Thon is. And every fuckin’ (wankin’?) year we tell them, no no, it’s not a big circle jerk, it’s like a walk-a-thon, you get one of our sassy pledge forms and take pledges and it’s all on the honor system and then you collect the money and we give it all to charities like AIDS organizations. When Good Vibes’ publicist calls me, I now hide in the bathroom, or under my desk and rock like an autistic child in fear of certain Masturbation Month journalist torture. Thank the gods that I’ve never had to talk to the radio shock jocks, though one year I was told I had to or else, and I think I tried to fake my own death by Hitachi Magic Wand overload, or lube drowning, or fatal braining by a falling Sean Michaels dildo or something. Actually, I got in a lot of trouble at work, though that’s nothing new.

But Carol Queen has no fear. This articulate, unbelievably intelligent woman talks to the shock jocks and stays cool, all though the insults, the sexism, the homophobia, the racist bullshit, the obnoxious sound effects, all of it, and still manages to get the names of the charities on the air. And after years of jocks asking where the ‘Thon was going to be, Carol and Robert decided to actually have one. So there.

So the Center for Sex and Culture rented a local cultural center, and with their permission, held a public Masturbate-A-Thon, with all proceeds going to charity. And it was a total wanking success. There were rooms for just women or just men, a room for mixed gender, and a live webcast with several different cameras. Reuters was there, and so were a bunch of other big news people. There were sexy buxom adult schoolgirls, guys who were hung in ways I’ve only heard about, regular people, sex pundits and local sex authors. (Not me, though — I was in a nunnery that weekend. Okay, I was finishing another book, and I’m a total hermit when I write. Plus I was scared.) The next day Howard Stern talked about it enviously, and Rush Limbaugh talked about it even more enviously, because we all know that Howard actually gets laid sometimes and Rush needs a Powerman 6000 now more than ever.

Carol and Robert raised a bunch of money for the UCSF AIDS Health Project, and they have been on the phone with journalists and shock jocks steadily, so my job is much happier now. But I think what’s cool is that they actually did it, and it was fun for all, and not sleazy, and well, kinda normal — in our San Francisco way… National Masturbation Month is still a pain in my ass, everything I do at work has to be masturbation-themed and it makes me want to drink Astroglide from the bottle, but now thanks to Carol and Robert I don’t need to hide under my desk behind a bin of bright pink butt plugs, or a stack of videos with titles like "Gush" on them — this month.

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Forbidden Photographs

This sounds lazy, but it’s noon and I’m just having my coffee and a bagel. But this Quicktime video of a transformer blowing up (sent to me by fellow SRL member and Tesla coil midwife Greg Leyh) was a real picker-upper!

It’s a gorgeous San Francisco day, and last night was a great SF night. I went to the premiere of the documentary Forbidden Photographs, about the wild life of photographer Charles Gatewood at the Roxie Theater, and it was absolutely incredible — especially from a social anthropological perspective. He’s shot Bob Dylan, Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Charles collaborated on his first photo book with Burroughs. For the past 30 years, Charles has documented the wild sides of Mardi Gras, African-American struggles, and has traveled deep into American subcultures to photo nazi bikers, Native American satanists, ritual body modification "tribes," urban pagans, fetishes such as the "messy" fetish and as many forbidden things that he can find. I do fetish modeling for Charles about once a year (you can find me naked and messy in his latest book Messy Girls), and I’m blown away to now be a part of this cultural documentation by way of the camera’s gaze. The film is traveling around the country, catch it if you can — and be warned that you will see some possibly unsettling practices onscreen, such as body piercing, explicit sex and blood play (he has documented the vampire subculture, too).

Thinking of art, I’m currently fixated on the works of Wim Delvoye. This Belgian artist has taken X-rays of hetero couples having sex and if that wasn’t fascinating enough, he mounted the see through images into giant cathedral-style church windows, coupled with colorful stained glass. The last show of record I can find of his was last year, but if anyone knows more about this artist, please drop me a line.

Today I’m headed over to the offices of woman-owned porn makers, SIR Video to meet with Shar Rednour (whom I used to work with at the Good Vibrations store — see, it’s all connected somehow). They have two new titles that I’m going to cover in my next book, and though these titles aren’t out until this summer, I’m really excited about them. One is a guide to dirty talk, called Talk to Me. The other is a (surely groundbreaking) video for survivors of trauma and sexual abuse who want to build a healthy, safe and pleasurable sex life. Neither of these titles are pornographic per se, though the dirty talk video is likely to be damn hot, knowing Shar’s love of the potty mouth. Either way, it’s nice to know that there are people out there making forward-thinking titles about healthy adult sexuality, no?

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