Feminist Porn Filmmakers is a new documentary by the artist Lora Hristova. The film includes interviews and non-explicit clips from participants films, and has graciously released the 28 minute on YouTube.
The film explores definitions of ‘feminist porn’, shows examples of the filmmakers work, and discusses issues around trans and queer visibility, sex education, internet piracy, and censorship. Other topics covered include; toxic masculinity, feminist interpretations of BDSM, and the positive impact of pornography for alternative and marginalized communities.
Here is the video in full, posted with permission.
Interviews span adult filmmakers and performers: Jiz Lee, Ms Naughty, Pandora Blake, Yvette Luhrs, Maria Bala, Lucie Blush, Alyx Fox & Audrey Fox of Foxhouse Films, as well as footage from PornFilmFestivalBerlin 2014 of talks by directors Shine Louise Houston (Pink and White Productions) and Petra Joy.September 13, 2016
The OH Files is now on PinkLabel.tv! We’re proud to stream this film in its entirety, *uncensored. Most recently, Aorta Films was featured on Tristan Taormino’s SEX OUT LOUD podcast, and screened at the Milwaukee SHARE (Sexual Health and Relationship Education) closing event.
We interviewedPerformer/Producer Parts Authority (@call_me_partsauthority), Performer/Producer Ginny Woolf (@ginnywoolfx), and Creator/Director/Producer Mahx Capacity (@MahxCapacity) to learn more about Aorta Films and their newest release, The OH Files.
The OH Files is different from many adult films in its unique use of interludes and performative experimentation. What is your interest in conceptual erotic art?
When we started working on The OH Files, it was really important to us that it be ‘porn’ rather than ‘erotic art’—to us it seemed that calling it art framed it as something that was easier to dismiss or feel ostracized by, rather than porn which is specifically made to be more egalitarian and accessible. We also wanted to own the porn-ness of the work. Not only is ‘erotic art’ perhaps less accessible, it is also more “respectable” than porn, at least in certain circles. It was important to defy that notion of respectability.
Mahx and Parts are both from from an experimental performance background—together they run the A.O. Movement Collective, a performance collective of which Mahx is the director and choreographer, and Parts an ongoing performer and the Company Manager. The end product of The OH Files definitely falls somewhere in the interstitial space of art and erotic art and porn, but to us, that feels like a really ripe space, in part because it’s hard to pin down. It (hopefully) provides the same physical triggers and turn ons as porn, but it also has permission to skirt the literal, and go into territory that’s more abstract or symbolic.
Here’s a statement that Mahx has been working on:
Performance and pornography have analogous power: they use human bodies to trigger instantaneous responses in the viewer that are visceral and uncontrollably authentic. These responses precede language, social constructs, and projected identity. Our bodies react before we have time to respond the way we should, sending us scrambling to contain the dissonance between our reaction and who we thought we were. This dissonance is productive: it is a glitch in our understanding of self and reality—a moment of unraveling before sense and meaning gets remade. In this queerly feminist moment of un-knowing, literally anything is possible. There is no certainty or single truth—we experience something interstitial, intersectional and new. It is the promise of these moments that make both pornography and performance powerful, dangerous, glorious tools.
How did The OH Files come about? Is it your first time working together? How did you cast/negotiate? Where there any surprises within collaboration? (etc)
The OH Files came about as part of a larger multi-media art project called the ETLE Universe. The basic idea was that, rather than creating a single work, we wanted to create an entirely new universe—an original sci-fi cannon—and then make ten works out of that Universe, each based in a different media. Part of that came from a desire to reach a much broader range of audiences—people who wouldn’t normally be interested in seeing post-post-modern experimental performance work—by coming to them via medias that they were already consumers of. So we decided that one of the works should be pornography (other works include a graphic novel, a concept album, a dance performance, 3D-printed rings, etc) in part because of porn’s universality.
We had never made porn before. As a performance-maker, Mahx has a lot of experience working with bodies and choreographing content, which has sometimes had sexual undertones, but this was the first time where we were explicitly making porn. We put out a call for performers as part of the ETLE Universe, and ended up working with almost everyone who answered it—the folks involved had varying degrees of experience with performance, sex work, and porn, but everyone was new to working with each other. We had one meeting before the shoot weekend where everyone talked about their identity, desires for the shoot, and limits. Mahx proposed a few scenes that she had been thinking about, and then we further sketched everything out over google docs in the weeks leading up to the shoot. When we shot the footage (in sequential shoots over about 48 hrs) the performers met up about 15 minutes before filming to discuss their limits and desires again, and then we’d work together to map out the general arc or score of the scene. We shot most of the scenes somewhere between 2-3 times, and everyone hung out for most of the weekend—it was nice to have everyone in the space together through the shoot—it felt very supportive that we were all trying this new thing together.
Though this was our first time explicitly making porn, Parts, Ginny, and Mahx are queer family. Parts and Ginny grew up together, and Mahx has known them for about ten years now. Parts and Mahx have run a performance company together called the A.O. Movement Collective since 2006, and we all lived together for a few years (Ginny and Mahx are still currently roommates.) 4 years ago we started a tradition of doing a naked/sexy photoshoot together on Valentine’s Day, and it’s expanded in scope and friends involved every year—you can see the results on our instagrams. A primary element of our friendship has always been being supportive of each other’s queerness, our autonomy, sexual expression, and body-love, and those photo shoots were a gateway to feeling like making porn together would be exciting and challenging and fun. Knowing each other in that way makes working together feel very safe and supportive, and means that we’re able to really highlight each other’s strengths because we know each other so well.
Ginny Woolf: I was amazed at how wonderful it felt—like, all of it. The negotiation and the execution certainly took work and care, but at the end of the weekend I was much more energized than I was depleted. I had moments when I would turn in the middle of a scene and look at Mahx and the videographer think “how weird, and how perfectly natural.”
Parts Authority: One of my favorite surprises—a few times as Maxh was directing, she’d say ‘how about you kiss here’ or ‘and maybe a make-out moment happens now’ and those were the things that we said “no thank you” to. Fisting, no problem, chugging a gallon of milk, ok, but whatever certain moment it was, kissing wasn’t on the table. But I’m new to the porn world, and only have a toe in the ocean of kink so maybe this is a context thing.
What or who provided inspirations and motivations behind this film?
Parts Authority: I’ve been a dancer for most of my life. More than any other art form or language, I understand body based work first and foremost and find inspiration in dancemakers and performers. Seeing performers use their bodies in ways that push boundaries and confront expectation is what I find most exciting about performance work. When that work is nude, even better! A few inspiring shows from recent years include luciana achugar’s OTRO TEATRO (2014) and (the performers in) Young Jean Lee’s Untitled Feminist Show (2012). Also the photoshoots. Seeing each other develop scenes and personas for the photoshoots over the years has been an ongoing source of inspiration and a confidence. I think that, more than anything was my gateway into saying YES (to myself) about doing porn.
Ginny Woolf: I’ve been wanting make porn for several years now, so the conversations I had with a potential collaborator, maybe 3 or 4 years ago, and the research we did sort of set me on this path. Our idea was to make porn using her Super 8 with gritty images and beautiful, queer fucking. It was a dream I was not willing to see die, so when Mahx called I answered very quickly. All of the porn I watched as an adolescent and the weird young adult lit I read as a 12 year old (things like Lisa Lerner’s Just Like Beauty) were sort of latent inspirations, waiting to explode in a rage and demand recognition of that teenage girl desire. I also read a lot Dostoyevsky, like sort of obsessively, which may not have specifically informed The OH Files, but certainly informs my own relationship to my humanness, my relationship to other people and to myself, which I guess ultimately has everything to do with my making porn. He’s rolling over in his grave or whatever, I’m sure. And, of course, the amazing, sexy, body-pos photo shoots with Parts and Mahx.
Mahx Capacity: Powerful humans in my queer, femme, and fat communities. Virginie Despentes, Luce Irigary, Rosa Menkman, Big Dance Theater, Miguel Gutirrez, sci-fi and action movies (especially the Matrix and Alien), play parties, dates and crushes, slow-motion footage of anything, but especially car crashes.
Many of the works involve displays or mirrors of genitalia. A printed photo is held against the body of another. Mylar creates a kaleidoscopic ‘fun house’ reflection of a three-way. Two lovers are caught divided between a sheet of plexiglas. One lover swipes an iPad over another lovers crotch to flip through various digital genitals, offering a ‘smorgasbord’ of anatomy for oral pleasure. How do these vignettes tie The OH Files together?
When we were first working on the project, we had envisioned a much more highly-designed sci-fi aesthetic, which started to feel a little limiting and overwhelming given that the objective was just to make porn for the first time and that we were working with a very small budget. So we gave ourselves permission to just kind of jump in and be first-time pornographers and make what we wanted to make and trust that having the context of the ETLE Universe would integrate some interesting ideas and aesthetics rather than needing a specifically sci-fi narrative. So it was interesting to really see the core ideas of the ETLE Universe reflected strongly in the porn.
One of the key ideas of the is the prevalence of alternate, branching realities, and the (queer) body’s ability to unlock and access those different realms via embodiment. Specifically, in the ETLE Universe’s narrative, queer and female bodies are first colonized and then hacked, becoming living breathing time machines that are able to navigate their own histories through touch, pleasure, glitch, and effort. We were interested in absence being central to a queer and female experience—the interior spaces of the body, lack of singularity and certainty, emptiness allowing for possibility and creation. So the idea of glitching this absence—of fucking and pleasure as something that fills and overwhelms and dismantles–was very present in the ETLE Universe, and I think most present in the porn in a lot of the mylar sequences. I like how the pleasureglitch of filling/being filled or experiencing pleasure seems to open and reflect other shimmering distorted realities across the mylar.
I think there was also a desire in the project to think about what pornography might look like the more post-human we become as a species. It’s already happening—queer embodiment and sex can already be understood as cyborg endeavors (strap ons, toys, hormones, self-(re)design, multiplicity, hybridization, etc) and so we wanted to embrace that and think about what a further cyborg aesthetic (on a very low budget!) might look like. The photos (which are actually from the ETLE Universe’s photo exhibit 1ND3X) and the iPad let us play with what a multiplicity of interchangeable parts might look like, and how the optical illusions of those switches might be read as wormholes into other realities.
What are your future projects, and how might people follow your work?
We’ve been taking a break after the ETLE Universe premieres last fall to rest and recuperate—and additionally form AORTA films’ LLC and get The OH Files set up with distributors! We’ll most likely be beginning our next project this fall, which will be a new collection of shorts (premiering 2017) produced in conjunction with an evening-length performance work (premiering 2018).
Are you accepting more collaborators?
We’re always excited to get to know brilliant humans who are interested in being involved—in front of and/or behind the camera! Email us at helloAORTAfilms@gmail.com and say hi!
Watch The OH Files on PinkLabel.tv.
*What was censored? Well, mainstream porn sites ban ‘deep manual sex’ also known as fisting, for being too ‘extreme’ – however we queers know it to be a consensual and pleasurable sex act enjoyed by performers of all genders. So, rejoice! Look for a very happy performer in Let Yourself Be Filled, part of The OH Files.June 18, 2016
At the helm of queer and feminist-produced pornography is Alyx Fox of the pan-gender, BDSM-focused company Foxhouse Films. Approaching its second year in business, Foxhouse has already garnered major attention. We interviewed Alyx to learn more about her work, on filming trans women in porn, and thoughts on how porn can be produced with ethics and artistry.
Foxhouse really hit the ground running! What have been its milestones and accomplishments? What are its challenges?
Our biggest accomplishment honestly feels like the fact that we survived this long. No one thinks starting a business is easy but it’s way more difficult than I imagined. We released 15 films in less than two years (with two more in production). Our films have received a significant amount of attention from fans, mainstream distributors, the queer and feminist porn community, and international porn film festivals, so we’re offering porn that is really unique, progressive and hot that can appeal to a lot of different types of people.
I didn’t really have a lot of money to start a business—I just knew a group of people with a lot of talent and the idea of a collective share model really appealed to us. The personal relationships, both on-screen and behind the scenes, are part of the magic of Foxhouse. We’ve done a lot with that method of production and there definitely is an interest in what we’re making, so that encourages us to keep going. But I’ve personally always been strained with the lion’s share of the responsibility. So I actually think after the next few releases I’ll be taking a short break from production to reorganize and set up in a way that’s better for me and probably for our performers in the long run. This most likely means setting up a standard pay scale which will open our shoots to performers who have not been interested in the collective ownership model. But this also means we may not be able to produce as often in the near future.
Looking ahead, although we will continue to produce some BDSM titles, I know we will be looking to produce a wider variety of content.
What companies or experiences have influenced your process as a producer?
I’d say that my biggest influences are CrashPad (queer porn), Kink and Evil Angel (mainstream porn) and Berlin PornFilmFestival for artistic and political inspiration. Basically I want to make commercially successful hardcore porn that has a strong ethical basis and is recognized for its artistic value.
As a self-described pan-gender company, how often is gender a spotlight of the production? How ‘out’ are your cast and crew?
I think the fact that we totally honor our performer’s pronouns and don’t always spotlight secondary aspects of their gender could make it seem like people aren’t out. For example if we just call a girl-girl production featuring trans women “lesbian” but don’t spotlight that they are trans, it may seem like the performer isn’t out, but actually we are just very quietly trying to take a different approach to activism by asserting our performer’s genders without qualification. To me, trans isn’t a gender. It’s a part of some people’s experience. I’d rather spotlight their actual gender—non-binary, female, or male—by just using the pronouns they prefer and letting the viewer sort the details out for themselves while watching our films. We understand that this can make some of our scenes less searchable, especially since we are a company with a mixture of cis and trans people and a wide range of sexual orientations. So this is actually not the most effective strategy to selling porn, especially for people who are scared of accidentally visually stumbling onto a trans body. So we may or may not bite the bullet and do more spotlighting and keyword tagging in the future, and we are also working on pages for our stars where they can describe in their own words how they identify.
How does Foxhouse approach casting trans women performers, and how does this compare to experiences within pornography?
Honestly we cast all performers the same. There are two questions on the application that we usually create scenes from—we ask about favorite sexual experiences and unfulfilled fantasies. We make it a point to build all scenes from these performer interests (so anyone applying to work with us should take a little extra time with those questions). Chelsea Poe had some great ideas for a forced straight scene that no one else was crazy enough to do and somehow that made us want to work with her right away. This actually eventually turned into a role for her as a gold star lesbian, and I don’t think many other companies are giving trans women the opportunity for much variation in roles.
Usually, in mainstream porn, trans women are cast as tops, traps, or surprises. The women are basically required to go off hormones prior to shooting when erections and cum shots are mandatory even though many trans women are not able to ejaculate when on HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy). We’ve avoided all of those formulas and the best part is that our films do very well in mainstream distribution without those things, proving that those formulas are not required to sell porn featuring trans women even to mainstream audiences.
Do you ever receive feedback from viewers who assumed they’d see topping/pop shot but who were surprised (and possibly educated or empowered) in discovering something they didn’t expect?
Surprisingly we’ve actually never gotten feedback like that. Sales of our films with trans-feminine stars have been very positive, and several of our titles, Cheat on Chelsea and Silver Star, have been featured on the blogs of our mainstream distributors and the reviewers never mention that. So I actually think that most people don’t think about it if they’re into what they are watching.
I think it’s the producers of mainstream trans content who won’t take the risk of trying a different approach because obviously the stuff they’re already making is selling.
Do you ever encounter performers who assume that you shoot porn similar to mainstream trans productions, where they were surprised/relieved that they could shoot the way they wanted to?
We liked Chelsea’s application idea for a forced straight sex scene where she would perform with a man so I think she always knew we had an understanding of trans identity. And I knew Vicky before we started shooting with her, so no, I don’t think we’ve encountered this. But I have seen trans performers I follow on social media complaining that there aren’t any opportunities to shoot the sex they like to have, so I guess they haven’t noticed that we’re here yet or maybe they assume that we’re like the rest.
Are there any taboo subjects you or cast/crew have approached in your films from a trans perspective?
I think Silver Star is pretty taboo. It was definitely fun to put a spin on the classic forced bi theme, but I think there is something very real and relatable about things that are forbidden developing an erotic charge. I was strictly dominant for such a long time that submission began to feel taboo for me. It wasn’t really an interest of mine until it became forbidden. So I think rigidity of identity can create new taboos and new sexual desires. I don’t being trans has anything to do with that.
The great thing about Silver Star is that it kind of defies a simple interpretation. We cast Chelsea as a “gold star lesbian” because honestly she was just perfect for the role as a lesbian-identified person who also had that fantasy. It is really common for cis people to play trans people so I guess the trans perspective would be the fact that we are willing to cast trans people for cis roles, whereas most of the people who run media won’t even cast trans people for trans roles, and I’ve really never heard of trans people being cast for non-trans roles.
Which trans women have you worked with, and what have you learned or appreciated in their performances?
We’ve worked with Chelsea Poe and Vicky Bride. They both are into pretty extreme submissive play and I think that’s really hot and courageous.
What are your thoughts with the camera angles often employed in trans porn that accentuate or reveal genitalia?
We definitely make choices for camera angles but never specifically for trans performers to emphasize their size or anything. I mean, in Cheat on Chelsea, Chelsea is wearing panties for the entire scene and even cums through her panties, and only at the very end after we cut them off and stuff them in her mouth do you see her naked at all. This is our best selling title, and it was at the top of the transsexual charts on AEBN for a few weeks, so it obviously appealed to mainstream audiences as well. This has definitely shown us that we don’t need to follow the same porn tropes to interest people in our content or in trans performers.
Sometimes viewers look for videos that feature post-op trans women, however it’s rare to find in pornography. Have you ever come across this, and if so, how do you market your work so that audiences are more likely to find your films?
It’s good to hear that people are looking for this content! We could honestly be doing a lot more with this since I am probably one of a very small number of women working in the industry today who fit that description. But I dislike the terms pre-op and post-op because they suggest that transition is a defined process and we know by now that many women decide that surgery is not for them, and they aren’t pre-anything. They’re not the worst terms in the world, but part of the reason I started my own media company is to model my own ethics for how people should be treated within porn, so it’s difficult for me to adopt that language regardless of how that affects searchability, which makes it difficult to talk about. But it’s true, this seems to be one of the areas in porn and in media in general where so much more information and accessibility is needed. So it’s good to have opportunities like this to discuss it without having to change how we do things.
Most people are pretty much stuck in the Caitlyn debate phase when it comes to trans issues, and they haven’t even started to think about life after transition and sex after surgery. One of the many reasons I started to do porn is because I know there is a lack of porn out there that represents that aspect of my experience and I’m having such a great time with my body. Going into it years ago I really had very little idea of what to expect because there was literally nothing out there other than scary medical photos. We need more media that is sexier. It would be cool for people to know at least it’s possible for women who have had surgery to fuck hard, cum, and even squirt.
What do you think the biggest issues are for trans women in the porn industry? Are their different issues for women who have had bottom surgery?
I think some issues are similar and some are different. I mean the fact that trans women who don’t have surgery are limited to certain kinds of roles and often referred to using slurs is not a good thing, but on the other hand there is a porn niche where trans performers can make a career based on that fetish. For trans women who have had surgery, there isn’t an existing niche so it’s more about whether or not these women will be given the opportunity to perform in roles usually reserved for cis women.
How do you handle safer sex testing/barriers as a producer?
We basically handle this in three ways. First of all, testing is expensive for performers to pay out of pocket unless they are able to get a few shoots or a high paying shoot during the short window when their test results are valid. This is one reason why we have prioritized working with performers who are already partnered. A lot of our films have featured off-screen partners. But we’ve also done shoots where that wasn’t the case, and in those cases if there is definitely going to be fluid exchanged—including oral sex—we have required performer testing. We are registered with the Free Speech Coalition’s PASS system so we are able to follow the industry standards with testing. When there are scenes that involve lower risk, where there is only masturbation or contact is limited to toys, gloves, etc. we leave that up to the performers to negotiate and provide barriers and closely observe safety on set.
Tell us about the latest film, Hot for Vicky. How did it come about?
Saint Roch applied to work with us, and on their application they indicated that they were interested but had no experience with trans feminine bottoms. Vicky Bride had worked with us before and I thought the two of them had interests that matched pretty well. I introduced them and there was instant chemistry. Saint calls me the “Fairy Godmother of Porn” because I really get off on making people’s sexual fantasies come true.
Which performers would you like to work with?
We’d always like to increase the diversity of our cast so while we haven’t recruited specific types of people if you don’t see yourself represented we especially want you. I think in the next few years we will be trying to focus on working with established stars—in the past we’ve focused mostly on developing new talent so that will be a big change for us. We’re planning on reworking our application process and starting over with the applications later this year, so if you’re interested in working with us, keep an eye out for that.
What kind of feedback have you heard from trans women about their experience working with you?
They’ve been able to realize some of their submissive fantasies on film, so I think it’s safe to say they’ve been pretty excited about the shoots. Chelsea especially tells everyone how much she loves Foxhouse (thanks Chelsea).
What advice would you give to trans women looking to work in pornography—either for your company or others?
Honestly I think trans women should make their money however they want or need to. But it’s not a bad idea to find out what companies expect from you so you can decide if that’s a good fit for you.
What advice would you give to producers who work with trans women?
Listen to what your performers want, because there is no single way that trans women have sex or enjoy sex.
February 26, 2016
PinkLabel.tv’s newest studio is making waves. Spearheaded by Feminist Porn Awards Heartthrob Morgana Muses, each video seems to reflect a milestone in Morgana’s personal journey of sexual exploration. We interviewed her to learn more about her vision and aspirations.
Your company is called Permission4Pleasure. How did you come to find ‘permission’ for your pleasure, and how do your films create opportunities for others who seek their own?
I was raised to believe that my gender carried certain expectations in how I dressed, behaved and what my role/purpose in life was. I tried my best to be the dutiful daughter, wife, mother and member of the community – but it came at the expense of my personal happiness and pleasure. At age 47 and 2 years after leaving my loveless and sexless marriage I realized that I had yet to explore my sexuality and enjoy my body. In particular I hadn’t had the chance to explore the more taboo and kinkier aspects that I was drawn to, because I was too ashamed and embarrassed to pursue. Not wanting to get to my ‘deathbed’ with too many regrets and disappointments was my main driving force in beginning my personal journey of discovery.
It was this personal journey that led me to start writing, performing and producing erotic films. This became a way for me to document my journey, and also to provide a voice of encouragement, for people in similar situations. I want to start a dialogue on the many classic stereotypes and taboos. Dispel the expiration date on our sexual pleasure-an expiration date that society attempts to impose on sexuality, particularly for the 40+ age group.
Who or what inspires you?
I have to thank Petra Joy, for awarding me the 2012 Petra Joy Award, and encouraging me to continue to produce films. Anna Brownfield, at the beginning of my career, for taking me under her wing, and collaborating on a couple of projects in my “apprenticeship” phase. The sheer joy it is, collaborating with Josie Hess, the other half of Permission4Pleasure, proving to the world that different generations can come together, learn from and inspire each other to produce great work.
Traveling around the world, experiencing different cultures, soaking up the history, always leaves me in awe and wanting to learn and experience more from life.
What have you learned about filmmaking and what has working films taught you?
So far, what I’ve learned about filmmaking is that there is always something new to learn. Each new project I undertake is like producing my first film, working with a new ‘family’. My mind must be open for new discussions, input, responsibilities and considerations to meet everyone’s needs to the best of my ability.
How do your films reflect the milestones in your sexual explorations?
Sometimes I look at my earlier films, and wonder: who is that person? I can see my confidence growing, and I’ve become more daring in what topics/themes I want to depict. Best of all, I can see that I’m comfortable and accepting of who I really am, the path that I’m taking, all without feeling guilt, shame, or seeking prior outside approval.
What’s next for you?
Apart from deciding what hair colour to try next? Haha!
Josie Hess (Cinematographer & Editor, based in Melbourne) and I will continue in our collaborating to produce films and documentaries for P4P . We undertake our first commercial project, shooting a film for Thagson (Barcelona) in March 2016, which is a great, new and exciting challenge for us.
I decided to relocate to Berlin in July 2015 and have been granted a 3-year Self Employed Artist’s Visa. Together with my friend, housemate and co-collaborator, Caritia (a lifestyle Dominant/Conscious Kink Practitioner/Artist) we’re working towards making a life together, personally, professionally, and creatively in our endeavors to promote, depict, educate, and offer experiences in the Kink/Rope/BDSM, in a positive and inclusive way.
And of course, having lots of fun, as I continue to cross off “pleasures to experience” on my never-ending bucket list!
Curious to hear more? Watch this interview by the European Independent Film Festival:February 5, 2016
Feminist adult filmmaker Jennifer Lyon Bell of Blue Artichoke Films discusses her approach to producing porn, in wanting to bridge the gap between how Hollywood films portray sex and the world of commercial pornography by creating something in the middle that reflects her own experience of sex. The interview includes a behind the scenes peek on the set of her film Matinée.August 9, 2015
PinkLabel.tv’s newest release FUCK WINTER goes where few erotic filmmakers dare to go. In the snow! We caught up with Fish from One Trick Pony to learn more about their film. (Spoiler: it’s really cool.)
Tell us a little about One Trick Pony. Who is behind the studio and is this the first erotic film?
One Trick Pony is an assorted crew of passionate bikesexuals who dabble in performance art, film and other areas of bicycle culture, like volunteering at community bike shops. The main people behind OTP are Mayssan and myself, Fish. Mayssan is a filmmaker and had a film, The Hot, the Bold and the Sexy , in Bike Smut 6: Turning TriXXX. I’ve been a lover and organizer of bike porn since it first came all over the bike scene on the west coast. Through friendship and collaboration with Mayssan, we made a second film for Bike Smut 8: Come Again.
FUCK WINTER has screened with BikeSmut, where else has it been presented?
So far Fuck Winter has just been touring with Bike Smut. We are hopeful it will be included in the Bleu Nuit, Rendez-VousÉrotique as part of Cinémathèque Québécoise winter programming. The film was made in Montreal with some francophone crew so it would be a perfect audience for our film.
What was it like filming in the ice cave? Any funny ice stories or advice for filming in snow?
Filming in the quinzhee was great fun. Quinzee — or quinzhee — or ice cave is a snow shelter. I was first introduced to the qunizhee on prairies in Winnipeg. Friends of mine built them in their yards as a fun winter hangout forts (aka for sipping liqueur and hot-boxing). In Quebec I discovered they are popular for winter adventure camps, and Julien Spokes who stars in the film had built one that slept 15 people! When we were making the film it was late February/early March and the temperature was about -7 C (19 F). We are all hardcore winter cyclists so we are used to biking in the cold… but getting naked took more guts.
Watch FUCK WINTER at PinkLabel.tv.March 4, 2015
Trans activist/porn star Chelsea Poe stars in the newest feature from Foxhouse Films, SILVER STAR. A reference to “Gold Star” lesbian status of having not had sex with a man, the performer pushes her limits by collaborating with Foxhouse to film a forced straight fantasy role-play scene.
Here’s a peek:
“It was really a great experience working with Foxhouse Films. Being a submissive is a huge aspect of my sexuality and I was really able to make a fantasy happen that I wanted to do for an extremely long time of a forced straight scene. It was probably the most intense porn scene I have ever done and I really hope to do more work with Foxhouse in the future. I think what is happening in Brooklyn right now could be the future of queer porn with Foxhouse Film and Heartless Productions. I have actually shot more in Brooklyn this year than any place else and think Foxhouse has a really great future as a queer BDSM site.” – Chelsea PoeJanuary 2, 2015
PinkLabel.tv’s newest release blends quality cinema, intimacy, and wit. We caught up with CLEVER GIRL PICTURES director Evie Eliot to learn more about her new company and its debut film, Twitterbating. (Featured photo credit: Sienna Coppa.)
PinkLabel.tv: Tell us a little bit about Clever Girl Pictures.
Evie: Clever Girl Pictures is my little art porn production company, It’s a brand new venture for me and I’m really excited to explore what can be done with the medium.
I think in art, western art especially, we have this need to take the sexy out of sex before we’re allowed to look at it. There’s this need to intellectualize away our emotional response. The only art I see where there is still that arousal present, is when the subject matter is no longer sexually explicit. I want to make films that are both explicitly arousing and also meaningful. I want to see if we can be both literal and profound at the same time. I want to be able to say “This thing, in itself, is actually enough.”
Your ideologies align with what’s been identified as a “Slow Porn” movement. There’s an attention to the process and meaning behind the eroticism. The tagline for Clever Girl is an “unhurried state of arousal” — in what ways does Twitterbating exemplify this?
Obviously a big part of that is the lighting and cinematography. I think that’s really important in persuading the audience to stay with the piece, it has to be beautiful. I’m really fortunate to have a cinematographer who knows exactly the look I’m going for.
The other part is that while I had a mood I wanted for the film; I didn’t have an agenda beyond that.
Co-stars Krys, Jenny and I all directed from the bed, calling attention to whatever we felt looked good from our viewpoint. It makes filming slower, but it gives me the footage I need to create what is, I hope, the most truthful version of how all three of us relate to each other.
it’s funny, we spent about five hours filming for 21 minutes of footage, but watching the film now feels like how I remember the shoot. We just allowed the process to take as much time as it needed.
How did you cast your co-stars, Krys Noir and Jenny Minx?
The three of us knew each other through the poly community in Seattle. Krys and Jenny are partners, and he and I had filmed together in the first hardcore scene I ever shot. I’d put out a general ask for people who thought they might be interested in shooting a film with me, and they were really into the idea.
They’re both such incredible people, and we were all already really comfortable with each other as friends, so it made shooting the scene a ridiculous amount of fun.
Were there any surprising or teaching moments in the filming of Twitterbating? Any funny or blopper stories from the set?
I still have a bunch of outtakes that I’ll probably make a reel of, and there were some funny moments, but no real bloopers. The most surprising thing to me was that I actually didn’t think the film had a strong ending when we wrapped! I was pretty sure I was going to have to edit the whole thing out of order to get a good ending because I’d got totally lost in the moment while filming and had no idea what was going on outside of my own body. When I watched the footage back the next day I was like “Holy crap! This is really good!”
Watch Twitterbating here at PinkLabel.tv.December 15, 2014
PinkLabel.tv: What is the allure of fraternity scenarios within gay and trans masculine desire?
Cyd St. Vincent: For me, there is intense erotic fascination within homoerotic bonding through heterosexual contexts. I get really hot around the danger of being “found out.” In these scenarios you are caught in this juxtaposition of having to be sexually available but also ‘not too gay’ and as a trans man in that context there is so much there to turn me on. Access to these spaces that I would never be allowed in. Brotherhood sexuality and initiation into a male family. Objectification of my body and roleplaying being treated with curiosity. Competition and proving yourself worthy. It’s all the stuff that dreams are made of, for me.
PL: What’s gross and hilarious (spoilers?) about the film?
Cyd: Ex Libris, Kipp Slinger, and I really went to town on a script that included as many weird pervy situations as possible. Kipp brought a lot of the concepts for this scene, including his desire to be forced to blow raspberries into my asshole, which may be the first time that is documented on film… ha! Sebastian Keys actually had some personal experience around frat culture so he really was there, running his mouth with a never-ending fountain of bro-isms, forcing my face down to lick his gym shoes. The ending, where they both cum on a cookie that Kipp eats to mark his acceptance into the brotherhood was oh so ridiculous, but I also couldn’t help but get caught up in the thrill of the moment cheering him on during this really gross moment.
PL: About ‘ookie cookie’… why is it seemingly more disturbing to eat cum when it’s on food, and not by itself which is very common in porn?
Cyd: Cum straight from the source or licked off a body part is a totally different thing than having it smeared like some kind of icing on top of a cookie. Cum by itself is sexy, cum on a food item is obscene because it dissociates it from the sex part. So you are just casually eating semen, so gross!
PL: And hot! What is porn’s place in creating ridiculous or shocking content for entertainment and titillation?
Cyd: There is a lot of pressure as porn company in new genre to create content that feels easier for people to digest, and we’ve definitely gone past that with content addressing age play, frat hazing, and public spectacle sex.
I understand definitely that since we are breaking an understanding of trans men to a new public, Bonus Hole Boys has a responsibility to teach cis gay men how to respectfully engage with trans men, but I want to do that in way that fully engages with the complexities of desire while still holding consent and respect for trans bodies at the forefront. I don’t want to play it safe — I want to show barebacking and then talk about how performers navigate HIV risk. I want to do daddy/boy scenes and then talk about how for both people that experience can be healing. I want to bring someone brave enough to be naked in public and shower him with adoration because he is so hot. Whatever fantasies people have, they deserve to be treated well. Through creating content that may be shocking that also is 100% about respect for participants, porn can be a framework for people who have sex outside the box to see how to model that in their own lives.
PL: This is your second time working with Sebastian, what was it like working with Christian and Kipp? How many “first-timers” have you paired, and what are your thoughts on introducing cis/trans sexual partners? Any surprises? Have you found casting to be more difficult or come with a novelty element because of this?
Cyd: Working with Sebastian Keys is an absolute dream — we brought him back on for this shoot because he is such a friendly and careful performer, while also being able to go there with dirty talk or body worship in a totally passionate way. Kipp, I had been wanting to cast since first coming across some of his other porn including his work on FTM Fucker. He is just so fucking sexy and also this deeply genuine and incredibly intelligent person, and that all comes across on film in a way I am so excited about. Christian Wilde was also so fantastic to work with – he had never had sex with a trans guy and was incredibly respectful and sweet all while maintaining this kind of bully-esque character. Watching the shoot it was actually really amazing to see Sebastian and Christian high five while facefucking Kipp, and break and they would all check in with each other — like how are you knees going? Do you want some water?
Casting has been very smooth so far. We have been so pleasantly surprised by the cis male talent we’ve had, regardless of their previous experience sleeping with trans men, being super open minded about it and really taking the steps to making the experience comfortable for their co-stars — asking honest and thoughtful questions and being receptive to feedback. I thought we would have a much harder time finding cis men, especially those who are pretty gay porn famous, but really we’ve gotten a ton of interest in the company!
PL: Is there a reason the frat hazing is a four-way and would you involve more people if you could?
Cyd: For this scene I felt like the combo we had was perfect, but if we had the budget I would absolutely film a gang bang. I love group sex, and the feeling of being physically overwhelmed by multiple partners. Buy our shoots and maybe one day we can afford to do a trans man 8-10 person fuck fest.September 30, 2014
“I call it a movement cause things really are changing.” – Drew DeVeaux
Shine Louise Houston’s new special feature from Pink & White Productions is a soft-core CrashPad spin-off episode bringing together power players Drew DeVeaux (Dale), Andre Shakti (Sharron), Ex Libris (Terry), and Nikki Darling (Lolo). Remember that one person from high school… so hot EVERYONE wanted to fuck them, but no one dare try? For these four friends that person was Samantha (a cameo by Dylan Ryan), and as they get high and spin vinyl, one of them claims to remember her just a bit better than the others. Terry lifts the narrative needle, but are they just looking to repeat a past track, or get into a new groove?
We interviewed PUT the NEEDLE on the RECORD star Drew DeVeaux for a look behind the scenes at this unique special feature.
Drew DeVeaux! It’s been FOREVER since you’ve shot with Pink & White Productions. What have you been up to? What was it like to shoot with us again after so much time away?
I guess it has been awhile! I feel like I see Shine and Pink & White peeps every time I come to the Bay Area but it’s been way too long since I got to shoot for CrashPad. I actually scaled back quite a bit the amount of shoots that I was doing. I shot a couple of summers ago for a mainstream company (SweetHeart Video) and Shine was on set behind the scenes doing a documentary piece contrasting feminist porn and mainstream porn. I would love to see that footage one day. I also did a shoot for a project that I was super excited to be a part of: Doing it Again, a follow-up to Doing it Ourselves which, as some folks may know, was my very first scene I ever did.
What have I been up to, outside of nooky for the camera? Well, I did a nursing degree and am working as a nurse now. I also caused a minor global shitstorm when I coined the term the ‘cotton ceiling’ which I used to illuminate the limitations of inclusion for particular groups, including trans people, disabled folks, fat folks. It really considers how our individual spheres of desire are circumscribed, that we’re trained to think that particular people are icky or ‘undateable/unfuckable’ in some way.
What was it like being back? Well, I was really, like really elated to be offered a position in this special edition of CrashPadSeries. I’ve had the opportunity to shoot a couple of non-sexy movies over the past couple of years (including one that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, “Candy” by Cassandra Cronenberg) and I love any and all opportunities to push my own boundaries in relation to performance, including acting!
I always say I’m so much more comfortable naked than having to talk with clothes on, but I’m trying to become more comfortable keeping my clothes on. It’s a work in progress. :-)
How did this special shoot compare to your past experiences with us? How was the process of filming sex different?
Wow. Well, first off, I was really stoked to have this chance to work with Shine. It was great to have a script, to have some direction around what was gonna happen and when, and to hear about all the exciting set construction and lighting design that went into the production of this piece! Seriously, you guys did a lot of work behind the scenes, really I just spent a lot of time on my back. Which brings me to my other point. Contrasting with the other two (I can’t believe it’s only been two) scenes I did for CrashPad that were wholly unscripted from what we did, when, and where (I think I remember getting fucked by Dylan Ryan on a dresser once), this was a whole different beast of a scene.
I’m really curious how the sexin’ actually looks?! While I was being gorgeously fucked by my gorgeous scene partner Andre Shakti, I don’t know how much of that others are gonna see. I know that the cameras were focused mostly on my face and my facial expressions and so I was trying to communicate how great I felt through what little part of me I was able to show on camera. The other thing that, in retrospect, I probably should have done better is be a little quieter. Cause knowing the plot line of the movie, I’m suppose to be being fucked all clandestinely. I don’t know how clandestine I really was — I both got a carried away with how great it was but also felt like it was gonna be so understated if I didn’t at least vocalize my orgasms (yes, plural) to a certain point. [Editor’s note: Movie magic!]
Anyhow, while it was relatively simple and not physically demanding, it was a challenge in a different way in having not a lot of raw material to work with given the narrative of the scene. But I think it’s really exciting to be involved in telling (and living out) these stories. Cause when you think about it this is a type of sex that happens (clandestine, public sex at a party, y’know?) and, well, the exhibitionist at me did feel at home.
Pink & White’s award-winning film OCCUPIED was based upon a story that you created (and unfortunately couldn’t shoot with us), so we’re glad you were able to work with us on PUT the NEEDLE on the RECORD. What did you think of the script?
Oooh. The script. Well, I thought it was really original and simple. I think it nicely blends erotica and porn in a fun way cause it really reads like a short sweet erotic narrative. Also, there’s a funny story there with the script. Andre and I decided that this may represent an ‘origin story’ of sorts for CrashPad. Cause when you watch this scene you realize that, well, it would be really nice if there was a place that we could go fuck at times like this.
Really, the CrashPad should fucking exist somewhere. Anyone up for doing a “Real CrashPadSeries” someday?! ;-)
I was really bummed I couldn’t get out and be a part of the OCCUPIED shoot. I’m humbled and ecstatic all at once at the fact that Shine and Pink & White ran with my idea and that it received the accolades that it did. I’m really happy for everyone involved.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Well, if I haven’t made it plainly obvious, I think that we need to give Shine Louise Houston their due when it comes to pushing the envelope of feminist and queer porn.
CrashPad has been running for awhile and has featured really diverse casts (I know I know Shine was one of the first directors to cast trans women pretty regularly in their work, for example). But beyond that, Shine’s other work has really singularly re-defined what notions of ‘queer sex’ look like — and that’s really exciting. Shine is such a great director to work with and I really appreciate and encourage them pursuing their creative vision and putting together different projects like this cause I think that the world will eat it up.
Beyond that little love-in for SLH though, I’m just really excited by how the little world of feminist porn isn’t so little anymore. There’s more people in more cities making more work all the time. I love how the work that I’ve done has inspired countless trans women to shoot porn that they want to be a part of and, beyond that, it’s had a really positive impact on trans visibility and sexuality. I’m proud of the work that I’ve accomplished and to be a part of this movement — I call it a movement cause things really are changing — at this exciting time.September 22, 2014
Foxhouse Films‘ latest release, WHORE HOLE, features FemDomme Gaperiella and submissive new comer, Andy Whore-Hall. Subverting the roles of BDSM, the new film presents a fresh and uniquely feminist perspective on hardcore pornography. We interviewed Alyx Fox from the New York-based collective to elaborate.
What kinds of sex acts are explored, and how/do they subvert conventional porn offerings?
The hardcore ass play in Whore Hole—for example, handballing and gaping—is definitely inspired by gay male porn. Gaperiella is a huge fan of gay porn so we can’t deny that influence. There are some femdom performers who are into giant insertions but it’s not as common. Degradation is a familiar element in BDSM porn. Compared to conventional straight porn you have almost a complete subversion of gender roles. In Whore Hole the woman keeps her clothes on and gets a blow job while the guy puts on fishnets, does a striptease and gets fucked. If you put all of those things together, we think it adds up to something pretty queer.
Where are the intersections of femdom and feminism?
Femdom and feminism intersect in that they subvert the conventional patriarchal system and create alternative systems where women occupy positions of power, authority, and agency. Also with both, a certain amount of fluidity of gender expression is supported. BDSM will always be a kind of feminist edgeplay because it explores a lot of desires in a sexual context that don’t easily fit into a progressive political agenda. But, there is more room to bring hardcore BDSM into feminist discussion, and more queerness that can be brought into femdom, and that is what we hope Foxhouse can help to facilitate.
How is Whore Hole different than Foxhouse’s last films?
The most obvious differences with Whore Hole are the cisgender female / male performers, the extreme BDSM power exchange in the scene, and the extent to which this film is pornographic. It’s interesting…when you are a new company, every new film release has such potential to redefine what you are about. This is true for any company, but especially so for a brand new one. We state that we are a multigendered, polysexual, queer collective, which is true, but we hope to continue to diversify our performers and sexual situations to expand the definition of what we mean by that. We are interested in representing fluid sexuality that can span a wide gender and identity spectrum, and both BDSM and non-BDSM scenarios, in order to explore what queer sexual media can be.September 9, 2014
Porn isn’t made in a vacuum. Like any other film genre, pornography takes cues and inspiration from other cinematic works. What Hollywood and independent films inspire today’s porn directors? We’ve tapped some of PinkLabel.tv’s filmmakers to see what they watch. This week FILM BUFFS focuses on Gala Vanting of Sensate Films.
I’m gonna come out here and say that I really don’t have much background in film. I fall asleep in features (but am always good for a shorts programme). So I’m not going to say anything terribly enlightening here, but here are some films that I can watch repeatedly. Whether they’re must-sees is quite debatable…
Bastardy – by Amiel Courtin-Wilson
Wes Anderson’ Films – I love Wes Anderson’s more recent work, because incredible colour palates and front-on linear compositions. I know that makes me a hipster jerk but I don’t care.
Lost in Translation – Story of my youth (less the expensive hotel).
The Rocky Horror Picture Show – The Rocky Horror Picture Show taught me about sex and queerness on film when I was just a wee thing, and for that I am forever grateful.
When I need to feel at peace I watch The Big Lebowski or Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
This is perhaps the most vulnerable I have ever felt in talking about porn — everyone’s gonna find out that I’m not actually a filmmaker.
The single biggest influence I can name is a director called Vincent Moon. I first tuned into his work for La Blogotheque doing the Take-Away Shows, which are these beautiful little films of live music performances, often by indie musicians — they’ve done hundreds of them, I think, and Vincent used to make a lot of stuff for them. He then moved into filming music rites and other rituals, generally ones which have rich and / or ancient local histories. It’s politically complex, but the films themselves are simple, fluid gestures of seeing, and his eye, for me, is quite pure, without agenda. The reason I love his work so much is because it captures the organic unfolding of an act of creation, and he does it with such grace and admiration. I often cry watching his films.
And this of course runs deeply into my porn practice. A sex scene is as much an act of creation as a song. It’s also ritual, I really believe that — intimacy and ritual are so married in my mind. And it’s something that I just want to focus on documenting, which means that my skills in space-holding, camera and sound work, and general multi-tasking have to be elevated (I’ve got a ways to go). He doesn’t have a massive crew, he just travels around with a kit and a hand or two, and he creates some of the most cinematic and moving work I’ve ever seen. I know it might sound a little odd to cite him as such an influence, but once you see the work the connection is obvious.
I hear that Kardashians are meant to be ‘sex bombs’, but I’ve never seen one so I can’t really comment. My business partner Aven and I would both have liked to have seen a young James Spader in our porn, but I think we’ve missed the boat on that. We’ve got just the role for him, too — we’ve been looking for someone for this role for years, and I’m not sure we’ll ever find him. For us the celebrity thing is kinda counter to what we do, so it’s hard to imagine working with someone famous. We tend to be a bit home-grown in regards to performers. But who knows what the future will bring.August 21, 2014
Porn isn’t made in a vacuum. Like any other film genre, pornography takes cues and inspiration from other cinematic works. What Hollywood and independent films inspire today’s porn directors? We’ve tapped some of PinkLabel.tv’s filmmakers to see what they watch, starting with Ms. Naughty.
I’ve never been a “serious” film buff. I’m probably more a fan of genre films than serious arthouse/important movies. So my list is more of a “favourite movie” list:
Blade Runner – I never get sick of it. Film noir in a dystopian future, Daryl Hannah in suspenders, Rutger Hauer ad-libbing some of the greatest lines in history. And sexy sexy Harrison Ford.
The Life of Brian – The funniest film ever made. Yes, I can quote every line of it. The commentary on religious fanaticism & divisions within leftist movements is still relevant. And I still laugh at “Biggus Dickus.”
The Rocky Horror Picture Show – Don’t dream it, be it. I saw Tim Curry in tights when I was nine and he made me feel kinda funny. Love this film.
Groundhog Day – The more I watch it (and I’ve watched it a lot), the more I think this is one of the more perfect films. Beautifully written and paced, existential and funny. If only it didn’t have Andi McDowell.
The Empire Strikes Back – I’m a Star Wars nerd. It has Princess Leia at her most feisty and Yoda insisting that one must do, or do not, there is no try. It’s the best-written of the three films and the most meaningful.
Lord of the Rings Trilogy – The last word in epic filmmaking and attention to detail.
The Terminator – I can’t justify this, I’ve just loved it since I first saw it.
Labyrinth – Jim Henson was my magical TV parent as a child and I cherish everything he did. Labyrinth has got David Bowie in tights sharing somewhat inappropriate sexual tension with a teenage girl. And as a teenage girl, I adored it. Also, it upsets Christians. The Christian Analysis of Media website warns parents not to let kids watch this film due to sexual immorality, specifically “ghosting of male anatomy through thin clothing, repeatedly”.
There’s a bunch more (Highlander, The Blues Brothers, Top Secret, Back to the Future)… all of them prove that I’m not a film buff, just a nerd.
I admire directors like Ridley Scott, Jane Campion (I love The Piano), Peter Jackson, and James Cameron, and I’ve studied their work as examples of excellent filmmaking but when it comes to me trying to do it myself, the reality of low-budget porn filmmaking means that a lot of theory and high ideals go out the window.
The one non-porn director I would say has inspired me is a UK filmmaker called Chris Jones, author of The Guerilla Filmmakers Handbook. I did a 2 day course with Chris a few years ago and he was the one who put the bomb under me. His advice, guidance and inspiration has meant that I’ve swallowed my fears and just gone out and done it, even if it’s not perfect.
I’m thinking Johnny Depp in pirate costume and Kate Winslet, curvy and wonderful in Titanic costume. She jumps off the ship, lands on the Black Pearl, cue the sexytimes. Throw in a bi MMF threesome with Jason Moama from Game of Thrones. And THEN add Jennifer Lawrence to the mix just to see what happens. Or perhaps I could go for an MMMF foursome with the cast from True Blood – Bill, Eric, Alcide, and Sookie.
Find more of Ms Naughty’s work on PinkLabel.tv. Her film Dear Jiz screens with Best of Cinekink in Oakland August 14th and 15th. This October, she will be featured at the Berlin PornFilmFestival’s “Filmmaker in Focus” where she will premiere her first feature film The Fantasy Project. Meanwhile, her website BrightDesire.com‘s next update features real-life couple Molly Dae and Rael. Molly is making waves in porn and she’s pleased to say she shot her first time in front of the camera.August 13, 2014
The residents of nearby towns have long been perplexed by the muffled sounds of grinding machinery and echoes of inhuman shrieks which can be heard for creeping down from Mad Science Studios in the late hours of certain nights. The only clues to the nature of whatever mysterious experiments are conducted in the remote laboratory can be found in the bizarre pornographic films presented here…
We interviewed Mad Scientist, Ned (whom you may recognize from Heavenly Spire) about his two film concoctions.
What historical accuracies or intended “inaccuracies” can sex geeks look forward to in Hysteria?
This scene (which was originally a live performance conceived and directed by Bianca) plays more on popular current conceptions about Victorian hysteria treatments than on any historical data. We wanted to mess with the trope of a predatory doctor taking advantage of his victimized patients by introducing an enthusiastic and insatiable woman actively seeking this treatment for purely lustful reasons.
It is easy for me to get carried away with mad doctor roles, so I couldn’t resist building some bizarre sex machines to set the tone. None of those devices have any historical precedent outside my own ideas of camp and whimsy. I made them from sex toy freebies and parts from used power tools.
Were there any real-world difficulties in filming Trespass?
Loads! It was a spur of the moment, seat of the pants film. I had the idea for Trespass only 48 hours before shipping the completed product off to the 2012 Feminist Porn Awards’ review committee at the last second before the deadline. It was a mad sleepless rush, and it made me wish I had had someone else to help edit after we stayed up all night shooting.
The building was an old Astronomy research center which was about to be demolished. We only had one shot at shooting there, between midnight and 5am. We brought a camera/tech person along, but it turned out her pulmonary issues made the threat of asbestos a potentially serious danger. We insisted that she stay outside, and as a result most of Trespass is shot with fixed cameras and only the two of us on set.
What does your sexual education and background bring to your films?
It feels weird to talk about my “sexual education.” I never went to sex school. Since I started doing sex work I’ve given a few talks and run some workshops about sex, but I feel like my motivations have been more about sharing experiences and opening up conversation than about imparting any kind of specialized knowledge. I do think that sharing and talking about our sexualities can help us relate to one another. Considering different experiences of fucking can change people’s ideas about what is acceptable, and can help people contextualize feelings of shame. Those ideas motivate both my films and the sexual “education” work I’ve done.July 14, 2014
There’s a new queer porn company and it’s taking the East Coast by storm. Foxhouse Films is a NYC-based, multigendered and polysexual queer porn collective with a penchant for dark magic, smeared lipstick, and hard fucking. F.F. goes hard femme and soft butch and blurs, defines and redefines. Refinement or rough trade both inspire lavishly fetishistic scenes and hardcore xxx rituals. We interviewed Foxhouse’s Miss Alyx to see what these foxes have to say, fresh out the gate with three short films.
How and when did Foxhouse Films get started?
Foxhouse is brand new. We only really officially formed as a studio in late April / May 2014, and the evolution has happened organically rather than from a set plan. I guess it began in December of last year. I always leave Berlin PornFilmFest inspired and came back to New York interested in developing some work that would really capture this moment in NYC and the amazing people who are a part of that for me. So I reached out to Dwane, Audrey, and Gaperiella to see if they were interested in performing and we began to sketch out some scenes based on our real life experiences together.
Fire Escape was based on a true story of how Dwane (Reade) and I first met, and it’s pretty much accurate.
The Cleaner is also based on real events since I did actually meet Audrey (Fox) when they came to apply for a cleaning job, but the development of that relationship went a little more slowly than portrayed in the film (haha). Natasha (Gornik), is one of the most genuinely pervy voyeurs I have ever met. She and I had collaborated several times before doing photographs together, but she was now becoming more interested in trying her hand at shooting some beautiful porn.
This amazing convergence of performers and voyeurs got us really excited about what we were making and by the time we shot 3 by Three we had pretty much decided to formally create a “film house,” though still not yet a studio. We created the dp ritual in 3 by Three to bring Foxhouse to life in a memorable way, and once we had all that material, I began to think about what to do with it. It didn’t really fit what I had been doing with the Miss Alyx films, so it made sense to figure out something else.
Gaperiella is one of my closest friends and we always bounce ideas off of each other anyway, so when she expressed interest in getting more involved also, it just made sense to officially organize as Foxhouse Films. It seemed that forming a studio was the best way to create a more collaborative and creative atmosphere that more people could plug into and where more unexpected things could happen.
I reached out to Dwane, Audrey, and Gaperiella to see if they were interested in performing and we began to sketch out some scenes based on our real life experiences together.
Where are you based? (And, are you currently casting?)
We’re based in New York City, and yes, we are definitely interested in meeting new talent as well as people who might be interested in helping with the production side of things. We hope to produce a lot of amazing scenes in the coming year, and to do that we need more performers as well as more people to work behind the scenes.
Is Foxhouse Films a collective? Who are its members?
Collective was the word we finally arrived at as Foxhouse moved from informal projects amongst friends to a porn “family” to a more defined vision of why we are making porn and what kind of porn Foxhouse wants to make. Collective indicates the collaborative way we develop ideas for scenes and also the fact that our studio is something that can continue to build community and evolve with a life of its own. So far, everyone participates according to their interests—some people are only involved in performing while others focus on business, camera work or production. Currently the core group is myself, Audrey, Natasha, Dwane, and Gaperiella,
What are the most important things to know about Foxhouse Films?
Our shoots are incredibly fun. As Dwane put it recently, “I feel most sexy and have the most fun when I’m foxing around at Foxhouse.” At the same time we want to create films that are really beautiful with meticulously crafted scenes that reflect our fetishes and obsessions. I know another thing that we share in common is a taste for hardcore xxx fucking. We like it rough, we flirt with taboos and we like to stretch limits when we perform—starting with our own. Gaperiella’s colossal cock is no joke (haha). A third thing is that we like the fact that each member of Foxhouse really defines sexy on their own terms in their own way. So far Foxhouse is an eclectic mix of hard femmes, soft butches, six-inch stilettos, colossal strap-ons, rubber and cotton, refinement and rough trade. And we love it.
Where can people go to find out more about Foxhouse?
Foxhousefilms.com is due to launch any day now and should be up and running by the time people read this! They can also follow us on twitter (@foxhousefilms) or on Facebook (facebook/foxhousefilms) for updates, specific casting calls and studio news.
Creamy Coconut’s Irina answers our spotlight interview about her collaboration in de-railed, a collaboration between Quinn Cassidy and Creamy Coconut.
How did de-railed come to be? How did the idea originate?
“de-railed” came to be when Poppy Cox contacted Quinn about making a clip for Bike Smut film festival. He and I agreed to team up, brainstormed over homemade dinner and dessert, and laughed a ton about the absurdity of what we were about to make.
I insisted that the clip be an accurate tutorial, as funny as possible, and Quinn was totally onboard with my ideas.
At some point there was a phone call to ask Poppy… “Hey, we were thinking it would be funny if…oh yay, you’re excited about impromptu cock-sucking.” Quinn then wrote the screenplay and kept the production on point. Quinn, Rev and Poppy set up and decorated the shoot location, which was a warehouse with a giant bicycle powered ferris wheel in the backyard. We shot the film in a day and I set out to edit most of it. I went through the footage and made a long rough draft, then Quinn and I sat down at my house and laughed a bunch more while we memorized the entire movie and fine-tuned the final draft. My roommates were mostly amused.
It took a few choices to get the right sound effect for Poppy’s popping Sebastian’s dick out of her mouth and of course, the ropes of cum from Sebastian’s cock were carefully cut to create as much visual effect as possible.
How did you cast for the film? Are there any philosophies you have behind casting/performing methods?
Quinn originally wanted to cast a bike mechanic named Jesse Sparkles and his hot boy friend Joey Utah. Unfortunately Jesse Sparkles was not in town for the shoot date, and so Sebastian Keys was a lovely choice. Sebastian did have to learn bicycle language for this film. We found it really hot that both men in this film have ginger hair, are of similar builds, and have nearly matching tattoos. The two were cast largely for their attraction to one another. Poppy Cox was cast on short notice, at the last minute, because I begged for there to be a pansexual element with one of my beloved “blowjob under desk while someone does their work” scenario. You’ll see more of this fetish in my productions.
Quinn and I are both “right on” about consent, hardcore, an enthusiasm. There is a huge focus on negotiation and safety and natural, real sex. That being said, the kinkier the better.
Where has de-railed screened?
“de-railed” has been screened around the world by Bike Smut Film Festival and was a Cinekink selection and award winner in 2014. We recently received a screener request from Mardi Gras Film Festival in Australia and are planning to submit to the Berlin PornFilmFest in Germany.
Was there anything the filming of de-railed taught you about directing/collaborating, shooting porn, sex, etc?
Yes! It was brilliant collaborating on the plot and bouncing ideas off each other. I am always stoked to watch people have sex because it teaches me stuff that I didn’t necessarily know before, from new sex positions (spinning a bicycle while tied up can make the anal sphincter flex and pulsate, yes?), to consent methods and examples (various ways that porn talent negotiate an how people ask for what they want) to minor yet major details, such as breathing patterns and orgasmic reactions. It’s pretty validating on both a personal and professional level to have that trust from people in their most intimate states. In the production, I honed my skills in color-correcting for two different cameras, sound mixing, slating, and how to make a moving image that was born out of a yummy dinner and a laughing brainstorm, to a screenplay, to a wonderful directed shoot, to a concise, festival ready film.
Where can we find more of your work? (And what social networks are you on that I can tag to promote the film and the interview?)
Find Creamy Coconut online at creamycoconut.org, and follow them on Twitter @creamy_coconut and facebook.com/creamycoconut. July 3rd is the opening reception for their show in San Francisco at Wicked Grounds. You can also find out more about them in their Radio Valencia Interview, and in her interview for Cinekink, below.June 28, 2014
de-railed collaborator Quinn Cassidy answers our spotlight interview via video. (Thanks to volunteer @vian_yo for the transcription.) Listen or read what Quinn has to say about the bike and maintenance education-inspired film, and then watch de-railed for yourself!
Hi, Pink & White. This is interview number two, so three, two…
[Quinn counts down from three on fingers.]
Hi, my name’s Quinn Cassidy. I’m a Bay Area-based sex worker, sex performer, independent pornographer, and student at a local college. I, last year, helped produce a film – an erotic short called de-railed – which is now being hosted on Pink & White: Video on Demand, which you can find at PinkLabel.TV. Pink & White has asked me a few questions about the production of the erotic short, and I’m here today to answer them. Great; let’s get started.
Question number one: how did de-railed come to be, was it a collaborative project, and how did the idea originate? Well, de-railed is a film about a master bike mechanic and a bike novice. The novice comes into the shop and learns how to align his derailleur and, in the process, befriends the bike mechanic, and they engage in – you know. Well. [laughs] The porn framework, as it goes, the narrative porn framework is lead-up lead-up lead-up, and then…they fuck, you know? [laughs] So yeah, they’re working on the bike and eventually they get a little more enthralled with one another than the bike itself, and you can imagine the rest, so check it out to see the whole story.
The reason that there’s a bike involved is because de-railed originated as a production for Bike Smut. Bike Smut is a travelling erotic film festival that focuses on the intersection of bicycles and sexuality, or “bike sexuality.” It’s the lovechild of Poppy Cox, who is a sex worker who travels the world – I don’t know if she’s necessarily based out of anywhere – and her partner and dear friend Reverend Phil. They’ve been working on this project for quite some time, and Poppy came to me looking for me to produce a boy-on-boy action scene for Bike Smut. When she came to me, I was a little apprehensive because of where I was at in terms of school – finals were coming up, there was a lot of stress on my plate – but it was something that I really wanted to do, and I decided to take it on. Poppy and I met up at one of my favorite brunch places in Oakland, and we started hashing out the ideas: what we wanted it to look like, what the concept was. She basically convinced me to take on this project, and I was really happy to do so.
We hashed out the idea of the mechanic and the novice from experiences that I’d had in the Bay Area myself. Being a cyclist and a bike mechanic novice myself, I had gone to a number of Bay Area bicycle resources. Here in Oakland we have the Bikery, Spokeland, a number of other places, and of course there’s countless bike co-ops and shops and workshops, et cetera, in San Francisco. Here in the Bay, we’re very privileged with a lot of different kinds of bike resources, which I was happy and excited to take advantage of. Having gone into these places, I would fall under the tutelage of bike mechanics that I often found very sexy [laughs] because there’s nothing sexier to me than competency [laughs]. Sometimes it was a little bit difficult for me to focus on the task at hand in terms of fixing the bike itself because the mechanics were so damn sexy [laughs]. So this is sort of the departure point, if you will, for the creation of de-railed.
So we hashed out the concept, and by the time we left that restaurant, we had some dates locked down, and the next couple weeks I met with – thanks to the magic of social media, found – Creamy Coconut, who wanted to help develop the project and produce the project.
Creamy Coconut is a Bay Area-based independent pornographer as well, and she came to my house and we developed a framework where Creamy brought a sort of educational aspect of the film, where – yes, we were going to have this aspect of teacher/student, but in line with that, in addition to that, we were going to incorporate the audience into a teacher/student relationship as well, where we actually have succinct direction on how to fix a bike derailleur.
Creamy Coconut’s trademark is surreal education, so definitely while everyone seemed turned-on, they’re learning a thing or two about how to fix their bike – so we were really excited to incorporate that into the creation and the concept of the piece.
In the next couple weeks, I wrote a script, I got a shot list together, found a location thanks to connections through Poppy Cox and Creamy Coconut. We found a warehouse, an art warehouse in Oakland called Flava Pack. We met up at Flava Pack the night before, set-up the set, got everything ready, and then the next day had everyone show up on set and busted it out in less than four hours. It was a really good experience.
In terms of collaboration, it was a collaborative project from the get-go. The impetus for the project was sparked by Poppy Cox, who wanted to see more boy-boy action in her film festival. She came to me, she lit the fuse, and then I was able to incorporate Creamy Coconut into the production. Creamy, as I said, brought an educative approach and also a pansexual approach in incorporating Poppy into some of the sex scene and, through that, making the sex seem really casual, really fluid, familiar, comfortable. And then, of course, through production and particularly through post-production, Creamy really took a lot of the reins, and between her and I, we were able to create something beautiful.
One thing I love about producing media is that it’s always a collaborative effort. You could never create a film just as a director, you could never create a film just as a DP or director of photography, you could never just create a film as a set producer, scene designer, or talent. It’s always a collaborative project from concept to execution to post to distribution and promotion. It takes a team. It was absolutely a collaborative project from the beginning, even from the impetus, of the desire of it to be created through Poppy’s request. So I’m glad she came to me that May in 2013, and here we are, a little over a year later.
Let’s see… How did we cast for the film, philosophies behind casting and performing. How we cast for the film – originally, we had an actual bike mechanic casted as the bike mechanic [laughs], and that’s Jessie Sparkles, who’s a friend of mine out of Seattle, Washington. He’s a sex worker, BDSM practitioner… [Quinn pauses and reaches for touchpad.] Oh, my goodness. [Quinn rises from seat and exits frame, then returns and with a wireless keyboard.] Sorry about that. The screen went blank, so let’s start over.
How we casted for the film – well, originally we had an actual, experienced bike mechanic casted as the bike mechanic. Jessie Sparkles, who is a sex worker out of Seattle, Washington, and a dear friend of mine, originally was supposed to play the master bike mechanic. He was coming down, we had it all set up, but unfortunately his travel plans fell through. But also, fortunately for us, having lost our bike mechanic, we looked for other performers who could fill the position. I tapped the Bay Area sex worker resources that I have and found Sebastian Keys.
Sebastian is a queer man, lives in San Francisco, is a prolific performer, has done a lot of work with Kink.com, he’s now a director for Kink.com – so he jumped on the project last-minute and was really excited about it, and we were really excited to have him because he’s just such a talented performer.
Between him and Joey Utah – Joey Utah was on-board from the beginning. He was actually at the brunch that I had with Poppy where we were actually conceptualizing the idea. He’s a friend of mine, a personal friend of mine and was doing a lot of performance for productions I was doing at the time. Between him and Sebastian Keys, when it came to casting, it’s really important for me to have mutual interest/attraction between the performers. We sent photos of each performer to one another, and they were down, they were on-board, they were really excited to perform together. From there, we locked in casting, and less than a week later, everybody was on set and ready to go.
In terms of performing or directing for de-railed obviously there was minute directing when it came to the lead-up to the sex scene, because there were lines, there was a shot list, there was a concept, there were motivations, characters, et cetera. From there, we needed the performers to take on the motivation of those characters. When it came to the sex scene itself, I incorporated – or utilized, rather – a performance style that is very common in the queer porn community, and that’s sort of a hands-off approach. The reason being that, while you can give a performer a character to step into with the motivation and a personality and lines, et cetera, a step-by-step approach, and they are able to develop or transform their concept of that character through their performance – when it comes to sexuality, I don’t really feel like the director has a place to dictate how a performer’s able to perform their sexuality because the director can’t have a concept or develop a concept of what the performer’s sexuality should be.
When it came to the actual sex scene, we did what I always do on set, which is have the performers take five or ten and have a conversation about their turn-ons, turn-offs, what they wanna do in the scene, how they wanna fuck, what they’re feeling in that moment, how they wanna come, if they wanna come – all of these things that really they have agency around and the director does not.
As a director, I had agency around what kind of shots we needed, I had agency around what the characters were like prior to the sex scene, but when it came to the sex scene, really the ones who are doing the directing in terms of the performance are the performers. In terms of practical directing during the sex scene, obviously the director and the camera people, the DPs, have agency in terms of, like, “Okay, can you guys turn this way in order to get this light source on you,” or “maybe move this hand so we can get the view of the lens into this particular position,” but in terms of the acts that the performers are doing, it’s really up to them, their agency and their consent.
From there, we had spectacular things born out of that performer-induced sex scene – or performer-directed sex scene, rather – such as the kicking of the bicycle pedal when the wheel starts spinning when Joey Utah’s being fucked, and his leg goes up on a bicycle and he starts kicking, and the wheel starts spinning with the same momentum he’s getting fucked with. That was totally improv; that just happened on set. And that’s the beautiful thing about not directing a sex scene, is letting the beautiful things from chaos spawn out of the moment, things that people couldn’t even imagine or dream up. These are things that the performers feel naturally in the moment or get an idea of in the moment.
Also, Joey Utah has Tourette’s Syndrome in real life, and that was something that of course we didn’t want to hide because that is a really authentic or real part of his sexuality on a daily basis. Tourette’s is in line with adrenaline levels, so when he’s having sex his adrenaline spikes and it dives and it does all these crazy things like it does in all of us, but through Joey that comes out through tics. So when you’re hearing him say “no, no, no, yeah, yeah” [laughs] or when he’s snapping and his hand flies off, these are visceral sparks of energy that are authentic to Joey’s sexual experience in his everyday life. These are the things that we wanted to highlight but also not fetishize or tokenize. They’re just an authentic moment of this person’s sexual experience and human condition, and they’re something that should be respected, documented, and given the space that they deserve.
That’s our philosophy that we did in terms of the sex scene, and it produced something absolutely fantastic. In my own personal opinion, I think that these moments of chaos and doing a documentary style and being able to capture these moments – even if it means a little bit more stress in terms of the person who’s shooting – is absolutely worth it in terms of the performers’ consent and experience. It tends to be less pressure for the performers, so it’s better for the performers and, honestly, in my opinion, I think it’s better for the content. I think it feels a lot more visceral, a lot more tangible for the viewer, and the things that are able to develop, like I said, out of those unpredictable moments are really astounding.
Where has de-railed screened? de-railed has screened all over the United States, thanks to Poppy Cox, Rev. Phil, and Bike Smut. They’ve gone from city to city, coast to coast, and through the heartland of America [laughs] showing this hardcore gay porn scene, and I’m so grateful for it. Creamy Coconut decided to submit de-railed to CineKink in 2013, where we won the Bring It! Award, which is the audience choice award. I was a little surprised [laughs] and very honored and very grateful to Creamy for taking that on, the submission. Now we’re so honored to have it on pinklabel.tv, Pink & White: Video on Demand, and hopefully it will continue to go other places. I think we’re going to be sending it to a couple more erotic film festivals and see where it goes.
My work – well, right now I am in the final year of my time in college [laughs], so I’m not producing a whole lot of content, though a little bit here and there. I shoot freelance work for alternadudes.com and dirtyboyvideo.com, so if you wanna see any of my freelancing work you can log onto those sites, check it out. I also have a short film, a kinky erotic short that I’m filming in Seattle this summer which will hopefully be accepted and debuted at HUMP! Fest 2014 this coming November, so keep an eye out for that.
My name is Quinn Cassidy: you can find me on Twitter at @xquinncassidyx; you can find me on Facebook at facebook.com/quinncassidy510; you can find me on Tumblr, quinncassidyblog; and find me all over the internet fucking [laughs], which I love. Thanks for watching, and check out de-railed on Pink & White: Video on Demand, PinkLabel.tv. Thank you.
[Quinn pauses and types.]
All right, that should be good.June 28, 2014
BONUS HOLE BOYS launches on PinkLabel.tv with The Casting Couch staring Mickey Mod and Cyd St. Vincent. Watch their performer interview and read our interview with co-creators Cyd St. Vincent and Ex Libris.
BONUS HOLE BOYS brings steamy FTM gay hardcore with cis men and trans guys enjoying each others bodies. Porn star Cyd St. Vincent searches for gorgeous men built with an extra hole and matches them up with cis men to explore fantasies, role plays, cruising, daddy/boy, bondage, gang bangs, and BDSM. Stars often enjoy hot pumping, cock sucking, rimming, edging, double-penetration, ejaculation, and fisting.
How does adding Bonus Hole Boys to PinkLabel.tv help your future plans?
Ex Libris: PinkLabel.tv really levels the playing field for porn start ups like BONUS HOLE BOYS. We are creative perverts first and foremost, so we wanted to concentrate on shooting the FTM gay porn of our dreams with trans and cis male models that are excited about the content. Selling our work on PinkLabel.tv gives us the flexibility to do that without having to locate massive start up funds and shoot on a weekly update schedule for a subscription.
Why is it important to have cis/trans gay porn?
Cyd St. Vincent: I, for one, want to fuck cis guys, and it was really difficult to do when there was little representation of what that looked like. Buck Angel was paving the way, but since I’m not a cigar smoking cowboy, I didn’t have many models of what gay sex would look like between me and a cis guy. There is a huge hunger for these images, we get tons of messages from trans guys and cis guys who are so excited for a straight up gay porn company that shows FTM bodies.
Ex: I think it important to have cis/trans gay porn because A LOT of people want it and the field is still relatively small. Porn is art that intentionally produces orgasms and education. It is our hope that cis men and trans men who are interested in sleeping together will enjoy our porn as an informative elaboration on their own fantasies and will experience some destigmatization of their desires watching our performer interviews.The orgasms are probably a given.
Who were your inspirations to help you create BONUS HOLE BOYS?
Ex: To name a few, Barbara Degenevieve of ssspread.com, who was the first queer pornographer I wrote papers about in college and then audited a course with in Chicago.
Shine Louise Houston has been a huge inspiration and support, and I have been in conversation with Shine for years about diversifying the queer porn field to include more genres and producers with microloans, profit share, and VOD structures. We could not have started BONUS HOLE BOYS without her advice, guidance, and support.
The idea of BONUS HOLE BOYS was originally conceived of with Billy Castro, but by the time Billy stopped performing Cyd St. Vincent and I were so excited about BONUS HOLE BOYS that we continued with the idea. Billy and I both worked for years in the mainstream porn industry while performing in the queer porn scene, so it was a natural progression for us to want to put queer production ethics and performers into a mainstream gay porn menagerie. Cyd St. Vincent is a brilliant performer and pervert and I couldn’t ask for a better business partner or source of inspiration.
Cyd and I are both fans of 70’s gay porn, and a lot of the way that we shoot is based on trying to capture that aesthetic of nasty gay sex with a camaraderie present between performers, that is especially found in, for example Joe Gage’s films. That love for vintage gay porn in combination the emergence of trans mens bodies into the collective sexual imagination through the queer porn industry’s growth created the space for BONUS HOLE BOYS to exist.
What were some of the hottest/funnest moments in the videos?
Cyd: It is dangerous shooting porn that you really enjoy, so many times I have to pick my jaw of the floor because what is happening in front of me is so goddamn hot. Watching Connor Maguire slam into Gino, holding him up against the gym shower wall was especially one of those moments, public sex cruising is such a huge fantasy among trans men we know.
We recently shot a frat boy hazing scene to fulfill a fantasy of Kipp Slingers, with Christian Wilde, Sebastian Keys and myself. Kipp had anal sex for the first time ever in his life, and then followed it up moments later with double penetration. That mixed with crotch-to-crotch pushups, ball licking through a glass table, and the ‘ookie cookie’ ending made this scene the porn that I could get stuck on a desert island with.
Ex: The third shoot we ever did was with my partner of 6 years, Gino Genet. It is exceptionally difficult to direct your own partner in porn and stay focused. It was so hot seeing him get in on with Connor Maguire I might have blacked out halfway through the shoot and my body just shot the rest. Luckily Cyd was there to direct.
We got to work with James Darling in our second shoot, which was lovely because Cyd and I have known James for years, and we all grew up together as baby gays in the Bay Area queer porn scene. To have him agree to shoot with us was such a compliment given his success with FTM fuckers. We shot him in a Daddy/Boy scene with the extremely talented Allen Silver, who really should be everyones Daddy — the chemistry between them was incredible.May 19, 2014
Keith Hennessy asks Annie Sprinkle Ten Questions about the Old Days
This is an article republished from Dance Theatre Journal: Special Edition on Sex and Performance, an academic but user friendly publication by the Laban Centre in London, which Tessa Wills co-edited with Doran George in 2013. We used the festival THIS IS WHAT I WANT as a lens through which to reveal the field of the intersection between radical sexual practice and radical performance practice in the Bay Area. The articles have five broad themes. The performances, writing and portraits of the festival provide multiple entry points to investigate the practice of revealing and empowering desire and how erotics can fuel performance.
Keith Hennessy: I’ve been asked to write about the influence of underground sex cultures and sex work and Body Electric and other sexual healing activities in the 80s and 90s on contemporary dance and performance art. Can you help me with a reminder or a story or just a sentence about what you think might be important to report or not?
Annie Sprinkle: I’d love to ‘yesterbate’ with you Keith. Artist Kembra Pfahler made up that lovely term. Why start at the Eighties? For me it started in 1973, when I became the mistress of Gerard Damiano, the director of the sex film classic, Deep Throat. We met, hit it off, and then had a romantic rendezvous in San Francisco. He took me to see the dancer/stripper, singer, show- girl Carol Doda, perform at a nightclub on Broadway Street. She had a powerful stage presence, and these incredible torpedo silicon boobs. She had been arrested numerous times for dancing topless, which made her quite famous. Her show made a huge impact on me, in terms of her quality performance and her willingness to go to jail to show her breasts. I wanted to be her! Damiano and I also visited the Museum of Erotic Art, which the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality had put together, housed in a big old Victorian house. There I learned that porn could be art, and art could be porn – and in fact, it had been that way for centuries. My other big influences were the sex positive whore Xaviera Hollander, through her book Happy Hooker, and the famous stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, through the movie Gypsy about her life, which I saw when I was twelve. I was a very shy teenage eighteen-year-old girl suddenly very interested in sex, art and performance – much to my own, and everyone else’s, surprise.
Right after that life-changing trip I moved to Manhattan to spend more time with Damiano. I lived in Manhattan for twenty two years. 1973 through 1995. I had two simultaneous careers; I worked in the mainstream sex industry, and in the art world doing art about my life in sex.
KH: You came to San Francisco a lot with your theatre work. How did that manifest?
AS: The Solo Mio Festival invited me, and produced many runs of my shows, which was a festival of all solo performances put together by Joegh Bullock, Marcia Crosby, Billy Talen, (now the amazing artist Reverend Billy,) and his then wife Kate Boyd. I was selling out four hundred seats at the beautiful Cowell Theater on the Bay, for two-week runs. My show was a hit. I was at the right place at the right time, when people wanted to learn about the behind the scenes of the sex industry. They were titillated by porn, sex work, and sex on stage. Bringing sex workers into art made it safe to explore. Solo Mio also brought in other performers who had been in the sex industry, like Spaulding Gray who had made a few sex films. Coyote and the sex worker rights movement certainly motivated me to do performance art. I had hoped that through performance art we could help decriminalize sex work – a cause near and dear to my heart. But I/we have failed.
KH: How was it you ended up doing a lot of shows in Europe?
AS: When I was twenty-four I met, and fell in love with. Willem De Ridder, who was the European Chairman of the Fluxus art movement. He also made artsy, hand designed, experimental sex magazines like Suck, Finger, Love, and Hate magazines. He taught me a lot about art. Fluxus is still my favorite art movement. Fluxus was/is pretty sex and body positive. I’d argue that making porn movies was a weird kind of performance art, a kind of dance. It was also a kind of political activism because if you got caught making porn, you would be arrested. Just like if you were making art nude. For example Charlotte Mormon getting arrested playing the cello topless.
Certainly all my early performance skills I acquired through doing sex work. I worked my way through college getting my bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the School of Visual Arts by doing burlesque. But I wasn’t that great a dancer, so I would do skits and talk real dirty on stage. I made up for it with creativity. I did Nurse Sprinkle’s Sex Education Class and a sort of Jane Fonda aerobics skit, with lots of sexy strutting, props, costumes, floor work that was basically like masturbating, and improvised story telling. Richard Schechner, the head of performance studies at New York University brought his graduate students to Show World on 42nd street one day, and happened to catch my show. He put my show in the middle of his play, the Prometheus Project, at the Performing Garage in Soho – a hot bed of experimental theatre and dance. There was definitely bridging, straddling, cross pollinating, happening between performance art, theatre, stripping and pornography making.
KH: Which paid better?
AS: It was really nice that I was able to make more money doing performance art than I was making doing prostitution, or burlesque. In stripping I made around $3500 a week for five, twenty-minute shows a day. Doing my one-woman shows, like Post Porn Modernist and Herstory of Porn, I was making about $1000 a show, doing for four or five shows a week that were about 2 hours long. I was thrilled, to be making more money in art than sex industry work. It felt like a vindication of some sort.
KH: Some of us took sex education courses, and attended sex rituals that others developed. Did you?
AS: Yes, I did quite a few. Joseph Kramer‘s work and vision was huge for me. He was a Kinsey six – meaning very gay – yet but we became lovers. He had only had sex with a woman once before. We are still ‘sacred intimates’ today, and very close. When I took his ‘Tantric Group Rebirth’ evening, I had my first, very intense, full body breath/energy orgasm that went on intensely for quite some time. I was the only woman there with about forty gay men. We were all clothed, but we had been doing sort of Sufi dancing movements, with eye gazing and conscious rhythmic breathing for about three hours which Joe led. It was around 1986, in the height of the AIDS crisis.
The sex rituals and techniques I was learning totally inspired my Legend of the Ancient Sacred Prostitute sex magic ritual performance at the end of my show Post porn Modernist. Where I would do an invocation, use a vibrator and dildo to build, move and circulate my sexual energy with my audience, while they were all shaking rattles that had been handing out by the ushers. That performance was so intense for me. I learned so much. The point of it was to be in my truths of the moments, sexually and energetically, emotionally as much as possible, and still be on stage doing a ‘performance.’ It was a fascinating exploration. Basically I was masturbating on stage, but I never experienced it that way. It was more about building my sexual energy, letting go of my ego, surrendering to ecstasy, dropping into my body, and kind of leaving my body, all at the same time. It was more about feeling like a vessel for sexual energy. I did that for five years on the road to eighteen countries. Eventually it was time to hang up my vibrator, but wow, what an experience. It was certainly a kind of sexual dance, but it was raw, animalistic, messy. Sometimes I squirted fluids, occasionally I pooped, a few times I vomited. It was sweaty, messy. It evolved and changed a lot over the months and years I was doing it.
When Joseph Kramer wanted to expand his Body Electric School work to include women, he invited me to teach with him. We co-facilitated the first Female Genital Massage workshops at a weeklong gathering we called Cosmic Orgasm Awareness Week at Wildwood Retreat Center, in Northern California. Joe developed the ‘female genital massage’ on my plooch, with my feedback responding to his expert touch skills and sharing ideas with him. I was comfortable with my body, and intense sex rituals. I was willing to take risks and go for it. But in retrospect, I was not at all trained in massage, and I really wasn’t prepared to teach it! Many fabulous artists came to our workshops. However my lips are sealed as to whom!
KH: For some of us the overlap of sex and art practices, or these two communities, is a life-long project. For others of us, it was more of a phase or an intense period when 848 sex events, AIDS-influenced safer sex parties and sexual healings, Body Electric, Queen of Heaven, Radical Faeries, Black Leather Wings, and you, Annie Sprinkle, were collectively creating a more saturated sex/art scene than most of us experience in our daily lives today.
AS: The people in my scene included Carol Queen and Robert Lawrence, Black Leather wings people, Carol Leigh aka Scarlot Harlot, lots of piercing community people like Jim Ward and Raelyn Gallina did piercing and scarification at my place when they came to town. I also had what was called the ‘tantra community’ there, like Kutira from Oceanic Tantra, Barbara Carrellas who went on to do Urban Tantra, Rajneesh disciples like Jwala taught us all about ‘sacred sex.’ We also shot porn there, and I did photography for all the sex magazines in my living room studio. There were dancers were around, like Diane Torr who developed the first Drag King Workshops at my place, strippers who were on the road, temple dancers, belly dancers, some modern dancers… Lots of dance world people moonlighted as strippers. Yeah, we really threw our bodies, hearts and souls into those events, scenes, practices, explorations… I was spending time with Fakir Musafar. We met in the flesh in about 1982. I was working as a pro dom and sub and was a fan of his photography. He came to New York (from San Francisco) to visit me several times, and stayed with me. I hosted some salon evenings where he did a slide show, or a piercing party – what we think what was the first mixed gender piercing party on the east coast. It was a great time, with lots of artists, and sex workers, mixing it up, doing body art and sex.
My apartment at 90 Lexington Ave, at 27th street, #11F, was a place where many sex community folks, and sex artists from around the world came to stay. My place was a safe haven, free place to stay, and a supportive environment for sex worker artists, and folks could pretty much have sex openly – sometimes with me or my other guests. We were all influencing each other, figuring out how to do sexually explicit work in an art context. Lots of artists came through my place wanting to enter the sex industry, for the adventure, or to make some extra money for a project they were doing. Lots of academics came through too, sniffing around, and writing about our goings on. There was art, sex, activism, and academia. Many sex workers didn’t trust academics, but I have always loved academics. Documentary filmmakers and journalists came through, too. Everyone was helping everyone get their work out into the world.
KH: What was one of the most important events in your career as an artist?
AS: It helped my career a whole lot when the National Endowment for the Arts funding controversy in the late 1980s called attention to my show, Post Porn Modernist, as an example of theatre that should not be funded by taxpayers. Controversy is good for business, even if it does look like a personal attack. Thanks to Senator Jessie Helms for calling my show a ‘sewer of depravity’. That was so helpful. ‘A whore couldn’t possibly be an artist,’ was the gist.
KH: Who were the most important people?
AS: Artist Linda M. Montano has long been my performance mentor and good friend. She baptized me an artist when I went to her Summer Saint Camp for a week to study with her in the 80s. My porn star support group Club 90, which has been a group of five very tight friends, has lubricated me through life for over thirty years. It includes my best friend Veronica Vera who is a big love. She’s a writer and Dean of the Academy for Boys Who Want to Be Girls. Keith Hennessy, you are one of my top three favorite artists in the world, and have been hugely inspiring. Seeing your performances is profound for me, and your work is always a guiding force when I’m working on a performance. How do you do it?! Cosi Fani Tutti in England was an artist who worked as a pin-up model and claimed her work in adult entertainment was subliminal art – and it was! Love Diamonda Galas, who told me she worked as a transvestite prostitute in the meat-packing district. The Johns thought she was a ‘he-she.’ Karen Finley was important to me, and she had worked as a stripper, although she told me she really hated it. I’ve always loved Tim Miller’s work, lots of nudity and lots of heart together. Kate Bornstein… fabulous. With the exception of Linda Montano, pretty much all my favorite artists, and inspiriting people have been from the ‘sex world.’ And have been friends of mine. I’m so lucky.
KH: Where were the most important spaces?
AS: For me, PS122 and the Kitchen in Manhattan. Highways Performance Space in Los Angeles. Vortex Theater in Austin, Texas. They were my triangle. In Europe, Germany was my best country; Ufa Fabric in Berlin, Schmidt Theater in Hamburg. Le Kleine Comedie in Amsterdam. The Adelaide Theater Festival in Australia was really was good time for me. There were so many! I loved them all, because they were the theatres that were unafraid of sex. Many theatres wouldn’t dare have me. But those that did, we usually fell in love with each other. In burlesque, I went to Cleaveland’s New Era Berlesque a lot, the Mitchell Brothers in San Francisco, and the Harmony Burlesque in Manhattan because those were the sex places that were amenable to my weird performance art take on burlesque.
The Hell Fire Club in Manhattan was my weekend hangout from 1982-85. Before AIDS I was super inspired by Fist Fuckers of America, Golden Shower of America Club. I was one of only three women ever allowed into the Mineshaft. Had a lot of sex with the gay guys – quite a few were in theatre as actors and dancers on Broadway. They were my teachers. These men were huge inspirations, as an artist focused on body and sex stuff. When AIDS hit, most of those mentors died.
The 848 Community Space which you started Keith, was very inspiring in that it had a bent for ‘community.’ That word community wasn’t used so much in NYC. I Saw some great shows there and I was inspired how warm and welcoming and inclusive and talented the people were there. It wasn’t at all competitive. Sweetness.
Sex magazines were very important for me. In the late 70′s Peter Wolf, a sex mag editor, invited me and other sex workers to write and do photography. Peter Wolf gave whores and porn stars a voice. Before Peter, our centrefold captions and articles using our names were all written by men. Peter paid me $500 a day to be photographer and about $350 for an interview. He wanted our real stories. I did a hundreds of articles, as a writer and photographer for fifteen years. I got to hire a lot of my artist and sex worker friends to pose for me.
KH: When you reflect back on earlier decades, how is your approach to body, creativity, sexuality still resonating or not…?
AS: My personal sexual proclivities and habits have changed quite a lot. I am not that sexual with people outside of my relationship with my partner, Beth Stephens. We sometimes call ourselves ‘adventurous monogamists.’ However we’re not really monogamous at all, as we are now full-on ecosexuals. The Earth truly is our lover, and we are erotic with nature a lot. That is a paradigm shift of Universal proportions. Also, my body has changed a lot. Aging happens. I’m more sensitive, more heart-centred, my tissues are more delicate. I enjoy seeing young people going through many of the wonderful phases that I went through, and discover things I had discovered. In This Is What I Want, there were people performing who are ‘out’ sex workers; doing sex work in an art context, which was absolutely glorious. In fact, many of the artists in the show would be subject to arrest, for ‘selling sex.’ It makes the piece a politically defiant act. I’m delighted to see some great folks mixing sex work and art, like my friends Madison Young, Sadie Lune, Tessa Wills, TT Baum, Diana Pornoterrorista, Mariko Passion, and a few others.
When I found a partner that I really wanted to have a full on committed relationship with, and I was ready to give that a go. I’m loving it. Beth and I have been together twelve years, living and working together all the time. She’s an artist. These days we are focused on environmental activism, switching the metaphor from Earth as Mother to Earth as Lover. Trying to make environmental activism a little more sexy, fun and diverse. We have a new show we are about to premiere which is funded partly by the San Francisco Arts Commission. Yep, government funded! Amazingly I am still making a living from sex related performance. Some things have not changed at all. I love dressing up in wigs, and costumes, and putting on a show! And being in creative flow. Being on deadline. Making stuff happen. I’m very grateful that I don’t have to do it alone, that I can travel and collaborate with Beth. It sounds corny, but I love to share it all with Beth. She’s also a tenured professor, which gives us some security. I just adore her and we have so much fun together. She was also doing sex and gender related work before we got together.
Politically, spiritually, idealistically, artistically, not that much has changed. I still simply want to make the world a little more pleasure filled, sex positive, and compassionate place. Which is what motivated my career, now forty years long. I believe that the best is yet to come! OK, enough yesterbating, Keith. Lets get to work.
Republished with permission at tessawills.com. Originally published in George, Doran, Hargreaves, Martin, Shaw, Thom and Wills, Tessa eds. Dance Theatre Journal 25.2. London: Laban, 2013. Print. Featured image: Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens at the Vortex Theater, Austin. (Cropped.) Original Photo by Errick Pederson.
This article is a response to the festival THIS IS WHAT I WANT, an annual performance festival that explores desire as a socio/political/cultural construct. Now in our fifth year, this year includes a hands on desire and cock workshop, workshops about desire and madness, exploratory immersive warehouse performances in an old porn theater about desire and the gaze, film screenings and more curious behavior all about desire. Tessa Wills, Artistic Director, leads this year on the theme of The Gaze. Desire is calling. Come gaze like nobody is watching. For more information: thisiswhatiwantfestival.com.
May 1, 2014
On Thursday, December 5th, Feelmore will present a screening of works by Courtney Trouble at the New Parkway in Oakland, California. Performer and Pink & White Productions’ Online Marketing Director Jiz Lee interviewed Courtney and Feelmore510 Owner/Producer Nenna Joiner about the event, which will feature guest appearances by April Flores and Nikki Hearts.
Jiz Lee: Nenna, how does Feelmore Fresh’s programing help further your values with Feelmore510, and benefit Oakland’s community?
Nenna: We began Feelmore Fresh as a way of utilizing our community business, in order to make sure we have diversity and representation — and not just from people that the community is made up of. It’s a way to keep consistent with the type of business Feelmore does, and a way to increase a welcoming space for the new Oakland that is emerging.
Courtney is a phenomenal person who exudes Oakland because of their* hard work. Even though they recently moved to Oakland, they have always had that gritty work ethic which has opened many doors for their creative gifts. That body of work speaks for itself as it is long and deep (pun intended). Their authentic relationship with all the performers makes the night more of a welcome-home party.
Usually we have film compilations, however, their body of work makes any fan — or soon to be fan — know why we wanted to partner with Trouble.
Jiz: Courtney, what new works will we see screened? Did you make them special for the event, and if so, what ideas drove your vision?
Courtney Trouble: I took Nenna’s idea of “Feelmore Fresh” and ran with a concept of showing brand new, fresh ideas in my creative garden. I’ll be showing a few fresh pieces from QueerPorn.TV and IndiePornRevolution.Com, including a scene I shot specifically for this event that is really a very “Fresh” look on queer men in porn — it’s romantic, raunchy, and just a totally different way of exploring queer men in pornography. I’m also very excited to present an excerpt from my brand new film Girl Pile, which is out on DVD today. Girl Pile is also an incredibly “fresh” way of looking at lesbian porn: It’s offered up completely unedited and uncensored, which I think breaks down some of the general stereotypes on uber-feminine girl/girl style lesbian porn by showing four performers do what they do best without any direction, interruptions, or edits.
There’s also a few surprises, one of which I will give away right now: The first scene being shown features an incredibly iconic plus size adult film super star with fiery red hair (OK OK it’s April Flores!) AND she will be coming all the way up from LA to be my date to the event, a special guest you can meet and gush-over after the films.
Jiz: Why is it important to see sex screened in a theater, as part of a community?
Nenna: Watching porn in a theater is nothing more than a novel idea to get try buy-in. You are there, you enjoy porn. But given that you are watching this content in Oakland speaks louder to the fact that Oakland has and is continually changing to be a constant mirror to that of San Francisco. As many nightlife, restaurants, and people have moved to Oakland, we also hope the love and admiration that has helped lift a city like SF to national heights we envision the same happening for Oakland.
Courtney: Oh, it’s *so* important, because watching porn in public removes so much of the residual shame and socialization we carry around with us regarding porn and sexuality. So many people have epiphanies about themselves at these kinds of events. I know I have. I think being shy about porn preferences, or being private about what you like to watch, is totally beautiful and wonderful. And on the same edge, the powerful energy you’ll find at a community porn screening has a way of strengthening our own desires and our own resolve to be supportive of ourselves and more vulnerable with our sexual wants and needs, whether we are private porn viewers or exhibitionist. Watching porn with other people is life-affirming, especially when you see yourself represented in the porn you’re watching or you see something you personally really like — having an entire audience cheer for something that resonates with you can have a profound effect on your self image.
I’m also so glad that I get to partner up with Feelmore on this, because I adore Nenna’s vision and I adore her store. I’ve called Oakland my home now for almost 3 years and Feelmore is a hub for the radical sex-positive politics that are getting very strong here in the East Bay. I look forward to having more progressive porn events in Oakland and excited to be supporting the vision behind Feelmore Fresh.
Read Courtney’s blog about the screening, join/invite others via their Facebook event, and get your tickets ASAP at BrownPaperTickets! Feelmore is also on Facebook and Twitter, and those outside of Oakland can shop online at Feelmore510.com
*Courtney Trouble identifies as a femme genderqueer and has expressed to us that they prefer “They/Them” pronouns, in certain contexts.
December 4, 2013
We've invited sexual health educators and sex bloggers to share their #SexEdPornReviews for our new queer porn episode starring (recently married!) Kitty Stryker and Jetta Rae. We […]
The Blog Post #SexEdPornReviews CrashPad 230: Kitty Stryker and Jetta Rae appeared first on Crash Pad Series.