May 242013
 
Madison Young as a pony girl on the set of Rough Sex 2

Madison Young as a pony girl on the set of Rough Sex 2


Last month, I gave a talk as part of an evening called
The Truth Behind Fifty Shades of Grey at University of Maryland in College Park. There was a lively audience discussion, and we gave students the opportunity to ask questions anonymously. I asked several of my colleagues to chime in and answer a few of those questions.

Can it be hard to enjoy “vanilla” sex once you’ve escalated [to BDSM]? I’ve heard porn indulgence can desensitize people until they keep needing to escalate–is this the case with BDSM?

I asked my friend and colleague Felice Shays, a sex and BDSM educator, to take this one on. Listen to my fantastic interview with her on Sex Out Loud here. Felice says:

So, you are afraid to try things other than missionary positions, kissing, and other sexy acts because pot always leads to crack? And spanking always leads to bestiality? No, friend, don’t worry about escalation, as you call it. When you try out different things you’re figuring out what you like. Keep experimenting—add to what you and your partner enjoy; keep what works and don’t keep what doesn’t feel so good. But don’t be afraid to try something again down the road—what may feel eh today might feel off the charts next week. Watching lots of porn isn’t a bad thing unless it interferes in the healthy functioning of someone’s life (see Hernando Chaves’ discussion of sex addiction). People don’t get desensitized when watching lots of porn, hopefully they keep getting turned on. Their interests might shift over time, so what may have been a fantasy last month, may not be as hot this month. And yet other people love to watch the same kind of images throughout their lives. The good news is that sex is not like a runaway car, careening down a side of a mountain into the tiny town about to destroy the innocent townsfolk who live there. No. Instead, you get to make decisions about what you want, and when you want it. That includes if you want to gently kiss someone on their neck or press your teeth in a firm way against that flesh. Or if you want to be on top or you want to give or get it from behind. The other good news, is that no one gets to hold the truth to what vanilla or kink actually is. I can hear you say, “You know what I mean. Like spanking and dirty talk and like that.” And I say, what is someone’s “vanilla” may be someone else’s ‘you’ve gone a bit too far, pal’.  And vice versa. My friend says she and her husband are vanilla, yet he holds the back of her head as she’s sucking him off. He’s not forcing her or choking her, just getting off on how pretty she is, how good he feels, his hand in her hair, his cock in her mouth. And she loves it too; feeling just the right amount of pressure on the back of her head that makes her feel high and hot.

That’s playing with power right there. And they consider themselves vanilla—not kinky.

So I can’t tell you what vanilla is. And frankly, I don’t really give’s a rat’s ass. I want you happy and turned on, not bored.

It’s about what turns you on and what your desires are.

Desire, like other tastes, change and morph as we gain experience in the world.  And just because you love pizza, doesn’t mean you want to eat it every night.

Worry less and EXPLORE and EXPERIMENT more.

So when you add new ways of being sexy and sexual to getting it on, you might want to keep those new ways—plus any of the other ways you used to—whatever make you happy. And you probably won’t want to make love or fuck exactly the same way every time either. Mood, partner, time of day, if you’re high or drunk, all these things will affect what you want.

So if you try slapping someone’s face and realize you both really like it, the doors to vanilla are still yours to walk through. Cuddling, sex without an edge or ferocity, are still yours whenever you want it.

Keep open and curious—and don’t let fear run your sex, or your life, for that matter.

You are allowed to experiment explore and discover what you like.

ADD to your sexual vocabulary, don’t limit it.

Just think of the stories you will tell with all that new language.

It’s worth repeating: Worry less and EXPLORE more.

Felice Shays, Sex and BDSM Educator. Follow Felice on Twitter @FeliceShays

May 242013
 
Mark Davis, Chayse Evans & Adrianna Nicole from Rough Sex 2

Mark Davis, Chayse Evans & Adrianna Nicole from Rough Sex 2


Last month, I gave a talk as part of an evening called
The Truth Behind Fifty Shades of Grey at University of Maryland in College Park. There was a lively audience discussion, and we gave students the opportunity to ask questions anonymously. Here are those questions with my responses. Note: I asked several of my colleagues to chime in and answer a few of the questions. Because several of them inspired longer answers, I will post those separately under Ask Tristan.

What is caning?

I’m going to quote an expert, Lolita Wolf, from her chapter, “Making an Impact: Spanking, Caning, and Flogging” in The Ultimate Guide to Kink:

Caning was traditional for severe punishment in the Victorian era and in the British school system, so canes can be the center of some great role play opportunities. Because of their perceived severity, canes have developed a reputation as the “scariest” of all BDSM impact toys, but a caning can be light and sensuous or heavy and painful—it’s all about how you wield the cane… Traditional canes are made of rattan, not bamboo or wood, and should be able to bend significantly.

Are there any races/ethnicities/religious groups that are members of the BDSM community?

People of all races and ethnicities practice BSDM, although some people of color have critiqued kink communities for being overwhelmingly white. Mollena Williams writes eloquently and teaches about the challenges of being a person of color in the BDSM community. There are some organizations and groups that cater specifically to kinky people of color including Poly Patao Productions and BlackBEAT.

Does the BDSM community have a higher percentage of LGBT people than mainstream sex?

People who practice BDSM comes from all walks of life and represent a diverse sampling in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, class, age, ability, and sexual orientation. LGBT people have varied sex lives, just as heterosexuals do; some are kinky, some aren’t, and some fall in between.

Do BDSM people date and marry, or just hook up?

BDSM folks are like everyone else in with regards to their sexual, romantic, and emotional relationships: they hook up, they date, they marry, they divorce, they have kids. In my research for my book Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, I found that there was a lot if overlap between BDSM communities and non-monogamous communities, so I think it might be that a higher percentage of BDSM people practice some form of consensual, ethical non-monogamy than the general population.

Has BDSM been shown to lower divorce rates?

There is limited research about BDSM and the people who practice it. There is no data that I know of that correlates BDSM with lower divorce rates. What I can tell you from personal experience is that many kinky folks have open, expansive views on sex, pleasure, relationships, and love plus above-average communication skills, and those elements can all contribute to the success of a marriage or relationship.

In the book Fifty Shades of Grey, when Christian and Anastasia communicate on a daily basis, Christian is always in charge. Do BDSM couples talk like that normally?

It depends. Some people adopt the roles of dominant and submissive during a scene (a scene is when people practice BDSM), but once the scene is done, they interact without those roles. Others may stay in role for a weekend. In those cases, when they are in role, the dominant takes charge and dictates how things go. Some people have dominant/submissive relationships where the power dynamic is always (or almost always) present. In all cases, as part of the negotiation process, dominants and submissives may agree to certain rules or protocols which dictate behavior. One such protocol could be that the dominant is in charge of what the submissive wears or the dominant decides what they eat for dinner. Another protocol could be that the submissive has to ask permission before speaking or always use an honorific when speaking to the dominant, like Sir. Protocols vary wildly, are particular to the people involved, and make sense to them; they are meant to represent and reinforce the power dynamic.

Is there a book or books that are more accurate to the BDSM community than Fifty Shades of Grey?

The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and The Erotic Edge, 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM, SM 101: A Realistic Introduction, Playing Well With Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Exploring, and Navigating The Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities, The New Topping Book, The New Bottoming Book, Screw the Roses, Send Me The Thorns, as well as books by Jack Rinella, Lee Harrington, and Midori.

How do you find kink friendly professionals like doctors or therapists?

There are two great resources I recommend: Kink Aware Professionals and The Open List.

Is rape performed by BDSM people?

The word “performed” threw me a little because my interpretation of that word could lead me down two very different roads. On the one hand, are you asking, “Do BDSM people act out consensual rape fantasies?” The answer is yes, and a stellar resource all about those kinds of fantasies is Mollena Williams who wrote the chapter “Digging in the Dirt: The Lure of Taboo Role Play” in in The Ultimate Guide to Kink. But the other interpretation is, “Do BDSM people commit rape?” Unfortunately, the answer to that question is also yes. While the vast majority of folks who practice BDSM consider consent the cornerstone of their kink, that doesn’t mean that every kinky person is immune from sexual coercion, trauma, abuse, and violence. These things are still far too common in our society. For an excellent discussion about consent, sexual assault, and BDSM, I recommend Thomas’ series of posts on the blog Yes Means Yes.

Can BDSM be addictive?

This question inspires a longer response, so it has its own post here by therapist Dr. Hernando Chaves.

Can it be hard to enjoy “vanilla” sex once you’ve escalated [to BDSM]? I’ve heard porn indulgence can desensitize people until they keep needing to escalate–is this the case with BDSM?

For this one, I asked my friend BDSM educator Felice Shays, and here is her response.

May 072013
 
Eclair Bandersnatch mural at Center for Sex & Culture

Eclair Bandersnatch mural at Center for Sex & Culture

As some of you may know, I was born on May 9, and this year, I’m thrilled to tell you exactly what I want for my birthday!

The Center for Sex & Culture (CSC) in San Francisco, founded by Carol Queen and Robert Lawrence, is a non-profit archive, library and community space for preserving and sharing information and artifacts of sexual identity, sexual products, and sexual ideas. It is a VITAL resource for sex-positive communities. CSC accepts donations year round, but May 9 is a special day. May 9, 2013 is the first national Give OUT Day for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community. Give OUT Day is a new national initiative that aims to mobilize thousands of individual donors on a single day across the country to give in support of the LGBTQ nonprofit community. It is a chance for LGBTQ groups large and small, to work across the wide range of issues and activities that matter to the LGBTQ community from sports to policy change, families to the arts. It is a chance for members of the LGBTQ community and our many allies to stand up and show our support for our community together on one day. In addition, The Horizon Foundation (The Bay Area’s LGBT Community Foundation) is sponsoring a challenge (The “Bay Area Leaderboard Prize”): It will award prize grants ($5,000, $2,500 and $1,000) to the top three small Bay Area non-profit organizations with the greatest number of unique donors at the end of Give OUT Day on Thursday, May 9. That’s right, it’s not about how much money they raise, it’s about how many people they can get to donate in one day, which means that any amount helps, even $5, but you’ve got to do it Thursday, May 9. Go to the Center for Sex and Culture Donation Page on Razoo and donate there (it’s important to use this link since they are tracking all the donations through it). You can even go beforehand and schedule your donation for May 9 by choosing “On a Giving Day” from the drop down menu. I am encouraging you to celebrate my birthday, support the important work of the Center and get more bang for your buck while you do it. Isn’t that appropriate?

Here is more information about The Center for Sex and Culture in Carol’s own words:

In 1994 my partner Robert and I (I’m author and sexologist Carol Queen, PhD) were visiting our friend Betty Dodson, sometimes known as “the Mother of Masturbation,” in her NY home. Why didn’t she bring her fabulous Bodysex workshop to the Bay Area? we asked. There wasn’t an appropriate venue there, she said. And then she said the words that begin the story of The Center for Sex & Culture: “You kids should start a place.”

Betty was right! Between us, we had connections in many sexuality-related communities. We both have doctorates in sexology; I worked at the legendary Good Vibrations and wrote for Spectator magazine, which had evolved from the old Berkeley Barb; I wrote stories and essays for zines and anthologies too, and was working on my first book, Exhibitionism for the Shy; we traveled around the US teaching, speaking, and meeting people from many sexual worlds, and were ourselves comfortable participants in many of these; and we’d both been directors at SF Sex Info. Together, we could relate and identify with much of the range of sexuality.

It took over 5 years of talking up the idea, but at last an angel donor helped us get over the fence: We corresponded with the IRS, got our non-profit status, and began looking for a space. Interns and donated materials came our way even before we had a room to house them. When we did get a place, we invited every sexually interested person over 18 to be part of it: as member, performer, teacher, patron, life-long learner. Academics and journalists began to visit to use our library and inspect our collections. Librarians descended on us, helping us to organize the many books and journals we’d amassed. (We believe we now have the largest publicly-accessibly sex library in the country — maybe the world!)

We host sex ed classes, and also cultural events. I deeply feel that, in the absence of good sex ed in the US, many of us learn about sex and develop our attitudes about sexuality via culture, and we want to participate fully in that discussion. We also support culture-making: through writing classes for sex workers; our award-winning Erotic Reading Circle; burlesque and dance classes; and our annual Nude Aid artmaking day. We also support community-based organizations, from BDSM/leather, to sex worker support groups, to the unique safer sex strategies of the SF Jacks. Our collections include Buzz Bense’s HIV/AIDS poster collection (these will hang in our gallery in Nov./Dec. 2013), materials from Pat Califia and Larry Townsend, a full run of On Our Backs magazine, Scarlot Harlot’s searchable database of sex worker interviews, and so much more.

We are all-volunteer, a labor of love and community for everyone involved. The next wave of core staff — a new librarian, a gallerist, archivists, and each year’s group of interns — came to us because of the cultural impacts of our collections; they are making them increasingly organized and accessible, and helping turn CSC into a venue for erotic artists who have few other places to exhibit their work.

We dream of publishing books, thus helping more non-Bay Area people join the conversation; and also want to put many of our events online, so we are even more a global community sex center than a local one. In the meantime, we hope you will visit us when you come to San Francisco! And thank you so very much for reading about our history and supporting us. Any donation helps us keep our doors open and take care of the materials our community has entrusted to us.

Wishing you pleasure and all the sex information you need!

—Carol, Robert, Dina, Marlene, Dorian, Anissa LibraryVixen, Tess, & the rest of your friends at the Center for Sex & Culture

Apr 252013
 

Ask Tristan logo
How can gender identity affect a sexual experience or a sexual relationship (even mentally)? How can we avoid gender identity becoming a point of contestation? We are both doms.
If you are trans* or your gender identity is complex, non-normative, fluid, genderqueer, or your body doesn’t entirely reflect your gender expression, it can absolutely affect your sexual experiences and relationships. As you begin to figure out your gender identity (knowing of course that it’s still not fixed and can change), share as much of that information as you can with your partner. This includes your relationship to your body, your preferred words for your body parts, how you want to be touched, and your sexual boundaries. Communicate with your partner about words that feel authentic and sexy in relation to your body and certain sex acts—words like dick, cock, cunt, pussy, as well as “fucking” or “making love”—can be loaded for people, no matter what their gender identity is, so ask your partner what words they use in regards to their own body and then respect those choices. It’s also helpful to stick to gender-neutral adjectives instead of nouns (hard, tight, wet, open, etc.). Your gender identity should not be a “point of contestation” between the two of you. The more comfortable you are with your gender identity, and the more you can talk about it with your partner, the more likely they are to understand it. Gender identity with regard to sexuality and sexual dynamics can vary for everyone, not just trans* and genderqueer people. For example, a straight man may want to be dominated and treated like a bad girl by his female partner, a lesbian may like to imagine she’s a straight man who’s seducing another man for the first time. We often get turned on by gender and sexual dynamics that don’t match our everyday gender on the street. Even when people aren’t explicitly roleplaying, there’s a certain energy dynamic that goes into the act itself that connects to our gender identity. Make a list of what gender identities you connect to in the bedroom (and which ones you don’t), share it with your partner, then have them do the same thing and find where you overlap and connect.
Recommended: Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality and Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation

Feb 042013
 

Feminist_Porn_cover
The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure
is co-edited by Celine Parreñas-Shimizu, Constance Penley, Mireille Miller-Young, and me
and is published by The Feminist Press

The Feminist Porn Book brings together for the first time writings by feminists in the adult industry and research by feminist porn scholars. This book investigates not only how feminists understand pornography, but also how feminists do porn—that is, direct, act in, produce, and consume one of the world’s most lucrative and growing industries. With original contributions by Susie Bright, Candida Royalle, Betty Dodson, Nina Hartley, Buck Angel, Lynn Comella, Jane Ward, Ariane Cruz, Kevin Heffernan, and more, The Feminist Porn Book updates the arguments of the porn wars of the 1980s, which sharply divided the women’s movement, and identifies pornography as a form of expression and labor in which women and racial and sexual minorities produce power and pleasure. Check out the book’s official website to read the table of contents and see what people like Melissa Harris-Perry, Laura Kipnis, Jack Halberstam, Lisa Duggan, Carol Queen, Annie Sprinkle, and other luminaries have said about it. I am so unbelievably excited that The Feminist Porn Book is here! This is a project that is five years in the making, and I cannot believe it’s in print.

Inspired by the book, I am producing The Feminist Porn Conference, a one-day event on April 6, 2013 at the University of Toronto during the Good For Her Feminist Porn Awards festivities. Speakers include Lynn Comella, Ariane Cruz, Loree Erickson, April Flores, Kevin Heffernan, Tobi Hill-Meyer, Shine Louise Houston, Jiz Lee, Nicholas Matte, Mireille Miller-Young, Ms. Naughty, Nenna, Bobby Noble, Celine Parreñas-Shimizu, Constance Penley, Carol Queen, Dylan Ryan, Tristan Taormino, Courtney Trouble, Madison Young, and more to be confirmed soon. Registration is now open, and Early Bird Registration Rates are good through March 1, so register today! Our host hotel is the Holiday Inn; get our special discount code here. Special thanks to our sponsors Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, Good for Her, The Feminist Porn Awards, and The Feminist Press.

Jan 152013
 

Sometimes She Lets Me: Best Butch/Femme Erotica
I am so thrilled to announce the release of the audio book version of my Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology Sometimes She Lets Me: Best Butch/Femme Erotica. It’s available on Amazon and Audible (you can even listen to a sample at Audible). First, I am just excited that the audio book market has really exploded recently, and audio book versions of several of my books have already been produced, including Best Lesbian Erotica 2007, Best Lesbian Erotica 2009, Best of the Best Lesbian Erotica, Hot Lesbian Erotica, and Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships (and coming soon: Down and Dirty Sex Secrets!). I think erotica books make especially good material for audio (of course) and queer erotica is where I got my start so it’s close to my heart. But what makes this one extra special is that I co-produced and narrated it! That’s right, here’s your chance to hear more than 7 hours of me talking dirty to you, reading smutty stories by folks like S. Bear Bergman, Toni Amato, D. Alexandria, Peggy Munson, Sinclair Sexsmith, Elaine Miller, Amie M. Evans, Alison Smith, and more. You’ll hear tales of the new femme in town and the butch pastry chef, the cop who passes as a guy and picks up straight girls at hip hop clubs, porn-watching butches who can’t keep their hands off each other, a sexy game of hide and seek in the woods, what happens when a femme trolls the personals for a date, one girl’s revenge on sweet-talking butches, a threesome with a power couple, girl-on-girl lipstick smearing, poetic public sex and some particularly incendiary roleplay. The stories are filled with dominant Daddies, butches with swagger, fierce femmes, strippers and sex workers, longtime lovers, femme tops, and plenty more. I promise you: it’s a good time! My producer and engineer on this project is a superstar in his own right: Dylan Keefe. Dylan is part of the team of geniuses who work on public radio show Radiolab and the bass player for Marcy Playground, an awesome 90s band famous for the song “Sex and Candy.” Dylan and I had so much fun in the studio together recording this, and we hope to collaborate on more projects together. I hope you’ll check it out, tell your friends, and enjoy this porn for your ears!

Jan 062013
 

tristan1114 copy

This week’s episode of Sex Out Loud has two different guests talking about their work giving voice to sexual minorities who are often marginalized in the community. Dr. Eli Sheff will talk about her new book based on her groundbreaking work with Polyamorous Family Study, a 16 year project. The mission of the Polyamorous Family Study is to provide high-quality, research-based information about poly families with kids using sound research methods based in years of sociological study. Sinclair Sexsmith is the kinky butch top behind the the popular Sugarbutch Chronicles. They’re also a writer, storyteller, and performer who studies critical feminist & gender theory, sexual freedom, social change activism, archetypes, and the tantric and buddhist spiritual systems.

dr eli sheffA pioneer in research on polyamory, Dr. Elisabeth “Eli” Sheff is the foremost academic expert on polyamory in the US, and the worldwide expert on poly families with children, having conducted the only longitudinal analysis of poly families with children to date. After teaching Sociology for 15 years at three universities, Dr. Sheff established the Sheff Consulting Group (SCG), a think-tank of academicians and professionals who specialize in legal and educational services for unconventional populations, and those who need to know about them. As the Senior Legal Consultant at SCG, Dr. Sheff specializes in families of sexual minorities, providing expert witness services, home evaluations for unconventional families facing child custody issues or attempting to adopt kids, andcontinuing education to lawyers, educators, counselors, and therapists. Her book The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple Partner Relationships and Families is being published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2013.

sinclair sexsmith
Sinclair Sexsmith (MrSexsmith.com) writes the award-winning personal online project Sugarbutch Chronicles: The Sex, Gender, and Relationship Adventures of a Kinky Queer Butch Top at SugarButch.net. They have contributed to more than a dozen anthologies, and is the editor of Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica. They teach workshops ongender and sexuality throughout the US, including at various colleges.

Sep 132012
 
Drunken! Careening! Writers!
Kelli Dunham
Anne Elliott
Thaddeus Rutkowski
Sarah Schulman
Virginia Vitzthum
Reading Cheryl B.
Thursday, Sept. 20, 7pm
85 E. 4th St. FREE
cheryl Cheryl Burke was a journalist, poet, performer and playwright who came of age in the vibrant 1990s East Village art scene. Her performances at the Nuyorican Poets Café, Bowery Poetry Club, the National Arts Club, P.S. 122, St. Marks Poetry Project established Burke as a young luminary and during her career she performed at venues throughout the US and abroad. Her work was published in Ping Pong, BUST, KGB Bar Lit, Go Magazine, Velvet Park, and dozens of other journals and magazines, and anthologized in Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution (Seal Press, 2007), Reactions 5 (Pen & Inc, 2005), The Milk of Almonds: Italian-American Women Writers on Food & Culture (Feminist Press, 2002), The World in Us (St. Martins Press, 2000), Pills, Thrills, Chills and Heartache (Alyson Books, 2004), His Hands, His Tools, His Sex, His Dress (Haworth Press, 2001), among others.  Burke was a graduate of both New York University and The New School. She passed away at the age of 38 from complications related to treatment of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. My Awesome Place is her first book.

 

Kelli Dunham (kellidunham.com) is everyone’s favorite ex-nun genderqueer nerd comic. Kelli was one of Velvet Park Magazine’s 25 Significant Queer Women of 2011 and author of four books of humorous non-fiction. Kelli has performed nationwide at LGBT pride events and even the occasional livestock auction. Both her comedy CDs, “I am NOT a 12 Year Old Boy” and “Almost Pretty” are on regular rotation on Sirius Satellite Radio’s mainstream comedy station and she has appeared on Showtime and the Discovery Network. Kelli recently returned from a 12 day, 10 city tour of the Southern States via Megabus which included a 2 AM encounter with a pick-up truck full of homophobes in a Montgomery Alabama Speedy Check Cashing Parking Lot and an even scarier encounter with Sarah Palin. Kelli’s third comedy CD “Freak of Nurture: Why Is The Fat One Always Angry” is making its mad, mad way to a New York release this fall.

Anne Elliott has performed her poetry (with and without ukulele) at Lincoln Center, The Whitney Museum (with the Beats show), PS122, The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s, and other venues.  She was a listed notable in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007, and her fiction has appeared in Hobart, Pindeldyboz, Opium, and other litmags and anthologies.  She blogs on writing, urban homesteading, and feral cat management at http://assbackwords.blogspot.com.

Thaddeus Rutkowski is the author of the novels Haywire, Tetched and Roughhouse. Haywire reached No. 1 on Small Press Distribution’s fiction best-seller list. Both Tetched and Roughhouse were finalists for a Members’ Choice Asian American Literary Award. He teaches at Medgar Evers College and the Writer’s Voice of the West Side YMCA. His writing has appeared in The Outlaw Bible of America Poetry and The New York Times. He was awarded a 2012 fellowship in fiction writing from the New York Foundation for the Arts. http://www.thaddeusrutkowski.com.

Sarah Schulman is a novelist, playwright and nonfiction writer. Her most recent books are The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to A Lost Imagination (U of California Press), Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences (The New Press), The Mere Future, a novel (Arsenal Pulp Press) and the forthcoming ISrael/Palestine and the Queer International (Duke University Press).

Virginia Vitzthum has written for publications including the Village Voice, Ms., the Washington City Paper, ELLE, alternet, Time Out New York, the Huffington Post and was a columnist for salon.com and for washingtonpost.com (as Emily Matewell). She’s also written two books, a play, and a screenplay; worked with several theater companies; and edited many publications. She currently edits Represent, a national magazine written by and for youth in foster care. http://www.virginiavitzthum.com/author.

“MY AWESOME PLACE: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHERYL B” TO BE PUBLISHED BY TOPSIDE  SIGNATURE

Official Publication Date October 23, 2012

 

cheryl's book cover

Topside Press imprint Topside Signature has announced that October 23, 2012 will be the official release date of My Awesome Place: The Autobiography Of Cheryl B. The autobiography offers a rare authentic glimpse into the electrifying arts scene of New York City’s East Village during the vibrant 1990s, through the eyes of the young writer during her rise to prominence as the spoken word artist known as Cheryl B.

In the months following her death, members of Burke’s close-knit writing group, who had met continuously for nine years, worked to compile her drafts, essays and emails into a completed manuscript which was eventually synthesized into its final form by Burke’s close friend, novelist Sarah Schulman. The book’s narrative, from a liminal space between fiction and memoir, tracks her struggle to translate her working class New Jersey roots and define herself as an artist against the backdrop of an unforgiving city, a series of disastrous girlfriends and boyfriends and an intense, intimate relationship with drugs and alcohol. By the time Burke emerged, sober, in 2001, she had witnessed-and made major contributions to- one of the most remarkable artistic transformations that New York City has ever experienced.

 

Order online or at your favorite independent bookseller.
Drunken! Careening! Writers! is a reading series based on the proposition that all readings should be by: 1) Good Writers; 2) Who read their work well; 3) Something in it makes people laugh (nervous laughter counts). And 15 minutes tops.For more information, email  careeningwriters@aol.com, visit  www.kathleenwarnock.com, or follow me on Twitter @kwarnockny.
Jul 162012
 

This Friday, July 20th, on Sex Out Loud, I’m happy to welcome educator, filmmaker, and pop culture icon Buck Angel. We’ll discuss changing representations of trans male sexuality, including the making of his docu-porn Sexing the Transman and its success on the film festival circuit. Buck will also discuss the upcoming sequel, Sexing the Transman 2, due later this month and his transition from being an adult film star to a speaker and educator. I will also get a chance to talk to Tobi Hill-Meyer, a filmmaker currently working on Doing It Again, an erotic documentary about trans women’s sexuality that weaves together explicit scenes and interviews with trans women and their partners.

Buck Angel

As a visionary filmmaker, activist, educator and lecturer, Buck Angel launched Buck Angel Entertainment as a vehicle to produce multi media projects that will motivate viewers to think outside the box. Buck Angel’s message of empowerment through self-acceptance and being sexually comfortable in your own skin has struck a passionate chord with folks all over the world. Since Buck coined “it’s not what’s between your legs that defines your gender!”, the phrase has become an anthem for people everywhere who have been inspired by this message of self acceptance. Buck has been featured in nearly every imaginable international media outlet: television, radio, web, and print. Buck Angel made history when he received the prestigious award from Adult Video News (AVN) for Transsexual Performer of the Year in 2007 for his groundbreaking work in the adult entertainment industry. Buck has received international recognition and continues to be a huge box office hit in numerous markets.

Tobi Hill-Meyer

In 2010 Tobi Hill-Meyer made her film making debut, winning an Award for Emerging Filmmaker of the year and being named #3 in Velvet Park Media’s list of the 25 Most Significant Queer Women of 2010. She is a multiracial trans woman with a long history of working with feminist and LGBTQ organizations on a local, state, and federal level, having served on several boards and offering support as a strategic consultant. Since receiving her degree in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies, Tobi has turned her focus to media analysis and productions. She is a founding member and major contributor to the media collective, Handbasket Productions. Handbasket Productions is a radical, oppression aware media collective focusing on queer culture, trans experience and sex positivity. Spanning non-fiction, fiction, and fantasy genres, we use books zines, film, music and other art to cover a variety of topics including sex work, polyamory, racism and queerspawn experience.

Jul 012012
 

Performer and activist Ignacio Rivera joins me this Friday, July 6th at 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET for a nuanced discussion about some highly charged subjects. Ignacio, who prefers the pronoun they, will talk about their gender identity and how it impacts their sexuality. We will discuss polyamory in people of color communities, race politics and racially-charged fantasies in the kink world, and how to create a truly inclusive, multi-racial community event. Then Ignacio will look at the challenges of their starring role in the feature film Mommy is Coming and reveal what it was like to work with acclaimed indie director Cheryl Dunye. This episode was recorded live during the OpenSF Conference in San Francisco and includes an audio excerpt of Ignacio’s co-keynote presentation with Yosenio Lewis.

Ignacio Rivera aka Papí Coxxx identifies as a Queer, Trans, Two-Spirit, polyamorous, kinky, Black-Boricua. Ignacio, who prefers the gender-neutral pronoun “they,” is a lecturer, activist, filmmaker, sex educator, sex worker, and performance artist, sharing spoken word, one-person shows, and storytelling internationally. Their work has appeared in ColorLines, Ebony, Yellow Medicine Review, The Ultimate Guide to Kink and in their chapbooks, Las Alas, co-authored by Maceo Cabrera Estévez; Ingridients; and Thoughts, Rants and What Some Might Call Poetry. Ignacio is the recipient of a Marsha A. Gómez Cultural Heritage Award from LLEGÓ: The National Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Organization. Ignacio is one of the founding board members of Queers for Economic Justice; they are also the founder of Poly Patao Productions. Ignacio has been facilitating workshops, doing lectures and creating events for kinky, kinky-curious Queer/Trans POCs and their white queer and trans allies for over a decade.