REVIEWS by Wm. Steven Humphrey and Julianne Shepherd
INTERVIEWS by Darklady
dir. John Woodward and Tammy Stones
Wednesday, Oct 4, 7 pm
Taking a decidedly Libertarian bent on "victimless crimes" (i.e. the government should stay the hell out of our pants), Vice tells the true story of an exotic dancer arrested for indecent exposure in Texas. Using actual court transcripts from the dancer's trial, the proceedings are re-enacted from jury selection to verdict. While Vice is a very funny and eye-opening peek into the hypocrisy of the judicial process, the film feels a bit on the "stagey" side, which is ironic since the script is based on actual events. Regardless, Vice hits the intended mark, and is sure to be an audience favorite. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
How did you become interested in this particular case? I was an acting teacher in Houston, Texas, and two of the girls in my class were dancers. One of them was busted in the raid, so I attended the trial and it shocked me--not only by what the police and the prosecutor had to say, but how they presented themselves and their attitudes.
Do you think the laws were being selectively interpreted? The one in Texas requires that when a person exposes themselves they have to have a "reasonable expectation" that the person they're exposing themselves to will be offended and alarmed by the act. For instance, if I was in my apartment making out with my girlfriend, and I take my clothes off, she can't charge me with indecent exposure because I have no reasonable expectation that she would be offended and alarmed. Likewise, if you're in a topless bar and you're paying the girl to take her clothes off, you can't reasonably expect to be offended and alarmed by an act of exposure.
So, the film is specifically about this one case? In a larger sense, it's about how bureaucracies operate. They find ways to interpret the law to allow them to do whatever they want.
DADDY, MAKE ME A STAR
dir. Sharon Mitchell and Lisa Rollins
Wednesday, Oct 4, 8:45 pm
Daddy Make Me a Star documents the porn industry, from its stag film beginnings (including a '30s film involving a man duped by three harpy-ladies into fucking a goat) to the dark, violent fetish films that are currently gaining popularity. By interviewing a wide spectrum of famous porn actors (including Candida Royale, Georgina Spelvin, Amber Lynn, and Ron Jeremy) and others in the industry, the directors do an excellent job of blasting adult entertainment stereotypes.
Daddy also depicts how the porn industry has devolved in some ways. In the '70s, when hardcore porn was still new, the focus was more on the erotic rather than the exploitative, with straight-up sex being the draw. Now, with SM directors such as Rob Black, women are degraded in a most overt manner. It's this grim topic that ends the film, and provides a very unsavory future for porn.
Although Daddy, Make Me a Star touches on some fascinating issues and interviews, unfortunately, it never really fleshes out any of its ideas. However, Daddy is still an interesting viewpoint on the industry by women who know--a good introductory course, but afterwards you might need some more schooling. JULIANNE SHEPHERD
Founder of AIM Healthcare Foundation, adult film actress, and director of Daddy, Make Me a Star and Porn 101 with Nina Hartley
Tell me about AIM Healthcare. We've been in business since 1998 and serve between 400-500 sex workers a month in the adult entertainment and prostitution industry. We do HIV testing, STD testing, GYN services, drug and alcohol counseling, psychiatric assessment, and couples counseling. We have a wonderful website (http://aim-med.org), which is very informative.
Did your desire to create AIM stem from your own sex work experiences? Yeah, I was in the right place at the right time. I had been in the adult industry for 22 years and had just finished my continuing education as a counselor for drug and alcohol and HIV. I had taken courses for seven years on how to run a clinical facility and boom!--there was an HIV outbreak. People clearly needed help, and not from a standard for-profit facility, particularly because infectious disease has always run rampant in this industry. I had the know-how, and the resources to make it happen--so I did!
GRANDMA BINGO ORGASM!
dir. Tonya Hurt
Wednesday, October 4, 10:30 pm
Local director Tonya Hurt is lo-fi and loving it in her 30-minute short video, Grandma Bingo Orgasm! In this hilarious and titillating tale, a senior citizen finds herself prone to earthshaking orgasms, which can occur at any time and under any situation. While this short flick may be low on the technical expertise totem pole (taped on glorious hand-held video), Hurt has a sure hand with the pace and comic timing of this gem, and the result is a gut-busting tribute to the sexual veracity of the older generation. WSH
director, Grandma Bingo Orgasm!
Grandma Bingo Orgasm? What's up with that? It's a really cheesy, off-the wall comedy, all shot in digital and some in SuperVHS. It took three years to shoot because one of the scenes was in a bank, which made it very difficult.
Did you use a real grandmother? Yes, we did. Her name is Mitzi Gussow, and she's an awesome actress. Grandma had an orgasm in every scene, and since there are seven scenes, we had to find a woman who was willing to be open-minded enough to see the comedy in that.
What were you trying to say with this film? We just wanted to do a comedy. My husband found a headline in the Weekly World News, "Grandma Wins Big at Bingo, Experiences Non-Stop Orgasm." He thought it was hysterical and wrote a script based on that headline.
What else have you done lately? I run a video business called New Age Show. I'm working on a piece right now about abortion, which I'm funding all myself. Since it kind of pokes fun at both sides, I couldn't get any support. If anybody would be willing to give me money for that, it would be awesome.
NOT EVEN ASHAMED
dir. Queen Ruth E.
Wednesday, Oct 4, 10:30 pm
Queen Ruth E. does it all: She plays music, writes, and besides being a former exotic dancer, is a former Junior Rose Festival Queen. Now Ruth E. further expands her dominion by jumping behind the camera with a new documentary, Not Even Ashamed. Fed up with the way the mass media depicts the honorable profession of the stripper, Ruth E.'s film features 15 local dancers in their natural habitats (and not necessarily strip clubs, either!). The gals not only dish indiscreetly on the topics of exploitation and the hard truths of the job, but share hilarious anecdotes about their early days of stripping. If you have any interest in the brain behind the shake, Not Even Ashamed flings open the door. WSH
dir. Outlaw Poverty, Not Pros (Wed 7 pm), Blind Eye to Justice (Thur 2 pm), Mother's Mink (Thur 7 pm), and Herstory of Porn (with Annie Sprinkle, Thur 8:45 pm)
Your films seem more overtly political than others. I identify as a political artist and activist. I do a lot of organizing around sex work, but generally cultural work is the most productive for me. If a person has the skills and the talents to do art as a means towards social change, I think it's very effective.
What's your background for making these kinds of films? I've been a sex worker since 1978, and invented the term "sex work," as documented in the book Whores and Other Feminists.
What is a sex worker? A sex worker is just somebody who works in one of the various aspects of the sex industry. It's really a loosely defined term. Usually it goes along with some idea of sex positivity. That you would even call it "work" is a departure from the kind of feminist perspective of sex work as violence against women.
Is there a message you'd like viewers to come away with? My work is very diverse. You'll see some narrative drama, some documentary, and performance art. As an artist, I pride myself on being able to express many aspects of my personality and my consciousness--from the slut to the anthropologist.
WADD: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN C. HOLMES
dir. Cass Paley
Wednesday, Oct 4, Midnight
At two hours, this excellent film, like John Holmes himself, is ground-breaking, fascinating to watch, and feels just a little too long at times. But Holmes' paradoxical life and nature demand the clock ticks that director Cass Paley provides, and this veritable Hall of Porn Heroes is full of industry gossip and insights. There's sex, drugs, violence, betrayal, loss of innocence, lies, love, and tragedy: everything you need for a good Italian opera or a classic Hollywood heartbreaker. It may never get the recognition it deserves in the general biography genre, but WADD is well-done and an important contribution to recording the history of X. DARKLADY
Performer and director of Herstory of Porn and Zen Pussy
Thursday, Oct 5, 8:45 pm
What's Annie Sprinkle doing these days? I've basically been doing college lecture gigs, visiting artist gigs and touring the live version of Annie Sprinkle: Herstory of Porn. I'm also in school at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in a Ph.D program. Oh, Herstory of Porn, btw, is banned in a whole bunch of countries. I get stopped at customs all the time, so I think Americans are lucky. We actually have a lot of freedom right now.
What is it about Herstory of Porn that upsets them so much? It's a film diary of 25 years of making sex films and it takes place in seven movie theaters and I play seven different versions of myself. The first half is a lot of vintage porn and really sleazy, raunchy, and misogynist. The second half is more feminist, spiritual, and political--the arty part. So people tend to favor one part over the other, and it's pretty much divided 50/50.
What are you hoping to communicate with the film? Well, several things. A: I want people to get to know a sex worker in a more personal way. B: I want people to see there's different kinds of pornography. And C: My intention is not to make a commercial video, per se, but to make something that's artistic and provocative. I call it "post porn."
What about Zen Pussy? Everyone sees something different. Some people really loved it. One ex-friend absolutely freaked out over it because there's one pussy that's very unusual, let's say. It's a mirror. It mirrors how people feel about the vulva. It's very experimental, and when you make experimental videos you get a real range of reactions--which I like. The day I make something that no one freaks out over is the day I retire.
dir. Sara McCool
Thursday, Oct 5, noon
If you're an old-school feminist, it's practically a requirement to be pissed about the glorification of waif-like fashion models. However, many of the same people who bleat about the fashion industry still marginalize the Fat Rights faction of feminism.
In Big Girls, director Sara McCool gives some of the entertainment and sex industries' most beautiful large ladies a voice. From a societal standpoint, sexuality is the reason fat is considered bad on the whole, so it makes sense for these women to strip and pose and let others be turned on by their lush bodies. In this respect, they're total revolutionaries for the simple reason that they're comfortable with their bodies. So comfortable, in fact, they're willing to share. JS
dir. Big Girls
Let's talk about Big Girls! Well, my movie is about big, beautiful women in the adult industry, and it includes interviews with Scarlot Harlot, Candy Kane, Mendi Teats (publisher of Big Butt magazine), Nye Willden, editor of Plumpers and Big Women magazines, as well as individual fat admirers.
How are people responding to your film? Very favorably. I think a lot of people who come to see it have a pro-fat point of view. A lot of people have questions about it and, across the board, the feeder section is what gets the most comments from people. I realized that I had no interviews with feeders or feedees, so that's a flaw in the documentary.
What's a feeder? A feeder is someone who is in a relationship with a feedee. The feeder likes to feed their mate and watch them gain weight.
Why did you want to make this film? At least within the media, most don't see big women--fat women--in a sexual way. There's plenty of fat women out there who are very sexual, and our identity is completely invisible. I also wanted to question how aesthetics are formed and changed, and what determines what is seen as beautiful and what's not.
dir. Nina Hartley and Sharon Mitchell
Thursday, Oct 5, noon
So you want to be in fuck films? If you're going through the Adult Industry Medicals (AIM) clinic for porn workers (which co-director/porn actor/health activist Sharon Mitchell founded), they'll show you this video.
Porn 101 features two women teaching you how to hide the condom from the camera, so you can give steamy-hot, on-film blow jobs and practice safe sex. Actually, this video is pretty informative for the non-porn-aspiring, as well. One instructor demonstrates a helpful sleight-of-mouth trick, where you situate the condom in your mouth and unroll it on your co-star's penis as you go down on him. Other must-know topics include health issues and self-worth. This is the stuff they should be teaching in college Women's Issues classes--it's fun to watch, and when it comes to your health and safety, they're not just fucking around. JS
dir. The Grudge
Wednesday, Oct 4, 10:30 pm
What is The Grudge? The story's written by Dave Queen, and it features an all Portland soundtrack and cast. There's nudity, rough language, and violence. The Grudge has gunplay, a stabbing, and an overdose in nine-and-a-half minutes.
What's the story line? It's a story about five people growing up in a small world in Portland.
How does that fit in with the Sex by Sex Worker theme? There's a theme to the festival? Maybe it relates more to me than to the content, or maybe enough of the cast and crew are sex workers. Teresa [Dulce] is in the video does that help? I'm really happy to be part of this Sex by Sex Worker festival because I don't think that NXNW is all that cool.
You've been to strip clubs, right? Do we have to go there?
Are you uncomfortable discussing sex? I thought this was going to be about The Grudge. I've never really considered myself a sex worker. I exploit my body in my art. Does that make me a slut?
Is being a sex worker the same thing as being a slut? Whatever. Semantics.
What other projects have you been working on? I'm always showing paintings or photography. I have two shows coming up in October at Poker Face (128 SW 3rd) and Medusa Tattoo (420 SW Washington). I've been master of ceremonies for several of Danzine's benefit shows. But they've never asked me to contribute to the magazine and I don't think I've ever actually read it. I never read fanzines unless I'm in them. I haven't read the Mercury either.