The Sex Workers Art Show

Berbati's Pan, 231 SW Ankeny, 248-4579, Thursday January 15, 9 pm, $8-10

S elling something, be it toothpaste, art, ass or any combination thereof, is integral to being a successful citizen in modern America. This will remain the same until our culture redefines what it means to succeed, ideally swinging the definition from monetary gain to satisfaction and self-worth. But while we hold our collective breath for this redefinition, classical artists who sell themselves or their work aren't typically called parasites--but sex workers often are. Even if sex workers, artists, and office drones are using different means to the same success-related end, the fact is, someone's selling and hopefully, someone else is buying. Then, when the lines between sex, art, and commerce are sufficiently blurred, the Sex Workers Art Show comes along and defies definition.

NYC's Ducky Doolittle is one of the featured members of this year's ensemble. Among other endeavors, she runs a website ( where she hands out some of the most honest, intelligent, and positive sex advice on the internet. The self-proclaimed "crackpot sexologist" has appeared in an impressive list of media, due largely to the fact that she is bright, funny and, frankly, has a body built for sin. Garnering reviews that portray her as a mixture of Bettie Page, Xena, Dr. Ruth, Tank Girl, and a Russ Meyers supervixen, Ducky is a writer, pinup girl, educator, and comedian.

The first stop in the Sex Workers Art Show's month-long tour is Berbati's Pan. Portland seems like an obvious launching point, with our large population of both sex workers and artists, although it probably has more to do with the proximity of the tour's organizer, Olympia-based sex worker and activist Annie Oakley. The show is cabaret-style, integrating writers, poets, visual artists, performance artists and filmmakers, all of whom were, or are, involved in the sex industry, the Sex Workers Art Show includes Michelle Tea, writer/poet; Erochica Bamboo, Miss Exotic World 2003; David Henry Sterry, writer/performer (and Reedie); Leslie Bull, poet/PSU graduate; and the enigmatic Ducky Doolittle, burlesque cutie and sex educator. KATE MERCIER