Friday, November 26, 2010

First Annual Kink + Culture Holiday Gift Guide

This time of year as every magazine is putting out gift guides, the news is flooded with Black Monday human stampedes through Best Buy, and Oprah is whipping people into an ecstatic frenzy of consumerism, I thought I'd join them and introduce my first ever gift guide. It's a growing list of nifty, sexy things from the practical to the extravagant that I think would make great gifts for the pervert in your life. Or, you know... me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Maîtresse, 1976

Maîtresse turns on the encounter of free-spirited drifter and petty thief Olivier (Gérard Depardieu) and Ariane (Bulle Olgier), a professional dominatrix devoted to the needs of male masochists. Olivier stumbles into Ariane’s lair while attempting a burglary and the two quickly become lovers, executing their affair against a backdrop of jaw-dropping sadomasochistic activity. Elliott Stein / Criterion

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Madison Young... and mashed potatos!

I would be hot for Madison Young even if I’d never seen her naked. As founder and director of the Femina Portens Art Gallery in San Francisco, Madison has created a space to showcase art and performances by artists in the queer and kink communities. She’s a sex educator who has appeared on campuses around the country, and a filmmaker touted by AVN as “an auteur to be reckoned with.”

That said, I have seen her naked. I’ve followed Madison’s work as a model and adult performer on, various films and magazines, and on her own website. She’s so personable, so vulnerable, so strong, and so very, very lovely.

This week, you can join me in being smitten when Madison makes a day-long appearance in New York. Madison will be teaching a class on oral sex and deep throating and posing with attendees for professional photographs. The afternoon will include the East Coast premiere of Madison Young's Heartland: A Woman's POV, in which Madison Young visits her hometown in search of orgasms and other kinky women. Madison will also showcase her newest performance, Pregnant with Lunar Love.

It’s my understanding that there will also be a mashed-potato bar.

Space is limited; you must be eighteen or older to attend.

Get your tickets here!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Can performance art be treated like performing art – something to be repeated and reinterpreted by anyone with adequate experience, skill, and conviction, like the script of a play or a musical score? Abramović believed so – that the extremely personal, expressive, and transformative acts of performance art could be liberated from their author. When Marina Abramović Dies: A Biography by James Westcott

When I went to see the Marina Abramović retrospective at MoMA I realized that many of the things she has done for art, I have done for sex. Breath play, objectification, cutting, flogging, slapping; there were elements of my sex life all around me, but in the expansive white walls of a museum rather than the cozy dim lights of my bedroom. I've been interested in the intersection between bdsm and art for a long time, but only recently has it occurred to me that I could experiment with this myself.

A while ago I went to a combination art and sex play party. I decided to do something for my Cracked Spines series. I wanted to use a quote from Jean Genet, so channeling Carolee Schneemann and a smidge of Matthew Barney I did a drawing with a Sharpie in my mouth while bound in a straight jacket.

When I saw the artifacts from Abramović's Rhythm 0 at the museum (the table of objects and a still photo) I was fascinated. When I saw it performed live during The Artist is Absent, I knew I had to try this myself.

I did a test run with a small party of friends in my home. There were 69 objects ranging from the benign (body paint, a cookie, ribbon, a pearl necklace), to the sexual (condoms, a glass dildo, a vibrator), to objects of pain (floggers, riding crop, a metal ruler). People stood and sat chatting with friends, drinking wine and nibbling snacks in front of the table with the sign taped to the wall above. There was no announcement made. At one point I stood on the white sheet on the floor next to the table and waited. Minutes went by as the room got a bit quiet and people waited for someone to make the first move. I stood completely silent, looking straight ahead, unmoving (unless someone moved me) and totally passive for a little over two (maybe two and a half) hours. I could have (and wanted to) go longer, but the party wanted me back. Through the whole process I had never felt more powerful, more confident and more in control in my life.

Funny huh?

I did it a second time at Dark Odyssey. This time there were a lot more people and more importantly people who didn't know me. This time I put no obvious bdsm toys or implements of pain. There were also no obvious sex toys. To my surprise and pleasure, the experience proved to be far more powerful and the participants much more creative than I expected. It was pleasurable, terrifying, arousing, nerve wracking, calming, painful, meditative, funny, dehumanizing and empowering.

When it was over I immediately burst into tears. As before, my only complaint about the experience was that it was ended too soon.

It was done in the dungeon which was not my first choice for a location. I wanted to do it outdoors in a more neutral environment. I didn't want it to be perceived as just another scene, but I realized later how much more interesting the experience became in that space and how the rules and etiquette of play changed. To use the lingo, I was basically giving anyone who came by and chose to participate consensual non-consent to do whatever they wanted to me. The idea of what "bdsm" could be was expanded for me the way the idea of what defined "art" had been expanded 50 years ago.

I had mixed feelings about copying her performance. I wasn't sure if it was "okay" to recreate someone's work in this way. But the more I do these things the more I want to experience what other artists did and learn from those experiences and interpret them in a way that makes sense to me.

I was invited, but unable to go, to a Halloween orgy. Faced with the problem of what kind of costume to wear when you're just going to end up naked anyway, I was going to go as Yoko Ono doing "Cut Piece":

Uploaded by TECHNOLOGOS. - Watch feature films and entire TV shows.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


In case you didn't know (I didn't) this month marks the 20th anniversary of The Decency Clause. As part of the program called How Obscene is This! The Decency Clause Turns 20 (so-called "obscene" language is the only form of expression not covered by the First Amendment) the National Coalition Against Censorship screened part of Destricted, a collection of short films by artists exploring the boundaries between porn and art. The moderator when introducing the film, consoled the audience by reminding them that these films have screened at The Tate and Cannes, so we can all be reassured that we aren't just a bunch of pervs watching dirty movies.

For example:

Death Valley by Sam Taylor-Wood: A guy jacking off alone in the desert = porn. A guy jacking off alone in the desert with a soundtrack of spooky, ambient electronic music = art

House Call by Richard Prince: a porn movie = porn. A video of a porn movie on a t.v. with a soundtrack of spooky, ambient music = art.

I don't mean to sound glib, both films were moving and engaging in their own way, but it's interesting to see blatant, clear sex on screen and how different the experiences would be in a porn theater -vs- an art school auditorium. How long do we spend with our hands on our chins, nodding and critiquing before we admit that we've gotten wet or hard.

Maybe it's because I've seen too much, but I find so much of porn (even the alternative, indie porn) is just kind of, well... boring. Penis in hole, tongue on clit, fist in ass; there are only so many ways to shoot it. I get it. People are having sexual intercourse for me to watch. To me, Green Pink Caviar by Marilyn Minter is so much dirtier. Maybe it's because I'm not quite sure what I'm seeing and I don't know exactly what is happening and why. Plus, it's oddly beautiful. The same with Hoist by Matthew Barney. You're watching very explicit sex, but in a form that's totally foreign with a visual vocabulary that's uniquely his.

I like a little porn in my art and a little art in my porn. I like my perceptions of sexuality twisted and my conceptions of art challenged. If you couldn't make it to the screening, some of the films will be released on DVD some time this year.

Also included:

Four Letter Heaven by Cecily Brown
Sync by Marco Brambilla
Balkan Erotic Epic by Marina Abramović
by Larry Clark
We Fuck Alone by Gaspar Noé

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Soyent Green

Not too long ago I rented Soylent Green (1973). Spoiler alert: it's people. It takes place in the not-too distant dystopian future where fresh fruits and vegetables are a rarity, poverty is rampant, strawberry jam costs $150 a jar, and the rich live in luxury condos complete with "furniture". The furniture being sexy ladies who come with the apartment along with the refrigerator and washer/dryer set. Tenants may come and go, but the condo-hos remain fixtures, there to please whoever happens to live there. Not a bad gig if you ask me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Cartier Love Cuff

Update of the famous Love Bracelet: The original provocative bracelet
-created in the 1970's- which could only be opened with a tiny
screwdriver. It soon became a piece of cult jewelery for modern day Lovers.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hello Kitty

Hello Kitty is an icon that doesn't stand for anything at all. Hello Kitty never has been, and never will be, anything. She's pure license; you can even get a Hello Kitty car! The branding thing is completely out of control, but it started as nothing and maintains its nothingness. It's not about the ego, and in that way it's very Japanese. — Tom Sachs

Bronze Collection
/ Lever House, New York City / 2008

Artist Tom Sachs often references contemporary icons of popular culture and consumerism in his work: McDonald's, Prada, Hello Kitty. I saw him speak at a conference years ago with Ikuko Shimizu, the original creator of Hello Kitty (let me tell you, when she took the stage the whole audience stood up and roared with applause. She's a rock star). She had never seen any of his work and was genuinely surprised that her creation had such a huge cultural impact. She said humbly, "Well, I knew it was a very popular character."

I was a fan of Hello Kitty back when I was a 3rd grader collecting stickers and miniature colored pencil sets and I love her to this day. "Teen Angst Hello Kitty" (I'm not making that up, that's what it's called) hangs above my computer:

On my wall is a piece from artist Michael Paulus who draws skeletal systems of cartoon characters:

I love Hello Kitty for her minimalist lines, her over-sized head, her expressionless, speechless gaze (She has no mouth, but there's no deep meaning behind this. When asked, Shimizu said she could never get the drawings right so she said, forget it!). Her adorable blank stare is like a template inviting you apply anything you want to her surface. And Hello Kitty is most definitely a she. You don't need DD sized boobs or long blond hair and a dream house. She's got that sweet, little bow placed at a cocky angle just below her left ear. And, or course, the name. How can you resist? The awkward, broken English name that is both generic and completely unique. You can not help but love her.

So we want her little face on anything and everything that can be bought instantly transforming the most mundane, utilitarian, "grown-up" object into something kitschy, fun and cute taking us back to a more innocent time in our lives when we carried Lego pieces, secret notes, and glitter glue in our little purses instead of iPhones, credit cards and tampons.

So along with the obligatory and age appropriate tiny purses and diaries, you can buy Hello Kitty kitchen timers, license plate frames, toasters, stainless steel sauce pans, golf bags, digital cameras, coffee makers, diamond jewelry, a Fender guitar and makeup . Then you can fly to Japan on a Hello Kitty jet.

So why not a vibrator? It's marketed as a "shoulder massager" (so is the Hitachi and all those hand vibes you get at Brookstone) maintaining the illusion of respectability. Sanrio has always maintained that it is a "health-care product". It was their best selling novelty item before it was discontinued when it ended up being sold in sex shops next to much more obviously adult toys. But since it's back, perhaps the company has loosened up, re-evaluated it's consumer and decided to innocently look the other way.

After all, anything that vibrates is a vibrator: an electric toothbrush, the dryer, Tickle Me Elmo. I remember, while vacuuming the living room rug as a youngster, curiously pressing the buzzing handle to my crotch. Part of the fun is the pervertability of the object, the sacrilege of taking a beloved childhood character and using it to get off.

But long story short, it's basically a "Pocket Rocket" with a Hello Kitty head on top. So I started with her little face respectfully turned away from my clitoris. The back of her head is round and smooth, with just the slightest, embossement: © '76/97 SANRIO MADE IN CHINA. But I was curious about all those bumps of her cocky pink bow, her yellow button nose, and that little teddy bear nestled safely between her legs. So, with a little hesitation, I turned her over rubbing her face over my clit until I came. Then I lifted her up from between my damp thighs and looked into those tiny, little black eyes that seemed to be looking into mine saying, Why? Why?!

And it takes one AA battery.